Difference between revisions of "NEPHI"

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|'''[[:Category:Lehite PN|Lehite PN]]'''
 
|'''[[:Category:Lehite PN|Lehite PN]]'''
 
|1.
 
|1.
|Son of [[LEHI]] No.1, ca. 600 BC ([http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_ne/1/1#1 1 Nephi 1:1]; [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ether/8/21#21 Ether 8:21])
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|Son of [[LEHI|L<small>EHI</small>]] No.1, ca. 600 BC ([http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_ne/1/1#1 1 Nephi 1:1]; [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ether/8/21#21 Ether 8:21])
 
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|2.  
 
|2.  
|Son of [[HELAMAN]] No.3; chief judge, prophet, ca. 39–30 BC; translated ca. 6 BC ([http://scriptures.lds.org/en/hel/3/21#21 Helaman 3:21]; [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ether/12/14#14 Ether 12:14])
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|Son of [[HELAMAN|H<small>ELAMAN</small>]] No.3; chief judge, prophet, ca. 39–30 BC; translated ca. 6 BC ([http://scriptures.lds.org/en/hel/3/21#21 Helaman 3:21]; [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ether/12/14#14 Ether 12:14])
 
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Two directions exist for seeking the etymology of this important Book of Mormon name, nph/ḥ or nv̄ p or n aleph p. Historical and current LDS pronunciation of the name  
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Two directions exist for seeking the etymology of this important Book of Mormon name, ''nph''/'''' or ''nv̄ p'' or ''n'' aleph ''p''. Historical and current LDS pronunciation of the name  
would favor the latter, reading the ph as one phoneme [f], rather than as two, [p] and [h/ḥ]. However, I am unaware of any root in Semitic corresponding with nv̄/ʿp. Both  
+
would favor the latter, reading the ''ph'' as one phoneme [''f''], rather than as two, [''p''] and [''h''/'''']. However, I am unaware of any root in Semitic corresponding with ''nv̄''/''ʿp''. Both  
npḥ, “to breathe, blow” (JAT, JH), and nph, “to discard, banish, reject” (JH) exist in West Semitic, though the latter is not attested in North-west Semitic (JH). Nap_pnu means  
+
''npḥ'', “to breathe, blow” (JAT, JH), and ''nph'', “to discard, banish, reject” (JH) exist in West Semitic, though the latter is not attested in North-west Semitic (JH). ''Nap_pnu'' means  
“anblasen, entzünden; aufgehen” and appears in the form niphu “Aufleuchten, Entbrennen” and refers metaphorically to sun up and star up. It occurs in the feminine names  
+
“anblasen, entzünden; aufgehen” and appears in the form ''niphu'' “Aufleuchten, Entbrennen” and refers metaphorically to sun up and star up. It occurs in the feminine names  
i-na-ni-ip-pni-ša-al-si-iš and i-na-nippni(SAR)-ša-al-si-iš (Stamm, ANG, 200). The form may be related to the biblical Zimri/Omri and Book of Mormon Lehi/Limhi, etc.  
+
''i-na-ni-ip-pni-ša-al-si-iš'' and ''i-na-nippni''(SAR)''-ša-al-si-iš'' (Stamm, ANG, 200). The form may be related to the biblical Zimri/Omri and Book of Mormon [[LEHI|L<small>EHI</small>]]/[[LIMHI|L<small>IMHI</small>]], etc.  
 
(PN).
 
(PN).
  
An equally or even more promising derivation would come from Egyptian nfw (later nfy), “captain, skipper, chief of sailors” (Coptic ne(e)f, neeb), from meaning “breathe, blow  
+
An equally or even more promising derivation would come from Egyptian ''nfw'' (later ''nfy''), “captain, skipper, chief of sailors” (Coptic ''ne''(''e'')''f'', ''neeb''), from meaning “breathe, blow  
at” (cognate with West Semitic npḥ) (RFS, JH). Nibley wrote that “Nfy was the name of an Egyptian captain,” implying a PN rather than a word meaning “captain” (LID, 29; see  
+
at” (cognate with West Semitic ''npḥ'') (RFS, JH). Nibley wrote that “''Nfy'' was the name of an Egyptian captain,” implying a PN rather than a word meaning “captain” (LID, 29; see  
also ABM, 234). See also Egyptian nfʿ.i, “I am driven away” (passive sdm.f) (EHA). If correct, the name could be metonymic, in view of Nephi’s forced departure from his  
+
also ABM, 234). See also Egyptian ''nfʿ.i'', “I am driven away” (passive ''sdm.f'') (EHA). If correct, the name could be metonymic, in view of Nephi’s forced departure from his  
 
homeland (JAT).
 
homeland (JAT).
  
Nibley notes the PN nfy on at least 10 Nabatean inscriptions. In one case, nfy is the father of one lmy, where the y is defective and may, according to Jaussen, have been n,  
+
Nibley notes the PN ''nfy'' on at least 10 Nabatean inscriptions. In one case, ''nfy'' is the father of one ''lmy'', where the ''y'' is defective and may, according to Jaussen, have been ''n'',  
hence Laman (if it is really y, cf. Book of Mormon Lamah—JAT), while in another hnfy appears with the name mrmlw, for which cf. Mormon (ABM, 239 and esp. fn. 28 [in the  
+
hence [[LAMAN|L<small>AMAN</small>]] (if it is really ''y'', cf. Book of Mormon [[LAMAH|L<small>AMAH</small>]]—JAT), while in another ''hnfy'' appears with the name ''mrmlw'', for which cf. [[MORMON|M<small>ORMON</small>]] (ABM, 239 and esp. fn. 28 [in the  
 
reprint by FARMS; fn. 27 in the 1964 Deseret edition] to Chap. 22).
 
reprint by FARMS; fn. 27 in the 1964 Deseret edition] to Chap. 22).
  
The Aramaic GN npʾ occurs in the Elephantine documents (7:4) (EHA).
+
The Aramaic GN ''npʾ'' occurs in the Elephantine documents (7:4) (EHA).
  
Implausible is the suggestion to derive Nephi from the Hebrew word for prophet, nābīʾ. Such a derivation (Reynolds, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, I, p. 3 and IV, p.  
+
Implausible is the suggestion to derive N<small>EPHI</small> from the Hebrew word for prophet, ''nābīʾ''. Such a derivation (Reynolds, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, I, p. 3 and IV, p.  
 
275) is based on the erroneous reading “nevi” from “nebhi,” which is the masoretic pronunciation of the first two syllables of the plural “prophets.” But we do not know if  
 
275) is based on the erroneous reading “nevi” from “nebhi,” which is the masoretic pronunciation of the first two syllables of the plural “prophets.” But we do not know if  
masoretic pronunciation held in Lehi’s day; and even if the pronunciation were certain for Lehi’s day, part of the plural form cannot be used to explain a word that looks  
+
masoretic pronunciation held in [[LEHI|L<small>EHI</small>]]’s day; and even if the pronunciation were certain for [[LEHI|L<small>EHI</small>]]’s day, part of the plural form cannot be used to explain a word that looks  
singular. The fact that the niphal form may mean “speak under divine influence” is irrelevant. In other words, the Hebrew “bet” in nābīʾ, despite spirantization, cannot be  
+
singular. The fact that the niphal form may mean “speak under divine influence” is irrelevant. In other words, the Hebrew “bet” in ''nābīʾ'', despite spirantization, cannot be  
turned into the [f] of Nephi.
+
turned into the [''f''] of N<small>EPHI</small>.
  
Some would like to see the Nephi in 2 Macc. 1:36 of the KJV (Greek neai, an alternate name for naphtha, the Aramaic word for petroleum, which is usually rendered by Greek  
+
Some would like to see the N<small>EPHI</small> in 2 Macc. 1:36 of the KJV (Greek ''neai'', an alternate name for ''naphtha'', the Aramaic word for petroleum, which is usually rendered by Greek  
near) as the most likely origin of Book of Mormon Nephi (JH). In view of the fact that the Greek does not read Nephi, neither would the Aramaic, Joseph Smith would have to  
+
''near'') as the most likely origin of Book of Mormon N<small>EPHI</small> (JH). In view of the fact that the Greek does not read N<small>EPHI</small>, neither would the Aramaic, Joseph Smith would have to  
 
have taken the name from his KJV Bible which, it is now known, contained the Apocrypha (JAT). But it seems unlikely that Joseph Smith would have rendered a PN from the  
 
have taken the name from his KJV Bible which, it is now known, contained the Apocrypha (JAT). But it seems unlikely that Joseph Smith would have rendered a PN from the  
Plates with an erroneous KJV reading of a Greek noun of an Aramaic/Hebrew word for petroleum. Confer also nea, near in 1 Esdr. 5:2. (RFS; *CANNOT FIND IN 1 ESDR. 5:2!!!!)  
+
Plates with an erroneous KJV reading of a Greek noun of an Aramaic/Hebrew word for petroleum. Confer also ''nea'', ''near'' in 1 Esdr. 5:2. (RFS; *CANNOT FIND IN 1 ESDR. 5:2!!!!)  
 
