Jump to content


Photo
* * * * * 1 votes

Book Of Mormon: New Evidence Of 19Th Century Origin


  • Please log in to reply
516 replies to this topic

#421 Tacenda

Tacenda

    “Earth laughs in flowers”

  • Limited
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,888 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:43 AM

This makes perfect sense since Joseph had but a third grade education and had been instructed only in reading, writing, and the ground rules of arithmetic (Bushman 2005, pp. 41–42), and the Book of Mormon was dictated years after Joseph attending a couple of years of school in Palmyra. :acute:

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Have you ever heard of home schooling?
  • 0
middlewayer

#422 stemelbow

stemelbow

    Separates Water & Dry Land

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,782 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:43 AM

It might possibly be relevant that Oliver Cowdery and Emma Smith were school teachers.

 

And what influence did Oliver and Emma have on the BoM, I suppose. 


  • 0

#423 canard78

canard78

    Brings Forth Plants

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,034 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:44 AM

This makes perfect sense since Joseph had but a third grade education and had been instructed only in reading, writing, and the ground rules of arithmetic (Bushman 2005, pp. 41–42), and the Book of Mormon was dictated years after Joseph attending a couple of years of school in Palmyra. :acute:

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


The following people close to Joseph were school teachers:

- Oliver Cowdery
- Emma Hale Smith
- Joseph Smith Snr

Does that mean they had copies of TLW? No evidence that they did. But simply citing his 3rd grade education is a convenient shortcut and doesn't tell the whole story. He was not uneducated and had educational influences around him in both early years and at the time of the Book of Mormon's publication.
  • 0

"Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth." Elder Uchtdorf, What is Truth? January 2013

My Blog, Many Other Hands

150+ of my favourite LDS quotes on UniversalismDiversity and much, much more


#424 canard78

canard78

    Brings Forth Plants

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,034 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:46 AM

It might possibly be relevant that Oliver Cowdery and Emma Smith were school teachers.


You beat me to it ;)

I added his father to the list.
  • 0

"Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth." Elder Uchtdorf, What is Truth? January 2013

My Blog, Many Other Hands

150+ of my favourite LDS quotes on UniversalismDiversity and much, much more


#425 jkwilliams

jkwilliams

    Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,753 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:46 AM

And what influence did Oliver and Emma have on the BoM, I suppose.


I don't think it's possible to know that, for sure, but one also cannot rule either of them out as having an influence.
  • 0

If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington

 

My award-winning book: Heaven Up Here, by John K. Williams


#426 canard78

canard78

    Brings Forth Plants

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,034 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:51 AM

And what influence did Oliver and Emma have on the BoM, I suppose.


You suppose... what?

Some suppose Oliver had a significant influence on the Book of Mormon. Given he would have probably been more familiar than Joseph with View of the Hebrews (having been a member of Ethan Smith's congregation) there's some who suppose he played more than simply the role of scribe.

I don't personally subscribe to that view, but some do.
  • 0

"Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth." Elder Uchtdorf, What is Truth? January 2013

My Blog, Many Other Hands

150+ of my favourite LDS quotes on UniversalismDiversity and much, much more


#427 wenglund

wenglund

    Declares a Day of Rest

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,012 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:57 AM

Wherever Joseph got the ideas for the Book of Mormon--whether through revelation from God or from a man's imagination--it is entirely plausible that the words, at least, were his own.

 

Perhaps.

 

However, this raises the question (one that I think is conspicuously missing in this discussion) whether the word selection was plausibly entirely his own? (By "word selection" I mean "phrasing")

 

This leads also to the question whether the plots and themes and sub-plots and sub-sub-plots, etc., are entirely his own?

 

I ask because as I read through the Book of Mormon, I get a sense that it isn't the work of a single author, even given the prospect of a single editor and a single translator. How could this be if word choice and plot choice and theme choice, etc., were entirely Joseph's own?

 

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


  • 0

My Blogs; Good in the World and  Leftist LUNCs (Law of Unintended Negative Consequences) of the Week

For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. (Helaman 5:2}


#428 wenglund

wenglund

    Declares a Day of Rest

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,012 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:59 AM

It might possibly be relevant that Oliver Cowdery and Emma Smith were school teachers.

 

As well as Joseph's father. But, in terms of relevance, that could be a mighty small "might possibly." ;)

 

[Edit: I see now that others have jumped as quickly as jkw in this regard]

 

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Edited by wenglund, 28 October 2013 - 10:04 AM.

  • 0

My Blogs; Good in the World and  Leftist LUNCs (Law of Unintended Negative Consequences) of the Week

For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. (Helaman 5:2}


#429 Benjamin McGuire

Benjamin McGuire

    Separates Water & Dry Land

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,435 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:09 AM

According to Chris Johnson he would have used the book often since it was a school book in his time.

I think this is an unwarranted assumption.

 

The book was published in 16 imprints. The first one (published in 1816) was not marketed as a school book. That happens in the second edition in 1817. In 1819, no less than 14 separate imprints are printed as a "third edition". But, this is a sort of funny set of texts (as Rick Grunder notes). All of these books are printed using the exact same text - except for different advertising and title pages. They are marketed through a number of different book sellers, but, the same errors are found in each version published in 1819, suggesting that he had printed all the copies himself and put different advertising and distributors names in the book. This seems like a marketing ploy. In the preface to the 1816 edition, Hunt wrote this:

 

 

Should this effort succeed, he intends publishing, in the same mode of writing, the History of England, from the time of Julius Cesar to the commencement of the American Revolution, the History of America, including the Revolutionary war, from that period to the commencement of this work.

Of course, Hunt never published any of these volumes. There is no evidence that this text (The Late War) was ever actually used as a school book. And then there is the oddity from Duane's blog post, where various copies of Hunt's book show up at least eight times (by my count) in the list of volumes specifically compared to the Book of Mormon. One of them (the 1816 edition) shows up at the top of the list with a composite score of 4.23. This is, I note, the edition least likely to have been used in schools in New York. One of the copies of his third edition comes in 23rd place, with a composite score of 2.34. This is a huge gap between editions, don't you think? Elsewhere the Johnsons make the suggestion that Joseph relied on a specific edition of the Koran (an 1822 edition - one of several editions they seem to have tested) - yet here, the idea that this was a school text doesn't work if we want to specify that the relationship is specifically to the 1816 first edition of Hunt's work. The editions actually seem quite similar though - what causes the gap? OCR errors? Is there that much difference between the first and third edition of his book to cause such a severe drop in relative value?

 

So, I am curious over the two issues - why virtually identical copies of the text (identical according to Rick Grunder) received different scores in the list. And I am curious what evidence there is (other than the author's own recommendation as a sales pitch) that his text was ever actually used in a public school. And related to this, why if it was used in schools, was the book never published again after 1819?

 

Ben McGuire


Edited by Benjamin McGuire, 28 October 2013 - 10:16 AM.

  • 3
... suppose, contrary to legend, that Oedipus, for some dark oedipal reason, was hurrying along the road intent on killing his father, and, finding a surly old man blocking his way, killed him so he could (as he thought) get on with the main job. Then not only did Oedipus want to kill his father, and actually kill him, but his desire caused him to kill his father. Yet we could not say that in killing the old man he intentionally killed his father, nor that his reason in killing the old man was to kill his father. (Davidson)

#430 jkwilliams

jkwilliams

    Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,753 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:09 AM

As well as Joseph's father. But, in terms of relevance, that could be a mighty small "might possibly." ;)
 
[Edit: I see now that others have jumped as quickly as jkw in this regard]
 
Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Why would you assume that's a mighty small possibility? You just got through telling us that the book's possible use as a school text was irrelevant because Joseph didn't go to school. It seems entirely reasonable to mention that others involved in the production/translation not only attended school but taught school. Is there something wrong with mentioning something that is at least as relevant as Joseph's lack of formal education?
  • 0

If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington

 

My award-winning book: Heaven Up Here, by John K. Williams


#431 Nevo

Nevo

    Fides et Ratio

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,309 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:09 AM

.


Edited by Nevo, 3 weeks ago.

  • 1

#432 canard78

canard78

    Brings Forth Plants

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,034 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:10 AM

Perhaps.

However, this raises the question (one that I think is conspicuously missing in this discussion) whether the word selection was plausibly entirely his own? (By "word selection" I mean "phrasing")

This leads also to the question whether the plots and themes and sub-plots and sub-sub-plots, etc., are entirely his own?

I ask because as I read through the Book of Mormon, I get a sense that it isn't the work of a single author, even given the prospect of a single editor and a single translator. How could this be if word choice and plot choice and theme choice, etc., were entirely Joseph's own?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


There was a brief bit of analysis in the presentation on single author drift. It showed that books with a single author often appear to be written by multiple people because of a drift in style. There was far too little to be able to confidently draw a conclusion from the information.

Also, we can say with some confidence that whatever translation method we peg our colours to, there were multiple authors.

Isaiah/Matthew/Mark/Paul are all quoted verbatim so it's inevitable that different sections will sound different. Whether you consider Nephi/Mormon or Joseph to be author of the rest of it there is no doubt that different styles will be in there.

I'm still not sure how "tight" advocates explain Mark 16 or Matthew's version of sermon on the mount being in there (beyond, "God liked the 'as far as it was translated correctly' KJV of both so had them appear on the rock in a hat").
  • 0

"Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth." Elder Uchtdorf, What is Truth? January 2013

My Blog, Many Other Hands

150+ of my favourite LDS quotes on UniversalismDiversity and much, much more


#433 Benjamin McGuire

Benjamin McGuire

    Separates Water & Dry Land

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,435 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:15 AM

Wade writes:

However, this raises the question (one that I think is conspicuously missing in this discussion) whether the word selection was plausibly entirely his own? (By "word selection" I mean "phrasing")

The challenge we have here is that we tend to restrict the roles in the production of the text far too narrowly (generally because we have little experience or need to expand those roles). Word choice can be chosen by an author, but at the same time, word choice is also influenced by the theoretical expected reader. Who was the intended audience for the translation of the Book of Mormon, and how did that theoretical audience reflect (or cause) the choice in vocabulary and phrasing? These are better questions than simply trying to simplify it to an either/or that we usually see. If Joseph is the principle audience, then he can be at least partially responsible for much of the vocabulary and phrasing without Joseph ever having played a conscious role in selecting that language.

 

Ben M.


  • 2
... suppose, contrary to legend, that Oedipus, for some dark oedipal reason, was hurrying along the road intent on killing his father, and, finding a surly old man blocking his way, killed him so he could (as he thought) get on with the main job. Then not only did Oedipus want to kill his father, and actually kill him, but his desire caused him to kill his father. Yet we could not say that in killing the old man he intentionally killed his father, nor that his reason in killing the old man was to kill his father. (Davidson)

#434 jkwilliams

jkwilliams

    Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,753 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:19 AM

And this is the problem. The hypothesis that Joseph Smith used The Late War in creating the Book of Mormon is based on zero evidence. Yet a lot of people are taking Chris Johnson's assertions as fact. For example, John Hatch recently posted on the Signature Books website that "ex-Mormon blogger Chris Johnson notes that the book, The History of the Late War Between the United States and Great Britain by Gilbert J. Hunt, published in 1816 for students and widely available in New York schools, shares numerous linguistic and stylistic characteristics with the Book of Mormon."
 
Hunt's book wasn't "published in 1816 for students" and no one has presented a shred of evidence that it was "widely available in New York schools"—yet this is becoming the accepted truth in online discussions of the book.
 
A lot of people are also taking Johnson's claims about the prevalence of chiasmus in other early nineteenth-century works at face value too. They shouldn't.
 
Also far-fetched is Johnson's claim that the anglophilic First Book of Napoleon begat The Late War. If nothing else, this should cast doubt on the validity of Johnson's method for determining textual dependence.


It's not surprising that people on both sides are overstating the importance of Hunt's book. Like you, I'm suspicious of assertions of textual dependency, but the book clearly shows what an effort in Joseph Smith's day to imitate KJV style for similar purposes would look like. Whatever anyone thinks, this does has implications for those who are looking for Hebraic bullseyes in the Book of Mormon.
  • 0

If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington

 

My award-winning book: Heaven Up Here, by John K. Williams


#435 jkwilliams

jkwilliams

    Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,753 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:26 AM

Wade writes:
 
 
The challenge we have here is that we tend to restrict the roles in the production of the text far too narrowly (generally because we have little experience or need to expand those roles). Word choice can be chosen by an author, but at the same time, word choice is also influenced by the theoretical expected reader. Who was the intended audience for the translation of the Book of Mormon, and how did that theoretical audience reflect (or cause) the choice in vocabulary and phrasing? These are better questions than simply trying to simplify it to an either/or that we usually see. If Joseph is the principle audience, then he can be at least partially responsible for much of the vocabulary and phrasing without Joseph ever having played a conscious role in selecting that language.
 
Ben M.


