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Cold Steel

Book of Abraham Evidence?

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On another thread, Jarrod posted:

The best evidence for the Shroud of Turin is the Shroud of Turin.

The best evidence for the Kinderhook Plates are the Kinderhook Plates.

The best evidence for the Salamander Letter is the Salamander Letter.

These statements, he said, were "silly." However, they also are true. In an article entitled "Abraham's Vision of the Pre-Existent Host," by Barry Bickmore, Bickmore points out that Joseph Smith's Book of Abraham contains "a wealth of information about the patriarch Abraham that is not contained in the Bible, or indeed, in any documents that would have been available to Joseph Smith."

He suggests that a simple test of the book's authenticity, outside of the texts from which they are taken, would be to "peruse the Jewish Abraham texts and legends now available to find out if there are any parallels" as have Hugh Nibley and Rabbi Nissim Wernick.

The Apocalypse of Abraham is just such a text, he said. Written in the first century A.D., the Apocalypse is most likely of Jewish origin, although "there may have been some Christian interpolations in the text."

From the article:

This document has been preserved only in the Slavonic language, and was first published in 1863 - long after Joseph Smith was dead. It is an account of some events in the patriarch Abraham's life, including various revelations. Here's an excerpt from the text where Abraham sees the pre-existent host in a vision.

And everything I had planned to be came into being: it was already pre-figured in this, for all the things and all the people you have seen stood before me before they were created. And I said, Mighty and Eternal Ruler, who then are the people in this picture on this side and on that? And he said to me, Those on the left side are the many peoples which have existed in the past, and after you are appointed, some for judgement and restoration, some for vengeance and perdition, until the end of the age. And those on the right side of the picture, they are the people set apart for me from the people with Azazil [satan]. These are the people who are going to spring from you and will be called my people." [The Apocalypse of Abraham 22, in Sparks, ed., The Apocryphal Old Testament, p. 384.]

Compare that with the following passage from Joseph Smith's Book of Abraham:

Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born. [Abraham 3:22-23]

Now consider the similarities between the two vision accounts: (1) Abraham (2) sees a vision of the pre-existent host (3) among whom were righteous spirits. And here the vision accounts part company, for while the Book of Abraham account focuses on the "noble and great" spirits who would become the "rulers" of God's people, the Apocalypse account focuses on all the righteous spirits who would become the seed of Abraham, father of the faithful.

So barring the debates over where Joseph Smith thought he was getting the text from and trying to track it to a piece of ancient papyrus, it seems that judging it on the merits of contents might not be so foolish after all. Seeing these two passages, how can any reasonable person think that Joseph Smith simply produced it from his overactive imagination? The increasing numbers of coincidences certainly should give our critics some pause.

Cold Steel

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The Book of Abraham contains many things that are evident in other Abrahamic books. Just take a look at Traditions of the Early Life of Abraham, which contains a number of documents that were translated into English for the first time just for the compilation. Such an example is Abraham's father, Terah(?), was an idolater. This is evident in the Qur'an and other Muslim, Jewish, and Christian texts, but not the Bible as we have it.

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On another thread, Jarrod posted:

The best evidence for the Shroud of Turin is the Shroud of Turin.

The best evidence for the Kinderhook Plates are the Kinderhook Plates.

The best evidence for the Salamander Letter is the Salamander Letter.

These statements, he said, were "silly." However, they also are true. In an article entitled "Abraham's Vision of the Pre-Existent Host," by Barry Bickmore, Bickmore points out that Joseph Smith's Book of Abraham contains "a wealth of information about the patriarch Abraham that is not contained in the Bible, or indeed, in any documents that would have been available to Joseph Smith."

He suggests that a simple test of the book's authenticity, outside of the texts from which they are taken, would be to "peruse the Jewish Abraham texts and legends now available to find out if there are any parallels" as have Hugh Nibley and Rabbi Nissim Wernick.

The Apocalypse of Abraham is just such a text, he said. Written in the first century A.D., the Apocalypse is most likely of Jewish origin, although "there may have been some Christian interpolations in the text."

From the article:

This document has been preserved only in the Slavonic language, and was first published in 1863 - long after Joseph Smith was dead. It is an account of some events in the patriarch Abraham's life, including various revelations. Here's an excerpt from the text where Abraham sees the pre-existent host in a vision.

And everything I had planned to be came into being: it was already pre-figured in this, for all the things and all the people you have seen stood before me before they were created. And I said, Mighty and Eternal Ruler, who then are the people in this picture on this side and on that? And he said to me, Those on the left side are the many peoples which have existed in the past, and after you are appointed, some for judgement and restoration, some for vengeance and perdition, until the end of the age. And those on the right side of the picture, they are the people set apart for me from the people with Azazil [satan]. These are the people who are going to spring from you and will be called my people." [The Apocalypse of Abraham 22, in Sparks, ed., The Apocryphal Old Testament, p. 384.]

Compare that with the following passage from Joseph Smith's Book of Abraham:

Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born. [Abraham 3:22-23]

Now consider the similarities between the two vision accounts: (1) Abraham (2) sees a vision of the pre-existent host (3) among whom were righteous spirits. And here the vision accounts part company, for while the Book of Abraham account focuses on the "noble and great" spirits who would become the "rulers" of God's people, the Apocalypse account focuses on all the righteous spirits who would become the seed of Abraham, father of the faithful.

So barring the debates over where Joseph Smith thought he was getting the text from and trying to track it to a piece of ancient papyrus, it seems that judging it on the merits of contents might not be so foolish after all. Seeing these two passages, how can any reasonable person think that Joseph Smith simply produced it from his overactive imagination? The increasing numbers of coincidences certainly should give our critics some pause.

Cold Steel

Dear Cold Steel:

I think you're saying that there is a single passage (not multiple passages) in the Book of Abraham from about 2,000 BC which parallels a single passage (not multiple passages) in a Jewish Abraham legend, apocraphal text from the first century AD which was rejected for inclusion in the Bible and whose authorship is unknown and that this parallel is evidence of the authenticity of the BoA?

Please consider the following points:

(1) The Apocalypse of Abraham was rejected for inclusion in the Bible, but you want to use it a proof of the truthfulness of LDS scripture. Are you sure you want to do this?

(2) The Apocalypse of Abraham, written AFTER Jesus lived and was crucified, rejects the Messiahship of Jesus Christ because it talks of the Messiah yet to come [1]. That part of the Apocalypse of Abraham contradicts official LDS doctrine. Are you sure you want to use a book which rejects Jesus Christ as the Messiah and contradicts LDS doctrine to support the BoA's "truthfulness"? I really wouldn't think so.

James Clifford Miller

[email protected]

Footnote

[1] http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/non...raham-notes.htm

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I think you're saying that there is a single passage (not multiple passages) in the Book of Abraham from about 2,000 BC which parallels a single passage (not multiple passages) in a Jewish Abraham legend, apocraphal text from the first century AD which was rejected for inclusion in the Bible and whose authorship is unknown and that this parallel is evidence of the authenticity of the BoA?

No, he was simply demonstrating one similarity out of many.

Please consider the following points:

(1) The Apocalypse of Abraham was rejected for inclusion in the Bible, but you want to use it a proof of the truthfulness of LDS scripture.  Are you sure you want to do this?

Who chose what was to be included in the Bible? I think there are many inspired writings that were not chosen to be part of it, and perhaps uninspired writings that were chose to be a part of it.

(2)  The Apocalypse of Abraham, written AFTER Jesus lived and was crucified, rejects the Messiahship of Jesus Christ because it talks of the Messiah yet to come [1].  That part of the Apocalypse of Abraham contradicts official LDS doctrine.  Are you sure you want to use a book which rejects Jesus Christ as the Messiah and contradicts LDS doctrine to support the BoA's "truthfulness"?  I really wouldn't think so.

Oh geez. Even though it dates to after Christ, the text takes place during Abraham's day. And believe me, Jesus hadn't been born when Abraham was here. It's like saying I was inspired to write a story about my mom before I was born. Even though I just wrote the story and it was entirely factual, in the text she hadn't had me yet and she is looking forward to having a child. I suppose I must not be her real child...

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The point was that we have what is presumed to be (by LDS critics) a work of fiction by Joseph Smith correlating to a known ancient work discovered afterwards. Certainly this alone indicates nothing; however, when you begin adding all the coincidences -- when you get away from the papyri question -- you begin seeing that judging the Book of Abraham for what it is can make a complete difference.

It's like Hugh Nibley's old parable about a person finding a diamond. Instead of having it appraised by someone who knows diamonds, the critics compile data showing that no diamonds had ever been found where the person claimed to find it, etc. In the same manner, he said, let's judge the writing in context of the writing itself. Does it stand up to scrutiny?

More articles:

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/2671/WERNICK.html

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/2671/Presence.html

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/2671/Kerry7.html

As long as the critics can keep LDS students fighting over the papyri, they can avoid discussing it in the context of an ancient document perfectly at home with other ancient documents.

Cold Steel

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The point was that we have what is presumed to be (by LDS critics) a work of fiction by Joseph Smith correlating to a known ancient work discovered afterwards. Certainly this alone indicates nothing; however, when you begin adding all the coincidences -- when you get away from the papyri question -- you begin seeing that judging the Book of Abraham for what it is can make a complete difference.

It's like Hugh Nibley's old parable about a person finding a diamond. Instead of having it appraised by someone who knows diamonds, the critics compile data showing that no diamonds had ever been found where the person claimed to find it, etc. In the same manner, he said, let's judge the writing in context of the writing itself. Does it stand up to scrutiny?

More articles:

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/2671/WERNICK.html

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/2671/Presence.html

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/2671/Kerry7.html

As long as the critics can keep LDS students fighting over the papyri, they can avoid discussing it in the context of an ancient document perfectly at home with other ancient documents.

Cold Steel

And this is the point the James or a couple of others failed to see on the other thread. I still would like to know how Joseph could have written such a book.

He was a genius that is for sure. Unless the critics divise a plan of authorship, they really have no case. And even if they did devise a plan for authorship, they would need proof to bolster their case. Oh well...the debate continues....

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Amen. Many don't know that Joseph Smith produced the Book of Moses at about the same time as the Book of Mormon; yet, look at the differences in style. The Book of Moses didn't have that same stilted language that was so characteristic of the BOM translation. If it had, that would have been a big red flag. Even the Book of Abraham has it's own style.

Moses 6:40, for example, talks about a man named Mahijah who asked several questions of Enoch about who he was and where he was from. Nibley found numerous parallels between the Book of Moses and other ancient writings. In one of those writings, in some Aramaic fragments of the Book of Enoch, the giants, fearful of the mighty wonders Enoch is performing, sends a spy with virtually the same name to find out about Enoch (see Hugh W. Nibley, "Churches in the Wilderness," in Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless, ed. Truman G. Madsen (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978):155-86).

These coincidences keep piling up and that's why we need apologetics to keep our critics on their toes.

Cold Steel

P.S. -- Just as an aside, there's no need to quote an entire message when responding. Just a judicious line or two will do. Cheers.

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He was a genius that is for sure. Unless the critics divise a plan of authorship, they really have no case. And even if they did devise a plan for authorship, they would need proof to bolster their case. Oh well...the debate continues....

Uhhh..WRONG!!

The burden of proof is not on us to know how JS did what he did. He was a genius, there is no doubt about that. But I don't need to know how he was able to write what he did to know it is phony.

This has been mentioned before, but do I need to explain exactly how David Blane does his street magic to know that he doesn't possess supernatural powers?? No. It's really cool that he can do what he does, but if he wants us to believe that he has powers (I'm not saying that he does want us to believe this), the burden of proof is on him. Just showing us a neat trick isn't enough to make most people believe that he is actually magic.

How does the old saying go...extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. I have yet to see anything extraordinary.