(RFS).
 
(RFS).
  
Thelona Stevens suggested that Nephi was related to the Nahua arguing that "the Nahuas had lost all the labial sounds except 'p' and 'u.'" and therefore "the word 'Nahua' may, therefore, as far as the pronunciation indicates, be considered identical with 'Nephi.'"<ref>Thelona D. Stevens, "Book of Mormon Names in Indian Languages," ''Saints' Herald'' 115 (1 July 1968): 456.</ref> Since there is a phoneme 'p' in Nahuatl,<ref>Thelma D. Sullivan and Neville Stiles, ''Compendium of Nahuatli Grammar'' (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988), 6.</ref> however, there is no reason that Nephi would need to be represented as "Nahua" rather than "Nepi."
+
Thelona Stevens suggested that N<small>EPHI</small> was related to the Nahua arguing that "the Nahuas had lost all the labial sounds except ''p'' and ''u''." and therefore "the word 'Nahua' may, therefore, as far as the pronunciation indicates, be considered identical with 'N<small>EPHI</small>.'"<ref>Thelona D. Stevens, "Book of Mormon Names in Indian Languages," ''Saints' Herald'' 115 (1 July 1968): 456.</ref> Since there is a phoneme ''p'' in Nahuatl,<ref>Thelma D. Sullivan and Neville Stiles, ''Compendium of Nahuatli Grammar'' (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988), 6.</ref> however, there is no reason that N<small>EPHI</small> would need to be represented as "Nahua" rather than "N<small>EPHI</small>."
  
 
Alex Morgan has suggested in a private communication (postmarked 24 May 2001) that [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/neh/7/52#52 Nehemiah 7:52]: Nephishesim and [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ezra/2/50#50 Ezra 2:50] Nephusim may have something to do with  
 
Alex Morgan has suggested in a private communication (postmarked 24 May 2001) that [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/neh/7/52#52 Nehemiah 7:52]: Nephishesim and [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ezra/2/50#50 Ezra 2:50] Nephusim may have something to do with  
Nephi. Both refer to “Nachkommen v. Kriegsgefangen aus d. ismaelitishcen Stamm npyš,” (KB, pwsym) a son of Ishmael.  
+
N<small>EPHI</small>. Both refer to “Nachkommen v. Kriegsgefangen aus d. ismaelitishcen Stamm npyš,” (KB, ''pwsym'') a son of Ishmael.  
  
 
Cf. Book of Mormon [[LEHINEPHI]], [[NEPHIHAH]], [[ZENEPHI]] (and perhaps [[ZENIFF]]), and [[NEPHITE(S)]]
 
Cf. Book of Mormon [[LEHINEPHI]], [[NEPHIHAH]], [[ZENEPHI]] (and perhaps [[ZENIFF]]), and [[NEPHITE(S)]]

Revision as of 20:54, 10 January 2012

Lehite PN 1. Son of LEHI No.1, ca. 600 BC (1 Nephi 1:1; Ether 8:21)
2. Son of HELAMAN No.3; chief judge, prophet, ca. 39–30 BC; translated ca. 6 BC (Helaman 3:21; Ether 12:14)
3. Apostle, son of No. 2, ca. 30 AD (3 Nephi 1:2; 3 Nephi 23:12)
4. Son of No. 3, ca. 111 AD (4 Nephi 19)
Lehite GN 5. Land, named from No. 1, 6th c. BC (2 Nephi 5:8; Helaman 5:20)
6. City, from 6th c. BC (Mosiah 9:15; Alma 47:31)

Two directions exist for seeking the etymology of this important Book of Mormon name, nph/ or nv̄ p or n aleph p. Historical and current LDS pronunciation of the name would favor the latter, reading the ph as one phoneme [f], rather than as two, [p] and [h/]. However, I am unaware of any root in Semitic corresponding with nv̄/ʿp. Both npḥ, “to breathe, blow” (JAT, JH), and nph, “to discard, banish, reject” (JH) exist in West Semitic, though the latter is not attested in North-west Semitic (JH). Nap_pnu means “anblasen, entzünden; aufgehen” and appears in the form niphu “Aufleuchten, Entbrennen” and refers metaphorically to sun up and star up. It occurs in the feminine names i-na-ni-ip-pni-ša-al-si-iš and i-na-nippni(SAR)-ša-al-si-iš (Stamm, ANG, 200). The form may be related to the biblical Zimri/Omri and Book of Mormon LEHI/LIMHI, etc. (PN).

An equally or even more promising derivation would come from Egyptian nfw (later nfy), “captain, skipper, chief of sailors” (Coptic ne(e)f, neeb), from meaning “breathe, blow at” (cognate with West Semitic npḥ) (RFS, JH). Nibley wrote that “Nfy was the name of an Egyptian captain,” implying a PN rather than a word meaning “captain” (LID, 29; see also ABM, 234). See also Egyptian nfʿ.i, “I am driven away” (passive sdm.f) (EHA). If correct, the name could be metonymic, in view of Nephi’s forced departure from his homeland (JAT).

Nibley notes the PN nfy on at least 10 Nabatean inscriptions. In one case, nfy is the father of one lmy, where the y is defective and may, according to Jaussen, have been n, hence LAMAN (if it is really y, cf. Book of Mormon LAMAH—JAT), while in another hnfy appears with the name mrmlw, for which cf. MORMON (ABM, 239 and esp. fn. 28 [in the reprint by FARMS; fn. 27 in the 1964 Deseret edition] to Chap. 22).

The Aramaic GN npʾ occurs in the Elephantine documents (7:4) (EHA).

Implausible is the suggestion to derive NEPHI from the Hebrew word for prophet, nābīʾ. Such a derivation (Reynolds, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, I, p. 3 and IV, p. 275) is based on the erroneous reading “nevi” from “nebhi,” which is the masoretic pronunciation of the first two syllables of the plural “prophets.” But we do not know if masoretic pronunciation held in LEHI’s day; and even if the pronunciation were certain for LEHI’s day, part of the plural form cannot be used to explain a word that looks singular. The fact that the niphal form may mean “speak under divine influence” is irrelevant. In other words, the Hebrew “bet” in nābīʾ, despite spirantization, cannot be turned into the [f] of NEPHI.

Some would like to see the NEPHI in 2 Macc. 1:36 of the KJV (Greek neai, an alternate name for naphtha, the Aramaic word for petroleum, which is usually rendered by Greek near) as the most likely origin of Book of Mormon NEPHI (JH). In view of the fact that the Greek does not read NEPHI, neither would the Aramaic, Joseph Smith would have to have taken the name from his KJV Bible which, it is now known, contained the Apocrypha (JAT). But it seems unlikely that Joseph Smith would have rendered a PN from the Plates with an erroneous KJV reading of a Greek noun of an Aramaic/Hebrew word for petroleum. Confer also nea, near in 1 Esdr. 5:2. (RFS; *CANNOT FIND IN 1 ESDR. 5:2!!!!) (RFS).

Thelona Stevens suggested that NEPHI was related to the Nahua arguing that "the Nahuas had lost all the labial sounds except p and u." and therefore "the word 'Nahua' may, therefore, as far as the pronunciation indicates, be considered identical with 'NEPHI.'"[1] Since there is a phoneme p in Nahuatl,[2] however, there is no reason that NEPHI would need to be represented as "Nahua" rather than "NEPHI."

Alex Morgan has suggested in a private communication (postmarked 24 May 2001) that Nehemiah 7:52: Nephishesim and Ezra 2:50 Nephusim may have something to do with NEPHI. Both refer to “Nachkommen v. Kriegsgefangen aus d. ismaelitishcen Stamm npyš,” (KB, pwsym) a son of Ishmael.

Cf. Book of Mormon LEHINEPHI, NEPHIHAH, ZENEPHI (and perhaps ZENIFF), and NEPHITE(S)

Notes

  1. Thelona D. Stevens, "Book of Mormon Names in Indian Languages," Saints' Herald 115 (1 July 1968): 456.
  2. Thelma D. Sullivan and Neville Stiles, Compendium of Nahuatli Grammar (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988), 6.

Bibliography

  • M. Wells Jakeman “Izapa Stela 5 and the Book of Mormon.” Instructor 96 (December 1961): 410-11, 429.
  • Henry A. Smith “Interesting Clipping.” Church News 35 (September 11, 1965): 6; reprint from "Chiapas Find of Relevance to Document." El Paso Times, July 5, 1965.