Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Our Semitic Book of Mormon: Hebraic Word Pairs (and Question on Mosiah 7:11)

Kevin Barney's impressive article, "Poetic Diction and Parallel Word Pairs in the Book of Mormon" published by the Maxwell Institute is a must-read for those interested in the issue of vestiges of Hebraic language structures (Hebraisms) in the Book of Mormon. Barney treats just one of many related topics, but this issue of word pairs is well researched, well documented, and a meaningful advance in our understanding of the Book of Mormon and its Semitic roots. He offers 3 hypotheses to explain why these are found in such abundance in the Book of Mormon. Decide for yourself which one makes the most sense. Here is the list of 40 attested word pairs from Hebrew literature that are used appropriately, even skillfully, in the Book of Mormon. Given that scholars did not recognize the concept of Hebraic word pairs until decades after Joseph Smith's day, I hope you'll at least be impressed that they have been implemented so well in the Book of Mormon text.

Here is the list of 40 attested word pairs that occur in Hebrew poetry and in Book of Mormon passages. Many, of course, are logically related and not surprising of themselves to be used together, though some are far from intuitive or obvious. More important, I would suggest, is how they have been used. Is it random and clumsy, as we might find, say, in any attempted forgery written in King James lingo (why not go ahead and have your favorite Bible student try this for a few pages and see what happens?) or skillful and deliberate? Read the article and let me know your thoughts.

Index of Word Pairs

1. anger//fierce anger
2. blessed//cursed
3. blood//burnt offerings
4. city//land
5. day//night
6. dead//dust
7. deliver//destroy
8. earth//darkness
9. earth//mountains
10. eyes//heart
11. favor//blessing
12. God//man
13. good//evil
14. hearken//give ear
15. hearken//hear
16. heart//soul
17. hear//understand
18. heavens//earth
19. highway//road
20. Jacob//Israel
21. knees//earth
22. lead//destroy
23. light//darkness
24. Lord//God
25. mountain//valley
26. nations//earth
27. old men//young men
28. people//Israel
29. place//land
30. pride//wisdom
31. righteous//wicked
32. sea//earth
33. seen//heard
34. sin//righteousness
35. tell//declare
36. thousands//ten thousands
37. tree//waters
38. visions//dreams
39. walk//observe
40. way//law
Special request for your Hebrew experts:In a recent comment on this blog, Annie J. made an interesting observation. I'd like further input on this verse and causative structures in Hebrew:
There's another possible Hebraism that I discovered while reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese. It was in Mosiah 7, verse 11 - the English wording is "I should have caused that my guards should have put you to death." I noticed this because the wording is very elegant in Japanese; they have a causative - a verb conjugation that means "to cause someone to V." As I read it in Japanese and noticed how appropriate and native-like it sounded, I flipped back to the English, where I found the much more cumbersome "should have caused that …" A native English speaker, in that situation, would have said "I should have commanded my guards to put you to death," or inserted a similar verb. We're not accustomed to having a causal form of a verb.

When I returned from my mission, I asked a good friend of mine who is an Orthodox Jew and speaks Hebrew very well if Hebrew had a causative mood. She told me that it does, and that it is used often.

Now, the part I don't know is whether this knowledge would have been available to Joseph Smith or how often it occurs in the KJV. But I did think it a rather interesting little tidbit to stumble across on my own.
Yes, I think that's interesting. I don't recall seeing this verse treated in previous articles on Hebraisms. It has the feel of something that has been translated and unnatural for an English speaker to have written or spoken. Is this something that could be a plausible and perhaps relatively direct translation of good Hebrew?

Update: Looks like the Book of Mormon's frequent use of the verb "cause" in ways that are not needed and often awkward in English does fit a common Hebrew construction, as was already noted in this 1914 article about Book of Mormon Hebraisms by T. Brookbank, courtesy of Kerry Shirts: http://www2.ida.net/graphics/shirtail/brookban.htm.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

He offers 3 hypotheses to explain why these are found in such abundance in the Book of Mormon. Decide for yourself which one makes the most sense.

So, last night the power went out at my house. I offer three hypotheses to explain why: 1. Lack of maintenance caused the aging transformer down the block to fail. 2. The manager of the local power company has it in for me. 3. The aliens are probing our infrastructure vulnerabilities in preparation for an all-out attack on Planet Earth.

1. might seem plausible at first, but in fact is unlikely. Think about it. The power company is a for-profit enterprise with a vested interest in maintaining its own equipment and delivering reliable power to its customer base. No company that regularly disappoints its customers can hope to remain in business. So 1. is out.

2. is even less likely than 1.

Ah, but if we accept the truth of 3., then it all starts to make sense.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

The problem I see with claims of Hebrew forms in the Book of Mormon is that so much of it is copied from the Bible. Which, of course, reflect a Hebrew origin.

So, such an analysis would need to exclude the biblical portions. Most don't.

Does this one?

Anonymous said...

Not only is much of the Book of Mormon lifted out of the Bible, but Joseph Smith, like many Americans of his time, was intimately familiar with the Bible's imagery, its vocabulary, its characteristic rhythms, etc.

The idea that this familiarity accounts for the BoM's Hebraisms is raised as one of the article's three hypotheses. It's clearly the most straightforward and likely explanation, but the author is already committed to the orthodox LDS position on the book's origins and thus gives it short shrift.

-- Eveningsun

Unknown said...

I've recently thought that the focus of scholarship, criticism, apologetics upon the authenticity of the BOM as an ancient text can cause one to fail "to see the forest for the trees." Twenty years ago, I joined the LDS church based upon my study of the Bible and New Testament alone, having been raised Baptist and Methodist in Texas. Up until three or four months ago, I couldn't even look at the BOM or think of Joseph Smith without some antagonism. However, there is enough doctrine, IMHO, contained in the Bible to support the core and unique doctrines of the LDS church that separates it from mainstream, post Nicene Christianity. But the BOM, Bible, and Pear of Great Price are meant to be held together, testifying of the divinity of Christ, the restoration of His church, and also testifying of the other volumes of scripture.

For most of my adult life, I've made the mistake of relying on one witness when, according to LDS, two witnesses are available. Actually if one includes the books of Abraham and Moses, there are four witnesses to Christ and the restoration of the gospel. The Bible is of God and remains my primary scriptural source to this day, although I have recently and finally accepted the BOM and POGP as scripture as well. I believe that if one hears the Lord's voice, "If you love me, keep my commandments," and will simply "go and do", the truth will unfold itself before you by His power.

bearyb said...

Unknown, I'm not sure, but I think your's was a fairly rare approach to conversion. From an LDS point of view, biblical truths and doctrines seem fairly obvious and clear. That you found the Church without the LDS perspective (at least without knowing it was the LDS perspective) is something I find very interesting, especially considering your religious background. I appreciate your sharing that!

Anonymous said...

evening sun,

It's easy to play the odds. It's easy to follow occam's razor. That's what they did back in the day -- when they believed in a geocentric solar system. But now that we have a little more insight into the cosmos occam's razor cuts in a different direction.

Will you be like so many who will go with whatever direction occam's razor happens to be cutting at present? It's time to give in bro; time to stop resisting and accept the most powerful witness of Christ on earth: The Book of Mormon.

Jack

Anonymous said...

But now that we have a little more insight into the cosmos...

Did I miss something? Has some astronomer detected Kolob?

Seriously, bro, the Books of Mormon/Abraham/Moses are obviously products of the 19th century. Time to get with the program.

Don't worry, though, you can still be a good Mormon if you do take off the blinders and see the LDS scriptures for what they are. If the Church can survive changing its stance on plural marriage, its insistence on Native Americans collectively as Lamanites, the curse on Cain "preserved in the land" via Ham, blacks in the priesthood, the Catholic Church as the Church of the Devil, etc., etc., etc., then surely it can change its mind on the ancient origins of its scriptures. Think of all the time and effort that could be saved on apologetics alone!

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

Not good enough, Evening sun. Everyone of those examples falls flat -- and I think you know that.

So, while the Bible is on its way to being summarily dismissed as folklore by the academy; and while more and more good Christians are falling prey to atheistic explanations of theism only LDS scripture -- particularly the Book of Mormon -- stand as firm witnesses of the reality and divinity of Christ as preached in the Bible.

The BoM is fast becoming the last bastion -- the last rallying post for those who hold to a firmly grounded christology. One in which Jesus truly is the Son of God. One who literally resurrected from the dead and is now a divine corporal being.

Jack

Anonymous said...

So, while the Bible is on its way to being summarily dismissed as folklore by the academy...

What? Folklore? I teach the Bible at the college level, and I can assure you that my colleagues and I consider it to be profound and brilliantly written literature. FWIW, its literary greatness has nothing to do with whether it is literally "true," no more than the greatness of Huckleberry Finn depends on the actual existence of a boy named Huck.

Remember, fiction is a way of conveying profound truths. To deny the Bible's historicity is in no way to "dismiss" it.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

Eveningsun,

(I think I finally spelled your handle right) I don't question the greatness of the Bible as literature -- I love, love, love it! But certain aspects of its history must be rooted in reality otherwise the entire fabric of Christianity comes apart. If Jesus is not who he said he was then the "good news" is entirely without foundation.

But the Book of Mormon stands firm and resolute as a witness that we may indeed find hope through the gospel of Christ. And because of that witness we may be assured that the Bible is a divine testament of the reality of the Living Christ.

Jack

Anonymous said...

Certain aspects of [the Bible's] history must be rooted in reality otherwise the entire fabric of Christianity comes apart.

Quite so. That's one reason I'm not a Christian. (There are many other reasons, of course.)

But the Book of Mormon stands firm and resolute as a witness that we may indeed find hope through the gospel of Christ.

At least in part, your argument seems to be that because academia has undermined belief in the literal truth and historicity of the Bible, it is only the Book of Mormon that can ground the Christian's hope in the Gospel. That makes no sense, because academia has been much, much harder on the Book of Mormon than on the Bible. There is no secular college or university that considers the Book of Mormon to be either divine scripture or great literature.

The Bible has not been "dismissed" in academia, but the Book of Mormon has.* Yet you clearly find inspiration in both, so what can the arguments of academics possibly have to do with things? How does the Bible's treatment in academia leave the Book of Mormon standing as some kind of "last bastion"?

All secular academics know that the Bible's references to Jerusalem, the Egyptians, and the Canaanites are references to real things. We don't feel the same about Zarahemla, the Nephites, and the Lamanites. In secular academia, Jesus was a real person but Nephi has the same status as Paul Bunyan.

Here's the academic understanding: The Bible is great literature, written by real ancient writers about real ancient peoples and places. The Book of Mormon is not-so-great literature, written by a 19th-century writer about imagined ancient peoples and places.

How this state of affairs supports the idea of the Book of Mormon as a "last bastion" is beyond me. Your argument makes no sense. I suspect it's all just an excuse for crowing, "My religion is best!" Well, OK, so you're a fan of your faith. Nothing wrong with that. It's just that I'm a fan of something else: good arguments.

-- Eveningsun

* Actually, there are a very few secular American literature profs who teach the Mormon scriptures as 19th-century American lit. I'm one of them, and I'd like to see more. But right now there are very few.

Anonymous said...

I do not build my values solely on what academia has to say about truth. When I bring academia's truth claims into this argument it is only in reference to how I feel about its influence on those who profess to follow Christ. And so when I proscribe the BoM as a witness of the Bible's truth claims about Jesus it is meant to strengthen believers in the face of evidence that would be used to prove that Jesus is not who the Bible says he is.

Re: Academia's rejection of the Book of Mormon--

Who are the experts? (Not that it really matters as coming to terms with the BoM is really more a matter of faith than research)

Jack

Anonymous said...

Re: Academia's rejection of the Book of Mormon--Who are the experts?

Actually, I'd say I know a lot more about the Book of Mormon than a lot of Mormons. And anyway, if you're arguing that one should leave judgments about scripture up to the believer, on the notion that the believers are the experts, well, you don't really believe that yourself.

After all, there are plenty of imams out there who are far more expert than either of us about the Koran. But does that mean you and I should be swayed by an imam's views about the Koran as God's word? Of course not. In fact, you and I both would discount the imam's expertise because of his bias. For me, the same applies to the Mormon's expertise (such as it might be) about the Book of Mormon.

As you yourself admitted, you believe not because of evidence or expertise, but because of faith. But I, lacking faith, need evidence, and have yet to see any.

But if you need more, I offer B.H. Roberts, who was both a Mormon and an expert and who all but admitted that the Book of Mormon was not an ancient text but rather a product of Joseph Smith's 19th-century milieu.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

No I really meant it. Who are the experts? It's a rhetorical question when applied to academia. In as much as no one in the secular world has really taken the BoM seriously there has been no serious study on it -- except by Mormon scholars (who are given short-shrift in many instances because they're Mormon)

The likes of FARMS and FAIR and blogs like this are where you're going to find the experts. But even they will tell you that accepting the Book of Mormon is based in faith.

Jack

Anonymous said...

Even [the experts at FAIR and FARMS] will tell you that accepting the Book of Mormon is based in faith.

Of course they will, for the simple reason that they've come up with no other reasons to accept the book.

Of course, there are at east some Book of Mormon experts, even within the Church, who understand the book's 19th-century origins. There have been at least since the days of B.H. Roberts' studies.

If the people I've spoken with are any indication, at least one of the ways that belief is bolstered -- faith's right-hand man, if you will -- is simple ignorance. The missionaries and Mormon colleagues I've talked with always seem to be surprised to learn of the extent to which Joseph Smith's time and place were saturated with speculation about the origins of the northeastern Indian mounds, and about pre-Columbian Native American history. It usually turns out they've never heard of the Expositor. Sometimes they seem not to know that polygamy was contested in the early Church, or even know of polygamy at all, as if all references to Mormon polygamy were references only to the fundamentalist church or simply anti-Mormon propaganda. And they seem never to have thought about the possibility that Brigham Young was a traitor for sending soldiers out against federal troops in the Utah War, or that he was guilty of obstruction of justice for failing to adequately investigate Mountain Meadows. It really is quite stunning.

Anyway, there's not much of a critical spirit in the Church, and the resulting ignorance of course helps "faith" do its work. I will admit that something similar is at work in my own religion. There are some Jews who understand that maybe instead of honoring the Maccabees with the holiday of Chanuka we should think of them as the violent religious fundamentalists of their day, but this is not exactly an idea encouraged by the faiful, who prefer that we live with our illusions about our own past.

-- Eveningsun

bearyb said...

Eveningsun, forgive me, but you mentioned 'your own religion.' Would you consider yourself a 'believer' of its tenets?

Anonymous said...

I'm a Jew, but I don't believe that the Jews are God's chosen people, that God gave Canaan to the Jews, or that the Torah was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. I don't believe in God at all.

But I'm a Jew in the sense that I was born a Jew, and have certain Jewish habits and dispositions, and appreciate the brilliance of the Jewish scriptures and intellectual tradition, and understand Woody Allen movies.

-- Eveningsun

bearyb said...

Eveningsun, you wrote above that But I, lacking faith, need evidence, and have yet to see any.

And

I don't believe in God at all.

Have you ever considered what kind of evidence you would need to be convinced of any of these things?

Anonymous said...

Yes, bearyb, I have.

-- Eveningsun

bearyb said...

OK, what kinds of evidence would we be talking about? For example, if you had seen Christ walking on the water, or been present at the time He raised someone from the dead, or had been one of those who collected the overabundance of bread and fish after the crowd was miraculously fed, would any of those things have swayed you?

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt, those things would impress me deeply were I to see them.

-- Eveningsun

Darren said...

Without a doubt, those things would impress me deeply were I to see them.

I think those would impress anyone. Though converting people is an entirely different matter. Seeking signs is a very poor way to convert. I guess it can work but highly unlikely.

bearyb said...

Darren, it was not my intent to set anyone up for an attack, least of all Eveningsun. I am just curious what kind of evidence it might take for a non-believer to believe.

After some reflection, I am beginning to see that it is unlikely (though not impossible) that the kind of evidence necessary would be such that it would of necessity carry someone beyond belief, beyond "faith," into pure knowledge. For some reason, that is not the way we have been told we are to live for now (for the most part). Apparently we are to prove ourselves first through faith, which can then become knowledge afterward. I don't know of any shortcuts to knowledge of that type.

We have been told, of course, that even those who live without faith will eventually know to some extent what they will have missed out on. But that will hardly prepare them for any kind of greater knowledge they might have otherwise obtained.

My conversation with Steve was along those lines. He is content with all the law he understands from the Bible and claims no need for more. I sincerely hope there is much, much more.

Darren said...

Openminded;

Here's something to dwell on from Book of Mormon Manuscripts:

A page from the original Book of Mormon manuscript, covering 1 Nephi 4:38-5:14. It shows how fluent Joseph Smith's dictation was. He did not change or revise the text as he dictated. Oliver Cowdery, one of his scribes, stated, "Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth…a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven."

(bold mine).

This is very typical from my understanding. That Joseph Smith made little to no revisions upon the original manuscripts which were used, in part with a copy of the original manuscript, also with minute revisions, to write the Book of Mormon.

Then there's the time frame to write that book:

The printed versions of the Book of Mormon derive from two manuscripts. The first, called the original manuscript (O), was written by at least three scribes as Joseph Smith translated and dictated. The most important scribe was Oliver Cowdery. This manuscript was begun no later than April 1829 and finished in June 1829.

If we were to start from April 1st of that year and end at last day of June of that year then that would be three months time to write the Book of Mormon. So, if you do not see that as an absolutely remarkable accomplishment in litrature than I would seriously question what the heck type of education my tax dollars are being spent on. Or, perhaps you'd like to start writing this April an original manuscript ,ergo; first draft, with ittle to no revisions by the end of this June. And that these very manuscripts (you can copy them once if you'd like, afterall, fair is fair) will be used to publish a 500+ page book about a group of family individuals who sprang forth two significant civilizations over a 1,000 year period complete with modes of living, dozens of personalitites as well as unique names and characterizations which are never contradicted at any part of the story. That one of these civilizations found and assimilated yet another group of people and towards the end of your story you must include yet a fourth civilization which began about 1,500 years before the first said civilization. And that at least one of this latter civilization was found by the first civilization. Also, your story must be accurate with known Hebrew style of writing, and use it consistantly. You must also be consistant theologically with another book known as the Bible. That in the end you need to show how your story compliments the Bible and even fulfills declarations ofthe Bible. That your story must contain at least one character descended from at least one person from the Bible, is faithful to that descendency, and fulfills that which is spoken from the Bible. Pick any prophecy or declaration as you will. We'll leave that wide open to you. And you must not only do all this within a maximum of three months time but you may not use and electronic device, nor modern-day buying a pen at Walmart. You must do so while fulfilling all your family and work obligations, take time off from work when you can as Joseph Smith most certainly did.

Good luck, let me know when you're finished. Or, perhaps, you might want ot talk all this over with your smart collegues after reading a good Paul Bunyan story.

bearyb said...

Boy, that second paragraph was pretty unintelligible. I guess I forgot some commas or periods or dashes or something. Anyway, I what I think I was trying to say is that the kind of evidence that would be necessary to "convince" non-believers would likely have to be the sort that would leave no room for doubt whatsoever for anyone.

And, sorry Darren - you probably didn't mean to attack anyone at all. I guess it's just the way I first read your response...

Darren said...

Openminded;

your argument seems to be that because academia has undermined belief in the literal truth and historicity of the Bible, it is only the Book of Mormon that can ground the Christian's hope in the Gospe

it's the theology; not the history which binds Christianity and I do believe Jack was advocating that *both* the bible and Book of Mormon, the comibnation of which is unique to Mormonism, which affect that bind. I believe in both the hoistory and theology of the bible as well as the history ad theology of the Book of Mormon. Smart people in college ought to understand that American archeology is quite infantiele compared to the maturity of archeology of the Old World. College folks also ought to understand that as archeology has developed, more and more discoveries are made which authenticate the history ofthe Book of Mormon and that the archeology behind the Bible is hardly perfect. But I don't need man's science to know these books are the true words of God; neither do you.

The missionaries and Mormon colleagues I've talked with always seem to be surprised to learn of the extent to which Joseph Smith's time and place were saturated with speculation about the origins of the northeastern Indian mounds

Tell me about the indian mounds just a few short years ago and I would have been ,"oh really, I never knew that". So what? I suppose we should also know about the saturation of the speculation over the Indians being descendents from Jews? Unless you make a direct connection to this influencing Joseph Smith, this argument is mute.

It usually turns out they've never heard of the Expositor.

you mena the newspaper the mormons burned down? Did you tell these naive Mormon aquaintances that mormon newspapers have been bured down? Did you tell them that smear propaganda, which was the prime purpose of the Expositoras it was founded by apostate mormons who have previously called for killing Joseph Smith? (And, say, didn't Joseph and Hyrum Smith get murdered while under the express "protection" of Governor Ford? Why yes, yes they did). Did you tell the Mormons oblivious to their own history that said smears have resulted in attacking Mormons, murdering them, ransacking their homes and property? Did you inform these ignoramous mormons that the reason the mormons had the full legal power to shut down the Expositor was because instead of protecting their freedom of religion, the state of Illinois chartered them their own policing rights? And I'm sure you informed your poor Mormon friends that while burning down the press was illegal, it was a civil matter; not criminal? And what did the court of law rule regarding this incident?

Sometimes they seem not to know that polygamy was contested in the early Church,

OK, so they didn't know this. I learnedabout it during high school seminary. Were these aquaintances new members?

And they seem never to have thought about the possibility that Brigham Young was a traitor for sending soldiers out against federal troops in the Utah War

Really? My understanding is that the mormons were denounced as traitors and that's why the US troops were sent in the first place. So, tell me, Openminded, if you were wit a gropu of people who went into a self-imposed exile and traveled thousands of miles on foot (well, carts were used too), to a God-forsaken deset land called Utah today, and federal troops were srnt on completely fabricated charges against your people that you'd side with the federal government? If you would then, wow, I thought you were liberal. so, educate us on the utah war. Specifically on who declared Brigham younf a traitor and why. I'm all ears.

(con't)

Darren said...

(con't)

or that he was guilty of obstruction of justice for failing to adequately investigate Mountain Meadows

Say what!?!?!? Are you saying that Brigham young did a shabby investigation and had John D. Lee shot just to get the investigation over with? Or didn't Brigham Young investigate and report to the federal government all he was told from John D. Lee and that it was the, get this, *Utah War* which delayed the initial federal investigation?

and the resulting ignorance of course helps "faith" do its work,

Ummmm, who's being ignorant?

There are some Jews who understand that maybe instead of honoring the Maccabees with the holiday of Chanuka we should think of them as the violent religious fundamentalists of their day

I vote for Chanuka myself. can I vote?

Pops said...

Without a doubt, those things would impress me deeply were I to see them.

You cannot see what you don't first believe, or are willing to believe. It would be nothing more than some kind of deception to you, just as it was to the unbelieving of the Jews who witnessed the miracles and then proceeded to crucify Jesus.

The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was a significant miracle. Those who were present, without exception, confirm that to be the case. Yet you dismiss it as some kind of sleight of hand - they're liars, the whole lot of them, you say.

You dismiss the Book of Mormon as useless because it doesn't rise to the level of great literature. Yet it was intentionally written to be plain and clear rather than poetic and abstruse. The real problem you have with the book is that you have no use for God.

Miracles don't convert. Reason and logic don't convert. What converts is living the commandments and experiencing the effect. What converts is seeking God with a willingness to obey whatever might be revealed, and following through. What converts is conducting a personal experiment on the word of God, an experiment that must involve the heart and not just the head.

You see, the requirement of faith does not imply forcing oneself to believe something irrational; rather, it requires a willingness to act on something to see what results. At the end of the day, it is infinitely more rational than all the book learning, reasoning, and philosophizing in the world because it reveals rock-solid truth rather than theories about what the truth might be.

Darren said...

Darren, it was not my intent to set anyone up for an attack, least of all Eveningsun. I am just curious what kind of evidence it might take for a non-believer to believe.

Good for you. Didn't I give you a big heads up on what mostl ikely *won't* convert? After openminded linked faith with ignorance, you now want to understand what signs he'd believe in?

Apparently we are to prove ourselves first through faith, which can then become knowledge afterward. I don't know of any shortcuts to knowledge of that type.

I agree 100,000%. Mormonism hasn't left you entirely. ;>)

Boy, that second paragraph was pretty unintelligible

No problemo. I'm the king of grammar omissions and errors. To me blogging is like hte gym. I'll get better at and more careful with grammar as I do it. Just like I don't have to get fit to go to the gym, I don't have to be grammatically perfect to blog. As I go to the gym (I don't in reality) I'll get stronger and more healthy. As I blog, I'll strengthen my grammar.

As for attacking Eveningsun, it was more of a challenge and with some contempt for what he wrote and the manner which he wrote it.

Darren said...

OOPS!!!

Was I absent minded tonight or what? My remarks regarding the Book of Mormon's literary geatness as well as defending Brigham Young (and Mormonism ingeneral I guess) was intended entirely to Eveningsun; not Openminded.

(Sheesh, how embarassing?)

Anonymous said...

It would be nothing more than some kind of deception to you, just as it was to the unbelieving of the Jews who witnessed the miracles and then proceeded to crucify Jesus.

Sigh....

The Jews didn't crucify Jesus. The Romans did. The Jews executed people by stoning, the Romans by crucifixion.

A generation or so after the fact, people tried to finesse the question of how to blame the Jews for something actually done by the Romans, resulting in those highly implausible stories in which the Roman authority Pilate really, really didn't want to execute Jesus but just had to do it because the Jewish crowd insisted on it. Because, you know, the Romans were just so reluctant to kill, and so accommodating to the wishes of their underlings.

Sad to say, the "Christ-killer" myth (with the aid of that nasty bit in John about the Jews being "liars from the beginning" and the children of Satan) went on to motivate centuries of murderous antisemitic violence.

Happy to say, this same mythology has never been embraced by the LDS Church, and I'm quite surprised to see it dredged up on this blog. I could be mistaken, Pops, but I think you're really off the reservation on this one. You might want to check with the LDS authorities. If the Church does hold that the Jews killed Christ I'll be severely disappointed, as I thought the Church was above such things.

Bearyb, I think you're right in what you "are beginning to see," namely that for the believer faith comes before evidence, not the other way around.

Darren, I can assure you that I'm aware of the persecution of the Mormons. Oddly enough, my interlocutors seem to know much more about that persecution than they do about less faith-affirming aspects of Mormon history. Why, it's almost as if their education on these matters has been one-sided! My education about Jewish history and belief was also quite biased. But I've tried to grow beyond what I learned only from one source. I've tried to understand my people's history and beliefs in terms of a higher standard. Hence I've concluded that the Canaanite genocide (if in fact it happened and is not merely legendary) was deeply immoral, that the Pharisees' collaboration with the Roman imperialists was cowardly and craven, that the segregation of women in orthodox worship is wrong, that Menachem Begin's terrorism was inexcusable, etc. These moral judgements are not affected by the fact of antisemitism. Persecution does not automatically excuse immorality.

Is it too much to ask that you consider the less savory aspects of Mormon history with less petty favoritism and a bit more rigor? With a little less tribalistic team spirit and a little more respect for the truth? Justice is not partisan to your church or any other. Brigham Young's failure to bring to justice those involved in Mountain Meadows was craven and immoral, period. His treason is not excusable by circumstances. Neither is the destruction of the Expositor. To think otherwise is to engage in the worst kind of self-serving moral relativism.

It doesn't reflect well on the Church, either.

-- Eveningsun

Darren said...

