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Benjamin Seeker

Ammon as an Intertextual Type of Christ

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In the Book of Mormon discussion ensuing in another thread, I brought up the topic of intertextuality between the Ammon account and a couple of narratives in the New Testament, setting up Ammon as a type of Christ. Here is a partial but detailed overview. I apologize that some of the footnotes are incomplete placeholders. If anyone needs a source, just let me know.

Intertextuality and the Doctrine of Divinization in the Ammon Narrative

“Wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write. And that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.” (2 Nephi 3:12)[1]

Book of Mormon intertextuality with the Bible is a fairly well documented phenomenon and has been observed in various modes, including lengthy quotations and short phrasal allusion. It has also been observed that Book of Mormon intertextuality often has a clear theological purpose. For example, in Nicholas Frederick’s discussion of intertextuality between the Book of Mormon and the Prologue of John, of the many phrasal allusions he examined, he observed that the most common function was to reference specific theological content from John in elucidation of the doctrine shared between the two passages.[3] It has also been argued that narrative parallels, another type of intertextuality present in the Book of Mormon, serve to bolster doctrinal and theological expositions. For example, 1st Nephi’s contains narrative parallels, often supported by phrasal allusions, to the Exodus,[4] the story of Joseph from Genesis,[5] and the story of David and Goliath.[6] These intertextualities support the theological points of the text, such as depicting the Americas as a covenant promised land and demonstrating Nephi’s divinely-appointed leadership despite being the younger brother. Similar to the above examples, the Ammon narrative found in Alma 17-20 contains both phrasal allusions, largely to New Testament passages, and narrative parallels, the most striking of which are parallels to the raising of Lazarus in John 11. Intertextuality interlaced throughout the account helps to strengthen a doctrinal exposition on divinization, or a disciple’s ability to become similar to and one with Christ, which can be seen as one of the primary themes of the narrative when one considers both the surface text and the intertextuality.

Methodology

In the following analysis, I will use Frederick’s proposed methodology from his recent article, Evaluating the Interaction between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon: A Proposed Methodology.[7] Each phrasal allusion will be examined for the following criteria:

·        Shared Terminology – The more exact consecutive words the two passages share, the stronger the likelihood that one alludes to the other. When two passages share ideas, but not exact wording, I refer to them as similar or parallel concepts. Obviously, this latter relationship carries less weight. In my analysis I will underline shared terminology and bold parallel concepts.

·        Dissimilarity –The rarer the phrase in the Book of Mormon or Biblical text, the more likely it is a legitimate example of intertextuality.

·        Proximity – When one allusion occurs in close proximity to one or more other allusions, it increases the chance that the intertextuality is intended.

·        Sequence – When multiple phrasal allusions are present in a single segment of text and these allusions all reference the same general segment of text in the bible, shared sequence between the parallel elements increases the likelihood that the examples are legitimate.

·        Context – Shared context between the two passages also increases the likelihood that an example is valid.  Frederick makes the point that context is the most flexible of the criteria and therefore the weakest. However, when examining allusions as part of a large-scale intertextuality, their context takes on increased importance as they need to reinforce the large scale intertextuality or be viewed as less meaningful.

 

Narrative parallels will be analyzed using a set of criteria similar to Frederick’s methodology. The proximity and sequence of related parallel events are logical starting places for analysis. Shared terminology will also be considered, whether it be shared single terms or more significant phrasal allusions supporting the narrative parallel.

Frederick also proposed that the term interaction be used to refer to examples of Book of Mormon intertextuality with New Testament passages. He indicates that this is a neutral term which does not make assumptions about which text is dependent upon the other. I agree that it is unclear by what process biblical language was carefully interwoven in the Book of Mormon text. However, I have chosen to use the word allusion to describe the intertextuality proposed in this paper for several reasons. First, the phrasal allusions in the Ammon account sometimes organize disparate biblical passages in impressive thematic fashion, which suggests dependence of the Book of Mormon on the New Testament. Second, like Book of Mormon quotations of the Old and New Testament passages, the phrasal allusions in the Ammon account appear highly reliant on the King James translation. Finally, examples of intertextuality examined below sometimes appear to purposefully reference doctrine or events found in the referenced biblical passage but not readily apparent in the shared terminology. All of this points to, at least in the English text of the Ammon account, Book of Mormon dependence on and reference to the New Testament.

Book of Mormon Divinization

Divinization in the Book of Mormon is most succinctly defined in Moroni 7:48, which states that “true followers” of Christ can “become the sons of God” and “be like him.” The phrase “become the sons of God” is likely an allusion to John 1:12,[8][9] which reads “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”  In the Book of Mormon, this power comes by the reception of the Holy Ghost. Perhaps, the strongest illustration of this doctrine is found in chapter 19 of Third Nephi, in which Christ’s chosen disciples receive the Holy Ghost. While praying to receive Following that event, Christ prays to the Father, thanks him that the disciples have received the Holy Ghost, and implies that this has resulted in him being “in them” as the Father is in him and that they are “one” (3 Nephi 19:23). This spiritual unity and likeness is then demonstrated. The text states, “And his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them. And behold, they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus. And behold, the whiteness thereof did exceed all whiteness; yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof” (3 Nephi 19:25). In other words, the disciples, through the reception of the Holy Ghost and the presence of Jesus Christ, reached a kind of apotheosis.

In other places in the Book of Mormon, the reception of the Holy Ghost is presented with somewhat less blatant divinization, but the reception of divine power, knowledge, or likeness is still present. For example, chapters 31 and 32 of Second Nephi state that after a “baptism of fire” and reception of the Holy Ghost, one gains the ability to speak with the “tongue of angels,” by which the initiate can know “all things” he or she should do (2 Nephi 31:13; 32:2-3). Angels are most often a manifestation of the divine in the Book of Mormon, suggesting that this ability is an evidence of divinization. Angels also play a role in the divinization of Nephi and Lehi. In miraculous delivery from prison, Nephi and Lehi are surrounded by fire and ministered to by angels (Helaman 5:24, 36, 38-39), similar to events preceding the divinization of the disciples in Third Nephi (3 Nephi 19:13-14). As they speak with the angels, Nephi and Lehi’s faces “shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels” (Helaman 5:36). The fire preceding the angels’ presences is most likely representative of the Holy Ghost, and fire’s association with the Holy Ghost is made explicit in verse 45.[10] The verse also states that the Lamanites are filled with the Holy Ghost and can speak “marvelous words.” Other examples of divinization in result of the Holy Ghost include Nephi’s shocking of Laman and Lemuel while being full of the “Spirit” and “power of God” (1 Nephi 17:47-48, 52-54), Abinadi’s shining face in result of the Spirit (Mosiah 13:5), the various gifts of the Spirit which come by the “Spirit of Christ” (Moroni 10:9-17), and the ability to learn all things through the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 32:5, Moroni 10:5).[11]

Ammon and Christ

The Ammon account contains an exposition of divinization, which is also best explained through the reception of the Holy Ghost. At the beginning of the account, Ammon and his fellow missionaries receive instruction from “the Lord,” who is arguably Christ in Book of Mormon theology.[12] Part of that instruction states, “Yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may shew forth good examples unto them in me.” (Alma 17:11). The final prepositional phrase, “in me,” suggests that Ammon will be somehow unified with Christ or God in his service to the Lamanites. Later, Ammon fleshes out this idea when he states, “And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge and also power according to my faith and desires which is in God” (Alma 18:35). This passage invokes the prepositional phrases “in me” and “in God” in demonstration of Ammon’s unity with God, and the text makes it clear that it is the Spirit dwelling in him that gives him divine power.[13] Similarly, Ammon describes power “in” him as he prepares to defend Lamoni’s flocks (Alma 17:29). Ammon’s divinization is further evidenced by the effectiveness of his power, which is so great that Lamoni comes to believe that Ammon is the Great Spirit, the Lamanite’s all-knowing God-like being.

While Ammon’s power is evidence of divinization, a primary aspect of divinization, as described in Moroni 7:48 and demonstrated in Third Nephi 19, is similarity to and union with Christ. Significantly, Ammon’s divinization is evidenced by a likeness to Christ that is realized through phrasal allusions. These allusions have Ammon speaking Christ’s words or fulfilling roles Christ ascribes to himself. An impressive example of Ammon speaking Christ’s words comes as Ammon assures the queen that Lamoni will awake.

Alma 19:8-9

8 And he saith unto the queen: He is not dead, but he sleepeth in God; and on the morrow he shall rise again. Therefore bury him not. 9 And Ammon saith unto her: Believest thou this? And she said unto him: I have had no witness save thy word and the word of our servants. Nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said.

John 11:8, 23, 26-27

11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

 

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again 

 

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Clearly, Alma 19:8-9 shares a fair amount of exact terminology with John 11. I will clarify that I have included the phrase “she saith/said unto him” only because of its direct proximity to “believest thou this?” In terms of the phrase’s dissimilarity to other phrases in the Bible or Book of Mormon, “believest thou this?” occurs only once in the New Testament and twice in the Book of Mormon.[14] The strength of this this particular allusion not only rests on the nearly unique combination of three words, but also on their inclusion of the same punctuation and independence as a phrase. The other use of the question is in Alma 22:10 with Aaron as speaker. However, the entire string, “Believest thou this? And she said unto him” is entirely unique to Ammon 19:9, and John 11:26 provides a near perfect match. “I believe that” only occurs twice in New Testament and three times in the Book of Mormon. One of the other occurrences is Alma 18:29 and is part of the Ammon narrative, and the other is notably from Alma 22:11 in response to Aaron’s use of the question “believest thou this.” “Shall rise again” is still somewhat uncommon with five occurrences in the New Testament and three in the Book of Mormon. Finally, “sleepeth” occurs seven times throughout the old and new testament. However, it only occurs once in the Book of Mormon. All of the phrases and the single word sleepeth prove to be at least fairly unique creating a strong case for biblical allusion. The correct sequence and proximity of these four phrases significantly increase the likelihood of allusion. Finally, the extreme similarity of context lends further support. Ammon and Jesus are both giving assurances to female character that their beloved male family member will rise from either death or near-death. “Believest thou this” is especially impressive as it comes at the same moment in the conversations as the male speakers end their assurances.

Notably, Ammon’s words makes an additional allusion to Christ’s words in the verse directly following the above exchange.

               Alma 19:9-10

9 And Ammon saith unto her: Believest thou this? And she said unto him: I have had no witness save thy word and the word of our servants. Nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said. 10 And Ammon said unto her: Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith. I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites.

Luke 7:2,7,9

2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die…

7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed…

9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

The shared terminology combined with clear parallel concepts, all in correct sequence, gives this example some serious teeth. Further, the phrase “so/such great faith” only occur twice in the Bible, the other occurrence being the parallel account in Matthew 8. It also only occurs twice in the Book of Mormon, the other being Christ’s words in 3 Nephi 19:35, which uses a similar formula. The single term, “word,” with its correct sequence, strengthens the above allusion. I chose Luke 7 over Matthew 8 because Luke’s context better matches that of Alma 18. In Luke 7:2 we are told that the sick servant is “ready to die,” making his healing all the more comparable to Lamoni’s promised awakening from near-death.

One more example comes earlier in the narrative. After Ammon is assigned to shepherd and the flocks have been scattered, Ammon rallies the servants of King Lamoni to help protect the flock. He addresses them with what are readily seen as Christ’s words.

Alma 17:28, 31

28 Now the servants … began to weep exceedingly, saying: Behold, our flocks are scattered already…

31 And it came to pass that he flattered them by his words, saying: My brethren, be of good cheer, and let us go in search of the flocks; and we will gather them together and bring them back unto the place of water. And thus we will restore the flocks unto the king and he will not slay us.

John 16:32-33

32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

I have included “scattered” from Alma 17:28 here because it perhaps clarifies the exact allusion. The primary shared terminology here is “be of good cheer,” a four word phrase that occurs seven times in the New Testament and twice in the Book of Mormon. Notably, this occurrence makes Ammon the only other Book of Mormon speaker to use the phrase besides Christ. In the New Testament, five of the occurrences are attributed to Christ, and two are attributed to Paul, both of which happen within a four verse span in Acts 27:22-25. It is the proximity of the the term scatter and the matching sequence of the two elements that makes this passage a likely allusion to John 16:32-33 specifically. The shared context of a spiritual shepherd comforting his metaphorical flock is also worth noting.

Other allusions can be found that place Ammon is roles prescribed to Christ. For example, After Ammon has miraculously defended the flock and servants, King Lamoni, who now believes Ammon is the Great Spirit, is hesitant to ask Ammon about it. One of Lamoni’s servants requests that Ammon stay on Lamoni’s behalf, and the servant’s words potentially allude to multiple New Testament passages. All of these potential target passages are found in John, and all of them address Christ.

Alma 18:13

And one of the king’s servants said unto him: Rabbanah, which is being interpreted powerful or great king—considering their kings to be powerful—and thus he said unto him: Rabbanah, the king desireth thee to stay.

 

John 1:36-38 

36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

 

John 20:16

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

In both cases the shared terminology here is a long but inexact phrase. Alma 18:13 and John 1:39 clearly share the most terminology, making them a strong candidate for biblical allusion. The close match between Rabboni and Rabbanah and their dissimilarity to other words, excepting Rabbi, that occur in the Book of Mormon and New Testament suggest that the passage is also potentially alluding to John 20:16. [15] The similar concepts of Master/King that follows is simply a continuation of the original allusion, so there is no real case for proximity or shared sequence of multiple examples. Depending how the phrase is parsed, it lends different levels of dissimilarity. Using the tightest parameters, which is the entire phrase “said/saith unto him, Rabbi/Rabboni/Rabbanah, which is,” there are only the two above occurrences in the New Testament and the single occurrence in the Book of Mormon. Using the loosest set of parameters, looking for only the words Rabbi, Rabboni, or Rabbanah, there are seven passages in the New Testament that use one of these terms and only the single Book of Mormon passage in Alma 18. Of the seven New Testament passages, it is notable that all but one refer to Christ. The exception, John 6:25, refers to John the Baptist. Returning to the two strongest candidates given above, the context is clearly related in both instances. In John 20, Mary, after mistaking Christ for the gardener, realizes he is the risen Lord and calls him Rabboni. On the other hand, Lamoni mistakes Ammon for God, and his servant calls Ammon Rabbanah. In John 1:38, disciples of John the Baptist are addressing Jesus as Rabbi just following John’s declaration that Jesus is the Messiah. This passage, like John 20:16, is about recognition of Jesus identity, and both John 1:38 and 20:16 have an inversional contextual relationship with the misidentification of Ammon as the Great Spirit or God in Alma 18.

It is possible that John 1:49 is also implicated by the above allusion. It reads, “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” In terms of shared terminology, of the seven New Testatament passages that use either the term Rabbi or Rabboni, this is the third strongest candidate for allusion and the only of the group to share the term “King,” which occurs in close proximity to and in correct sequence with the initial phrase. Several other allusions to passages in John 1 that occur in this part of the Ammon account will be explored later in the paper, and their proximity adds some merit to this potential allusion. The context of this example, like the two previously analysed, also addresses Christ’s identity.

Another allusion that puts Ammon in a Christ-like role comes during Ammon and company’s preparation to split up and enter Lamanite lands. Ammon ministers to his fellow missionaries, and the text alludes to Christ’s words in Matthew.

 

Alma 17:18, 25

18 Now Ammon being the chief among them, or rather he did administer unto them, he departed from them, after having blessed them according to their several stations, having imparted the word of God unto them, or administered unto them before his departure. And thus they took their several journeys throughout the land.

25 But Ammon saith unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a servant to king Lamoni.

 

Matthew 20:26-28

26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Shared terminology here consists of an inexact single term, “minister/administer,” and an inexact three word string, “chief among them/you.” Impressively, the word string “chief among” occurs only once in the Old Testament, twice in the New Testament, and once in the Book of Mormon. However, only the passage in Matthew 20 shares the combination of the elements “administer” and “chief among” The appropriate proximity of the two elements and their correct sequence help establish the allusion. In terms of sequence, the first occurrence of “minister” in Matthew 20:26 is only bolded because here is a noun and not a verb as the later occurrence which matches the use in Alma 17:19. I also included the term “servant” as it is included in Alma 17 some verses later as a major plot point. The context here is rather different as Ammon is demonstrating actions and a role that Christ’s words recommend. However, a clear connection between Ammon and Christ is created through Christ indication he is the exemplary minister or servant.

A final example can be found during Ammon’s defensive actions, where the text alludes to Mary’s words following angel Gabriel’s annunciation.

Alma 7:37

…And he caused them to flee by the strength of his arm.

 

Luke 1:51

He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts.

The shared terminology is three words with the variable connector of/with. The shared terminology is not terribly impressive, but its dissimilarity creates a strong case. This three word combination is only used once in the Book of Mormon, once in the New Testament, and once in the Old Testament. The Old Testament example, Isaiah 53:12, does use the “of” like Alma 7. However, the example in Luke also shares the idea of causing a group to scatter or flee. The context does not appear to be shared. The allusion strengthens the connection between Christ and Ammon as the passage in Luke describes actions attributed to Christ. Mary is reacting to the announcement of Christ’s impending birth, and she specifies that she is speaking of her “God’ and “Savior” (Luke 1:47). The passage equates God and Christ, and so Christ can be seen as the person acting in verse 51. 

Lamoni’s Awakening and Lazarus’ Raising

The above phrasal allusions place Ammon in Christ’s shoes, speaking his words or fulfilling roles prescribed to him. Narrative parallels also illustrate Ammon’s divinized Christ-like status. The strongest of these is a large scale intertextuality between Lamoni’s awakening and Lazarus’ rising from the dead. Following is a table outlining the narrative parallels between these two accounts.

 

 

Alma 18:42-43

Lamoni falls to the ground as if dead.

 

 

Alma 19:2-10

Ammon assures the queen that Lamoni will rise. The queen responds positively.

 

 

Alma 19:11-16

Ammon's promise is fulfilled and Lamoni, who was mistaken for dead, rises from his sleep, but the experience is extended as he falls to the earth again along with others.

 

 

Alma 19:16-18

Abish, the queen's servant, causes a multitude to assemble.


Alma 19:19-24

Ammon's life is threatened and he is miraculously saved.

Alma 19:25-33

Everyone rises.

John 11

Lazarus is sick and dies.

 

 

John 11:20-27

Christ assures Martha that Lazarus will rise. Martha responds positively.

 

 

John 11:38-45

Christ raises Lazarus from the dead.


 

 

 

John 11:28-35 (out of order)

Mary, Martha's sister, comes and a group of Jews follow her.

 

John 11:47-54

The chief priests plot to kill Jesus. He evades them.

 


 

Looking at the two accounts in summary, there are striking similarities between each set of parallel events, and all events in this segment of the Ammon narrative have parallel events in John 11 with the exception of the final group awakening in Alma 19, for which there is no parallel equivalent. That being said, the group rising can be seen as a climactic repetition of Lamoni’s return from visionary sleep, so it still functions as a logical expansion of the intertextuality. In terms of proximity, the events in Alma take place over 35 verses and the events in John take place over 54 verses. In other words, both sets of events occur within relatively short and comparable lengths of text. Sequence also lines up well with the exception that the parallel between Abish and Mary is out of sequence with the other events in John 11.

A closer examination of this set of narrative parallels also proves fruitful. There are more specific narrative allusions along with parallel concepts and shared terminology that support the intertextuality. For example, the queen’s conversation with Ammon lends several important details paralleled in John 11. In Alma 19:4, four she tells Ammon that she was told he is “a prophet of a holy God and that thou hast power to do many mighty works in his name,” inferring that he has power to help her husband. This is in parallel to John 11:21-22, where Martha infers Christ can raise Lazarus from the dead. She says to Jesus, “if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.”

The following verse in Alma 19 offers further details.

 

Alma 19:5

5 Therefore if this is the case, I would that ye should go in and see my husband, for he has been laid upon his bed for the space of two days and two nights. And some say that he is not dead; but others say that he is dead and that he stinketh and that he ought to be placed in the sepulchre. But as for myself, to me he doth not stink.

John 11:38-39

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

The shared terminology, “he stinketh,” is unique, only occurring once in the Book of Mormon and once in the New Testament. The proposed sepulcher for Lamoni is paralleled by Lazarus’ cave tomb and stone cover,[16] and the phrase, “two days and two nights,” breaks what is otherwise a three day scheme into two units of two creating a possible allusion to the “four days” in John.  While the sequence of presentation does not match,[17] the proximity of the two or three elements in both texts is notable.

Alma 19:6 goes on to state that a “dark veil of unbelief” wasbeing cast away from [Lamoni’s] mind.” These concepts find parallels in John 11:44 in the “napkin,” which covers Lazarus’ “face” and Jesus commands to be “loose[d].” Alma 19:6’s subsequent description of “light” filling Lamoni’s mind and dispelling a “cloud of darkness” is paralleled by Jesus statement on spiritual light and darkness in John 11:9-10. He says, If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.”

The clear allusions in Alma 19:8-9 to John 11 have been discussed above, and they strongly support the overall narrative parallel. To quickly review, Ammon describes Lamoni as sleeping, matching Christ’s description of Lazarus in 11:8. Ammon promises that Lamoni “shall rise again” echoing Christ’s promise that Lazarus “shall rise again” in 11:23. Most signficantly, there is quite a bit of shared terminology surrounding and including Ammon and Christ’s questions, “Believe thou this?” and the phrase, “I believe that,” from queen and Martha’s responses (11:26-27).

Later after Lamoni has risen the first time and the whole group, there are parallel concepts in the description of Abish gathering the people. Alma 19:17 describes Abish, saying she “ran forth from house to house.” Similarly, in John 11:29 Mary arises “quickly” and verse 31 comes “hastily” to the grave. As described in the overview both of their actions result in a group of people gathering at the scene of the action.

In all of these actions a consistent set of character relationships can be established. Ammon’s fills the role of Christ, except in his own falling and rising, an exception that will be addressed later on. Lamoni clearly parallels Lazarus. The queen serves as Martha, and Abish serves as Mary. Gender is consistent in each of the pairs. Relationships between the characters also function in parallel. Lamoni is husband to the queen as Lazarus is brother to Martha. Both of these are familial relationships. Abish is the servant of the queen, a potentially close relationship in parallel to the sisterhood of Mary and Martha. Abish is already converted already and the queen follows consistent with Mary’s early concern for spiritual things in contrast to Martha in Luke 10:39-42. Lastly, a parallel can be seen in Lamoni’s and Lazarus’ names. Both names are three syllables, start with the letters La, and are of comparable length. By itself, this similarity would not be notable, but in conjunction with the many other parallels, this similarity is worth mentioning.

The evidence laid out above points convincingly towards an intertextuality between the raisings of Lamoni and Lazarus. The account of Lamoni’s awakening contains five distinct narrative allusions to events in John 11, all of which take place within convincing proximity in both texts and mostly in matching sequence. If Ammon’s question, “believe thou this,” and the queen’s response are broken into two separate allusions, which is justified as their target passages are separated, then there are four significant phrasal allusions, three of which happen in matching sequence with their target passages. There are also two notable shared single terms, one of which is completely unique in the Book of Mormon and Bible to Alma 19 and John 11, and eight parallel concepts. Significantly, all of the phrasal allusions, both shared single terms, and seven of the eight parallel concepts happen within a five verse span (Alma 19:4-9), creating a focused, strong, and obvious set. Beyond these, there are also four consistent character relationships that further establish the narrative intertextuality. Finally, this intricate set of allusions is accompanied by five other significant phrasal allusions in the surrounding text, which were outlined in the previous section, all establishing Ammon as a parallel to Christ. One of the more significant of these phrasal is found in the Alma 19:10, the verse directly following the previously mentioned five verse span rich with allusions to the Lazarus’ account, and the immediate proximity of these allusions strengthens the overall argument. The intentionality of all of this is rather undisguised, and it clearly depicts Ammon as a “true follower” or divinized disciple, who speaks Christ’s words and wields his power.

Ammon as the Good Shepherd

Another set of narrative parallels can be seen in Ammon’s role as a shepherd. The events surrounding the scattering of Lamoni’s flocks and Ammo’s defense of them can be seen as narrative allusions to Christ’s teaching about the true shepherd in John 10:1-18. The Lamanites who scatter the flock parallel both the stranger, the wolf, and the thief, and the servants who do not defend the flock parallel the hirelings who flee from the wolf (Alma 17:27, John 10:5, 10, 12-13). Ammon’s defense of the flocks, in which he risks his life, parallels the good shepherd or Christ, who lays down his life for the sheep (Alma 17:33-38, John 10:11, 15).

The description of the attacking Lamanites contain a group of allusions that support the narrative intertextuality.

Alma 17:35

35 Therefore they did not fear Ammon, for they supposed that one of their men could slay him

according to their pleasure, for they knew not that the Lord had promised Mosiah that he would deliver his sons out of their hands, neither did they know any thing concerning the Lord; therefore they delighted in the destruction of their brethren, and for this cause they stood to scatter the flocks of the king.

 

John 10:10, 12

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

 

12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

 

The shared terminology here consists of an inexact three word string, an inexact shared term, and a single parallel concept. Despite the weakness of the shared terminology, the proximity of the elements and their matching sequence help to make the group more convincing. The dissimilarity of the phrase “scattereth the sheep” and the variation “scatter the flocks” also strengthens the group. Searching all combinations of ‘scatter/scattereth the flock/sheep’ lends four exact matches in the Book of Mormon and only one example in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament.[19] Of the two possibilities, John 10 is the more relevant passage due to the additional parallel concept of slay/kill and the additional narrative parallel between Alma 17 and John 10 of Ammon/Christ defending the flock, which there is no case for in the Old Testament example.

Another aspect of the narrative creates further connections between the two texts. Though at first Lamoni’s servants appear to be the hirelings who do not defend the flock, they are quickly adopted as Ammon’s metaphorical flock. He both leads them and protects them in direct parallel to Christ’s description of the good shepherd.[20] A set of allusions help to support this narrative parallel.

 

Alma 17:29, 32

29 …that I may win the hearts of these my fellow servants, that I may lead them to believe in my words.

32 And it came to pass that they went in search of the flocks; and they did follow Ammon

John 10:3

3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

The shared terminology here is a pair of inexact two word phrases, and a similar concept. The shared terminology is fairly common. However, when the words “lead” and “follow” are combined there is only one New Testament passage that uses lead and follow together in direct correlation. The Book of Mormon uses the combination in two passages. The other is in the description of the Lamanites following the Nephites towards the land of Zarahemla (Alma 58:19, 24), and clearly, the context is very different. The proximity of the three elements help to establish this allusion to John 10:3, and the context is a closely related in the portrayal of the servants as Ammon’s flock.

A Book of Mormon allusion outside of the Ammon narrative is worth mentioning here because of its strong similarity to previous examples. Alma 5:41 reads, “Therefore if a man bringeth forth good works, he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd and he doth follow him.” The concepts of good shepherd, listening to a voice, and the phrase “follow him” all point to a likely biblical allusion to the passages in John 10. The context of Alma 5 is fairly different, but the doctrine being developed here is highly relevant to the portrayal of Ammon as a type of Christ.

 

It could also be noted that the phrase “I am come that they might have life” from John 10:10 is paralleled by Ammon’s general actions. While protecting the flocks of the king he is also protecting the lives of his metaphorical sheep, the king’s servants (Alma 18:16). Ammon’s actions not only save them from the Lamanite attackers but also from Lamoni’s punishment. Lastly, Ammon risks his own life somewhat similar to Christ’s declaration in John 10:15, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Ammon and John the Baptist

As if to clarify the doctrine of divinization, The Book of Mormon text makes it clear that despite Ammon’s powers, he is not God. After Lamoni has mistakenly identified Ammon as the Great Spirit, Ammon sets the record straight. In this section of narrative, the text also seeks to clarify Ammon’s role as subservient to Christ, and it does this through allusions which create a connection between Ammon and John the Baptist, one of which occurs directly within Lamoni and Ammon’s discussion about Ammon’s identity.

 

Alma 18:18-19

18 Now when the king had heard these words, he marveled again; for he beheld that Ammon could discern his thoughts. But notwithstanding this, king Lamoni did open his mouth and said unto him: Who art thou? Art thou that Great Spirit which knows all things? 19 Ammon answered and said unto him: I am not.

