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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Another Surprise in the Dictated Language of the Book of Mormon

For those of you following the surprising findings regarding the language of the Book of Mormon as originally dictated by Joseph Smith, there's a new set of data to consider that shatters some common assumptions.

For many decades, Latter-day Saints naturally assumed that Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon in his own language. Exactly how was always unclear: was he given precise information in his own dialect, or just general concepts that he had to express in his own language with a KJV twist, or was there some other route? From what we learned through Royal Skousen's detailed work on the Book of Mormon manuscripts about the text that Joseph's scribes recorded language directly from his dictation, some of us felt rather embarrassed at just how awkward that dialect was, loaded with objectionable "hick" grammar. Awkward!

Then came further surprising findings from Royal Skousen that many of the things we took as bad grammar are actually acceptable grammar from the Early Modern English era, but with features that cannot simply be obtained by imitating the King James Version of the Bible. This has been expanded with detailed work from Stanford Carmack showing that many features correspond with Early Modern English from a couple of decades or so before the KJV. So strange! But that's what the data demonstrate.

In response, proposals for a non-miraculous translation of the Book of Mormon then included the idea that this non-standard patterns from Early Modern English represented artifacts that persisted in Joseph's dialect while becoming extinct in standard English. For example, the awkward "in them days" found in the dictated text is still found in places like York, England (at least among some of its educated people). So in light of the newly discovered Early Modern English content in the Book of Mormon, it is natural to assume that all those awkward expressions in the dictated Book of Mormon represented fossilized archaic forms in Joseph's dialect, mingled with scripture and scriptural language from the KJV.

However, this latest assumption that all these Early Modern English forms were just part of Joseph's odd dialect can be tested in several ways. The most direct way is to look at Joseph's own language in a time frame close to the Book of Mormon project and see if those fossils of Early Modern English actually exist. This is what Stanford Carmack has done in his latest contribution, "How Joseph Smith’s Grammar Differed from Book of Mormon Grammar: Evidence from the 1832 History," in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 25 (2017): 239-259. Here is an abstract:
Some of the grammar of Joseph Smith’s 1832 History is examined. Three archaic, extra-biblical features that occur quite frequently in the Book of Mormon are not present in the history, even though there was ample opportunity for use. Relevant usage in the 1832 History is typical of modern English, in line with independent linguistic studies. This leads to the conclusion that Joseph’s grammar was not archaizing in these three types of morphosyntax which are prominent in the earliest text of the Book of Mormon. This corroborating evidence also indicates that English words were transmitted to Joseph throughout the dictation of the Book of Mormon.
I previously attempted something similar using the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, where I was actually surprised at just how different that language was from the Book of Mormon (and also from other scholarship on early New England dialects). See “Did You Notice? What the Doctrine and Covenants Tells Us About the Earliest Text of the Book of Mormon” and “Another Test: The 1835 Doctrine and Covenants Use of Command Syntax and What It Tells Us About the Language in the Book of Mormon,” both from Aug. 2015.

The intricate details of the language in the dictated text suggest that its origins were not merely from Joseph's mind and tongue. Something else was going on. There is a fingerprint in the text that has been before us all these years, only know being brought out through detailed forensics. Call it miraculous or just a perplexingly clever fraud aided by unknown experts in Early Modern English, or maybe something else? In any case, the data compels reconsidering our lazy assumptions about how and what Joseph dictated.

88 comments:

Anonymous said...

...its origins were not merely from Joseph's mind and tongue.
Eliminate all evidence of his contemporaries who could have plausibly helped him author the book FIRST! Oliver, Sidney, and a whole cadre of others obviously COULD HAVE played a part in the creation of this book. This notion is MORE BELIEVABLE than the miraculous, and therefore MORE LIKELY to be true.
The miraculous must always be considered last, as that is the very definition of a miracle: the least likely thing to have happened.

Ramer said...

Anon,
How could Sidney Rigdon have "played a part in the creation?" He didn't even meet Joseph Smith until after the Book of Mormon was published.

Anonymous said...

The Doctrine & Covenants comparison is not a fair one to make. Most D&C revelations went through a pretty detailed revision and perfection process before being published. Also, Oliver was no longer the main scribe. If we are to believe the stories, Joseph dictated the BoM in a steady stream without taking time for much revision. I think between this process and the publication of the BoM, Joseph realized there were some issues with his attempt to imitate a standardized King James English. This in turn lead him to take more time with his revelations, and seek input from others in an attempt to get it right before heading to publication.

Anonymous said...

"acceptable grammar from the Early Modern English era"

Any grammar is acceptable grammar if there is no grammatical standard.

The BoM is not an Early Modern English text. It has grammatical usages that were also present in Early Modern English times, but it also has King James usages and modern usages. Also, the EmodE usages are from different times within the linguistic period. That would be like a teenager of today using the term "groovy." It fits within the overall linguistic period, but is anachronistic with the current, accepted vernacular.

Anonymous said...

Ramer, simply do one ounce of researching on your own and you'll find the PLAUSIBILITY of Rigdon's involvement. If it's plausible he was involved, that means it's MORE LIKELY than a miracle.
Seriously, you have access to the internet. Use it. Find out for YOURSELF. Just like I did.

mike said...

All of these arguments are basically Arguments from Ignorance . You can't explain how Smith did it, therfore it must be God! Alright you got me. I don't know how Smith did it. Demonstrate your God please.

Collin Simonsen said...

Mike, fair enough, but when people say, "God didn't do it because ... theory x,y,z" we can respond to those alternative theories.

I cannot demonstrate God for you except through my testimony and my good example (if I can). So I don't blame you for not believing God from that. But I do believe that He will reveal Himself to you if you seek Him sincerely.

Anonymous,

Maybe you would seem more authoritative about what is, or is not, Early Modern English, if you would reveal your identity. Right now, I am inclined to trust the PhD who has been working on this for 20 years more than an anonymous poster on the interwebs.

Anonymous said...

Colin,

My argument is one of logos, not ethos. A PhD who hasn't published his findings in a peer reviewed journal isn't producing PhD work. In other words, a Doctorate degree doesn't guarantee Doctorate-level material. Much like a prophet who isn't "speaking by the spirit" isn't speaking doctrine. . .

Ramer said...

Anonymous 10:45 PM June 22 -

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon hadn't even met until after the Book of Mormon was finished, so I can't see any plausibility of Rigdon being involved.

And for the record, I DID use the Internet. That's how I found out they didn't meet until later.

Also, as far as the miraculous possibility being considered last, normally I would agree, but considering that this is what Smith (and plenty of witnesses) said happened, I think this should be given more consideration. The only reason not to consider this would be if you're convinced beforehand Joseph was a liar/fraud/conman/whatever.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, many people throughout American history have claimed to have had miraculous contact with God. Mormons only believe one of these stories. Why? Are they convinced beforehand that the tellers of these stories are liars/frauds/conmen (& women)?

I've been intrigued for a while about the Mormon attitude that everyone should believe their miraculous story, but so readily discount other, similar stories. Why is that?

Ramer said...

Anon 6:48:

I can't speak for all Mormons, but I have no problem believing that others have had "miraculous contact with God." I would only doubt their stories if I read further on them and it feels like the visitations don't match with the God I know.

Bryce Dixon said...

I am curious why those who demand evidence of miracles are unwilling to give great weight to the convincing testimonies of Cowdery Whitney and Harris who never wavered in their emphatic affirmation that they saw and heard miracles. Ironically, because they testify of a miracle they are not believed. But Near Death Experiences are now largely accepted as facts as yet unexplained. William James catalogs religious experience in a famous book. Quantum Physics has observed spooky phenomenon and material behavior. The evidence of the miraculous regarding the production of the Book of Mormon is abundant. It takes some willful refusal to consider evidence to dismiss the Book of Mormon just because we don't understand how it came to be.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading Carmack's article comparing JS's 1832 history to BoM usage. Unfortunately, I didn't see myself cited as the impetus for preparing this treatment--I recommended this comparison months ago (see My response to Jeff's post of Jan. 10, 2017), when I made a word choice comparison between the texts and the Bible. Alas, anonymous posters on obscure blogs don't always get the credit they deserve.

Two glaring omissions stood out in Carmack's essay:

1. He doesn't address the fact (at least fact if we are to believe the accounts) that the BoM was transmitted verbally by JS. His history however, was written. Generally, verbal word choice and arrangement differ (sometimes very greatly) from written choices. As evidence of this, think about where prepositions start and end in your writing vs speaking, or if your subject/verb agreement always ends up correct when you are speaking. This is something I learned in my introductory linguistic class and is something that shouldn't be ignored.
2. The 1832 history doesn't always attempt to imitate biblical language as the BoM does. In his writing of the history, Joseph lapses from time-to-time into what sounds like BoM prose (word choice and phraseology are similar--see my Jan 10 response), but it's not a good apples-to-apples comparison grammatically, especially since the BoM isn't grammatically consistent 100% of the time. With such a small sample size in the history I'm not sure how you can make a fair assessment.

Anonymous said...

I just re-read my Jan response. I don't know how anyone can read the BoM intro and the 1832 JS history intro and not see the same author.

Anonymous said...

You're in the weeds, Bryce. Do some research outside your comfort zone and see what comes up. You too, Ramer.
If the stuff you believe is true, you have nothing to be afraid of when it comes to counter evidence, testimonies, and opinions.

Anonymous said...

For example, the awkward "in them days" found in the dictated text is still found in places like York, England....

One hardly needs to go to York, England to hear demonstrative them. It's still common in nonstandard American dialects today.

Anyway, which is the more likely scenario? ---

(1) that Joseph Smith tried to imitate the Jacobean English of the KJV, and in the process of doing so, he inadvertently produced the features that have so excited the faithful linguists over at the Interpreter? or

(2) that God and his prophets had some special reason for abandoning the eloquence of the Bible and expressing the putatively world-changing truths of the restoration in a clunky mixture of EModE and modern English?

-- OK

Anonymous said...

Anon 1222: How do you know for sure that your 10 Jan 2017 comment led to Carmack's article? Do you have insider knowledge of this? If not, then your comments shouldn't be taken seriously, since you will have begun with a grandiose assumption.

Anonymous said...

OK, your comment is heavily biased by animus and misleading as well. For every clunky thing you could cite, a non-clunky bit of extra-biblical, archaic usage could be cited. You really don't know what you're talking about, but it doesn't prevent you from making anti-Mormon comments that are inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:14, what exactly was anti-Mormon in my comment? There are more than a few Mormons who agree with me that the writing in the Book of Mormon is clunky and that the book is not ancient. Taking issue with a certain strand of apologetics hardly makes one anti-Mormon.

And which of my statements is inaccurate?

-- OK

Anonymous said...

OK, you don't study the text systematically, so you throw out inaccuracies much of the time, and of course you know that a few of your word choices indicate a scornful and a sarcastic tone, that view supported by past anti-Mormon behavior.

Ramer said...

OK,

Whether or not an event was likely or unlikely has no bearing on whether or not it actually happened; unlikely things can and do happen. Take the 2016 US Presidential election, for example - many people predicted Hillary Clinton would win, yet Donald Trump was the winner. (This is only used as an example, and is not meant to endorse or denounce either of the candidates.)

And to demonstrate the bias of your "which scenario is more likely" comment, here's one of my own.

Which is the more likely scenario?

1) NASA spent a ton of money to send three people to explore the Moon - an empty, lifeless world that anyone can look at and observe with binoculars or a telescope (or their naked eyes, even) - for just two hours?
OR
2) They spent a lot less money to fake the landings in order to convince Russia that the US was superior in space exploration?

Anonymous said...

Ramer, those astronauts really did land on the moon, and I'd be happy to show you incontrovertible proof of that fact, but gosh darn it, an angel took the proof away.

On a more serious note: prior to the election, the best polling gurus (e.g., Nate Silver) were giving Trump something like a 36 percent of winning, which is to say, his win was not all that unlikely. One might still say that, polls aside, it was inherently highly unlikely that a TV star with no political experience could win high office, except that experience has taught us otherwise (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Al Franken).

-- OK

Ramer said...

OK,

I have no doubt that astronauts landed on the moon. I never saw it myself, but those who would have been in on it continue to report that they really did land on the moon. Plenty of third party evidence has cropped up as well. All that adds up to: the Moon Landings were indeed real, just as NASA and the astronauts insist.

Similarly, I have no doubt that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from an ancient record. I haven't seen the plates myself, but those who have continued to testify until their dying day - even those who left the Church and fell out of favor with Joseph Smith, for that matter - that the golden plates were real, and the Book of Mormon is a divinely translated book of scripture. Plenty of third party evidence has cropped up as well. Just as before, all this adds up to: the Book of Mormon is nonfictional scripture, and Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ramer, I'm not saying miracles don't happen, it's just not very likely that they do. And when there's lots of evidence that they probably didn't, then they probably didn't.
Just a quick follow up: have you looked into anything regarding Rigdon's authorship connection, or are you happy to rest on what you think you know? I think you'll be surprised with the likelihoods that turn up. Same with Oliver and many others. It's LIKELY Joseph didn't act alone, and it's HIGHLY LIKELY he fabricated the origin story of the book, just as he fabricated the first vision story over time.

Ramer said...

Anon 4:25 PM:

I have heard of lots of alternate authorship theories, including ones involving Sidney Rigdon. I've looked deep into both the pro-Mormon claims and the anti-Mormon claims. And to borrow a phrase from Anon @ 10:56 PM June 24 (different anon I assume?), reading the alternate authorship theories is when I most feel like I'm "in the weeds."

For me, the pro-Mormon claims are the ones that make the most sense, as they match each other and make few assumptions. On the other hand, there are so many alternate authorship theories that at times it feels like critics are just throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks. Many of them contradict each other. I will admit that some seem more likely than others (i.e. it's more likely that Oliver was involved than Rigdon, given that they did know each other prior to the translation), but after investigating, something in them doesn't add up. It may contradict witness statements, it may make large leaps and assumptions, or it might merely be propaganda.

I will say, however, looking into these claims have broadened and enriched my understanding of the events. I did not know, for example, that Joseph Smith used a seer stone for much of the translation process. Overall, I would say that this experience has been a net positive for me.

Anonymous said...

Ramer, are you a life-long Mormon?

James Anglin said...

All these grammatical apologetic arguments seem to be based on some pretty naively applied linguistics. Stanford Carmack has a PhD, but I know an awful lot of people with PhDs (I'm a middle-aged professor), and they are not infallible. Some of them are practically crackpots. So I'm not inclined to just bow before Carmack's title. My experience of academic expertise is that it's precisely not about authority overruling common-sense questions. On the contrary, it starts by immediately acknowledging all of the common-sense questions and convincingly answering them.

In particular, tt seems like an obvious question to ask: What about the following possibility?

Joseph Smith tried to fake King James English, but he missed his target. He overdid some of the archaic elements and generally flubbed a few things. And so a linguistic methodology for dating natural texts, based on usage frequencies, classifies his text as more archaic than the KJB. The methodology doesn't properly consider whether a text might be a fraudulent construction that was produced with an anachronistic artificial mixture of dialects.

Anonymous said...

Ramer, I'm not going to try to convince you that the Book of Mormon is a 19th-century text. But I would like to suggest that when you make statements like this...

I have no doubt that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from an ancient record.... Plenty of third party evidence has cropped up as well. Just as before, all this adds up to: the Book of Mormon is nonfictional scripture, and Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God....

... you are mixing together several very different issues. For example, it is logically possible that the Book of Mormon is an ancient record, but nonetheless fictional (just like the Odyssey, the Book of Job, etc. are ancient and fictional). People have been composing fiction for a long, long time.

It is also possible (assuming a traditional Christian-supernatural framework) that the Book of Mormon is ancient, that it was discovered and translated by Joseph Smith with supernatural aid, but that the supernatural aid was provided by Satan rather than God. (Who can say? Is Satan so pitiful he cannot whip up some gold plates? that he cannot produce a reasonable facsimile of that ol' burning in the bosom? And would he not take satanic delight in the creation of a new religion to lead good people away from the true one?)

Basically, ancientness does not equal non-fiction, supernatural intervention does not equal God's intervention, etc. I guess I should add that, even if the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith are everything you say they are, that doesn't necessarily mean the LDS Church is true, no more than it means the Strangite Church or any of the other Mormon churches are true.

Just sayin'.

Also: James Anglin is spot-on about Carmack's faulty methodology.

-- OK

Phil said...

James Anglin,

Your theory of how the archaic pre-King James bible English found its way into the Book of Mormon is a plausible one for those who believe that Joseph Smith created it himself. However, for those of us who don't believe that Joseph Smith wrote it on his own, that theory doesn't hold water. I suppose you could apply that same theory to anyone else who one might think was Joseph's contemporary who could have written it. It all really boils down to whether one believes the translation is of God or of a mortal man. There is no way to prove it one way or the other (currently) to everyone, exactly the same way that there is no way to prove God's existence or the existence of an unseen spiritual world to everyone. We can provide evidence one way or the other, as in this article we are commenting on, to support each claim, but ultimately it is up to the individual to decide on his or her own, which way to believe. For those of us who believe in God and the supernatural, that is the way God intended it to be, so that we would be fully free to choose our own path in life, and not be "forced" to believe one way or the other. This way it is based on our innermost desires and our striving to find answers with the intention of acting on them in a positive and altruistic way, instead of just to "satisfy our curiousity", "consume it upon our lusts".

Ramer said...

OK:

It is logically possible that the Book of Mormon is an ancient record, but nonetheless fictional...
Fair enough. In my opinion, though, the third-party evidence (especially that in the Old World, i.e. NHM) is enough to convince me that it is, at least for the most part, nonfictional.

It is also possible... that the Book of Mormon is ancient, that it was discovered and translated by Joseph Smith with supernatural aid, but that the supernatural aid was provided by Satan rather than God.
This is indeed possible, although it doesn't seem very likely, considering the prophets in the BoM testify of Christ repeatedly (2 Nephi 25:26), and when He comes, He teaches the same principles taught in the Bible (Sermon on the Mount in 3 Nephi).

Ramer said...

Anon 5:27 PM June 27:

Yes, I am. Are you a non-Mormon?

Although now I'm afraid someone will accuse me of suffering from bias, delusion, cog dis, or whatever.

Ramer said...

James and Phil,

In my opinion, if God or Joseph wanted the plates to be translated into true KJV English, casual English, or even hick English, it could have been done. But I think EModE was chosen because it sounds like a simpler version of the scriptural KJV style most people know (prose instead of poetry).

Stanford Carmack said...

Let me try to clarify a few things.

One cannot accurately generalize and state that Book of Mormon grammar is more archaic than 1611 King James idiom. The latter is generally more archaic, but it is a complex issue.

Consider the past tense. The KJB eschewed the brief-lived, heavy, positive did-periphrasis that we see in the Book of Mormon. It followed the Tyndale tradition of Early Modern English Bibles and employed it less than 2% of the time. The BofM's 30% rate corresponds to usage primarily found between the 1530s and 1590s, although there are outliers in the 17c.

In this domain, KJB usage is actually more archaic, corresponding to 1520s Tyndale preferences. But if we exclude archaic simple past tense forms from consideration, the KJB appears to be more modern in this regard. Pseudo-biblical writings are modern in their usage.

Consider the present tense. There are hardly any verbs with present tense 3sg -s endings in the 1611 KJB, although if you look hard for them you can find them. The BofM appears to be about 7% 3sg -s. That could have been Joseph failing to employ -th endings at a low rate.

Shakespeare is about 15% has; BofM is about 8.5% has; KJB doesn't have any examples.
Shakespeare is about 24% does (1670s in EEBO); BofM is about 4.5% does (1630s in EEBO); the KJB doesn't have any examples (1530s in EEBO).

Here's a Shakespeare example with nearby does/doth variation:
"Why does the world report that Kate doth limp?"

The BofM has about 200 instances of the -th plural, an EModE phenomenon that is also found in late ME, but is increasingly rare after the year 1700. The BofM also employs present-tense, positive do-periphrasis at a rate that is significantly above biblical rates. So it has two elements that are early modern but extra-biblical, and that means that it is reasonable to take its 3sg -s usage to be early modern and extra-biblical.

The -s plural of EModE is like the -th plural. Here is one from Shakespeare:
"A flourish of trumpets, and two pieces goes off [within]."
The BofM has many instances of the -s plural, especially in phrases like "things which is", something that is not hard to find in EEBO.

So, both the past-tense and present-tense verbal systems of the BofM are extensively archaic and extra-biblical.

Anonymous said...

Ramer, thanks for responding. Allow me to respond to your claim that the third-party evidence (especially that in the Old World, i.e. NHM) is enough to convince me that it is, at least for the most part, nonfictional.

This to me seems (at best) to be evidence that the Book of Mormon is ancient, not that it is non-fictional.

There are plenty of texts that mention actual historical places, actual historical events, and actual historical practices --- as we see, for example, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which mentions the Mississippi River, the city of Cairo, the practice of slavery, etc., etc., yet is nonetheless completely fictional in its characters and story.

In the same way, it could be that the BoM is actually an ancient text, that Nahom was an actual ancient site, etc., yet that Lehi, Nephi, and the rest are as fictional as Huckleberry Finn and his companion Jim.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

... it is reasonable to take [the Book of Mormon's] 3sg -s usage to be early modern and extra-biblical.

Any chance that this sort of usage is simply Joseph writing in the nonstandard dialect he was accustomed to speaking?

Consider the 3sg -s usage in this passage from Mosiah 8:17:

But a seer can know of things which has passed
and also of things which is to come.


Is this evidence of some mysterious extra-biblical EModE --- or evidence of nonstandard 19th-C spoken English?

I think the cumom in the room in these linguistic analyses is the question of spoken dialect. (FWIW, the curelom in the room is the meaningless comparison of usage rates.)

-- OK

Stanford Carmack said...

In isolation, such things can be ascribed to a modern or an early modern source.
1638:
"Nor any thing else, her beauty makes me forget
All things that has no Reference to it."
1696:
"to write of those things which has already employ’d the Pens of so many worthy men."

That is of course why systematic analysis is important but not done and ignored by detractors such as yourself. Systematically, the entire verbal system, including the perfect and future tenses, and verb complementation, etc., is a comprehensive fit only with EModE.

There is variational matching like the following, which may be found in the 1700s, but would have become increasingly less common:

Alma 57:36
and I trust that the souls of them which has been slain
have entered into the rest of their God.

1681, Roger L’Estrange, The character of a papist in masquerade
the whole strain of them that has been taken off by the hand of Justice,
. . . have so behaved themselves at the last cast,

There is the following, which would have been rare in the 1700s, if it does occur then:

Alma 32:15
yea, much more blessed than they who art compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty

1548, Nicholas Udall (translator), Erasmus’s Paraphrase upon the New Testament, volume 1
And a man’s foes shall be they that art of his household.
(This is a paraphrase of Matthew 10:36, which reads without a verb: “they of his household”.)

1612, John Brinsley, The Grammar School
Experience teacheth that those which art apt will construe almost as soon without the book,

Stanford Carmack said...

There are well-formed, rare instances involving auxiliary variation such as:

1608, Edward Grimeston (translator), Jean Fran├žois le Petit’s A General History of the Netherlands
The said magistrates therefore command that every man shall govern himself according to their resolution aforesaid, and that every one should behave himself peaceably, without upbraiding or crossing one another, for any forepassed action,

Alma 61:13
But behold, he doth not command us that we shall subject ourselves to our enemies, but that we should put our trust in him and he will deliver us.



Jacob 5:65
And ye shall not clear away the bad thereof all at once,
lest the roots thereof should be too strong for the graft
and the graft thereof shall perish and I lose the trees of my vineyard,

This is the only lest construction with should/shall mixture in the Book of Mormon. Also, the last conjoined clause has no auxiliary so there is complete variation in this regard.

1529, Henricus Bomelius, The summe of the holye scripture and ordinarye of the Christen teachyng
Therfore shall not the riche be proude of his richesse: but shal be alweyes in care fearing lest god shuld paye him in this worlde and that he shall haue none other thyng.

1662, Abraham Wright, A practical commentary or exposition upon the Pentateuch
Lest either Abraham should not do that for which he came, or shall want means of speedy thanks-giving for so gracious a disappointment;

2 Corinthians 12:20
For I feare lest when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall bee found vnto you such as ye would not,

This is the only lest construction with shall in the King James Bible; there are dozens with should. The BofM has more than a dozen with shall. There is no mixture in the KJB.

Stanford Carmack said...

FWIW, the curelom in the room is the meaningless comparison of usage rates.

While the usage rates given in my first entry aren't that important, they do give a sense that English, as it was changing, had a lot of inflectional variation, as Shakespeare exhibits. Also, it tells readers that the KJB was artificially invariant. It didn't reflect the language of sermons or histories or literature. In contrast, the BofM contains the natural language variation of the early modern era in all its glory. The KJB had much more variation in its original 1611 form than it had with each successive decade, culminating in a broad update in 1769. Since then, there has been updating, but comparatively very little.

I would advise readers to treat the unsystematic remarks by a poster who goes by OK with a high degree of reserve. To my knowledge he is an expert in aspects of literature, and is motivated by a desire to mock LDS beliefs. I have considered virtually all of the "bad grammar" OK might present here. He cherry picks without balanced analysis. I try to look at things systematically. I know the syntactic usage of the BofM quite well at this point, and have concluded by virtue of systematic research that the grammatical core of the BofM fits EModE. Of course modern phrases can be used in the archaic syntactic framework, but many of the phrases that have been thought to be exclusively modern actually arose in the early modern period. Until the last 10 years we haven't had the necessary databases to accurately carry out this kind of research, but now we finally do.

bearyb said...

"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

I honestly can't fathom that the Truth should be so difficult to ascertain as to necessarily be the result only of such deep forays into linguistic analysis.

There are many instructions given in holy writ as to how God intends for us to find truth. Not only that, the promised result of such a quest, if successful, is that it will make you free. That is the best argument against the suggested possibility of Satan's influence regarding these things. How do you feel once you find it?

God's admonition that we become as little children should not be ignored. We do so only at our own peril.

Linguistic analysis has its place, and some of these things are interesting, but when I visited this site today after being away for several months it was like coming back to a soap opera - same things that have been said over and over again being said by the same people.

When all is said and done, more will have been said than done.

bearyb said...

I disagree with the assumptions of the very first reply to this post:

This notion is MORE BELIEVABLE than the miraculous, and therefore MORE LIKELY to be true.

Ever heard the phrase "The truth is stranger than fiction?" Besides, an individual's propensity to believe (or not) is very much dependent on their world view or perspective. So it may be easier for them to believe the "miraculous" than it might be for someone else.

The miraculous must always be considered last, as that is the very definition of a miracle: the least likely thing to have happened.

It seems to me that this definition is too narrow. If this were the only criteria, statisticians would be able to provide evidence of the miraculous continuously. Besides, again, some might expect a miracle to be the most likely thing to happen, depending on the situation.

Anonymous said...

Systematically, the entire verbal system, including the perfect and future tenses, and verb complementation, etc., is a comprehensive fit only with EModE.

With all due respect, Mr. Carmack, systematically there is not a "comprehensive fit" between the Book of Mormon and EModE. Taken comprehensively, that is, in its entirety, the Book of Mormon is a mashup of 19th-century vernacular plus KJV plus other forms. How do we account for those other forms? From an apologetics perspective, the key question is whether they could have been generated by JS out of his own linguistic resources, and no one, including you, has given us the slightest reason to believe he could not have done so.

I would advise readers to treat the unsystematic remarks by a poster who goes by OK with a high degree of reserve.

I would advise LDS believers to demand less pompous writing, and more peer review, from their apologists.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

bearyb, I don't think Jeff and others appreciate your dismissive remarks.

Jeff commented on an article that has to do with an LDS-internal debate over whether the Lord transmitted ideas to Joseph Smith or words. A wide variety of recent descriptive linguistic research performed by Skousen and Carmack, involving never-before-considered textual evidence, indicates that it is extremely unlikely that the Lord transmitted mere ideas to Joseph.

If you can't appreciate original research and understand the importance of that determination on various fronts then Jeff and others are not the ones with the problem.

In this case it is learning that leads to the knowledge of the truth and understanding things as they are. If you wish to remain uninformed, then you are free to take yourself off.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting to see Mr Carmack address the issuues raised above regarding verbal vs written transmission, the chronological span of the grammar in question, and his explanation for the rationale that the 1832 history is comparable enough to the BoM in theme & writer's purpose to make a fair assessment of authorship (an opposing claim would be that the BoM was an attempt at imitating KJV & the history was not).

Stanford Carmack said...

Here's what seems fair for our anonymous interlocutors to do. Research BofM grammar intensively for a year or so, write papers, get them published in Dialogue or Sunstone, bring them to the attention of Jeff who can mention them here, and then we can engage non-anonymously. If you did this we could profitably exchange ideas here or in publications. The texts aren't going anywhere or changing syntactically; databases are improving year by year. Your topics should be strongly related to BofM language issues, but they can be of your own choosing. From your comments, they would perhaps be something along the lines of how the BofM is a thoroughgoing oral text, and and that it does not have the indicia of being a written text; and how BofM syntax is a good match with (pseudo)biblical syntax and/or 19c syntax.

Anonymous said...

What seems fair to me is for Mr. Carmack to seek objective expert feedback from the kind of people in the best position to give it, namely, non-LDS linguists with the training needed to properly evaluate his work.

-- OK

Jeff Lindsay said...

Regarding written versus verbal transmission, over the past several decades as the internal consistency of the Book of Mormon has become evident, along with its careful literary structures (chiasmus, etc.), Hebraisms, intricate use of Exodus themes, covenant patterns, its geographical soundness including such features as Nahom, etc., etc., the response of the our critics has generally been to explain how all this could be done with the help of external resources, external expertise, and careful drafting. The idea that unschooled Joseph just spewed it all out of a hat has been treated with great skepticism. Even if he used a hat for onlooking visitors, surely he was repeating memorized text or somehow smuggled in a manuscript page or two. So the standard theory of critics, if there is such a thing, has seemed to require a manuscript with some degree of craftsmanship. Maybe he gave it a Yankee twang in those moments when he was doing oral dictation to fool onlookers, but there had to be a basic manuscript behind it all.

Now from the most basic manuscript that we have, the Original Manuscript, careful scholarship illustrates that the preparation of the text really was through oral dictation, and numerous witnesses provide compelling evidence that excludes the possibility of any significant use of a manuscript or even the Bible. From all that we can tell, from both friendly and hostile sources and from the smoking gun of the orignal manuscript itself, the translation really was an oral process with Joseph dictating the text, apparently looking into his hat without a manuscript. Fascinatingly, that dictated text does not fit what we know about New England dialect or Joseph's dialect in particular, or what one could do by imitating the KJV. The text of the Book of Mormon as dictated reflects different, non-KJV and non-Joseph origins. Why and how is open for debate, but it adds a new level of mystery to the translation process that is very hard to explain in purely natural terms.

Trying to dismiss this significant new evidence by pointing to the difference between a text prepared as a written manuscript versus oral speech seems to miss the significance of what we have.

First, do you then admit that the idea of a prepared manuscript can be rejected? Your point only has merit if the text really did just spring out of Joseph's mouth as spoken text independent of a written manuscript.

Second, what makes the process of preparing a written manuscript -- that's what the Book of Mormon is, after all -- via **dictation*** so unlike writing by hand that the grammatical patterns and subtle structures of one would not be expected in the other? Imitating the KJV in one but not the other does not account for the extensive non-KJV EModE elements that Carmack identifies.

We don't have a tape recording of Joseph's spoken dialect. But we can see how we wrote and how he spoke in his later sermons, and we can see what has been found in New England dialects, and the results don't come close to accounting for many of the possibly miraculous and certainly mystifying EModE elements in the Book of Mormon.

Anonymous said...

Trying to dismiss this significant new evidence by pointing to the difference between a text prepared as a written manuscript versus oral speech seems to miss the significance of what we have....

What in the world are you talking about, Jeff? Certainly not my argument, which is simply that, despite generations of trying, LDS apologists have failed to demonstrate the existence of anything in the Book of Mormon that could not have been produced (non-miraculously) by Joseph Smith using his own linguistic resources.

By "linguistic resources" I don't mean your straw-man "vast frontier library," but only the skills of an ingenious storyteller intimately familiar with the Bible, steeped in 19th-century Christian controversies, aided by a modest knowledge of the larger world, and possessing the usual human ability to generate new linguistic structures.

I know that you think you have discovered all kinds of features that Joseph could not have produced on his own, but the fact remains that none of these discoveries ever seem to get sent out to peer review. Instead of operating in the larger world of reputable scholarship, the apologists have created a safe little publication bubble of their own.

Every time I call for peer review I get the same evasive responses: excuses about how outside peer-review is impossible or inappropriate, attempts to shift the burden of proof, and lengthy exercises in smoke-blowing. Every time --- as both you and Mr. Carmack have just demonstrated.

