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Jerry D. Grover Jr has offered up the following translation of the Caractors Transcript (formerly known as the "Anthon Transcript"), which can be found on pages 224-225 of his detailed exposition and analysis online at http://www.bookofmormoncaractorstranslation.com/ ,

 

Translation of the First Four lines of the Caractors Document

In the nineteenthth regnal year of Mosiah I, the Nephites traveled over the mountains to the foreign speaking people of Mulek. These twenty thousand ‘children of Mosiah’ traveled downriver on the east side of the River Sidon for eighty days and reached Zarahemla. And then it came to pass that after ten years thus began the period of the Seven Tribes. After the space of twenty-one more years had passed, Zeniff, with sixty of his people, departed. Fifty-three more years then passed; then the Limhiites obtained twenty-four plates from the west in the Land of Desolation, returning upriver on the River of Lamanite Possessions. After their return upriver, seven years later, the Limhiites traveled west, bringing the pure gold Jaredite plates to Mosiah (II), which he translated.

Previous to the arrival of the Limhiites, Benjamin was made King in the second month of the four hundred and thirty-sixth year after Lehi left Jerusalem. At the age of eighty-three, King Benjamin ascended to eternity, which was four hundred seventy nine years after Lehi left Jerusalem. King Benjamin’s death occurred one and one third years before the arrival of the Limhites. Four years before the arrival of the Limhites, the period of the Seven Tribes ended in conjunction with the Jubilee Year.

 

Translation of the Second Three lines of the Caractors Document

--- Sixty and one half months (prior to the Coming of Christ) --- Samuel the Lamanite came to the Nephites and the Lamanites --- The Nephite primary count calendar was shifted from the 1000 Year Calendar to the Coming of Christ Calendar, effective retroactively nine years after the Coming of Christ Calendar started --- The 600 year Lehi Departure Calendar period ended; in the ninety-second year of the Reign of the Judges, the First and Most High King, Christ the Son, came to the Land of Jerusalem; after he was born occurred two days of brightness --- The Gadianton tribe arose; Nephi departed --- Siege of the Gadianton robbers, praise voiced to God; a Jubilee Year takes place which completes the Twelfth Jubilee period of the 1000 Year Calendar --- On the first month of the one hundred and twenty-fifth year of the Reign of the Judges Calendar, Christ came to the people --- After remaining fifty weeks, in the twelfth month of the thirty-fourth year of the Coming of Christ Calendar, Christ ascends upwards to heaven; the Reign of the Judges Calendar period ends; thus commences a period of truth and prosperity --- Nephites seek after riches; the rise of the Fourth Generation is complete --- Nephites retreated downriver on the River Bountiful to the north countries; Three Disciples departed —  Innumerable multitudes of Lamanites came —  The Nephites and the Lamanites are without Christ and God the Father, now choosing to be led by Satan — Moroni and Mormon are in the hands of Christ — three hundred eighty four years.

 

I have edited it slightly to remove some geographical items in brackets.  Any thoughts?

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I like Joseph Smith's tone and phraseology better . . . :)

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Well, there's some time I will never get back. Basically he tries to match the characters to numerals from different writing systems, including Mayan, various Egyptian, and Semitic languages. He combines these "matches" with Ariel Crowley's earlier attempts to match characters to names in hieratic and demotic Egyptian to produce his translation. 

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Thanks for the link! That's some interesting reading there.... Definitely add it to my list of things I need to digest further. I wonder if it's this kind of detail we may someday come to expect when more records come forth. Mormon did a great job compiling the history, but I'd love to know more about the details of day to day life!

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Thanks for the link! That's some interesting reading there.... Definitely add it to my list of things I need to digest further. I wonder if it's this kind of detail we may someday come to expect when more records come forth. Mormon did a great job compiling the history, but I'd love to know more about the details of day to day life!

 

Did you actually read the whole thing? It's kind of a mess. I wasted several hours wading through it.

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I have edited it slightly to remove some geographical items in brackets.  Any thoughts?

 

Yes.  It used to amuse me when people would write for an LDS audience and use their middle initial.  But now I'm starting to find it a little annoying.

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To Board Addict that thought it was a mess, what would you recommend changing?  Was it the organization? Or just length?  I am thinking of doing a shorter amended version that is a little easier to read.  In the first draft I wanted to make sure that all documentation of sources was included in the initial version.  BTW, I didn't use much of Ariel Crowley's work, most of the research was original in the hieratic and demotic.  There wasn't much Semitic language there, mostly Egyptian with some Mesoamerican influence.  Anyway, I don't claim to be 100 percent right, but I do think that the Caractors document warrants further inquiry.  Nothing much had been done with it since Crowley in the 1940's.  By the way, the book is free, so your only waste was of valuable time, which may have been better spent engaging in discussions on this forum!.  By the way, also available on the website is the Geology of the Book of Mormon, perhaps you will like that book better, it is also free.  

 

Jerry Grover (aka Jerry [D.] Grover, Jr.)

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Did you actually read the whole thing? It's kind of a mess. I wasted several hours wading through it.

I believe I mentioned needing to digest it further. I got through the first ten pages or so before running out of reading time this morning. What I read didn't seem messy. Rather, it seemed to be laying a foundation of premises on which to build a case. If that case fails to be made or it gets overly cumbersome without adequately explaining how it all ties together, obviously I'll be happy to return and report accordingly.

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Thanks,

 

I am an engineer, so do not purport to be a popular LDS author.  Most of the reports I write are geared toward fellow geeks, so the book may suffer a bit from the technical format, not necessarily an entertaining read.  Anyway, thanks for giving it a read.  I don't sell books, I just enjoy doing Book of Mormon research, like everything in science, sometimes one is only partly right, but if it generates new questions for future research, it is still considered valuable.

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The line "Zeniff, with sixty of his people, departed" intrigues me. I wonder if this is sixty people total, or sixty men plus their households.

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One single "And it came to pass".

 

Hmmmm

Edited by CA Steve

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Yes.  It used to amuse me when people would write for an LDS audience and use their middle initial.  But now I'm starting to find it a little annoying.

Whether you find it amusing or annoying, some of us have little choice but to use a middle initial (if not a full middle name).

My first name was one of the three most common baby names in the U.S. during the decade when I was born.

And my last name is so common that it sometimes takes up several pages in the phone books of the places where I have lived.

Because of that, going by just my first & last name has previously caused a stressful identity mix-up or two, because there is often more than one person going by my name in just the same town.

So on forms, checks, identification cards, publications, and the like, I have learned to use a middle initial (or a full middle name) to minimize some of those problems.

 

Back to the OP.

 

Signed,

hagoth d. 7  

:acute:

Edited by hagoth7

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I am curious, and I have not read through the link, so forgive me for asking, but would someone using your same methodology come up with the same translation?

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That is a good question.  I think that the 

 

One single "And it came to pass".

 

Hmmmm

If you go to Chapter 11 and look at the translation of the calendar glyphs equivalent in some form (Maya ADI and PDI glyphs) that could have been translated as "it came to pass", there are actually eleven that could be translated as "it came to pass".  I discuss in Chapter 12 that the translation that I was doing was for meaning for the most part in contemporary English, not trying to recreate the Book of Mormon prose, which Skousen has indicated that the target language translation looks to be KJV Bible language and 15th to 16th Century English.  I am not capable of translating to that target language so I translated it into contemporary English, the structure of sentences typically eliminates the need for clauses like "it came to pass" or words like "then" or "thus" would be more commonly used.

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I am curious, and I have not read through the link, so forgive me for asking, but would someone using your same methodology come up with the same translation?

Good question.  One issue is that in any translation from a foreign language different translators will always come up with different ways of saying things, so I think the better question would be whether the meaning would more or less be the same.  I would say that for the numbers, dates and calendricals, knowing that they need to be consistent with the Book of Mormon I would guess that the translation would be pretty close to the same.  On the tribal, personal and place names, again, knowing the context of the Book of Mormon I would guess that 80 to 90 percent are pretty straight forward as to what they are.  On the rest of the text, there are probably 50 to 60 percent of the glyphs that are pretty straight forward "direct hits" in hieratic, the rest do have some alternate possibilities.  One issue is that the glyphs in the bottom lines are very small, and may have lacked detail when they were copied by John Whitmer, so some of those were significantly difficult.  Anyway, I didn't proclaim to be 100 percent correct, it was my best attempt and I am hoping others will look at it and see if they find things different.  

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The line "Zeniff, with sixty of his people, departed" intrigues me. I wonder if this is sixty people total, or sixty men plus their households.

I wondered the same, but the glyph was for the number 60, I don't know if there was some variable way of writing 60 that would indicate the type of people, if we had more of the Book of Mormon text to compare it with, we might be able to answer that one, anyway I just left the translation at people lacking any more info.

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Yes.  It used to amuse me when people would write for an LDS audience and use their middle initial.  But now I'm starting to find it a little annoying.

Maybe I should have created a pen name like Lavell Fielding McConkie for use with LDS audiences.  Actually, I don't use my full name because of an audience, it is just that my father's name is Jerry Dee Grover, my name is Jerry Dee Grover, Jr., and my son's name is Jerry Dee Grover, III.  When I ran for political office, since my Dad lives in the same area, I started using my middle initial so people wouldn't be confused.  Even then, my Dad got a few hundred calls asking him about why he was running for office.  My son goes by J. D. so that is taken as well.  Hopefully, with this explanation, your level of annoyance is decreased by a small amount.

