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David Bokovoy

Evidence For The Authenticity Of The Book Of Mormon

24 posts in this topic

Samuel the Lamanite's powerful sermon features a variety of impressive links with ancient Near Eastern traditions.

In an insightful proposal, Kent Brown observed that Samuel the Lamaniteâ??s speech presented in the Book of Mormon features an individual and a communal lament.

According to Brownâ??s assessment, the Individual Lament appears in Helaman 13:32-33:

O that I had repented,

And had not killed

The prophets

And stoned them

And cast them out.

In his analysis Brown states: â??Although short, the poem exhibitsâ?¦ parallelism of specification, a very common feature of biblical poetry in which the language pattern moves from a generalized statement to one that is more specific or focused.â? From Jerusalem to Zarahemla, 130.

Samuelâ??s literary construct features an additional poetic structure that suggests that the prophet relied upon the writings of Nephi in constructing the lIndividual Lament. In the introduction to his account, Nephi provided a description of the inhabitants of Jerusalem during his day that provides a reverse parallel to Samuelâ??s lament.

Nephi states that the inhabitants â??were angry with [Lehi]; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slainâ? (1 Nephi 1: 20).

In reality, Nephiâ??s sequence makes greater sense.

Nephiâ??s description of the crimes committed by the wicked include a three-fold intensification reminiscent of biblical story-telling. With each act, i.e., casting out, stoning, and finally, slaying, the sins described by Nephi become increasingly more grievous. A similar tri-fold intensification appears, for example, in Genesis 12:1, where God commands Abram to sacrifice his country, extended family, and finally, immediate family in order to become a great nation (see also the description of Isaac in Genesis 22:2).

In view of the seemly proper order featured in Nephiâ??s writings, why would Samuel the Lamanite have reversed the sequence:

"O that I had repented,

And had not killed

The prophets

And stoned them

And cast them out."

In recent years, biblical scholars have become increasingly more familiar with the issue of citation through reversal as an important literary device in ancient Israel. Oftentimes in biblical texts, an author will draw attention to another source through reversal.

For example, in Leviticus 26:4 the Lord declared, "and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruits." When Ezekiel later referred to this promise, he intentionally reversed its original sequence: "and the trees of the field shall yield their fruits, and the land shall yield her increase" (Ezekiel 34:27).

I believe that Samuelâ??s reversal of Nephiâ??s description concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem was intentional. As a result of their wickedness, Samuel appears to ink the Nephites with the very people whom their ancestors left behind in order to worship God in the New World.

Hence, not only does this reversal provide evidence for the Book of Mormonâ??s use of a very subtleâ??and oftentimes hidden in Englishâ??literary device, the citation through reversal in Samuel's speech may intentionally create important literary observations through inter-textual analysis.

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dang, where do you come up with this stuff? :P

But as alaways Joseph is only proven to be a "super genius" and the BoM isnt an ancient record, but a subliminal research paper. Its kinda like trowing a rock at a persian new year in westwood(los angeles) and hitting Ahmadinajad by accident. <_<

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BRAVO !.

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In recent years, biblical scholars have become increasingly more familiar with the issue of citation through reversal as an important literary device in ancient Israel.

I'm curious - who are some of these Bible scholars? Can you direct the reader to some of their conclusions? Thanks.

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I'm sure there are many more to be found. New discoveries would certainly decrease the odds of coincidence or chance as many critics would certainly argue.

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The question I would like to ask David is, why the internal evidences for the Book of Mormon are so impressive, and I believe they are, but the external evidences seem so weak? That, of course, is my honest opinion. I can clearly see the internal evidences, but not the external.

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The question I would like to ask David is, why the internal evidences for the Book of Mormon are so impressive, and I believe they are, but the external evidences seem so weak? That, of course, is my honest opinion. I can clearly see the internal evidences, but not the external.

You didn't ask me, but what the heck...I'll venture my opinion...

Because at this point, the text itself is the best and only concrete evidence we have.

If and when BoM locations are discovered, that may change the equation.

Bernard

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I believe that Samuelâ??s reversal of Nephiâ??s description concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem was intentional. As a result of their wickedness, Samuel appears to ink the Nephites with the very people whom their ancestors left behind in order to worship God in the New World.

Hence, not only does this reversal provide evidence for the Book of Mormonâ??s use of a very subtleâ??and oftentimes hidden in Englishâ??literary device, the citation through reversal in Samuel's speech may intentionally create important literary observations through inter-textual analysis.

Kind of like an I-say/You-say chiasmus.

Bernard

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dang, where do you come up with this stuff? :P

But as alaways Joseph is only proven to be a "super genius" and the BoM isnt an ancient record, but a subliminal research paper. Its kinda like trowing a rock at a persian new year in westwood(los angeles) and hitting Ahmadinajad by accident. <_<

Her Amun,

I've been wondering, is that a picture of you in your avatar??

Sargon

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Hello Gervin,

I'm curious - who are some of these Bible scholars? Can you direct the reader to some of their conclusions? Thanks.

Of course. I would be happy to. I'm quite pleased that you have enough interest in the topic to ask. I've been interested in the literary device for several years now and have tried to collect any and all references.

I provide a brief discussion of the issue for Book of Mormon studies here:

http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=insights&id=158

The phenomenon of citation through reversal in the Bible is known as Seidelâ??s law. The literary device receives its name from Israeli scholar Moshe Seidel who first addressed the issue in â??Parallels between Isaiah and Psalms,â? Sinai 38 (1955â??56): 149â??72, 272â??80, 335â??55 (in Hebrew).

Seidelâ??s article focuses primarily upon the reversal of word pairs such as â??heaven and earthâ? or â??earth and heaven.â? These reversals, however, do not always indicate citation (hence, some of Seidel's examples are clearly problematic). Nevertheless, following Seidelâ??s initial work, many scholars have continued to pursue the topic (oftentimes with a much more careful approach).

A particularly helpful study (that is available in English) is P. Beentjes, "Inverted Quotations in the Bible: A Neglected Stylistic Pattern," Biblica 63 (1982): 506â??23. I would recommend starting with Beentjes.

For a more recent analysis from the same journal see Dennis W. Tucker, Jr., â??Psalm 95: Text, Context, and Intertext,â? Biblica 81(2000): 533-541. Basing his argument on instances of citation, allusion, and reversal, Tucker maintains that the author of Psalm 95 incorporated elements of Psalm 100, and also drew upon the Massah-Meribah tradition which adds a Deuteronomic slant to the text.

Shemaryahu Talmon from the Hebrew University dealt with the issue in â??The Textual Study of the Bibleâ??A New Outlookâ? Qumran and the History of the Biblical Text; Frank Moore Cross and Shemaryahu Talmon eds. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975), 321-299. This essay remains a classic! Amongst the examples discussed by Talmon include Jer. 51:58 and Hab. 2:13. Discussing his references, Talmon writes, â??inversion could be discerned not only as a stylistic phenomenon, sensu stricto, but also as a structural principal which, to a degree, ties together â??distant parallels'" (pg. 362).

You may also wish to consider Marc Z. Brettlerâ??s article â??Jud 1,1-2,10: From Appendix to Prologue,â? Zeitschrift f

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Hello Ray,

The question I would like to ask David is, why the internal evidences for the Book of Mormon are so impressive, and I believe they are, but the external evidences seem so weak? That, of course, is my honest opinion. I can clearly see the internal evidences, but not the external.

Iâ??m by no means an expert in archeology. Iâ??m much more interested in reading and interpreting ancient texts than I am in digging them out of the ground.

One person who is an expert, however, is John E. Clark. Clark happens to believe that the external evidences for the Book of Mormon are not weak at all. I would recommend reading his article â??Archaeological Trends and the Book of Mormon Originsâ? in The Worlds of Joseph Smith collection.

Part of the issue, of course, is the need to initially define what sorts of external evidences one believes we should find. As I discussed in the critique I wrote for the "Bible vs. the Book of Mormon" DVD, I, for example, donâ??t believe for a second that we should find things such as coins and ancient scripts.

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/pdf.php?fi...p;type=cmV2aWV3

Best,

--DB

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The question I would like to ask David is, why the internal evidences for the Book of Mormon are so impressive, and I believe they are, but the external evidences seem so weak? That, of course, is my honest opinion. I can clearly see the internal evidences, but not the external.

The internal evidences are based on extant documents.

External evidence can disappear in the rainforest, or otherwise be destroyed. For example, if we had several dozen or more written records, if we, at the very least, have the authentic ancient names of cities and geographical locations in mesoamerica as we do in the Middle East, we would most likely have the external evidence you are looking for.

But we don't. We don't have the records, we don't even have the actual location names, except for a very few. BTW, the one city name we do have has a strong resemblance to a BOM name.

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This is, I believe, one of your better ones. :P

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But we don't. We don't have the records, we don't even have the actual location names, except for a very few. BTW, the one city name we do have has a strong resemblance to a BOM name.

Which one is that?

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I've seen point made this before, but I think it's worth repeating:

One of the clearest examples of falsification is the subject of coinage

in the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, Living Hope Ministries

is guilty of presenting the false impression that the Book of Mormon

actually describes the use of coins in Alma 11. Hence, according to the

film’s logic, the Bible has more evidence for historicity than the Book

of Mormon because archaeologists have uncovered coins in the Old

World, but have yet to do so in the New. In reality, when it comes to

biblical coinage, “very little metal money is found at Palestinian sites

from ca. 1300 to 587 b.c.e.” 15 And for good reason: The first coins

were struck in western Asia Minor in the late seventh or early sixth

century bc.16 The original Book of Mormon family would have had

very little, in any, exposure to this medium of exchange.

Kramer, Johnson, Bible vs. Book of Mormon (Bokovoy)

Since money in the Old Testament does not refer to coins, Kramer

and company err in their argument. “The references [to Old Testament

money] designate measures of value in goods or in precious metals.

The metals are not coined, however, in specific weights.” 17 Alma 11

does not describe a coinage system but rather a weights-and-measures

system in which the Nephites “altered their reckoning and their measure,

according to the minds and the circumstances of the people”

(v. 4). Surely Living Hope Ministries was aware of the fact that the

chapter summary placed at the beginning of Alma 11, which includes

the word coinage, is not part of the actual text. Why would they falsify?

Perhaps because the use of measures instead of coinage in the

Book of Mormon provides evidence for its historicity.

I wonder if Spalding would have known this? Even the chapter heading in the Book of Mormon was wrong.

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Now, this is coming from someone with absolutely no background in Near-Eastern Studies, Ancient American cultures, or literary devices. So I obviously have no idea what I am talking about.

But still, I have a question.

If Samuel was a lamanite, which if I understand the LGT correctly regarding the BOM means he was probably a descendant of one of the local or native american tribes already in the promised land when Lehi showed up several hundred years before, why would he be using near eastern literary devices?

From what I understand, you are saying that it appears that Samuel had read Nephi and alluded to his writings within his own writings, which is a similar thing done in the ancient near east. How does this say anything about the authenticity of the BOM? Are we saying that since Lehi came from the east, that after several hundred years of mixing with locals, we would still expect to see eastern evidences in their writings? I mean, how many people were even literate back then, let alone sophisticated enough to employ this type of subtle allusion?

Anyway, I just don't understand this evidence. I'm fully aware that its probably because I'm just not smart enough (being honest here.)

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Which one is that?

My guess is the city Lamanai.

http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php...c=17095&hl=

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Mo clips,

that after several hundred years of mixing with locals, we would still expect to see eastern evidences in their writings? I mean, how many people were even literate back then, let alone sophisticated enough to employ this type of subtle allusion?

While this question wasn't posed to me, it seems the answer is in your question. As you said literacy was not widespread, someone who was say a priest or a prophet probably would have learned to read using religious texts such as Nephi's...so it makes very much sense they would pick up literary habits and traditions from the well spring of which they learned to read.

I grew up reading the bible and the book of Mormon. When I was in school, my teachers were always complaining that my sentences were too lengthy. Just one littel quark I picked up from the predominant literature of my youth. Such things seem expected rather than oddities.

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Her Amun,

I've been wondering, is that a picture of you in your avatar??

Sargon

yep, the one and only

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If I am understanding this correctly, David is saying that Samuel the Lamanite is referencing by reverse citation the words of Nephi written in the Small Plates. Is that correct? How likely is it that Samuel, a Lamanite, would have been familiar with the contents of the small plates?

How is this explanation more likely than the one that says that Samuel the Lamanite's words "referenced" the words of Nephi because they were both written by the same author or collaboration of authors? If Joseph Smith wrote the BoM, or some collaboration between JS and others, then they'd simply be reusing particular ideas in connection with similar concepts?

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I enjoyed reading it. Now I am going to study it too. Thanks

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Hello BlackMoclips and Sethbag,

Thanks for raising a good question.

I believe that Samuelâ??s sermon shows signs of being a learned text. I suspect that Samuel had direct access to some of the earlier records. Notice that Samuel specifically prefaces the Individual Lament with an intro that draws upon the issue of â??our fathers of oldâ?:

â??And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.

â??Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evilâ? (vv. 25-26)

According to Samuelâ??s speech, the Nephites believed that if they had lived in the days of their fathers of old they would not have slain, stoned, and cast the prophets out. By reversing the natural narrative sequence reflected directly in the writings of the â??fathers of oldâ? which described the wicked people who rejected Lehi, Samuel suggests that the Nephites are more like the inhabitants of Jerusalem than the â??fathers of old.â?

According to Samuelâ??s rhetoric, just as the Lord destroyed those in Jerusalem who had cast out, stoned, and finally slain the prophets, so the Lord will destroy the Nephites if they do not quickly change their ways.

Like biblical speeches, Samuelâ??s sermon is clearly a learned text. It is, from my perspective, steeped with Near Eastern tradition:

http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=insights&id=230

That having been said, it is certainly possible that Samuel drew upon the teachings of the â??fathers of oldâ? via oral tradition.

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I'm curious - who are some of these Bible scholars? Can you direct the reader to some of their conclusions? Thanks.

Another excellent source is Bernard M. Levinson's Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). It's a short read at 157 pages, but densely packed.

Excellent post, David.

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If I am understanding this correctly, David is saying that Samuel the Lamanite is referencing by reverse citation the words of Nephi written in the Small Plates. Is that correct? How likely is it that Samuel, a Lamanite, would have been familiar with the contents of the small plates?

How is this explanation more likely than the one that says that Samuel the Lamanite's words "referenced" the words of Nephi because they were both written by the same author or collaboration of authors? If Joseph Smith wrote the BoM, or some collaboration between JS and others, then they'd simply be reusing particular ideas in connection with similar concepts?

You could just do the usual and chalk it up to coincidence. Or I suppose you could claim that Joseph Smith and/or the Illuminati stealth squad were literary geniuses, unknowingly reinventing an ancient semitic literary style.

Sargon

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