Reading 1 Nephi With Wisdom

TitleReading 1 Nephi With Wisdom
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsHalverson, Taylor
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture
KeywordsAncient Near East; Education; Fools; Judgment; Knowledge; Language; Learning of the Jews; Literature; Scripture; Wisdom; Wisdom Tradition

Nephi is the prototypical wise son of the Wisdom tradition. As Proverbs advocates that a wise man cherishes the word of God, so Nephi cherishes the words of the wise. Nephi’s record begins with a declaration of his upbringing in the Wisdom tradition and his authenticity and reliability as a wise son and scribe (1 Nephi 1:1–3). His is a record of the learning of the Jews — a record of wisdom. If the Wisdom tradition is a foundation for Nephi’s scribal capabilities and outlook, perhaps the principles and literary skills represented by the scribal Wisdom tradition constitute the “learning of the Jews” that Nephi references so early in his account. Thus, if Nephi’s is a record of the learning of the Jews — a record of wisdom — we would be wise to read it with Wisdom — that is, through the lens of ancient Israelite and Middle Eastern Wisdom traditions.