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Nephi And His Asherah

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I find value in [Eisenman's] work.

I am a big fan of Eisenmann...

As strange as it may sound, there is actually a quote from Jesus the Magician that I would love to see in a Sunday School manual.

Wow. I mentioned three of the most outlandish biblical scholars that I could think of and I managed to alienate all my allies on the thread. LOL. Sorry guys!

(Actually, volgadon, I loved the Morton Smith quote that you posted. I don't discount all of Smith's work. In fact, I belong to a dwindling minority that still thinks that Secret Mark might be genuine.)

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Wow. I mentioned three of the most outlandish biblical scholars that I could think of and I managed to alienate all my allies on the thread. LOL. Sorry guys!

(Actually, volgadon, I loved the Morton Smith quote that you posted. I don't discount all of Smith's work. In fact, I belong to a dwindling minority that still thinks that Secret Mark might be genuine.)

Robert Eisenman was one of my professors in college and he very outlandish, but supercilious in his research and actually somewhat of a fan of LDS thought. His first lines in his class were, "If you are an evangelical you are not going to like this class". I was hooked.

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Robert Eisenman was one of my professors in college and he very outlandish, but supercilious in his research and actually somewhat of a fan of LDS thought. His first lines in his class were, "If you are an evangelical you are not going to like this class". I was hooked.

That's very interesting. I loved his book on James. He seems to exemplify modern NT scholarship; not necessarily a believer. Quite a difference from FF Bruce.

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That's very interesting. I loved his book on James. He seems to exemplify modern NT scholarship; not necessarily a believer. Quite a difference from FF Bruce.

I remember the book was criticized when it came out because it was too long and detailed. Indeed, it is a major read and I comment you for sticking with it. Have you read any of his other books?

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I hadn't thought of the apostles and disciples' experience in this way. Got the line upon line, but not really that one of the reasons for Christ having to take baby steps with them was they were well versed in religious thought, it wasn't that they were ignorant and hadn't ever considered such things (which wasn't what I thought of them, I just hadn't even really addressed the source of their problem in understanding).

Adds another dimension to the calling of a young and inexperienced boy to restore the Faith and authority. Thank you.

Cal,

After many years of treasuring things you say here and there, I'm glad I can finely give back a little.

Cheers

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Kevin,

You always write great stuff! You mention several textual layers in Deuteronomy where Barker has made some interesting connections. One of the connections she makes that really resonated with me centers around the Day of Atonement and its absence in Deuteronomy. Once I started focusing on this, many of the pieces in the Book of Mormon really started to make sense to me.

I began by looking at all instances of the three-fold festival complex (New Year, Atonement, and Tabernacles) in the Hebrew Bible. Intriguingly, I noticed calendrical differences in the narratives surrounding the dedication of Solomon’s temple at this time of year as well as in other similar texts. Something wasn’t right. This led me to other research suggesting that the division into three festivals occurred in the exile and that anciently it was simply one festival of ingathering. Later redaction attempted to break these up into three disparate events, although the math didn’t always work out when they did this.

This led me to Sigmund Mowinckel and several years of fun study on his recreation of the festival from the Psalms. I have fond recollections of my time deployed to Iraq (2003 – 2004) living in a tent in the desert of Kuwait and then in Baghdad studying the Psalms and identifying with the desert military setting of much of the text. I noticed that many of the psalm texts that are part of the fall festival ritual were quoted by Jacob and Nephi in similar settings in the BoM. Indeed the BoM seems to reflect a single pre-exilic fall festival that includes the dancing maidens as well as the temple ritual as laid out in Psalms.

I’ve written entries on my blog about the fall festival in the BoM, including Jacob’s sermon in 2-4 and King Benjamin’s address, although I’ve never posted my notes about Jacob’s main sermon on the atonement (2 Nephi 6-10). I do think that this is a big key to the pre-exilic faith and think it is a big deal that it is absent from Deuteronomy. So I value what Barker brings to the table and find a lot of what she says illuminating. And I’ve found your work that ties this all together to be insightful. I hope you continue exploring these topics and sharing with the rest of us as you go.

Regards,

Joey Green

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Wow. I mentioned three of the most outlandish biblical scholars that I could think of and I managed to alienate all my allies on the thread. LOL. Sorry guys!

(Actually, volgadon, I loved the Morton Smith quote that you posted. I don't discount all of Smith's work. In fact, I belong to a dwindling minority that still thinks that Secret Mark might be genuine.)

Nevo,

No worries. You know, this has been my hobby for many years. And I have enough fun with it that I subscribe to several journals, including JBL. I'm an assoicate member of SBL, and if the the military will only cooperate, I'll attend a conference one of these years. And I have enough fun reading the original texts that I invested in BibleWorks many years ago. But at the end of the day, I'm not an academic. I don't have the training you and others do, and I don't publish on this or do it full time. There are drawbacks to this, as I don't get to work around others who share the same interest in the subject (not many in the miltary are intrigued by Mowinckel's theories on the enthronement of Yahweh in the Psalms). On the other hand, one of the luxeries of being a non-expert is that I can spend just as much time with the mavericks as I want to. Beyond enjoying Eisenmann and Barker, I can even believe that aliens redacted Leviticus if I really want to. Won't impact my next promotion!

But I hope you know that one of the perks of lurking on a board like this is interacting with people like you who really know what they're talking about.

Regards,

Joey Green

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That's very interesting. I loved his book on James. He seems to exemplify modern NT scholarship; not necessarily a believer. Quite a difference from FF Bruce.

I remember the book was criticized when it came out because it was too long and detailed. Indeed, it is a major read and I comment you for sticking with it. Have you read any of his other books?

I have most of his books, including his valuable work on the Dead Sea Scrolls. I too liked his book on James. There are very few scholars who can identify inter-textual patterns as well as he can. Very good with the primary sources. I find a lot of his theories intriguing.

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Robert Eisenman was one of my professors in college and he very outlandish, but supercilious in his research and actually somewhat of a fan of LDS thought. His first lines in his class were, "If you are an evangelical you are not going to like this class". I was hooked.

Yes, I also took classes from him at Cal State Long Beach.

He loves being confrontational. In his class on Islam, he at first angered the many Muslims in class, but then he mollified them with his great appreciation for Muslim and Arabic culture (he wrote his dissertation on the subject at Columbia). The Muslim Students Association there took orders in class for free hardbound English-Arabic editions of the Qur'an (paid for by the Saudi Embassy), and Eisenman had Arabic-speaking students read from the Qur'an so that the rest of us could appreciate the wonderful orational qualities of the book.

I liked Eisenman, attended his synagogue lectures, and I spent many hours arguing with him. Even if he is considered a kook by many scholars, he has written some very thought-provoking work on the close connections between Essene and Christian terminology, on Essene and Qaraite similarities, and on James the Just.

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Or should I teach what Robert Smith urges, and point out the it is contrary to the manual?

CFR where I have urged that anyone "should teach . . . contrary to the manual" in any LDS Church classes. I have never done so, and I would be quickly brought up short were I to do so (usually a very knowledgeable member of the stake presidency sits in our HP group class).

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Wow. I mentioned three of the most outlandish biblical scholars that I could think of and I managed to alienate all my allies on the thread. LOL. Sorry guys!

Oh, I'm with you on Margaret Barker, and when it comes to the other three, Morton Smith is the only one I like.

(Actually, volgadon, I loved the Morton Smith quote that you posted. I don't discount all of Smith's work. In fact, I belong to a dwindling minority that still thinks that Secret Mark might be genuine.)

I have a soft spot for Smith, his criticism of Goodenough was right on the mark, and he did important work on topics like sun worship in Israel, or early magic. I'm certain that Secret Mark is genuine, no good reason to discount it, but Smith's interpretation frequently missed the mark, if you'll forgive the pun.

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Yeah, none of it is very compelling. Interesting that 40 years after Jack Welch found the temple ceremony in the BOM, the average Mormon still has never heard of it.

