M* Book Club, Nibley’s An Approach to the BoM, chapter 17

Chapter 17,  A Strange Order of Battle

In this chapter, Nibley focuses on two key features of the story of Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty.  First, he discusses the Title of Liberty itself and how it is part of an ancient rite of war.  Second, he speaks of the garment of Joseph.

For the first part, he uses a document from the Dead Sea Scrolls, The War of the Sons of LIght against the Sons of Darkness also known as the War Scroll (1QM).

In the War Scroll, we read extensively of the winding up war between good and evil.  The Kittim are the main global enemy of the people.  In the days of Qumran, it would have been either the Greeks or later, the Romans. For the last days, the scroll describes it as containing many of the nations that surround Israel, primarily Arab and Persian nations.  This is a prophecy of the final war of Armageddon, although it can also demonstrate previous major wars that symbolize the final battle.  One of the key parts of preparation is the labeling of trumpets and other devices for war.  It truly is ritualized in the description.  You can read an English translation of the War Scroll here.

The story of Joseph’s garment is also an important part of the history of Israel.  Nibley notes the story of Th’alabi discussing the two pieces of the torn garment, the first being brought to Jacob by Judah, and the second sent by the vizier of Egypt Joseph to show Jacob he was still alive.  Interestingly, the story shows the importance of the sacred garment.  Joseph’s garment was passed down to him via Jacob from Abraham and to Abraham from more ancient venues. When Jacob breathed in the odor of the garment, he knew it was real,

“[for] he knew that upon all the earth there was no spirit [breath, odor] of Paradise save in that garment alone.”

Here we find a connection between Paradise/Eden and the garment, suggesting its provenance back to Adam in the Garden.  These are very interesting connections, considering Joseph Smith only had a 3rd grade education and did not have access to the corpus of ancient documents we now have today.

3 thoughts on “M* Book Club, Nibley’s An Approach to the BoM, chapter 17

  1. There are other early Jewish texts that also speak of the long lasting garment of Adam/Noah, so the arabic text mentioned is not the only source for this concept.

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