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David Bokovoy

The Voice: Hypostasis As Evidence

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As Dan Vogel mentioned earlier, if you don't see someone, but you hear their voice, and you wish to address a comment or question to the person who originated that voice, it is only natural to face in the direction from which you hear the voice.

True enough, but the text does not state that the people â??faced the direction from which they heard the voice.â? It states, â??you must repent and cry unto the voice.â?

Itâ??s much more biblical than your rendering.

What would be even more interesting than seeing what happens on the MAD board when you do, is to see what would happen if you could get the same Biblical scholars who originated the concept to consider the Book of Mormon and see if they agree with you on the application of this principle.

I can already tell you what the result would be. They would agree that I had appropriately linked the scholarly view of this subtle biblical nuance to a Book of Mormon passage that features a hypostatic use of the word voice.

I canâ??t imagine however, that this observation would convince anyone that the Book of Mormon is an ancient religious text.

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Hello David,

I skimmed most of the posts but this is largely in resonse to your OP.

One of the elements in the Helaman 5 chiasm I found is on the hypostatic voice...it can be seen here..

http://war-ship.bravejournal.com/

The apex of the element is the descriptive word "mildness", describing the hypostatic voice. Well the word mild or mildness is not used anywhere else in the BOM and seems respectfully reserved for the description of the voice only. This is a good indicator of the uniqueness of this voice and event.

Exodus 3 and the burning bush would be a good example of the hypostatic voice I'm thinking? And this is another good indicator that the the Helaman 5 voice is also hypostatic because there is a substantial reference to the burning bush and MOses during this incident in Helaman 5.

I don't believe anyone has noticed this allusion to Ex 3 bc the Hel 5 passage is largely always likened to Daniel...but Daniel is also referencing Exodus 3, which explains the confusion.

I wrote a post on this here.. http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php...19562&st=20

post #35.

Basically, Lehi and Nephi are like the burning bush and Abinadi is like Moses and how he "turns and looks" to see the fire that doesnt consume. He encourages others to "turn and look" also. The Angel of the Lord is mentioned in both passages and now...

A hypostatic voice in the burning bush scene with Moses and in Helaman with Nephi Lehi fit nicely together as yet another allusion of Helaman to Exodus.

Very interesting as I have been looking for more allusions to Exodus 3 in Helaman 5.

Thanks,

Robert

ps.

Ancient Israelites personified voice in a way that allowed the term to standâ??even if only from a literary perspectiveâ??as God himself interacting with human beings.

In view of this biblical precedent, if Helaman 5 had nothing more than the statement, â??You must repent and cry unto the voice,â? the expression would provide an intriguing parallel with a subtle Israelite tradition.

Bc of many allusions to Exodus 3 and the burning bush passage, I have thought that crying to the voice in Hel 5 was akin to

Ex2

[23] And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.

..So crying to the "voice" would very much be the same as crying to "God".

BTW, I'm sure you already know, but the cloud of darkness and the voice being linked is another theme from Exodus.

Ex19

16] And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

[17] And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God

Deut5

[22] These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more.

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We canâ??t overlook the possibility that since voices often appear in revelatory contexts, Joseph simply got lucky.

But this is granting too much as well. It doesnâ??t require luck to simply borrow from an easily attainable Bible. Especially one with which Smith was already very familiar.

Iâ??m not convinced that Israelites actually viewed the â??voiceâ? as a completely separate entity from God himself.

But that is precisely what hypostasis would mean according to your primary source. Yadin said the â??hypostasisâ? has â??â?¦become a distinct divine being in its own right,â?? a definition adopted in the present study.â?(p.601-602)

Incidentally, a voice representation of a person or thing, just strikes me as a natural representation. It hardly means a hypostasis is involved in an abstract manner. If a stranger is hiding behind a curtain and says â??David,â? you would naturally describe your experience as that of hearing â??a voiceâ? because you didnâ??t see anyone.

Certain biblical authors may have held this belief, but regardless, the fact remains that we have an extremely subtle tradition in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon in which voice appears personified as deity himself.

