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Shazer: An Etymological Proposal in Narrative Context
TitleShazer: An Etymological Proposal in Narrative Context
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBowen, Matthew L.
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
Volume33
Pagination1-12
KeywordsChiasmus; Etymology; Language - Arabic; Shazer
Abstract

In 1 Nephi 16:13–14, Nephi mentions the name Shazer as a toponym the Lehite clan bestowed on a site in western Arabia “four days” journey south-southeast of the valley of Laman. The Lehites used this site as a base camp for a major hunting expedition. A footnote to the first mention of the name Shazer in the 1981 and 2013 Latter-day Saint editions of the Book of Mormon has virtually enshrined “twisting, intertwining” as the presumed meaning of this toponym. However, the structure of Nephi’s text in 1 Nephi 16:12–13 suggests that the name Shazer serves as the bracketing for a chiastic description of the Lehites’ hunting expedition from the site. This chiasm recommends hunting as a possible starting point for seeking a more precise etymology for Shazer, one related to food supply. Consequently, I briefly argue for Shazer as a Semitic word (possibly also a loanword from an Old Arabic dialect) and a close cognate with both Hismaic šaṣar (“young gazelle,” plural šaṣr) and Arabic šaṣara (a type of “gazelle”).

URLhttps://www.mormoninterpreter.com/shazer-an-etymological-proposal-in-narrative-context/

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Scripture Reference

1 Nephi 16:13-14

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