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Have you tried applying your methodology to the Kinderhook Plates?

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I wondered the same, but the glyph was for the number 60, I don't know if there was some variable way of writing 60 that would indicate the type of people, if we had more of the Book of Mormon text to compare it with, we might be able to answer that one, anyway I just left the translation at people lacking any more info.

Mosiah 9:6 states that Zeniff's people were given the lands of Lehi-Nephi and Shilom. With only sixty people one wonders if these lands were perhaps much smaller than previously imagined.

I guess another possibility is that Zeniff and his people moved in as a ruling class and the local peasants/farmers remained to work the land.

Thinking in a different direction, sixty sounds like a suspiciously round number for a group of people. With the mesoamerican predilection for the number twenty, and multiples of such, I would wonder if sixty was either an estimate or had symbolic meaning rather than an exact count.

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Well, there's some time I will never get back. Basically he tries to match the characters to numerals from different writing systems, including Mayan, various Egyptian, and Semitic languages. He combines these "matches" with Ariel Crowley's earlier attempts to match characters to names in hieratic and demotic Egyptian to produce his translation. 

Very perceptive.  Back in the late 40s, William F. Albright made a similar criticism of Ariel Crowley's comparisons -- which consisted of hieratic and demotic signs taken from widely varying periods.

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Seems like an inordinate use of numbers, in that first paragraph, especially.

Interesting, though. I'll take a look at the full PDF.

Edited by Grudunza

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Nevermind. I see from the PDF that these are suggested to be title page descriptions, which would probably include more dates and numbers.

Without reading or understanding all of it, I commend you for your extended effort here. Before accepting any conclusions, though, I would want to see other scholars chime in about the particulars. I want to believe this could be accurate(ish), but there have been a couple of other attempts (one saying the characters come from a section of the book of Ether), which seem to have been discredited.

I always thought that a translation attempt on the Anthon characters could be a promising endeavor and possibly yield some insights and evidence for the BoM. Merely showing that it is not just a random collection of shorthand scribbles by JS (as Anthon and others have claimed) and might have some numerical and narrative structure to it is pretty intriguing. And I think you may have at least established that... or you are adding structure as you see it onto the characters, which I'm sure some will claim.

If true, though, this would explain to me some of the issues with the BoM, where we're not sure if it was a tight or loose translation and such... The choppy and abbreviated nature of the original writing (to conserve space, of course) would imply that a fair amount of narrative and even editorial embellishment was needed to flesh out the basic information into a cohesive narrative work of scripture. Then again, it's possible (perhaps even probable) that the style of writing was a little more abbreviated for the title sections than for the bulk of the main work.

Edited by Grudunza

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Well, there's some time I will never get back. Basically he tries to match the characters to numerals from different writing systems, including Mayan, various Egyptian, and Semitic languages. He combines these "matches" with Ariel Crowley's earlier attempts to match characters to names in hieratic and demotic Egyptian to produce his translation.

Very perceptive.  Back in the late 40s, William F. Albright made a similar criticism of Ariel Crowley's comparisons -- which consisted of hieratic and demotic signs taken from widely varying periods.

This is why I am interested if the author has tried his methodology on a fraudulent set of characters like the Kinderhook plates. If he is able to derive meaning from the Kinderhook plates then there is an obvious problem.

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This is why I am interested if the author has tried his methodology on a fraudulent set of characters like the Kinderhook plates. If he is able to derive meaning from the Kinderhook plates then there is an obvious problem.

 

I think the obvious question is whether the "translation" is testable.  In other words, is there any way to show that the "caractors" are more likely to represent the a sequence from The Book of Mormon instead of Moby **** or Gone with the Wind?

 

If it isn't then it's more of an exercise in creative writing than anything else.  But I do like a lot of the methods used, such as trying to figure out which part of the plates Joseph might have been at around the time the "caractors" were transcribed.

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I think the obvious question is whether the "translation" is testable.  In other words, is there any way to show that the "caractors" are more likely to represent the a sequence from The Book of Mormon instead of Moby **** or Gone with the Wind?

 

If it isn't then it's more of an exercise in creative writing than anything else.  But I do like a lot of the methods used, such as trying to figure out which part of the plates Joseph might have been at around the time the "caractors" were transcribed.

One method of testing it might be to compare the proffered translation (which does not exist in the current Book of Mormon) to the double chiasm in the Caractors Transcript detected independently in 2001 by Wade Brown and Blair Bryant,  You can see them displayed online at http://www.angelfire.com/nm/mfb/QC-Issue2.pdf (page 7).

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