Friday, December 31, 2004
Brant Gardner, an LDS intellectual with extensive Mesoamerican knowledge, has a great article at FAIRLDS.org from 2003: "A Social History of the Early Nephites." He finds abundant internal evidence in the Book of Mormon pointing to contact with other cultures in Mesoamerica when the Nephites came onto the scene. In addition to the interesting implications this has for the topic of DNA and the Book of Mormon, it also leads to some fascinating issues pointing to the plausibility of the Book of Mormon as an authentic ancient text from ancient Mesoamerica. For example, Gardner discusses several situations involving political structures (kings, judges) that don't make sense in the context of Joseph Smith's knowledge, but fit remarkably well into what we now know about ancient Mesoamerica. One example is the relationship between Lamanite kings, including the existence of a king over other kings. It doesn't fit a Eurocentric model, but is perfectly at home in ancient Mesoamerica.
Posted by Jeff Lindsay at 6:54 PM