Alan C. Miner

According to John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, in recent years, ancient sites in and around Israel have yielded numerous ancient writings, many of which contain proper names. Although many of the names are known from the Bible and other ancient texts, others were unattested in ancient sources until recently. Included in the latter group are several Semitic names that appear in the Book of Mormon, one of which is the name "Josh," mentioned as both a name of a city (3 Nephi 9:10) and a man (Mormon 6:14). While critics claim that this name is merely the American diminutive form of Joshua, many ancient bullae (seal impressions) and ostraca (inscribed pottery fragments) indicate otherwise. These artifacts, which date to around 600 B.C. (the time of Lehi), bear the name Y's (s is the sh sound in English), which Hugh Nibley has suggested was identical to Josh. Evidence shows that the Semitic versions of Josiah and Josh were in use in Jerusalem during Lehi's time. [John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, "FARMS Update," Num. 131, in Insights: A Window on the Ancient World, December 1999, p. 2]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary