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|Title||On the Dating of Moroni 8-9|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Authors||Spencer, Joseph M.|
|Journal||Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture|
|Keywords||Ammaron; Church Organization; Early Church History; Joshua (Polity); Mormon (Prophet); Moroni (Son of Mormon); Nephite; Warfare; Zarahemla (Polity)|
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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