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You can test the Book of Abraham by logic & reason. But after you are certiain as I am it's has intellectual support you should ask God.

Let's look at the Book of Mormon. Nobody can tell me Joseph Smith was able to make up such a complex book without citing from a pre-existent manuscript or plates. An example is Chiasmus whether ancient, or modern unless you see such poetry in your head you would get confused if you tried to do it on the spot. The book is filled with things like that. The Book of Abraham is no different.

One thing I was thinking about the other day. Joseph Smith was supposed to have possibly borrowed from a number of sources in producing the Book of Mormon, or Book of Abraham. Don't the critics have the ability to find a genius like Joseph Smith. Let's put a stack of these sources in front of them & let them become familiar with the content. Then let's find some scribes give him a hat & a stone & let them duplicate what Joseph Smith did on either book without getting confused. I have no doubt the person would quit out of unfinished embarrassment. Although somebody of Mark Hoffman's talent could produce a Book of Abraham. But using paper notes & mental notes are two different things.

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Again, judging it as what it claims to be -- the words of Abraham himself -- one forms the intellectual foundation to begin analysis. In the past, Mormons have not wanted to defend the work because they mistakenly thought that basis was a bunch of aging papyri. The RLDS church wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole because, ultimately (at least on this issue), they sided with the critics.

As a Mormon, all I have to do is admit I don't know the ins and outs of the papyri thing; however, thanks to great apologists who have put in the time and the effort, we have a basis wherein we can defend the work (and, let's face it, it makes it a lot easier). It's one thing to tell everyone to "pray" about something. But like McConkie says, once one has a testimony of who Joseph Smith was, one needn't continue bothering the Lord about all the other things that follow.

An ancient document also need not be inspired or be scripture. When the Jaredites used "shining stones" to light the inside of their ships, there is evidence that the request came from knowing the traditions and history of how the ark of Noah was lit. When one thinks about it, do we really expect that Noah lit a fire? The Brother of Jared already had hewn out the stones and knew to ask God to cause them to shine. Some sources even indicate that, like the Liahona, the stones were able to convey information from the Lord. Finding an ancient tradition can go a long way to proving that Joseph Smith wasn't just making things up, especially as the evidence continues to mount.

Is any of the evidence sure fire, irrefutable?

No, but the evidence of Lehi's journey across the Arabian peninsula is pretty doggone close to being irrefutable. It also puts a serious and ragged hole in the listing, but still floating, Solomon Spaulding explanation. Much of the rest of it constitutes evidence, but not proof.

Cold Steel

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I am Community of Christ (RLDS) It's been popularly assumed there's no intellectual evidence for the book which is quite untrue. The plurality of Gods has been rejected by RLDS officially I think since the 1890's. I believe in the book. I do think we are right in not officially endorsing it. To me use or non-use of the book should be left up to individuals among my people.

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You can test the Book of Abraham by logic & reason. But after you are certiain as I am it's has intellectual support you should ask God.

I have yet to see this vast repository of intellectual support you claim. I see a few small plausabilities.

Let's look at the Book of Mormon. Nobody can tell me Joseph Smith was able to make up such a complex book without citing from a pre-existent manuscript or plates.

Uhh, yes we can. I don't know how he made it up, but he did.

An example is Chiasmus whether ancient, or modern unless you see such poetry in your head you would get confused if you tried to do it on the spot. The book is filled with things like that. The Book of Abraham is no different.

Riiiight. And, as I've seen demonstrated, you can pull nearly any book off the shelf, randomly turn to a page and find a chiasm. Not the best of evidence.

One thing I was thinking about the other day. Joseph Smith was supposed to have possibly borrowed from a number of sources in producing the Book of Mormon, or Book of Abraham. Don't the critics have the ability to find a genius like Joseph Smith. Let's put a stack of these sources in front of them & let them become familiar with the content. Then let's find some scribes give him a hat & a stone & let them duplicate what Joseph Smith did on either book without getting confused. I have no doubt the person would quit out of unfinished embarrassment. Although somebody of Mark Hoffman's talent could produce a Book of Abraham. But using paper notes & mental notes are two different things.