I'm sorry, but the Book of Mormon is a 19th-century text. Sooner or later, the Church is going to have to acknowledge at least the possibility that the book is not what they have thus far insisted it is. They've already laid the groundwork for this with their redefinition of "translation" re the Book of Abraham (that is, the papyri served not as a source text in the usual sense, but rather as a catalyst prompting Joseph's own composition). Sooner or later the Church will admit that the Book of Mormon, too, might have been similarly "translated." It won't be the first time they've thrown their own apologists under the bus.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

"So the standard theory of critics, if there is such a thing, has seemed to require a manuscript with some degree of craftsmanship."

There has been no mention of whether Joseph was reading from a manuscript in this discussion--you're creating a straw man here.

"or what one could do by imitating the KJV"

You're seeking to limit human creativity and ability based on your lack of imagination and desire for the outcome to fit your paradigm. This seems a little inconsistent considering Joseph was resourceful enough to cultivate his own following and create his own culture based on his interpretations of Christianity--what's the likelihood of that happening? Joseph did a lot of things that seem either impossible or unlikely, why is this different?


"Second, what makes the process of preparing a written manuscript -- that's what the Book of Mormon is, after all -- via **dictation*** so unlike writing by hand that the grammatical patterns and subtle structures of one would not be expected in the other?"

In answer to that, a quick internet search provided me with the following, which explains it quite well (emaphasis added by me in sub-paragraph C below):

The acquisition of the ability to read and write is quite different from learning to speak and understand speech. Normally, a considerable amount of explicit instruction is needed, and the more skilled and erudite writers have usually gone through many years of rather intense training. Thus, the acquisition of written language belongs to the so-called secondary socialization, in which school and other cultural institutions play a very important instrumental part. Schooling and education are unevenly distributed in most (all?) societies.

When writing is taught, a number of more or less explicit norms or rules are referred to, and these norms will therefore be partly conscious to the language users. This in turn is related to still other important properties of written language:
a.written language is more constrained by rules and conventions than spoken language, especially as regards its form.

b) in general, there is less variation (i.e., less dialectal and idiolectal variation) and more invariance in written language, except perhaps in advanced literacy uses, especially poetry.

c) the conditions under which written language is generally taught have promoted the quite common belief that (some variants of) written language represent(s) the grammatical "correct" language, whereas many variants of spoken language are incorrect, defective, incoherent, ugly and/or rude.

It must be admitted, of course, that the differences between spoken and written language are not always and everywhere very clear-cut. There are spoken genres, in which language is used very much as in certain written styles, and, conversely, writing can sometimes be deliberately used for mirroring certain speech styles. Moreover, historically, there must have existed transitory forms; how else could we explain the invention and development of written languages in cultures that were originally entirely oral in nature?

Thus, we can say that certain features which we ascribe to written language have their natural counterparts in certain spoken genres. But I would still maintain that writing as such has had a profound influence on our thinking, since it always transforms the structure of language and gives prominence to certain features. This then creates a special type of background for the development of linguistic theory; a theory of written language cannot, and should not, be entirely identical with a corresponding theory of spoken language.

http://langs.eserver.org/linell/chapter02.html

Anonymous said...

As shown above, that differences exist in grammatical usage between writing and speaking is a basic tenet of linguistic theory. The fact that Carmack has failed to even attempt to address them demonstrates the level of academic attenuation in this matter.

Anonymous said...

In other words, it is unfair to compare a document which Joseph wrote, to a document he verbally created (transmitted, "translated," etc) since different grammatical choices are made between speaking and writing. Add to that the fact that one was created to imitate, or be in the form of, an archaic form of English, whereas the other was not--at least not consistently.

Excuse me as I spitball a bit here--I'm writing as I think and haven't considered this fully, but it appears to me that Carmack's approach is problematic on the face of it. The apologetic idea is that the two documents are not created by the same person, and that Joseph was reading a text to Oliver, not telling a story. If the assumption is that Joseph was reading a text he didn't write, then obviously grammatical choices are not going to be the same and the research will bear that out. If you do not approach the issue considering the possibility that Joseph made it up and was telling a story, you haven't addressed the possibility that his grammatical choices in speaking while attempting to imitate KJV English are not the same grammatical choices he might make while attempting to write the story of his history. In the latter example, the research could lead you to the very same conclusion--that it wasn't created by the same person because the usages are dissimilar.

Stanford Carmack said...

You seem convinced that KJV imitation can produce BofM grammar. I look forward to an article showing how KJV imitation made in oral dictation gave us BofM grammar.

Stanford Carmack said...

Trying to understand and be specific... Your thesis is that Joseph Smith spoke biblically with high or noticeable levels of EModE periphrastic did, {-th} plural, and personal which, but that he wrote with 19c past tense, present-tense base form plurals, and 19c personal who and that. I can see some serious problems with that position, right off the bat, but how do you account for Joseph employing obsolete, non-biblical lexis from time to time?

Anonymous said...

"how do you account for Joseph employing obsolete, non-biblical lexis from time to time?"

An amalgam of his backcountry dialect and his attempt to sound Biblical.

How do you explain the fact that the "translation" contains elements from the breadth of the EmodE period as well as elements from without it?

Anonymous said...

"I look forward to an article showing how KJV imitation made in oral dictation gave us BofM grammar."

I'm not a linguist by trade so don't hold your breath. I am, however trained in spotting faulty arguments and gaps in academic inquiry.

Mormography said...

It is refreshing to see the critics word choice of “dictation” vice “translation” is now co-opted by all. However, declaring "in them days" represents “intricate details of language“ only “suggesting” the “miraculous” is the real “lazy assumption”. Playing dumb, falsely pretending that all other thoughts are lazy assumptions is a “clever fraud” aided by deliberately deceitful experts in rhetoric.

Mormography said...

Stanford Carmack - Why do you reject " The Record of Rajah Manchou of Vorito" and Chris Nemelka's translataions?

Mormography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormography said...

Standford Carmack - Until you have an explanation, you are exposed as being full of nonsense.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Another test to consider is the Book of Moses. This was the next project after completion of the Book of Mormon, and again imitates KJV language and was also prepared by dictation from Joseph to scribes. You will see "periphrastic did" usage at a relatively low rate, unlike the Book of Mormon. I reported some aspects of this previously, but am looking at it anew now. Here's one resource to consider: https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/book-moses-and-joseph-smith-translation-manuscripts/history-book-moses. There is some non-standard grammar evident in Joseph's dictation, including "this I done by the word of my power" in Moses 2 that was later corrected by a scribe to "this I did," contributing one of the few uses of "did" in the Book of Moses. Based on the Book of Moses as well as Joseph's history and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, heavy periphrastic did, based on my preliminary examination, does not appear to reflect Joseph's natural dialect or style whether writing or dictating, even when trying to sound scriptural.

Jeff Lindsay said...