Eveningsun;

resulting in those highly implausible stories in which the Roman authority Pilate really, really didn't want to execute Jesus but just had to do it because the Jewish crowd insisted on it

And this isn't historical?

22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.


Mathew 27:22-24

I thought you believed in the historical aspects of the Bible.

Because, you know, the Romans were just so reluctant to kill, and so accommodating to the wishes of their underlings

Yes, based upon crimes committed they executed people. But isn't that what Pilate was questioning upon the crowd? What crime (breaking Roman law) did Jesus commit?

with the aid of that nasty bit in John about the Jews being "liars from the beginning" and the children of Satan

That would be John 8:44, correct? Jesus was speaking to the Jews who would kill Him and these are they who are murderers but as for those who believe: 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

For those who did not believe: 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. Therefore, those who sought to kill Jesus were servants of the devil. Not only did I cite Mathew where the crowds demanded Jesu to be killed but read the very last verse in John 8: 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Happy to say, this same mythology has never been embraced by the LDS Church, and I'm quite surprised to see it dredged up on this blog.

You're correct about the LDS Church not being anti-Semitic but you're the one who "dredged up the notion that Jews have been falsely accused fo crucifying Jesus. Yes, the Romans did the dirty work and unjustly so. No doubt they too will be held accountable before the father for killing His Ony Begotten Son but saying that the Jews crucufied Jeuss is factually correct according to the Bible.

(con't)

Darren said...

(con't)

RE: Jewish immorality:

You and I have spoken before regarding the immorality of the Jews. I believe God commanded the caananites to be slaughtered and therefre it was not imoral to do so. You yourself are very blessed to the extent that the Hebrews did carry out enough of that command to at least gain the land for a while; though their downfall from not fulfilling *all* what God commanded was inevitable. The descendents of these Hebrews paid dearly for their neglegance.

Is it too much to ask that you consider the less savory aspects of Mormon history with less petty favoritism and a bit more rigor? With a little less tribalistic team spirit and a little more respect for the truth?

No, it's not too much to ask for but isn't that what I asked from you?

Brigham Young's failure to bring to justice those involved in Mountain Meadows was craven and immoral, period.

Do explain. Show how he was neglegent when it was the duty of the federal government to investigate the incident.

His treason is not excusable by circumstances.

Here I explicitly invited / challenged you to "educate me" on this matter. Who accused him of being a traitor and why? And what of the Mormons already being declared traitors before the troops were sent?

Neither is the destruction of the Expositor.

Sir, if I were to liable you which caused grave harm to you, your famiy, and those you were leading, as well as the destruction of your home and properties as well as the homes and properties of your community, would you not hae the full legal right to supress my written publications? How both you and I are in agreement that burning down the press was illegal and also not necessary (though considering the circumstances I do not find it morally unjust; nor overdone) but it is hardly the deeply concerned issue as it is commonly portrayed to be. The LDS Church was taken before a court of law but yet found not liable for anything. Why is that? The LDS Church could have then arguably won a lawsuit against the state for not protecting their freedom of religion, yet the Church erred on the side of peace instead. What's also left out is that the Mormon militia could have easily defeated the mob coming against Joseph Smith, which everyone knew was coming; yet the Mormons did nothing. The Expositor is frequently cited as a case where mormons are just bad people. My reply to you is to precisely demonstrate a procurement for truth, just like you are asking for.

It doesn't reflect well on the Church, either.

Your depictions don't reflect well on the LDS Church and that's your biased objective.

Anonymous said...

Sir, if I were to libel you which caused grave harm to you, your family, and those you were leading, as well as the destruction of your home and properties as well as the homes and properties of your community, would you not have the full legal right to suppress my written publications?

No. No. No. Absolutely not. That's SO wrong I can't believe you actually wrote it.

If someone libels you, you have a right to sue that person in court. You don't have a right to personally suppress anyone's publication without first going to court and winning your case (or at least a temporary injunction).

And being libeled certainly doesn't give you the right to destroy a printing press.

What you're saying, Darren, is that being libeled gives one the right to engage in vigilantism. That's diametrically opposed to the rule of law, not to mention profoundly un-American.

You're also advocating a "shoot the messenger" approach. Maybe, um, it would have been better if Joseph Smith had not started practicing polygamy in the first place? At the very least, once he did start taking multiple wives, maybe he should have done it openly and explained the rationale for it? It was a stupid misjudgement for him to think his activities would not be exposed.

Here I explicitly invited / challenged you to "educate me" on this matter. Who accused him of being a traitor and why?

My first response here is to say, It's YOUR faith and YOUR history, so get off your you-know-what and educate YOURSELF! But okay, fine, I'll fill you in just a bit, in the hope that you'll show enough initiative to learn more on your own. Young was accused of treason by Alfred Cumming, who had been chosen by the President of the United States to replace Young as Governor of Utah Territory. The U.S. Constitution explicitly defines "treason" as levying war against the United States, which is precisely what Brigham Young did when he sent out the Nauvoo Legion to fight federal troops.* It's an open-and-shut case; lucky for Young, he was pardoned.

-- Eveningsun

* Really, how smart do you have to be to realize it's not a good idea to send your own militia out to fight the United States Army? Don't get me wrong; Young was a very smart guy. But I'd say that in this instance his faith led him to do something really, really dumb.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Darren, yes, there was. Sorry if you had to rewrite. Want me to delete a surplus one?

Jeff Lindsay: said...

One thing some of you might be missing is the intriguing incidence of some known Hebraic word pairs that nobody could infer from the KJV text alone because they aren't translated that way in English. At least it's intriguing, no?

Jeff Lindsay: said...

The highway/roads example is what I had in mind especially:

The Hebrew word derek is never translated with the English word road in the KJV, even though that is its most basic meaning. The English words highway and road do not occur in the same verse anywhere in the KJV, yet highway//road is an accurate translation of mesillah//derek, which occurs in the English of the KJV as highway//way. This circumstance tends to suggest that the source of this word pair in the Book of Mormon was not the English of the KJV.

Anonymous said...

I believe God commanded the Canaanites to be slaughtered and therefore it was not immoral to do so.

Wow.

-- Eveningsun

Darren said...

No. No. No. Absolutely not. That's SO wrong I can't believe you actually wrote it.

Really? You don't agree that you have the right to go to court and suppress my labeling you? Wait a second...You don't have a right to personally suppress anyone's publication without first going to court and winning your case (or at least a temporary injunction). Why, yes, yes you do agree. I never said you have the right to personally suppress said publication; just that you had the right to do so.

And the rights which you and I agree you have are no different than the rights the Mormons in Nauvoo exercised in shutting down the Expositor.

The "Mormon Charter" was give to mormons to settle in Illinois. This gave the mormons rights to their own curts and militia. bith Democrats and Republicans apparently wanted to court the Mormon voting block and so were generous in giving the mormons all sorts of sel-autonomy goodies. The state legislature voted Joseph Smith as Lieutenant General of the Mormon militia. Using their legal authority the Mormons shut down the Expositor. The only thing illehgal was destroying the type. Those responsible were brought before a court of law and they were found not guilty. Period. End of story.

Why destroy the press? Well, why were the Mormons in Illinois. i mean, everything was all nice and hunky dory in Missouri frthe Saints except for the small extermination order signed by Governor Boggs. And why would astate governor do such a thing? Why, because of the smears against the Mormons. As I mentioned before, mormons were murdered and beatedn and their properties destroyed in large part because of smears. And what was the Expositor's main goal? To smear the Mormons. I seems to me you're the one in need of an education. Pehaps a collegue of yours can educated you on all this. But don't ask one of your Mormon buddies. Apparently they're too ignorant and binded by faith to educate you.

Darren said...

Eveningsun;

My first response here is to say, It's YOUR faith and YOUR history, so get off your you-know-what and educate YOURSELF!

I don't need a pompous blowheart to tell me to educate myself. Especially one who's self-annointed mission is to discredit the LDS Church and since it was you who waged the accusation and therefore incumbant upon *you* to provided details. Your citation of Alfred Cumming of Georgia is a very VERY limited scope of what happened. President Buchanan, based primarily on,e smears (wow, of all things) declared the mormons as being in insurrection, decided to replace Governor Young (yeah, like that would pacify the mormons even if they were in insurrection), amassed 2,500 troops to accompany the new governor to the Utah Territory as soon as said governor was chosen. Talk about stupid, Buchanan held a PhD. in it.To further hs naivety, he honestly thought that the mormons would welcome these federal troops and the mormon women would flock to them to be saved from the dread of polygamy.

Thomas G. Alexander is a noted historian of Utah and I took a class from him at BYU. From chapter 6; page 126 i Alexander's book called Utah: The Right Place we read Brigham young's intention with the arrival of the US troops: Young decreed that the troops must not enter the territory but said that if the new appointees wanted to come, "& they would behave themselves well they would be wlel treated"

That's not insurrection, that's accomodating. It was the sending of troops which concerned Young and the Saints. Of the same page cited above we read that the mormons worried of, "a rerun of the burning, murder, rape, that the mormons suffered at the hands of state militia and mobs in Missouri and Illinois". (And please remember that it was smears which was a primary cause of all this). furthermore, Alexander noted that President Buchanan never sent an official letter to Young informing him of his removal, nor ofthe new appointees, nor of the troops to be sent as escort. So should news of the coming of 2,500 troops be welcomed in the Mormon community? Especially with their history?

Mormons used stalling tactis to delay the the arrival of the federal troops. This included destroying a Fort Brager (owned by the Mormons) and Fort Supply (also owned by the Mormons), fortifying Echo Canyon in case the troops would attack Salt Lake city, and prepaerd the Saints for war which included not selling any arms to any outsider and keepng relations with the Indians favorable to the Mormons. Most notable preparation was the mormon's readiness to burn their bulidings to the ground rather than allow the troops to seize them. Thus far, resistence was quite passive. Far from being insurrectory and "treacherous"

As word spread of Buchanan's handling of the Utah "War" the populaous began to empathize wit the Mormons and ridicule Buchanan's very poor handling ofthe situation. Buchanan accepted Thomas L. Kane's hel pto mediate the situation. Alfred Cummings was not "antyi-Mormon" as General Johnston of the federal troops was and so Cummings sought reconciliation instead of conflict. Young and other church leaders met with Cummings and showed him the court records that wre supposed ot have been destroyed by the mormon "insurrection" andclrearly they were not destroyed, nor abused as per the accusations. Johnston still wanted to wage a battle but Buchanan rejected such an aproach. Both he and Cummings sought a peaceful transfer of power. Both Buchanan and Cummings favored Buchanan's draft of amnesty which all Saints would be pardoned if they submitted themselves to the authority and power of the federal government. LDS leaders met and while adomently denied the charge of treason and sedition as written in Buchanan's amnesty draft, they accepted the terms for amnesty. Young really did not care what he was called so long as fighting could be avoided.

Darren said...

So, Eveningsun, I find your proclamations of "traitor" and relief that young recieved a pardon quite disingenuous. You misrepresented the history behind the Utah War in a significant way. Since it is your own admission that you seek to discredit the LDS Church I highly wonder, though dhave not concluded, if your misrepresentation was deliberate, though, as I said, I don't think so; just misinformed.

Darren said...

Jeff;

Thank you for pulling out my post. I actually posted the request to seek for them twice but they both disappeared though clearly you received them. Fortunately I decided not to retype my post until I heard back from you so there is no duplicate to delete that I can see.

Sorry to go off on such a big tangent. I'll try to focus back on theis thread's main topic.

Darren said...

Wow.

Amen would be more accurate but ot each his own I guess.

Darren said...

Eveningsun;

This will be the last time I'll continue this tangent line of comments. I'll allow you the last word.

You're also advocating a "shoot the messenger" approach. Maybe, um, it would have been better if Joseph Smith had not started practicing polygamy in the first place? At the very least, once he did start taking multiple wives, maybe he should have done it openly and explained the rationale for it? It was a stupid misjudgement for him to think his activities would not be exposed.


Joseph Smith kept the practice secret *precisely* because ofthe backlash of persecution which was triggered as the world can witness after the practice was made known. Joseph Smith did not want polygamy and only practiced it after being explicitly commanded by God to practice it.

Darren said...

Jeff;

8 And there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place.

3 Nephi 6:8

That is fascinating. I don't think I would have ever seen this as a Hebraic word pair.

Anonymous said...

The Hebrew word derek IS never translated with the English word road in the KJV, even though that IS its most basic meaning.

Sigh.... Let me see if I can even start to convey the problems here. Please bear with me.

The KJV was produced in the late 1500s and very early 1600s. At that time, an Englishman quite possibly would NOT have said that "road" is the most basic meaning of "derek," because at that time "road" was a comparatively new word compared to "highway," which even then had been in common use for centuries (see the Oxford English Dictionary).

What counts here is the lexical status of "road" in ca. 1600, in 1830 when Joseph Smith used it, and in 2012 when people encounter it in amateurish apologetics.

Languages change over time, especially (but certainly not only) in the nuances. In the time of the KJV, "highway," being the older, deeper-rooted term, would have conveyed a quite different sense than "road." But by Smith's time, "road" is also many centuries old, and that distinction is mostly lost on him and his readers. In light of the tremendous importance of the time differential, it makes little sense to speak of a word's single "most basic meaning."

The translators of the KJV were very sensitive to the nuances of the language they worked with. Smith, not so much. Anyway, it makes no sense to speak of a word's "most basic meaning" as if that meaning were the same across the centuries, and even less sense to build an apologetic argument on top of that mistake.

-- Eveningsun

bearyb said...

Eveningsun, some faith might come before evidence, but if it did, it would be very little. Something I would say on the order of someone's "desire to believe" as explained in Alma. After that, faith would continue based on evidence.

The kind of evidence you seem to seek would not be the faith promoting kind, and in fact would leave no room for belief of any kind. What you seem to seek is knowledge beyond doubt. I must agree that the witnessing of miracles without first having faith would not promote faith. It would only tend to raise questions and open avenues for critique.

Jeff has been very diligent in trying to bring to general knowledge certain facts about the BoM that ARE intriguing. Taken alone, these "evidences" might not be very convincing. But more and more things are beginning to surface that are building quite a case for the BoM being what it claims to be. As each evidence surfaces, it is less and less likely that the likes of Joseph Smith, whom you yourself have judged to be no great literary figure, could have compiled such a volume on his own, or even with any earthly help that might have been available to him at the time.

The stated purpose of the book being to convince Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, where are your arguments against it on those grounds?

Darren said...

The KJV was produced in the late 1500s and very early 1600s. At that time, an Englishman quite possibly would NOT have said that "road" is the most basic meaning of "derek," because at that time "road" was a comparatively new word compared to "highway," which even then had been in common use for centuries (see the Oxford English Dictionary).


So it's now more likely that Smith did not plagarize the King James Version afterall. So much for that vastly repeated argument by others.

Darren said...

Eveningsun;

I do enjoy etymology so I like your post regarding "road". Here's a quick reference:

road

O.E. rad "riding, hostile incursion," from P.Gmc. *ridanan, source of O.E. ridan (see ride). Also related to raid. In M.E., "a riding, a journey;" sense of "open way for traveling between two places" is first recorded 1590s. Modern spelling established 18c. Roadster "open two-seat automobile" is from 1908, earlier of light carriages (1892), originally "a ship lying near the shore" (1744), which is from the nautical sense of "narrow stretch of sheltered water" (early 14c., e.g. Hampton Roads in Virginia). Road test is from 1906. Road hog is attested from 1891; road rage is from 1988. Road map is from 1883; road trip is from c.1965.


Also related is "highway"

highway

O.E. heahweg "main road from one town to another;" see high (adj.) in sense of "main" + way. High street (O.E. heahstræte) was the word before 17c. applied to highways and main roads, whether in the country or town, especially one of the Roman roads. In more recent usage, it generally is the proper name of the street of a town which is built upon a highway and was the principal street of the place.


Both words are from Online Etymology Dictionary

Anonymous said...

The stated purpose of the book being to convince Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, where are your arguments against it on those grounds?

Well, why should I be convinced of something by a 19th-century Christian-nationalist fantasy written by someone like Joseph Smith?

Presumably you are convinced by it because you believe in the whole story of its authenticity. But I find it impossible to believe in its authenticity, and I have any number of good reasons not to. Here's one, since you asked. Supposedly, Smith translated 116 pages worth of the golden plates. Yet when the manuscript was "disappeared" by Mrs. Harris, and she basically said, "What's the problem? Joe has got the original, so he can just translate it again," he couldn't do it. Seems like a basic enough challenge, and had he been able to do so it would have been impressive indeed. What an opportunity he had to prove himself!

But instead of a retranslation from the source, which would have been easy enough to produce had Smith really possessed such a source, we get a convoluted story obviously designed to explain away the fact that he had no original to fall back on, only his own imagination, which however inventive was not going to be able to reproduce word for word the story thus far.

It's just so obviously bogus; why should it convince me? Right at the beginning, Smith was put to the test, and he flunked. Sorry.

As for all the supposed Hebraisms: Smith emulated the style of the KJV, which was translated from the Hebrew texts, so of course some Hebraisms will be found. Big whoop. Also, of course, it's a lengthy book, and it's only natural to expect that some things that look like Hebraisms, yet aren't in the KJV, will be found, wholly by chance.

And finally, can we all go back and take a look at the purported chiasmus in Alma 36? Notice how convoluted Welch's argument is? Notice how hard he has to try to corral all the supposedly parallel elements into a chiastic structure? It's ludicrous. Now, this is chiasmus:

Whoever sheds the blood of man
By man shall his blood be shed.

The "crossing" pattern is clear. It works to powerful emotional effect. And it's not an artifact of the critic's own construction. It doesn't require pages of explanation. It doesn't require that we elide whole passages like Welch does with Alma 36.

-- Eveningsun

bearyb said...

I think it has been clearly understood that the reason the 116 pages were not re-translated was to avoid comparisons of any re-translation with altered text of the original transtranslation. Perhaps you actually think that whomever took the pages were motivated by an honest curiosity to see if an accurate translation could be accomplished, but I don't think "honesty" would likely have been among their character traits.
K
The evidences of chiasmus are intriguing. They show constructive complexity in ways that should be evident given the purported origins of the BoM. That some might be coincidental is a given understanding. But again, it is only one small aspect of some of the evidences that have been uncovered that support the authenticity of the BoM.

But no physical evidence has nor likely ever will be uncovered that will prove who Christ was or the significance of what He did for us. I'm pretty sure that if you insist on such evidence, you will end up disappointed. You probably already "know" that though...

Darren said...

Also, of course, it's a lengthy book, and it's only natural to expect that some things that look like Hebraisms, yet aren't in the KJV, will be found, wholly by chance.

No, not by chance, it's a pattern found. When connecting the relationship between two langages, you find the patterns. In this case it's the Hebraic writing styles of the Bible and Book of Mormon. If the bok of Mormon had a lack of chiasmus then you'd have a good argument supporting the lack of Hebrew in the Book of Mormon writing.

And finally, can we all go back and take a look at the purported chiasmus in Alma 36? Notice how convoluted Welch's argument is?

I don't find it convoluted at all. Just look at Alma 36: A Masterpiece of Chiasmus from a guy name Jeff Lindsay. There are 34lines of Hebrew word pairs shown by Welch in Alma 36. Mathametically-speaking lines 17 & 18 are the medium. And what are the medium about? Jesus Christ. The Chiasmus were designed to explain of alma's conversion to the Lord. Is it coincidence that the chiasmus centers around Jesus Christ as was Alama's conversion to God? (As should anyone's conversion should be, including mine and yours). That's plain and simple truth spoken in the book of mormon. Did Joseph Smith just happen to write about a conversion to God centered on Christ in a typical Hebrew chiasmus form because he was familiar with the writing style of the King James Version ofthe Bible? While I'm obviously not as smart as you, I say that I don't think so. And how long did it take for me to explain that chiasmus to you? Not long at all. I didn't even write a book about it; nor take up "pages" of info. Alma 36 is a powerfu lstory and written quite poetically.

Now, this is chiasmus:

Whoever sheds the blood of man
By man shall his blood be shed.


So, this is your choice to show a strong chiasmus which shames Alma 36? Your chismus, which I do agree is powerful and emotional, has 13 words. That's less words 21 than the number of lines of chiasmus Welch shows in Alma 36 which is derived from a total of around 1,200 words. to me, it seems that your chiasmus is very simple to construct and maybe that's what you were getting at but doing so shows a week argument of how Alma 36 is void of profoundness. It seems like it'smuch more of a challenge to write around 1,200 words an yet remain true to Hebraic chiasmus. not mucch of a chance that this is all chance, eh?

