"There is so much more in the Book of Mormon than we have yet discovered. The book's divine architecture and rich furnishings will increasingly unfold to our view, further qualifying it as 'a marvelous work and a wonder' ...The Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings. All the rooms in this mansion need to be explored..."
-Neal A Maxwell

Monday, May 13, 2013

Déjà vu: Mosiah 3 and Alma 7

I have previously submitted two examples of narrative repetition the Book of Mormon; narrative elements of one passage, and the sequence in which those elements appear, are repeated again several chapters later. I believe this to be a deliberate literary device, the purpose of which may be to frame a particular contrast. A comparison of 1 Nephi chapters 2 and 10 highlights the temporal and eternal consequences of sin, and chapters 45 and 62 of Alma chronicle the futility and success, respectively, of Helaman II's first and final evangelical journeys. In the latter case, language found nowhere else in the Book of Mormon is extant, bolstering the case that the narrative similarities are intentional.  

In both cases, the twin passages are separated only by several chapters, and share the same narrator/speaker. Perhaps a modified version of this phenomenon, however, can also be found between different books and speakers in the Book of Mormon. As an example, I submit a comparison of Mosiah 3 (part of King Benjamin's address), and Alma 7 (the discourse of Alma the Younger to the people of Gideon). This juxtaposition is both more expansive than the previous examples, as it encompasses both chapters in their entirety, and less robust, as there are many elements that don't match at all. I believe the parallels that are present, however, merit consideration. 


I'll begin my presenting both chapters side-by-side in their entirety, highlighting the similar elements of each with matching colors: