The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5


The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5

Publication Type


Year of Publication



Ricks, Stephen D. (Secondary), and Welch, John W. (Secondary)

Number of Pages



Deseret Book Company/Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies


Salt Lake City/Provo, UT

Terms of use

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Bibliographic Citation

"The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5", Edited by Ricks, Stephen D., and Welch, John W. Salt Lake City/Provo, UT: Deseret Book Company/Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994.


In the Book of Mormon, the allegory of the olive tree—written by a prophet named Zenos and later quoted by the prophet Jacob to his people—stands out as a unique literary creation worthy of close analysis and greater appreciation. Besides its exceptional length and exquisite detail, this text conveys important teachings, deep emotion, and wisdom related to God’s tender devotion and aspirations for the house of Israel on earth.

In The Allegory of the Olive Tree, 20 scholars shed light on the meaning, themes, and rhetorical aspects of the allegory, as well as on its historical, cultural, and religious backgrounds. In so doing, they offer answers to questions about the significance of olive tree symbolism in the ancient Near East, who Zenos was, the meaning of the allegory, what it teaches about the relationship between God and his people, how it might relate to other ancient texts, the accuracy of the horticultural and botanical details in the text, and much more.

Table of Contents

21 Chapters

The Olive Press: A Symbol of Christ
Madsen, Truman G. | pp. 1-10
Jacob's Allegory: The Mystery of Christ
Thomas, M. Catherine | pp. 11-20
Nephite Uses and Interpretations of Zenos
Reynolds, Noel B. | pp. 21-49
Jacob 5 in the Nineteenth Century
Underwood, Grant | pp. 50-69
The Allegory of the Olive Tree in Jacob
Hoskisson, Paul Y. | pp. 70-103
Jacob 4–6: Substantive Textual Variants between Manuscripts and Editions
Skousen, Royal | pp. 105-139
Language Themes in Jacob 5: "The Vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel" (Isaiah 5:7)
King, Arthur Henry | pp. 140-173
Words and Phrases in Jacob 5
Welch, John W. | pp. 174-184
Graft and Corruption: On Olives and Olive Culture in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean
Gee, John | pp. 186-247
The Olive in Greco-Roman Religion
Hall, John Franklin | pp. 248-261
Ritual Anointing with Olive Oil in Ancient Israelite Religion
Parry, Donald W. | pp. 262-289
The Allegory of the Olive Tree and the Use of Related Figurative Language in the Ancient Near East and the Old Testament
Seely, David Rolph | pp. 290-303
The Last Words of Cenez and the Book of Mormon
Welch, John W. | pp. 305-321
Zenos and the Texts of the Old Testament
Seely, David Rolph | pp. 322-346
The Olive Tree and the Work of God: Jacob 5 and Romans 11
Faulconer, James E. | pp. 347-366
Romans 11:17–24: A Bibliography of Commentaries
Gillum, Gary P. | pp. 367-372
Borrowings from the Parable of Zenos
Tvedtnes, John A. | pp. 373-426
Olive Oil: Symbol of the Holy Ghost
Tvedtnes, John A. | pp. 427-459
Olive Culture in the Second Temple Era and Early Rabbinic Period
Ricks, Stephen D. | pp. 460-475
Vineyard or Olive Orchard?
Tvedtnes, John A. | pp. 477-483
Botanical Aspects of Olive Culture Relevant to Jacob 5
Hess, Wilford M. | pp. 484-561

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