I'm also curious. You cited a chiasmus as good/great writing a passage which calls for killing people. Normally you cringe at this thought and given your liberal outlook on life I wouls assume this includes capital punishment. Not too long ago you were expressing concern over the ancient Jews as killers; now you cite their belief in killing as good writing? What's the consistency? I fail to see it.

Pops said...

And being libeled certainly doesn't give you the right to destroy a printing press.

There most certainly are occasions when the prudent thing is to destroy the printing press.

Pops said...

A generation or so after the fact, people tried to finesse the question of how to blame the Jews for something actually done by the Romans, resulting in those highly implausible stories in which the Roman authority Pilate really, really didn't want to execute Jesus but just had to do it because the Jewish crowd insisted on it.

Of course you need to back up that claim. The only documentation I'm aware of states explicitly that Jesus was crucified in response to the insistence of Jewish leaders that he be put to death. Pilate had already gotten into serious trouble with Caesar for failing to respect the wishes of the Jews.

Anonymous said...

There most certainly are occasions when the prudent thing is to destroy the printing press.

Given the way that the destruction of the Expositor press led to Smith's murder, it seemed somewhat less than prudent.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

Darren, you're confusing literature with life. Literature that depicts immorality can be great literature. To admit this is not the same as condoning immorality in real life.

-- Eveningsun

Pops said...

Given the way that the destruction of the Expositor press led to Smith's murder, it seemed somewhat less than prudent.

More likely it wasn't destroyed it soon enough.

Darren said...

Darren, you're confusing literature with life. Literature that depicts immorality can be great literature. To admit this is not the same as condoning immorality in real life.

In real life, did or did not the ancient Jews kill people they deemed should die? Your chosen chiasmus clearly says so. I fully realize you can cite literature as good without condoning or condemning the topic of the cited work. But you have previously cited the bible to show unfairness towards the Jews in that they are declared as killers so I guess I'm curious as to what you think about capital punishment by the Jews. Ddi it make them killers?

bearyb said...

...you're confusing literature with life.

Eveningsun, if I have interpreted the gist of many of your posts, you seem to confuse the importance of whether certain scripture is great literature with the importance of the message it carries. Or you critique the literary value of it at the expense of the discussion at hand.

Your writing style seems consistent with one who knows a lot about language, and the English language in particular. Even if I don't agree with your opinions, at least I respect your ability to state them in an intelligent way.

Now, what do you know about the language of the Spirit?

Anonymous said...

You seem to confuse the importance of whether certain scripture is great literature with the importance of the message it carries.

Fair enough. Let me clarify. It is Mormon apologists, not me, who say that the Book of Mormon must be authentic because it is just too darned awesome to have been written in just a few months by someone with Joseph Smith's limited formal education.

My response is that actually the BoM is not all that awesome. It's repetitious, limited in vocabulary, etc., etc., and this poor literary quality makes it much more likely that it COULD have been cranked out by someone like Smith.

I'm not saying that, as a general rule, literary quality is necessary for expressing theological truth. That's not what I'm arguing here. I'm only arguing against one specific idea: that the BoM couldn't have been written by Smith because its literary quality is too high. I'm saying no, its literary quality is low enough that it COULD have been written by Smith, even with his lack of formal education.

Or you critique the literary value of it at the expense of the discussion at hand.

It's true that Jeff doesn't extol the literary virtues of the BoM, and in that sense I will apologize for being off-topic. On the other hand, the book's literary quality is very much a part of some of the readings that Jeff links to. It was Jeff who suggested we read "The Psalm of Nephi: A Lyric Reading," in which Steven Sondrup argues for the poetic wonderfulness of 2 Nephi 4:16-35. To the extent that this and other linked material is part of the "discussion at hand," I'm not wholly off-topic.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

More likely it wasn't destroyed soon enough.

For criminals as for the rest of us, timing is everything.

-- Eveningsun

Darren said...

It is Mormon apologists, not me, who say that the Book of Mormon must be authentic because it is just too darned awesome to have been written in just a few months by someone with Joseph Smith's limited formal education.


Actually, the apologists I'm aware of say that this is *one reason* which shows the Book of mormon to be true and Joseph Smith's story to be authentic.

My response is that actually the BoM is not all that awesome. It's repetitious, limited in vocabulary, etc., etc., and this poor literary quality makes it much more likely that it COULD have been cranked out by someone like Smith.

Given the high repetitions, low vocabulary level, and poor literary quality (and that's your opinion, definitely not mine) how long would you say it would have taken for Joseph Smith to make all this stuff up? A year or so perhaps? and please don't forget to place Joseph in his proper time and place. No computers, Word Perfect, Word, internet, access to libraries, or even an abundance of pens where he could have bought a pack of ten for a dollar at WalMart.

Anonymous said...

Given the high repetitions, low vocabulary level, and poor literary quality (and that's your opinion, definitely not mine) how long would you say it would have taken for Joseph Smith to make all this stuff up?

I'd say a couple of months.

-- Eveningsun

Darren said...

Eveningsun;

A 500 page book in a couple of months? Wow. I don't think even writers of children's books could do that even with today's writing conveniences.

Strang how you think so.

Darren said...

Writing a book as quickly as eight weeks assumes that either you don't need to do much research for the book, or you write your first draft without doing much research and then you do the research afterward (or have someone else do some of the research for you).

You'll write faster (and you'll write a better book) if you spend time before the writing to clarify your goals in writing a book, the audience or market for the book, the book concept, including features, tone, how the book fits in with what's currently out there, and the outline of your book.

How fast you write a book also depends on how much time you commit per week. However, just because you devote yourself full time to writing doesn't mean you'll have your book any sooner than someone who has a full time job. Sometimes the people with demanding jobs are the best at making the most of the 30 or 90 minutes a day they devote to writing a book.

While I can't tell you how long it will take you to write your book, I do know that those who consistently make writing appointments in their calendars and hold themselves to it (often with the support of a writing buddy, book coach or a book writing class) can often predict, after a few weeks, how soon they'll have a first draft


Joseph Smith's "research" was placing his head in a hat. No recored whatsoever that I'm aware that he researched the Bible or anything else in order to research the story of the Book of Mormon. For such a low-level lexicon read, Jeoseph apparently possesed extraordinary skill in memorizing the Bible if he plagiarized it.

How Much Time Does it Take to Write a Book?

Anonymous said...

Joseph Smith's "research" was placing his head in a hat. No record whatsoever that I'm aware that he researched the Bible....

So now, Darren, you're arguing that Joseph Smith wasn't familiar with the Bible?

Game over. It's time to move on.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

It's time to move on.

So move on.

Darren said...

So now, Darren, you're arguing that Joseph Smith wasn't familiar with the Bible?

Game over. It's time to move on.


Go ahead and cte verse after verse from several chapters of Isaiah. You can vary your wording here and there but said variations need to conform to other sources of Isaiah not avaiable to you when you write them down.

Anonymous said...

They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.

-- Eveningsun

Darren said...

They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.


Quaint little verse there. Obviously you're ready to write a 50 page book and "plagiarize" Isaiah as well as word choice while by dictating to a scribe the words he should write while your head is buried in a hat.