Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:

“They Were Moved with Compassion” (Alma 27:4; 53:13): Toponymic Wordplay on Zarahemla and Jershon

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Published by:
Interpreter A Journal of Mormon Scripture
Published:
2/19/2016
Specs:
Digest / 5.25" x 8.25"
24 pages Saddle-stitched
Category:
Religion
Tags:
apologetics, jershon, lds, mormon, Mormonism, wordplay, zarahemla

As in Hebrew biblical narrative, wordplay on (or play on the meaning of) toponyms, or “place names,” is a discernable feature of Book of Mormon narrative. The text repeatedly juxtaposes the toponym Jershon (“place of inheritance” or “place of possession”) with terms inherit, inheritance, possess, possession, etc. Similarly, the Mulekite personal name Zarahemla (“seed of compassion,” “seed of pity”), which becomes the paramount Nephite toponym as their national capital after the time of Mosiah I, is juxtaposed with the term compassion. Both wordplays occur and recur at crucial points in Nephite/Lamanite history. Moreover, both occur in connection with the migration of the first generation Lamanite converts.

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