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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Amlicites = Amalekites and Joseph = Translator, Not Author

"Alma's Enemies: The Case of the Lamanites, Amlicites, and Mysterious Amalekites" from the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 2005, resolves several questions about the narrative in the Book of Alma by showing that the mysterious Amalekites, enemies of the Nephites, were actually the Amlicites that are introduced with much fanfare at the beginning of Alma's record and then mysteriously vanish in the text. There are several reasons for concluding that the two groups are the same, and that the reason we have two different names is due to confusion by the scribe and printer in dealing with the names dictated by Joseph. And yes, it's a mistake that slipped by Joseph Smith himself.

Resolving the error and recognizing the two groups as one greatly strengthens the text and brings unity to the Book of Alma while resolving other issues as well. It's one more example of the text of the Book of Mormon, the ancient text, being "smarter" than Joseph Smith. There is more depth, more unity, and even more poetry to it than Joseph could have realized, let alone created.

104 comments:

Openminded said...

I'd argue the evidence would point either way (towards Smith being an author or translator) and saying "Joseph = translator, not author" is more of a personal conviction than one that reflects all the evidence.

And as much as I hate to argue from obscurity, it becomes more and more obvious that we don't have a clue about how the translation process went down (meaning some of the unity of the book could be explained in a variety of ways).

I also hate to bring up overused arguments, but even Hugh Nibley (or that other LDS historian whose name I can't remember? Been so long since I've visited this issue) found enough evidence that Smith had a pretty lively imagination. And the evidence seems fairly compelling, as Smith's mother mentioned how he could tell very lively stories over the dinner table (that was a loose summary on my part).

And beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder, but the BoM itself isn't that pretty of a read. It's extremely wordy, and saying that's because someone was orating it like any other fable is not a conclusion that's at all out of the picture.

I just don't see the text of the BoM itself as definitive evidence that Smith was a translator. Too much of it can be explained just as much by a 19th century backdrop as you claim a much more ancient date, and possibly even more so.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Openminded. Nephi and other BoM prophets seem way too much like good 19th-century Protestant Christians and not at all like ancient Jews. If you take 1820s revivalism, folk magic, and Indian-origins theories, and mix them all together in a powerful religious imagination, you get something very much like the BoM.

Zen said...

Well, how would you know if they were acting like Maya or Toltec, if you don't know how to compare and contrast them? There are a number of things the text focuses on, that seems strange to modern years, like how often people faint in a spiritual experience - that isn't really protestant at all. Yet, there are things we can point to, like their insistence on burying the records - they considered that a holy thing. But I don't see much evidence of that in the Bible.

NathanS said...

Jeff, I read much of the article and although it is not absolute proof on its own, it is great evidence to anyone who has studied much about the process of writing, Joseph's circumstances at the time that the Book of Mormon came forth, and Joseph Smith's own writing, that the Book of Mormon was not a product of Joseph Smith's.

The "lively stories" Joseph was known to tell is a double edged sword in this. He clearly knew much of the events, cultures, and characters, of the Book of Mormon peoples before the translation process began. Interestingly, his "lively" stories contained things like their manner of dress and other "lively" and fascinating details not included in the text.

Since the episodes of Joseph's story telling were well received, it would seem odd, if he were the creator of the Book of Mormon, to change from a successful approach, for dictation, to one that is rather sparce, dull and dry in cultural descriptions.

Furthermore, if Joseph had been as familiar with each of the cultures and story line as might have been possible - enough to dictate it from his own imagination-filled memory - surely he would have caught the error of the name change from Amilici to Amaleki after publication. After all, he found other errors, which I suppose were not nearly as important to a "good story."

Someone clearly other than Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon as a witness of Jesus Christ rather than for entertainment. It's a great witness of Jesus Christ but to one not interested in that witness, as one co-worker said, "It reads like a lousy novel."

Thanks, Jeff for pointing out (and Openminded for reminding me) of evidence for the reality of Jesus Christ.

CF said...

I disagree with the assertion that Joseph Smith had a "lively imagination" and could have made an error like this.

If he wrote the Book of Mormon and made up the characters and factions, you'd think that he would have caught something this obvious. As consistent as the storyline flows, it's hard to believe he would have repeatedly mis-labeled a faction name throughout the book of Alma.

Secondly, if Joseph merely made all this stuff up on the spot and dictated it to Oliver Cowdery like a bed-time story, it is extremely difficult to explain all of the plots and sub-plots that -do- flow coherently. It also doesn't explain the Chiasmus and many other Hebraisms found throughout the text.

BoM scholars are pretty certain that the text was, indeed, dictated by Joseph and written on paper by Oliver. If you look closely at the Printer's Manuscript, nearly every spelling error occurred, not because of typographical error, but because something was heard incorrectly (audiographical?). The Amlicite/Amalekite issue is further evidence of this.

My guess is that Joseph made his best judgement on the translation, and unwittingly assumed that the next occurance of the faction name was something different. He didn't realize that the two factions were the same, and started dictating a new name later in Alma.

I think we can safely rule out that Joseph Smith was the author of The Book of Mormon. There are simply way too many instances of "home runs", or things that someone of his age/education couldn't pull off (even while factoring in the copied text from the Bible).

The question for the world at large is, from where did Joseph copy the text, if not just the way he claimed?

Openminded said...

CF,
Have you viewed the evidence put forth by the LDS historian (just looked--it's B. H. Roberts) by this?

Also, there are some fairly "home-run" evidences that support Smith being the author. Namely, the huge plagiarism from the bible. Aside from the massive regurgitation of Isaiah, there are numerous NT verses reprinted in OT times, there are reinterpretations of the same themes (olive branches/vines, for instance [from Romans and...Jacob in the BoM? it's been a while since I've read the BoM]), there are errors carried over from the KJV, a retelling of the Tower of Babel, the Sermon on the Mount, scripture quoted in Isaiah that Biblical scholars (who aren't fundamentalists or LDS) are highly consensual on an originating date that is well after 600 B.C. (meaning it wouldn't have been on the plates for Nephi to copy); all of which would easily give doubt that Smith was an author to someone who hasn't been indoctrinated in the church their entire lives, not including the other anachronisms, animal appearances, metallurgy, etc.

And since when did the Hebrews have a monopoly on chiasm? And a flowing storyline, would we expect a broken one from a non-prophet? Why?

It is inherently not safe to rule out that Smith was the author. It's even less safe to assume that the BoM is completely historically accurate, that the characters make truthful assumptions about what is God's doing and what isn't, that there's anything possible but the tiniest of geographical coverage, and that it's even possible to maintain that Moroni's promise is a reliable method of determining anything.

CF said...

I've seen everything you've mentioned, yet I haven't seen a single one that holds much water.

The Bible "plagarism", for example, is pretty weak. For one, there are hundreds of tiny differences within the text that conform more closely to the root Hebrew translation of the Old Testament. A casual reader won't know this difference, unless he reads the KJV and the BoM side-by-side.

How would Joseph Smith know to make these Hebraic corrections?

Jacob 5 is particularly astonishing. The story of the master and the vineyard is a common parable taught through scripture. I have no problem with the repetition.
However, it is one thing to simply copy text, but it is quite another to turn it into an extremely deep, coherent storyline of the history of the world for 77 verses.

I'm glad you brought this point up, because, ironically, the strongest evidence for the Book of Mormon's authenticity lies within the verses that are also found in the Bible. They are different enough to prove that the original source is most definitely not the same.

Chiasmus, alone, is extremely difficult to pull off even for a highly experienced writer. Hebraic writers did not have a monopoly on Chiatic structure, but they most certainly made use of it often. Chiasmus has to be planned mathematically in couplets before writing can even begin - it can in no way be simply dictated like a "bed time story" to remain consistent.

The Hebraisms in the text are immense as well. Do a Google search on the topic and you'll find a wealth of examples in the text. You simply can't teach yourself how to write Hebrew phrases with a 4th grade English education.

One particular example that I love is the case of the "if/and" statements. These original statements were found in the original manuscripts. Joseph Smith replaced the "and" statements with "then" statements to make it more understandable to English readers.

For example, in the original text you would find many cases of this:
"If we walk in the rain, and we will get wet."

In the edited version of the BoM, we get this:
"If we walk in the rain, then we will get wet."

The "if/and" statement is actually the correct way to phrase a sentence in Hebrew. Had Joseph understood Hebrew, he would have left the original phrase intact. If he was writing the BoM himself, he wouldn't have used the "if/and" statement to begin with.

There is a lot of evidence to support animals. For example, there is no evidence in the Book of Mormon, that the people actually "rode" horses (as portrayed in artistic renderings). In Lacandon, the region where most researchers believe the events of the BoM took place, there is a species of Tapir (relative to the horse) that for centuries, the indigenous people have called called cash-i-tzimin, meaning "jungle horse".

Speaking of Geography. A possible match has been found for in Central America. When the Cortez and other Conquistadors arrived in America, they destroyed most of the original records of the Maya and Aztecs. They also tore down most of the cities, and reconstructed them and gave them new Spanish names. Most ancient cities in the Yucatan have lost their original name. The city of "Lamani" is one of the only cities left that has retained its original Mayan name. It is estimated that the city was founded around 4th century BC, and resembles the names, "Laman" or "Lamoni" from the Book of Mormon.

I was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ by following Moroni's promise. It wasn't an event that happened overnight as some assume. It happened as I prayed and contemplated for many months if Joseph Smith and the Church as a whole was, indeed, Jesus Christ's kingdom on Earth.

But the promise doesn't stand alone. There is a great abundance of evidence within the text itself that tells that this was not the construction of a 23 year old farm boy.

CF said...

Openminded -

Just to follow up with my comment, I'd like to post this introduction of an article I was reading recently about Hebraism:

"In the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon Alma 46:19 reads, "When Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent of his garment in the air." Of course, the rent is the hole, the tear, the space that now separated what was once a whole. Yes, the Prophet made an error which has been corrected in later printings to read, "rent part." But, perhaps not foolish. Rather, this almost silly omission has become one thread in a tapestry of evidence pointing to the truth of this young prophet's claim: he was really translating a Hebrew text. "Waving the rent," may be ludicrous English but it is a literal translation of perfectly good Hebrew. John Tvedtnes explains that in Hebrew, the noun modified by a verbal substantive like rent is assumed from its context. Thus, "part" would not be included in the Hebrew text. It must be supplied by the translator.(1) Yes, Joseph failed to supply the missing word, thus leaving us this interesting evidential strand.

Mark Twain called the Book of Mormon "chloroform in print," and the 1830 edition would similarly impress most modern readers. Many Latter-day Saints are surprised to learn that there have been nearly 1400 changes in this most perfect of books since its original publication in 1830. These changes have principally been made to correct Joseph Smith's abominable grammar. While these changes have certainly made the text more readable, there is still much language in the current edition that is strange to the English ear.

The problem is that many of the expressions found in this perfect book don't really belong to the English language. Not only are they not good English, they are also not representative of the language of Joseph Smith's rural upstate New York upbringing. Brother Tvedtnes contends "that the Book of Mormon, in its English form as provided by Joseph Smith, is in many respects a nearly literal translation." The Book of Mormon shows all the signs of being a translation of an ancient Semitic record which has been translated into English by someone who had little skill in English grammar and phrasing. The sentence structure, word usage, and peculiar idioms of the original language have been nearly recreated in sometimes very awkward English phrases. Brother Tvedtnes concludes, "In most cases thus far investigated, Book of Mormon expressions which are ungrammatical in English are perfect Hebrew grammar."(2) Instances of Hebraic expression found in an English text are called Hebraisms. This paper will examine a number of Hebraisms that are found in the Book of Mormon. A "

I would love for the LDS Church to publish a Book of Mormon edition with all of the original "mistakes" included since it is most likely much closer to the Hebrew from which it was translated.

CF said...

Source: http://www.cometozarahemla.org/hebraisms/hebraisms.html

CF said...

Foolish or Hebrew?

In the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon Alma 46:19 reads, "When Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent of his garment in the air." Of course, the rent is the hole, the tear, the space that now separated what was once a whole. Yes, the Prophet made an error which has been corrected in later printings to read, "rent part." But, perhaps not foolish. Rather, this almost silly omission has become one thread in a tapestry of evidence pointing to the truth of this young prophet's claim: he was really translating a Hebrew text. "Waving the rent," may be ludicrous English but it is a literal translation of perfectly good Hebrew. John Tvedtnes explains that in Hebrew, the noun modified by a verbal substantive like rent is assumed from its context. Thus, "part" would not be included in the Hebrew text. It must be supplied by the translator.(1) Yes, Joseph failed to supply the missing word, thus leaving us this interesting evidential strand.

Mark Twain called the Book of Mormon "chloroform in print," and the 1830 edition would similarly impress most modern readers. Many Latter-day Saints are surprised to learn that there have been nearly 1400 changes in this most perfect of books since its original publication in 1830. These changes have principally been made to correct Joseph Smith's abominable grammar. While these changes have certainly made the text more readable, there is still much language in the current edition that is strange to the English ear.

The problem is that many of the expressions found in this perfect book don't really belong to the English language. Not only are they not good English, they are also not representative of the language of Joseph Smith's rural upstate New York upbringing. Brother Tvedtnes contends "that the Book of Mormon, in its English form as provided by Joseph Smith, is in many respects a nearly literal translation." The Book of Mormon shows all the signs of being a translation of an ancient Semitic record which has been translated into English by someone who had little skill in English grammar and phrasing. The sentence structure, word usage, and peculiar idioms of the original language have been nearly recreated in sometimes very awkward English phrases. Brother Tvedtnes concludes, "In most cases thus far investigated, Book of Mormon expressions which are ungrammatical in English are perfect Hebrew grammar."(2) Instances of Hebraic expression found in an English text are called Hebraisms.

CF said...

I would actually love to buy an edition of the Book of Mormon that still had the original Hebraisms intact (from the printer's manuscript).

Our case of the book's authenticity would be even stronger if we had trusted Joseph's translation more, rather than playing grammar Nazi on the text.

Openminded said...

I find the Hebraisms to be a more compelling argument, actually. I would have to ask someone objective and learned in Hebrew to confirm how compelling this is, but I do acknowledge it.

Also, thanks for the update on geography findings.

You claim none of what I said holds much water and that the biblical plagiarism is more of an evidence than not (without explaining why NT verses appear in pre-NT times, but you did provide something for me to look more into). And of course, the only way to save horses is by showing how Smith used the closest word possible to what we now call a tapir. You're required to believe this is the real explanation, so I'll leave it at that.

Here are two things you missed though, and I believe they hold the most weight of them all:
1) the BoM quotes scripture from Isaiah that biblical scholars (who don't hold a fundamentalist or LDS belief) are nearly unanimous that the date of verses were written long after 600 B.C. I'm sure you're familiar with Deutero-Isaiah. I've yet to find an objection about the date being after 600 B.C. by a non-fundamentalist or LDS scholar.

2) metallurgy. The explanation that they had the proper tools to conduct the metallurgy that the BoM authors claim to have gone through is unsubstantiated. The muachaitl in no way resembles a sword, and steel swords? There's only so much wishful thinking that can be done here, much of which doesn't reside in the right time period (the wishful thinking done by some of the apologist arguments for metallurgy, I mean).

You may so "oh, but it's plausible!", but it's also very improbable, for reasons others have gone through many a time.

And for the sake of the argument about Smith's authorship, it is still not safe to assume that Smith was a translator. You could say it isn't safe to assume he was the author, depending on what arguments you find compelling. We're naturally on opposite ends because of this, and will likely remain so.

Of course, the BoM claims that it stands on Moroni's promise (meaning that we are given what we need to tell if this book is true just by praying about it). So why look at the evidence then, which we'll always disagree on (not that I'm forced to disagree. I have no issue accepting evidence that goes against my views.)? How bout we discuss Moroni's promise on Jeff's post about the "secret ingredient"?

CF said...

To answer your final question first: I discuss the other evidences found in the Book of Mormon because I like to.

"You could say it isn't safe to assume he was the author"

Good. I'm glad we have agreed on my original premise. Don't know why we had to run around the mulberry bush for you to admit that.

I disagree with the theory that the Book of Isaiah is not unitary. I find it a little silly that you would call the evidence "unanimous". The fact is it is anything but unanimous. The evidence that Isaiah alone did not write the book is pretty shoddy.

I suggest you go take a look at the book, The Apocalyptic Book of Isaiah, by Dr. Avraham Gileadi - highly touted by even many Isaiah scholars for his work. He does an in-depth analysis on John L. McKenzie's Second Isaiah: Anchor Bible and why there is a dearth of evidence to support the non-unity claim.

He points out that many events, people, and places should not be taken historically, but as "types" of future occurrences.

So, no, Isaiah is not a problem for me. Even the references to Malachi and Matthew 5-7 are no problem because they were written after Christ's visit to the Americas in which He would have given them NT scripture.

Steel and metallurgy in the BoM is also a silly argument when the same thing occurs in the Old Testament just as often, and even earlier, when no steel existed. (2 Sam. 22:35, Psalms 18:34, Job 20:24, Jeremiah 15:12).

Actually, nickel-iron alloys were commonly used in Pre-Columbian America for weapons and other things. I saw them with my own eyes in Peruvian museums on my mission.

Like I said, your arguments hold very little water. But I'm sure you'll come up with yet another list when your statements are refuted. That's called "Moving the Goal Posts" - a common debate fallacy. That's okay though, I'll still be here to respond to them.

Openminded said...

I think my last comment ended up in the spam filters for some reason. so this post is a test.

Openminded said...

"Good. I'm glad we have agreed on my original premise. Don't know why we had to run around the mulberry bush for you to admit that."

Because part of the premise is that you can rule his authorship out, which you can't do. It's also not safe to claim he was the translator, as Jeff intends.

Anyways:
"I disagree with the theory that the Book of Isaiah is not unitary. I find it a little silly that you would call the evidence "unanimous". The fact is it is anything but unanimous. The evidence that Isaiah alone did not write the book is pretty shoddy."

You misread. I said "nearly unanimous". And actually, I stole those words from Dr. Walter Brueggemann (Google Books search "walter brueggemann 40-66"), who you can look up on Wikipedia. Also, to quote FAIR: "the Deutero-Isaiah theory is today accepted almost without question by most Jewish and Christian scholars."

The evidence is obviously enough to convince a majority of scholars that there isn't unity in Isaiah, and as for disagreement in the scholarly field, can you show me someone who isn't LDS (or fundamentalist)? Dr. Avraham Gileadi is respected, that's great. Did it change the opinion of scholars on the matter? If so, show me. Gileadi, I'm sure, has some wonderful evidence. Was it accepted among the scholarly community in terms of his claims to unity? Or was he just writing as an apologist instead of a scholar?

As for plagiarism of the NT during OT times, which I mentioned before and is on topic with anachronistic plagiarism, let's do three quick examples here:
1) Matthew 3:10 quoted in Alma 5:52 -- (Matthew: And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Alma: ...Behold, the ax is laid at the root of the tree; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire, yea, a fire which cannot be consumed, even an unquenchable fire...)

2) 1 Corinthians 15:53 quoted in Mosiah 16:10 (Corinthians: For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Mosiah: Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God...)

3) Romans 8:6 in 2 Nephi 9:39 (Romans: For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 2 Nephi: ...Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.). Also, how exactly were they supposed to remember that New Testament, Pauline truism in the first place?

So now we have NT verses printed in pre-Jesus times, pre-NT times, pre-Pauline times, etc. Mosiah is the only one from around 140 B.C., the Nephi books cited are pre-550 B.C. Also, we only have scholars who have a personal stake in a certain position supporting that certain position.

Seems like the argument that the BoM plagiarizes from the bible holds more water than you're giving it credit for. I'll respond to metallurgy in the next post, this one's long already

CF said...

I love how you backtrack on your statement about the "unanimity" of scholors who do not support a single Isaiah author. I just did a basic Google search on the topic, and I could not find a single supporter of your theory. From what I can see, there is far more support for a single author. I searched for both, "Isiah Unity", and "Isaiah Author", the first page of Google linked to articles from various non-LDS authors that showed support for a single author. Go see for yourself. I think you are really grasping at straws here.

Also, Please don't sidestep the Hebraism claim. Defend it, or drop the defense that Joseph Smith is the author of the BoM.

Speaking of Isaiah, I'd like to hear your argument of 2 Nephi 12:16
"And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures."

The source is found in both the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Septuagint. Are you going to stand by the claim that Joseph divined this missing information out of the KVJ, or that he had a Greek Septuagint lying around?
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=14&num=2&id=374

And I'm still waiting for your defense of the use of metals in Pre-columbian America. What's the hold-up? It really demonstrates your lack of knowledge on the topic that you would even bring up a long-debunked claim that there were no Pre-Columbian metals. You gotta keep up to date on your facts before throwing BS out there like that.

Try Wikipedia:

"Metal items crafted throughout Mesoamerica may be broken into three classes: utilitarian objects, objects used for individual ornamentation, and ceremonial/ritual objects.[3] The latter two categories comprise the bulk of distinctly Mesoamerican artifacts, with metals playing a particularly important role in the sacred and symbolic cultural realms."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallurgy_in_pre-Columbian_Mesoamerica

I'd also like a detailed explanation as to how the word "steel" was found so early in the Bible (as early as Samuel and Job) when, it didn't exist there either.

Yes, we can most certainly rule out Joseph's authorship, by the mountain of evidence I have presented. Literally HUNDREDS of Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon support my claim, as well as physical evidence such as metal, NHM, Lamanai, Classic-era Mayan Balkanization, the "jungle horse" tapir, and on and on.

You found 3 versus in the Book of Mormon out of 6,604 which you claim were copied from the New Testament, and you are ready to say that your claim "holds water". Yet I have already posted a reference to hundreds of versus to show the contrary.

I'll give you another try. If you can show me a meager 10% of the Book of Mormon was copied from the Bible, I'll admit your argument "holds water". That's just 660 versus. And don't include post-3rd Nephi 11 as we know Jesus could have relayed every last verse of the NT to the Nephites. If you -cannot- get a TINY 10% of the BoM, we'll call your claim debunked.

If you CAN find a paltry 10% of plagarized verses, you can then explain to me how Joseph Smith wrote the rest. Sound good? :)

CF said...

I love how you backtrack on your statement about the "unanimity" of scholors who do not support a single Isaiah author. I just did a basic Google search on the topic, and I could not find a single supporter of your theory. From what I can see, there is far more support for a single author. I searched for both, "Isiah Unity", and "Isaiah Author", the first page of Google linked to articles from various non-LDS authors that showed support for a single author. Go see for yourself. I think you are really grasping at straws here.

Also, Please don't sidestep the Hebraism claim. Defend it, or drop the defense that Joseph Smith is the author of the BoM.

Speaking of Isaiah, I'd like to hear your argument of 2 Nephi 12:16
"And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures."

The source is found in both the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Septuagint. Are you going to stand by the claim that Joseph divined this missing information out of the KVJ, or that he had a Greek Septuagint lying around?
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=14&num=2&id=374

And I'm still waiting for your defense of the use of metals in Pre-columbian America. What's the hold-up? It really demonstrates your lack of knowledge on the topic that you would even bring up a long-debunked claim that there were no Pre-Columbian metals. You gotta keep up to date on your facts before throwing BS out there like that.

Try Wikipedia:

"Metal items crafted throughout Mesoamerica may be broken into three classes: utilitarian objects, objects used for individual ornamentation, and ceremonial/ritual objects.[3] The latter two categories comprise the bulk of distinctly Mesoamerican artifacts, with metals playing a particularly important role in the sacred and symbolic cultural realms."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallurgy_in_pre-Columbian_Mesoamerica

I'd also like a detailed explanation as to how the word "steel" was found so early in the Bible (as early as Samuel and Job) when, it didn't exist there either.

CF said...

Yes, we can most certainly rule out Joseph's authorship, by the mountain of evidence I have presented. Literally HUNDREDS of Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon support my claim, as well as physical evidence such as metal, NHM, Lamanai, Classic-era Mayan Balkanization, the "jungle horse" tapir, and on and on.

You found 3 versus in the Book of Mormon out of 6,604 which you claim were copied from the New Testament, and you are ready to say that your claim "holds water". Yet I have already posted a reference to hundreds of versus to show the contrary.

I'll give you another try. If you can show me a meager 10% of the Book of Mormon was copied from the Bible, I'll admit your argument "holds water". That's just 660 versus. And don't include post-3rd Nephi 11 as we know Jesus could have relayed every last verse of the NT to the Nephites. If you -cannot- get a TINY 10% of the BoM, we'll call your claim debunked.

If you CAN find a paltry 10% of plagarized verses, you can then explain to me how Joseph Smith wrote the rest. Sound good? :)

CF said...

I love how you backtrack on your statement about the "unanimity" of scholors who do not support a single Isaiah author. I just did a basic Google search on the topic, and I could not find a single supporter of your theory. From what I can see, there is far more support for a single author. I searched for both, "Isiah Unity", and "Isaiah Author", the first page of Google linked to articles from various non-LDS authors that showed support for a single author. I think you are really grasping at straws here.

Also, Please don't sidestep the Hebraism claim. Defend it, or drop the defense that Joseph Smith is the author of the BoM.

Speaking of Isaiah, I'd like to hear your argument of 2 Nephi 12:16
"And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures."

The source is found in both the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Septuagint. Are you going to stand by the claim that Joseph divined this missing information out of the KVJ, or that he had a Greek Septuagint lying around?

CF said...

And I'm still waiting for your defense of the use of metals in Pre-columbian America. What's the hold-up? It really demonstrates your lack of knowledge on the topic that you would even bring up a long-debunked claim that there were no Pre-Columbian metals. You gotta keep up to date on facts before throwing out bogus info.

Try Wikipedia:

"Metal items crafted throughout Mesoamerica may be broken into three classes: utilitarian objects, objects used for individual ornamentation, and ceremonial/ritual objects.[3] The latter two categories comprise the bulk of distinctly Mesoamerican artifacts, with metals playing a particularly important role in the sacred and symbolic cultural realms."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallurgy_in_pre-Columbian_Mesoamerica

I'd also like a detailed explanation as to how the word "steel" was found so early in the Bible (as early as Samuel and Job) when, it didn't exist there either.

Yes, we can most certainly rule out Joseph's authorship, by the mountain of evidence I have presented. Literally HUNDREDS of Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon support my claim, as well as physical evidence such as metal, NHM, Lamanai, Classic-era Mayan Balkanization, tapir.

You found 3 versus in the Book of Mormon out of 6,604 which you claim were copied from the New Testament, and you are ready to say that your claim "holds water". Yet I have already posted a reference to hundreds of versus to show the contrary.

I'll give you another try. If you can show me a meager 10% of the Book of Mormon was copied from the Bible, I'll admit your argument "holds water". That's just 660 versus. And don't include post-3rd Nephi 11 as we know Jesus could have relayed every last verse of the NT to the Nephites. If you -cannot- get a TINY 10% of the BoM, we'll call your claim debunked.

If you CAN find a paltry 10% of plagarized verses, you can then explain to me how Joseph Smith wrote the rest. Sound good? :)

CF said...

And I'm still waiting for your defense of the use of metals in Pre-columbian America. What's the hold-up? It really demonstrates your lack of knowledge on the topic that you would even bring up a long-debunked claim that there were no Pre-Columbian metals. You gotta keep up to date on facts before throwing out bogus info.

Try Wikipedia:

"Metal items crafted throughout Mesoamerica may be broken into three classes: utilitarian objects, objects used for individual ornamentation, and ceremonial/ritual objects.[3] The latter two categories comprise the bulk of distinctly Mesoamerican artifacts, with metals playing a particularly important role in the sacred and symbolic cultural realms."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallurgy_in_pre-Columbian_Mesoamerica

I'd also like a detailed explanation as to how the word "steel" was found so early in the Bible (as early as Samuel and Job) when, it didn't exist there either.

Yes, we can most certainly rule out Joseph's authorship, by the mountain of evidence I have presented. Literally HUNDREDS of Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon support my claim, as well as physical evidence such as metal, NHM, Lamanai, Classic-era Mayan Balkanization, tapir.

CF said...

You found 3 versus in the Book of Mormon out of 6604 which you claim were copied from the New Testament, and you are ready to say that your claim holds water. Yet I have already posted a reference to hundreds of versus to show the contrary.

I'll give you another try. If you can show me a meager 10 percent of the Book of Mormon was copied from the Bible, I'll admit your argument holds water. That's just 660 versus. And don't include post-3rd Nephi 11 as we know Jesus could have relayed every last verse of the NT to the Nephites. If you cannot get a TINY 10 percent of the BoM, we'll call your claim debunked. Fair?

If you CAN find a paltry 10 percent of plagarized verses, you can then explain to me how Joseph Smith wrote the rest. Sound good?


You found 3 versus in the Book of Mormon out of 6604 which you claim were copied from the New Testament, and you are ready to say that your claim holds water. Yet I have already posted a reference to hundreds of versus to show the contrary.

If you can find just 10 percent of the Book of Mormon was plagarized (pre-3rd Nephi), I'll admit your argument holds water (660 verses).

CF said...

You found 3 versus in the Book of Mormon out of 6604 which you claim were copied from the New Testament, and you are ready to say that your claim holds water. Yet I have already posted a reference to hundreds of versus to show the contrary.

I'll give you another try. If you can show me a meager 10 percent of the Book of Mormon was copied from the Bible, I'll admit your argument holds water. That's just 660 versus. And don't include post-3rd Nephi 11 as we know Jesus could have relayed every last verse of the NT to the Nephites. If you cannot get a TINY 10 percent of the BoM, we'll call your claim debunked. Fair?

If you CAN find a paltry 10 percent of plagarized verses, you can then explain to me how Joseph Smith wrote the rest. Sound good?

CF said...

You discovered a total of three verses in the BoM out of 6,604 which you claim were plagarized and you make the ridiculous assertion that your argument holds weight.

If you can show me a meager 10 percent of pre-3 Nephi text was copied, I'll admit you have a point. That's just 660 verses. If you cannot even do that, we'll call your claim debunked. Sound fair?

CF said...

If you CAN prove to me that Joseph Smith copied 660 verses from the Bible, you'll then need to explain how he came up with the other 5,944, all on his own.

Openminded said...

There's a bit of tension here. For the sake of respect, I'm still enjoying the debate.

Anyways. I'm going to address what you brought up in the order you brought them up in.

Backtrack? Did you read the words "nearly unanimous" as they were posted by me or did you just read what you wanted to and made claims from there?

And oh boy, couldn't find a single supporter when you Google searched and a bunch of biblical literalists came up, could you. Guess you should tell your own apologetics ministry (FAIR) that they have no clue what they're talking about when they say things like "the Deutero-Isaiah theory is today accepted almost without question by most Jewish and Christian scholars."

Or are you the one who's grasping at straws? I'm sure your not. In which case, present some scholars who aren't 1) LDS, or 2) fundamentalists/literalists/evangelists/etc that don't follow the nearly unanimous view among the scholastic community.

(next item)

Hebraisms, like I mentioned, aren't always tied to the Hebrew language, and in fact, are present in 19th century texts (note: I'm not about to approach the argument that Smith learned chiastic structure through 19th century texts). Remember James Strang, the Mormon who founded the Strangite knock-off? He "authored" the Book of the Law of the Lord. In this book, which was claimed to have been translated from the same plates Nephi had, there is also chiasmus.

I doubt that's enough for you, so let me quote an LDS scholar (Blake Ostler):

"Book of Mormon Authorship has made a prima facie case for the ancient origins of the Book of Mormon. It fails, however, to respond to scholarly criticism in some crucial areas. For example, since Welch first published his study on chiasmus in 1969, it has been discovered that chiasmus also appears in the Doctrine and Covenants (see, for example, 88:34-38; 93:18-38; 132:19-26, 29-36), the Pearl of Great Price (Book of Abraham 3:16-19; 22-28), and other isolated nineteenth-century works. Thus, Welch's major premise that chiasmus is exclusively an ancient literary device is false. Indeed, the presence of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon may be evidence of Joseph Smith's own literary style and genius. Perhaps Welch could have strengthened his premise by demonstrating that the parallel members in the Book of Mormon consist of Semitic word pairs, the basis of ancient Hebrew poetry. Without such a demonstration, both Welch's and Reynold's arguments from chiasmus are weak" (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 16, No. 4, Winter, 1983, p. 143).

We know the D&C aren't Hebraic translations. Neither is the BoA, and the Strangite book, we can agree, is a hoax. Yet we see chiasmus, which shoots the Hebraism argument to more of a mild possibility than a direct hit. Are the other Hebraisms stronger?

(next post coming)

Openminded said...

As for 2 Nephi 12:16, let me warn you that I'll have to go off someone else. I'll start with Jeff's post on it: "Questions remain unanswered, I admit, but the analysis will lead to something interesting, I hope, in the end."

Seems the evidence isn't foolproof, and there are other objections than the ones you mentioned.

However, here's my argument in opposition to it, which I will state and then explore:
1) 2 Nephi 12 is the whole passage, and for the most part, it entirely matches the KJV. Where it doesn't, Smith is just getting wordy.

Why?

For one, there's "filler" language being used here. "it shall come to pass" is one (v.11); "oh ye wicked ones" is another(v.10); "yea, upon every one", which is literally just a repetition of the words right before it (v.12); "Yea, and the day of the Lord shall come" is even further repetition of v.12 (v.13).

There are two verses that, aside from filler language, don't match up with the KJV: v.14 and v.16. At first, Smith was being wordy before approaching these verses. But in these two, Smith gets creative. v.14 adds this: "and upon all the nations which are lifted up, and upon every people". These two items (nations and people) are nowhere to be found in the Masoretic or Septuagint texts.

Rather, in the 2 verses preceding v.14, the two items (nations and people) are mentioned (specifically in v.12), leading me to believe Smith was riffing on this verse by summarizing the previous two verses.

So Smith is taking contextual information and getting creative with it. In the first part of v.16, we have this: "And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish..." The only difference between the two is "the sea" and "Tarshish", leaving the rest of the line untouched. But with Smith's contextual riffing involved, it's not very hard to see how he could have gotten "upon all the shops of the sea" from "upon all the ships of the Tarshish (contextual information in bold).

So for one, we have contextual riffing. But for two, the verses that differ from the KJV, save v.16, aren't similar to the verses in the Septuagint or Masoretic texts (and by similar, I mean that the added words in Nephi are nowhere to be found in the other two texts).