The average Mormon has also never heard of the Mormon Dialogue and Discussion Board. Nor are they familiar with temple ritual in the Bible.

Actually Hugh Nibley discovered the temple rites in the Book of Mormon about 45 years ago (his grad assistant Gordon Thomasson and Hugh kicking themselves in the proverbial behind for not recognizing it before on that frabjous day). Jack discovered chiasmus in the Book of Mormon 40 years ago, and only much later realized that the temple was in there as well.

A number of books and articles have come out discussing the elements of temple ritual in the Book of Mormon, but they haven't achieved wide circulation. Among them are

Baker, LeGrand L.,, and Stephen D. Ricks, Who Shall Ascend Into the Hill of the Lord? The Psalms in Israel's Temple Worship In the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon (SLC: Eborn Books, 2010).

Bokovoy, David, "Temple Imagery in the Book of Mormon," 4-part BYU Education Week lectures for 2011, which I summarized here on MDDB.

Butler, D. John, Plain and Precious Things: The Temple Religion of the Book of Mormon's Visionary Men (Amazon/Kindle eBook, 2012).

Christensen, Kevin, “The Temple, the Monarchy, and Wisdom: Lehi's World and the Scholarship of Margaret Barker,” in Seely, Seely, and Welch, eds., Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem (Covenant Communications, 2004), 449-522.

Parry, Donald W., “Service and Temple in King Benjamin’s Speech,” JBMS, 16/2 (2007), 42-47.

Ricks, Stephen D., “The Treaty/Covenant Pattern in King Benjamin's Address (Mosiah 1- 6)." BYU Studies, 24/2 (Spring 1984), 151-162

Spencer, Joseph M., An Other Testament: On Typology (Salem: Salt Press, 2012).

Valletta, Thomas R., "Conflicting Orders: Alma and Amulek in Ammonihah," in D. Parry and S. Ricks, eds., The Temple in Time and Eternity (Provo: FARMS, 1999), 183-231.

Welch, John W., The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount (SLC: Deseret, 1990). FARMS put out an expanded ed.

Welch, John W., Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and Sermon on the Mount (Provo: FARMS, 1999).

Welch, John W., The Sermon on the Mount in Light of the Temple, SOTS (Ashgate, 2009). By implication.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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The average Mormon has also never heard of the Mormon Dialogue and Discussion Board. Nor are they familiar with temple ritual in the Bible.

Actually Hugh Nibley discovered the temple rites in the Book of Mormon about 45 years ago (his grad assistant Gordon Thomasson and Hugh kicking themselves in the proverbial behind for not recognizing it before on that frabjous day). Jack discovered chiasmus in the Book of Mormon 40 years ago, and only much later realized that the temple was in there as well.

A number of books and articles have come out discussing the elements of temple ritual in the Book of Mormon, but they haven't achieved wide circulation. Among them are

Baker, LeGrand L.,, and Stephen D. Ricks, Who Shall Ascend Into the Hill of the Lord? The Psalms in Israel's Temple Worship In the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon (SLC: Eborn Books, 2010).

Bokovoy, David, in his BYU Education Week lectures for 2011, which I summarized here on MDDB.

Butler, D. John, Plain and Precious Things: The Temple Religion of the Book of Mormon's Visionary Men (Amazon/Kindle eBook, 2012).

Christensen, Kevin, “The Temple, the Monarchy, and Wisdom: Lehi's World and the Scholarship of Margaret Barker,” in Seely, Seely, and Welch, eds., Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem (Covenant Communications, 2004), 449-522.

Parry, Donald W., “Service and Temple in King Benjamin’s Speech,” JBMS, 16/2 (2007), 42-47.

Ricks, Stephen D., “The Treaty/Covenant Pattern in King Benjamin's Address (Mosiah 1- 6)." BYU Studies, 24/2 (Spring 1984), 151-162

Spencer, Joseph M., An Other Testament: On Typology (Salem: Salt Press, 2012).

