Difference between revisions of "NEPHI"

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'''Etymology'''
 
'''Etymology'''
  
The most likely derivation of the name is [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] ''nfr'' "good, beautiful." ([[John Gee|JG]])<ref>[[John Gee]], "A Note on the Name ''Nephi''," [[Journal of Book of Mormon Studies|''JBMS'']] 1/1 (1992): 189-191; [[John Gee]], “Four Suggestions on the Origin of the Name Nephi,” in ''Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon'', ed. [[John W. Welch]], and [[Melvin J. Thorne]] (Provo, Utah: [[Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies|FARMS]], 1999), 1-5.</ref> The final ''r'' in [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] had dropped out of pronunciation about a thousand years earlier,<ref>William F. Edgerton, "Stress, Vowel Quality, and Syllable Division in Egyptian," ''Journal of Near Eastern Studies'' 6/1 (1947): 10-17.</ref> and it is attested as a personal name at the time of [[LEHI|L<small>EHI</small>]].<ref>[[Hermann Ranke|Ranke]], Die Aegyptische Personennamen, 1:194.</ref>
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The most likely derivation of the name is [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] ''nfr'' "good, beautiful." ([[John Gee|JG]])<ref>[[John Gee]], "A Note on the Name ''Nephi''," [[Journal of Book of Mormon Studies|''JBMS'']] 1/1 (1992): 189-191; [[John Gee]], “Four Suggestions on the Origin of the Name Nephi,” in ''Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon'', ed. [[John W. Welch]], and [[Melvin J. Thorne]] (Provo, Utah: [[Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies|FARMS]], 1999), 1-5.</ref> The final ''r'' in [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] had dropped out of pronunciation about a thousand years earlier,<ref>William F. Edgerton, "Stress, Vowel Quality, and Syllable Division in Egyptian," ''Journal of Near Eastern Studies'' 6/1 (1947): 10-17.</ref> and it is attested as a personal name at the time of [[LEHI|L<small>EHI</small>]].<ref>[[Hermann Ranke|Ranke]], [[Hermann Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen. 2 vols. Glückstadt: Augustin, 1935-52.|''Die ägyptischen Personennamen'']] 1:194.</ref>
  
 
In Semitic languages, 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 [[The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|LDS]] pronunciation of the name  
 
In Semitic languages, 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 [[The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|LDS]] pronunciation of the name  
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An equally or even more promising derivation would come from [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] ''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 [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] ''nfw'' (later ''nfy''), “captain, skipper, chief of sailors” (Coptic ''ne''(''e'')''f'', ''neeb''), from meaning “breathe, blow  
at” ([[Robert F. Smith|RFS]], [[Jo Ann Hackett|JH]], [[John A. Tvedtnes|JAT]]).<ref>[[Robert F. Smith|RFS]] proposes that [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] ''nfw'' is cognate with West Semitic ''npḥ'' but this is doubted by [[John Gee|JG]] as Semitic ''ḥ'' does not become ''w'' in [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]].</ref> [[Hugh W. Nibley|Nibley]] wrote that “''Nfy'' was the name of an [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] captain,” implying a [[Personal Name|PN]] rather than a word meaning “captain” ([[Hugh W. Nibley, "Lehi in the Desert; The World of the Jaredites; There Were Jaredites." John W. Welch, Darrell L. Matthews, and Stephen R. Callister, eds. Collected Works of Hugh Nibley. 5. Salt Lake City/Provo: Deseret Book/FARMS, 1988.|''LID'']], 27; see  
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at” ([[Robert F. Smith|RFS]], [[Jo Ann Hackett|JH]], [[John A. Tvedtnes|JAT]]).<ref>[[Robert F. Smith|Robert F. Smith]] proposes that [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] ''nfw'' is cognate with West Semitic ''npḥ'' but this is doubted by [[John Gee|JG]] as Semitic ''ḥ'' does not become ''w'' in [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]].</ref> [[Hugh W. Nibley|Nibley]] wrote that “''Nfy'' was the name of an [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] captain,” implying a [[Personal Name|PN]] rather than a word meaning “captain” ([[Hugh W. Nibley, "Lehi in the Desert; The World of the Jaredites; There Were Jaredites." John W. Welch, Darrell L. Matthews, and Stephen R. Callister, eds. Collected Works of Hugh Nibley. 5. Salt Lake City/Provo: Deseret Book/FARMS, 1988.|''LID'']], 27; see  
also [[Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon. 3rd ed. Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 6. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, FARMS, 1988.|''ABM'']], 234); the term ''nfy'' is attested as an [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] name but not after the New Kingdom.<ref>[[Hermann Ranke|Ranke]], ''Die aegyptischen Personennamen'', (Gluckstadt: J. J. Augustin, 1935), 1:193</ref> See also [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] ''nfʿ=i'', “I am driven away” (passive ''sdm=f'') ([[Edward H. Ashment|EHA]]). If correct, the name could be metonymic, in view of '''N<small>EPHI</small>'''’s forced departure from his  
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also [[Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon. 3rd ed. Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 6. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, FARMS, 1988.|''ABM'']], 234); the term ''nfy'' is attested as an [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] name but not after the New Kingdom.<ref>[[Hermann Ranke|Ranke]], [[Hermann Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen. 2 vols. Glückstadt: Augustin, 1935-52.|''Die ägyptischen Personennamen'']] 1:193</ref> See also [[EGYPT|E<small>GYPTIAN</small>]] ''nfʿ=i'', “I am driven away” (passive ''sdm=f'') ([[Edward H. Ashment|EHA]]). If correct, the name could be metonymic, in view of '''N<small>EPHI</small>'''’s forced departure from his  
 