The "done" vs. "did" issue in Moses 2 can be see at https://rsc.byu.edu/pt-pt/archived/book-moses-and-joseph-smith-translation-manuscripts/moses-2.

Mormography said...

Mormanity – You state that “even when [JS was] trying to sound scriptural” random text occurred. You are indistinguishable from the critics you deride. The critics claim JS was merely trying to sound scripture vice being a conduit for the divine. Apparently, you agree. The only difference is you read the random arrangement of the soothsayers bones to be statistically significant, rather than in truth random.

Anonymous said...

In this equation, aren't you ruling out the idea that Joseph was able to learn? Is it not possible that Joseph learned somewhat from his grammatical mistakes with the Book of Mormon? He had to have heard something from the publisher regarding the number of errors that were corrected before publication. Wasn't he involved in all decisions to correct the text? Do you think those changes went unremarked on his part? It seems that someone who is trying to build a reputation and a religion and who purports to be a mouthpiece for God would be keenly aware of grammatical shortcomings. I seems it would be more surprising if the same errors were repeated.

Also, different scribe(s)--and was the dictation process the same? I think with Moses he didn't have the same process as the BoM where he didn't take time for revision. Also, from the accounts I've read of later revelations and "translations" the scribes were much more involved in the process.

Stanford Carmack said...

Anon 1102:

First, your comments show that you lack background in this material--a need for study is indicated. Second, most of the grammatical mistakes in the Book of Mormon aren't actually grammatical mistakes. Third, Joseph and Oliver and other scribes could make visual and auditory mistakes as well as substitution mistakes. Fourth, it is well known that the printer asked Martin Harris about typesetting apparent grammatical errors, and Harris said to set what was found in the printer's manuscript. Fifth, Joseph edited heavily for grammar in 1837, modernizing inconsistently. Sixth, most of the Book of Mormon's "bad grammar" is Early Modern English, since almost all of the verbal system is.

Some simple cases of "bad grammar" that are verified as being part of Joseph's own grammar (like plural was) could be part of the original text or could come from Joseph, Oliver, or another scribe. However, it is a very difficult task to determine which cases out of many potential candidates are likely dictation mistakes. One could try to estimate the rate of occurrence of simple bad grammar, but how does one go about accurately determining an uncorrected dictation error rate? If the latter is determinable, odds could be calculated for any single item of simple nonstandard grammar being due to human error. It would be a low probability. It's not a very interesting question to me at the present time, but you may be interested in it enough to undertake it. However, it's probably good to wait for the computerized collation and a tagged Yale edition to come out.

Anonymous said...

[I]t's probably good to wait for the computerized collation and a tagged Yale edition to come out.

Better than that would be some actual peer review.

The fact that Mr. Carmack avoids genuine outside peer review speaks volumes.

The fact that Jeff Lindsay is not the first one demanding genuine outside peer review tells us quite a bit as well.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cormac,

There are a couple of flaws in your reasoning showing more critical thinking is indicated. . .

1) If the grammar was edited by Joseph in 1837, it's obvious he found flaws in the text. Are you saying he was less inspired in the 1837 revision than he was in the original translation? If there weren't mistakes in the grammar (what Joseph recognized as mistakes), why was it revised?

2) If Joseph undertook the 1837 revision, it's obvious that he learned something about grammar in the interim. He became more educated and realized that the text he created was chock full of errors and set out to correct them. This bears out my argument above that he learned something about grammar and future revelations did not contain many of the same errors. My hypothesis is that the BoM dictation was the catalyst for that learning, though I haven't the time, resources, or expertise to explore that further.

Jason Robertson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Robertson said...

Anonymous said:

"Mr. Cormac,

There are a couple of flaws in your reasoning showing more critical thinking is indicated. . .

1) If the grammar was edited by Joseph in 1837, it's obvious he found flaws in the text. Are you saying he was less inspired in the 1837 revision than he was in the original translation? If there weren't mistakes in the grammar (what Joseph recognized as mistakes), why was it revised?"

The flaws are in Anonymous's reasoning. The 1837 revision indicates that the text Joseph dictated was archaic even for Joseph's own time and he modernized it for his contemporary audience.

Anonymous said...

You really don't know what you're writing about, Anon 9:12am. Obviously you haven't tried to get up to speed on the subject. Many of these facts are already known and discussed elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

"The 1837 revision indicates that the text Joseph dictated was archaic even for Joseph's own time and he modernized it for his contemporary audience."

How does this follow logically? Why the need to retranslate the translation? Inherent in the act of revision is recognition of error. Else why revise? If Joseph knew it was archaic and wanted to keep an archaic text, he could have done so. The other, more logical alternative, is he became more informed, realized there were many errors, and sought to correct them.

Mormography said...

Anon – Don’t sweat it. People who pretend they do not understand the basic principle of falsifiability who then declare you need to study more and your reasoning flawed only further damn themselves.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:52p, if you know so much about this topic, then why don't you tell us what Joseph's most frequent edit was for the 1837 edition.

Mormography said...

Anon 7:31a, What is the relevance of your ad hominem in the form of a strawman?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:52p: Inherent in the act of revision is recognition of error. Else why revise? If Joseph knew it was archaic and wanted to keep an archaic text, he could have done so. The other, more logical alternative, is he became more informed, realized there were many errors, and sought to correct them.

You see, Mormography, the above observations don't appear to be founded on serious study of the issue. They show an incurious attitude, and that ideology is of primary importance for the person who made them.

Mormography said...

You see, Anon 9:16, you just admitted you resort to irrelevant, ad hominem, strawmen attacks indicating that ideology is the primary importance to you. You are jumping at what you mistook for your reflection. Self-hate?

Anon 12:52p was responding to Jason Robertson’s contradictory reasoning. Turning the issue of a random commenter’s (Jason Robertson) hasty and poorly thought 30 words into a “serious study” is on definitely on the extreme margins of normal human psychology.

Anonymous said...

"They show an incurious attitude, and that ideology is of primary importance for the person who made them."

I wrote 3 lines of text and in those 3 lines, I asked three different, relevant questions. I'm not sure how that demonstrates an incurious attitude. They definitely were not rhetorical questions and yet, no one has answered them. If you look through this discussion, there are several on-topic questions I have asked that I'm extremely desirous (see what I did there?) to have answered--unfortunately they have not been addressed.

Also claiming that ideology is "of primary importance" isn't born out by the discussion. Concern with research methods and proof of assertions have been my primary points of contention--beliefs haven't been part of it. You seem to be grafting your own bias onto things. Are your beliefs somehow tied to the BoM being an EmodE text? If so, you may want to go back to a Gospel Principles class for a year or two. . .

Hiser said...

Well, it would be helpful if one name had been consistently used along the way. No one should be expected to link up a series of anonymous posts as coming from a single individual.

"Why the need to retranslate the translation?"

