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Alan

Mormon And The New Testament

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I was reading the Book of Mormon recently and came across a phrase that sounded very much like Paul in one of his letters. The explanations that are most commonly offered is that either Mormon was inspired by the same Spirit as the biblical writer, Joseph Smith was familiar with the biblical phrases and rendered anything expressing the same sentiment in biblical language or a close approximation, Joseph (or Sidney Rigdon etc) plagurised the biblical writers when constructing the Book of Mormon.

However, it occured to me that there may indeed be another option. Could Mormon have had access to the New Testament books or some of them? Especially Paul's letters?

I know this concept is outwith tranditional LDS thinking, but the more we discover about the movement of people, and especially trade routes etc at that time, it becomes less outlandish.

Any thoughts?

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Hugh Nibley, of course, suggested that both Paul and Nibley were quoting from a common, ancient source.

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Hugh Nibley, of course, suggested that both Paul and Nibley were quoting from a common, ancient source.

While I think Nibley was probably correct, I doubt that the source of the particular language can be traced far enough back to make it into Nephi's hands. I think the only reasonable response is understanding the way the translation process worked. Obviously, I have my own theory about that.

I agree that the Pauline language would not have been on the plates, but don't see a problem in Joseph's use of the language in the translation.

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While I think Nibley was probably correct, I doubt that the source of the particular language can be traced far enough back to make it into Nephi's hands. I think the only reasonable response is understanding the way the translation process worked. Obviously, I have my own theory about that.

I agree that the Pauline language would not have been on the plates, but don't see a problem in Joseph's use of the language in the translation.

Were I in Joseph's position, and noticed a phrase with a meaning very close to a passage in Paul, I might deliberately choose to use Paul's words as I knew them, to translate it simply to give doctrinal legitimacy and show the parallel with his doctrine very specifically.

That kind of practice would really underline the idea that the BOM was "another testament" just as important as the New Testament itself.

Should someone decide to question it and say "Why would you do that- it looks 'phoney' that you used Paul's words!" I might respond with something like "Come on! If I was going to be phoney about it, I would have never used Paul's exact words- I would have just paraphrased the doctrine!"

I think if we put ourselves in Joseph's shoes and think about what we would have done in a similar situation, assuming we were legitimately translating the same doctrine, nearly word for word as Paul presented it, we might well do the same as he did.

Fraudsters would NEVER do that, because they would instantly see that it could expose their fraud, but innocents might, not even seeing the possibility that someone might accuse them of doing anything illegitimate.

Sometimes you have to think like a criminal yourself to understand what they would NOT do! :crazy:

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Could Mormon have had access to the New Testament books or some of them? Especially Paul's letters?

But there is phrasing from the small plates that sounds Pauline as well. So we're likely back to looking at the translation process, as Brant suggests.

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I was reading the Book of Mormon recently and came across a phrase that sounded very much like Paul in one of his letters.

What part sounds Paulish if you don't mind me asking, I find this kind of fascinating.

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Joseph: Hey, check this out, guys! New Scripture!

Everyone: Neat. ~flips through~ Say... this looks *nothing* like the Bible or any other volume of Scripture I'm familiar with. What are you trying to pull?

OR

Joseph: Hey, check this out guys! New Scripture!

Everyone: Neat. ~flips through~ Say... this looks *an awful lot* like the Bible and other volumes of Scripture I'm familiar with. What are you trying to pull?

:pardon:

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It's not just Paul, the Book of Mormon -- Nephi in particular -- uses a lot of language reminiscent (but sometimes actually quoting) John and Revelation. Elsewhere lines and phrases from Matthew show up.

I've toyed with the idea that maybe Nephi was redacted by Mormon or someone else, and therefore the overt Christianity and high Christology of Nephi, but that has its own problems, not the least of which is that that Mormon or a previous copyist had access to texts of the New Testament, including John, Revelation, Matthew, 1 John, and some of Paul. That isn't inconceivable, especially since the author of Revelation was a supernatural being who could appear to Mormon or one of his predecessors if he wanted. This would also explain the insertion of Matthew into 3 Nephi, but that would mean that Mormon himself had to have had either access to Matthew or an earlier Nephite account which had used Matthew.

But the Book of Mormon's silence on Old World records or visits from Old World Christians or of the Apostle John is a problem, as is ancient American Nephites reading and copying from Greek texts.

If it wasn't redacted by an ancient copyist, the only other explanation I see is that Joseph Smith either knowingly or unknowingly redacted it himself.

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What part sounds Paulish if you don't mind me asking, I find this kind of fascinating.

Mosiah 16:7-8 / 1 Cor. 15:55-56

Alma 7:24 / 1 Cor. 13:13

Alma 22:14 / 1 Cor. 15:55-56

Moroni 7 / 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 3

Ether 12:26-27 / 2 Cor. 12:9-10

Just a few examples.

From my limited study and notes I've only documented BoM/Pauline parallels to 1 and 2 Corinthians. I haven't seen any allusions to any other of Paul's letters in the Book of Mormon. [Edit: I lied. Looks like the phrase "stand before the judgment seat of Christ," which only occurs in the NT in Romans 14:10, occurs several times in the BoM.]

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It's not just Paul, the Book of Mormon -- Nephi in particular -- uses a lot of language reminiscent (but sometimes actually quoting) John and Revelation. Elsewhere lines and phrases from Matthew show up.

I've toyed with the idea that maybe Nephi was redacted by Mormon or someone else, and therefore the overt Christianity and high Christology of Nephi, but that has its own problems, not the least of which is that that Mormon or a previous copyist had access to texts of the New Testament, including John, Revelation, Matthew, 1 John, and some of Paul. That isn't inconceivable, especially since the author of Revelation was a supernatural being who could appear to Mormon or one of his predecessors if he wanted. This would also explain the insertion of Matthew into 3 Nephi, but that would mean that Mormon himself had to have had either access to Matthew or an earlier Nephite account which had used Matthew.

But the Book of Mormon's silence on Old World records or visits from Old World Christians or of the Apostle John is a problem, as is ancient American Nephites reading and copying from Greek texts.

If it wasn't redacted by an ancient copyist, the only other explanation I see is that Joseph Smith either knowingly or unknowingly redacted it himself.

I've also toyed with the Post Christian Redaction of the Small Plates idea (Perhaps by Third Nephi, or a later disciple?), with the added understanding of Joseph's 19th Century redactions coloring the specific NT KJV language.(I can't see any reasonable way of Nephites having actual NT texts). It also allows for a significantly later departure (than the standard 600bc) of the Lehites from the Old World with later texts, such as the Deuteronomistic History (which happens to end where the Lehite story begins), and Deutero-Isaiah, Malachi, etc on the Brass Plates. Also presents the Small Plates as being very similar to a New Genesis, with eponymous ancestry, just-so stories ("And this is why the Lamanites are darker than us!") and everything.

There's a great chance it's nonsense, but it's a fun idea.

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I've also toyed with the Post Christian Redaction of the Small Plates idea (Perhaps by Third Nephi, or a later disciple?), with the added understanding of Joseph's 19th Century redactions coloring the specific NT KJV language.(I can't see any reasonable way of Nephites having actual NT texts). It also allows for a significantly later departure (than the standard 600bc) of the Lehites from the Old World with later texts, such as the Deuteronomistic History (which happens to end where the Lehite story begins), and Deutero-Isaiah, Malachi, etc on the Brass Plates. Also presents the Small Plates as being very similar to a New Genesis, with eponymous ancestry, just-so stories ("And this is why the Lamanites are darker than us!") and everything.

There's a great chance it's nonsense, but it's a fun idea.

Hi nack,

What is your theory for Mormon 9?

22 ...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;

23 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;

24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;

Except for the superfluous "And" at the beginning of verse 23, this passage is identical to KJV-Mark 16:15-18.

How did Moroni get hold of this late scribal addition to the text?

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Joseph: Hey, check this out, guys! New Scripture!

Everyone: Neat. ~flips through~ Say... this looks *nothing* like the Bible or any other volume of Scripture I'm familiar with. What are you trying to pull?

OR

Joseph: Hey, check this out guys! New Scripture!

Everyone: Neat. ~flips through~ Say... this looks *an awful lot* like the Bible and other volumes of Scripture I'm familiar with. What are you trying to pull?

Reader: Hey, check this out, guys! The BoM quotes the NT!

Apologist: What? ~flips through~ No... some of the words are different. If JS was copying then it would be verbatim.

OR

Reader: Hey, check this out guys! The BoM quotes the NT!

Apologist: What? ~flips through~ No... to ignorant anti-Mormon apostates it may appear so, but much of the alleged copying is verbatim. If JS was being phoney about it, he would have never used Paul's exact words; he would have just paraphrased the doctrine.

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How did Moroni get hold of this late scribal addition to the text?

Assuming the portion is an addition, Moroni postdated its inclusion in Mark considerably. If he could have had any part of the NT he could have had the longer ending of Mark.

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It also allows for a significantly later departure (than the standard 600bc) of the Lehites from the Old World with later texts, such as the Deuteronomistic History (which happens to end where the Lehite story begins), and Deutero-Isaiah, Malachi, etc on the Brass Plates. Also presents the Small Plates as being very similar to a New Genesis,

Speaking of Genesis, what are your thoughts on 2 Nephi 3:5-17? Were these extra-Biblical details regarding Joseph of Egypt on the Brass Plates? These same verses appear in JST-Genesis 50:24-35, which is published in LDS Bibles (and therefore should have some weight, contra the assertions of Benjamin McGuire and Robert Smith).

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Assuming the portion is an addition, Moroni postdated its inclusion in Mark considerably. If he could have had any part of the NT he could have had the longer ending of Mark.

1. Could Moroni read Greek?

2. Why did he (apparently) think the words were original to Mark?

3. Did the scroll travel by:

.......A. Ship?

.......B. Carrier pigeon?

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Hi nack,

What is your theory for Mormon 9?

22 ...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;

23 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;

24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;

Except for the superfluous "And" at the beginning of verse 23, this passage is identical to KJV-Mark 16:15-18.

How did Moroni get hold of this late scribal addition to the text?

He did't, but Joseph Certainly had it in the KJV.

Speaking of Genesis, what are your thoughts on 2 Nephi 3:5-17? Were these extra-Biblical details regarding Joseph of Egypt on the Brass Plates? These same verses appear in JST-Genesis 50:24-35, which is published in LDS Bibles (and therefore should have some weight, contra the assertions of Benjamin McGuire and Robert Smith).

Since I don't view the JST as having anything to do with original text, that doesn't give it any weight as an-original-part-of-Genesis text to me. Was there some extrabilblical material about a Josephite/Ephraimite prophet? Perhaps. But even if this is the case, I think as we have whatever we have now, it's very much filtered through Joseph Smith recognizing himself in the text.

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He did't, but Joseph Certainly had it in the KJV.

Since I don't view the JST as having anything to do with original text, that doesn't give it any weight as an-original-part-of-Genesis text to me. Was there some extrabilblical material about a Josephite/Ephraimite prophet? Perhaps. But even if this is the case, I think as we have whatever we have now, it's very much filtered through Joseph Smith recognizing himself in the text.

Well that doesn't leave me with much to argue about!

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1. Could Moroni read Greek?

2. Why did he (apparently) think the words were original to Mark?

3. Did the scroll travel by:

.......A. Ship?

.......B. Carrier pigeon?

I mentioned the (although unlikely) possibility that Mormon/Moroni had access to NT texts in a post above.

1. There I mentioned that ancient Americans reading Greek was an obvious problem with the theory.

2. Obviously because the manuscript he had included the longer reading of Mark.

3. I have no idea. If one believes in Mormonism, one also believes that the Apostle John became a supernatural figure able to teleport presumably anywhere in the globe. Perhaps he brought them?

That said, I do not think it likely that Mormon/Moroni had access to NT texts. I think it is more likely that the NT allusions in the BoM are (probably unconscious) interpolations, expansions, and/or redactions of Joseph Smith.

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That said, I do not think it likely that Mormon/Moroni had access to NT texts. I think it is more likely that the NT allusions in the BoM are (probably unconscious) interpolations, expansions, and/or redactions of Joseph Smith.

You guys are really taking the wind out of my sails. :unsure:

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In reading all of you too-clever fellows and viewing your structures built out of assumptions and air, I am forcibly reminded of Brigham Young's dictum - "No man's opinion is worth a straw."

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In reading all of you too-clever fellows and viewing your structures built out of assumptions and air, I am forcibly reminded of Brigham Young's dictum - "No man's opinion is worth a straw."

But that's Brother Brigham's opinion, right?

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But that's Brother Brigham's opinion, right?

He was acting as the prophet.

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What is your theory for Mormon 9?

snip

How did Moroni get hold of this late scribal addition to the text?

Pretty obvious to me.

He was quoting Christ's teachings while He visited the New World. In this case, this was personal instruction to the disciples/apostles.

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Speaking of Genesis, what are your thoughts on 2 Nephi 3:5-17? Were these extra-Biblical details regarding Joseph of Egypt on the Brass Plates? These same verses appear in JST-Genesis 50:24-35, which is published in LDS Bibles (and therefore should have some weight, contra the assertions of Benjamin McGuire and Robert Smith).

This was taken from the Brass Plates, which were the record from the tribe of Joseph. Many forget that the Bible is the record of Judah, and the Brass Plates had special interest in prophecies regarding Joseph and his descendants. Judah had little interest in preserving those promises to Joseph, but primarily in Judah, from whom the Messiah would arise.

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Did the scroll travel by: .......B. Carrier pigeon?

Guard 1: It's not a question of where he grips it. It's a simple question of weight ratios. A five-ounce bird could not carry a one-pound scroll!

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