We don't really know how JS wrote the BoM. We don't really need to know how he did it to know it is still a fraud. See my David Blane example above, please.

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I have read everthing for and against the Book of Abraham & disagree with the critics. One example is Jerald & Sandra Tanners Fall of the Book of Abraham type of presentation. I do not see Kerry Shirts as arguing for small plausibilities? Why do you disagree with his stuff?

The Chiasms I have seen from regular books are not as complex as Book of Mormon examples. I have seen simpler chiasms but nothing as impressive as the Book of Mormon examples. But those who are Boook of Mormon scholars have already compared them to modern chiasmus before proposing them as Book of Mormon evidence. That some disagree with them does not really persuade me away from my confidence in it.

David Blane couldn't produce a book the size of the Boook of Mormon. Can you duplicate the feat? Do you know anybody up to the task. I see Mark Hoffman with notes able to produce a Book of Abraham. But his book would have to survive scrutiny of believers. He's still in prison maybe you could try to talk him into showing Joseph Smith up using the books Brent Metcalfe believes Joseph Smith got his BOA ideas from.

Another thing find someone not able to read facimilies present some explanations like Joseph Smith did. Then have Egytology brought to bear on the explanations as Kerry Shirts has done. If you can support the explanations as strongly as Kerry Shirts does, and in the same way I would have doubts about Kerry Shirts type of research.

Brent Metcalf has expressed doubts about things like apocrphal lore in support of the Book of Abraham. I havn't seen an article by him on it yet. Though he is working at a book on the papyrus issue which I look forward to looking at. I am hoping he will include a sectiion on that.

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I think, quite frankly, and I understand that there will be some who disagree with me, and that's fine by me........ but with the reading I have done in this subject, the best evidence.............*evidence* for the Book of Abraham is the in toto publishings of the FARMS boys. Overall literally umpteen thousands of pages of really good stuff. I am astounded at the depth they have gone into, and overall I rate their materials seriously high on the meter level of very good plausibility. Is there total agreement? No, of course not. *That* is not the issue. Evidence is. And scholars and individuals see evidence differently. Overall the FARMS materials are sterling on this, in my opinion.

Best,

Kerry

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Dale:

Another thing find someone not able to read facimilies present some explanations like Joseph Smith did. Then have Egytology brought to bear on the explanations as Kerry Shirts has done. If you can support the explanations as strongly as Kerry Shirts does, and in the same way I would have doubts about Kerry Shirts type of research.

Kerry:

Dale you honor me too highly......... I hope after my Sunstone paper comes out, you might still think I do O.K. with it all................I try, I swear I do.

The cool thing is I have this year's Sunstone topic already! YEAH BABY! And it involves the Prophet's info on the facsimiles again also, but on another figure and using another tack. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Best,

Kerry

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I do not intend to honor you to much. Michael Rhodes & others seem to agree with a lot of the type of stuff you write. You are more prolific so I use your name in vain more. I am sure they might correct you somewhat also. I mention you a lot because I favor what you have written.

I do not think you could present the facimilies to some crazy genuius have him give explanations, and make good Egytological apologetics for the explanations he gave. Plus the critic can have no exposure to Egytology, or the Book of Abraham, and the books Joseph Smith could have. Then his mind must be like a photo-graphic memory mind sponge as Joseph Smith had papyrus & none of these books in view of his scribes.

A Mark Hoffman personality would have to have notes, an outline, or would have gotten writers block in front of his scribes. But could such a guy recite a book he drafted in private to scribes in order to fool them he was dictating. I am looking for an eccentric genius able to do stuff like that.

To me as a believer this is a type of Book of Abraham evidence unless the crtics can duplicate it. I saw a bit of David Blanes magic & his magic can be duplicated by other magicians. Why can't you find a genuius & have him duplicate Joseph Smiths literary tricks if that's all it was?I don't feel tricked, but if decieved save me from the deception I am under.

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No, but the evidence of Lehi's journey across the Arabian peninsula is pretty doggone close to being irrefutable.

Or not, dear Cold Steel.

When I first read the apologist "evidence" for this journey I thought I was reading a satire of classical LDS apologist work where completely unjustifiable conclusions are drawn from guesses and assumptions. But the apologist authors were dead serious.

I'm afraid I just don't find it very convincing to read something along the lines of (and I'm paraphrasing here) "how could Joseph Smith have known that there was a running river with trees in the Arabian Peninsula? This proves the BoM true."

I'm sorry, because I know so many LDS are completely taken in by this and are pinning a lot on it, but, frankly the mention of everyday, totally expected terrain features proves nothing. There are very few -- if any -- peninsulas anywhere in the world without stream or rivers and where there are streams and river there are almost always trees and bushes, even where I live in the midst of the deadly dry Sonoran Desert. Joseph Smith could have claimed those terrain features for essentially anywhere in the world with a high probability of being right. This proves only that he made a general enough guess that it'd probably be right anywhere.

And the nhm thing? Good heavens that's weak!

The apologists have suggested that Nahom, mentioned in the BoM, is a place on the Arabian peninsula named nhm, "Nehem", which may or may not be Nahom, or Nehem, or Nihim, or Nuhum, or Naham, or Nehim, or Nuhim, or Nihim, or Nehim, or Nihem, or Nehum, or Nuhem, or, well you get the picture, because ancient Arabic had no vowels. Besides the very real question about whether the physical location's name is the same as the one mentioned in the BoM, there is the far worse problem that the farthest back anyone can find references to "Nehem" is 900 AD [1], which is 15 centuries too late to be the one the Lehites visited. So there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever which dates Nehem any closer than 15 centuries to Lehi's time. Just because it was there 15 centuries later doesn't "prove" it was there in Lehi's time.

Okay, say the apologist, then how about the Nihm inscription? FARMS and The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies [2] carried an account of a German archaeological team excavating the Baran temple in Marib 70 miles due east of modern Sana, the capital of Yemen. They turned up an inscribed altar that they dated to the seventh or sixth century BC. In the inscription was the information that "Biather, son of Sawad, son of Nawan, the Nihmite" donated the altar.

So that I will not be accused of quoting anything out of context, I present following quotation from The Journal intact:

"Thus, there in ancient evidence referring to the tribe of Nihm, a member of which was wealthy enough to donate an altar to a temple. The reference cited above shows a picture of the finely carved, beautiful altar. The reference to the tribe of Nihm doesn't prove the existence of a place by the same name. But as S. Kent Brown puts it, "it is reasonable to surmise that the tribe gave its name to the region where it dwelt, evidentally a few dozen miles north of modern Sana, in the highlands that rise to the north of Wadi Jawf. Was this the name that Nephi rendered Nahom in the record? Very probably." [3]

Very probably based on what? Based on nothing.

Please notice the following:

--there is no evidence whatsoever of any location named after the tribe of Nihm, assuming the inscription refered to a tribe. That there is such a location is only surmised with absolutely no corroborating evidence. Even the writer admits that a reference to a tribe doesn't prove the existence of a place by the same name. So there is no direct evidence that such a location existed and no

corroborating evidence whatsoever.

--Even the actual position of the alleged location is surmised and not

proved, much less corroborated by other evidence.

--The dating of the altar is within a two century ballpark of Lehi's time and no closer.

--The BoM does not mention any natives at "Nahom" much less a wealthy tribe.

I don't think any of that meets the criteria for "doggone close to being irrefutable." I mean, seriously, at the minimum, this is a string of four uncorroborated assumptions built one on the other. We start with

(1) the uncorroborated assumption that Nihmite refers to a tribe, then on that build

(2) the uncorroborated assumption that the tribe had a location named after it, and then on that build

(3) the uncorroborated assumption that this existed precisely when and where Lehi could visit it and then build on that

(4) the uncorroborated assumption that Lehi did visit this location.