Valletta, Thomas R., "Conflicting Orders: Alma and Amulek in Ammonihah," in D. Parry and S. Ricks, eds., The Temple in Time and Eternity (Provo: FARMS, 1999), 183-231.

Welch, John W., The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount (SLC: Deseret, 1990). FARMS put out an expanded ed.

Welch, John W., Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and Sermon on the Mount (Provo: FARMS, 1999).

Welch, John W., The Sermon on the Mount in Light of the Temple, SOTS (Ashgate, 2009). By implication.

Wait hold up. If the temple ritual is in the Bible, then I guess it wouldn't be a plain and precious truth removed from the Bible and restored in the BOM. It's plainly taught in both scriptures.

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Wait hold up. If the temple ritual is in the Bible, then I guess it wouldn't be a plain and precious truth removed from the Bible and restored in the BOM. It's plainly taught in both scriptures.

The argument is that the Bible as we have it today was heavily redacted and a number of items removed (virtually all biblical scholars admit that, and even the Bible itself makes the claim that whole books and details have been left out). If anything esoteric was left it would have to be opaque to the uninspired editors. If that is a true assertion, then would you expect to easily find anything on specific temple rites in the current canon? Perhaps you'd like to point out to me an example of plain and precious temple ritual in the Bible.

Without eyes to see, you won't see it.

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Even I don't think that is a legitimate question. The Book of Mormon implies that God is anthropomorphic but says nothing about him having a body of flesh and bones. The Book of Mormon does not purport to restore things lost from the Bible, otherwise Joseph Smith wouldn't have spent time with his "translation" of the Bible.

You might want to take a look at I Ne 13, and 27 for a somewhat different idea. Both there and on the Title page, the suggestion is that covenants need to be restored. Of course Nephi is speaking about the Bible as known from the Brass Plates, not the Bible we have today.

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You might want to take a look at I Ne 13, and 27 for a somewhat different idea. Both there and on the Title page, the suggestion is that covenants need to be restored. Of course Nephi is speaking about the Bible as known from the Brass Plates, not the Bible we have today.

Not the Bible we have today?

Not quite. 1 Nephi 13.

Nephi was talking about the Bible:

21 And the angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book?

22 And I said unto him: I know not.

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 abook that thou beholdest is abrecord of the cJews, 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 is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the dplates 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.

and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord,

25 Wherefore, these things go forth from the aJews in purity unto thebGentiles, according to the truth which is in God.

Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain andaprecious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God

These alast records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall bestablish the truth of the cfirst, which are of the dtwelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them;

Kind regards.

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You ask if I think what we have in the Church curriculum regarding Josiah's reform represent divine confirmation of "the textual and historical accuracy of these pericopes." No, not really. But I don't think textual or historical accuracy is the main concern here. I think it is reasonable to believe that the reform occurred and that it occurred more or less the way it is presented in the Bible. The issue, as I see it, is whether or not the reform was a "good thing" or a "bad thing." The Law and the Prophets present it as a good thing (including Jeremiah and Ezekiel), and modern prophets seem to concur. It may be that they are all wrong and Margaret Barker is right, but I rather doubt it.

You ask whether we should assume "as a rule of thumb that every pericope used to illustrate a principle in official curriculum is ...divinely authenticated in terms of its textual and historical accuracy?" Again, probably not. I think the curriculum can get trivial things wrong, but presumably it gets the big things right—at least most of the time. Or so one modern apostle would have us believe:

You ask if there are "any pericopes that you feel are historically or textually questionable that are used to illustrate good principles in official curriculum?" Sure. The story of Job, the story of Jonah, the story of Esther, etc. But again, I don't think Josiah's reform is historically questionable, so I'm not sure how this relates to our subject. I readily grant that a great deal of the Bible is not historically accurate.

Finally, you asked if I think "there is an exact correspondence between theology, terminology, and ritual between the disparate texts in the Hebrew Bible and the Book of Mormon?" No, of course not. Nor does there need to be. The four Gospels don't match in all their particulars, yet all have their value. Joseph Smith described them as "testimonies." Walter Brueggemann has suggested that Old Testament be understood in terms of "testimony" as well. I think that's a good way to look at it. Like a mosaic or intricate tapestry (choose your cliche), each piece contributes something to the whole.