 

John 1:19-20

19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. [21]

The shared terminology is two three word phrases. The phrase “I am not” is fairly common, but the phrase “who art thou,” while used many times throughout the Bible, is only used three times in the Book of Mormon. In combination, the two phrases only appear together once in the Book of Mormon and once in the Bible as cited above. Both proximity and sequence support the allusion. The context is also very clearly related. The Jews are questioning whether John the Baptist is the messiah in parallel to Lamoni’s question whether or not Ammon is the Great Spirit.

A second allusion during the Ammon and Lamoni’s conversation also supports the connection between Ammon and John the Baptist.

 

Alma 18:33-34

33 And king Lamoni saith: I believe all these things which thou hast spoken. Art thou sent from God? 34 Ammon saith unto him: I am a man

 

John 1:6

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

 

This example’s shared terminology is short, particularly with the text’s separation of the word man. However, the phrase “sent from God” is somewhat unique as it is only used two times in the New Testament and three times in the Book of Mormon. Of these uses, only the two passages cited here use the word “man” in conjunction with the phrase “sent from God.” Besides having appropriate proximity within these two verses, this passage’s proximity to other allusions to John 1 make it increasingly likely.[22] While the sequence does not support the allusion, the matching context does, which consists of men being questioned whether they are the text’s functional equivalent to God.

The two examples discussed above help define Ammon’s role. Like John the Baptism, Ammon is an important and God-sent messenger. With Ammon’s commission comes divine power, and a unity with Christ that is demonstrated in Ammon’s words and actions. However, like John the Baptist, he is not the Christ; he is still just a man.  A different rhetorical emphasis of this point seems to also be present in Ammon’s statement “I am a man.” This phrase, which he also says in Alma 18:17, appears to be a wordplay on his name. Combined, the two words, “a man,” closely resemble the name Ammon. It is also notable that the name Ammon can be substituted. The text then appropriately reads, “I am [Ammon].” Leading up to Ammon and Lamoni’s conversation, Ammon is referred to as a “man” four times (Alma 18:3, 8, 10), and in another instance, Lamoni states his assumption that Ammon is “more than a man” (Alma 18:2). Further uses of the term man give more definition to the relationship between God and man. Alma 8:34 states that “man was created in the image of God,” directly following and qualifying Ammon’s statement that he is a man. This idea is inverted into the condescension of God in Alma 19:13, which states that the Redeemer will “be born of a woman,”[23] adding another link in the relationship between man and God. In this manner the text builds part of the definition of divinization, both the boundary line between man and God and the connections between them, into Ammon’s name.

An allusion found in Lamoni’s comments after rising from his vision add another layer of meaning to the relationship between God and man.

 

Alma 19:13

…For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer, and he shall come forth and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name.

 

John 1:12

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

The phrase “believe on his name,” an exact four word match, occurs a number of times in the Book of Mormon, but it only occurs once in the New Testament making the allusion clear.[24] This phrase appears again in Alma 19:36 with a similar sentiment, and the repetition helps rhetorically emphasize its importance and the author’s purposeful use of the allusion. Its proximity to other allusions to the Gospel of John just a few verses prior is also notable. In terms of context, the theology is the common thread. As explained above, John 1:12 teaches that all those who believe in Christ can become “sons of God.” This elevated status is a type of divinization, and the repeated allusion helps clarify and emphasize the idea that man can fulfill the potential of his own creation, becoming more like God.

This nuanced relationship between God and man plays an integral role in one of Joseph Smith’s unpublished revelation dating to 1832. The revelation gives names for God, the Son of God, man, and angels in the “pure language.” They are Awman, Son Awman, Sons Awman, and Awmans Anglo-men. Each name is given further definition. Awman is “the being which made all things in all its parts.” Son Awman is “the greatest of all the parts of Awman which is the God-head, the firstborn.” Sons Awman are “the human family, the children of men the greatest parts of Awman, Save the Son Awman.” Finally, Awmans Anglo-men are “Awman’s ministering Servants sanctified who are sent forth from heaven sent forth from heaven to minister for or to Sons Awman, the greatest parts Awman save Sons-Awman Son-Awman.” Similar to the Ammon narrative, all of these parts are connected, so much so that they each bear the name Awman. Bruce R. Mckonkie related the name Awman to Moses 6:57, a verse dictated in 1830. The pertinent segment reads, “in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man.” This connection is likely relevant as there is a similar though partial list structure, similarities in the names,[25] and reference to the language of Adam. The pure language and the Adamic language are one and the same in the early church.[26] If Moses 6:57 is directly related to the revelation on pure language, the name Ahman’s association with the title Man of Holiness would be closely related to the wordplay in Ammon’s declaration that he is “a man” and that “man was created in the image of God.” The clear similarity between the names Ammon and Ahman is also significant. More particularly, Ahman contains the word man while Ammon contains the syllable “mon,” which the text imbues with the meaning man. Lastly, relevant to the doctrinal exposition in the Book of Mormon, mankind or sons Ahman are defined as both distinct from and part of God, somewhat similar to the definition fleshed out in the Ammon narrative.

 

Significantly, similar word play incorporating the word man can be seen in Abish’s name. Matthew Bowen’s article, “Father is a Man: The Remarkable Mention of the Name Abish in Alma 19:16 and its Narrative Context,” convincingly lays out Abish’s role as a counterpart to Ammon...

(I haven't finished writing this section so I'll sum this up.)

Basically, the hebrew meaning of Abish means "Father is a man", which according to Bowen, and he argued convincingly, the text uses to create wordplay with the fact that she had been converted on account of a vision of her father and to be the spiritual counterpart to Ammon, who clarifies twice "I am a man," in the conversion of the Lamanites. I would take it a step further and point to the wordplay I've already acknowledged in Ammon's name (Ammon = A man). Finally, I would also argue that her name's hebrew meaning points to the doctrine being rhetorically unfolded in the Ammon account, which is that God is the "Man of Holiness" or that the "Father is a man" and that man is his creation in a father/son relationship with potential for divine growth.

 


[1] Joseph Smith and Royal Skousen. The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), Kindle Edition. All Book of Mormon quotations will be taken from Skousen’s edition of the Book of Mormon.

 

[3] Nicholas Frederick, “Line Within Line: An Intertextual Analysis of Mormon Scripture and the Prologue of the Gospel of John,” (PhD diss., The Claremont Graduate University, 2013), 138.

[4] Mark J. Johnson, “Notes and Communications: The Exodus of Lehi Revisited,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3/2 (1994): 123–26, accessed April 3, 2016, https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/JBMRS/article/viewFile/19728/ 18295; Terrence L. Szink. “Nephi and the Exodus,” in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, ed. John L. Sorenson et al. (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1991), accessed April 3, 2016, http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub= 1111&index=6; George S. Tate, “The Typology of the Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon,” in Literature of Belief: Sacred Scripture and Religious Experience, ed. Neal E. Lambert (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1981), accessed April 3, 2016, https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/literature-belief-sacred-scripture-and-religious-experience/13-typology-exodus-pattern-book; Ryan Thomas, “Nahom and Lehi’s Journey through Arabia: A Historical Perspective, Part 1,” Faith Promoting Rumor, September 14, 2015, accessed April 3, 2016, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ faithpromotingrumor/2015/09/nahom-and-lehis-journey-through-arabia-a-historical-perspective/.

[5]

[6] Ben Mcguire

[7] Nicholas J. Frederick, “Evaluating the Interaction between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon: A Proposed Methodology,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 24 (2015), accessed April 3, 2016, http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=3592&index=1.

[8] Frederick, “Line Within Line: An Intertextual Analysis of Mormon Scripture and the Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 128-137.

[9] The other Book of Mormon use of the phrase, “Become the sons of God,” is in 3 Nephi 9:17, and the connection between this passage and John 1:12 is so strong that Frederick labels it as a quotation. See Ibid., 117-118.

[10] Explicit association between fire and the Holy Ghost is also made in 3 Nephi 19:13 and 2 Nephi 31:13.

[11] Knowing all things an attribute of God recognized in the Book of Mormon. See Words of Mormon 1:7, Alma 18:18, and Moroni 7:22.

[12] ??

[13] In an earlier verse Ammon plans to show his power, or the power that is “in” him, in defending the kings flocks and servants (Alma 17:29).

[14] If the Old Testament is not mentioned specifically there are no occurrences of that phrase.

[15] Rabonni is emphatic form of the word Rabbi, and Jesus as resurrected Lord in John 20:16 certainly merits the emphasis.

[16] A common definition for sepulcher is a stone burial chamber.

[17] The sequence is actually inverted.

[19] The example in the Old Testament comes from Jer. 23:1-4, and it is possible that Jesus is expanding this passage in John 10. Verse 1 reads, “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.” The metaphor is people to sheep is the same, and the warning against false shepherds is similar. The shared terminology of destroy and scatter is important. It is notable that these two terms are shared between both Jeremiah and John and John and Alma.

[20] Ammon’s defense of Lamoni’s servants is made explicit in Alma 18:16.

[21] John the Baptist’s response uses the phrase “I am,” which shares the source Greek phrase, “ego eimi,” with John 8:58. These passages also share the initial question “Who are thou” (John 8:25). Christ’s use of “I am” has long been identified as a possible allusion to the name of God given to Moses in Exodus. I think it is possible, when considering the shared elements between John chapters 1 and 8, that the Baptist’s use of “I am” could be an inversional intratextuality with Christ’s use, emphasizing the point that John is the forerunner and Christ is “I am”.

