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David Bokovoy

Psalm 47: A Biblical Prayer to the Gods of

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Markk writes:

OK, my agenda as a ex-Mormon is to show and prove through the text that the Bible (OT) was a correction notice to Israel that there is only one true God and that the others mythical gods of the Egyptians and Canaanites and others were false and idols. That is what I believe and that is my "agenda' as you call it. What your doing is painting a picture that "scholarship" excepts that these gods were more than mythical, that was important to get out in the open.
Scholarship is completely oblivious to the question of whether they were real or not. Scholarship doesn't care about that question. That is a theological issue. Scholarship cares about whether or not the authors of the Old Testament believed that they were real or not. Scholarship is not theology. And if you cannot separate them, then of course you will have no recognition of this distinction - but that also means that you will never understand what the scholars are trying to say when they talk about a text.
I'll start here, What about dagon and 1 Samuel chapter five (cf judges 16:23, 1 Chron. 10:10 and judges 13-16) Dagon, is clearly nothing more than a idol, and is shown as such, this elohim had no power and being, nothing more than a stone or wood symbol of a mythical god portrayed by stone or wood. There is no indication that the OT 's message is one that this elohim was real.
The challenge here is that these texts do not say what make them out to say. So what of Dagon? The text claims that they worshipped Dagon, that Dagon was not the equal of YHWH, and that the events which occured did not alter the perception of Dagon amongst his worshippers. None of these texts would seem to preclude belief in the existence of a real Dagon.

Ben

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Hi Ben,

Scholarship cares about whether or not the authors of the Old Testament believed that they were real or not.

My point exactly, I'm nether a scholar or a theologian, those are just labels, my point is that the authors clearly believed that the elohims in context here are just idols.

1Sa 5:1 And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.

1Sa 5:2 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.

1Sa 5:3 And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon [was] fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.

1Sa 5:4 And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon [was] fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands [were] cut off upon the threshold; only [the stump of] Dagon was left to him.

1Sa 5:5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.

So are you saying here that the author of the text actually thought that Dagon was real and the people just picked him up allegorically, or was this elohim petrified? come on Ben, the context is clear, are you saying that the author actually thought that they put the ark next to a real god?

Mark

John 1;12

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Markk writes:

My point exactly, I'm nether a scholar or a theologian, those are just labels, my point is that the authors clearly believed that the elohims in context here are just idols.
And I am disagreeing with you. And so far, you haven't given any significant reasons as to why you should be believed.
So are you saying here that the author of the text actually thought that Dagon was real and the people just picked him up allegorically, or was this elohim petrified? come on Ben, the context is clear, are you saying that the author actually thought that they put the ark next to a real god?
No. I think you misunderstand the nature of these idols. The author believed that Dagon may have existed as a real entity - represented by the idol. Any particular divinity could have multiple idols - particularly in the form of teraphim. The destruction of an idol would not mean the destruction of the divinity. Here in this passage, you also have to recognize that the ark of the covenant (which is the mercy seat on which God rests when he comes into the tent) represents the presence of YHWH in just as real a sense as the idol represented the presence of Dagon. Having the idol of Dagon make obesience to YHWH was simply an indicator that Dagon was inferior to YHWH, and bowed down in His presence. There wasn't any real functional difference in the Samuel narrative between the idol of Dagon and the Ark of the Covenant of YHWH. Both would have served relatively similar functions within their individual cultic circles.

Ben

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Hi ben,

No, the ark is clearly called the the "ark of the LORD/God", thus representing s "'his" God in the eyes of this author, the Idol and the house of this idol, are clearly and directly called by the false elohims name, in these five verses the ark is referred as "the ark of" 4 times, while the idol is referred to Dagon directly every time. Your comparison does not fly in the context of the text, it is isogesis, you are forcing a preconceived ideology into the context. The author never calls the ark God, nore the idol a idol in the context of these verses.

And I am disagreeing with you. And so far, you haven't given any significant reasons as to why you should be believed.

I hope you don't believe me, believe the Word, it's a choice, yours?

Mark

john 1:12

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I hope you don't believe me, believe the Word, it's a choice, yours?

I have been watching this discussion and find it very interesting.

So are you saying that what you are saying is what the word is saying? If so, how do I know that what you are saying is what the word is saying?

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Markk writes:

No, the ark is clearly called the the "ark of the LORD/God", thus representing s "'his" God in the eyes of this author, the Idol and the house of this idol, are clearly and directly called by the false elohims name, in these five verses the ark is referred as "the ark of" 4 times, while the idol is referred to Dagon directly every time. Your comparison does not fly in the context of the text, it is isogesis, you are forcing a preconceived ideology into the context. The author never calls the ark God, nore the idol a idol in the context of these verses.
I have no idea how this interacts with what I said. You use the term "false elohim". This is nowhere indicated in the text. The text does not claim that Dagon is a "false elohim". It does not indicate that there wasn't a real Dagon (in the opinion of its author).