homeland ([[John A. Tvedtnes|JAT]]). This is unlikely because the so-called passive sdm=f is a circumstantial past passive meaning in this case "since I had been driven away." It would have to be a dependent clause and is not nominalized.
 
homeland ([[John A. Tvedtnes|JAT]]). This is unlikely because the so-called passive sdm=f is a circumstantial past passive meaning in this case "since I had been driven away." It would have to be a dependent clause and is not nominalized.
  

Revision as of 21:18, 2 February 2015

Lehite PN 1. Son of prophet LEHI No. 1, founder of NEPHITES (1 Nephi 1:Preface (x4), 1, 16, 20; 2:16, 19; 3:1, 7, 9; 4:5, 14, 31; 6:1; 7:2, 3, 6, 8, 16; 8:3, 14, 29; 9:2; 10:1, 17 (x2); 11:6, 14, 33; 12:12; 13:16, 19, 20, 23; 14:5, 14, 27, 28; 15:1, 4, 19, 25; 16:1, 4, 7, 8, 18, 21, 22, 23, 28, 30, 37; 17:7, 11, 15, 19, 23, 49, 52; 18:2, 3, 10 (x2), 22; 19:3, 4, 18, 22; 22:1, 2, 21, 27, 29; 2 Nephi 1:Preface, 1, 28, 30; 2:3; 3:25; 4:1, 11, 14; 5:1, 5, 6, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 26, 29, 31; 6:1, 2; 11:2; 25:1, 2, 6; 26:7; 29:2; 30:1; 31:1; 32:7; 33:1, 3; Jacob 1:1, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 18; 2:1 (x2); 3:14; 7:27; Words of Mormon 1:3; Mosiah 10:13, 17; 11:13; 17:2; 24:4; 25:2 (x2); 25:12 (x2), 13; Alma 3:6, 14, 17; 10:3; 47:35; Helaman 2:14; 7:7; 3 Nephi 1:Preface, 2; 5:9, 10; 4 Nephi 1:21, 39; Mormon 1:5; 8:13)
2. Eldest son of HELAMAN No.3, brother of LEHI No. 4 (Helaman 3:21, 37; 4:14; 5:1, 4, 18, 20, 23 (x2), 26, 36, 37, 44; 6:6; 7:Preface, 1, 6, 10, 11, 12; 8:1, 3 (x2), 7, 10, 22; 9:1, 4, 5, 8, 11, 14, 15, 16 (x2), 18, 19, 21, 27, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40; 10:1, 2, 4, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15; 11:3, 5, 7, 8, 9 (x2), 18, 23; 16:1, 3, 4; 3 Nephi 1:10; 2:9; Ether 12:14)
3. Eldest son of No. 2 (3 Nephi 1:2, 3, 10, 15, 23; 2:9, 17; 5:9; 7:15, 17, 23, 25; 11:18 (x2), 19; 12:1; 19:4, 11; 23:7, 8, 12)
4. Son of No. 3 (4 Nephi 1:19)
Lehite GN 5. Land of, land of Lehites' first inheritance = Land of LEHI-NEPHI (2 Nephi 5:8 (x2); Omni 1:12, 27; Words of Mormon 1:13; Mosiah 7:6, 7; 9:1, 14; 19:15, 19, 22, 24; 20:7; 21:21, 26; 23:35, 36, 37, 38; 27:16; 28:1, 5; 29:3; Alma 2:24; 5:3; 17:Preface, 8; 18:9 (x2); 20:1, 2; 22:1, 28 (x2), 32, 34; 24:20; 25:13; 26:23; 27:1, 14, 20, 23; 28:8; 29:14; 46:29; 47:1, 20; 49:10, 25; 50:8, 11; 53:6; 54:6; 56:3, 12; 58:38; Helaman 4:12; 5:20)
6. City of, chief city in Land of NEPHI (Mosiah 9:15; 20:3; 21:1, 12; 23:11; Alma 47:20, 31)
Lehite Gentilic 7. People of (2 Nephi 5:9; 6:1; Jacob 1:Preface, 2, 14 (x2), 15; 2:1; 3:12; 7:1, 25; Enos 1:19, 20, 21; Jarom 1:5, 10; Mosiah 25:3, 4; 29:47; Alma 1:Preface, 1, 33; 2:16, 26; 3:11, 20; 4:1, 5, 19, 20; 8:2, 3, 7; 9:19; 14:23; 15:19; 16:1, 12 (x2), 21; 18:41; 27:27; 28:3 (x2), 4, 7; 30:2, 4; 35:12; 43:19; 44:24; 45:Preface, 1, 2, 11, 13 (x2), 20, 22; 46:7; 47:1; 48:1; 49:28, 29; 50:17 (x2), 21, 23 (x2), 25, 32, 35, 37, 40; 51:1, 9, 37; 52:1, 14, 18; 53:2, 23; 55:1, 35; 56:54; 59:1; 62:11, 12, 39, 40, 42, 48, 52; 63:1, 16; Helaman 1:1, 5, 12; 2:12, 13; 3:1, 17, 22; 5:14, 16; 6:32, 41; 7:Preface (x2); 11:1, 5, 20, 24 (x2), 27, 29; 15:3 (x2); 16:9, 24; 3 Nephi 2:17 (x2), 18 (x2); 4:16 (x2); 7:13; 10:18; 11:Preface, 1; 28:23; 4 Nephi 1:Preface, 10, 43, 45; Mormon 2:1, 11, 20; Ether 8:21)
Lehite Title 8. Title meaning "king" (Jacob 1:11 (x2))
9. Plates of, large and small (1 Nephi 9:2 (x2); Jacob 7:26; Jarom 1:14; Words of Mormon 1:3, 5, 9; Mosiah 1:6, 16; 28:11; Alma 37:2; 44:24; 3 Nephi 5:10; 26:7, 11; 4 Nephi 1:19 (x2), 21; Mormon 1:4 (x2); 2:17, 18; 6:6)