[22] Examples of proximate allusions to John 1 include Alma 18:13/John 1:36-38 and Alma 18:18-19/John 1:19-20, both discussed above. Another proximate possibility is Alma 18:34/John1:1-4.

[23] Bowen

[24] Frederick, “Line Within Line: An Intertextual Analysis of Mormon Scripture and the Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 90-92.

[25] Ahman contains the word man, and similarly, Son Ahman is a close match to Son of Man. 

 

 

Edited by Benjamin Seeker
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Five Solas    280

Well, there's certainly a lot of stuff here.  Ideas, comparisons, analogies and a methodology to slice & dice it all.  I think one of your ideas could merit a thread of it's own--what exactly is "Divinizaton" and does Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon really support such notion?

Curious what you're hoping to accomplish here, Benjamin Seeker.  Supposing your reader were to invest his/her time on the above and ask, "So what?"  How would you answer?  We know Joseph Smith had access to the KJV and we're not surprised he leveraged it in his own work.  And likewise we could show parallels between Jesus in the New Testament and Leopold Bloom in James Joyce's Ulysses (e.g., the Good Samaritan).  Again, so what?  Many authors, highly skilled and otherwise, have found ideas and borrowed content from the Bible.  

What's the One Big Idea you want people to take away from the above?

--Erik

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Steve J    0

Benjamin Seeker- thanks for your article/comment??? I'm not totally convinced of everything you wrote,  but it is definetely well thought out and presented. Thanks again for your contribution.

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16 minutes ago, Five Solas said:

Well, there's certainly a lot of stuff here.  Ideas, comparisons, analogies and a methodology to slice & dice it all.  I think one of your ideas could merit a thread of it's own--what exactly is "Divinizaton" and does Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon really support such notion?

Curious what you're hoping to accomplish here, Benjamin Seeker.  Supposing your reader were to invest his/her time on the above and ask, "So what?"  How would you answer?  We know Joseph Smith had access to the KJV and we're not surprised he leveraged it in his own work.  And likewise we could show parallels between Jesus in the New Testament and Leopold Bloom in James Joyce's Ulysses (e.g., the Good Samaritan).  Again, so what?  Many authors, highly skilled and otherwise, have found ideas and borrowed content from the Bible.  

What's the One Big Idea you want people to take away from the above?

--Erik

Thank you for giving me the chance to explain myself, because, clearly, I forgot to!

KJV dependence in the Book of Mormon is often used by critics to say something along the lines of, "I caught you with your hand in the cookie jar." Instead, I find that the BoM rhetorically owns it's anachronistic nature. It uses anachronistic intertextuality purposefully to expound and teach doctrine. I'm arguing that the book hasn't been caught with it's hand in the cookie jar, but instead was written with the intent that these connections be found. Some of them are glaringly obvious. For example, the connection between Ammon's and Christ's "Believe thou this?" is footnoted in the LDS Book of Mormon. EDIT: Now whether these connections were also suppose to have any inference about historicity is a different question. My guess is that their original intent was to develop doctrines under the surface of the text and not to comment on historicity (though, I think they clearly do).

As far as divinization goes, I agree, that does merit it's own thread. I have found a lot of evidence for that, and I'd like to lay it out when I have time (maybe this coming Sunday).

Edited by Benjamin Seeker

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I had a little time, and thought I would respond to this - but before I jump in, I am curious why there is no mention in all of this of Grant Palmer, who first introduced this idea of this connection in his An Insider’s View? We had several discussions (IIRC) on this forum back in 2012.

So, there are bunches of problems with this. Some of them are encourage by Frederick I suspect. So let’s start with the methodology. There are some issues I have here (both with the provided method, and with its application). Method is usually the best place to start ...

Shared terminology. In my first essay on this topic (that you and Frederick both reference), I put this into two categories: quotation and verbal parallels. I define quotation as:

“In general, we consider quotation to be an exact and usually explicit movement of text from one source to another.” There is more discussion than that, but since it involves the unique problems associated with ancient text and translation, they aren’t terribly relevant here. Your view seems to be that there is reliance on the King James Version in particular (defined through shared vocabulary). My definition for verbal parallels is more relevant:


 
Quote

 

Verbal parallels are the weakest of these criteria. A verbal parallel requires that “at least two words of more than minor significance are parallel between a passage.”28 I would add that in some instances an arguably unique verbal contact can be seen in a single word.29 Taken by itself, a verbal parallel can only be reasonably seen as an echo allusion and not as an indicator for textual reliance. However, particularly when identified along with other parallels, these can be a further indicator of probability that a local text has been successfully identified as a conscious allusion. While their presence does not by itself indicate contact between texts, a lack of verbal parallels may present a serious problem to a proposed allusive relationship between a local text and a source text.

 

In a later essay (my review essay of Grunder for Interpreter), I actually used a more defined stance which is important to this question you raise (this is from Paulien):


 
Quote

 

A Verbal parallel can be defined as occurring whenever at least two words of more than minor significance are parallel between [sources]. . . . These two major words may be coupled together in a phrase or may even be separated, provided they are in clear relationship to each other in both passages of the suggested parallel.9

 

The reason why it is important to distinguish between the two is that while quotation has in its definition the idea of a movement of text from a specific source to a destination, this notion of verbal parallels doesn’t. Quotation is by definition a borrowing. But verbal parallels are usually what is called an echo: a coincidental use of similar language. There are ways, as I point out, to work to determine whether the parallel is meaningful, but, you actually have to go through the process.

So, we jump into the first set of details.

Quote

 

Significantly, Ammon’s divinization is evidenced by a likeness to Christ that is realized through phrasal allusions. These allusions have Ammon speaking Christ’s words or fulfilling roles Christ ascribes to himself. An impressive example of Ammon speaking Christ’s words comes as Ammon assures the queen that Lamoni will awake.

Alma 19:8-9

8 And he saith unto the queen: He is not dead, but he sleepeth in God; and on the morrow he shall rise again. Therefore bury him not. 9 And Ammon saith unto her: Believest thou this? And she said unto him: I have had no witness save thy word and the word of our servants. Nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said.

John 11:8, 23, 26-27

11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

 

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again 

 

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

 

Ok. So let’s analyze.

In the KJV text, the narrative may be briefly summarized as follows: Lazarus (close friend of Jesus, and brother of Mary and Martha) becomes ill. The illness is serious, so they send for Jesus to ask for his assistance (he after all does heal the sick). Rather than heading out right away, Jesus waits two days before leaving (and when he does announce his intention to go, his apostles try and persuade him to stay - they are worried about another stoning attempt). He responds by telling them that it is necessary that he go, and that Lazarus is asleep and needs to be awoken. They respond by suggesting that if Lazarus is sleeping, then he is well (in other words, a sleeping Lazarus is no need for concern). The text then points out that the disciples misunderstood Jesus who was suggesting in a nice way that Lazarus had died - so he puts it more bluntly and says "Lazarus is dead". So Thomas pipes up (one of my more favorite statements in this Gospel), "Let us go also, that we may die with him." Thomas still sees the trip as ending in stoning. So Jesus and the apostles journey to Bethany, and by the time they arrive, Lazarus had been in his tomb for four days. Jesus is then taken to the tomb where he first prays, and then commands Lazarus to forth. And Lazarus comes out, still bound in his burial shroud. And repeated several times through this narrative is the notion that Jesus allows Lazarus to die so that the power of God might be seen in his being raised from the dead. The purpose of the story is two-fold. It is a miracle story showing the power of God through Jesus, and it serves to presage the resurrection of Jesus himself.

Just as the resurrection story in John 11 is not entirely unique, the narrative in Alma 19 is not unique either. It one of several similar conversion experiences recorded in the BoM. The first is an experience of Alma as recorded in Mosiah 27, the second is this narrative in Alma 19, and a third is a second narrative in Alma 19. It is a record of a conversion experience in which the receiver becomes incapacitated. Lamoni lies comatose for 2 days before Ammon is sent for. When Ammon arrives, the queen explains the problem. The king hasn't moved in two days, and some (I read contenders for the throne here) are ready to bury him - they claim that he stinks (has begun decomposing), but the queen contests this – he doesn’t stink she says. Ammon, recognizing what is happening – and this comes from the previous experience of Alma back in Mosiah. And so Ammon says that he is not dead, but is asleep and will awake in the morning. So the queen sits watch all night and in the morning the king awakes and relates his conversion. Now, the king relates his experience, the spirit overpowers everyone present (with one exception) and they all fall to the earth "as though they were dead."

So there we have the overview. From this, we get a list of words and phrases that you highlight. But we see right away that we have some challenges. For example, both texts use the word “sleepeth” but in one of them, it is a euphemism for death. In the other, it’s meant quite literally. And when the texts talk about rising again, one means to wake up (from sleep) and the other means to be resurrected. So one account uses this language much more metaphorically than the other. And the narratives in this case have very different sorts of things going on – even though we use similar words to describe them.

The longer phrase is more interesting. It is interesting because of course, it isn’t a single phrase, but two phrases. And there is a narrative gap (seen in the period) between them. The Book of Mormon tosses in the word “and” which becomes a temporal marker in the text. It is a transition not a connection - the narrative is moving forward into a new context. Ammon says something, and then the queen responds. And the same is true in the John account right? But what this means is that we have two separate phrases that are adjacent to each other – not a longer quotation. And you cannot use the idea of proximity to push them back together into a single phrase. It doesn't work like that. This is important because the two pieces are not unique. “Believest thou this” occurs in other places in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon (in fact, it occurs just a couple of chapters later in the continuation of this narrative of Ammon). And “She saith unto him” occurs several times in the New Testament (John uses it several times). “She said unto him” – the Book of Mormon version can be seen earlier in this narrative – at the beginning of verse 4 in Chapter 19. These aren’t particularly unique phrases. And this suggests that they are part of that “stock language”, not that they represent some special connection between two texts.

But, you go entirely in the other direction with it:

Quote

Clearly, Alma 19:8-9 shares a fair amount of exact terminology with John 11. I will clarify that I have included the phrase “she saith/said unto him” only because of its direct proximity to “believest thou this?”

My conclusion is that you don’t understand the methodology very well (as well as the fact that Frederick doesn’t do a great job at presenting a very usable methodology).

Of the 14 words that you underline in Alma, half of them are quite common – I, she, her, this, him, unto, said. This isn’t the exact terminology of John 11. In fact, 14 words out of the nearly 1200 words in John 11 seems an awful stretch. (Actually, there are lots of shared words between the two texts - far more than just these 14 words - but the point is that it isn't quantity that matters, it is quality). But that does lead to the next challenge in the methodology. You offer this from Frederick:

Quote

Proximity – When one allusion occurs in close proximity to one or more other allusions, it increases the chance that the intertextuality is intended.

More is certainly better. But I think that you have misunderstood what Frederick is suggesting here (how well Frederick understood it is a different question). When I wrote about the allusion Nephi makes to the David and Goliath narrative, I provide several markers for the allusion. But all of the markers point to a single allusion. What this criteria really means is that an author who makes an allusion in one place (and we can tell with some certainty that he does) is more likely to make another allusion elsewhere - especially if it is in close proximity to the first. So, in Jacob 1, we have the quote from Psalm 95. And later we have what appear to be allusions to Deuteronomy 17 and Deuteronomy 18. The fact that Psalm 95 is used in Jacob 1-3 (and again in other parts of the rest of Jacob) makes the case for allusions to content from Deuteronomy much more likely. Here, we are talking about a single allusion and you are offering several markers for it. Proximity. But when you talk about this criteria, you are talking about the proximity of the markers - this is more a part of the structural indicator. Each marker is not a marker for a unique allusion. Which does bring up structure.

The Book of Mormon text is a neat little bundle. But the John text is not. One word in verse 11. Three words in verse 23. And then the bunch in verses 26-27. It is difficult to understand this as proximity – because the argument becomes too circular. Is the single word “sleepeth” really a parallel? (I do discuss the notion of single words as parallels in some detail in my Review of Grunder essay in Interpreter a while back).

Finally, we have this problem of context. You offer this:

Context – Shared context between the two passages also increases the likelihood that an example is valid.  Frederick makes the point that context is the most flexible of the criteria and therefore the weakest. However, when examining allusions as part of a large-scale intertextuality, their context takes on increased importance as they need to reinforce the large scale intertextuality or be viewed as less meaningful.

I offered this:

Thematic parallels occur when both the local and the source texts exist within a common theme that usually extends far beyond the boundaries of the allusion or the context of the quotation. However, like the allusion itself, “In the case of thematic parallels, significant verbal affinities ‘are to be distinguished from “stock language”’ or themes which have moorings in particular genres of previous literature.” 27 In doing so, we recognize the conscious effort to use the source text to evoke a desired response in the reader of the local text.

You can see once more that our concern is over this stock language. But, lets, for a moment, try a different experiment. Let’s compare this text in Alma 19 with Mosiah 27 (where I suggest an earlier text sits that this text in Alma is modeled on). I will label them (M) for Mosiah 27 and (A) for Alma 18-19.

Quote

 

 (M) he became dumb, that he could not open his mouth; yea, and he became weak, even that he could not move his hands; therefore he was taken by those that were with him, and carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father.

(A) he fell unto the earth, as if he were dead. And it came to pass that his servants took him and carried him in unto his wife, and laid him upon a bed

 

(M) And they rehearsed unto his father all that had happened unto them; and his father rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God.

(A) And she said unto him: <narrative here describing events again> Now, ... Ammon ... knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God

 

(M) And it came to pass after they had fasted and prayed for the space of two days and two nights, the limbs of Alma received their strength,

(A) and he lay as if he were dead for the space of two days and two nights

(A) AND it came to pass that after two days and two nights

(A) for he has been laid upon his bed for the space of two days and two nights

 

(M) and he stood up and began to speak unto them, bidding them to be of good comfort:

(A) And it came to pass that he arose, ... and as he arose, he stretched forth his hand unto the woman, and said:

 

(M) I ... have been redeemed of the Lord; ... all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must ... [be] redeemed of God

(A) behold, I have seen my Redeemer; ... and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name.

 

(M) I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God

(A) he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God

 

This is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. So we have a much stronger set of similarities. And some of them carry on to the third instance in Alma 19:14-36. But, the evidence is interesting. Unlike your markers, here, the phrasing is clearly related, and rhetorically, both narratives serve a similar purpose. While obviously not eliminating the possibility of the Alma passage being derived from the Gospel of John, it does make it much less likely. The reason for this? The Mosiah text which shows clear connections to the Alma text shows no resemblance to the passage from John - and some of the elements in the Alma text which are taken from Mosiah are the same elements that you argue were taken from the New Testament.

Method is critical. It explains not only how the evidence is seen, but how it is evaluated. In this case, the problem is separating the language of the narrative that comes from stock language (echoes) from what might actually be related to a borrowing.

There are further complications. As I explained in my FairMormon presentation this summer, we run into the problem that the Book of Mormon seems to deliberately use archaic language as a rhetorical device. Because of this, we have a stock language in the Book of Mormon that is inflated (the style and vocabulary choices) – to the point that we experience something akin to translationese when reading.

All of the things are issues when you engage in this sort of parallel hunting. It’s not that you can’t find real and legitimate parallels – but, if you don’t do it right, you won’t ever be able to tell what the good ones are, from the bad.

 Ben McGuire

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churchistrue    206
7 hours ago, Five Solas said:

Well, there's certainly a lot of stuff here.  Ideas, comparisons, analogies and a methodology to slice & dice it all.  I think one of your ideas could merit a thread of it's own--what exactly is "Divinizaton" and does Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon really support such notion?

Curious what you're hoping to accomplish here, Benjamin Seeker.  Supposing your reader were to invest his/her time on the above and ask, "So what?"  How would you answer?  We know Joseph Smith had access to the KJV and we're not surprised he leveraged it in his own work.  And likewise we could show parallels between Jesus in the New Testament and Leopold Bloom in James Joyce's Ulysses (e.g., the Good Samaritan).  Again, so what?  Many authors, highly skilled and otherwise, have found ideas and borrowed content from the Bible.  

What's the One Big Idea you want people to take away from the above?

--Erik

I can't speak for BS, hah nice initials.  But here's what I take from it.  That by freeing ourselves of the weight of historicity and viewing the BOM as a kind of inspired midrash or exegesis of the New Testament, that we can find new and inspiring insights into the text of both the Bible and the BOM and can appreciate the BOM for the great literary work that it is.

 

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Ben, thanks for the response, really. I'm admittedly a non-expert/amateur, but an avid one none the less. I feel a little silly about how I've used proximity, and I think I clearly understand the more convincing way to approach that measure. 

However, that being said, I still see the core intertextuality I've suggested as very strong. Even if I just take the question "Believe thou this?" it only occurs once in entire bible and twice in the Book of Mormon, and it happens right as male ministers end their assurances to females who are seeking help/assurance. I know you've argued against my shared context, but repurposing death and reanimation (Lazarus) as spiritual rebirth (Lamoni) is obviously a common doctrinal metaphor. 

I really like the intratextuality with Mosiah you've pointed out. I agree that as a general rule, a more obvious parallel does make a less obvious parallel less likely. I also agree that the clear phrasal links you've demonstrated make your phrasal intratextuality stronger than the phrasal intertextuality I've suggested. However, in terms of narrative parallels, if my shared context is granted at least potential validity, my example is arguably sufficiently strong to hold it's own. I have surrounding events that strongly recall John 11. I have 4 pairs protagonists, each pair with matching gender and roles: Ammon/Christ -spiritual minister, Lazarus/Lamoni - raised from the dead/near-dead or mistakenly dead, Queen/Martha - questioner and testifier, Abish/Martha - previously converted crowd gatherer. Not only do Lazarus and Lamoni have vaguely similar names, but Ammon's name is very similar to Son Ahman, the name of Christ given in an 1832 revelation. Considering that Alma 19 twice makes allusion to the Gospel of John's "become the sons of God," this seems significant (Also this scripture is invoked directly at other places in the Book of Mormon). 

Zooming out, I still believe I have a couple examples of Ammon quoting Christ: "Be of good cheer." "Believe thou this?" and the strong alusion in "I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites." to "I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." These coulld be explained as artifacts of a KJV dependent translation, but the doctrinal expostion of Ammon as a type of Christ, I think, is a better explanation, considering the examples of Rabboni, "chief among" and minister/administer, and other examples that place Ammon in roles prescribed to Christ. Basically, there is a clear thematic synergy happening here.

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Robert F. Smith    10,596

Although intertextuality is now a major area of research in biblical studies, one must beware of double-edged parallels -- in which it becomes apparent that the NT is quite often in parallel to the OT, but in its LXX version.  Thus, in order to do effective intertexual and intratextual studies, one must be prepared to familiarize himself with a vast array of biblical and intertestamental literature.  Perhaps even to understand common literary tropes/archetypes worldwide.

For example, although there are several versions of the Mount of Transfiguration Story in the New Testament (Matt 17:1-8, Luke 9:28-36, and II Peter 1:16-18), Mark 9:2-10 presents the most systematic echoes from and parallels with Exodus 24 and 34:29ff.: 

Exodus 24:

Mark 9:

1 Come up...Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu

2 Moses alone μόνος  

10 they saw the God of Israel

11 they saw ὤφθησαν

12 Come up...into the mount 

13 Moses...and...Joshua Ίησοuς

16 cloud covered it six days   

     He called...out of the midst of the cloud

 

25:8 make me a sanctuary ἁγίασμα

           (=booths σκηναaς Lev 23:43)

34:29-30,35 his face shone

 

34:30,35 saw

34:35 to speak with him συλλαλεaν

2 Peter, James, and John, and leadeth them up

8 Jesus only μόνον

8 they saw

4 appeared ὤφθη unto them

2 leadeth them up into an high mountain

4 Moses...and...Jesus Ίησοu

7 cloud that overshadowed

             a voice came out of the cloud

2 after six days

5 make...tabernacles σκηνάς

 

3 shining, exceeding white (Matt 17:2, Luke 

                                           9:29 are explicit)

8 saw

4 they were talking συλλαλοuντες

For his part, Samuel N. Kramer noted that over 2000 years before Christ, one finds Sumerian tales at close parallel with the "legend" of Jesus Christ, e.g., the Dumuzi-Inanna cycle: 

a. three days & three nights in Netherworld

b. thirty shekels as term of contempt

c. epithets "shepherd," "anointed," and "carpenter" (Sumerian NAGGAR = Hebrew naggar "carpenter")

d. agony suffered; scourged and beaten

e. bound and pinioned

f. undressed

g. vicarious substitute for all mankind

h. virginity of Mother-goddess1

 

 


     1   Kramer, Sacred Marriage Rite (1969), 133; cf. W. F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, 2nd ed., 193-194, 397-398, n. 81; Ezk 8:14, Tammuz = Dumuzi (= Dionysus; Burkert, Greek Roman and Byzantine Studies, 7:101, n. 30); Frazer, Golden Bough, one-volume abridged ed., 376-456, and Weigall, Paganism in Our Christianity, 67-119, provide broader discussion of later dying-and-rising god motifs-in-common with that of Jesus.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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However, that being said, I still see the core intertextuality I've suggested as very strong. Even if I just take the question "Believe thou this?" it only occurs once in entire bible and twice in the Book of Mormon, and it happens right as male ministers end their assurances to females who are seeking help/assurance. I know you've argued against my shared context, but repurposing death and reanimation (Lazarus) as spiritual rebirth (Lamoni) is obviously a common doctrinal metaphor. 

I think you are missing the real issue. Intertextuality is a way of describing relationships between texts. Intertextuality does not necessarily lead to conclusions of dependence or intentional relationships. Virtually all texts share some sense of intertextuality. All English texts, for example, share something in the basic language and grammar that they use. Biographies all share certain features. Histories all have certain traits. All of these things create webs of intertextuality that we know exist (and to some extent make written communication possible to the high level that it works for us). But, these kinds of observations often tell us nothing about how specific texts relate to each other. That is the argument that you have to make. Allusion isn't just intertextuality. It is a very, very specific type of intertextuality. And we define it, not by what it looks like, but by how it works, and how authors and readers interact with a text because of it.

This sentence that you wrote - if you let me parse it, tells me several things. First, it tells me that you have intuited an issue and are looking for evidence for it (and in games of comparison, intuition is usually very wrong). Why do I say this? Well, three words is not going to be a quotation. You might argue that there is sufficient uniqueness (and you do). But the phrase "believest thou" occurs in both texts many, many times. So the phrase is potentially unique only in a very limited way. But it isn't just this. Why? Because you are asking for an exact phrase, after just illustrating that you aren't all that worried about it - "she saith unto him" being equivalent to "she said unto him". The funny thing about "she said unto him" in John 11:27 shows up when we start to look at modern biblical translations, right? They almost uniformly read: "She said to him". There is a close relationship there. Not so much in verse 26. But if we see the phrase "believest thou this" as an archaic version of "do you believe this?", then it's a very different issue. More on this in a bit. 

The second challenge that comes up is this - when we talk about stock language, we never look in a single source. You have narrowed where you are looking to where you can only come up with a single result. So we do a simple experiment (because it's quick) and we google it in the google book database, the exact phrase, and we put (to keep the list manageable) a date limitation starting on 1/1/1780 and and end date of 1/1/1830. You see, we want to see what the phrase looks like in Joseph's environment, not what it looks like in either the Book of Mormon or the Bible. And we get more hits:

https://www.google.com/search?q="believest+thou+this"&source=lnt&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F1780%2Ccd_max%3A1%2F1%2F1830&tbm=bks

And while we clearly see some instances that are simply quoting the New Testament Gospel of John, we see many that aren't. And this means that the language isn't unique in the environment - and while it is familiar from the New Testament, that familiarity leads to a broader usage (which isn't intended as allusion - the definition of echo). What it means is that no matter how convincing it seems to you - this phrase "believes thou this" cannot stand on its own - it doesn't make much of a convincing argument to me.

And finally we run into the third problem. Interpretation becomes a major problem. The Book of Mormon isn't simply alluding to the New Testament text, it is reinterpreting it in terms of this doctrinal metaphor. And this requires far more of an argument than simply suggesting similarities in language. This was the subject of my Nephi-Goliath essay - how we demonstrate that an allusion leads us to activate both texts, how an allusion is built by an author who intends for us to read both texts into the narrative. Let me try to explain this is a more basic fashion.

You wrote this:

Quote

Notably, Ammon’s words makes an additional allusion to Christ’s words in the verse directly following the above exchange. ... The shared terminology combined with clear parallel concepts, all in correct sequence, gives this example some serious teeth.

The allusion is not the words, it is not the structure, it is not the context. These criteria help us identify potential markers of an allusion (a necessary process in showing that an allusion exists). An allusion is a rhetorical device that encourages an audience to bring a source to mind while reading/hearing the allusion (through its markers) where the audience reinterprets both the local text and the source text through the allusion to come to some third understanding. This is what I illustrate in my Nephi-Goliath essay. Markers don't give an allusion serious teeth. The way that we can develop the rhetorical strategy through the markers is what gives an allusion serious teeth. You stop half way through the process, thinking you are finished. How does our understanding of the text in Alma 19 change when we recognize the potential allusion? How does this re-reading affect our reading of John 11? Has anyone else read the text this way? These are the questions to ask and answer.

There is a reason why verbal parallels are considered the weakest form of a marker for an allusion (this isn't my criteria, it is just the criteria I adopted - this issue is widely recognized). But it becomes your primary and most important evidence. These are all problems that have to be dealt with.

The third issue (which I raised earlier) is the challenge of the Book of Mormon's deliberate use of archaic language. If it has this deliberate archaic language (and I have argued elsewhere not only that it does, but why this is significant), then we also have a reason why it might use language similar to the King James - not in any attempt to create allusive references to the King James text, but to create a text that sounds like or reads like the King James text. And so our arguments for verbal connections also have to deal with this challenge.

So the process -

Identify makers. Evaluate them. Construct the allusion. This step uses one set of criteria and a methodology.

Then, we evaluate the allusion, looking at interpretation, rhetorical strategy, and the way in which the allusion forces a re-reading of both texts. This process uses a separate set of criteria and a second methodology.

I use both in my essay. You need to work on the second half as well as the first.

Finally, we have the problem of narrative complexity in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon portrays itself in a certain way. The text in Alma 19 is allegedly written by Mormon, who is redacting (the text says) a number of historical writings to produce the final text which is then translated into English. I understand that you don't believe this is factually accurate (which is fine). But the challenge comes up of defining the rhetorical strategy of the author (whoever that is). What is the message coming through? What are we to understand about the author from the text, and so on. One thing to be aware of is that the basic assumptions we bring when we read alter the meaning of the text a great deal. There is a huge difference in meaning between seeing the Book of Mormon as an authentic history (even if translated), where we have Nephi as an author writing about Nephi (the character in his writings) than when we suggest that we have Joseph Smith (or Spalding or whoever) writing about Nephi the fictional character who is then writing about the even more fictional character of himself. The views of the author in the first case are much closer to the views of Nephi the narrator of the history. In the second case, the views of the author don't have to have anything to do with the views of the fictional narrator Nephi (and even less to do with the character Nephi in the narration). How we read the text can be quite fluid - but when we deal with questions of rhetorical figures and their meaning, they are very much tied to the notion of an author and that author's intention. And so these assumptions, while often unstated, are really very important in placing the text into the rhetorical framework we build.

If you want to have a look at what I have written relevant to these questions -

Here is my essay on allusion in the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/publications/jbms/18/1/S00004-5074648ca9094McGuire.pdf

Here is my essay on evaluating parallels more generally:

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/finding-parallels-some-cautions-and-criticisms-part-one/

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/finding-parallels-some-cautions-and-criticisms-part-two/

Here is my essay on narrative readings in the Book of Mormon:

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/nephi-a-postmodernist-reading/

And here is my recent FairMormon presentation on translation (which I have referenced a couple of times):

http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2016-fairmormon-conference/book-mormon-communicative-act

Ben McGuire

Edited by Benjamin McGuire
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Five Solas    280
On 11/15/2016 at 7:48 AM, Benjamin Seeker said:

Thank you for giving me the chance to explain myself, because, clearly, I forgot to!

