Isaiah in the Book of Mormon...and Joseph Smith in Isaiah
David P. Wright
Introduction

Part 1: King James Version Language
Part 2: KJV Italics and the BM Isaiah
Part 3: KJV Translation Errors in the BM Isaiah
Part 4: Disparities with Hebrew Language, Text, and Style
Part 5: The Secondary Nature of Variants in the BM Isaiah
Part 6: Supposed Proofs for the Antiquity of the BM Isaiah
Conclusions
Appendix


Part 2: KJV Italics and the BM Isaiah
(updated 8/25/98)

A peculiarity of the KJV is the use of italics to mark words which do not have exact correspondences in the original biblical languages. The KJV was not the first to use italicized words in this way. Sebastian Muenster's Latin translation (1534-35), the French Bible of Olivétan (1535), the Great Bible of Cloverdale (1539), and the Geneva Bible (1557-60) used italics thus. The original KJV (1611) was printed in black-letter (gothic) with the "added" words printed in small roman type. In 1612 an edition of the KJV used italics for these words, and this became part of all standard editions of the KJV from that time.6 Many of the variants in the BM Isaiah over against the KJV occur precisely at these words and is a transparent indication that the KJV is the source of the BM Isaiah text.7

Before considering specifically how the BM varies at italicized words, we should note that circumstantial evidence makes it reasonably clear that Joseph Smith knew, if not with linguistic precision, the basic significance of the italics in the KJV when working on the BM. Some Bible reference works of Smith's time explained the reason for italics. The Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version with Notes, by George D'Oyly and Richard Mant (New York, 1818), for example, states:

The unlearned reader may find it useful to be informed, that, wherever words occur in the text of the English Bible, printed in Italic character, he is to understand that these words have none corresponding to them in the original Hebrew or Greek text, but that the sense is implied; and that the words are added in the English to complete or make clearer the sense.8

Lay readers could have read such statements and circulated the information further by word of mouth. Ministers, too, would have learned the reason for italics from these sources or through their education and no doubt would have shared it with their congregants.

There is evidence that early Mormons knew the significance of italicized words in the KJV and were even, like many at large, suspicious of them. Two of W. W. Phelps' editorials in The Evening and Morning Star refer to the phenomenon. In January of 1833 he wrote of the greatness of the BM over the Bible:

The book of Mormon, as a revelation from God, possesses some advantage over the old scripture: it has not been tinctured by the wisdom of man, with here and there an Italic word to supply deficiencies.--It was translated by the gift and power of God....9

In July of the same year he further reflects a negative attitude toward italics:

As to the errors in the bible, any man possessed of common understanding, knows, that both the old and new testaments are filled with errors, obscurities, italics and contradictions, which must be the work of men. ...the church of Christ will soon have the scriptures, in their original purity....10

Note that according to this, italics are something with which people of ordinary knowledge were familiar.

Direct evidence that Smith knew about the meaning of italicized words in the KJV and was himself suspicious of them is found in his work on the revision of the Bible, a project which he began in 1830 soon after the completion of the BM. Robert Matthews gives this description of how italics were treated in the Bible that Smith used for this project:

Throughout the Bible many italics are crossed out, even when it does violence to the sense. There seems to be little consistency in the cross-outs of italics. Many are not touched; others are crossed out and replaced by words in the manuscripts, and many are not replaced. ...It is possible that the cross-out of italics was a preliminary step done before the other markings in the Bible, perhaps by a different person, and/or at a different time than the other markings, even when more than one kind now appear in the same verse.11

While, as Matthews suggests, someone other than Smith may have excised these words, it was most likely done under his direction as part of the revision process.

The JSR itself manifests the reaction to italicized words. KJV Genesis 20, for example, has twenty-three italicized words. Fourteen of these are associated with variants of some sort in the JSR. One italicized word is simply deleted ("_them" v. 1512), six are deleted with accompanying environmental changes ("_art _but" v. 3; "_his" v. 8; "_is," "_are," "_other" v. 17), two are retained with environmental changes ("_is" v. 3; "_her" v. 8), and five are replaced with another word ("_is" vv. 12, 13 bis, 14, 16). Similar treatment of and attention to italics can be found throughout the JSR.

The foregoing data point to the probability that Smith knew of the significance of the italics in the KJV even when working on the BM in 1827-29. One cannot argue with any confidence, then, that ignorance precluded him from reacting to italicized words in work on the BM. But any doubt about the extent of his knowledge is quickly dissipated by looking at the BM Isaiah evidence itself. Close analysis makes it abundantly clear that the italics were an object of special concern and demonstrates in large measure that the BM Isaiah derives from the KJV.

The table below shows in a general way how much attention Smith gave the italicized words.13 It samples the chapters or portions of Isaiah (listed at the top of the table) that are presented as citations and are not clearly paraphrases.14 The top statistical register (headed by "Total variants in the BM") gives the number of BM variants associated and not associated with KJV italicized words. Each word difference in the BM text counts as one variant.15 The figures for variants associated with italicized words include cases where these words do not appear in the BM or where other words stand in their place. They also include cases where words italicized in the KJV appear in the BM but with accompanying variants which may have been stimulated by the italicized words (see, below, on these "environmental variants" as I call them). Since these latter cases may be open to varying judgments I have included two figures: a "high count," which is liberal in its inclusion of variants possibly related to KJV italicized words; and a "low count," which is reserved about associating environmental variants with italicized words. The figures show that from 22% to 38% of all differences between the BM and KJV Isaiah text are associable with words italicized in the KJV. This suggests forcibly by itself that the BM text is responding to italics. A count from another, and more objective, perspective substantiates this impression. The second register in the table (headed by "Total italicized words in KJV") shows that 40% percent of the words italicized in the KJV are altogether lacking in the BM Isaiah. The significance of the concentration of variants at italicized words becomes visible when it is realized that only 3.6% of the words in the KJV are italicized (see the bottom register of the table). Approximately one-fourth to one-third of the variants are associated with words that constitute only about one-twenty-fifth of the text.

Isaiah chapters

Isa 2

Isa 3

Isa 4

Isa 5

Isa 6

Isa 7

Isa 8

Isa 9

Isa 10

Isa 11

Isa 12

Isa 13

Isa 14

Isa 48

Isa 49

Isa 49: 22-26

Isa 50

Isa 51:1 -52:2

Isa 52: 7-10

Isa 53

Isa 54

Book of Mormon book and chapter

2 Ne 12

2 Ne 13

2 Ne 14

2 Ne 15

2 Ne 16

2 Ne 17

2 Ne 18

2 Ne 19

2 Ne 20

2 Ne 21

2 Ne 22

2 Ne 23

2 Ne 24

1 Ne 20

1 Ne 21

2 Ne 6

2 Ne 7

2 Ne 8

Mos 12

Mos 14

3 Ne 22

Totals

TOTAL VARIANTS IN THE BM

97

51

13

34

12

22

13

25

21

2

0

47

59

129

128

22

104

64

0

5

7

885

Variants not related to italics
(high count)

71

73%

14

27%

3

23%

8

24%

5

42%

8

36%

11

85%

12

48%

14

67%

2

100%

0

--

36

77%

41

69%

77

60%

104

81%

22

100%

64

62%

34

53%

0

--

5

100%

1

14%

532

62%

Variants related to italics
(high count)

26

27%

37

73%

10

77%

26

76%

7

58%

14

64%

2

15%

13

52%

7

33%

0

0%

0

--

11

23%

18

31%

52

40%

24

19%

0

0%

40

38%

30

47%

0

--

0

0%

6

86%

323

38%

Variants not related to italics
(low count)

76

78%

17

33%

5

38%

13

38%

6

50%

8

36%

11

85%

15

60%

15

71%

2

100%

0

--

36

77%

42

71%

97

75%

117

91%

22

100%

68

65%

37

58%

0

--

5

100%

2

29%

594

78%

Variants related to italics
(low count)

21

22%

34

67%

8

62%

21

62%

6

50%

14

64%

2

15%

10

40%

6

29%

0

0%

0

--

11

23%

17

29%

32

25%

11

9%

0

0%

36

35%

27

42%

0

--

0

0%

5

71%

261

22%

TOTAL ITALICIZED WORDS IN THE KJV

23

34

11

31

18

19

17

33

32

2

5

14

29

29

25

5

21

34

0

15

16

413

Italicized words remaining in BM

12

52%

9

26%

3

27%

13

42%

14

78%

9

47%

15

88%

24

73%

29

91%

2

100%

5

100%

7

50%

18

62%

13

45%

17

68%

5

100%

10

48%

16

47%

0

--

15

100%

13

81%

249

60%

Italicized words lacking in BM

11

48%

25

74%

8

73%

18

58%

4

22%

10

53%

2

12%

9

27%

3

9%

0

0%

0

0%

7

50%

11

38%

16

55%

8

32%

0

0%

11

52%

18

53%

0

--

0

0%

3

19%

164

40%

TOTAL WORDS IN THE  KJV

568

588

208

866

366

692

558

600

929

519

147

577

856

621

869

191

365

828

112

387

494

11,341

% words italicized in KJV

4.0%

5.8%

5.3%

3.6%

4.9%

2.7%

3.0%

5.5%

3.4%

0.4%

3.4%

2.4%

3.4%

4.7%

2.9%

2.6%

5.8%

4.1%

0.0%

3.9%

3.2%

3.6%

Examination of the variants themselves shows more clearly that the BM Isaiah text responds to italicized words in the KJV. Here I limit myself to the examining the cases in the BM chapters listed in the table. One category of variant is where an italicized word does not appear in the BM. In several of these cases, an absent word has no effect upon the meaning.16 A relative pronoun or conjunction, for example, may be lacking: "for the abundance of milk _that they shall give..." > "for the abundance of milk they shall give..." (Isa 7:22//2 Ne 17:22); "yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time _that thine ear was not opened, for I knew..." > "yea, thou knewest not, yea, from that time thine ear was not opened, for I knew..." (Isa 48:8//1 Ne 20:8); "all the sons _that she hath brought up" > "all the sons she hath brought up" (Isa 51:18//2 Ne 8:18); "by the way _that thou shouldst go" > "by the way thou shouldst go" (Isa 48:17//1 Ne 20:17); "And it shall come to pass, _that instead of sweet smell" > "And it shall come to pass, instead of sweet smell" (Isa 3:24//2 Ne 13:24); "And it shall come to pass, _that _he _that is left" > "And it shall come to pass them (sic)17 that are left" (Isa 4:3//2 Ne 14:3); "And it shall come to pass in that day, _that every place shall be" > "And it shall come to pass in that day, every place shall be" (Isa 7:23//2 Ne 17:23). Once a pleonastic pronoun is omitted: "Say ye not, A confederacy, to all _them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy" > "Say ye not a confederacy to all to whom this people shall say a confederacy" (Isa 8:12//2 Ne 18:12).