And assuming these are genuine personifications, Joseph Smith could not have borrowed this from the Bibleâ?¦ because? KJV of Gen 3:8 says the â??voice walkedâ? in the garden. These are clear personifications that would strike anyone interested in developing a text in an ancient style.

This is why I commented on the deity parallel between the Bible and Book of Mormon. It really is pointless to even mention it unless there is reason to believe Joseph Smith could not have seen it in the Bible. But we already know Smith borrowed from the KJV, if nothing else, the basic KJV language style. The â??still small voiceâ? phrase was borrowed from the KJV, even though some scholars argue that this is actually a mistranslation.

Most problematic, I think, is that Mormonism teaches God to be anthropomorphic by nature. He is in human form. He is a body. It is regularly argued by LDS that this is how the biblical authors understood God as well. So to argue that the ancients actually understood God to be a â??voiceâ? personified - as opposed to an anthropomorphic being who sent his voice from his (literal) mouth, through the clouds - seems to undermine many apologetic accomplishments.

Moreover, according to Margaret Barker, â??The Deuteronomists rewrote the tradition: "Thy Yahweh spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of the words but saw no form; there was only a voice."(Deut 4:12)â?

Barker is a favorite among LDS apologists (the favorite?) and she believes the attempt to personify â??the voiceâ? was a later theological redaction. If she is correct then this would make any Book of Mormon instances you refer to simply anachronistic.

Bruce Metzger supports her when he says (The Bible in Translation,16) Gen 3:8 is an anti-anthropomorphic redaction. Notice that the KJV states that the â??voiceâ? of the Lord walked in the garden, while later versions properly translate qol to mean â??sound.â?

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David,

Interesting material, as usual, but I have some questions. Isn't the hypostatic communication more akin to Neoplatonic belief and less to OT theology or are you arguing that one preceeded the other and added definition to the former? The way I understand it is that the hypostatsis is deriviative of the ousias, a Greek platonic term. Secondly, how does Philo figure into this? Was he more instrumental in establishing Neoplatonic thought especially the hypostasis than were the Greeks?

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Hello Dartagnan,

But this is granting too much as well. It doesnâ??t require luck to simply borrow from an easily attainable Bible. Especially one with which Smith was already very familiar.

I donâ??t believe that the biblical examples of a hypostatic voice are as easily absorbed as youâ??ve suggested. How many well-versed Bible readers do you know that are attuned to the phenomenon?

But that is precisely what hypostasis would mean according to your primary source. Yadin said the â??hypostasisâ? has â??â?¦become a distinct divine being in its own right,â?? a definition adopted in the present study.â?(p.601-602)

I believe that in a literary text, an author may treat something like wisdom, glory, or a word as a distinct divine being without literally believing that wisdom, glory, etc. is, in fact, an independent god. As I see it, this is the way that the author of Helaman 5 uses the hypostatic voice.

And assuming these are genuine personifications, Joseph Smith could not have borrowed this from the Bibleâ?¦ because? KJV of Gen 3:8 says the â??voice walkedâ? in the garden. These are clear personifications that would strike anyone interested in developing a text in an ancient style.

Iâ??m not arguing that the tradition does not appear in the Bible, only that a hypostatic voice is not something typically recognized and/or emphasized by contemporary readers.

That fact that it is a biblical tradition that appears in the Book of Mormon is actually part of the point.

Besides, to suggest that somehow Joseph Smith created a story in which a group of people did â??repent and cry untoâ? a voice who saved two missionaries when the voice "came above the cloud of darkness," and "did speak" based upon the fact that Joseph read in Genesis that Adam and Eve â??heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the dayâ? seems a bit far-fetched.

Wouldn't you agree?

I have a hard time imagining that Joseph Smith could have intentionally created such as story to reflect Genesis 3:8â??remember, most of the other cases of the hypostatic voice are extremely subtle and difficult to decipher in translation.

Most problematic, I think, is that Mormonism teaches God to be anthropomorphic by nature. He is in human form. He is a body. It is regularly argued by LDS that this is how the biblical authors understood God as well.

I donâ??t believe that all of the biblical authors viewed God in anthropomorphic terms.

So to argue that the ancients actually understood God to be a â??voiceâ? personified - as opposed to an anthropomorphic being who sent his voice from his (literal) mouth, through the clouds - seems to undermine many apologetic accomplishments.

Again, it can be a literary device. It need not suggest that the author did not believe in an anthropomorphic deity.

The fact that God is anthropomorphic does not preclude the use of hypostasis.

Moreover, according to Margaret Barker, â??The Deuteronomists rewrote the tradition: "Thy Yahweh spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of the words but saw no form; there was only a voice."(Deut 4:12)â?

Barker is a favorite among LDS apologists (the favorite?) and she believes the attempt to personify â??the voiceâ? was a later theological redaction.

Sheâ??s not alone. As far as I can tell, this seems to represent the consensus.

If she is correct then this would make any Book of Mormon instances you refer to simply anachronistic.

Not at all. Many biblical scholarsâ??including myselfâ?? believe in the occurrence of multiple Deuteronomic redactionsâ??at least a Dtr 1 (pre-exilic) and a Dtr 2 (post-exilic). The push towards using the voice to replace earlier references to a literal theophany took place before 600 BC.

However, the fact that Israelite reformers were able to accomplish this substitution via the voice provides evidence for the validity of my claim that the hypostatic voice served a prominent role in the religious traditions that Lehi and his family took with them from Jerusalem.

No wonder it appears in Helaman 5.

Excellent point!

Bruce Metzger supports her when he says (The Bible in Translation,16) Gen 3:8 is an anti-anthropomorphic redaction. Notice that the KJV states that the â??voiceâ? of the Lord walked in the garden, while later versions properly translate qol to mean â??sound.â?

I too believe that qol, i.e. â??voiceâ? became a means to rework the Israelite view of anthropomorphism. I believe that the term clearly functions this way in Deuteronomy.

This does not mean, however, that Lehi and his family would have shared all of these religious views that inspired the reformersâ??Lehi appears offering sacrifices outside of Jersusalem, etc.-- even though the Nephites appear to have shared the same cultural milieu that contributed to the appearance of the hypostatic voice in texts such as Deuteronomy 4 and Helaman 5.

Thanks for you contributions and questions.

More later.

--DB

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Warship,

Thanks for adding some interesting ideas for us to consider.

Ace,

Great questions. I'll put up a response when I can pull away.

Warm regards,

--David

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I donâ??t believe that the biblical examples of a hypostatic voice are as easily absorbed as youâ??ve suggested. How many well-versed Bible readers do you know that are attuned to the phenomenon?

Most, if asked. Just ask anyone, well-versed or not, where they think the phrases â??I heard a voice walking/cry unto the voiceâ? come from. Give them a choice from five or ten different books and I bet you theyâ??d pick the Bible most, if not every time.

Hypostasis is a word in which your own source admits is very difficult to define. There is no consensus on its definition. The difficulty in it is evident in the fact that your definition clearly differs from his.

I wouldn't sell the layman short on his ability to â??absorbâ? the Bible. The Bible is a book which many people read over and over. In fact, it is the most read book in history, and continues to be the most read book today. It is not encyclopedic. It is not a huge book. It is not uncommon for people to recite verses verbatim. They do so not because they made an effort to memorize the Bible, but because it sticks with them through repetition.

The manner in which Godâ??s â??voiceâ? is described in the Bible is not a meager or scant phenomenon. I see no reason to think Smith wouldnâ??t have been able to take note of it, especially if he were a man trying to develop his own scripture. This means he would have actually tried to pin-point awkward ancient-sounding phrases that only appear in the Bible.

I believe that in a literary text, an author may treat something like wisdom, glory, or a word as a distinct divine being without literally believing that wisdom, glory, etc. is, in fact, an independent god.

Your primary source argued that hypostasis meant the voice was, â??a distinct divine being in its own right.â? You said you do not believe it means the voice was a â??separate entity from God.â? Divine or not, your concept of hypostasis is quite different from the authorâ??s. If the voice is not a â??separate entity from God,â? then it cannot be a â??divine being in its own right.â? At least, not unless weâ??re going to adopt a Trinitarian paradigm, that relies heavily on hypostasis to make sense of the three persons and one being doctrine.

Iâ??m not arguing that the tradition does not appear in the Bible, only that a hypostatic voice is not something typically recognized and/or emphasized by contemporary readers.

Do you really mean to say that when we read about a voice walking, or a prophet â??looking atâ? a voice, that this isnâ??t something that stands out for modern English readers? I can assure you that more than a few Sunday school kids have raised their hands on that one, and that numerous Bible commentaries have commented on this phenomenon. It isnâ??t something that comes in under the radar. It is obvious. It appears in some of the most read chapters/stories in the Bible.

Besides, to suggest that somehow Joseph Smith created a story in which a group of people did â??repent and cry untoâ? a voice who saved two missionaries when the voice "came above the cloud of darkness," and "did speak" based upon the fact that Joseph read in Genesis that Adam and Eve â??heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the dayâ? seems a bit far-fetched. Wouldn't you agree?

Not all all. At least, not nearly as far-fetched as the scenario I believe you are proposing. :P

And I am not saying Hel 5 is based strictly on Gen 3:8. I mentioned Gen 3:8 because it is the first instance where Godâ??s voice is mentioned in the Torah. In all probability, Smith knew his Bible well beyond Genesis and he was probably quite familiar with the other Biblical stories where the â??voiceâ? of God was described as an entity itself.

The voice is mentioned two dozen times in Genesis alone, and we find similar verses like Gen 4:10: â??the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.â? This seems to imply that the voice was an entity of its own also, though it is not the voice of God. There are plenty other examples, however. I will list them below.

But I want to restate my point that to speak of a voice speaking or a voice crying is just a common language error, similar to those we make even today. Take for instance the sentence, â??the music is playing.â?

Well, musicians play, not music. Music sounds through the distance. But to say music plays is just a natural association that nobody bothers to correct. Does this mean music should be considered a hypostatic with a musician? There are dozens of examples similar to the "voice speaks" phenomenon, that we don't even realize.

Now you seem to think it is far-fetched that Smith could have borrowed from the Bible when â??translatingâ? the Helaman verses. Letâ??s walk through your examples and test this theory.

Example #1

BoM: And it came to pass that there came a voice as if it were above the cloud of darkness, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants whom I have sent unto you to declare good tidings.

Ezek 19:16: And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud

Matthew 17:15; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35: While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud

Example #2

BoM: And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul. And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly

1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

Example #3

BOM: And behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse. And behold the voice came again, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; and seek no more to destroy my servants. And it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled.

Mark 1:11 â??And there came a voice from heavenâ?

Mark 9:7 â??A voice came out of the cloudâ?

Luke 3:22 â??A voice came from heavenâ?

Luke 9:35 â??And there came a voice out of the cloudâ?

John 12:28 â??Then came there a voiceâ?

John 12:30 â??This voice cameâ?

Acts 7:31 â??The voice of the LORD cameâ?

Acts 10:13 â??There came a voice to himâ?

2 Peter 1:17-18 â??came such a voice to himâ?¦ And this voice which cameâ?

Rev 16:17 â??And there came a great voiceâ?

Rev 19:5 â??And a voice came out of the throneâ?

I find it very hard to believe that Christians, Joseph Smith included, would not be familiar with these verses.

I donâ??t believe that all of the biblical authors viewed God in anthropomorphic terms

Well, certainly those prior to Josiahâ??s reform understood him as such.

The fact that God is anthropomorphic does not preclude the use of hypostasis.

If God is a body, then the voice came from his mouth just as your voice comes from your mouth. This means the voice is no more hypostatic with God than our voices are with ourselves. Those who heard the voice of God and saw no form naturally referred to the voice as an entity itself. This is natural and even expected. Doing what comes natural doesnâ??t demonstrate an established Jewish doctrine nor does it suggest it â??served an important role in the religious traditions of ancient Israel.â?

Heck, we do the same thing today. Do a google search for phrases like â??saved by a voiceâ? and â??voice came to me.â? Youâ??ll find perhaps hundreds of articles, none of which actually intended to convey a message of hypostasis.

The push towards using the voice to replace earlier references to a literal theophany took place before 600 BC.

But that â??pushâ? was a corruption. Why would Book of Mormon prophets carry with them corrupt traditions? It has already been argued by Dr. Peterson that the Lehi family retained the older Asherah tradition which Josiah defeated. But now we are to understand, five centuries after Lehi, the theologically corrupt notion that God was a â??voiceâ? (as opposed to a body), which was available to Lehi only a decade before setting sail from the Arabian peninsula, has somehow managed its way to Helaman?

You think it is â??far-fetchedâ? that Joseph Smith would notice more than a dozen scriptures that speak of a Godâ??s voice â??coming,â? but you have no problems accepting the theory above?

I too believe that qol, i.e. â??voiceâ? became a means to rework the Israelite view of anthropomorphism. I believe that the term clearly functions this way in Deuteronomy.

Yes, which most scholars believe is a product of the Josiahn reform.

This does not mean, however, that Lehi and his family would have shared all of these religious views that inspired the reformers

Well, that is actually my point. Lehi wouldnâ??t have adopted this view because it was too new and too corrupt. He had about 20 years to find out about it and adopt it as his own, but Lehi was a prophet and knew better than to buy damaged goods from Josiah. So if Lehi didnâ??t bring it to the Americas, how did it end up in Helaman five centuries later? Was there another voyage from Arabia to the Americas that taught Lehiâ??s descendants the reformed doctrines of Josiah?

Lehi appears offering sacrifices outside of Jersusalem, etc.-- even though the Nephites appear to have shared the same cultural milieu that contributed to the appearance of the hypostatic voice in texts such as Deuteronomy 4 and Helaman 5.

There are too many biblical passages that illustrate striking resemblances to the Book of Mormon passages in question, and the phenomenon of changing a verb is all too common for us to be leaping to conclusions about a shared â??hypostaticâ? tradition.

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Hebrew writing and speaking both employ haShem, G-d's Name, as a standin for G-d Himself. Could not haQul, G-d's voice, likewise be a standin for G-d in these writings?

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I think as apologetics and pundits we need to answer the bigger problems with the BofM first then we can spend our time worrying about these sorts of detailed word analysis (chiasmus etc...)

What I want to see happen is the BofM geography question answered and the church put down a solid foot in one camp or the other whether its Sorenson's LGT or not I really don't care I just want to see the church take a stand somewhere instead of leaving its members trying to fill in the gaps with all sorts of crazy theories and speculations.

Also what of actual physical evidence? Where is the evidence? For all its thousands of inhabitants the BofM people surely left something somewhere. Lets find it and silence the doubters for good.

I still don't know what to make of the problems with horses, steel, elephants and the like mentioned in the BofM, hopefully the evidence will answer these questions as well but the current theories promoted by FARMS and other apologetics just aren't cutting it for me. Since when have Tapirs been called horses by any civilization, and I have yet to see someone trying to pull a chariot with a couple of Tapirs.

I've heard all sorts of arguments as to why we can't find hard physical evidence for the BofM, but if we can find evidence for the Bible (which we have) then surely finding evidence for the BofM is possible and highly probable, considering the extent of the Nephite civilization.

Lately it seems to me that the church leadership is content to leave alot of questions unanswered and to leave the answering to other bodies such as FARMS and BYU. In my mind this is incorrect, these men have no been called of God to preach doctrine for the church, they are not annointed as Seers and Revelators. In my opinion it is the duty of the prophet and the quorum of the twelve to provide us with this sort of guidance and answer our questions on doctrine and historical issues. It is their right and even their duty to do this. This is the reason we sustain them as prophet, seer and revelators, I say let them do their job and stop trying to do it for them.

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I think as apologetics and pundits we need to answer the bigger problems with the BofM first then we can spend our time worrying about these sorts of detailed word analysis (chiasmus etc...)

Like . . . ?

What I want to see happen is the BofM geography question answered and the church put down a solid foot in one camp or the other whether its Sorenson's LGT or not I really don't care I just want to see the church take a stand somewhere instead of leaving its members trying to fill in the gaps with all sorts of crazy theories and speculations.

Okay. It would be nice to receive a revelation on such an unimportant topic, but in my view there are so many other fish to fry that spending a lot of Church resources, material and/or revelatory, on such an endeavor would not be in furtherance of the Church's purposes. Perhaps you can explain why it would be?

Also what of actual physical evidence? Where is the evidence? For all its thousands of inhabitants the BofM people surely left something somewhere. Lets find it and silence the doubters for good.

You really think it's possible to find unambiguous evidence in the ground that would leave no room for doubt? The Tel Dan stela didn't stop the doubters from doubting David ever lived. Why would a "Zarahemla, next 3 exits" sign do anything different?

I still don't know what to make of the problems with horses, steel, elephants and the like mentioned in the BofM, hopefully the evidence will answer these questions as well but the current theories promoted by FARMS and other apologetics just aren't cutting it for me. Since when have Tapirs been called horses by any civilization, and I have yet to see someone trying to pull a chariot with a couple of Tapirs.

Except the Mayan speakers named horses "tapirs" when they first saw them and they continue to use the term to this day. Why can't it have worked the other way around? Should we assume (and I'm not advocating the tapir=horse argument by any stretch) the Mayans were stupid and didn't know their own language well enough to make such a comparison?

I've heard all sorts of arguments as to why we can't find hard physical evidence for the BofM, but if we can find evidence for the Bible (which we have) then surely finding evidence for the BofM is possible and highly probable, considering the extent of the Nephite civilization.

See the Tel Dan stela. Doubters will doubt. Matters of faith cannot be proven from stuff from the ground.

Lately it seems to me that the church leadership is content to leave alot of questions unanswered and to leave the answering to other bodies such as FARMS and BYU. In my mind this is incorrect, these men have no been called of God to preach doctrine for the church, they are not annointed as Seers and Revelators. In my opinion it is the duty of the prophet and the quorum of the twelve to provide us with this sort of guidance and answer our questions on doctrine and historical issues. It is their right and even their duty to do this. This is the reason we sustain them as prophet, seer and revelators, I say let them do their job and stop trying to do it for them.

They've got other fish to fry. Why is this such a terrible thing?

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David et al,

Some further questions relating to the influences of the Hebrew word terdemah or deep sleep.:

Job 4:12-21

12 A word came to me in stealth; My ear caught a whisper of it. 13 In thought-filled

visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men, 14 Fear and trembling came upon me,

Causing all my bones to quake with fright. 15 A wind/spirit1 passed by me, a whirlwind

made my flesh quiver. 16 It halted; its appearance was strange to me; A form loomed

before my eyes; I heard a murmur, a voice, 17 "Can a man be righteous before God? Can

man be pure in the sight of his Maker? 18 If He cannot trust His own servants, And casts

reproach on His angels, 19 How much less those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose

origin is dust, Who are crushed like the moth, 20 Shattered between daybreak and

evening, Perishing forever, unnoticed. 21 Their cord is pulled up And they die, and not

without wisdom.

Could this not be construed as being part of the hypostatsis to which was referred above? More importantly, is this, and this is my pet subject, a part of the greater shamanic nature of prophecy? If anything, it is interesting especially when one looks at verse 15 where it is described not as spirit but "a wind." or r

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Ok. Time to have some more fun with this topic because I still believe I'm right.

