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champatsch

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  1. The Plot of Zion is a text that is short and whose revelatory production is uncertain. As such, we are unable to reach firm conclusions about tight control.
  2. What tight control means (the term is found in Skousen 1998 [JBMS]) is that God delivered the words of the text to Joseph Smith: “the Lord shall say unto him that shall read the words that shall be delivered him” (2n2724). This agrees with what Joseph Smith said in Washington, DC in 1840: that God was the author of the text.
  3. The degree of improbability only derives from a cumulative case. First we note coincidence; that eventually becomes improbable coincidence; ultimately we have an overall case of extremely improbable coincidence. In other words, once we identify a dozen or so clear coincidences, each successive coincidence begins to solidify a case for improbability. 50 to 100 coincidences multiply to something extremely improbable. In the case of hypercorrection, we can take, say, 10 strong cases not explicable by hypercorrection. (We can define a low probability case of hypercorrection as a lack of pseudo-biblical support, biblical support, and late modern textual support.) These are, if you will, the anchoring pieces of evidence. Add to those 10 cases 40 weaker cases, supported by the 10. These multiply to a probability value that could be described vaguely as extremely low. The only reasoned examination of Book of Mormon hypercorrection I've seen is a limited one in a recent dissertation. I mentioned it in the paper. The author did some good, preliminary analysis, but tended to overstate hypercorrection, as I briefly discussed in the case of wroth ~ angry. I'm not criticizing the author at all, since I appreciate his work, and recognize that the scope of his study was limited, as he looked at 10 different texts and corpora. There are certainly a number of simple, obvious cases of biblical hypercorrection in the Book of Mormon, and there are less obvious candidates for hypercorrection as well, like "before that S" usage. But there are certainly many cases that are not reasonably explained as hypercorrections because of a lack of support. We might think of co-authoring a paper, using the following working title as a guide: "The brilliant biblical hypercorrections of Joseph Smith"; or perhaps, "Early modern coincidence in the Book of Mormon".
  4. I provided a line from Skousen's diplomatic transcription of O. It's on page 143 of his 2001 book which contains the transcription of the 28 percent of the original manuscript (O) that still survives, much of it only legible under special lighting.
  5. By that you mean extrabiblical, exclusively Early Modern English phraseology or lexis. Yes. Here's an example: 1 Nephi 17:34–48 [5:119–153] (O, Franklin Richards acquisition, LDS collection, recto, page 35) 33 [-]rd he can cause the earth that it shall pass a{n|w}ay yea & ye know that by his word [h]( ) E
  6. Probably because they don't want to publish it piecemeal and they don't have it all ready to publish yet. Source note: "The excerpt below—not a complete text, but included to provide a sense of the Book of Mormon text—is featured because it contains the work of the three scribes whose handwriting is found in the extant portion of the manuscript and because the document is in relatively good condition."
  7. 28 percent extant, some of it very hard to read, images to be published in the future as part of the JSP project. 2001 paleographic transcription available in one volume, part of the Book of Mormon critical text project, edited by Skousen.
  8. In trying to think of the big picture, I have concluded that this issue boils down to whether one thinks that a lack of biblical support and late modern support for Book of Mormon usage is meaningful—that is, indicative of improbable coincidence with earlier usage. From what I can tell, your position is that lack of such support for original Book of Mormon usage is not meaningful. I don't see the oral/written distinction as important, since they both depend on native-speaker competence. In any event, producing a considerable amount of non-native language (in this case, pseudo-biblical language) is more likely in contemplative writing than it is in relatively fast oral production. This follows from the reality that a pseudo-biblical author has to consciously depart, in form and structure, from subconscious, native-speaker patterns in a persistent manner. You too often leave the wrong impression about Book of Mormon language, such as that its archaism is "clumsy", even though the vast majority of it doesn't objectively qualify as such. Skousen has pointed out in NOL the few things that objectively qualify as "clumsy", the basis for determining clumsiness being a lack of external support. As I wrote elsewhere, human creativity means that any knowledgeable person can make a case for hypercorrection about any English usage. But in the case of the original Book of Mormon text, a reasonable person admits that the odds of hypercorrection are extremely low and tenuous in the absence of external support, as determined by careful, systematic analysis of a wide variety of attested usage.
  9. Joseph's spoken language was just like that of those around him; it had a few elements that could be called archaic, but the vast majority of his usage patterns were late modern, and his particular dialect shared many features with standard American English. The more fruitful approach (but not without its serious problems) is to claim that Joseph was overdoing archaism with the intent to deceive, so that even pseudo-biblical writings aren't a standard by which to measure the Book of Mormon, something like the following: Earlier, Physics Guy claimed that pseudo-biblical authors limited their archaism: Of course, how does Physics Guy know that they limited their archaism? By what criteria did he determine that? Maybe he can tell us how he knows they deliberately avoided excess archaism. And so he makes the related point that Joseph Smith produced overdone archaism: Again, we need to ask how he knows that the archaism of the dictation was overdone. By what measure has he determined that? From what I can tell, knowing the subject matter very well, I think it's just a label he's applied in order to make an argument. He's not an expert on archaic syntax, yet he writes here as though he is. Indeed, how much of the Book of Mormon has he read, and how often? How much of the King James Bible has he read in order to compare usage? Those that have read the Book of Mormon and the King James Bible a lot know that the former is easier to read and understand than the latter. The reading often bogs down in extended biblical passages. So if the Book of Mormon really does have overdone archaism, then it obviously doesn't interfere with comprehension. This is one point indicating that the archaism isn't actually overdone. Now, the Book of Mormon's archaism does exceed that of the King James Bible in some domains, but that doesn't necessarily make it overdone. It may be that in those domains the King James Bible just has a little archaism. And of course some archaism makes understanding more difficult and some does not. And then there is the undeniable reality that the archaism of the Book of Mormon is systematically different from that of the King James Bible, in many different domains. So the oral argument, relying on Joseph's knowledge of the biblical archaism, breaks down. It cannot explain the verbal system, verb complementation, auxiliary usage, inflections, inversion rates, the personal relative pronoun system, etc.
  10. Brant, thanks for your input. The Book of Mormon is a hodgepodge of passages that are clearly supposed to be oral and clearly supposed to be written commentary, such as the words of Mormon. But, if the whole thing came from Joseph extemporaneously, the whole kit and caboodle should come across as an oral communication. But I agree with your last sentence. The 1832 History has many archaic features. That is an example of a non-revealed text that Joseph wrote or dictated where he archaized. And importantly, it clearly shows that three prominent syntactic features of the Book of Mormon were not part of Joseph's own spoken or written patterns, all of which is supported by the general textual record. An enhanced, corrected version of my paper on the subject (Stanford Carmack, “How Joseph Smith’s Grammar Differed from Book of Mormon Grammar: Evidence from the 1832 History”, Interpreter 25, 239–259) is available in Royal Skousen, The Nature of the Original Language (2018), in the essay "The Syntax in Joseph Smith’s 1832 History", 612–620. Skousen thought the subject matter and the findings were significant enough to include in the critical text project.
  11. Well, I'll be interested to see it, since I know the subject matter well. Book of Mormon archaism doesn't pattern like King James archaism in many different domains. And there is a lot of specific archaic usage that isn't found in the King James Bible. I just mentioned one, again, "of which/whom hath/has been spoken". "Things that/which is" is another one. Etc. The verbal system is early modern in character but not King James style in most tenses. The closest one to King James style is the future tense, but even there the inversion rate in the Book of Mormon is more archaic (a higher rate of inversion) and the future subjunctive usage rate (conditional shall usage) is higher than it is in the King James Bible, which for the most part lacks mandative shall after verbs like cause, command, and suffer.
  12. Well, it's usually the case that written language is more conservative and spoken language less conservative. So it's actually a suspect proposal in the first place. But the difference here is that we might have intentional archaism by spoken language. That is, the idea is that if Joseph was the author of the words, his oral production with the intent to be archaic might produce the archaic syntax of the Book of Mormon. The problem with this is that he produced a lot of archaic syntax that the textual record indicates he didn't have implicit knowledge of. And there is also formal archaic language, which there's a slight possibility he had knowledge of, language that was confined to written registers by Joseph's time, such as legal or poetic language maintaining archaism like "after that ye shall have witnessed him". As for obsolete syntax, there isn't currently any evidence that the phraseology "of which hath been spoken" (and variants) persisted into the late modern era. Because of obsolescence and the formal nature of the language, Joseph wasn't any more likely to have produced this orally than he was in writing. The value of the distinction breaks down.
  13. On Doctrine and Covenants 9, you'll want to look at this. I didn't check your T&S post thoroughly for minor errors, but you'll want to change the 15th and 16th centuries to the 16th and 17th (1500s and 1600s), and when you mention seeketh near the beginning it contrasts with seeks (not seek), the historically northern form that took over. Each verb seems to have a unique trajectory in the textual record. There's a lot of biblical contamination that's difficult to account for properly globally. Here's high frequency take in EEBO1, based on more than 100,000 instances:
  14. Not so. We don't know that it was like reading text off an electronic device. Reading revealed words could have been exhausting and mentally taxing, for all we know. There's no way to know since we didn't experience it.
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