An italicized word may be missing, only to be supplied from the same or a synonymous word in a preceding clause: "For the head of Syria _is Damascus, and the head of Damascus _is Rezin" > "For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus, Rezin" (Isa 7:8//2 Ne 17:8); "And they shall look unto the earth...and _they _shall _be driven to darkness" > "And they shall look to the earth...and shall be driven to darkness" (Isa 8:22//2 Ne 18:22); "_he _that _is left in Zion, and _he _that remaineth in Jerusalem" > "them that are left in Zion and remaineth in Jerusalem" (Isa 4:3//2 Ne 14:3); "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning, _how art thou cut down to the ground" > "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning, art thou cut down to the ground" (14:12//2 Ne 24:12); "like an abominable branch _and _as the raiment of those that are slain" > "like an abominable branch and the remnant of those that are slain" (Isa 14:19//2 Ne 24:19).18

The words omitted are those that translators would normally insert in translation for smooth conceptual and idiomatic flow in English. That these are missing is an indication that Smith was working with the KJV and struck them from the text. It also suggests that he did this at times rather mechanically.19 This is more transparent in cases where the want of italicized words yields an ungrammatical and even incomprehensible reading. A recurring phrase in Isaiah 5:25; 9:12, 17, 21; 10:4 is that God's "anger is not turned away, but his hand _is stretched out still." In the BM parallel passages the verb "_is" is absent producing the syntactically incomplete phrase "his hand stretched out still" (2 Ne 15:25; 2 Ne 19:12, 17, 21; 20:4).20 The difficulty had to be remedied in later editions of the BM by restoring the verb.21 The KJV's translation is wholly legitimate here. In Hebrew, nouns, adjectives, and adverbials can stand in predicate relationship to another noun without the verb "to be" being expressly stated. English idiom demands the verb "to be" in such cases. The lack of this verb is not only a sign that the italics of the KJV are being deleted, but of an ignorance of Hebrew (see Part 4, note 53).

Other examples of incomplete and conceptually difficult or impossible readings where italicized words are missing include:22 "_There _is none to guide her among all the sons _whom she hath brought forth; neither _is _there _any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons _that she hath brought up" > "And none to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth, neither that taketh her by the hand of all the sons she hath brought up" (Isa 51:18//2 Ne 8:18); "For every battle of the warrior _is with confused noise and garments rolled in blood, but _this shall be with burning..." > "For every battle of the warrior with confused noise and garments rolled in blood, but this shall be with burning..." (Isa 9:5//2 Ne 19:5);23 "For this _is _as the waters of Noah unto me, for _as I have sworn that the waters of Noah..." > "For this, the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah..." (Isa 54:9//3 Ne 22:9).24 "Then said I, Here _am I" > "Then I said, Here I" (Isa 6:8//2 Ne 16:8);25 "woe _is me" > "wo me" (Isa 6:5//2 Ne 16:5).26 The change of "their roaring _shall _be like a lion" to "their roaring like a lion" (Isa 5:29//2 Ne 15:28) is also another case of a syntactically incomplete phrase, if it is to come at the beginning of v. 29 as the Hebrew text indicates it should.27

These cases remind one of the what Matthews observed in regard to crossing out italics in the Bible that Smith used in the revision of the Bible: "many italics are crossed out, even when it does violence to the sense" (see above). A similar phenomenon seems to have occurred in production of the BM Isaiah. The KJV served as a basis and italicized words were dropped, many times quite automatically without sufficient care for revising the text for sense.

Besides cases where the text is incomprehensible, some variants where words italicized in the KJV are lacking in the BM present readings that are significantly different from and incompatible with the Hebrew text. In Isaiah 51:17, for example, the KJV reads "thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, _and wrung _them out"; the BM has "thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling rung (sic) out" (2 Ne 8:17; "rung" here is just a phonetic spelling for "wrung"; there is no difference in meaning). In the BM the term "rung out" becomes an adjective modifying "dregs" (or perhaps "cup"). The Hebrew, which reads 'et qubbacat kôs hattarcëlâ $ätît mä&ît, can be construed literally as "the goblet of the cup of reeling you have drunk, you have drained out." It is impossible to get the BM translation from the Hebrew and it is unlikely that the BM is due to a variant in an ancient text. The BM has merely eliminated the italics, producing a reading that is erroneous.

Another reading that arises from the deletion of  an italicized word and which contradicts the Hebrew is at Isaiah 54:5//3 Nephi 22:5: "For thy Maker _is thine husband, the Lord of hosts _is his name" > "For thy maker, thine husband, the Lord of hosts is his name." The order of the Hebrew words is kî böcalayik cöçayik, which, to show the actual order of Hebrew words, could be rendered: "for your husband is your maker" (so REB). If the BM were a translation and if the terms were in apposition as it represents them, one would expect the Hebrew word order cöçayik böcalayik "For your maker, your husband...." Here, the italicized word was simply deleted and the word order of the KJV retained.27a