Have you studied Skousen 2016 on this point? Nothing you've written gives any evidence that you have. Yet you go on as if you have valid points to make based on study. Are you interested in knowing the data? Maybe you are but haven't gotten around to it. Obviously the potential for misleading others is high when you throw out unfounded opinions, but it hasn't stopped you from doing it.

Of course Joseph didn't need to alter the translation. He chose to edit it. His editing was inconsistent.

"Inherent in the act of revision is recognition of error."

Wrong. There are many potential reasons for revising any writing. "Recognition of error" is not established by revision.

"If Joseph knew it was archaic and wanted to keep an archaic text, he could have done so."

He knew it was archaic generally, but wasn't familiar with many of the archaisms, and so how could he have been sure that many of the archaisms were actually archaic? He wasn't an English philologist. Of course he could have kept the text the way it was, but he chose to change it and modernize a lot of things. Maybe you know of something Joseph said related to his reasons for editing the text, something you could share with us.

"The other, more logical alternative, is he became more informed, realized there were many errors, and sought to correct them."

It is ridiculous to make this statement without study and analysis. Without that you have no way of knowing whether this is a likely view of things. In 1837 Joseph wasn't a language expert. He didn't know enough or have the resources to isolate and correct a variety of "errors" reliably.

bearyb said...

to Anonymous 6:13 PM, June 29

On the contrary, I appreciate Jeff's multiple contributions and attempts at enlightening the rest of us about some very interesting discoveries.

But then so many ensuing arguments arise over whether this or that proves or disproves the claims of the Book of Mormon, or whether Joseph Smith was a prophet.

If the arguments were limited only to linguistic analysis for its own sake, that's one thing - and fine with me.

Of course, we cannot forget the underlying reason for Jeff's postings, which I understand to be the promotion of the LDS view of things.

Likewise, we should not forget that none of these discussions will prove or disprove anything about the nature of the most important kind of knowledge we should seek.

If Jeff's postings arouse enough curiosity in an individual that they look beyond the arguments thrown back and forth here, and into the prescribed way that the most important truths can be known, I think even he would agree that would be preferential.

Mormography said...

Hiser –
You demand others share data and study your preferred authors, but share no data yourself. Then resort to more ad hominem attacks and engage in silly semantics.

Most bizarre of all, while railing against an anon commenter for lacking your preferred study and analysis, you fail to realize you implicitly attack JS for the same. According to you, JS distrusted his own divinely derived dictation, recklessly editing the most correct scripture without the proper linguistic training. Form your perspective, it appears JS learned little from the lost 116 pages.

Mormography said...

Bearyb –

“the underlying reason for Jeff's postings”

On the contrary, Mormanity consistently states he does not represent the LDS view. He, like FAIRMORMON, do not make official statements for the LDS church. Mormanity is an iconoclast constantly and openly overthrowing traditional Mormon ideas.

“none of these discussions will prove or disprove anything about the nature of the most important kind of knowledge we should seek.”

Exactly, that is why these discussions are not discussions, genuine dialogue, and of little utility. Ideas lacking the principle of falsifiability, contribute very little to knowledge.

Hiser said...

The data on 1837 editing is in Skousen, Grammatical Variation, 2016. It is nowhere else. Whether he is or is not a preferred author is irrelevant. And I didn't imply or state that Joseph "distrusted his own divinely derived dictation". Also, the 116 pages is a different matter entirely. Obviously, Mormography has rashly jumped to a number of false conclusions. M also throws around the term ad hominem indiscriminately. M can do better than this.

Anonymous said...

Hiser,

You make a number of faulty assumptions in your 5:10 post above and have attacked me, but you've still failed to answer the questions I posed. Alluding to a questionable study isn't proof of something and is evidence of a poor argument. Why don't you answer the question by providing us with specific details from Skousen's work that prove your take on things? You complain that I haven't taken the time to carefully study the work but exhibit no evidence that you have. You're arguing from a position of conjured authority based on someone else's questioned authority.

If you are an expert in the subject, perhaps you can answer the question that Carmack so carefully avoided answering above. If EmodE usage was intentional--transmitted to Joseph by a native EmodE speaker--why are the usages so scattered throughout the EmodE period? A native speaker would use EmodE constructions familiar to himself/herself from his or her time within the period, but usages from the breadth of the period are anachronistic. How do you explain it? Also, why are there usages from within as well as without the period? Why is the text EmodE only "in large part" and why does it reach "back in time to the transition period"?

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865609214/The-very-surprising-language-of-the-Book-of-Mormon.html

Hiser said...

This is a faulty assumption or stipulation: "If EmodE usage was intentional--transmitted to Joseph by a native EmodE speaker--why are the usages so scattered throughout the EmodE period?" Here you assume or stipulate a single translator. Why?

Mormography said...

Hiser -

Ha, ha and yawn ....

“Whether he is or is not a preferred author is irrelevant.”

Now you are agreeing with me.

“And I didn't imply or state that Joseph "distrusted his own divinely derived dictation".”

Obviously, as you know, you did. If I you did not, you would have clarified what part of "distrusted his own divinely derived dictation" you don’t like. Those that nick pick defacto admit defeat on the items they do not nick pick, therefore you conceded that you indeed implied “ recklessly editing the most correct scripture without the proper linguistic training.”

“Mormography has rashly jumped to a number of false conclusions. M also throws around the term ad hominem indiscriminately.”

If that was true you would have been able to prove it.

“M can do better than this.”

I could easily do better. I successfully exposed your contradictions with only a fraction of my brain.

Anonymous said...

"Here you assume or stipulate a single translator. Why?"

I guess I'm going by what the church claims: that JS was the translator. Do you have doctrine from the church that shows otherwise?

bearyb said...

Of course Jeff consistently states that he does not represent official Church points of view. That is appropriate and as it should be. And that's not how I characterized his blog. I said they are a "promotion of the LDS view of things."

That's obviously not the same as claiming official authority.

bearyb said...

Please explain the importance and relevance of the "principle of falsifiability" as it pertains to true knowledge. I don't recall ever hearing about that principle before, or perhaps not stated that way.

And you wouldn't be trying to be "dismissive" would you, by stating that these discussions are of little utility. Seems I was accused of that because of something i said earlier.

I was thinking about this blog earlier, wondering how many participants in this discussion have actually read the Book of Mormon. I can see how it might be more appealing to argue about it than to actually read it, especially if one doesn't mind spending so much time doing something of little utility.

Mormography said...

Abusing the word “obviously”? “Church points of view” and “LDS views of things” are not obviously different to the rest of humanity.

If you are stuck on getting nick picky, Mormanity is “Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.” Mormanity does not promote the “LDS view of things”, he moves it towards the critics.

If you found my comments to be dismissive, it is only because your early comments were.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability
If you can’t proving something false, then you can’t prove it true.