Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:

Shazer: An Etymological Proposal in Narrative Context

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Published by:
Interpreter A Journal of Mormon Scripture
Published:
7/11/2019
Specs:
Digest / 5.25" x 8.25"
16 pages Saddle-stitched
Category:
Religion
Tags:
1 Nephi 16, Book of Mormon, church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, lds, Mormonism, Shazer

Abstract: In 1 Nephi 16:13–14, Nephi mentions the name Shazer as a toponym the Lehite clan bestowed on a site in western Arabia “four days” journey south-southeast of the valley of Laman. The Lehites used this site as a base camp for a major hunting expedition. A footnote to the first mention of the name Shazer in the 1981 and 2013 Latter-day Saint editions of the Book of Mormon has virtually enshrined “twisting, intertwining” as the presumed meaning of this toponym. However, the structure of Nephi’s text in 1 Nephi 16:12–13 suggests that the name Shazer serves as the bracketing for a chiastic description of the Lehites’ hunting expedition from the site. This chiasm recommends hunting as a possible starting point for seeking a more precise etymology for Shazer, one related to food supply. I briefly argue for Shazer as a Semitic word (possibly also a loanword from an Old Arabic dialect) and a close cognate with both Hismaic šaṣar (“young gazelle,” plural šaṣr) and Arabic šaṣara (a type of “gazelle”).

Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship: Shazer...


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