I appreciated your frank answers to Joey's questions, but we could also revise one or several of the questions to ask whether a right principle was exercised by some bad people? I am thinking of the Zoramite prayer on their rameumptom. Turns out, on close analysis, that not only is the word rameumptom easily etymologized in Hebrew as just what the text claims it means ("Holy-Stand; a place of standing which was high above the head" Alma 31:13,21,23), but they performed their prayer very much like the Jews do their most important prayer, the ‘Amida "Standing." Even the content is similar. Maybe Joseph Smith got it while visiting the synagogue over in nearby Rochester, except that there was no synagogue there in his day. Or maybe he learned it from his Hebrew teacher Joshua Seixas, except that Seixas wouldn't show up until years later.

Hugh Nibley opined that

“Latter-day Saints believe that their temple ordinances are as old as the human race and represent a primordial revealed religion that has passed through alternate phases of apostasy and restoration which have left the world littered with the scattered fragments of the original structure, some more and some less recognizable, but all badly damaged and out of proper context…” (Intro in Hugh Nibley,
).

Bryce Hammond pointed that out to us a few days ago on another blog, and it seems quite appropriate in the atmosphere of apostasy and restoration on this board.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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Not the Bible we have today?

Not quite. 1 Nephi 13.

Nephi was talking about the Bible:

21 And the angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book?

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 abook that thou beholdest is abrecord of the cJews, 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 is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the dplates 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.

and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord,

25 Wherefore, these things go forth from the aJews in purity unto thebGentiles, according to the truth which is in God.

Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain andaprecious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God

These alast records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall bestablish the truth of the cfirst, which are of the dtwelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them;

Kind regards.

Excellent point, and I should not have overlooked that. However, we may want to consider an additional assessment of such phenomena:

In 1829, while translating the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13:23-29), Joseph Smith learned that many “parts which are plain and most precious” had been removed from the Bible.[1] On February 16, 1832, he said that “it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.”[2] Finally, on October 15, 1843, Joseph said that “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.”[3]

Thus, we find that Joseph Smith attributed the many errors made in the transmission of the biblical text to (1) poor translation, (2) careless scribal copying, (3) deliberate scribal or sacerdotal changes.

In referring to “ignorant translators,” Joseph could have been calling into question the quality of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, or of the earlier translations upon which it was based – including the 3rd century B.C. Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek (the Septuagint or LXX), and the various Aramaic translations (Targums).

As “careless transcribers” Joseph may have included the inevitable errors made by both Jewish and Christian scribes over the thousands of years of transmission, e.g., the loss (probably by haplography) of crucial material in the traditional Hebrew text of 1 Samuel 11:1-4, which was restored by a Qumran Cave 4 fragment (4QSama) and verified by both the LXX and by Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, VI,5,1 (§§69-70).[4]

All this aside from Saul Levin’s systematic study of a special category of deliberate changes by careful and pious Jewish scribes during their transmittal of the traditional, Massoretic Hebrew text of the Bible (tiqqune sopherim). These were not secret changes, and the scribes kept careful track of each change. Many others were not listed.[5]

-----------------------------

[1] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (SLC: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2007), 207; cf. John W. Welch, “The Plain and Precious Parts,” FARMS Update, January 1987 = J. W. Welch, ed., Reexploring the Book of Mormon (Provo: FARMS/SLC: Deseret Book, 1992), 37-40.

[2] Joseph Fielding Smith, compiler, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (SLC: Deseret Book, 1976), 10, citing B. H. Roberts, ed., History of the Church, I:245; cf. Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the New Testament and Why (N.Y.: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005); Ehrman, ed., Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It Into the New Testament (Oxford Univ. Press, 2003); Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament (Oxford Univ. Press, 1993).

[3] A discourse in Nauvoo, Illinois, reported by Willard Richards = TPJS, 327, citing HC VI:56-59 (cf. HC I:238).

