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David Bokovoy

Brant Gardner'S New Book

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Next, it is quite certain that they couldn't understand each other, and that tells us that something quite different from a simple "corruption" of language has taken place. Natural language drift doesn't happen that fast. We might not understand everything an Aussie says (and vice versa) but we are hardly mutually unintelligible. That "something else" is most plausible a change in language, not linguistic drift from Hebrew.

That to me looks like an unwarranted assumption. 400 years is quite a long time for an isolated indigenous community to experience language drift, especially if they have not preserved a written form of the language. Given the low life expectancy of those times, 400 years could spell ten generations; and I think that is plenty long enough to experience language drift. Also, when it says that they did not understand each other, it does not mean that they spoke a completely different language. Just a pronunciation difference would be enough to make them unintelligible to each other.

I have a Kurdish friend who comes form the Iraqi region of Kurdistan. He tells me that they don’t understand the speech of the Kurds who live across the border in the Turkish region of Kurdistan. It is still the same language, and the written form is the same; but the spoken form and the dialect are sufficiently different that they don’t understand each other.

I am not sure why there is a confusion. All languages change, and they change more with a longer time period. There is a significant difference between 400 years and 1000 years in how much a language changes from a common original.

To me that contradicts what you said above. 400 years is nearly half of 1000 years. If 400 years isn’t long enough to produce significant language drift, why should 1000 years produce a complete language change? That doesn’t sounds logical to me.

Well, I suppose we are in the realm of interpretation here. Since they did learn enough of their language to know that they had forgotten their God, and the religion on the plates maintained the connection to God regardless on the common language, I clearly favor their apostasy as being a more important issue than language. It certainly is more important throughout the book of Mosiah, which begins in the aftermath of a civil rebellion between religious ideas, not language.

I am sure forgetting God is a more important consideration than language drift as far as salvation is concerned. However, since what we are discussing here is language and not salvation, the salvation issue becomes completely irrelevant to the discussion.

Malachi is an interesting issue. I don't know what language those quotations were recorded in. They were given orally and didn't come from the brass plates (obvious, since they were written long after Lehi left Jerusalem). What language did Christ use in speaking to the people? We have absolutely no way of knowing. Any answer is a guess. However, there is no way that Malachi could be used as evidence for any specific language precisely because it was delivered orally.

What you overlooking there is that the Malachi (and Micah) quotes are all identical or nearly identical to the KJV versions, as in the case of the Isaiah quotes; so if your theory is true of the Isaiah quotes, it must also be true of the latter quotes. That is the point I was making. Your suggestion that because they are nearly identical to the KJV versions, that means that they must have been copied from the KJV, must apply to both. Their existence, however, creates more complications for your theory, and makes it even less plausible.

It is certainly possible to create a story for the Book of Mormon where it occurred without any contact with any other population. Frankly, it isn't a very plausible story. Only in the absence of any other Amerind population could you make the case that there were not multiple available languages. That hypothesis cannot be supported in very many places during that time period in the New World, and all of them of which I am aware were uninhabited. Even the lightly inhabited areas appear to have had multiple language options. So, if you wish to argue that there were real Nephites, it is historically and archaeologically imperative that you allow for "others" in your hypothesis.

Our only source of information for that is the Book of Mormon itself; and the Book of Mormon doesn’t mention any such admixture of populations beyond the Mulekites and Coriantumr, the sole survivor of the Jadeites. If such admixture of populations had existed (at least during the Book of Mormon period), it is reasonable to assume that it would have been mentioned.

For those who do not believe in the Book of Mormon at all, the problem is solved, because they see the whole thing is fiction any way. But if you are building your theory on the assumption that the book is true, and given the prophetic nature of the composition, and the Abrahamic covenants it is associated with, we must assume that if such a thing had occurred it would have been mentioned. For good measure, the book specifically states that, at that time at least, God had deliberately preserved the land from other nations and peoples in order to provide an “inheritance” for the Nephites (and others associated with them, e.g. the Mulekites and Zoramites):

2 Nephi 1
:

8 And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.

That I believe rules out that theory as being seriously flawed.

Are you sure that a revelation to Oliver is applicable to Joseph? There is no indication that they translated the same way, and good evidence that they did not.

I am convinced that that particular aspect of the translation would have been equally applicable to both situations, regardless of whether the translation method used had been identical in both cases or not.

Why, then do all scriptures from prophets have different vocabularies and styles? Why is Isaiah so different from Jeremiah? Are you suggesting that the prophet contributes nothing to the revelation? Of course, I agree that your hypothesis is one of the possibilities in how Joseph translated, but it is one that should be answered with evidence rather than firm assertion without examining the data.

My belief in the pure revelatory nature of the Book of Mormon translation has no bearing on the other considerations you have mentioned. Both could be true at the same time. You seem to see a conflict between the two, but there isn’t one. Isaiah was a highly sophisticated literary artist. Joseph Smith was nothing of the kind. Yet the scriptural literature he produced possess a literary sophistication that was far beyond his learning, education, or natural abilities. We are talking about two different phenomena here.

The KJV makes a conscious attempt to retain a fair amount of the Hebrew flavor of the text. Because even translations attempting to reproduce the flavor of the original must interpret the original, there is no way to guarantee that the KJV it the most accurate translation of the meaning of the text it translates. In fact, there are known confusions and places where a meaning was rendered from an underlying text that didn't actually make a lot of sense.

The KJV doesn’t try to deliberately “introduce Hebrew flavor” into the book. That “Hebrew flavor” is an inevitable result of making a literal translation. They believed that a literal translation achieves a better fidelity to the original than a non-literal translation. An element of “interpretation” will always exist whichever method of translation is used; but in a literal translation, that “interpretative element” is considerably reduced. And the Lord apparently agrees!

It is absolutely possible to copy a text without every having a clue of the underlying language. Copying is not translating, and when the Book of Mormon copies the KJV (and does so in ways that indicate that it was a copy) then we have a copy, not a translation. There is no evidence that Isaiah was translated afresh and that it just so happened to look exactly like the KJV.

I think you misunderstood what I said. The fact that there is such close affinity between the Bishop’s Bible, the Geneva Bible and the KJV (and other early translations) does not mean that they copied from each other—any more than the close affinity of the of the Book of Mormon passages with the KJV means that they are copied from the latter. That is the point I was trying to make! When you have figured out how those early translations could be so close to each other, without them having been “copied” from each other, you will be in a position to understand how the biblical quotes in the Book of Mormon could be so close to the KJV, without them having been “copied” from the KJV!

Except that when one borrows the previous translation, it is copying from the translation, not creating a new translation.

Except that that is not what they were doing! Go figure! :)

I have a hard time agreeing with your hypothesis.

It is certain that the KJV was used. There is no question there. However, copying isn't translating, and the evidence points to copying, not a fresh translation. Of course, there is more evidence that I care to deal with on aboard, but it is available.

See above!

Edited by zerinus

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We are coming from such different perspectives and backgrounds on this, that I doubt that we will ever come to a consensus. This will be my last response to you on this topic, and I'll just note a couple of things.

That to me looks like an unwarranted assumption. 400 years is quite a long time for an isolated indigenous community to experience language drift, especially if they have not preserved a written form of the language. . . . To me that contradicts what you said above. 400 years is nearly half of 1000 years. If 400 years isn’t long enough to produce significant language drift, why should 1000 years produce a complete language change? That doesn’t sounds logical to me.

My suggestion is based on historical linguistics and patterns they note. You can get a little idea of the difference in that you can read the KJV (about 400 years) even though there have been shifts in vocabulary. However, I doubt you can read Beowulf in the original (I know I cannot) and that is more along the lines of a 1000 years.

You are, of course, welcome to an opinion. Your opinion, however, is not supported by historical linguistics. I assume you haven't read much in that field.

I think you misunderstood what I said. The fact that there is such close affinity between the Bishop’s Bible, the Geneva Bible and the KJV (and other early translations) does not mean that they copied from each other—any more than the close affinity of the of the Book of Mormon passages with the KJV means that they are copied from the latter. That is the point I was trying to make! When you have figured out how those early translations could be so close to each other, without them having been “copied” from each other, you will be in a position to understand how the biblical quotes in the Book of Mormon could be so close to the KJV, without them having been “copied” from the KJV!

Your assumption that those translations were done without reference to the earlier ones, and that similarities exist only because there was a single way to translate is both incorrect from a translation standpoint and from a historical standpoint. It is known that the similarities exist because the KJV translators referenced the earlier editions and that Tynsdale's translation was very influential (for example, his coined word "atonement").

Copying does not suggest independently produced identical translations. It is copying. I sincerely doubt that you would find any experienced translator who wouldn't recognize that two precise translations of the same text came from copying the translation rather than an independent translation. I doubt that if you had the same translator translate the same text with enough time between that they didn't remember their first translation, that there would be differences even though neither the text nor the person of the translator had changed. Translation is simply not as precise as you appear to believe it to be.

Edited by Brant Gardner

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We are coming from such different perspectives and backgrounds on this, that I doubt that we will ever come to a consensus. This will be my last response to you on this topic, and I'll just note a couple of things.

That is up to you. I will reply to your post just the same.

My suggestion is based on historical linguistics and patterns they note. You can get a little idea of the difference in that you can read the KJV (about 400 years) even though there have been shifts in vocabulary. However, I doubt you can read Beowulf in the original (I know I cannot) and that is more along the lines of a 1000 years.

You are, of course, welcome to an opinion. Your opinion, however, is not supported by historical linguistics. I assume you haven't read much in that field.

I stand by what I have said. I believe you are making too many unwarranted assumptions. Language drift varies from age to age and circumstance. Today language drift is likely to be much smaller owing to presence of mass media and use of print (and now Internet), which tends to standardize, fix, and therefore slow down language drift. You can’t compare the language drift that has taken place in English during the past 400 years, with the drift that took place between 1000 and 400 years ago, because the circumstances were not the same.

Your assumption that those translations were done without reference to the earlier ones, and that similarities exist only because there was a single way to translate is both incorrect from a translation standpoint and from a historical standpoint.

I made no such assumptions.

It is known that the similarities exist because the KJV translators referenced the earlier editions and that Tynsdale's translation was very influential (for example, his coined word "atonement").

Sure, no arguments.

Copying does not suggest independently produced identical translations. It is copying. I sincerely doubt that you would find any experienced translator who wouldn't recognize that two precise translations of the same text came from copying the translation rather than an independent translation. I doubt that if you had the same translator translate the same text with enough time between that they didn't remember their first translation, that there would be differences even though neither the text nor the person of the translator had changed. Translation is simply not as precise as you appear to believe it to be.

Now you are coming to the crux of the issue. How do you explain the close affinity that exists between the KJV and its precursors (or between those precursors themselves, for that matter)? Were they copying or translating? The closeness that exists between the KJV and, let’s say, the Geneva Bible, in some places is nearly as much as that which exists between the KJV passages in the Book of Mormon. It varies from place to place. The historical narratives are closer than the more difficult poetic and prophetic passages. But still, there is a great amount of closeness between them. So the question remains: were they copying or were they translating?

Tyndale’s work formed the basis of Coverdale’s revision, which formed the basis for the so called Great Bible. The Great Bible and Tyndale’s original work then formed the basis of the Geneva Bible. That was followed by Bishops’ Bible, which was based on the Great Bible and the Geneva Bible. The Bishops’ Bible was heavily revised in 1572, which in turn formed the basis of the KJV. So the question still remains, were these prodigious “translators” copying or translating?

And in any case, why would they all want to base their translations on previous ones? Every effort without exception was based on previous work. Why? Didn’t they have brains? Didn’t have independent minds? Why did they base their work on previous efforts? Why didn’t they make completely independent translations? And were they copying or translating?

The KJV was made by 47 scholars, working in six committees, each committee being assigned a section of the Bible to work on; and it took them four years to complete the job. So you are telling me that 47 eminent scholars worked their bums out for four years just to copy from the Bishops’ Bible (and other Bibles)? If that is all they did, they should have hired me! I could have done it a lot faster! And why would they want to base their work on previous works any way, rather than make a completely independent translation (as they do nowadays)? You haven’t answered any of these questions. But I have an answer, and I can tell you.

In those days they believed in literal translations, rather than the unilateral ones which are more fashionable nowadays; and because they believed in literal translations, they valued the work of their predecessors. They didn’t want to throw all that good work away. A literal translation is a lot harder to do a good job of than a non-literal translation; and it is something that can be worked on and improved upon. You can keep making it better and better. That is why they didn’t want to abandon the work of their predecessors. To them, “translating the Bible” meant improving what their predecessors had done, rather than abandoning all of that work and starting from scratch. The KJV for example was based mainly on the Bishops’ Bible (although other Bibles were also consulted). For that purpose, “Forty unbound copies of the 1602 edition of the Bishops’ Bible were specially printed so that the agreed changes of each committee could be recorded in the margins. The committees worked on certain parts separately and the drafts produced by each committee were then compared and revised for harmony with each other.” (Source.) That is the explanation for why these translations are so close to each other—and in parts they are almost identical. They were not just “copying”. They were making independent translations; but their translations consisted of improving the works of their predecessors.

The KJV is the by-product of that kind of work. It is a constant improvement of what other had done going back as far as Tyndale and possibly Wycliffe, and it keeps getting better and better with each iteration until it reaches the pinnacle of its perfection in the KJV; and has remained largely unchanged ever since. In the Book of Mormon the Lord is following the same tradition of translation. He is respecting the work of the earlier translators culminating in the KJV; and only makes the changes to it that is required to make it better—which are not many. Bible translation in English, by the time it reaches the KJV, reaches such a lever of perfection that very little change is required to improve on it; and those are the changes that the Lord makes in the biblical passages in the Book of Mormon. That explains why they are so close. They are no more blindly “copied” form the KJV, than the KJV is blindly “copied” form the Bishops’ Bible and beyond.

Edited by zerinus

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I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he used a copy of the KJV, but there is no indication that he did and statements that he didn't. It appears that the data stack against a copy being present (besides, how much could he have read if he had his face in the hat?).pardon.gif

Nevertheless, I do believe that the evidence of italics tells us that he saw a page before him. My suggestion is that it appeared in his visual memory, which I also suggest was of the type described as eidetic (there are some whose mental pictures are more vivid, persistent, and detailed than for most of us). I invoke divinity to trigger the appropriate memories of a page he had seen, and then Joseph read from the page in visual memory just as he might have from a book.

If you are familiar with his proposed proof during the Bainbridge trial, it would be a very similar process.

Thanks Brant. I too see the evidence as contradictory between the text and the statements of the witnesses. From the perspective of a believer I think your approach seems to be the best of all available options. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity.

As an aside I've always been impressed by the way you handle all evidence in what, in at least my opinion, is a very reasonable way. Congratulations on your new book.

Phaedrus

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Thanks Brant. I too see the evidence as contradictory between the text and the statements of the witnesses. From the perspective of a believer I think your approach seems to be the best of all available options. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity.

As an aside I've always been impressed by the way you handle all evidence in what, in at least my opinion, is a very reasonable way. Congratulations on your new book.

Thank you very much. I really appreciate it.

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I stand by what I have said. I believe you are making too many unwarranted assumptions. Language drift varies from age to age and circumstance. Today language drift is likely to be much smaller owing to presence of mass media and use of print (and now Internet), which tends to standardize, fix, and therefore slow down language drift. You can’t compare the language drift that has taken place in English during the past 400 years, with the drift that took place between 1000 and 400 years ago, because the circumstances were not the same.

Sorry to be replying so long after the fact, but you have a good point here:

Language drift aside, there are too many unknowns, such as the composition of the people of Zarahemla. We simply do not know the makeup of the retinue and crew bringing young Mulek to safety in the New World. Some may have been Phoenician, some Egyptian, Libyan, or others, in addition to the all but certain Judahites who sought to protect the young prince. Also, we do not know who of the local Mesoamerican peoples they might have combined with, obtained refuge with, or sought advice from. These and other considerations may have influenced the so-called "corruption" of their language.

Now you are coming to the crux of the issue. How do you explain the close affinity that exists between the KJV and its precursors (or between those precursors themselves, for that matter)? Were they copying or translating? The closeness that exists between the KJV and, let’s say, the Geneva Bible, in some places is nearly as much as that which exists between the KJV passages in the Book of Mormon. It varies from place to place. The historical narratives are closer than the more difficult poetic and prophetic passages. But still, there is a great amount of closeness between them. So the question remains: were they copying or were they translating?

Tyndale’s work formed the basis of Coverdale’s revision, which formed the basis for the so called Great Bible. The Great Bible and Tyndale’s original work then formed the basis of the Geneva Bible. That was followed by Bishops’ Bible, which was based on the Great Bible and the Geneva Bible. The Bishops’ Bible was heavily revised in 1572, which in turn formed the basis of the KJV. So the question still remains, were these prodigious “translators” copying or translating?

And in any case, why would they all want to base their translations on previous ones? Every effort without exception was based on previous work. Why? Didn’t they have brains? Didn’t have independent minds? Why did they base their work on previous efforts? Why didn’t they make completely independent translations? And were they copying or translating?

The KJV was made by 47 scholars, working in six committees, each committee being assigned a section of the Bible to work on; and it took them four years to complete the job. So you are telling me that 47 eminent scholars worked their bums out for four years just to copy from the Bishops’ Bible (and other Bibles)? If that is all they did, they should have hired me! I could have done it a lot faster! And why would they want to base their work on previous works any way, rather than make a completely independent translation (as they do nowadays)? You haven’t answered any of these questions. But I have an answer, and I can tell you.

In those days they believed in literal translations, rather than the unilateral ones which are more fashionable nowadays; and because they believed in literal translations, they valued the work of their predecessors. They didn’t want to throw all that good work away. A literal translation is a lot harder to do a good job of than a non-literal translation; and it is something that can be worked on and improved upon. You can keep making it better and better. That is why they didn’t want to abandon the work of their predecessors. To them, “translating the Bible” meant improving what their predecessors had done, rather than abandoning all of that work and starting from scratch. The KJV for example was based mainly on the Bishops’ Bible (although other Bibles were also consulted). For that purpose, “Forty unbound copies of the 1602 edition of the Bishops’ Bible were specially printed so that the agreed changes of each committee could be recorded in the margins. The committees worked on certain parts separately and the drafts produced by each committee were then compared and revised for harmony with each other.” (Source.) That is the explanation for why these translations are so close to each other—and in parts they are almost identical. They were not just “copying”. They were making independent translations; but their translations consisted of improving the works of their predecessors.

The KJV is the by-product of that kind of work. It is a constant improvement of what other had done going back as far as Tyndale and possibly Wycliffe, and it keeps getting better and better with each iteration until it reaches the pinnacle of its perfection in the KJV; and has remained largely unchanged ever since. In the Book of Mormon the Lord is following the same tradition of translation. He is respecting the work of the earlier translators culminating in the KJV; and only makes the changes to it that is required to make it better—which are not many. Bible translation in English, by the time it reaches the KJV, reaches such a lever of perfection that very little change is required to improve on it; and those are the changes that the Lord makes in the biblical passages in the Book of Mormon. That explains why they are so close. They are no more blindly “copied” form the KJV, than the KJV is blindly “copied” form the Bishops’ Bible and beyond.

The KJV translation committees applied their expertise in the various languages of the texts to be translated, and only made changes in the received English text when it seemed warranted by advances in knowledge of those languages (Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew). Any substantial disagreements among committee members resulted in marginal readings -- which the editor, Miles Smith, stated were as good as those words in the text. Very few changes were actually made for the KJV, not because of any literal translation theory, but because of the tremendous respect scholars had for the work of previous translators. Indeed, the language of those translations had already entered the vernacular of the English language and could claim respect on that basis as well.

Anyone examining an actual 1611 KJV Bible (the 1st ed.) realizes at once that a great many changes have been made in the text since that time. In fact the KJV has gone throught several major editions, with fundamental changes in spelling, orthography, etc., necessary due to vast changes in the English language in that time.

Moreover, despite the statements of Emma Smith that Joseph did not use a copy of the KJV when encountering long quotations of text, it is a fact that several scholars (in addition to Brant) believe that he did just that: B. H. Roberts, Daniel H. Ludlow, Sidney B. Sperry, H. Grant Vest, and Stanley R. Larson. Brant undoubtedly discusses the detailed evidence for this conclusion in his book, so I won't go into it here. However, there is also a discussion of such compelling reasons in the FARMS Book of Mormon Critical Text, 2nd ed., 3 vols. (Provo: FARMS, 1986-1987), passim, but especially I:viii-ix, and III:iv-v.

I would like to say one more thing: About your notion that a literal translation is inherently tougher to do, and more accurate, and that it is God's preference. There are many translation styles, and by far the most difficult is that of dynamic metaphrase, in which one seeks to render a text in a meaning most easily understood by the recipient of that translation. This is normally not the literal rendering, but one which is controlled by the language and culture of the recipient. This effort requires not only a complete command of the original language being translated -- in all its subtlety -- but tremendous skill in transmitting the narrative and ideas into the recipient language. The American Bible Society, and the United Bible Societies are particularly skilled at this method of translation, and have published a great deal about it. Perhaps the most radical metaphrase is Rob Lacey, The Word on the Street (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003/2004), which is specifically directed at low class English youth who may be most in need of God's word.

Here's an example of Lacey's version of one of the Ten Commandments, followed by something from Isaiah on the Suffering Servant:

Mosiah 13:15 Thou shalt not take the name of

the Lord thy God in vain; for the

Lord will not hold him guiltless

that taketh his name in vain.

Exodus 20:7 You won’t use my name lightly,

as some sort of magic word, supposed to blackmail me into action.

You won’t use it as a swear word.

If you do, you won’t go unpunished. Handle my handle with care!

Mosiah 14:1b Who hath believed our report,

and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

Isaiah 53:1 Who would credit it? Who’d have foreseen

this plot line in God’s liberation story?

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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Indeed. Your analysis of the prophet's 1838 statement linking Hebrew with the Book of Mormon title page came down to the fact that Joseph's view may have been influenced by the fact that he had begun to study Hebrew at this point in Kirtland and that the "Caractors" from the Anthon script appear to run from left to right rather than right to left, i.e. the direction of Hebrew.

I don't know if it matters, but this same right-to-left direction of characters appear in some of the KEP manuscripts (circa 1835-1836), most particularly the "Valuable discovery of hiden records" notebook that contains a dissected translation interspersed with Egyptian characters from the papyri. Also, several of the Book of Abraham manuscripts include Egyptian characters in the left-hand margins, and appear to have been taken from the papyrus in sequential order from right to left.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Sorry, but that is a big leap. Saying that Hebrew was known to those who could read and write and saying that it was therefore the common language is simply not a conclusion that can be drawn with accuracy. There are simply too many social reasons arguing against the retention of Hebrew as the daily language and none of those reasons impact its retention as a scribal language.

Brant,

The problem with that is our knowledge of Jewish communities which maintained a particular language in the home for long periods: Jewish Aramaic for over 2500 years (in Kurdistan, for example, regardless of local and official languages); Yiddish for a thousand years in Europe (and which continues now in various communities in the old Russian empire, as well as in Brooklyn and elsewhere among the Hasidim).

I don't know whether some form of Hebrew was maintained by a subgroup for a thousand years in the New World, but would not be surprised if that were the case.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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Language drift aside, there are too many unknowns, such as the composition of the people of Zarahemla. We simply do not know the makeup of the retinue and crew bringing young Mulek to safety in the New World. Some may have been Phoenician, some Egyptian, Libyan, or others, in addition to the all but certain Judahites who sought to protect the young prince.

We do know who they were. The Book of Mormon tells us:

.

Omni 1
:
.
15 Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.
16 And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.

They were Israelites. They were brought by miraculous means, like the Nephrites. We have no reason to assume that non-Israelites were involved. And Mormon tells us why their language had been corrupted--it was because they had brought no written record with them.

Also, we do not know who of the local Mesoamerican peoples they might have combined with, obtained refuge with, or sought advice from. These and other considerations may have influenced the so-called "corruption" of their language.

There weren’t any. The Book of Mormon mentions none; and even suggests otherwise.

The KJV translation committees applied their expertise in the various languages of the texts to be translated, and only made changes in the received English text when it seemed warranted by advances in knowledge of those languages (Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew). Any substantial disagreements among committee members resulted in marginal readings -- which the editor, Miles Smith, stated were as good as those words in the text. Very few changes were actually made for the KJV, not because of any literal translation theory, but because of the tremendous respect scholars had for the work of previous translators. Indeed, the language of those translations had already entered the vernacular of the English language and could claim respect on that basis as well.

Anyone examining an actual 1611 KJV Bible (the 1st ed.) realizes at once that a great many changes have been made in the text since that time. In fact the KJV has gone throught several major editions, with fundamental changes in spelling, orthography, etc., necessary due to vast changes in the English language in that time.

Moreover, despite the statements of Emma Smith that Joseph did not use a copy of the KJV when encountering long quotations of text, it is a fact that several scholars (in addition to Brant) believe that he did just that: B. H. Roberts, Daniel H. Ludlow, Sidney B. Sperry, H. Grant Vest, and Stanley R. Larson. Brant undoubtedly discusses the detailed evidence for this conclusion in his book, so I won't go into it here. However, there is also a discussion of such compelling reasons in the FARMS Book of Mormon Critical Text, 2nd ed., 3 vols. (Provo: FARMS, 1986-1987), passim, but especially I:viii-ix, and III:iv-v.

I would like to say one more thing: About your notion that a literal translation is inherently tougher to do, and more accurate, and that it is God's preference. There are many translation styles, and by far the most difficult is that of dynamic metaphrase, in which one seeks to render a text in a meaning most easily understood by the recipient of that translation. This is normally not the literal rendering, but one which is controlled by the language and culture of the recipient. This effort requires not only a complete command of the original language being translated -- in all its subtlety -- but tremendous skill in transmitting the narrative and ideas into the recipient language. The American Bible Society, and the United Bible Societies are particularly skilled at this method of translation, and have published a great deal about it. Perhaps the most radical metaphrase is Rob Lacey, The Word on the Street (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003/2004), which is specifically directed at low class English youth who may be most in need of God's word.

I stand by what I had said. The KJV is a literal translation. A literal translation is harder to do a good job of than a non-literal translation. Doing a sloppy job of it is easy. The reason why the early translators preferred to improve on earlier works than to make fresh independent translations is because they all believed in and did literal translations; and a literal translation can be constantly worked on and improved upon. And I do not believe that Joseph Smith copied the biblical passages in the Book of Mormon from the KJV. Those who may have thought he did are wrong.

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I stand by what I had said. The KJV is a literal translation

Not always.

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It is a literal translation.

In places, yes. In others, no.

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In places, yes. In others, no.

It is still a literal translation.

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Oh, really. Shall we take a look at the first 2 verses of Genesis?

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They were brought by miraculous means, like the Nephrites.

What, pray tell, does the Book of Mormon have to do with kidneys or asbestos?

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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Oh, really. Shall we take a look at the first 2 verses of Genesis?

It is as literal as it can be, consistent with achieving an elegant and readable English style, which is a sensible man's idea of a literal translation. It is not a mechanical translation, like Young's Literal Translation. That is not my idea of a literal translation. Follow the link below for more information on Young's Literal Translation.

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CDcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FYoung's_Literal_Translation&ei=pDKDTqusEYXL0QXhyYS7AQ&usg=AFQjCNHvtV5aciuKMVbQGRW1VKqyL6zgwQ

The KJV is a literal translation, period.

Edited by zerinus

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What, pray tell, does the Book of Mormon have to do with kidneys or asbestos?

Lehi

The only suitable reply I could think of to that was a rude answer, so I think that no answer is probably the best answer.

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The only suitable reply I could think of to that was a rude answer, so I think that no answer is probably the best answer.

Good choice.

Geees! a little good-natured ribbing is beneficial to anyone.

Lehi

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It is as literal as it can be, consistent with achieving an elegant and readable English style, which is a sensible man's idea of a literal translation. It is not a mechanical translation, like Young's Literal Translation. That is not my idea of a literal translation. Follow the link below for more information on Young's Literal Translation.

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CDcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FYoung's_Literal_Translation&ei=pDKDTqusEYXL0QXhyYS7AQ&usg=AFQjCNHvtV5aciuKMVbQGRW1VKqyL6zgwQ

The KJV is a literal translation, period.

No, the first two verses of Genesis are not literal in the KJV. A literal translation would be more like the following:

When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth was formless and empty; and darkness was upon the depths; and the divine spirit covered the waters.

The first word (בראשית) is not absolute, but in the construct. Most translations are too dogmatic to acknowledge that, though.