All we really know from the inscription is that the altar was donated by a rich patron whose grandfather was a Nihmite, whatever that is. There is no mention whatsoever of any location.

To summarize, the claimed "near certain identification" of the historical Nehum mentioned in 1st Nephi is based on

(a) a location which cannot be dated any closer than 15 centuries to Lehi's time, or

( b ) a location whose actual position and even existence is not known or even just alleged, but only surmised without corroboration, a location for which no direct evidence naming it exists and must be assumed without corroboration from a single reference to a wealthy altar donor's grandfather's assumed tribe's name (asuming the inscription has been translated correctly and that it is not a forgery), and in any event which cannot be dated any closer than 2 centuries to Lehi's time.

The total lack of direct and corroborated evidence for Nahom is completely unconvincing to this unbeliever. The interdependent quadruple chain of uncorroborated assumptions, built one on the other, strains my credulity.

James Clifford Miller

[email protected]

Footnotes

[1] http://users2.ev1.net/~kcmake/lds/bom.html

[2] Brown, S. Kent, "'The Place That Was Called Nahom'": New Light

from Ancient Yemen," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 8, No.

1, 1999, pp. 66-68; also see "Nahom and the 'Eastward' Turn" at FARMS.

[3] Ibid.

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As long as the critics can keep LDS students fighting over the papyri, they can avoid discussing it in the context of an ancient document perfectly at home with other ancient documents.

Dear Why_me,

There are lots of ancient documents which are just made up; parallels between them and the BofA do not prove the BofA in any way. The Apocolypse of Abraham is an ancient document whose worth, validity, and authenticity neither you nor Nibley have demonstrated. Indeed, among the few things we know about it is the fact that it was excluded from the Bible and though written in the 1st century BC, it does not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, but points to a Messiah yet to come.

If we critics were to attack the BofA using an abscure noncanonical document like the Apocaplyse of Abraham, you apologists would reject it out of hand. Why, then, should it be used in defense of the BofA?

You want us to be impressed with a single parallel between this obscure document and the BofA? Then start providing evidence of authonticity, worth, and validity of the Apocaplyse of Abraham. Otherwise, what worth is there in the parallel?

James Clifford Miller

[email protected]

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David Blane couldn't produce a book the size of the Book of Mormon. Can you duplicate the feat? Do you know anybody up to the task.

Certainly.

Christopher Paolini is a young man currently living who is demonstrably up to the task and has done more than duplicate Smith

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Let him do it & lets submit it to FARMs for analysis. I have not seen it so do not know it comparable. Do you have some large citations from it that co-incide with proving it's complex like the Book of Mormon. Put it another post. Certainly if it's copyrighted use what quotes as are legal.

I would have to see whether he had the literary skill to duplicate the Boook of abraham.

I will put it on my list of books to buy.

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Let him do it & lets submit it to FARMs for analysis.  I have not seen it so do not know it comparable. Do you have some large citations from it that co-incide with proving it's complex like the Book of Mormon. Put it another post. Certainly if it's copyrighted use what quotes as are legal.

Let him duplicate Joseph's feat with the Book of Abraham.

How about if we apply the same standard and challenge to Mr. Paolini that you apply to Joseph Smith: why don't you read Paolini's book and pray about it? If those standards are good enough for the BoM, they're good enough for Paolini's book. If you don't want to apply them to Paolini's book, why should we apply them to the BoM?

Tell me when you get done reading Paolini's book and have studied it and prayed about it.

James Clifford Miller

[email protected]

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I would if it was scripture. It doesn't purport to be scripture though. Eragons a work of literary fiction. I want to apply the Barean test to what you said. I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon after applying Moroni 10:3-5 I then ran into objections for the book that caused me to doubt my testimony. Only after applying the Barean test & finding answer to my objections was I willing to be confident again in the truthfullness of Moroni's promise.(Acts 17:11)

I bought this book entitled the New Mormon Challenge by Zondervan. It has two essays purporting to rebut Boook of Mormon evidences. I read FARMs reviews of it & felt they survived the criticisms detailed in the essays.

