Jacob 7:27. Adieu
• Some have questioned the use of the French word
adieu in Jacob 7:27. One author explained:
“The choice of words came through the manner of
the language of Joseph Smith, so that we might have understanding. This is why words not known in Book
of Mormon times are found in the translated text.
“The word adieu is defined in a dictionary of Joseph
Smith’s day as ‘a farewell; an expression of kind wishes
at the parting of friends’ [meaning that I commend you
to God]. (Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the
English Language, 1828). While the word is of French
origin, it had found common usage in early nineteenth
century New England” (Edward J. Brandt, “I Have a
Oct. 1985, 17).
I think that helps somewhat. I didn’t know that it was of common usage in Joseph’s day and location. That explains why it might have been chosen, even chosen reflexively, for the word or phrase that Jacob used. But it still says to me that Jacob was a poetic sort of guy, because obviously that word was not used in translating any other prophet’s farewell.]]>
But even if you’re right, the usual choice would be to translate such a phrase into an English word or phrase. Why the choice here to use a French word instead? It makes no sense, unless the French word better captures the feel of the original language. If that is the case, it says something about Jacob that he used a word or phrase that is best represented by the French word “adieu.”]]>
KLC, I love this:
This verse to me is an Ecclesiastes moment in a sea of unimpeded optimism.
Such a great way to phrase it.
Justin, I wonder sometimes about the “gift” of prophecy and whether it isn’t just as often a huge burden. There’s somethings a prophet probably wishes he could un-know. Some things a seer would like to un-see. Maybe we are optimistic because ignorance is bliss.
Jacob, exactly. I’m pretty optimistic by nature but even I like seeing that our prophets can be melancholy as well as upbeat. But apart from that, it’s just beautiful writing, and it’s a testimony to me. I think I know this guy, Jacob, a little. He was different from his big brother. He wasn’t a king or leader, he was a poet, priest and teacher. I feel close to him and I really like him.]]>