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No, the first two verses of Genesis are not literal in the KJV. A literal translation would be more like the following:

The first word (בראשית) is not absolute, but in the construct. Most translations are too dogmatic to acknowledge that, though.

You are not replying to my post. You are saying whatever you want to say.

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You are not replying to my post. You are saying whatever you want to say.

That is rich.

Hey Maklelan, Nu,uh.

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We do know who they were. The Book of Mormon tells us:

.

Omni 1
:
.
15 Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.
16 And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.

They were Israelites. They were brought by miraculous means, like the Nephrites. We have no reason to assume that non-Israelites were involved. And Mormon tells us why their language had been corrupted--it was because they had brought no written record with them.

Your quote here tells us nothing of the sort. Of course, as I said, Judahite protectors of the young prince Mulek were undoubtedly in the company escaping by ship (most likely via the Mediterranean), but you have failed to deal with the question of who manned the ship. The Phoenicians were the best navigators and seaman of the day, their ships being larger than those of Columbus (they had large settlements and ports throughout the Mediterranean), but the Egyptians also had ships and mixed crews. The Book of Mormon simply does not tell us how they got to the New World.

There weren’t any. The Book of Mormon mentions none; and even suggests otherwise.

"There weren't any"? Well, of course, there was Coriantumr, who showed up in Zarahemla following the Jaredite destruction. And Sorenson and many others have argued that there were others.

I stand by what I had said. The KJV is a literal translation. A literal translation is harder to do a good job of than a non-literal translation. Doing a sloppy job of it is easy. The reason why the early translators preferred to improve on earlier works than to make fresh independent translations is because they all believed in and did literal translations; and a literal translation can be constantly worked on and improved upon. And I do not believe that Joseph Smith copied the biblical passages in the Book of Mormon from the KJV. Those who may have thought he did are wrong.

You are free to adopt whatever belief or point of view you like, of course. However, you might want to examine the sources I cited before expounding further, and then (on that basis) explain to us how your version of reality coheres with the facts. That's why they call this a "discussion board."

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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Your quote here tells us nothing of the sort. Of course, as I said, Judahite protectors of the young prince Mulek were undoubtedly in the company escaping by ship (most likely via the Mediterranean), but you have failed to deal with the question of who manned the ship. The Phoenicians were the best navigators and seaman of the day, their ships being larger than those of Columbus (they had large settlements and ports throughout the Mediterranean), but the Egyptians also had ships and mixed crews.

Who manned the Nephite Ship? The Phonecians?

The Book of Mormon simply does not tell us how they got to the New World.

Well it does. It says they were brought “by the hand of the Lord”. That speaks for itself.

"There weren't any"? Well, of course, there was Coriantumr, who showed up in Zarahemla following the Jaredite destruction. And Sorenson and many others have argued that there were others.

If there were any, they would have been mentioned, as Coriantumr was mentioned. He was the sole survivor of the Jaredite civilization. He was allowed to survive to tell the tale; and also to see the prophecy fulfilled, that God would bring “another people receiving the land for their inheritance” (Ether 13:21). There is no logical reason for believing that if others peoples or races of men had been mingled with the Israelites who had been brought to the New World by the Lord, that the Book of Mormon would have failed to mention them, as the Mulekites and Coriantumr were mentioned.

You are free to adopt whatever belief or point of view you like, of course. However, you might want to examine the sources I cited before expounding further, and then (on that basis) explain to us how your version of reality coheres with the facts. That's why they call this a "discussion board."

A discussion board is for discussing things, not for sending people on a wild goose chase of reading half a dozen books. If you have read those books and articles, and think that they have a valid argument against what I have stated, then here is your opportunity to make use of your great knowledge to refute my argument; not send me on a wild goose chase of reading other people’s books.

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If there were any, they would have been mentioned, as Coriantumr was mentioned.

Because this is an argument from opinion, it is difficult to discuss. However, the underlying logic is problematic immediately. The Book of Mormon does not mention what outhouses, so Nephites had no bodily functions. It never mentions beds, so they didn't sleep. Creating an argument from silence is extremely difficult in all texts save religious texts for which inerrantism can be asserted (in one form or another). Since that claim isn't made for the Book of Mormon (in spite of the misuse of the "most correct book statement"), even that makes for a difficult basis for argument.
He was the sole survivor of the Jaredite civilization.
And this is where we have to begin dealing with absolutism versus historicism. The text says that, but what does it mean? The Nephites were destroyed at Cumorah, but the text tells us that there were a lot of deserters who "became" Lamanites. So, were all the Nephites destroyed or not? In historical documents, such absolute statements are not unusual, but are very rarely definitive.
There is no logical reason for believing that if others peoples or races of men had been mingled with the Israelites who had been brought to the New World by the Lord, that the Book of Mormon would have failed to mention them, as the Mulekites and Coriantumr were mentioned.

