|Nephi and the Plates of Brass|
The term derives from tablet inscriptions appended by a scribe to the end of an ancient Near East (e.g., Early/Middle/Late Babylonian, Assyrian, Canaanite) text such as a chapter, book, manuscript, or record. In the ancient Near East, scribes typically recorded information on clay tablets. The colophon usually contained facts relative to the text such as associated person(s) (e.g., the scribe, owner, or commissioner of the tablet), literary contents (e.g., a title, "catch" phrase, number of lines), and occasion or purpose of writing. Colophons and "catch phrases" (repeated phrases) helped the reader organize and identify various tablets, and keep related tablets together .Positionally; colophons on ancient tablets are comparable to a signature line in our own times.
The book of 1 Nephi and especially the first chapter is a colophon. It’s a literary form of an introduction. It was pointed out by Hugh Nibley several years ago that they appear in several Egyptian documents. This is interesting because we know that Nephi made his record “in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.” Here's how Nibley described the ancient literary device found in 1 Nephi,
|Bremner-Rhind Papyrus dating to 4th Century B.C.|