[b-hebrew] Hebrew "If-and" construction and the Book of Mormon

Kevin Riley klriley at alphalink.com.au
Tue Aug 15 23:01:46 EDT 2006

 If ... and seems to be a common English idiom, so I don't see that it can
be exclusive to Hebrew.  To use "if ... then" in any of the passages below
would lead to odd English.  Are you sure it never occurs in the KJV?

Kevin Riley
-------Original Message-------
From: Kevin Graham
Date: 08/16/06 12:51:01

I am looking to get some confirmation about an apologetic that is growing in
popularity among Latter-day Saints. For those who are not familiar with the
Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith claims to have translated the text from gold
plates that were written upon an Ancient Hebrew writer.
The original manuscripts of the Book of Mormon include weird phrases that
involve an if-and construction instead of an if-then construction. According
to Mormon scholar Royal Skousen:
"In a recent paper I describe two important examples of Hebraisms in the
original text of the Book of Mormon that do not occur in the King James
Bible. One example is the use of the if-and clausal construction instead of
the expected if-(then) syntax of English, as in the following extended
passage from Helaman 12 where it occurs seven times (thus showing that we
are not dealing with an isolated transcriptional error):
if he sayeth unto the earth move and it is moved
if he sayeth unto the earth thou shalt go back that it lengthen out the day
for many hours and it is done .
if he sayeth unto the waters of the great deep be thou dried up and it is
This construction is a literalistic translation of the Hebrew-language
construction, but does not occur at all in the King James Bible."
For our Hebrew experts out there, is it true that the "if-and" construction
is a common occurence in the Hebrew Bible, and is it also true that this
lingustic phenomenon is unique only to Hebrew?

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