Another category of variant connected with KJV italics is where other words stand in the place of the italics. These further show that the BM version is responding to and developing out of the KJV. The BM sometimes uses a synonym. For example, the relative pronoun "which" appears instead of italicized "_that": "and in the sparks _that ye have kindled" > "and in the sparks which ye have kindled" (Isa 50:11//2 Ne 7:11); "and upon every _one _that _is lifted up" > "and upon every one which is lifted up" (Isa 2:12//2 Ne 12:12); "afraid of man _that shall die" > "afraid of a man which shall die" (Isa 51:12//2 Ne 8:12).28 The adverb "yea" appears at times for "_even": e.g., "_even the son of Tabeal" > "yea, the son of Tabeal" (Isa 7:6//2 Ne 17:6); "_even the Lord" > "yea, the Lord" (Isa 13:5//2 Ne 23:5); "_even all of them" > "yea, all of them" (Isa 14:18//2 Ne 24:18); "_even for mine own sake" > "yea, for mine own sake" (Isa 48:11//1 Ne 20:11); "_even I have spoken" > "yea, I have spoken" (Isa 48:15//1 Ne 20:15). Terms denoting comparison have synonymous variation in Isaiah 51:12//2 Nephi 8:12: "the son of man _which shall be made _as grass" > "the son of man which shall be made like unto grass." To these examples compare the variation of the pronominal phrase in Isaiah 5:21//2 Nephi 15:21: "Woe unto _them _that _are wise in their own eyes" > "wo unto the wise in their own eyes" (cf. a similar variant in v. 22). Some italicized forms of the verb "to be" differ without much or any change in meaning: "_there _shall _be no end" > "there is no end" (Isa 9:7//2 Ne 19:7).29

These cases of synonyms appearing for italicized words cannot be explained as the result of translation. Different translations of the same original will produce differing but synonymous readings, as noted in Part 1, above. This is not what is happening here. In any BM phrase or passage noted above, synonymous variation occurs almost exclusively in regard to the italicized words. The rest of the phrasing in the passages closely follows the KJV. Thus the synonymous renderings can only be a reaction to the KJV italics.30 This conclusion can be brought to bear on cases where the BM has nonsynonymous words appearing at the place of KJV italicized words. These also result from modification of the italics.31

In one case where the BM has another word for an italicized word, the meaning is significantly changed, but not in accordance with the Hebrew original. The phrase "These two _things are come unto thee" becomes "These two sons are come unto thee" (Isa 51:19//2 Ne 8:19). This is an extremely unlikely reading for any ancient text since the phrase in Hebrew is formulated in the feminine ($etayim hënnâ qör'ötayik) whereas "sons" (bänîm) is masculine. The variant in the BM is oblivious to the requirements of Hebrew, and it is doubtful that the Hebrew developed from a masculine to feminine formulation. Smith apparently replaced the italicized word, picking up "sons" from the context of vv. 18 and 20 which speak of "sons."32

Besides cases where italicized words are deleted or replaced, there are many examples where words in between and around italics differ from those in the KJV. In some of these environmental variants, words italicized in the KJV also appear in the BM: "till _there _be no place" > "till there can be no place" (Isa 5:8//2 Ne 15:8); "and _there _be a great forsaking in the midst of the land" > "for there shall be a great forsaking in the midst of the land" (Isa 6:12//2 Ne 16:12); "for in my house _is neither bread nor clothing" > "for in my house there is neither bread nor clothing" (Isa 3:7//2 Ne 13:7); "but yet in it _shall _be a tenth" > "but yet in it there shall be a tenth" (Isa 6:13//2 Ne 16:13); "I _am he; I _am the first, I also _am the last" > "for I am he, and I am the first, and I am also the last" (Isa 48:11//1 Ne 20:12); "they hide _it not" > "they cannot hide it" (Isa 3:9//2 Ne 13:9); "for how should _my _name be polluted?" > "for I will not suffer my name to be polluted" (Isa 48:11//1 Ne 20:11).33

In some cases of environmental variants, other words appear in the place of some or all of the italics: "that formed me from the womb _to _be his servant" > "that formed me from the womb that I should be his servant" (Isa 49:5//1 Ne 21:5); "that I should know how to speak a word in season to _him _that _is weary" > "that I should know how to speak a word in season unto thee, O house of Israel, when ye are weary" (Isa 50:4//2 Ne 7:4); "_but not in truth" > "yet they swear not in truth" (Isa 48:1//1 Ne 20:1); "For the day of the Lord of hosts _shall _be upon every _one _that _is proud and lofty" > "for the day of the Lord of hosts soon cometh upon all nations, yea, upon every one, yea upon the proud and lofty" (Isa 2:12//2 Ne 12:12); "upon all the cedars of Lebanon, _that _are high and lifted up" > "upon all the cedars of Lebanon, for they are high and lifted up" (Isa 2:13//2 Ne 12:13); "and upon all the hills _that _are lifted up" > "and upon all the hills and upon all the nations which are lifted up" (Isa 2:14//2 Ne 12:14); "because _there _is no water" > "because the waters are dried up" (Isa 50:2//2 Ne 7:2).34

In still other environmental variants an italicized phrase is wholly or partly missing: "and bind them _on _thee as a bride" > "and bind them on even as a bride" (Isa 49:18//1 Ne 21:18); "thy pomp is brought down to the grave _and the noise of thy viols" > "thy pomp is brought down to the grave, the noise of thy viols is not heard" (Isa 14:11//2 Ne 24:11); "utter it _even unto the end of the earth" > "utter to the end of the earth" (Isa 48:20//1 Ne 20:20); "they shall surely gather together, _but not by me" > "they shall surely gather together against thee, not by me" (Isa 54:15//3 Ne 22:15); "or which of my creditors _is _it to whom I have sold you? " > "or to which of my creditors have I sold you, yea, to whom have I sold you? " (Isa 50:1//2 Ne 7:1).35

Environmental variants are a consequence of the italics. This is indicated by the large number of cases where larger variants correlate with italicized words, by how many of the variants are syntactically or conceptually intertwined with words which are italicized in the KJV, and by the several cases in this group where deletion or replacement occurs, operations recognized above as reactions to the italics. Actually there is really not much difference between environmental variants and the simpler cases of deletion or replacement noted earlier. It is only that in many environmental variants, deletion and replacement brought in their wake larger contextual revision so that the text would make sense.