Etymology

The most likely derivation of the name is EGYPTIAN nfr "good, beautiful." (JG)[1] The final r in EGYPTIAN had dropped out of pronunciation about a thousand years earlier,[2] and it is attested as a personal name at the time of LEHI.[3]

In Semitic languages, 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). The root also occurs in the Akkadian term nappahu "smith".

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” (RFS, JH, JAT).[4] Nibley wrote that “Nfy was the name of an EGYPTIAN captain,” implying a PN rather than a word meaning “captain” (LID, 27; see also ABM, 234); the term nfy is attested as an EGYPTIAN name but not after the New Kingdom.[5] 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). This is unlikely because the so-called passive sdm=f is a circumstantial past passive meaning in this case "since I had been driven away." It would have to be a dependent clause and is not nominalized.

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 LAMAHJAT), 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.'"[6] Since there is a phoneme p in Nahuatl,[7] 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,” (HALOT, pwsym) a son of ISHMAEL.

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

Variants

Deseret Alphabet: 𐐤𐐀𐐙𐐌 (niːfaɪ), 𐐤𐐁𐐙𐐌 (neɪfaɪ)

Notes


  1. John Gee, "A Note on the Name Nephi," JBMS 1/1 (1992): 189-191; John Gee, “Four Suggestions on the Origin of the Name Nephi,” in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon, ed. John W. Welch, and Melvin J. Thorne (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1999), 1-5.
  2. William F. Edgerton, "Stress, Vowel Quality, and Syllable Division in Egyptian," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 6/1 (1947): 10-17.
  3. Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen 1:194.
  4. Robert F. Smith proposes that EGYPTIAN nfw is cognate with West Semitic npḥ but this is doubted by JG as Semitic does not become w in EGYPTIAN.
  5. Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen 1:193
  6. Thelona D. Stevens, "Book of Mormon Names in Indian Languages," Saints' Herald 115 (1 July 1968): 456.
  7. 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.