You have said Eragon is as big a literary accomplishment as is the Book of Mormon. Do you have a copy of Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited edited by Noel Reynolds? Can you find Book of Mormon evidences of the same strong type found in the book, or not. If not then the two literary accomplishments arn't even close.

Dig up examples from the book for another thread, or admit you can't do it.

With the Book of Abraham if Kerry Shirts & others evidences are disproveable go after them. And show me the author can duplicate the accomplishment.

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James Clifford Miller:

Christopher Paolini is a young man currently living who is demonstrably up to the task and has done more than duplicate Smith

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As long as the critics can keep LDS students fighting over the papyri, they can avoid discussing it in the context of an ancient document perfectly at home with other ancient documents.

Dear Why_me,

There are lots of ancient documents which are just made up; parallels between them and the BofA do not prove the BofA in any way. The Apocolypse of Abraham is an ancient document whose worth, validity, and authenticity neither you nor Nibley have demonstrated. Indeed, among the few things we know about it is the fact that it was excluded from the Bible and though written in the 1st century BC, it does not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, but points to a Messiah yet to come.

If we critics were to attack the BofA using an abscure noncanonical document like the Apocaplyse of Abraham, you apologists would reject it out of hand. Why, then, should it be used in defense of the BofA?

You want us to be impressed with a single parallel between this obscure document and the BofA? Then start providing evidence of authonticity, worth, and validity of the Apocaplyse of Abraham. Otherwise, what worth is there in the parallel?

James Clifford Miller

[email protected]

I can understand where you are coming James; at least I think I can. But you must understand james that there are two sides to this issue. For example, the defenders of the bofa have put up a good agrument...not just for the BofA but also for the rest of the pearl of great price. And their points are rather strong.

I am a practical guy...and in a way I am a learned guy if having a doctorate makes one learned. But my interest is not religion...it is the human being. My interest is in the social aspects of life: how we humans relate to one another at the socioeconomic level. I try to see an individual biography from the street and not from a book.

When I see Joseph Smith I try to piece the guy's life together as if I were in his footsteps. I want to get into his head and feel that life. I know that this is not scientific; rather, the method is very unscientific. But the method does attempt to give me a human understanding of achievement.

You see James, I have a difficult time in assuming that Joseph made it all up:the bofm, book of moses, book of abraham and his many revelations. And I find Uncle Dale's idea hard to see clear. Joseph the dupe, going with good ol' sidney about the book of mormon for the whole 100 yards, losing his own children through mob violence etc. It just doesn't make sense....common sense.

I am a simple guy. What some of the posters have said about the difference in writing styles makes sense to me. They are different. But yes, I am also a doubting Thomas. I am a poor-butt member who will be in the terrestial for sure, if it is all true. I know that...it is my choice to live the way I do. But I just can't get my mind around the simple things...and the simple things are the most powerful.

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Amen. Many don't know that Joseph Smith produced the Book of Moses at about the same time as the Book of Mormon; yet, look at the differences in style. The Book of Moses didn't have that same stilted language that was so characteristic of the BOM translation. If it had, that would have been a big red flag. Even the Book of Abraham has it's own style.

Moses 6:40, for example, talks about a man named Mahijah who asked several questions of Enoch about who he was and where he was from. Nibley found numerous parallels between the Book of Moses and other ancient writings. In one of those writings, in some Aramaic fragments of the Book of Enoch, the giants, fearful of the mighty wonders Enoch is performing, sends a spy with virtually the same name to find out about Enoch (see Hugh W. Nibley, "Churches in the Wilderness," in Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless, ed. Truman G. Madsen (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978):155-86).

These coincidences keep piling up and that's why we need apologetics to keep our critics on their toes.

Cold Steel

P.S. -- Just as an aside, there's no need to quote an entire message when responding. Just a judicious line or two will do. Cheers.

Thanks for the post. As I just mentioned to James, for me it is the simple things that I am impressed with. But I do not want to be a simpleton! :P

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