But the attempt to make sense did not always work. For example, the phrase "every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall _even be for briers and thorns" becomes in the BM "every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, which shall be for briers and thorns" (Isa 7:23//2 Ne 17:23).36 The BM text is syntactically incomplete and conceptually difficult .37

Some environmental variants are also incompatible with the underlying Hebrew. In Isaiah 13:3 the KJV reads "I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, _even them that rejoice in my highness." 2 Nephi 23:3 reads "I have also called my mighty ones, for mine anger is not upon them that rejoice in my highness." The Hebrew phrase that the KJV translates as "for mine anger" is le-'appî, a preposition plus noun (with possessive suffix). The phrase in the BM Isaiah involves an entirely different syntax requiring different Hebrew wording, such as'appî, a conjunction followed by the noun.38

A similar problem is found in the case of Isaiah 50:2//2 Nephi 7:2. The KJV reads: "Wherefore, when I came, _was _there no man? when I called, _was _there none to answer?" The BM inverts the italicized words and reads as a statement rather than a question: "Wherefore, when I came there was no man; when I called, yea, there was none to answer." The BM reading depends on the ambiguity or polysemy of the English "wherefore." In English this word can be an interrogative ("why?") or a conjunction ("therefore"). It is an interrogative in the KJV verse here, translating the Hebrew word maddûac "why?" The BM reading uses "wherefore" as a conjunction, which is not possible for Hebrew maddûac. This reveals the BM's dependence on the English text.39

It is patent from the preceding analysis that many variants in the BM Isaiah came about as a revision of italicized words and their contexts in the KJV text. Again, note that in the vast majority of the cases, adduced above, the wording of the BM is the same as the KJV and that variants are found just at the or around words italicized in the KJV.  This is a sure sign that the BM Isaiah derives from the KJV.  Joseph Smith appears to have known the basic reason for these words and held them with some suspicion. This suspicion, shared by others of his age, as noted above, was not well founded, since in most cases the KJV's italicized words simply supply words necessary for the proper rendering of the text's meaning in English. Modern translations of the Bible do not bother with marking literal correspondences since they realize that syntax and structure differ from language to language, and that the goal of a translation is to render the text in good idiomatic English which holds to the conception of the original text, rather than giving a word for word equivalency.  In any case, Smith's suspicion of the italicized words led him to produce a text that sought to obviate the supposed problems they created. But some of his "corrections" created their own problems and errors, as we have seen. Now, to be sure, Smith did not revise every italicized word. Forty percent of the italicized words were altered--certainly a large proportion. But sixty percent were retained (though the environment of several of these was altered). His not removing or revising all italics is more or less consistent with his treatment of italicized words in the JSR. Matthews, as cited above, noted that not all of the italics in the Bible used in producing the JSR were crossed out. In the example from Genesis 20, brought above, eleven of twenty-three italicized words were retained. That Smith did not revise every italicized word does not undermine the conclusion that they were an object of concern. It is witness to the fact that either his work was of necessity not thorough-going or he considered many of them to be correct.

Notes to Part 2

6. Walter F. Specht, "Italics," The Oxford Companion to the Bible, ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 336-337; Sebastian Bullough, English Versions of the Bible (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co, 1952; Reprint: Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972), 324-325.

7. Even a tradition-oriented scholar such as Tvedtnes (The Isaiah Variants, 106-111) recognizes that changes were made at the italicized words. According to Brent Metcalfe (private communication), Royal Skousen has touted papers by his students William Calhoun and Magaret Robbins (for English 495R at BYU) as showing that Smith did not react to the italics or at least did so unsystematically. Upon inspection, these papers show a lack rigor and detail and are otherwise unconvincing.

8. D'Oyly and Mant, The Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version with Notes, Explanatory and Practical, 2 vols. (New York: T. and J. Swords, 1818-1820), vol. 1, the page before the "Introduction to the Old Testament."

9. The Evening and Morning Star (January, 1833), p. 2, col b.

10. The Evening and Morning Star (July, 1833), p. 2 (=106), col. a.

11. Robert J. Matthews, "A Plainer Translation": Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible: A History and Commentary (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1975), 59.

12. The verse numbers here follow the JSR (Joseph Smith, The Holy Scriptures Containing the Old and New Testaments, An Inspired Revision of the Authorized Version, corrected ed. [Independence, MO: The Reorganizaed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1944]); the verses are divided differently from those in the KJV.

13. Since italicized words could vary in different early editions of the KJV, and since the Bible(s) that Smith had on hand when producing the BM is (are) not known, I have examined two early nineteenth century editions to determine a basis for my analysis (of Isaiah 2-14, 48-54): Thomas Scott, The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments with Original Notes, Practical Observations and Copious References , vol. 4 (New York: Whiting and Watson, 1812), and Thomas Williams, ed., The Cottage Bible and Family Expositor Containing the Old and New Testaments, vol. 2 (Hartford: D. F. Robinson and H. F. Sumner, 1834). As it turns out, the Cottage Bible agrees with The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1979). Scott's edition varies only slightly: it does not italicize "one" in 2:12 (second occurrence), "it" in 3:9, "is" in 3:14, and "by" in 9:1; it does italicize "every" in 2:12 (first occurrence); "that is" in 4:3 (last occurrence); 7:22; 14:26 (both occurrences). The concurrence of Scott and the Cottage Bible show a relatively established tradition around the time the BM was produced. I have used the distribution in the Cottage Bible (=1979 LDS edition) as the basis of this study. An edition I was not able to consult was that printed by H. and E. Phinney Company, Cooperstown, New York, which Smith and Oliver Cowdery purchased October 8, 1829, a few months after the completion of the BM (see Matthews, A Plainer Translation, pp. 26, 56; for the problem of the 1829 date, see p. 56, n. 3). Matthews notes (p. 59) that this edition "has some words italicized that are in standard type in current printings of the King James Version."

