Nonbiblical Intertextuality Database

The influence of the King James Bible is apparent to readers of the Book of Mormon, and many readers have compared the two texts to find useful intertextuality. However, there are around 700 terms and hundreds of phrases in the Book of Mormon that are not found in the Bible.

Some scholars have proposed that, because Joseph Smith was "unlearned" or even illiterate, it would not be possible for his lexicon to include such non-biblical terms and phrases. They propose that the non-biblical terminology is evidence that Joseph did not translate the plates but instead read words that appeared on a stone in a hat. Relying on the same premise, some say the presence of the non-biblical terminology is evidence that he copied the text from another source (such as Solomon Spalding).

An alternative view considers Joseph as "unlearned" but not illiterate. This view understands Joseph as a religious seeker from a young age, who had "an intimate acquaintance" with those of different denominations. Thus, he was prepared by God to effectively translate the plates, using his own lexicon to make the ancient text accessible and meaningful to modern readers familiar with the Bible.

The "Non-biblical Intertextuality Database" itemizes these non-biblical terms and phrases and offers possible sources to explain how they could/would have entered Joseph's lexicon. The scope of inquiry focuses on sources readily available to Joseph, such as the Palmyra newspapers and books on sale in the T.C. Strong bookstore that he frequented.

The database is a work in progress. Additional insights are welcome at

The databased of unique non-biblical terms and phrases is divided into two parts: A-I and J-Z. The database of "blended" phrases using biblical terminology but not direct quotes is a separate file.

NID A to I

Terms unique - A to I May 26, 2022.docx

NID J to Z

Terms unique -J to Z May 26, 2022.docx