But that's just my response. I'm not sure what the guy from the link had to say. Either way, citing the verse in 2 Nephi as evidence of using, say, a 600 B.C. Hebrew translation rather than a KJV one isn't a good enough fit to be sure of the pro-LDS conclusion.

The possibility of Smith being the author still stands, and with good reason, considering the possibilities behind that verse.

(next post coming up)

Openminded said...

As for my "hold up" with the metallurgy, let's remember I'm a human with limited time to respond.

Anyways.

You should recheck that wikipedia article. While keeping in mind that the Book of Moroni was written in approx. 401-21 A.D., the earliest date provided for matallurgic items is 450 A.D. in the article, and that doesn't even include steel (which can't even be found in the entire article).

As for steel being found in the KJV, this is more evidence that Smith erroneously copied from the KJV. Newer, more accurate translations of the bible (seriously, the KJV as an accurate translation? come on now) translate this to be bronze.

Can you show me an archaeological finding of steel found within the time frame and geography of the BoM? If not, then metallurgy is still a problem. Especially considering the tools needed for the metallurgy in Jarom 1:8.

Sorry, metallurgy is just a losing battle for the BoM. It gives a lot of credibility to the saying "Smith was an author, not a translator."

(next post coming)

Openminded said...

"You discovered a total of three verses in the BoM out of 6,604 which you claim were plagiarized and you make the ridiculous assertion that your argument holds weight."

To be specific, I showed three verses that were repeated almost word-for-word from a KJV New Testament that appeared in pre-NT times in the BoM, and significantly so.

I'm going to call you out on the cop-out here. This is an obvious attempt to avoid having to answer why almost exact copies of NT verses appear in OT times in the BoM.

But you're right on one point: if Smith plagiarized, he surely did it more than just three times.

I can find you more plagiarized verses, no prob. but 10%? Let's fix something first: there are significant portions of Isaiah included in your number that needs to be subtracted.

There are also verses that just carry on the story and don't need to be plagiarized from the NT (we'll call them storyline verses. Ex: nearly all of Omni and Words of Mormon, and verses that go along the styles in there).

Why not storyline verses? Because they don't hold much (if any) theological substance. NT verses do, however. And we could agree that the majority of NT verses do, because aside from some parts the Gospels and Acts, the topics these books cover are almost purely theological (and correct me if I'm wrong). And considering that Smith wouldn't want to copy the storyline of the NT into the BoM (save for the visitation of Christ), it's safe to assume that he would only plagiarize from the NT when a line about theology was needed.

I think the best places to find NT verses will be in expositions of what God is saying, what Nephi says to himself, and really anything involving dialogue/monologue or interpretations of spiritual experiences (dreams, for instance).

Also, I would subtract any verses that are copied from the OT. That's mostly Isaiah, but I'm sure there are others.

And really, those are the only places we should expect NT verses in the OT times of the BoM to be in.

So in regards to your challenge, how bout we do this: agree on the number of verses that contain theological substance rather than just pure storyline, subtract verses that already come from the OT, and I'll bump the number of verses I need to find to 15% of the new number.

Then I think we could both properly see how much weight this argument holds.

If I lose, I'll shut up about NT plagiarism in OT times. If I win, then my argument holds substance. I'll be honorable and mention when I think a verse is somewhat disputable.

Agreed?

Openminded said...

I was marked for spam again. my replies will appear if Jeff revives them from the spam inbox again :/

Openminded said...

Also, when I mention Hebraisms, I only go into chiasmus.

I missed your post about Tvedness. My mistake (though the chiasmus opposing argument is still a good one)

Anonymous said...

The thesis of Conkling's article strikes me as obvious, trivially self-serving, and wilfully blind. Obvious because of the patent similarity between "Amlicite" and "Amalekite," and, as Conkling points out, the complementary timeline. Trivially self-serving because Conkling chooses to end with that apologetic bit about how his analysis makes the wonderful text all the more wonderfully wonderful (which would be true only if one had been misreading the text as referring to two separate peoples in the first place). And wilfully blind because it studiously avoids any mention of the biblical Amalek, which along with Canaan was the target of what can only be called genocide, a people of whom God commanded, "thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" by killing every man, woman, and child among them. Which is, you know, morally troubling, in a way that does not disappear but rather is heightened when we are reminded that it is God issuing the command.

The important question is not "Are Amlicites and Amalekites the same?" but "What are we to make of Joseph Smith's use (or Alma's, take your pick) of this particular name, morally haunted as it is with echoes of divinely sanctioned genocide?" I keep waiting for Mormon exegetes to start taking such matters seriously, in the hopes that someday the religion will produce, not shallow apologeticists, but at least one reader courageous enough to wrestle with the darker truths of the texts, something on the order of a Kierkegaard.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Trivially self-serving? Is that the best you can do? There are all sorts of other names you could have used. Foolish, juvenile, hypocritical, inflammatory, insipid, whatever. But his work is insightful, original, and deals with some subtle issues in a scholarly way. Why not address the actual work? Naw, just sling names, and then accuse us of skirting the real issues--which prove to be completely irrelevant.

The fact that a related Semitic name in the Bible belonged to a people that Moses and the Israelites held as enemies to be destroyed has no bearing on the issues involving Amlici/Amalek in the Book of Mormon many centuries later. It was some kind of shameful coverup to not mention Old Testament genocide? We need a Mormon Kierkegaard to take up such issues? We've got enough fear and trembling and sickness unto death as it is. I'd rather have more Conklings to help us appreciate the depth of what we have.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

And obvious? "Obvious because of the patent similarity between 'Amlicite' and 'Amalekite'"? Millions have read the book and as far as I know, no one before had recognized that link and made the connections to unify these groups. Yes, it makes sense in retrospect, and yes, the timeline supports it, as you observe--but it was not a trivial, obvious discovery Conkling has made. It was something Joseph himself and millions of readers didn't recognize.

If you've ever dealt with patents, you would know that almost all inventions can seem "obvious" to patent examiners in retrospect, applying hindsight based on the invention or associated discoveries. The light bulb, for example, is totally obvious now. Sure, it's clear that one can make light by heating up a filament. Obvious. But it was a brilliant advance by the inventor Edison lifted it from.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

CF, sorry for the spam filter behavior. I released several of your posts - hope I got the right ones. Not sure why Google has been so unkind to you. But my friends at Google assure me that they will be fair and kind to everyone as soon as they have finished taking over the world. Do not attempt to resist.

Openminded said...

Jeff,
Thanks for bringing my posts back from the spam heap. It probably thought I was being too wordy (I mean gah, that's a lot of content). I'll remember your act of kindness when Google gets around to being every part of our lives.

CF,
One last thing about 2 Nephi 12:16. The article you gave me about 2 Nephi 12:16 gives a pretty noteworthy disclaimer in the concluding remarks: "Any conclusion about the relationship between Isaiah 2:16 and 2 Nephi 12:16 is for most people amatter of faith—as is acceptance of the Book of Mormon in general—not just a matter of textual analysis."

Doesn't sound like your argument about this verse is as definitive as you make it out to be.

And sorry for the ton of content I posted. If you'd like, I can turn each part of our debate into separate posts on my blog so we can organize it better

CF said...

"So in regards to your challenge, how bout we do this: agree on the number of verses that contain theological substance rather than just pure storyline, subtract verses that already come from the OT, and I'll bump the number of verses I need to find to 15% of the new number.
...
Agreed?
"

Hah! Nice try. Answering a question with a question tells me a lot about your confidence.

We agree on the original challenge, or we agree that you're wrong. Period.

Let's review your requirement:

1. I want you to find 660 verses from the Book of Mormon that are copied "near" word-for-word from the Bible. By word-for-word I mean scriptures that look constructed in similar fashion to the ones you used above with very minor word changes (Alma 5:52, Mosiah 16:10, and 2 Nephi 9:39).

2. The list needs to come from verses that were written "Chronologically" before 3rd Nephi chapter 11. (IE don't include text inserted by Mormon).

Ten percent (10%) is all I'm asking. I'll be eagerly awaiting your response.

CF said...

Oh, and one more thing:

3. Copied text cannot include Isaiah Ch 1 to Ch 39 or anything prior to 600 BC as we can assume the Nephites had these records.

CF said...

I see you're working hard...

http://omsthought.blogspot.com/2011/03/bom-nt-plagiarism-challenge.html

http://kmabom.wordpress.com/kjv-in-the-book-of-mormon-case-closed/

You have a very long way to go still though... :)

Openminded said...

CF,
I believe it was you who responded by demanding when I presented the evidence of anachronistic plagiarism. I won't play your games if you're just going to sidestep over 200 NT verses found in OT times in the BoM. There are more, but still.

I mean come on, over a hundred verses from the NT itself validates the claim that Smith plagiarized from the bible anachronistically. It's not the majority of the BoM by a long shot, but neither is it explained away by anything but Smith plagiarizing from the NT.

If you can't explain it away, that's fine. Chalk one up for the claim behind Smith's authorship.

Or do you have an explanation that isn't "oh, but that's just part of the text!" or "but what about x, y, and z?"

The claim of anachronistic plagiarism doesn't fall because there are supposed hebraisms in the BoM, it stands on whether or not there are NT verses in OT times. There are plenty of them.

CF said...

So you concede you cannot find a meager 10% under the reasonable requirements I have presented?

A yes or no would suffice.

Openminded said...

You seem to be answering my question with another question.

Look, if you can't explain the over 200 NT verses away, chalk one big support up for biblical, anachronistic plagiarism and Smith's authorship.

CF said...

I'll take that as "no" then.

So are you going to post this result on your blog as you said you would? Or will you only post if it fits your desired outcome?

"I'll let you know the results. I'm really eager to do this."
Posted by openminded SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2011 at 12:37 AM

http://omsthought.blogspot.com/2011/03/bom-nt-plagiarism-challenge.html

What happened to the "eagerness"?!

Openminded said...

The eagerness dropped when you didn't agree with the reasonable terms of the challenge I presented you. Why shouldn't we subtract the already-plagiarized OT verses found in the BoM from the number of total verses in the BoM? And why should we bother counting verses that aren't theological in nature? We're trying to prove that smith used NT verses in OT times as an act if plagiarism, not that he copied the NT into an overwhelming amount of the BoM.

But if that's all you can say about the matter, it's obvious you can't defend the presence of the +200 NT verses being anachronistically found in the BoM.

Chalk one up for how unsafe it is to claim Smith was an interpreter and how safe it is to claim he was an author.

CF said...

Oh, and I hope you're not going to really stand by the 200 claim. That's only 3% of the Book of Mormon.

That's extremely poor footing in my opinion. You can do better than that.

Openminded said...

Oh, so 200 is a small number.

Well if you can find 10% of the BoM verses to be contain provable Hebraisms, none of which can be derived from the KJV, none of which LDS scholars disagree with, I'll say it's a meagerly valid claim.

Sound fair?

Openminded said...

Replace "to be" with "that". Sorry, I'm on my iPhone

CF said...

I'm still waiting for the 10%. Please answer my question before changing the subject.

Don't be so close minded. 200 is just a number you pulled out of your butt. I want real numbers, and real facts to back up your plagiarism claim.

Still waiting...

Openminded said...

I can provide over 200 verses, but not 10%.

If you can't do the same with Hebraisms by showing 10% of BoM verses contain them (under the standards i mentioned earlier) then by your own standards, your claims about Hebraisms aren't worth much.

CF said...

Bottom line is that you failed at my challenge, and you failed hard.

The truth is that you were, indeed, eager to find the 10% because you really thought it was there. Investigating further, you found that you couldn't put your money where your mouth was. I even gave you the benefit of the doubt to use throw out the evidence of a single Isaiah author, yet you could not produce.

It's painfully funny to watch you squirm like this, especially when you were so "eager" and excited to undertake the challenge as you conspicuously posted on your blog yesterday. I have a new nick-name for you, "Closeminded". It suits you well.

CF said...

If you're too cowardly to take the challenge, I'll attempt it for you using the following: http://kmabom.wordpress.com/kjv-in-the-book-of-mormon-case-closed/

On my first count, and using the requirements I asked for, I got 388 verses that look like plagiarism. I'm probably not completely accurate, but that's pretty close - give or take a few. That's a little less than 6% of the Book of Mormon.

6% is more than reasonable to me, however, I'd love to see a deeper analysis of these 388 verses and see how many we can rule out as coincodences or other anomalies. My guess is that the total would come down even further.

Of the remaining verses, I don't claim that Joseph Smith never injected text into the translation from his own experience from the Bible. As I believe he was a Prophet, he could have been inspired to do that, or he may have simply been at a loss of words on how to translate a few of the verses other than pulling from ones he already knew.

We're talking about 23 year kid here, just out of his teenage years, and chased far from his home and working with a local school teacher, a complete stranger. He's gonna make some errors in the translation process. That it would be less than 6% is miraculous.

I still stand by my claim that we can rule out that this was the fabrication or construction of Joseph Smith. There is still 94% that is either unaccounted for or fits within the logical narrative of the text (Nephi had the Brass Plates, and Christ's relaying of the NT).

Some claim the rest was copied from texts such as, "View of the Hebrews", "The Wonders of Nature", the Apocrypha, or the "Spalding" manuscript. However, these still account for another small percentage of the text. But when we start accumulating such a vast number of novels and other texts to back up the claim that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized, we start bordering on the absurd.

Joseph spent most of his teenage years plowing fields, or (as many love to use) gallavanting the countryside looking for gold. When did he find time to do all this incredible research? When did he find time to learn Chiasmus, or learn that the Maya and Aztecs used Gold plates to record their history? When did he find time to learn that, contrary to common belief until the 1980s, the Maya were actually very warlike? When did he find time to learn the Hebrew meaning of Jershon (land of inheritance), and use it in the same verse as the phrase, "land of inheritance"?

When did he have time to learn about the Incense Trail's Eastward turn in Arabia? When did he get time to discover that there is a place on the southern tip that matches Bountiful exactly, even though this info existed on no map at the time?

He would have had to spend his youth sitting in libraries, consulting maps, and questioning scholars. I'm sorry, but teenage boys just don't do that - I don't care what time frame you're from.

All the lunacy that anti-mormons come up with becomes crazy when you add it all together. You had might as well claim he was visited by an angel and told to translate it from a Urim and Thumim. Oops!

CF said...

If you're too cowardly to take the challenge, I'll attempt it for you.

On my first count, and using the requirements I asked for, I got 388 verses that look like plagiarism. I'm probably not completely accurate, but that's pretty close - give or take a few. That's a little less than 6% of the Book of Mormon.

6% is more than reasonable to me, however, I'd love to see a deeper analysis of these 388 verses and see how many we can rule out as coincodences or other anomalies. My guess is that the total would come down even further.

Of the remaining verses, I don't claim that Joseph Smith never injected text into the translation from his own experience from the Bible. As I believe he was a Prophet, he could have been inspired to do that, or he may have simply been at a loss of words on how to translate a few of the verses other than pulling from ones he already knew.

We're talking about 23 year kid here, just out of his teenage years, and chased far from his home and working with a local school teacher, a complete stranger. He's gonna make some errors in the translation process. That it would be less than 6% is miraculous.

I still stand by my claim that we can rule out that this was the fabrication or construction of Joseph Smith. There is still 94% that is either unaccounted for or fits within the logical narrative of the text (Nephi had the Brass Plates, and Christ's relaying of the NT).

Some claim the rest was copied from texts such as, "View of the Hebrews", "The Wonders of Nature", the Apocrypha, or the "Spalding" manuscript. However, these still account for another small percentage of the text. But when we start accumulating such a vast number of novels and other texts to back up the claim that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized, we start bordering on the absurd.

Joseph spent most of his teenage years plowing fields, or (as many love to use) gallavanting the countryside looking for gold. When did he find time to do all this incredible research? When did he find time to learn Chiasmus, or learn that the Maya and Aztecs used Gold plates to record their history? When did he find time to learn that, contrary to common belief until the 1980s, the Maya were actually very warlike? When did he find time to learn the Hebrew meaning of Jershon (land of inheritance), and use it in the same verse as the phrase, "land of inheritance"?

When did he have time to learn about the Incense Trail's Eastward turn in Arabia? When did he get time to discover that there is a place on the southern tip that matches Bountiful exactly, even though this info existed on no map at the time?

He would have had to spend his youth sitting in libraries, consulting maps, and questioning scholars. I'm sorry, but teenage boys just don't do that - I don't care what time frame you're from.

All the lunacy that anti-mormons come up with becomes crazy when you add it all together. You had might as well claim he was visited by an angel and told to translate it from a Urim and Thumim. Oops!

CF said...

If you're too cowardly to take the challenge, I'll attempt it for you using the following: http://kmabom.wordpress.com/kjv-in-the-book-of-mormon-case-closed/

On my first count, and using the requirements I asked for, I got 388 verses that look like plagiarism. I'm probably not completely accurate, but that's pretty close - give or take a few. That's a little less than 6% of the Book of Mormon.

6% is more than reasonable to me, however, I'd love to see a deeper analysis of these 388 verses and see how many we can rule out as coincodences or other anomalies. My guess is that the total would come down even further.

Of the remaining verses, I don't claim that Joseph Smith never injected text into the translation from his own experience from the Bible. As I believe he was a Prophet, he could have been inspired to do that, or he may have simply been at a loss of words on how to translate a few of the verses other than pulling from ones he already knew.

We're talking about 23 year kid here, just out of his teenage years, and chased far from his home and working with a local school teacher, a complete stranger. He's gonna make some errors in the translation process. That it would be less than 6% is miraculous.

CF said...

...
I still stand by my claim that we can rule out that this was the fabrication or construction of Joseph Smith. There is still 94% that is either unaccounted for or fits within the logical narrative of the text (Nephi had the Brass Plates, and Christ's relaying of the NT).

Some claim the rest was copied from texts such as, "View of the Hebrews", "The Wonders of Nature", the Apocrypha, or the "Spalding" manuscript. However, these still account for another small percentage of the text. But when we start accumulating such a vast number of novels and other texts to back up the claim that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized, we start bordering on the absurd.

Joseph spent most of his teenage years plowing fields, or (as many love to use) gallavanting the countryside looking for gold. When did he find time to do all this incredible research? When did he find time to learn Chiasmus, or learn that the Maya and Aztecs used Gold plates to record their history? When did he find time to learn that, contrary to common belief until the 1980s, the Maya were actually very warlike? When did he find time to learn the Hebrew meaning of Jershon (land of inheritance), and use it in the same verse as the phrase, "land of inheritance"?

When did he have time to learn about the Incense Trail's Eastward turn in Arabia? When did he get time to discover that there is a place on the southern tip that matches Bountiful exactly, even though this info existed on no map at the time?

He would have had to spend his youth sitting in libraries, consulting maps, and questioning scholars. I'm sorry, but teenage boys just don't do that - I don't care what time frame you're from.

All the lunacy that anti-mormons come up with becomes crazy when you add it all together. You had might as well claim he was visited by an angel and told to translate it from a Urim and Thumim. Oops!

Openminded said...

Closeminded? Over 300 verses plagiarized from the NT, and you're calling me closeminded?

Why are you even name-calling here?

And I suppose you gave up on metallurgy, considering your own article you provided doesn't support it. Yet to mention all the other arguments. Instead, you retreat with a list of items (something you derided me for supposedly doing), and you pretend Hebraisms is a valid argument when it doesn't even hold up to your own standards placed against the plagiarism argument.

It's painful to debate someone with double-standards, outdated arguments, and sources that defeat his own claims.

Such is the faithful, I guess.

CF said...

It becomes even more absurd to think, that during this entire time, not a single person witnessed Joseph planning all this out??

You'd think there would be at least one witness who saw Joseph Smith sitting in the library all day, or someone catching glimpse of him writing the Book of Mormon, or plagiarizing the texts that the Antis say he used.

He shared his bedroom with most of his family. Not a single one of Joseph's family members witnessed this or told anyone?

And Palmyra was a tiny town. Most people would have figured out "Ol' Joe Smith" was up to something half-intelligent other than gold dowsing. There were plenty of people spying on him, looking for a way to discredit him. In all that spying, nobody caught sight of him fabricating the BoM?

On the contrary, most villagers actually BELIEVED Joseph had the Gold Plates. Either they had good reason to believe he had them, or they were complete idiots.

Maybe if nobody saw him writing the Book of Mormon in Palmyra, I dunno, maybe - just maybe - Joseph actually completed the entire thing while he was in Harmony. And that is even more amazing, taking into account the Anti's claims.

He moved to Harmony in December 1827 and the BoM was published March of 1830. That's just over 2 years time! Even with all the troubles he was going through with the persecution, family problems (Emma's parents, baby death), and the lost manuscript period.

If Joseph did this himself, it would put Shakespeare, and Tokien to shame as their works spanned decades, not months.

Openminded said...

LDS historians have suggested that he may have used a bible for the Isaiah verses. For someone so well informed of the translation process, that's a pretty revealing suggestion.

mkprr said...

@ openminded
How closely have you looked into the Deutero Isaiah argument? Are you aware of why scholars believe there were multiple authors of our current book of Isaiah? There are 4 reasons as I understand it. Two are objectively valid but very weak. 1. Isaiah’s name stops being used after chapter 39, and 2. There is a sudden “change in style and theology” after chapter 40 with numerous key words found in one section not in the other. (See Wikipedia Isaiah)

Now if you read a poem that your grandma told you she wrote, but it had a different style, talked about a different subject, and used different words than another poem she wrote before would you accuse her of fraud?

The other two reasons, and by the way these are the real reasons scholars reject the book as being written by one man, are: 1. that Isaiah’s prophecies are too detailed and accurate, in the minds of the scholars, to be written by him, and 2. He accurately speaks from the perspective of a person living in the future which in the minds of secular scholars is impossible.

If an agnostic isn’t complaining about how vague a prophecies are, he is complaining that they are too accurate and so must be fakes.

Now of course the BOM could still be true if multiple authors wrote Isaiah together, it would run into difficulties however if parts of it weren’t written until hundreds of years later. There is no real evidence however to support this other than that skeptics think it must be fake because it is so accurate. It’s circular logic at it’s best (not that we theists aren’t often guilty of the same sort of circular reasoning from time to time but it’s still always worth pointing out;)

mkprr said...

And by the way, sorry I'm not tackling your plagiarism argument or your metallurgy argument. I don't know much about those subjects but they both look interesting and I look forward to following the discussion between you and CF. If it moves to another site please send me a link so I can follow.

Openminded said...

mkprr,
thank you for your kind response. And yes, I have read up on the reasoning.

I understand the plea from the faithful that the accuracy is to be expected from a prophet. However, there's more reason the scholars have behind this position, and it can be added on to your #2 (which I'll add to with italics):

2. He accurately speaks from the perspective of a person living in the future and in a way that wouldn't be comprehensible to his contemporaries.

Even the LDS scholar, Dr. Gileadi, agrees that the message wasn't intended for an 8th-century audience (trustworthy source, though I'll find it in print if that suits you better).

Gileadi's conclusions end up being, of course, faith-promoting, but most of the opposition itself comes from the faith-promoting.

Maybe if we could include a biblical scholar in this discussion, he could elaborate on why there's been such a long-lasting, near consensus on the matter among those without a stake in the position.

However, there's definitely more to it than "skeptics think it must be fake because it is so accurate".

Openminded said...

okay, so my comment hit the spam filter again (and lost).

But my curiosity was peaked, and so I searched some of the more prominent journals (Harvard's and Oxford's).

You may be reading this particular comment before my other one, so I'm going to (re)iterate that the argument from scholarship is more sophisticated than "skeptics think it must be fake because it is so accurate". It is also because the way the author of Deutero-Isaiah wrote the prophecies, his contemporaries wouldn't understand what he was saying.

But let's hear it from a scholarly article published in Oxford's Journal of Theological Studies, with some of the major points I mentioned in bold:

"On one side the recognition that
the contents of chapters 40-66 presuppose the experience of the
Babylonian exile of the sixth century BC
poses serious questions
about their origin from an eight century prophet. Their assumption
that the reader is aware of persons and events of the exilic
age
demands their separation from the earlier chapters since only
a very implausible kind of prophecy could have projected forward
words which would have been meaningless until the events of two
centuries later gave them significance
." (Note: the rest of the article goes on to not repudiate this claim, but to mention how Isaiah was made up of more than just the original Isaiah and Deutero-Isaiah. I'm assuming the concept of third-Isaiah wasn't around in 1996, but I could be wrong. However, he does explore another scholar's reasoning behind the possibility of Deutero-Isaiah writing/redacting some of the earlier chapters in Isaiah. Bottom line, however: Deutero-Isaiah remained well intact)

Source: The Book Called Isaiah: Deutero-Isaiah's Role in Composition and Redaction.
The Journal of Theological Studies
| October 01, 1996 | Clements, R.E.

Openminded said...

both replies hit the spam filter. It'll be up if Jeff helps me out.

sneak peak: there's more to deutero-isaiah's argument than what you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

It seems one of the arguments against the divine origin of the Book of Mormon consists of counting the number of non-divine ways the Book of Mormon might have come into existence, and then comparing that number with the number of ways Joseph Smith claimed it came to be, which is one (1). Because the former number is higher, it somehow holds sway with the weak-minded that its origin could not have been divine. Curious that.

Openminded said...

Anon,
Surely your supposition doesn't come from this debate.

My position is that for something divinely-inspired, there are evidences that it doesn't hold up to its own truth claims.

So rather, this is the process:
1) count the truth claims made in the BoM,
2) see if they hold up to further examination,
3) compare the number of provably false claims.
4) If they're critical enough, we can throw out the concept of divine revelation, regardless of circumstantial evidence.

For instance, when there are over 300 bible verses that don't exist in the time frame they are stated within the BoM, we can question whether those portions of the BoM were written during the stated time period (or were written during, say, the 19th century).

We can also review whether the metallurgy is anachronistic.

Anyways, your statement wasn't reflective of what's actually going on here. (curious that?)

NathanS said...

To date, this debate ignores or only lightly touches upon one essential fact: the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon have the same Author. Another point ignored or only lightly touched upon: works, and subworks (ideas) are often inspired by ideas that have been used before but not always cited - and we don't have all the ancient records that were available to, and may have inspired, writers of both New Testament and Book of Mormon texts.

These different facts cut through different links on the logic chain that suggest that Book of Mormon writers cannot write what post 600 B.C. bible writers wrote.

To reiterate: the same author (in this case, God) can have more than one writer write the same thing without either writer (in this case, any Book of Mormon writer) copying from the other (a bible writer); and it is possible that both writers were influenced by unquoted, pre-600 B.C. writings that have since become unavailable to us.)

There is clearly nothing impossible about either or both of these two scenarios. The claim of copying from the Holy Bible is merely that - a claim - fully nullified by either or each of the above two facts. Simply put, the accusation that Joseph copied is based on disbelief that rigorous logic fails to support.

An attack against the evidences for the Book of Mormon that targets chiasmus is kind of like someone taking the smallest straw out of a mountainous hay stack and saying, "See, this straw can't feed your cattle so your hay is worthless."

Yep! That tiniest straw can't feed the cattle but the cattle still like the remaining hay. The chiasmus arguments for and against the Book of Mormon are weak but the mountain of evidences against Joseph Smith as its author is overwhelming support for the divinity and continuing work and love of Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon has one stated purpose: persuade people to believe in Jesus Christ.

Disbelieving in the Book of Mormon is the only way one can disbelieve in the Holy Bible's Christ. If disbelief in Christ is your objective, your objective requires you to disbelieve the Book of Mormon and you will use any thinking available to you as an excuse. You won't limit your excuses to good logic even though you may demand good logic from those we who believe.

Alma 32 almost says "seeing is believing" but you recognize that seeing is not good logic because many people "see" things for which they need to medicate a mental health condition. No logic, no sight, no anything, satisfies the demand for proof made by one whose commitment it is to disbelieve in Jesus Christ - unless such a person turns to honesty in their hearts. Only the honest of heart can receive these truths and stick with them because there are times when truth is not "convenient" to what an unchanged person would like to think, do, or appear to be, and self-deception justifies the unchanged person in remaining unchanged.

NathanS said...

Is it not possible that LDS preach a God that is worth believing in? Why not make room in your heart? If you are afraid, I sympathize with you and invite you to face your fears.

Openminded said...

I'm sure he's a wonderful God to believe in.

But why believe in a being who makes a poor case for himself? I don't intend to follow a god who's likely the imagination of a person from a religious cultural background. You wouldn't decide to worship Allah, would you? Or any of the Hindu gods?

I'm sure they're great too, why aren't they worth it?

(did CF leave? I was hoping we'd continue on some of the arguments)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

8:08 AM, March 20, 2011

I did not understand a word you wrote but I did not really under stand the flood. I wish God would quit killing people.

CF said...

Closeminded -

What argument? I won. You couldn't find the 10% and you admitted it.

First you said that there was around 200 plagiarized, then after I educated you, you said "over 300". I feel like I'm debating a child.

Come back after you've studied the matter out a little more before throwing random numbers out.

The metallurgy issue is not a big deal for me. Current scientists estimate that Pre-Columbian Americans had metal no earlier than 900 AD, so what? The only thing that is important to me is that they had more than enough capability to make metal in BoM times. That we haven't found much metal before then is not a problem. They'll find it sooner or later.

I stand by what I said earlier. There is still simply too much that Joseph Smith got right to write off the BoM as his own creation. The fact that anti-mormons are working overtime to debunk it, and are failing so miserably, makes the case even stronger.

That after all this time no witnesses have been found to back-up any of the claims of plagiarism is remarkable. That nobody ever came out after all these years, as a death-bed confession or otherwise, to say that it was a fraud or that it was copied, is stunning.

I'd love to see someone try to reproduce a book comparable to the Book of Mormon, under similar time and circumstances. The fact that after 180 years not a single person has been able to do that tells me quite a bit.

The Book of Mormon came about just as Joseph Smith said it did, by the power of God. It's the greatest book on Earth and has changed the lives of millions of people.

Openminded said...

I proposed a change to your challenge, gave reasoning, and you rejected it without much explanation as to why my reasons weren't agreeable, and then you call me closeminded?

And that you can't apply that exact challenge to your Hebraism claims just goes to show: you only want to do what works for you.

Childish.

CF said...

You proposed a change because your plagiarism charge is painfully weak.

Openminded said...

I proposed a change because there are already large portions of the OT in the BoM, and because there were places where entire books were written solely to advance the timeline (Words of Mormon, for instance) and that such uncreative writing (which is likely present in more than just a few books) shouldn't be included in the verse count.

Basically, I suggested looking at theological verses for NT plagiarism instead of story/timeline verses because the NT would only be used for theology in the first place.

The intent was not to claim that Smith derived the book straight from the bible, but that he plagiarizes from it when he needs to and does so in an anachronistic fashion.

Now are you closeminded because this doesnt work in your favor or are there some real reasons to not follow a few of these items?

mkprr said...

Openminded
You may have already looked at these articles and found that they weren’t as satisfying as you hoped but I recommend reading through Jeff’s responses to FAQ on Metallurgy on his website. I won’t post the link here in reverence of the mighty spam filter but it’s easy enough to find (he’s got a search tool on his site that works well) . He also lists a number of books published online by the Maxwell institute that go into detail on numerous BOM issues under BOM evidences. As far as some issues like metallurgy are concerned, it seems that there are a number of reasonable POSSIBLE answers and explanations to deal with the problem, we just don’t know for sure which (if any) are the real answers to the questions. Kind of reminds me of the fact that young earth creationists always bring up the feather as evidence that evolution can’t be true. Sure we don’t know exactly how the feather evolved (if it did), but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of it evolving anyway. There are numerous theories for how it came about, none can yet be proven but to throw the entire theory out the window because of that and other like arguments is a little silly.

Also there are a few articles addressing the plagiarism claims from new testament passages on fairlds. Fairlds is always kind of hit and miss. Some articles are good, others not as good but they are worth reading.

When I have more time I’ll discuss more about Deutero Isaiah. You bring up some good concerns worth addressing. Also, you mentioned horses earlier and I find the mention of horses in the BOM to be a huge verifiable hit for JS and I’ll explain that later if I get a chance.

NathanS said...

Openminded, CF, you do some wonderful dueling. One question I'd like to pose to the two of you, to either of you have any evidence to support or debunk the possibility that both BOM and NT cultures had similar text available as a source of inspiration but that has since disappeared from current availability? It seems that if logic could show possibility or impossibility, that showing would disprove the other. Is it possible? If not, that could not explain Joseph Smith translating things that appear in the NT. If it is possible, that could explain it. I don't believe it can be proven impossible. In fact, the pre-Columbian existence of Cohen (Levite, priest) DNA in the America's suggest not only possibility but plausibility.

And what about the possibility of one person authoring works by more than one writer? Has this ever been known to be done in all of human history? (I understand that in distant, former centuries, it was not at all unheard of for a man of means to author books by means of a writer other than himself.

If one authorship with multiple writers is even remotely possible with humans, it should be seen as abundantly clear that an immortal author, such as God, could do that. If such an Author is unchanging, it would be possible for Him to assure that some of the writing done by different writers would have the same words, with neither the necessity of one writer copying from another, nor a scandalous breach of integrity if a translator were to use the common translation practice of using another's translation of the same material as a reference.

I know of no evidence suggesting that no pre-Columbian Americans had a wealth of cultural contacts with diverse peoples of other continents, so how do you go about disproving a common influence for NT and pre-Columbian literature?

I know of no evidence suggesting that God is incapable of authoring books by more than one writer, so how do you go about disproving that?

Without disproving both scenarios given, how do you prove that translations of pre-Columbian American and NT texts could not contain the same words? Without proving they cannot, how can you disprove translation as a possibility in the case of an English Book of Mormon?

Openminded said...

I'll take a look at Jeff's page on metallurgy. It's hard to ignore the bias behind the research done at Maxwell, but I'll give it credit if there's non-LDS support as well (or if it does seem reasonable).

A historian's blog that I follow (search: mild-mannered musings by Chris Smith) offers a link (http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com/) that talks about Mesoamerican evidences. Has a good cover on metallurgy as well, if you're looking for some of the opposing arguments.

I'm aware of FAIR's arguments about NT plagiarism. They're likely more convincing if you already agree with their conclusion, but as CF points out, any amount of plagiarism doesn't matter because it's divinely inspired anyways. This is probably where you stand on the issue.

What's objectively clear, however, is that there are complete copies of KJV New Testament verses found in the BoM during OT times. It doesn't explain the BoM away, but it lends credibility to the possibility that Smith was an author. Especially because it was anachronistic. Pulling the "God card" out can justify a YEC, so I'm hesitant to allow for anachronistic plagiarism.

Also, for Deutero-Isaiah, reading up on the introduction in the Anchor Bible gives some pretty useful background as well.

I look forward to the rest of your explanations.

Openminded said...

Natahn,
first off, if there was a common source text, biblical scholars would have been all over it by now. However, the possibility that the books that Paul wrote were inspired by a document that's been around since, say, 600 BC(keeping in mind that the only person receiving the word of Christ seems to be Nephi's father (correct me if I'm wrong on this) and that the source text would have to be available before their transatlantic voyage) is--let's not be afraid to admit it--impossible.

Also, scholars would have definitely picked up on it by now.

"I know of no evidence suggesting that God is incapable of authoring books by more than one writer, so how do you go about disproving that?"

Do you have standards that can show, in any situation, that when a book is being written, it is done so by God himself? If not, then how are we to find any evidence that God is capable of authoring books in the first place?

And if you do have standards that show that a book is being written by God, please share them so we can put these standards to the test. And by test, I mean applying them to the many other religious books out there.

If the most likely situation is that a person authored a book rather than God (though with God in mind while writing it), then the only thing that could support this position is faith.

That's terribly shaky ground, considering all the religions and ideas and false beliefs people tend to put faith in.

Openminded said...

welp, hit the spam filter again...

Anonymous said...

Writes NathanS above, I know of no evidence suggesting that God is incapable of authoring books by more than one writer, so how do you go about disproving that?

Nathan, you might want to read up on Russell's Teapot and the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

mkprr said...

@openminded,

More on Isaiah,

First off I think it’s a little odd to exclude any argument by an evangelical Christian on the subject. Should we throw out any work on evolution contributed by an atheist leaning agnostic? It is interesting to me that Dr Clement and others assume that all of what Isaiah prophesied would have to make perfect sense to those who were reading it at the time he wrote it. It is very common for the prophets to prophesy first of things immediately to take place (this is in fact what gives them credibility in the eyes of the people) and then to expound on future events that they wouldn’t be familiar with but were expected to watch for and prepare future generations for. Ancient Jews understood this as evidenced by how they continuously looked forward to the fulfillment of prophecies, and vigorously debated their meaning. This is perhaps most obvious to us in the new testament where the Jews were still expecting their promised Messiah etc.

It is true that Isaiah’s contemporaries wouldn’t understand all of what he prophesied about but they were used to getting that from their prophets. Chapter 39 (written by the first original Isaiah according to Deutero theorists) prepares the readers for the switch in topics and times by explaining in plain language that Hezekiah will have peace for his faithfulness but that later generations will be taken by Babylon.

Isaiah speaking about things from a futuristic perspective is not abnormal for the OT, neither is the fact that some of what he said wouldn’t be clear to his contemporaries or perhaps even to himself. What is very abnormal about Isaiah’s prophecy is the fact that he records the name of Cyrus. Cyrus was a king in a foreign land with a foreign name who isn’t even born at the time of the prophecy. Although all things are possible for the Lord, because this is so out of character for OT prophecy I can understand why the red flags are shooting up. Although the other reasons for believing in multiple authors are collectively weak, this one fact strengthens them greatly.

mkprr said...

The problem with this argument is that it necessitates either active successful fraud on the part of some ancient Jewish scribes (keep in mind the penalty for pretending to be a prophet was death) or it would involve them forgetting the actual name of the author of their most beautifully poetic scripture without even mentioning they were starting another book. It is possible right? One of those scenarios could have happened conceivably. But it is much more probable that the mistake, if any was made, happened with the insertion of the name Cyrus at a time when all Jewish teachers would have recognized him as the savior king spoken of by Isaiah.

Unfortunately for us, Nephi does not quote any of the chapters that use Cyrus’ name (at least not that I am aware of, correct me if I am wrong here) so we can’t tell what the scripture may have said in place of the name of Cyrus before the event took place.

Either way, the BOM testifies that Isaiah is the true author thus strengthening the validity of the Bible as it was predicted to do. (of course it only strengthens the Bible in the minds of those who believe the BOM but for us it does a great job)

Pops said...

So rather, this is the process:
1) count the truth claims made in the BoM,
2) see if they hold up to further examination,
3) compare the number of provably false claims.
4) If they're critical enough, we can throw out the concept of divine revelation, regardless of circumstantial evidence.


This process is epistomologically flawed. It presumes that the archeological record (including ancient texts), as presently constituted, contains all pertinent information, and that all current interpretations of the existing record are correct. To assert that anything is "proved" this way is hubris.

CF said...

"Basically, I suggested looking at theological verses for NT plagiarism instead of story/timeline verses because the NT would only be used for theology in the first place. "

This is a ridiculous request. How do you define which verses are "Theological" and which are not? Is not Nephi's return to take the plates from Laban and his uncanny faith in obedience Theological?

Is not Ammon's visit to the Lamanites and conversion of King Lamoni not Theological in nature?

Is there not deep Theological lessons learned from Moroni's war with the Lamanites?

There is an enormous amount of "theological" lessons in the Book of Mormon that come from nearly every verse. You can't just make up your own definition of what you deem to be theological because the lessons learned match the same lessons in the Bible.

I believe that the source of knowledge and revelation originated from the same source for both the New and Old Worlds. Lehi's family descended directly from Jews and lived Jewish tradition. It's not difficult to understand that there are going to be many Theological similarities because of this.

If you're asking to be allowed to simply define plagiarism as inclusive of only the verses that concur narratively with the Bible, then I have to say you're crazy. You can't limit the universe of verses simply because, in your -closeminded- world, you deem some to be "Theological" and others not so.

No thanks...you meet the challenge using the guidelines that I've set forth or you accept failure.

NathanS said...

"first off, if there was a common source text, biblical scholars would have been all over it by now."

Hardly. Josephus, the Jewish historian after Christ, had source text on Moses in common with Lehi and those who inherited his records.

"possibility that the books that Paul wrote were inspired by a document that's been around since, say, 600 BC ... is--let's not be afraid to admit it--impossible."

Hardly. Several, if not many, New Testament writers refer to pre-600 B.C. texts, such as the Septugent.

"Also, scholars would have definitely picked up on it by now."

The operative word there is "scholars" - and they do.

I am quoted: "I know of no evidence suggesting that God is incapable of authoring books by more than one writer, so how do you go about disproving that?"

And you ask: "Do you have standards that can show, in any situation, that when a book is being written, it is done so by God himself? If not, then how are we to find any evidence that God is capable of authoring books in the first place?"

You are attempting to change the goal posts! You asserted that Joseph could not of translated based on the unstated assumption that God could not have authored. The burden of evidence is yours and you have none.

"If the most likely situation is that a person authored a book rather than God (though with God in mind while writing it), then the only thing that could support this position is faith."

Thank you for making my point: it is only through your faith that you think a person other than God authored the Book of Mormon.

"That's terribly shaky ground, considering all the religions and ideas and false beliefs people tend to put faith in."

Would you like off that shaky ground? I'm sure Jeff would like to help you.

NathanS said...

"Nathan, you might want to read up on Russell's Teapot and the Invisible Pink Unicorn."

You believe Teapots and Unicorns prove God incapable of authoring books by mortal writers? Wow! What magical logic do Teapots and Unicorns use? Do they have passports from The Land Before Time? Do you believe them able to give provable, eyewitness accounts Against God's abilities - and further prove that since time began, He is such a slow learner that He couldn't learn how to author books by multiple writers?

You said the Book of Mormon couln't have translated because the material couldn't have been in the Americas - it's on you to prove God couldn't have arranged for it. It isn't for me to prove he could.

Papa D said...

Frankly, fwiw, I stopped reading the comments when "CF" kept throwing insults at "openminded". I really like insightful, thoughtful discussion, but I just don't have any deep interest in reading comments laced with condescending insults and name-calling - especially when it's coming from the "side" with which I usually am associated.

Just saying.

NathanS said...

Papa D, you're a good man. What does fwiw mean?

Openminded said...

Hey, just stopping by with some quick insights into Deutero-Isaiah and make a few replies. I have a busy weekend in front of me (and some sleep to catch up on!), but Nathan, you threw my head for such a spin that it's not capable of reasoning right now. I'll respond when I'm a bit more well-rested.

Also, fwiw = for what it's worth

Papa D,
THANK YOU. I didn't want to point that part out lest I waste time dealing with something other than the reasoning.

CF,
verses like these contain no theology: "And behold, the record of this people is engraven upon plates which is had by the kings, according to the generations; and I know of no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy; wherefore, that which is sufficient is written. And I make an end."

That verse contains nothing of theological value, for instance. I copied it from Omni. Verses resembling this style shouldn't be included because they're essentially "fluff".

Also, you haven't addressed why we shouldn't subtract all of the OT verses within the span of books we cover from the list of considered verses. Or did I misunderstand you at some point concerning this?

Pops,
good point. However, for some points, more than just the archaeological record are being considered. And speaking of archaeological record, I posted a link in Jeff's most recent post about a new find everyone here might be interested in.

Anyways, about Deutero-Isaiah....

mkprr said...

Openminded,
You mentioned the idea of Tapirs being the BOM horses as a bit of a stretch. Another possible answer would be that the small native American horse did in fact, at least in some places, survive longer than most scientists think they did.

Either way, what is most remarkable about the BOM when it comes to horses is the way they are used. Lets say that JS was the author and he used the bible as a main text to plagiarize from. Read through the Bible’s references to horses. Can you find even one example where the horse is not associated with power or military strength or battle? (There might be a few but they are far and few between). Not only that, but in Josephs own day the horse was still very much associated with war.

Then turn to the book of Mormon what do you find? You find battle after battle after battle, and you also find references to horses. Oddly enough there is NOT ONE ACCOUNT of a warrior using a horse, nor is there an account of a chariot used in battle. As CF pointed out, horses are never even ridden. The Nephites did not associate horses with military strength at all. This is very strange indeed, unless of course the horse being talked about was too small to be of use in battle.

If JS was imagining European horses why would he write about them consistently in a way that was so different from the Bible and from their use in his day? If he was imagining smaller pre Columbian horses, or tapirs, or some other animal, why didn’t he defend himself against critics by pointing that out.

Openminded said...

mkprr,
atheism/agnosticism doesn't depend, as an ideology, on whether evolution exists or not. However, biblical fundamentalism/infallibility does. And so I would rather hear opposition from a scholar who doesn't have a stake in the matter. That's all. Just trying to eliminate the possibility that the scholar is throwing away a theory or some supporting evidence because it destroys the validity of his faith in some way (just like a YEC accepting evolution would have his faith destroyed).

Anyways, on to the meat of the problem.

"It is interesting to me that Dr Clement and others assume that all of what Isaiah prophesied would have to make perfect sense to those who were reading it at the time he wrote it. "
Not all of Isaiah is in prophecy form. But while we're on the subject of what Isaiah wrote, let's take a look at what was said:
[sorry, I'll pick up from here at a later time. It's getting too late over here]

CF said...

Closeminded -

There is plenty of Theology in the verse which you have provided. Abinadom is explaining how he has received his guidance from the Lord, not through Prophecy or Revelation, but through Scripture.

This teaches us how a person can rely on the written Scripture for guidance in their life.

Try again.

Also, why should we subtract verses with no Theology from the universe of verses in the Book of Mormon to compare against the supposed plagiarized ones?

You are flailing here, and I'm still waiting for my 10%.

Openminded said...

CF,
sounds more like he's saying "everything that's been written is sufficient, therefor I'm not going to add anything to it."
If that's theology to you, I'm a bit surprised (but kinda not, you seem like you'd do anything for this term to not be included).

You've yet to address (or confirm that you already have addressed) the issue of the OT verses being in the list of considered verses.

You also seem to avoid applying this test to hebraisms. Why is that? (And why the childish insults?)

CF said...

That's why trying to judge which verses are "Theological" and which verses aren't is completely subjective.

I've opened up my Scriptures at times in my life and happened to see a completely random verse that was the answer to a question I was looking for.

It didn't matter if it taught anything important to someone else. It only mattered that it taught something to me. Christian Theology is really only defined within the eye of the beholder and delivered by "the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might" - Isaiah 11:2

If I was accused of plagiarizing Shakespeare, would it seem fair for my accuser to only compare the text on every 7th page, and discount the rest? And then claim that 43% of the book was plagiarized because he didn't count pages 1-6 in the total?

That's exactly what you're doing by limiting the TOTAL percentage of verses to those which teach YOUR -subjective- definition of Theology. You're saying that if the Theology doesn't match Biblical Theology, we can't count it within the universe of BoM verses.

Does that sound logical to you? It doesn't to me.

And we'll deal with the Hebraisms as soon as you understand that your logic is faulty. Again, keep the Goal Post here - we'll set up a new one when we've finished the current topic.

Also, quit with the "stop insulting me" crap. Man up and defend yourself like an adult.

Openminded said...

"If I was accused of plagiarizing Shakespeare, would it seem fair for my accuser to only compare the text on every 7th page, and discount the rest? And then claim that 43% of the book was plagiarized because he didn't count pages 1-6 in the total?"
You seem to miss the fact that if you plagiarized only one passage from Shakespeare, it's still plagiarism unless it was an allusion, a cited quote, or anything implying you weren't the original author.

Of course, to carry on the metaphor, you can't really plagiarize Shakespeare if he didn't exist yet.

I hope you don't go around telling people that plagiarism is okay as long as it's less than 10% of your entire paper. But if that sounds logical to you, I hope you'll soon see the flaw.

I still think there are verses that are so low in theological content that plagiarism wasn't necessary for Smith, but I'm willing to do that term on my own and just keep it separate from the results.

Taking out OT verses from the list of considered verses is entirely reasonable, and with your lack of dissent about this, I'm assuming you agree.

"Also, quit with the "stop insulting me" crap. Man up and defend yourself like an adult."
I aim to hold a civil discussion, and was hoping you were adult enough to follow through. I guess Mormonism is less of a source for morals than it seems to be, and the person is the deciding factor.

You must have really poor character. Thanks for clearing that up. I'll continue to set your insults aside and focus on the debate.

CF said...

"I hope you don't go around telling people that plagiarism is okay as long as it's less than 10% of your entire paper. But if that sounds logical to you, I hope you'll soon see the flaw."

I don't believe there is any plagiarism in the Book of Mormon. I know it was translated by an inspired Prophet through the gift and power of Revelation by God Himself.

But, YOU believe that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized, when in fact you can only find around 200 verses (3%) out of over 6600 to support your claim.

I'm simply asking you to support your position by reinforcing it. You have failed to do this.

"I guess Mormonism is less of a source for morals than it seems to be, and the person is the deciding factor."

Hah! Like you would actually stand up and honestly state that Mormonism is a source for morals before you talked to me.

The truth is that I have you backed into a corner and you now use an Ad Hominem to attack me because you have nowhere else to go.

"And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;"

"Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo."

Openminded said...

"But, YOU believe that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized, when in fact you can only find around 200 verses (3%) out of over 6600 to support your claim."
For one, there are over 300 (as you observed), and that's just from the NT in OT times.

For two, I didn't claim that the entire book was plagiarized from the bible, I claimed that there were huge amounts of plagiarism in it. Huge, being a subjective term I should've clarified on, would've meant that there's a highly noticeable presence. Over 300 NT verses alone is a highly noticeable presence (meaning you can't at all ignore or deny the fact that there are NT verses in the BoM during OT times).

"Hah! Like you would actually stand up and honestly state that Mormonism is a source for morals before you talked to me."
This is a good example of whose thinking is more close minded. I disagree with Mormonism's validity, not its use to further a person's morals.

I'm not so sure about this corner you're talking about, or why it pertains to the topic of our debate. Insults do nothing to further reasoning, only your ego. I feel like we learned this a long time ago, CF. let's get back to the real issues at hand.

Papa D said...

A thoughtful reading of the Beatitudes would be a good idea, CF.

Pops said...

The "Openminded" moniker would be more convincing if you were to stand in neutral territory when discussing interesting and relevant issues. The use of pejoratives like "plagiarism" sounds rather non-neutral. It implies the Book of Mormon to be a work of fiction, thus creating the impression of circularity and confirmation bias in your logic.

If Nephi was a real person who really wrote the things he found most precious on metal plates, why would he not quote Isaiah? (The assertion that much of Isaiah post-dates Isaiah is rather unconvincing - we've seen rather dramatic failures of stylistic evaluations of contemporary texts.)

If Jesus really visited the Nephites, would he not teach them the same things he taught in his Sermon on the Mount? Is that plagiarism?

If Mormon and Moroni were really prophets, why would they not be inspired to teach the same things that prophets in the old world were inspired to teach? Do not the same principles apply to all people everywhere?

NathanS said...

Openminded,

I sometimes agree with you but it took a fourth or fifth reading to see how your following comment could be honest.

"atheism/agnosticism doesn't depend, as an ideology, on whether evolution exists or not. However, biblical fundamentalism/infallibility does."

I first read "atheism/agnosticism" as including atheism. After several readings, I thought perhaps you use the "/agnosticism" as a clarification on, and modifier of, atheism. We both know that atheism, without the "/agnosticism", an ideology that there is no Creator, does in fact rely wholely on evolution.

Second, I looked at "biblical fundamentalism/infallibility" as part of me and very LDS, although after present reflection, I know that not all would read those words that way. Furhtermore, what I know, and you may not, is that many LDS are open to the idea of an "old Earth" type of theory in which "guided evolution" may have occured without any conflict with the literal Genesis account, especially seeing that the word "day" is used in a time-vague way - having no specified equivalent(s) in modern time measurements - with the word "day" possibly being used as in the expression that is used after a good number of hours of labor and a desire for rest: "Let's call it a day."

You can see why I naturally see your comment as stating things exactly opposite of how they are.

Then you say, "And so I would rather hear opposition from a scholar who doesn't have a stake in the matter."

It is exactly for the reasons you gave - turned around to match the real, un-edited definition of an atheist, and the openminded receptivity of LDS believers in the Holy Bible - that atheists would not be among the more trustworthy for not "throwing away a theory or some supporting evidence because it destroys the validity of his faith in some way" (as you said it) - and why LDS would be the ones most likely not to throw out evidence.

To recap: Atheism is a faith that depends on evolution as a fact; agnosticism depends on it as a possibility; and Genesis permits evolution as a means of Creation but does not depend on it. Only openminded believers in Creation can accept an overwhelming body of whatever type of evidence that might come up without needing to change their views. So according to your logic, your preference should be to trust a subset of believers in Creation over atheists and agnostics.

Some of the premises and the conclusion of your comment are reversed but the logic in your comment makes sense and I'd recommend it to you.

NathanS said...

"Nathan, you threw my head for such a spin that it's not capable of reasoning right now. I'll respond when I'm a bit more well-rested.

"Also, fwiw = for what it's worth"

Openminded, thank you for the definition.

Openminded said...

Pops,
I agree, it would be more neutral that way. It's more of a shorthand way for me to say "there are verses here that seem to be taken from verses over there", as a few full-on verses present from the KJV NT would seem to indicate. Would the word copied suit you better? The argument from your side seems to be that the verses were so familiar to Smith when he was translating that he somehow used the entire KJV verse while translating, which is basically copying (without implying he stole it, or at least to some degree).

As for Isaiah, I'll return to why there's such a high consensus on it when I have the time to. The real problem, aside from Isaiah, is the presence of NT verses before Jesus even comes here. And if God says the same thing throughout the ages through the prophets, then there's some huge conflict between pre- and post-Jesus times. I think Paul once wrestled with this conflict and wrote about it, but there's quite a distinction. If you'd like, we could look a little further into this.

Openminded said...

Nathan,
I don't think you considered how atheism has been around a lot longer than the theory of evolution. That's a pretty easy fact to recall, I'm worried this reflects a behavior that typically rejects even blatantly straightforward evidence that goes against your views (I don't meant to be condescending, it's just that I'm worried it was somehow shut out of your consideration).

And yes, I was the same with evolution back when I was an Evvie. I should've further clarified how I meant the YEC's (the "earth is 10,000 y/o or something" group) who really can't accept evolution, though I did provide them as the example I hoped you'd go by (I'll be sure to state literalist instead of fundamentalist, I'm sorry for the mix up).

I hope you see the point of the anology, however: people with their faith on the line tend to do whatever they need to to deny where the majority of the evidence is pointing. Not all, but we all know how people like James White almost can't budge an inch on his arguments.

Finally, atheist and agnostic scholars aren't the only ones who support deutero-Isaiah. In fact, a Roman Catholic scholar wrote a book on Second Isaiah for the Anchor Bible project. So, here we have a man of faith supporting Deutero-Isaiah. And people who must not accept deutero Isaiah may come up with anything to defend against it, just like YEC's do against evolution. So I'd rather hear it from someone whose religious faith doesn't depend on it.

I mean, do you think any of the Evvies out there (who are basically out to get Mormons) are going to accept the fact that there is near-certain evidence that a theology consisting of multiple gods is found in the OT? or that theosis (though more so the fundamentals than the LDS version) is a doctrine that can be derived from the bible? Some, I'm sure. But a lot of the time, their own faith will get in the way. Same principle with Deutero-Isaiah and scholars whose religious faith would likely get in the way.

Openminded said...

On Deutero-Isaiah:
I was about to do a blog post on the reasoning behind it, so I did some Google searching. Turns out that even "An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America" accepts Deutero-Isaiah (so much for me not wanting to look for an Evvie's view on Isaiah, right?). His name is Ralph Klein (bio information here).

Sneak peak of the bio:
"B.A. Concordia Senior College
M.Div. Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Th.D. Harvard University"

He published an article(found here). Eventually, I'll write a blog post about Isaiah; it's a fun topic for me(last fun topic was the OT's stance on multiple gods. I eventually accepted it before leaving religion all together). But, I'm sure this professor has a much more informed and eloquently stated explanation to go over in the mean time.

NathanS said...

Openminded, you said,

"I don't think you considered how atheism has been around a lot longer than the theory of evolution."

I suppose you are right about that.

It's a nice gesture of yours to be accommodating in the use of language but I regard myself as substantially both fundamentalist and literalist so I'm not sure but what I'll have to do the accommodating on this one whether you do or not.

Astral_Lds said...

I find the that book of mormon it self gives a possible reason for the change in names from Amlicite to Amalekites.
Alma 3 explains that they had marked them selves so they could be differenitated from the Nephites.
if the two names are transliterated from Mayan into English( I believe some dialect of mayan to be the original language of the book of Mormon).
Amliciites = people of the bird(god) scribes.
Amalekites= people of the toad(god) star.
the name change reflects thier marking themselves. when they changed thier allegience.
while only supposition. its possible that the revolt resulted from thier change in status.
In mayan culture scribes had high status they were the ones who interpreted the law.
when Mosiah made the transition to the reign of the judges these were the people with the most to loose.