14. On Isaiah in 2 Nephi 6-8 not being a paraphrase, see Part 5, below.

15. More specifically, a plus or minus of one word in the BM text equals one variant. The appearance of one word in the place another is one variant; the appearance of two words in the place of one word counts as two variants, and so forth. Transpositions count as one variant. Variants in plural and singular nouns are counted. Insignificant variants (difference in preposition [e.g. "toward" vs. "towards"], spelling variants, hyphenation, word compounding or splitting, etc.) are not counted.

16. There are several cases where the meaning is affected, though minimally, by the lack of an italicized word. For absent adverbs and prepositions, "_even" in Isa 4:3//2 Ne 14:3; Isa 7:17//2 Ne 17:17; Isa 51:22/2 Ne 8:22; "_so" in Isa 5:24//2 Ne 15:24; "_yet" in Isa 49:4//1 Ne 21:4; "_when" in Isa 48:21//1 Ne 20:21; "_namely" in Isa 7:20//2 Ne 17:20; "_on" in Isa 7:25//2 Ne 17:25; conjunctions, "_and" in Isa 3:24//2 Ne 13:24; Isa 5:19//2 Ne 15:19; Isa 9:21//2 Ne 19:21; Isa 14:5//2 Ne 24:5; Isa 49:7//1 Ne 21:7; Isa 51:11//2 Ne 8:11; Isa 52:2//2 Ne 8:25; "_or" in Isa 10:15//2 Ne 20:15; pronouns, "_it" in Isa 5:29//2 Ne 15:29 (bis); Isa 14:27//2 Ne 24:27; Isa 48:5//1 Ne 20:5; "_her" in Isa 9:1//2 Ne 19:1; "_his" in Isa 9:7//2 Ne 19:7; "_their" in Isa 3:18//2 Ne 13:18 (three occurrences; "_about _their _feet" is lacking also); Isa 13:11//2 Ne 23:11; and the verb "_doeth" in Isa 49:18//1 Ne 21:18. These cases add support to the conclusion that the BM text derives from the KJV since the lack of these words creates a choppier English text, something not expected from a translation. Cases where the meaning changes significantly include: "What mean ye _that ye beat my people" > "What mean ye? Ye beat my people" (Isa 3:15//2 Ne 13:15); "What shall _one then answer the messengers of the nation?" > "What shall then answer the messengers of the nations?" (Isa 14:32//2 Ne 24:32; see the discussion in the appendix, example 19).

17. So P, 1830, and later editions up to that of 1920, when and where more suitable English was inserted (see BMCT 1:179, n. 443).

18. If the awkward word "and" (before "excellent") in P is incorrect (see note 37, below), then another case exists at 2 Ne 14:2//Isa 4:2.

19. In some cases, a group of italicized words in series is lacking in the BM. This makes it appear that occasionally there was a wholesale reaction to the these words. For example, the ten italicized words in Isa 3:14-24 are lacking in 2 Ne 13:14-24 (note the six deleted in v. 18). The ten italicized words in Isa 49:17-19 are either lacking or have other words in their place in 2 Ne 8:17-19. Compare also Isa 7:20-23//2 Ne 17:20-23 where five consecutive italicized words are missing or have alternative readings in the BM.

20. Compare similarly Isa 14:27//2 Ne 24:27: "and his hand _is stretched out, and who shall turn it back" > "and his hand stretched out, and who shall turn it back."

21. See the BMCT on the passages for the textual attestations. The earliest texts, including P and 1830, lack the verb.

22. Compare a similar case in the Decalogue at Mosiah 13:18 (cf. Exod 20:10): "But the seventh day _is the sabbath of the Lord thy God" > "But the seventh day the sabbath of the Lord thy God." The 1981 LDS edition retains the incomplete phrasing.

23. The verb "is" is missing in P and 1830; later editions restored it (see BMCT 1:192 n. 548).

24. This reading is maintained in the 1981 LDS edition.

25. This reading is in P and 1830. Pc and later editions have "am" added (see BMCT 1:184 n. 485).

26. So P and 1830; Pc reads "wo is unto me" (BMCT 1:184 n. 481). The next lines of the same verse provide another example: the KJV has "for I am undone; because I _am a man of unclean lips." P has "for I a man of unclean lips." This is apparently a case of parablepsis (in English; see note 127) where the scribal eye has skipped from the first "I" to the second. 1830 and Pc have: "for I am undone; because I a man of unclean lips." Despite the problems in P, this is a case where the italicized "_am" was deleted and thus yielded an awkward text. This verb was inserted back into a further correction of the Pc and appears in printed editions of 1837 and later (BMCT 1:184 n. 482).

27. The printed editions, if it was not the intention of Smith himself, have remedied the problem by placing the phrase at the end of the preceding verse (LDS 2 Ne 15:28; RLDS 2 Ne 8:97; the 1830 edition punctuates similarly). This destroys the parallelism of the Hebrew text (on this in BM Isaiah in general, see Part 4), but saves the syntax by supplying the verb "shall be counted" from two lines before: "their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind, their roaring like a lion."

27a. The case of Isaiah 51:22//2 Nephi 8:22 is more of a case of ambiguity introduced by deletion of an italicize word, rather than clear error. The KJV has "Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord and thy God _that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken..."; the BM has "Thus saith thy Lord the Lord and thy God pleadeth the cause of his people behold I have taken...." The punctuation of the BM passage has been removed here to yield a text similar to the prepublication manuscripts.  In this formulation is not clear if the quotation (introduced by "Thus saith thy Lord") is intended to begin with "behold I have taken..." or with "the Lord and thy God...."  The 1830 capitalizes the first word of "The Lord and thy God..." appearing to indicate that the quotation starts there (though it also capitalizes "Behold...").  The current LDS edition puts a semicolon before "behold" apparently indicating that the quotation is to start there.  In the Hebrew, the quotation clearly starts at presentative particle hinnê "Behold" which is followed by first person as opposed to third person verb forms in the previous clauses.  The deletion of the italicized word in the BM clouds how the verse should be understood.

More likely an error in this passage, though unrelated to the issue of italics, is taking the divine appelations "the Lord and thy God" together in the same (or second) clause.  Most modern translations split the two divine appelations over two poetic lines (e.g., NJPS: "Thus said the Lord, your Lord, / Your God who champions His people"; NRSV: "Thus says your Sovereign, the Lord, / your God who pleads the cause of his people"; similarly NAB, JB, NJB; the NEB and REB take the appelations in the first poetic line [cf. the BHS]).

28. Cf. Isa 50:9//2 Ne 7:9.

29. Compare also "_shall _be" > "is" (Isa 3:10//2 Ne 13:10); "_is" > "was" (Isa 48:4//1 Ne 20:4); "_had..._been" > "have...been" (Isa 49:21//1 Ne 21:21). Sometimes the variant verb is more significant: "_are" > "have been" (Isa 3:8//2 Ne 13:8); "_are" > "shall be" (Isa 5:28//2 Ne 15:28). Some italicized pronouns vary without much change in significance (it should be kept in mind here that none of these variants reflect an actual word in the Hebrew): "_with _him" > "with them" (Isa 3:10//2 Ne 13:10); "I shewed _it" > "I shewed them" (Isa 48:5//1 Ne 20:5); "I will do _it" > "I will do this" (Isa 48:11/1 Ne 20:11).

30. Some tendencies are recognizable in the replacement of italics: the appearance of the simple conjunction "and" in the place of more context specific words (conjunctions, relatives pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, etc.): "_when I call unto them they stand up" > "and I called unto them and they stand up" (Isa 48:13//1 Ne 20:13); "_That made the world as a wilderness... _that opened not the house of his prisoners" > "And made the world as a wilderness... and opened not the house of his prisoners" (Isa 14:17//2 Ne 24:17); "_even great and fair, without inhabitant" > "and great and fair cities without inhabitant" (Isa 5:9//2 Ne 15:9); "that continue until night, _till wine inflame them" > "that continue until night and wine inflame them" (Isa 5:11//2 Ne 15:11); "_As _for my people" > "And my people" (Isa 3:12//2 Ne 13:12); "_There _is none to guide her" > "And none to guide her" (Isa 51:18//2 Ne 8:18; see the appendix, example 27j for more detail). The appearance of a rather neutral conjunction is a manifestation of the mechanistic treatment of italics in the KJV. Note the similar variation between Isa 7:1 and 2 Ne 17:1: "And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz... _that Rezin the king of Assyria... went up" > "And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz... and Rezin king of Assyria... went up." P and 1830 have this reading; it reverts to the KJV in 1937 and following editions (BMCT 1:185 n. 496). The original BM formulation is awkward English. To the preceding examples may be compared the variant at Isa 2:2//2 Ne 12:2: "_when the mountain of the Lord's house" > "that the mountain of the Lord's house."

Another tendency of the BM is to have finite verb forms where the KJV has italicized participles: "_saying" > "and shall say" in Isa 3:6//2 Ne 13:6 and Isa 14:16//2 Ne 24:16. Note also Isa 3:26//2 Ne 13:26: "and she _being desolate shall sit" > "and she shall be desolate and shall sit" (on this see the appendix, example 9).

Furthermore, the BM several times has "come" for the verb "be": "the day of the Lord of hosts _shall _be upon" > "the day of the Lord of hosts soon cometh upon" (Isa 2:12//2 Ne 12:12); "and his arm _shall _be on the Chaldeans" > "and his arm shall come upon the Chaldeans" (Isa 48:14//1 Ne 20:14); "and _let this ruin _be under thy hand" > "and let not this ruin come under thy hand" (Isa 3:6//2 Ne 13:6). The first case seems inspired from cases where the verb "come" is used to describe the advent of the day of the Lord (Isa 13:9; Joel 2:1, 31 [Hebrew 3:4]; Mal 4:1, 5 [Hebrew 3:19, 23]).

31. Compare: "and _are soothsayers like the Philistines" > "and hearken unto soothsayers like the Philistines" (Isa 2:6//2 Ne 12:6); "and if _one look unto the land" > "and if they look unto the land" (Isa 5:30//2 Ne 15:30); "and _it shall return" > "and they shall return" (Isa 6:13//2 Ne 16:13) "and everyone that is joined _unto _them" > "yea, and every one that is joined to the wicked" (Isa 13:15//2 Ne 23:15); "to them that _are in darkness" > "to them that sit in darkness" (Isa 49:9//1 Ne 21:9); "the people in whose heart _is my law" > "the people in whose heart I have written my law" (Isa 51:7//2 Ne 8:7).