[4] Frank Moore Cross, “A New Qumran Biblical Fragment Related to the Original Hebrew Underlying the Septuagint,” BASOR, 132 (1953), 15-26; Cross, Qumran Cave 4, XII: 1-2 Samuel, DJD XVII (2005); see also his full discussion of 4Q51 in Bible Review, I/3 (Fall 1985), 26-35, and in Hershel Shanks, ed., Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls (1992), 156-166.

[5] Saul Levin, The Father of Joshua/Jesus (Binghamton, NY: State Univ. of NY, 1978), chapter 4.

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Nevo,

No worries. You know, this has been my hobby for many years. And I have enough fun with it that I subscribe to several journals, including JBL. I'm an assoicate member of SBL, and if the the military will only cooperate, I'll attend a conference one of these years. And I have enough fun reading the original texts that I invested in BibleWorks many years ago. But at the end of the day, I'm not an academic. I don't have the training you and others do, and I don't publish on this or do it full time. There are drawbacks to this, as I don't get to work around others who share the same interest in the subject (not many in the miltary are intrigued by Mowinckel's theories on the enthronement of Yahweh in the Psalms). On the other hand, one of the luxeries of being a non-expert is that I can spend just as much time with the mavericks as I want to. Beyond enjoying Eisenmann and Barker, I can even believe that aliens redacted Leviticus if I really want to. Won't impact my next promotion!

But I hope you know that one of the perks of lurking on a board like this is interacting with people like you who really know what they're talking about.

Regards,

Joey Green

You are way too modest, Joey.

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I have most of his books, including his valuable work on the Dead Sea Scrolls. I too liked his book on James. There are very few scholars who can identify inter-textual patterns as well as he can. Very good with the primary sources. I find a lot of his theories intriguing.

Some find them weird. I have the misfortune of reading books that should have their own wagon to carry them in and Eisenman is not the exception. I was fortunate to partially take his class a number of years ago and picked up his book, "Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians and Qumran: A New Hypothesis of Qumran Origins" E. J. Brill, Leiden (1984). I particularly love his understanding of James and a less favorable impression of Paul.

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Yes, I also took classes from him at Cal State Long Beach.

He loves being confrontational. In his class on Islam, he at first angered the many Muslims in class, but then he mollified them with his great appreciation for Muslim and Arabic culture (he wrote his dissertation on the subject at Columbia). The Muslim Students Association there took orders in class for free hardbound English-Arabic editions of the Qur'an (paid for by the Saudi Embassy), and Eisenman had Arabic-speaking students read from the Qur'an so that the rest of us could appreciate the wonderful orational qualities of the book.

I liked Eisenman, attended his synagogue lectures, and I spent many hours arguing with him. Even if he is considered a kook by many scholars, he has written some very thought-provoking work on the close connections between Essene and Christian terminology, on Essene and Qaraite similarities, and on James the Just.

Too bad he isn't teaching anymore and I regret that I had to leave his class prematurely. You were lucky to have known him so well. Edited by Ron Beron

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Excellent point, and I should not have overlooked that. However, we may want to consider an additional assessment of such phenomena:

In 1829, while translating the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13:23-29), Joseph Smith learned that many “parts which are plain and most precious” had been removed from the Bible.[1] On February 16, 1832, he said that “it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.”[2] Finally, on October 15, 1843, Joseph said that “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.”[3]

Thus, we find that Joseph Smith attributed the many errors made in the transmission of the biblical text to (1) poor translation, (2) careless scribal copying, (3) deliberate scribal or sacerdotal changes.

In referring to “ignorant translators,” Joseph could have been calling into question the quality of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, or of the earlier translations upon which it was based – including the 3rd century B.C. Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek (the Septuagint or LXX), and the various Aramaic translations (Targums).