Further, I suggest that you are the one who has a preconcieved notion of what the text should say based on your personal theology. This comes through when you use terms like "false" as a description of Dagon. What is the saying - "What I do is exegesis, what you do is Eisegesis". This is all that you are suggesting - what I do is bad, what you do is good, even though, for all intents and purposes what you do is no different than what I do. Except, I have scholarship at my back and you have theology.

I hope you don't believe me, believe the Word, it's a choice, yours?
And your interpretation is not the Word. I think that is a rather safe conclusion. Once more, you are trying to claim that the text can only be understood in light of your theology, that the writers of the Old Testament were wonderful Christians following in your own personal belief, and so on. And I simply don't accept this premise.

Finally, the "forced ideology" isn't one that I share. I have no stake in seeing the author of the passage in question recognizing other divinities in the seventy sons of El - each having inherited a portion of the peoples of the earth to server as their object of worship. Unfortunately, this seems to be your only recourse. Since you can't appeal to scholarship, you have to suggest that I am making a claim based in ideology. But the reason I would feel a need to do this (when my position is already supported in scholarship) escapes me. Personally, I think the real issue that you have is in my rejection of the text as infallible, and the acceptance of its authors as human beings.

I have a question for you though - what sect of Christianity do you claim membership in?

Ben

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Ben, above you said:

Yes this is my view - that the kingship codes of Deuteronomy 17 heavily influenced Nephite thought on the subject. Similarly, I think that Deuteronomy 18 (which is quoted explicitly enough to make a sure identification) was influential in Nephite thought in dealing with the nature of Prophets (tangentially, this makes more sense if there were "others").

Would you mind referencing the quote from Deut. 18? I think I know what you're referring to, but want to be sure. Also, can you give me a brief summary of how you think this affected Nephite thought about prophets and how this "makes more sense" if there are indigenous "others" there? Thanks.

Also, my question you responded to above actually referenced the Deuteronomistic history's (I meant I and II Kings') formulaic treatment of good and bad kings. Is your answer still the same? The arguable influence of that formulaic treatment is more aqpparent, perhaps, in the Book of Ether, but also seems apparent in the desription of King Noah in Zeniff/Mosiah.

I would be more inclined to see this as coming largely from Moroni, and less from either the writer(s) of the Zeniff records and the writer(s) and/or translators of the Jaredite record.

If "this" is the similar formulaic language regarding BoM kings I referenced above, do you attribute it to Moroni (rather than the Zeniff authors and/or Mormon as abridger) because you think it is better attested in Ether than in Mosiah?

I would not call Moroni's text of the Book of Ether a redaction or an editing, but essentially a creative work of Moroni which may include elements from the earlier translation that he uses - quotes, references, allusions and reinscriptions. I do not believe it is appropriate to refer to the Book of Ether as a redaction. And this is why I am confident in attributing the description to Moroni.

I understand. As we've discussed before, by inference Moroni does something with the Jaredite record, but I appreciate the reasons that you refer to the Book of Ether as his own composition.

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Hi Ben,

That is just not what the text says, else where through scripture, it clearly refers to elohims as nothing more than idols ( psalms and 1 chron) . I am just relating what the text says in context. The Word says there was no God before nor will there be on after YHWH, it says flat out there is no other God than Him. It command Israel not to make false elohims out of stone, molted metals or wood, over and over again.

You claim you have scholarship on your side like it is a badge of authenticity, the final authority of arbitration, I suggest it is just "liberial theology". You can go to the 24 hour news shows and on almost any given night find some wako scholar driving their agenda, as you can find wako theologians or just people in general, so what? I am not at suggesting you are wako, that's Davids department ( just kidding David, you know I love you) , just driven by bad teaching, your not taking the whole context into consideration.

More later, late again

Mark

john 1:12

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Addictio writes:

ould you mind referencing the quote from Deut. 18? I think I know what you're referring to, but want to be sure. Also, can you give me a brief summary of how you think this affected Nephite thought about prophets and how this "makes more sense" if there are indigenous "others" there? Thanks.
The earliest (chronologically) use of this text occurs in 1 Nephi 22:20:
And the Lord will surely prepare a way for his people, unto the fulfilling of the words of Moses, which he spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that all those who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.
Compare with Deuteronomy 18:15-19
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Apart from the other quotes of this passage - which eventually also becomes read messianically - I also see it being alluded to in Jacob 1 and 2 - for example, in 2:30 (that oft repeated verse in the discussion over polygamy in the Book of Mormon), Jacob says: "... otherwise they shall hearken unto these things" as a reminder of his prophetic voice. In any case, the quotes of Dt. 18 are usually given messianically, while the allusions generally are not. The notion of others is reflected though in the kingship texts from Deuteronomy 17, which also express the same condition - "Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother." And the ongoing constant reminder of the lineage of kings (and leaders). Thus Mormon's emphasis on being a descendant of Nephi, along with Alma (notice that Alma, when his people encounter the rest of the Nephites becomes the chief high priest and leads the church - replacing whatever hierarchy existed before he shows up), when the Nephites meet the much more numerous Mulekites, it is a Nephite who becomes king - and not the man who allegedly is of Davidic descent (as Mulek would have been). In missing the first two chapters of Mosiah, I suspect we miss the descendancy of Mosiah - Benjamin - Mosiah and their dynastic reign - and it probably was connected to Nephi. This preference for a direct connection to Nephi seems to be a part of the reading of these passages. And this suggests in turn that there were others who were not. And I speculate that the king men - who claim the right to rule - who were aristocracy (the text calls them "of high birth") may well have been Mulekites who were descendants of Mulekite aristocracy. (This may be why there is no emphasis on how they were high born). In any case, the notion of "among your brethren" makes a lot of sense if there are those who aren't. And while it may be that this distinction is between Lamanites and Nephites, you get the sense that if this was the case early on, it certainly expanded after the encounter with the Mulekites.
Also, my question you responded to above actually referenced the Deuteronomistic history's (I meant I and II Kings') formulaic treatment of good and bad kings. Is your answer still the same? The arguable influence of that formulaic treatment is more aqpparent, perhaps, in the Book of Ether, but also seems apparent in the desription of King Noah in Zeniff/Mosiah.
Actually, I see Deuteronomy 17 and 18 as being part of a proto-D text (predating 1 and 2 Kings). 1 and 2 Kings then are a treatment of royalty in much the same way that the Book of Mormon treats royalty - exploring their good and bad qualities as set out in their source texts. So, I think that what happens is like what happens in the Deuteronomist history. The Nephite kings are, for the most part, portrayed very formulaicly - and the formulas seem to be based on the kingship codes of Dt. 17. They include some issues - repeatedly - that the Old Testament does not focus on (supporting themselves, for example, for the good kings - which is never a real issue in the OT, but is a constant issue in the BoM). I have a couple of threads here in this forum where I discuss the formulaic descriptions of the kings in Ether and in Mosiah in a detailed fashion to show that this is exactly what is happening. It is most apparent in the Ether text where we have no other reason to understand why a Jaredite king is being described in a Nephite fashion.
If "this" is the similar formulaic language regarding BoM kings I referenced above, do you attribute it to Moroni (rather than the Zeniff authors and/or Mormon as abridger) because you think it is better attested in Ether than in Mosiah?
Yes, I attribute it to Moroni (or perhaps to Mosiah - the translator of the text - although I would tend not to take this route). I suggest it is more apparent there because there really is no references to any kind of rules or regulations about kings in the Jaredite material - at least none that we have seen. The polygamy of Riplakish, for example, can probably only be seen as sinful in light of Nephite expectations and morality. Its prominence in Ether seems best explained as an emphasis made by Moroni and is clearly designed to emphasize the wickedness of Riplakish - a wickedness which might not make sense within a Jaredite cultural setting. These two are not the only references. The "many wives and concubines" of David and Solomon were also referred to as an abomination in Jacob 2. And it shows up in the Deuteronomic kingship codes. So it makes sense to me that there is something formulaic going on here.
I understand. As we've discussed before, by inference Moroni does something with the Jaredite record, but I appreciate the reasons that you refer to the Book of Ether as his own composition.
I know that you are familiar with my points here, but I thought I would repeat them for others. If we go through the text of Ether we note a great many editorial insertions which cannot belong to an earlier source. I would suggest that perhaps as much as half of the material of the Book of Ether can be directly attributable to Moroni with little debate. A second issue is that Moroni is working from a translation. I suppose (although it is a bit ambiguous) that this is the translation made by Mosiah 600 years earlier (or so). There seems to be the distinct likelohood in this that Mosiah's translation was not into the language in which the Gold Plates were written. Taking and condensing a millenia or two of history into a work half the size of the Book of Ether suggests that a great many liberties have been taken with the text. All of these things taken together, as well as other issues which I have in terms of specific content and linguistic issues, leads me to conclude that this is text virtually entirely written by Moroni which is entirely a Nephite text with connections to the earlier Jaredite record (as read by a late Nephite).

To suggest that we have much at all in there which can be directly attributable to Ether (or his sources) is problematic for me at best. As is the assumption that anything in Ether hasn't been already interpreted through Nephite experiences. And I think this leads us once again to the conclusion that the description of Riplakish is that of a wicked Nephite king. This doesn't mean that the details are made up, only that the portrayal of Riplakish corresponds with a portrayal of a wicked Nephite, and there may well have been a much broader range of "wickedness" attributed to Riplakish which was picked through to produce this specific description. It may also be that this description is indebted to the earlier Nephite translation (which interestingly enough would have come from about the same time period as the original Zeniff account).

As a side note, I also have a number of arguments describing the way that Nephi deals with the issue of dynastic change in the shift from a Davidic king in 1 Nephi - an issue which is tangentially important to my discussions on this topic.

Ben

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