Dartagnan,

Most, if asked. Just ask anyone, well-versed or not, where they think the phrases â??I heard a voice walking/cry unto the voiceâ? come from. Give them a choice from five or ten different books and I bet you theyâ??d pick the Bible most, if not every time.

Yes, but would most people have absorbed this passage to the extent that they could turn around and produce a story of a hypostatic voice in an attempt to sound biblical?

I don't know, but I highly doubt it.

The hypostatic voice is certainly no â??And it came to pass.â?

The manner in which Godâ??s â??voiceâ? is described in the Bible is not a meager or scant phenomenon. I see no reason to think Smith wouldnâ??t have been able to take note of it, especially if he were a man trying to develop his own scripture. This means he would have actually tried to pin-point awkward ancient-sounding phrases that only appear in the Bible.

True enough, we cannot discount this possibility.

Your primary source argued that hypostasis meant the voice was, â??a distinct divine being in its own right.â? You said you do not believe it means the voice was a â??separate entity from God.â? Divine or not, your concept of hypostasis is quite different from the authorâ??s.

And your argument against my reading seeks a type of nuanced precision that is simply not possible, nor is it necessary, however, in order to sustain my claim.

As Azzan Yadin notes, â??The term â??hypostaticâ?? is problematicâ?¦ The terms â??intermediaryâ?? and â??mediatingâ?? are used interchangeably with â??hypostatic,â?? since they express the independence of the entity in question from God. There are different shades of meaning to these terms, but the biblical sources do not allow for more precise semantic differentiation, an ambiguity endemic to analysis of biblical hypstasesâ? â??Qol as Hypostasis in the Hebrew Bible,â? 602

If the voice is not a â??separate entity from God,â? then it cannot be a â??divine being in its own right.â?

The point is that the voice appears in the text as a separate entity from God and as a divine being in its own right. I believe that this use represents a literary ploy, rather than a precise theological statement concerning the existence of an actual divine voice independent from God.

For example, I donâ??t believe that the author of John 1:1 literally believed that a divine logos existed, even though he wrote, â??In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was a God.â?

In the same way that Jesus was the logos, i.e. â??word,â? Jesus was the voice in Helaman 5, even though the voice appears as an independent being unto whom the people did â??call.â?

And I am not saying Hel 5 is based strictly on Gen 3:8. I mentioned Gen 3:8 because it is the first instance where Godâ??s voice is mentioned in the Torah. In all probability, Smith knew his Bible well beyond Genesis and he was probably quite familiar with the other Biblical stories where the â??voiceâ? of God was described as an entity itself.

For example?

The voice is mentioned two dozen times in Genesis alone, and we find similar verses like Gen 4:10: â??the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.â? This seems to imply that the voice was an entity of its own also, though it is not the voice of God. There are plenty other examples, however. I will list them below.

You see, this is why I need a few examples; youâ??re missing the point.

Genesis 4:10 is not an example of a hypostatic voice.

Read it again closely.

It is the blood, not the voice that cries from the ground. Notice the next verse:

â??And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brotherâ??s blood from thy handâ? (v. 11).

In your example, Abelâ??s â??blood crieth unto [God] from the groundâ? which â??opened her mouth to receive...blood,â? not a personified voice.

Clearly in your desire to trivialize the significance of the hypostatic voice in the Book of Mormon, you are trying too hard to make any reference to voice in the Bible appear hypostatic. There really arenâ??t that many examples, and those that are, in fact, legitimate are rather obscure.

But I want to restate my point that to speak of a voice speaking or a voice crying is just a common language error, similar to those we make even today. Take for instance the sentence, â??the music is playing.â?

That is true. Again, if in Helaman 5 all we had was a reference to a voice â??talking,â? then I would certainly agree that the example relies upon a mere â??common language error,â? or even an absorption of a biblical idiom

You need to stay focused, however, on the important fact that Helaman 5 says much more than simply "a voice spoke." In addition to the fact that Helaman 5 contains a reference to a voice that saves the lives of two men, the same chapter features the comment, â??you must repent and cry unto the voice,â? a statement declaring that the voice "came above the cloud of darkness," and, finally, a voice that like a human being "did speak."

