Question: Did Joseph Smith copy the name "Nephi" from the Apocrypha?

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Question: Did Joseph Smith copy the name "Nephi" from the Apocrypha?

The name “Nephi” may be derived from the names “Nfr” (meaning “good”) or “Nfw,” (meaning “captain”), which are both attested Egyptian names appropriate to the time and place in which Nephi existed

It is certainly possible that Joseph may have encountered the name Nephi as a place name in the King James translation of the Apocrypha (2 Maccabees), however, the Book of Mormon also includes many names that are present in the King James Bible itself. The inclusion of one additional name in this list does not make a significant difference in accusations that Joseph acquired names in the Book of Mormon from other sources. With regard to the name “Nephi,” the important question that must be considered is whether the name “Nephi” is an appropriate name for the time and place to which it is attributed in the Book of Mormon?[1]

Nephi acknowledges an Egyptian connection when he states, “Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.” 1 Nephi 1:2

The name “Nephi” may be derived from the names “Nfr” (meaning “good”) or “Nfw,” (meaning “captain”), which are both attested Egyptian names appropriate to the time and place in which Nephi existed.[2] Therefore, the inclusion of the name "Nephi" in the Book of Mormon in the timeframe of 600 B.C. does not constitute an anachronism.

The presence of the name "Nephi" is appropriate for the time and place described by the Book of Mormon. Existing evidence indicates that an Apocrypha was not even available to Joseph Smith at the time that he was translating the Book of Mormon. If anything, the presence of the name "Nephi" in the Apocrypha further validates it as an authentic name in the Book of Mormon.

Notes

  1. John Gee "Four Suggestions on the Origin of the Name Nephi” from Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon.
  2. John Gee "Four Suggestions on the Origin of the Name Nephi” from Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon.