On the Dating of Moroni 8-9

Title

On the Dating of Moroni 8-9

Publication Type

Journal Article

Year of Publication

2016

Authors

Journal

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

Pagination

131-148

Volume

22

Terms of use

Items in the BMC Archive are made publicly available for non-commercial, private use. Inclusion within the BMC Archive does not imply endorsement. Items do not represent the official views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of Book of Mormon Central.

Bibliographic Citation

Spencer, Joseph M. "On the Dating of Moroni 8-9" In Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Vol. 22. 2016:131-148.

Abstract

Students of the Book of Mormon who have attempted to establish a rough (internal) date for the composition of Mormon’s two letters in Moroni 8–9 have come to different and inconsistent conclusions. Nonetheless, there seems to be evidence enough from the text to arrive at reasonably certain conclusions as to when the letters are supposed to have originated. At the same time, the fact that the text never bothers to state the exact circumstances under which the letters were produced is theologically suggestive. What might be the interpretive and especially theological implications that follow from the establishment of rough dates for the letters? This essay argues from textual evidence that the reader should understand the two letters to have been written at rather different times: Moroni 8 in the years 345–50, and Moroni 9 in the years 375–80. It then draws interpretive and theological conclusions about the import of these dates: principally that Moroni’s inclusion of the letters forces readers to recognize that Mormon’s history is inventive and theologically motivated.

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