By simply removing one of these elements from its surrounding statements and suggesting that it is unimpressive on its own merit, you have obscured the fact that it is the combination of elements that creates the mosaic.

Now you seem to think it is far-fetched that Smith could have borrowed from the Bible when â??translatingâ? the Helaman verses. Letâ??s walk through your examples and test this theory. Example #1; Example #2; Example #3â?¦ I find it very hard to believe that Christians, Joseph Smith included, would not be familiar with these verses.

None of these examples refutes my claim. Again, Helaman 5 features much more than simply a reference to a still small voice, a voice speaking, or even a voice coming from the clouds.

Yes Joseph Smith could have absorbed each of these individual notions, but the fact remains that they come together perfectly in Helaman 5 to tell a story in which a voice saves two men, speaks to the people, came above the cloud of darkness, and concerning whom Aminadab said â??You must repent and cry unto.â?

For some reason, the various pieces come together perfectly in the Book of Mormon to form a rather complex mosaic reflective of a biblical subtly.

But that â??pushâ? was a corruption. Why would Book of Mormon prophets carry with them corrupt traditions?

Oh, I think the caring of corrupt traditions is simply part of the human phenomenon. If I donâ??t believe that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were perfect men, free from the corrupt traditions of their culture (and I do not) then I certainly wouldnâ??t hold Lehi and his family to that standard.

It has already been argued by Dr. Peterson that the Lehi family retained the older Asherah tradition which Josiah defeated. But now we are to understand, five centuries after Lehi, the theologically corrupt notion that God was a â??voiceâ? (as opposed to a body), which was available to Lehi only a decade before setting sail from the Arabian peninsula, has somehow managed its way to Helaman?

Part of your mistake is in assuming that the Deuteronomistic reformers invented the hypostatic voice. I believe the evidence suggests that they, like Lehi, simply drew upon a venerable tradition. In his study, Yadin analyzes the hypostatic voice in Exodus 19:18-20 and Numbers 7:89. By all accounts, both of these passages predate the Deuteronomistic use of voice.

Yes, which most scholars believe is a product of the Josiahn reform.

So do I.

Well, that is actually my point. Lehi wouldnâ??t have adopted this view because it was too new and too corrupt.

What evidence do you have to suggest that the use of the hypostatic voice was new at the time of the reformers? This seems like quite the assertion.

He had about 20 years to find out about it and adopt it as his own, but Lehi was a prophet and knew better than to buy damaged goods from Josiah.

It wasnâ??t new to the Deuteronomic reformers.

So if Lehi didnâ??t bring it to the Americas, how did it end up in Helaman five centuries later?

I believe that he did.

Was there another voyage from Arabia to the Americas that taught Lehiâ??s descendants the reformed doctrines of Josiah?

Not that I know of. Then again, the author of Helaman 5 wouldnâ??t have needed one in order to make use of the biblical tradition.

Hope that helps,

--David

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Okay. It would be nice to receive a revelation on such an unimportant topic, but in my view there are so many other fish to fry that spending a lot of Church resources, material and/or revelatory, on such an endeavor would not be in furtherance of the Church's purposes. Perhaps you can explain why it would be?

Well for one it would probably keep some otherwise intelligent people in the church who have left if because of these ongoing problems. And don't tell me the church doesn't need intelligent people, we do. We desparately need people in the church who are not disfunctional, who are smart, and have leadership qualities. I know because on my mission in Japan I could see a real lack of quality people available for leadership positions.

Also as far as receiving revelation on the matter, explain to me how this would entail spending large sums of money, time or other church resources. Revelation is as simple as the prophet walking over to the Salt Lake Temple and enquiring of the Lord, or so I thought.

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Now that my suspicions have proven correct, I would like to sincerely thank Dartagnan, i.e. Kevin Graham, for his thoughtful critique regarding my suggestion.

While I stand by my reading, I honestly feel that these sorts of critical exchanges are both fun and helpful.

--David

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