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inquiringmind

Ether 15:31

65 posts in this topic

I understand what you're saying, but as what we have is a direct translation from the Adamic, into English, via R. Egyptian

I don't believe you do. By coming into English via reformed Egyptian (note the capitalization), the English comes to us via Hebrew written in an altered, i.e "reformed" Egyptian script that intentionally reflects the language of the King James Bible.

I think "smote off his head" means just that. It actually says it twice. And I also think there is a difference from the bible reference you mention, in that Coriantumr was using a sword, as opposed to a hammer and nail.

It doesn't matter what weapon one uses. Using the Bible as an analogy, the expression "smote off the head" doesn't refer to literally severing the head from the body.

In this case, I believe the simplest explanation fits best.

If you believe that a human body standing up and moving in a way comparable to a beheaded chicken is the "simplest explanation" then we'll simply have to agree to disagree.

I do not believe that the head was completely severed from the body. The account is either an exaggerated literary portrayal or an intentional reflection of King James Bible English which as I have illustrated uses the expression to describe a violent act that does not involve a complete beheading.

In my mind that's a heck of a lot more "simple" explanation.

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David, I really appreciate your scholarship, but I'm going to have to continue to disagree. The Hebrew was also altered by the Nephites, so there's no way to compare what Moroni would have meant, could he have written in Hebrew, nearly a thousand years after the exodus from Jerusalem and the Hebrew culture.

Shiz and Coriantumr, 2 of the mightiest men of the Jaredites, had swords, not hammers. I don't see not smiting off the head as a possibility. Why would it not be a clean hit? Shiz was not fighting back at that point.

As to the simplest explanation, there's already been at least 3 references from modern times showing it's not only possible, but was recorded by others as happening.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that the BoM was written in plain and simple terms for our day, in our language. I still think that "smote off" means just that. We don't need to agree, it's not paramount, but those are my thoughts anyway.

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David, I really appreciate your scholarship, but I'm going to have to continue to disagree.

No worries, we can agree to disagree.

The Hebrew was also altered by the Nephites, so there's no way to compare what Moroni would have meant, could he have written in Hebrew, nearly a thousand years after the exodus from Jerusalem and the Hebrew culture.

My point is that the evidence suggests that Moroni did write in Hebrew. He simply used a reformed Egyptian script. Note the Prophet's statement regarding the title-page:

"The title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates... the language of the whole running the same as all Hebrew writing in general [i.e. from right to left]." Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 1:71.

The historical difference between Moroni's Hebrew and the form used by Jews in the 6th century BC is about the same as the separation between the Hebrew that appears in the sources for the Pentateuch and Mishnaic Hebrew from the 1st to the 4th century AD, as represented by the bulk of the Mishnah and Tosefta within the Talmud and by the Dead Sea Scrolls. Linguists consider Mishnaic Hebrew to reflect one of the dialects of Classical Hebrew that functioned as a living language in the land of Israel to almost 400 AD.

Though Mishnaic Hebrew has been "altered" from earlier biblical forms, no scholar would ever suggest interpreting Mishnaic Hebrew without referring back to Biblical Hebrew as a guide. In fact biblical scholars will use Mishanic Hebrew as a reference when attempting to interpret obscure forms and/or terms. When a language and culture thrives around a literary source, it tends to be a bit more conservative in terms of changes. Just notice the LDS use of archaic King James Bible English in prayer and religious speech.

Shiz and Coriantumr, 2 of the mightiest men of the Jaredites, had swords, not hammers. I don't see not smiting off the head as a possibility. Why would it not be a clean hit? Shiz was not fighting back at that point.

I never claimed they were fighting with hammers, only that the King James expression "to smite off the head" does not refer to a literal beheading.

As to the simplest explanation, there's already been at least 3 references from modern times showing it's not only possible, but was recorded by others as happening.

Fair enough. I'm no physician, but these accounts seem a bit silly to me, which is why I offered an alternative view.

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I don't think there is any evidence that points to Moroni writing in Hebrew. Certainly not on any plates. The semitic languages all read right to left, Hebrew and Egyptian alike. Also, if one wants to compare the biblical quote that you refer to, it's very important to remember that the Brass Plates were written in Egyptian. They didn't have hebrew scriptures, at least not that we know of. There simply isn't any evidence to support the idea of that kind of understanding of the biblical record, at least not that we're aware of. What am I missing?

I still take it at face value as translated by Joseph into English. As to the various accounts of people reacting that way after being decapitated, most folk think the whole notion of the BoM and Joseph's story is silly. Where does one draw the line in using that term?

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I don't think there is any evidence that points to Moroni writing in Hebrew. Certainly not on any plates. The semitic languages all read right to left, Hebrew and Egyptian alike. Also, if one wants to compare the biblical quote that you refer to, it's very important to remember that the Brass Plates were written in Egyptian. They didn't have hebrew scriptures, at least not that we know of. There simply isn't any evidence to support the idea of that kind of understanding of the biblical record, at least not that we're aware of. What am I missing?

I still take it at face value as translated by Joseph into English. As to the various accounts of people reacting that way after being decapitated, most folk think the whole notion of the BoM and Joseph's story is silly. Where does one draw the line in using that term?

I like you, Sevenbak. You have strong opinions, yet are open to hearing other perspectives. In response to your question, I'll list a few points that I believe you should consider in order to understand my perspective:

1. The Semitic languages do not all read right to left. Akkadian, for example, reads left to right.

2. Egyptian is not a Semitic language.

3. Egyptian hieroglyphic scripts can appear in horizontal lines running either from left to right or from right to left, or in vertical columns running from top to bottom.

4. There is historical evidence for Jews using Egyptian scripts to write Hebrew. See this article:

Jewish and Other Semitic Texts Written in Egyptian Characters

5. Many, many Hebraisms, i.e. phrases, words, literary puns, etc that work better or only at all in Hebrew, have been identified throughout the Book of Mormon. In fact, they occur on almost every page.

6. As Jews coming out of Jerusalem in 586 BC, the Nephites native tongue would have been Hebrew, i.e. the language that the Old Testament of their era was written in.

7. Moroni tells his readers that they are still using Hebrew at the end of the Nephite civilization and that if he could have written on the plates using a Hebrew script, the record would have fewer imperfections.

8. Even if the scriptures the Nephites possessed were an Egyptian translation of the original Hebrew sources (something as a student of the Bible/ ancient Near Eastern I find impossible to believe), they had "Hebrew" scriptures.

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I like you too, you are both a scholar and a gentleman. :P

But I still disagree. We'll leave it at that.

Cheers,

Sevenbak

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I don't think there is any evidence that points to Moroni writing in Hebrew.

There is evidence that Moroni (and all the other Book of Mormon authors) wrote in Hebrew. What there is not is evidence that they wrote in Egyptian. The only mentions of Egyptian as part of the Book of Mormon are in 1 Nephi and in Mormon. Neither says the record was in the Egyptian language. Moroni tells us, explicitly, that he wrote in reformed Egyptian characters, but that if they had written in Hebrew (the context demands "Hebrew characters), there would have been no errors in the writing. (From this, I gather two things: first, that there was, among the Nephites, a hierograph: a sacred language or script used only by the keepers of the sacred records; and, secondly, that Moroni, and possibly others, as well, weren't very good at it: they could and did make orthographical errors of various sorts.)

The semitic languages all read right to left, Hebrew and Egyptian alike.

Egyptian was not a Semitic language.

Also, if one wants to compare the biblical quote that you refer to, it's very important to remember that the Brass Plates were written in Egyptian.

I have never seen any serious claim of this. Do you have a source?

They didn't have hebrew scriptures, at least not that we know of.

Nephi quotes extensively enough for us to know that the Brass Plates were the Bible, even if we didn't have the explicit description that they were like unto the modern Bible although far more extensive.

23 And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it [the Bible] is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.

The Bible is, by definition "Hebrew scripture". If you mean that they were not written in Hebrew, then any evidence you have for that would be more than welcome.

There simply isn't any evidence to support the idea of that kind of understanding of the biblical record, at least not that we're aware of.

I can only assume you are talking about the "beheading" by Jael with her hammer and nail.

Whether Moroni (who had the biblical account at hand and probably read it, being culturally a Jewish Christian) was using classical Hebrew (he was not, the Hebrew was also altered by that point (and how would he know? Does an average person know we don't speak the same English that Shakespeare's fourth great grandfather did?), the idea of driving a nail through a man's head was spoken of as a beheading would have been striking (please excuse the pun).

Further, Moroni was not a modern historian. I believe he was copying Ether's account. When it fit his need, Moroni editorialized in the book of Ether, but in this case, there is no evidence that he did so.

I still take it at face value as translated by Joseph into English. As to the various accounts of people reacting that way after being decapitated, most folk think the whole notion of the BoM and Joseph's story is silly. Where does one draw the line in using that term?

Which term?

And, I may be too bold, but those who find this "silly" would fall into Saccio/Hunter level 2: Adolescents who don't accept the simple truth because "the world doesn't work that way"; or level 3: Sophisticates whose goal is to laugh at things they can't (or won't) accept

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I have a little bit different take on this issue.

The Book of Mormon intentionally reflects the King James translation of the Bible. The biblical passage that parallels Ether 15:31 is Judges 5:26:

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So, if passed out drunk people still do breathe, why would it not be possible for Laban to rise up struggling for breath after his head had been lopped off?

"Struggled for breath" does not mean that he literally tried to "breathe". It means that he "struggled for life" (i.e. he writhed) before he died. If you have been to a slaughter house and seen pigs being slaughtered, you will see that they writhe furiously before they die. Their veins are cut, and they bleed profusely until they very little blood is left in their veins, and then they writhe furiously for a few seconds before they die. It simply means that he struggled for life before he died.

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I'm not sure how being literate in Hebrew would serve on this subject. The Shiz account was written by Ether in the Adamic language, and translated by Moroni into reformed egyptian, bypassing any Hebrew definition. Also, the Jaredites never had interaction with biblical hebrews, so their understanding of smiting off a head might be different. I think it's safest to take the record at it's word.

The Book of Mormon was written in Hebrew (or a dialect of Hebrew developed among the Nephites); but you are right about the "smiting off" bit. It means literally cutting off, not crushing.

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I wold disagree with that.

LOL!! Big surprise!

Whatever the expression "smote off his head" meant in Judges 5:26, it does not necessary follow that the same expression in the Book of Mormon (e.g. Ether 15:31) therefore must have the same meaning, or be a translation of an equivalent Hebrew expression in the BoM.

Again, the only biblical example of a person smiting off a head is Judges 5:26. So using the King James version as a guide, if we translated Ether 15:31 back to biblical Hebrew we would use a term that does not necessarily mean a complete separation from the body.

Ether 15:31 could be a translation of a different Hebrew expression than in Judges 5:26, or that expression could have been used to mean different things.

Of course it could. My proposal, however, is based upon the fact that the Book of Mormon intentionally reflects the language of the King James Bible. This point is non-debatable.

The expression "smite off" occurs 11 times in the standard works (excluding Judges 5:26); and in every instance without exception it means "cutting off," not crushing or something else:

That's not correct. The expression "smite off" never appears in the KJ Bible. The expression "smote off" appears twice, and the only example that appears in connection with a head is Judges 5:26. I already discussed the issue of the Book of Mormon's use of this imagery.

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I understand what you're saying, but as what we have is a direct translation from the Adamic, into English, via R. Egyptian, I think "smote off his head" means just that. It actually says it twice. And I also think there is a difference from the bible reference you mention, in that Coriantumr was using a sword, as opposed to a hammer and nail.

In this case, I believe the simplest explanation fits best.

You are right about the "cutting off" bit. It means exactly that. But the Book of Mormon was written in (a dialect of) Hebrew, not in Egyptian. "Reformed Egyptian" refers to a method of writing they had developed from the Egyptian alphabet for condensing Hebrew on metal plates--kind of like shorthand in English.

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David, I really appreciate your scholarship, but I'm going to have to continue to disagree. The Hebrew was also altered by the Nephites, so there's no way to compare what Moroni would have meant, could he have written in Hebrew, nearly a thousand years after the exodus from Jerusalem and the Hebrew culture.

Shiz and Coriantumr, 2 of the mightiest men of the Jaredites, had swords, not hammers. I don't see not smiting off the head as a possibility. Why would it not be a clean hit? Shiz was not fighting back at that point.

As to the simplest explanation, there's already been at least 3 references from modern times showing it's not only possible, but was recorded by others as happening.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that the BoM was written in plain and simple terms for our day, in our language. I still think that "smote off" means just that. We don't need to agree, it's not paramount, but those are my thoughts anyway.

I entirely agree with that.

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There is evidence that Moroni (and all the other Book of Mormon authors) wrote in Hebrew. What there is not is evidence that they wrote in Egyptian. The only mentions of Egyptian as part of the Book of Mormon are in 1 Nephi and in Mormon. Neither says the record was in the Egyptian language. Moroni tells us, explicitly, that he wrote in reformed Egyptian characters, but that if they had written in Hebrew (the context demands "Hebrew characters), there would have been no errors in the writing. (From this, I gather two things: first, that there was, among the Nephites, a hierograph: a sacred language or script used only by the keepers of the sacred records; and, secondly, that Moroni, and possibly others, as well, weren't very good at it: they could and did make orthographical errors of various sorts.)

I disagree strongly on this point. King Benjamin specifically says he taught his sons Egyptian PRECISELY so they could read the Brass Plates, the only record we know of that contained the scriptures.

Mosiah 1:

3And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.

4For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.

Egyptian was not a Semitic language. You are correct, I was generalizing the region's languages. But Egyptian is still read right to left like Hebrew is.

I have never seen any serious claim of this. Do you have a source? See above

Nephi quotes extensively enough for us to know that the Brass Plates were the Bible, even if we didn't have the explicit description that they were like unto the modern Bible although far more extensive. Yes, but the brass plates were not written in Hebrew, so trying to compare them that way doesn't make sense.

The Bible is, by definition "Hebrew scripture". If you mean that they were not written in Hebrew, then any evidence you have for that would be more than welcome. See above from Mosiah 1. The Brass Plates were written in Egyptian.

I can only assume you are talking about the "beheading" by Jael with her hammer and nail. Yes

Whether Moroni (who had the biblical account at hand and probably read it, being culturally a Jewish Christian) was using classical Hebrew (he was not, the Hebrew was also altered by that point (and how would he know? Does an average person know we don't speak the same English that Shakespeare's fourth great grandfather did?), the idea of driving a nail through a man's head was spoken of as a beheading would have been striking (please excuse the pun).

Further, Moroni was not a modern historian. I believe he was copying Ether's account. When it fit his need, Moroni editorialized in the book of Ether, but in this case, there is no evidence that he did so.

I agree he was copying Ether's account, which was written in the Adamic. There was no Hebrew comparison.

Which term? Silly

Those who can accept the witness of the Spirit will not care that "smote off his head" in Hebrew could be seen as "hit in the head, so he (eventually) died". They just know the book of Mormon is true. Agreed!!!

Lehi

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I wold disagree with that. Whatever the expression "smote off his head" meant in Judges 5:26, it does not necessary follow that the same expression in the Book of Mormon (e.g. Ether 15:31) therefore must have the same meaning, or be a translation of an equivalent Hebrew expression in the BoM. Ether 15:31 could be a translation of a different Hebrew expression than in Judges 5:26, or that expression could have been used to mean different things. The expression "smite off" occurs 11 times in the standard works (excluding Judges 5:26); and in every instance without exception it means "cutting off," not crushing or something else:

Matthew 26
:

51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.

1 Nephi 4
:

18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.

1 Nephi 4
:

19 And after I had smitten off his head with his own sword, I took the garments of Laban and put them upon mine own body; yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins.

Alma 17
:

37 But behold, every man that lifted his club to smite Ammon, he smote off their arms with his sword; for he did withstand their blows by smiting their arms with the edge of his sword, insomuch that they began to be astonished, and began to flee before him; yea, and they were not few in number; and he caused them to flee by the strength of his arm.

38 Now six of them had fallen by the sling, but he slew none save it were their leader with his sword; and he smote off as many of their arms as were lifted against him, and they were not a few.

39 And when he had driven them afar off, he returned and they watered their flocks and returned them to the pasture of the king, and then went in unto the king, bearing the arms which had been smitten off by the sword of Ammon, of those who sought to slay him; and they were carried in unto the king for a testimony of the things which they had done.

Alma 18
:

16 And it came to pass that Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, therefore he perceived the thoughts of the king. And he said unto him: Is it because thou hast heard that I defended thy servants and thy flocks, and slew seven of their brethren with the sling and with the sword, and smote off the arms of others, in order to defend thy flocks and thy servants; behold, is it this that causeth thy marvelings

Alma 18
:

20 And the king said: How knowest thou the thoughts of my heart? Thou mayest speak boldly, and tell me concerning these things; and also tell me by what power ye slew and smote off the arms of my brethren that scattered my flocks

Alma 43
:

44 And they were inspired by the Zoramites and the Amalekites, who were their chief captains and leaders, and by Zerahemnah, who was their chief captain, or their chief leader and commander; yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands, yea, for they did smite in two many of their head-plates, and they did pierce many of their breastplates, and they did smite off many of their arms; and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger.

Alma 44
:

13 And it came to pass that the soldier who stood by, who smote off the scalp of Zerahemnah, took up the scalp from off the ground by the hair, and laid it upon the point of his sword, and stretched it forth unto them, saying unto them with a loud voice

Ether 15
:

30 And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.

31 And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.

A sword is used to "cut" or "smite things off," not to "crush" them. The instrument of war used anciently to "crush" things was a mace, a club, or bludgeon, not a sword.

Amen and amen!!

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You are right about the "cutting off" bit. It means exactly that. But the Book of Mormon was written in (a dialect of) Hebrew, not in Egyptian. "Reformed Egyptian" refers to a method of writing they had developed from the Egyptian alphabet for condensing Hebrew on metal plates--kind of like shorthand in English.

Sorry, but Reformed Egyptian was not a dialect of Hebrew. The Scriptures (Brass Plates) they had were originally Egyptian, and prophets and scribes taught each successive generation Egyptian so they could read them. This is the language of the scriptures they had. Again, see Mosiah 1:4

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Again, the only biblical example of a person smiting off a head is Judges 5:26. So using the King James version as a guide, if we translated Ether 15:31 back to biblical Hebrew we would use a term that does not necessarily mean a complete separation from the body.

Forgive me, but that is a silly argument. "Cut off" means "cut off". Whether his head was clean cut off, or still attached to his body by a piece of skin, it was still cut off! LOL!

Of course it could. My proposal, however, is based upon the fact that the Book of Mormon intentionally reflects the language of the King James Bible. This point is non-debatable.

It was written in the KJV idiomatic and lexicographical usage; that does not mean that every time a word, expression, or idiom occurred in the English BoM, it would necessarily have to have been a translation of its exact Hebrew equivalent in the Bible. That simply is not a logical conclusion to arrive at.

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Sorry, but Reformed Egyptian was not a dialect of Hebrew.

I did not say that Reformed Egyptian is a dialect of Hebrew. I am saying that they spoke a dialect of Hebrew because Moroni tells us that "the Hebrew hath been altered by us also" (Mormon 9:33). That means that they spoke a Hebrew that was not identical with the one that their ancestors spoke when they emigrated form Jerusalem--which means a dialect of Hebrew. That is what the word dialect means.

The Scriptures (Brass Plates) they had were originally Egyptian, . . .

It does say written in Egyptian; but subsequent evidence form the Book of Mormon suggests that that means Egyptian alphabet, not Egyptian language. You can adapt any language to any alphabet. That has happened many times in history. Most Islamic countries today, for example, because of the cultural influence of the Arabs over the centuries, have adapted the Arabic script or alphabet for writing their native languages (which originally used a different alphabet). That includes Urdu, Tajik, Pashtun, Dari, Farsi, Kurdish, even old Turkish. The Turks, who hate Arabism, changed their alphabet from Arabic to Latin under Atat

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Forgive me, but that is a silly argument. "Cut off" means "cut off". Whether his head was clean cut off, or still attached to his body by a piece of skin, it was still cut off! LOL!

It's actually quite a sophisticated argument that involves translating the Book of Mormon back into Hebrew while using the King James version as a guide.

It was written in the KJV idiomatic and lexicographical usage; that does not mean that every time a word, expression, or idiom occurred in the English BoM, it would necessarily have to have been a translation of its exact Hebrew equivalent in the Bible. That simply is not a logical conclusion to arrive at.

Of course not, but given the fact that the Book of Mormon intentionally adopts not only the KJV idiomatic and lexicographical use of English, but actually sites major portions of the KJ Bible, any translation effort into Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek would have to take into consideration the words used in the KJV to translate these languages.

Hence, it would wrong to to ignore the only reference to smiting off a head in the KJ Bible.

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I did not say that Reformed Egyptian is a dialect of Hebrew. I am saying that they spoke a dialect of Hebrew because Moroni tells us that "the Hebrew hath been altered by us also" (Mormon 9:33). That means that they spoke a Hebrew that was not identical with the one that their ancestors spoke when they emigrated form Jerusalem--which means a dialect of Hebrew. That is what the word dialect means.

I guess I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean then. Here's what you said: "But the Book of Mormon was written in (a dialect of) Hebrew, not in Egyptian."

It wasn't written in any form of Hebrew. It was specifically written in a form of Egyptian.

It does say written in Egyptian; but subsequent evidence form the Book of Mormon suggests that that means Egyptian alphabet, not Egyptian language. You can adapt any language to any alphabet. That has happened many times in history. Most Islamic countries today, for example, because of the cultural influence of the Arabs over the centuries, have adapted the Arabic script or alphabet for writing their native languages (which originally used a different alphabet). That includes Urdu, Tajik, Pashtun, Dari, Farsi, Kurdish, even old Turkish. The Turks, who hate Arabism, changed their alphabet from Arabic to Latin under Atat

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It's actually quite a sophisticated argument that involves translating the Book of Mormon back into Hebrew while using the King James version as a guide.

Of course, to translate BACK into Hebrew, it must FIRST be written in Hebrew. It never was. The Brass Plates were Egyptian. The BoM was R. Egyptian. No Hebrew.

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Of course, to translate BACK into Hebrew, it must FIRST be written in Hebrew. It never was. The Brass Plates were Egyptian. The BoM was R. Egyptian. No Hebrew.

????? ??? ?!!!

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????? ??? ?!!!

Ilalaar O??

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Ilalaar O??

Nope, it's English.

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I would also add here that Mormon says the Egyptian characters were handed down and altered "according to our speech". This tells me they were at least speaking some form of Egyptian, in addition to writing their scriptures.

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