32. Tvedtnes (The Isaiah Variants, 87) recognizes that this variant does not fit the Hebrew and says it could be a change of the italicized word by Smith. His alternative suggestion that it is a scribal mistake does not have real foundation. For a variant similar to that just examined (in Isa 5:19//2 Ne 15:19), see Part 4, below.

33. Other examples include: "And I will give children _to _be their princes" > "I will give children unto them to be their princes" (Isa 3:4//2 Ne 13:4); "_let this ruin _be under thy hand" > "let not this ruin come under thy hand" (Isa 3:6//2 Ne 13:6); "upon all the glory _shall _be" > "upon all the glory of Zion shall be" (Isa 4:5//2 Ne 14:5); "_and not increased the joy" > "and increased the joy" (Isa 9:3//2 Ne 19:3); "every one _is an hypocrite" > "every one of them is a hypocrite" (Isa 9:17//2 Ne 19:17); "_even the remnant of Jacob" > "yea, even the remnant of Jacob" (Isa 10:21//2 Ne 20:21; cf. above the substitution of "yea" for "_even"); "_and the cedars" > "and also the cedars" (Isa 14:8//2 Ne 24:8); "they that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee _and consider thee" > "they that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee and shall consider thee" (Isa 14:16//2 Ne 24:16); "all these gather themselves together _and come to thee" > "all these gather themselves together and they shall come to thee" (Isa 49:18//1 Ne 21:18); "_as I live" > "and as I live" (Isa 49:18//1 Ne 21:18); "everlasting joy _shall _be" > "everlasting joy and holiness shall be" (Isa 51:11//2 Ne 8:11); "the Lord of hosts _is his name" > "the Lord of hosts is my name" (Isa 51:15//2 Ne 8:15). Italicized words may also be transposed: "but _it _is in his heart to destroy" > "but in his heart it is to destroy" (Isa 10:7//2 Ne 20:7); "And it shall come to pass in that day, _that a man shall nourish" > "And it shall come to pass that in that day a man shall nourish" (Isa 7:21//2 Ne 17:21); cf. Isa 48:11//1 Ne 20:12.

34. Other examples include: "Which they made _each _one" > "which he hath made" (Isa 2:20//2 Ne 12:20); "the wicked, _it _shall _be ill _with _him" > "the wicked for they shall perish" (Isa 3:11//2 Ne 13:11); "and will not ye declare _it? I have shewed thee" > "and will ye not declare them and that I have shewed thee" (Isa 48:6//1 Ne 20:6); "I, _even I, have" > "I, the Lord, yea, I have" (Isa 48:15//1 Ne 20:15); "I _am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way _that thou shouldest go." > "I have sent him; the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way thou shouldst go hath done it" (Isa 48:17//1 Ne 20:17); "_He _is near that justifieth" > "And the Lord is near and he justifieth" (Isa 50:8//2 Ne 7:8); "who _is he _that shall condemn me? lo, they all" > "and all they which shall condemn me, behold, all they" (Isa 50:9//2 Ne 7:9); "I, _even I, _am he that" > "I am he, yea, I am he that" (Isa 51:12//2 Ne 8:12).

35. Perhaps to be included is "_and _as the raiment" > "and the remnant" (Isa 14:19//2 Ne 24:19). It is not clear if the lack of lines in 1 Ne 21:7 (Isa 49:7) and 2 Ne 15:8 (Isa 5:8) is to be seen as a response to italicized words at the beginning of each. It may be a dictation mistake.

36. The 1981 LDS edition retains the problematic reading.

37. Compare also Isa 4:2//2 Ne 14:2: "In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth _shall _be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel" > "In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, the fruit of the earth and excellent and comely to them that are escaped of Israel." This BM reading is found only in P; 1830 and later editions do not have the "and" after "earth."

38. John Tvedtnes' argument that the MT results from textual error is highly speculative because it requires two separate cases of haplography ("Isaiah Variants in the Book of Mormon," in Isaiah and the Prophets, ed. Monte S. Nyman [Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1984], 173; cf. his The Isaiah Variants, 52-53). A serious problem with Tvedtnes' argument is that he discounts the different syntactic use of the word "for," saying that it was added for English style (The Isaiah Variants, 53). One can further note that the BM reading also goes against the parallelism and sense of the verse.

39. Tvedtnes (The Isaiah Variants, 35, 80, 116-117) thinks that this variant is due to a misundestanding by Smith or the scribe (apparently the English copiest). The variant must be intentional and from Smith: not only does it involve italicized words, a trigger for change as outlined in this section, the adverb "yea" also appears in the BM reading. This well fits a change from interrogation to declaration. The variant also appears twice in the passage. (See note 57, Part 4.)

A case similar to 2 Ne 7:2 is found at Isa 5:4//2 Ne 15:4; see below. For yet other examples of inconsistency with the Hebrew, see the discussion of Isa 48:3//1 Ne 20:3 and Isa 48:16//1 Ne 20:16 in Part 4, below. In that section see also the discussion of how variants around italics in 2 Ne 20:13 (Isa 10:13) and 2 Ne 23:17 (Isa 13:17) produce texts which upset the poetic form of the Hebrew and thus indicate that the readings are not based on an ancient text.


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