That's an interesting take, Ben. Would Joseph as intended reader trump the wider audience going forward? Lots to ponder. If the text were revealed specifically for Joseph Smith, it would be quite likely to match, roughly, the literature of the day. Assuming that, however, might take a little of the wind out of the Hebraic bullseye crowd.
  • 0

If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington

 

My award-winning book: Heaven Up Here, by John K. Williams


#436 Buzzard

Buzzard

    Hangs around, makes trouble

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,286 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:34 AM

This reminds me of when I read "Mormonism and the Magic World View" by Quinn, many moons ago. As Quinn drew parallels between certain books and LDS practice and theology, he would state that the book was "available in the Palmyra library", or sold in Palmyra, and just make the assumption that JS had checked out or purchased the book, read it, and used it in weaving his theology. I remember thinking that the library shelves in the Smith home must have been full indeed. 

When any evidence comes forth at all that shows not the existence of a book, but can place said book in JS's hands, then we can begin a discussion on it's influence on him.


  • 0

#437 jkwilliams

jkwilliams

    Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,753 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:36 AM

This reminds me of when I read "Mormonism and the Magic World View" by Quinn, many moons ago. As Quinn drew parallels between certain books and LDS practice and theology, he would state that the book was "available in the Palmyra library", or sold in Palmyra, and just make the assumption that JS had checked out or purchased the book, read it, and used it in weaving his theology. I remember thinking that the library shelves in the Smith home must have been full indeed. 
When any evidence comes forth at all that shows not the existence of a book, but can place said book in JS's hands, then we can begin a discussion on it's influence on him.


In the meantime, we can discuss what the Hunt book tells us about how the Book of Mormon compares to similar attempts in Joseph Smith's day to imitate a KJV style when writing about freedom, war, and religion.
  • 0

If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington

 

My award-winning book: Heaven Up Here, by John K. Williams


#438 canard78

canard78

    Brings Forth Plants

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,034 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:47 AM

It's not surprising that people on both sides are overstating the importance of Hunt's book. Like you, I'm suspicious of assertions of textual dependency, but the book clearly shows what an effort in Joseph Smith's day to imitate KJV style for similar purposes would look like. Whatever anyone thinks, this does has implications for those who are looking for Hebraic bullseyes in the Book of Mormon.


Exactly. A point I've been trying to make in the thread with "hebraisms" in the title.

At the moment the argument against TLW is "there's no evidence Joseph ever read it." If evidence was found that he had read it the argument would likely migrate to "what else do you expect from a book that was also written in biblical style."

Your point is very valid that at the very least TLW is an example of a book of history in biblical style which is clearly not a translation of an ancient document.
  • 0

"Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth." Elder Uchtdorf, What is Truth? January 2013

My Blog, Many Other Hands

150+ of my favourite LDS quotes on UniversalismDiversity and much, much more


#439 jkwilliams

jkwilliams

    Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,753 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:52 AM

Exactly. A point I've been trying to make in the thread with "hebraisms" in the title.

At the moment the argument against TLW is "there's no evidence Joseph ever read it." If evidence was found that he had read it the argument would likely migrate to "what else do you expect from a book that was also written in biblical style."

Your point is very valid that at the very least TLW is an example of a book of history in biblical style which is clearly not a translation of an ancient document.


Exactly. In that case, what becomes interesting is how a book like TLW compares to a translation of an actual ancient document and how we would determine the antiquity of such a book.
  • 0

If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington

 

My award-winning book: Heaven Up Here, by John K. Williams


#440 canard78

canard78

    Brings Forth Plants

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,034 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:04 AM

This reminds me of when I read "Mormonism and the Magic World View" by Quinn, many moons ago. As Quinn drew parallels between certain books and LDS practice and theology, he would state that the book was "available in the Palmyra library", or sold in Palmyra, and just make the assumption that JS had checked out or purchased the book, read it, and used it in weaving his theology. I remember thinking that the library shelves in the Smith home must have been full indeed.
When any evidence comes forth at all that shows not the existence of a book, but can place said book in JS's hands, then we can begin a discussion on it's influence on him.


We have no evidence of the unrecorded conversations, sermons and speeches.

That which is in print is a great influence on what is discussed. The same applies in reverse.

Books influence thought and conversation. Joseph would not have had to borrow the book from the library and read it to have still been subject to the messages in those books.
  • 0

"Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth." Elder Uchtdorf, What is Truth? January 2013

My Blog, Many Other Hands

150+ of my favourite LDS quotes on UniversalismDiversity and much, much more



0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users