You are suggesting that because you can't think of it, there is therefore "no logical reason." I can think of several, based on the text, archaeology of the Americas (for this you can pretty much pick a place), and on the way people write ancient histories. So, your opinion is that there is "no logical reason," and my opinion is that there are many logical reasons. I can support mine by more than just my opinion. I can't think of anything that supports your opinion except an assumption about a scriptural text as opposed to a text written by ancient people. However, since I do believe that the Book of Mormon (and the Bible) were written by real ancient peoples, even the assumption of what "scripture" might mean would seem to be based on thin evidence.

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Because this is an argument from opinion, it is difficult to discuss. However, the underlying logic is problematic immediately. The Book of Mormon does not mention what outhouses, so Nephites had no bodily functions. It never mentions beds, so they didn't sleep. Creating an argument from silence is extremely difficult in all texts save religious texts for which inerrantism can be asserted (in one form or another). Since that claim isn't made for the Book of Mormon (in spite of the misuse of the "most correct book statement"), even that makes for a difficult basis for argument.

I see several problems with that argument: (1) While it is true that for some people going to bed, or going to the outhouse, has about as much meaning as the scattering and gathering of Israel; I don’t think that Nephi, Mormon, or Moroni viewed it quite in the same way. (2) The logic of your argument can be equally turned against you. While it is true that the Book of Mormon does not categorically assert that no other migrations to the Americas took place (other than the Jaredites and the Mulekites); it does not say that such a migration did take place either. In other words, your assertion that such a migration took place is as much based on conjecture as my belief that it didn’t—with one difference, that I have stronger internal evidence for my claim than you do for yours. If the BoM historians considered the discovery of other cultures or groups of migrants to the Americas (and interactions with them) of sufficient importance to make mention of at least two such events when they occurred (even though one of them was just a solitary individual), it is reasonable to conclude that other such interactions would have been considered of sufficient importance to have been mentioned. Thus there is a stronger case for believing that such an event did not take place than believing that it did. (3) The Book of Mormon itself teaches doctrines that militate against the idea of interactions with other races, especially non-Israelite races—at least for the duration of the BoM history. One example is 2 Nephi 1:8: “And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.” Another example is the constant theme running through the Book of Mormon that those people were the true descendents of Israel, and that God had a special purpose in wanting to bring them (and others like them) to various parts of the earth to develop as homogenous Israelite branches, for purposes known to the Lord. Have a look at this search result for the word Israel in the Book of Mormon. A quick look should convince anyone of the importance that is attached in the Book of Mormon to the Israelite descent of those people. There is little reason to doubt that if a group of people of non-Israelite descent had been discovered, and interacted with them, it would have been considered of sufficient importance to have been mentioned by their historians, as Coriantumr and Mulek were mentioned.

And this is where we have to begin dealing with absolutism versus historicism. The text says that, but what does it mean? The Nephites were destroyed at Cumorah, but the text tells us that there were a lot of deserters who "became" Lamanites. So, were all the Nephites destroyed or not? In historical documents, such absolute statements are not unusual, but are very rarely definitive.

Okay, where did you get that information from? From the Book of Mormon. The same Book of Mormon tells us not only that the Jaredites were completely annihilated, with the sole exception of Coriantumr; but that it was prophesied that it should be:

Ether 13:

20 And in the second year the word of the Lord came to Ether, that he should go and prophesy unto Coriantumr that, if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people

21 Otherwise they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr.

Ether 15:

33 And the Lord spake unto Ether, and said unto him: Go forth. And he went forth, and beheld that the words of the Lord had all been fulfilled; and he finished his record; . . .

Even assuming that this still does not rule out the possibility of there having been some survivors, it does nothing to strengthen you presumption that there were any either. It makes the likelihood that there weren’t any still greater. If there had been other survivors, why should only Coriantumr have been mentioned, and not any of the others? That supposition simply does not add up. The Book of Mormon is not secular history. It is a revelation. You either you believe it or you don’t.

You are suggesting that because you can't think of it, there is therefore "no logical reason." I can think of several, based on the text, archaeology of the Americas (for this you can pretty much pick a place), and on the way people write ancient histories. So, your opinion is that there is "no logical reason," and my opinion is that there are many logical reasons.

Well you haven’t given me any yet that might persuade me to change my mind.

I can support mine by more than just my opinion.

Opinion is opinion, whether it is yours or anybody else’s. Multiple speculative opinions don’t add up to certainty.

I can't think of anything that supports your opinion except an assumption about a scriptural text as opposed to a text written by ancient people.

See above. My “opinion” is nothing more than a restatement of what the book actually says. Your “opinion” goes contrary to what the book actually says—and you want me to accept your opinion over mine. Why? I have given you the opportunity to convince me, and I don’t find you very convincing.

However, since I do believe that the Book of Mormon (and the Bible) were written by real ancient peoples, even the assumption of what "scripture" might mean would seem to be based on thin evidence.

Sorry, but I just believe what scripture says.

Edited by zerinus

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