As “careless transcribers” Joseph may have included the inevitable errors made by both Jewish and Christian scribes over the thousands of years of transmission, e.g., the loss (probably by haplography) of crucial material in the traditional Hebrew text of 1 Samuel 11:1-4, which was restored by a Qumran Cave 4 fragment (4QSama) and verified by both the LXX and by Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, VI,5,1 (§§69-70).[4]

All this aside from Saul Levin’s systematic study of a special category of deliberate changes by careful and pious Jewish scribes during their transmittal of the traditional, Massoretic Hebrew text of the Bible (tiqqune sopherim). These were not secret changes, and the scribes kept careful track of each change. Many others were not listed.[5]

-----------------------------

[1] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (SLC: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2007), 207; cf. John W. Welch, “The Plain and Precious Parts,” FARMS Update, January 1987 = J. W. Welch, ed., Reexploring the Book of Mormon (Provo: FARMS/SLC: Deseret Book, 1992), 37-40.

[2] Joseph Fielding Smith, compiler, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (SLC: Deseret Book, 1976), 10, citing B. H. Roberts, ed., History of the Church, I:245; cf. Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the New Testament and Why (N.Y.: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005); Ehrman, ed., Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It Into the New Testament (Oxford Univ. Press, 2003); Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament (Oxford Univ. Press, 1993).

[3] A discourse in Nauvoo, Illinois, reported by Willard Richards = TPJS, 327, citing HC VI:56-59 (cf. HC I:238).

[4] Frank Moore Cross, “A New Qumran Biblical Fragment Related to the Original Hebrew Underlying the Septuagint,” BASOR, 132 (1953), 15-26; Cross, Qumran Cave 4, XII: 1-2 Samuel, DJD XVII (2005); see also his full discussion of 4Q51 in Bible Review, I/3 (Fall 1985), 26-35, and in Hershel Shanks, ed., Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls (1992), 156-166.

[5] Saul Levin, The Father of Joshua/Jesus (Binghamton, NY: State Univ. of NY, 1978), chapter 4.

I've just got to say this as I've felt it multiple times in the past....but I really, really admire the commitment to getting it right and sharing the 'wealth' of someone who is willing to footnote a post on a message board. It is just amazing we have posters (and Robert is the one that I notice doing this the most, he blows me away) here that do this.

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The argument is that the Bible as we have it today was heavily redacted and a number of items removed (virtually all biblical scholars admit that, and even the Bible itself makes the claim that whole books and details have been left out). If anything esoteric was left it would have to be opaque to the uninspired editors. If that is a true assertion, then would you expect to easily find anything on specific temple rites in the current canon? Perhaps you'd like to point out to me an example of plain and precious temple ritual in the Bible.

Without eyes to see, you won't see it.

The issue is that the topics of temple ritual, Heavenly Mother, whatever are equally opaque in the BOM as they are in the Bible. You and Jeremy Orbe-Smith both referred to plain and precious, while supporting the Asherah concept in the BOM. I maintain this concept is equally opaque in the BOM.

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Bokovoy, David, "Temple Imagery in the Book of Mormon," 4-part BYU Education Week lectures for 2011, which I summarized here on MDDB.

Do you have a link to this? I was there, but I've forgotten the details.

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Some find them weird. I have the misfortune of reading books that should have their own wagon to carry them in and Eisenman is not the exception. I was fortunate to partially take his class a number of years ago and picked up his book, "Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians and Qumran: A New Hypothesis of Qumran Origins" E. J. Brill, Leiden (1984). I particularly love his understanding of James and a less favorable impression of Paul.

I didn't find his book on James weird, but it was enough of a paradigm change that I certainly found it a little jarring at first. But after reading a lot of his works, I learned to value his ability to look for patterns in the primary texts without necessarily agreeing with all of his conclusions. Aside from the book on Qumran origins that you cite, I also have his Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, which he coauthored with Michael Wise. I think that volume is more valuable for his intertextual analysis than it is for his translations. I also have his New Testament Code, where he traces the origins of bathing traditions (and other intriguing activities) among these various offshoot groups. Interesting stuff, to say the least. I wish I had been fortunate enough to take a class with him. Sounds like a character.

Edited by J Green

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