KJV dependence in the Book of Mormon is often used by critics to say something along the lines of, "I caught you with your hand in the cookie jar." Instead, I find that the BoM rhetorically owns it's anachronistic nature. It uses anachronistic intertextuality purposefully to expound and teach doctrine. I'm arguing that the book hasn't been caught with it's hand in the cookie jar, but instead was written with the intent that these connections be found. Some of them are glaringly obvious. For example, the connection between Ammon's and Christ's "Believe thou this?" is footnoted in the LDS Book of Mormon. EDIT: Now whether these connections were also suppose to have any inference about historicity is a different question. My guess is that their original intent was to develop doctrines under the surface of the text and not to comment on historicity (though, I think they clearly do).

As far as divinization goes, I agree, that does merit it's own thread. I have found a lot of evidence for that, and I'd like to lay it out when I have time (maybe this coming Sunday).

Okay, fair enough. 

Could you provide an example of a doctrine or theological point your method has brought to light?  Some applicable insight that wasn't previously obvious to adherents of the Book of Mormon and/or the Bible.  Something that could justify the level of effort or cost in seeking, "doctrines under the surface of the text"--as you put it. 

I'm a business guy, so I think in terms of cost (which includes time) and benefit (which includes actionable insights), and the latter must exceed the former to be worthwhile.  Hence my question. 

:0)

--Erik

Edited by Five Solas
miserable prepositions

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On 11/16/2016 at 6:40 AM, Benjamin McGuire said:

Ben McGuire

Ben, I've had some time to read through your comments more carefully. Once more, thank you for your detailed response to some of what I've written. This is better than peer review. It's like intertextual dependence 101, and I've gotten a lot from your explanations. Essentially, you've guided me to better use of methodology, and helped shine a critical light on my verbal parallels, which are a weak type of evidence when seeking to establish some kind of dependent relationship. What I'm left with are a set of narrative parallels, a modified context, and a few, not particularly strong, verbal parallels (in response to the specific discussion of "believe thou this?", it seems like there should be some probability points awarded for the placement of the question in the two narratives). Fair enough. I definitely see how the verbal parallel evidence, particularly by itself, isn't strong. Taking a look at the Alma the Young/Paul potential allusion, it has the same problem. I will say, this ambiguity is what I would expect from a text that is purporting an ancient origin, which also draws anachronistically on a more recent, but very relevant, religious text. I would expect it to walk a careful line between hinting at the allusion and not making it terribly obvious. Clearly, that doesn't make the evidence for allusion any stronger, but it does create a plausible reason for the ambiguity.

Also, thanks for pointing me towards An Insider's View. I didn't realize that Grant Palmer had already suggested this allusion. I'll have to check out what he said.

 

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On 11/16/2016 at 8:37 PM, Five Solas said:

Could you provide an example of a doctrine or theological point your method has brought to light?  Some applicable insight that wasn't previously obvious to adherents of the Book of Mormon and/or the Bible.  Something that could justify the level of effort or cost in seeking, "doctrines under the surface of the text"--as you put it.

My point is that divinization is explored more deeply through intertextuality than it is in the surface of the text. Ammon talks about the power in him, his calling by the Holy Spirit, his desire in God, and the Spirt dwelling in him. There is also the verse of Christ's instructions to the group, where he says they'll show forth good examples in him. These all point to unification between God and man, and man's ability to adopt some of the attributes of God. The other element that makes the theme explicit is Lamoni's mistaken perception that Ammon is the Great Spirit and Ammon's clarifications in response to this. Meanwhile, the intertextuality shows us that Ammon is fulfilling roles prescribed to Christ, speaking his words, and doing acts similar to him. This is a more specific and practical application of divinization than the comments made in the surface text. These details of divinization in Book of Mormon theology become more apparent when interpreting the Ammon narrative from the viewpoint I've suggested. I'd also observe that divinization is one of the obvious subjects for this under-the-surface treatment, as unity between God and man and man becoming like God is arguably one of the classic sacred mysteries of Christianity.

I particularly like this example because while potentially undermining historicity, it demonstrates the depth of the BoM text.

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On 11/15/2016 at 9:37 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

In your section on Divinization, you might want to add Alma 5:19, and III Nephi 28:10.

In Alma 18:13, it is not clear from the syntax, whether it is Ammon or Lamoni who is being termed Rabbanah.  There was no punctuation at all in the original manuscript.

As to mistaking Ammon for the Great Spirit, it might be worth observing that the etymology of Ammon could be taken from the name of the supreme God of ancient Egypt, and the hieratic spelling of that name in the Brass Plates and other documents among the Nephites may have depended upon use of that very name for "God."  Such information could conceivably have been held among the Lamanite elite.  Hugh Nibley even showed graphically how such an Egyptian logogram could be employed --  Nibley, Since Cumorah, 2nd ed., CWHN VII:149.

Alma 5:19 was on my radar, and I do like it as a demonstration of BoM divinization. I wasn't familiar with 3 Nephi 28:10, but that's a great scripture. From the various divinization texts in the BoM, joy appears to be a common element in the equation. Thanks you for sharing this.

I wasn't aware of the issue of punctuation and Rabbanah. Considering, the beginning of ch. 18 is about Ammon being mistaken for Christ, it seems pretty likely that Ammon is the one being addressed.

Lastly, on Ammon, that's an interesting observation!

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Robert F. Smith    10,596
On 11/15/2016 at 7:38 AM, Benjamin Seeker said:

...............................................................................................

Significantly, similar word play incorporating the word man can be seen in Abish’s name. Matthew Bowen’s article, “Father is a Man: The Remarkable Mention of the Name Abish in Alma 19:16 and its Narrative Context,” convincingly lays out Abish’s role as a counterpart to Ammon...

(I haven't finished writing this section so I'll sum this up.)

Basically, the hebrew meaning of Abish means "Father is a man", which according to Bowen, and he argued convincingly, the text uses to create wordplay with the fact that she had been converted on account of a vision of her father and to be the spiritual counterpart to Ammon, who clarifies twice "I am a man," in the conversion of the Lamanites. I would take it a step further and point to the wordplay I've already acknowledged in Ammon's name (Ammon = A man). Finally, I would also argue that her name's hebrew meaning points to the doctrine being rhetorically unfolded in the Ammon account, which is that God is the "Man of Holiness" or that the "Father is a man" and that man is his creation in a father/son relationship with potential for divine growth.


....................................................................................

[20] Ammon’s defense of Lamoni’s servants is made explicit in Alma 18:16.

.............................................................

[23] Bowen

..........................................................

In addition to all that, recalling that the Book of Mormon was engraved in Egyptian and comparing the "Tale of Sinuhe," a remarkable set of ancient Egyptian literary topoi is found in the story of Nephite Prince Ammon in service to King Lamoni in the Land of Ishmael, in the early 1st century B.C.  Our focus begins at the Waters of Sebus where the flocks of King Lamoni were watered (Alma 17:26-34, 18:7, 19:20-21).  There Ammon encounters Lamanite herders raiding the king’s flock.  He “slays” some with his sling, and then lops off the “arms” of several more with his “sword” – bringing those arms back to the king “for a testimony” (Alma 17:37-39).  Aside from the socio-political and ritual aspects of this event,[1] such bringing back of the arms or hands of the slain was a common ancient Near Eastern practice, and we have instances of it during the reigns of several kings of Egypt (Ramesses II and III),[2] including the Hyksos ruler King Khayan.[3]

Like Sinuhe, Ammon serves a local ruler in a foreign land, and Ammon even sports the name of the chief god of Egypt (Amun), as well as a similar name-component of the Semitic ruler of Retjenu (Syria), Amunenshi.  The Egyptian words for “arm” and “sword,” ḫpš (later variant špš) are spelled virtually the same,[4] and can be written with the pool-glyph,[5] or later with the pool-with-lotus-flower glyphs,[6] suggesting not only Sebus word-play in the text of Alma here, but also a commemorative etymology of the Waters of Sebus as “Waters of Forearm; Strong-arm”[7] – provided of course that a linguistic evolution from to š took place in Nephite scribal tradition, as it did in Egypt (cf. the word-play on the Book of Mormon name Abish).  Furthermore, there is ancient Egyptian sps “to overthrow, slay,”[8] as a possible source of the name Sebus.  All these terms could be used in Alma 17 – 19 to engage in clever word-play while Ammon “slays” some Lamanites with his sling, and lops off the “arms” of others with his “strong-arm” and “sword.”


[1] See B. Gardner, Traditions of the Fathers (Kofford, 2015), 286-289. 

[2] J. M. Lundquist & J. W. Welch, “Ammon and Cutting Off the Arms of Enemies,” in Welch, ed., Reexploring the Book of Mormon (Provo: FARMS/SLC: Deseret, 1992), 180-182; Book of Mormon Central, “Why Did the Servants Present Lamoni with the Arms of His Enemies? (Alma 17:39),” KnoWhy #125, June 20, 2016, online at https://knowhy.dev-bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-did-the-servants-present-lamoni-with-the-arms-of-his-enemies  .

[3] Owen Jarus, “Severed Hands Discovered in Ancient Egypt Palace,” LiveScience, Aug 10, 2012, online at http://www.livescience.com/22267-severed-hands-ancient-egypt-palace.html . 

[4] Erman & Grapow, Wörterbuch, III:268-270; Faulkner, CDME, 189-190, citing Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed., Sign List T16. 

[5] Gardiner, Sign List N37. 

[6] Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed., Sign List M8 (used as phonetic š in group-writing), §60. 

[7] Budge, Hieroglyphic Dictionary, 726, citing Revue égyptologique, XI:171.  Cf. Coptic swp=s, swb=s “arm, forearm” (Westendorf, KHw, 323). 

[8] E. Budge, Hieroglyphic Dictionary, 597. 

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    • By Darren10
      On a previous thread the idea of finding NHM inscriptions in the Arabian Peninsula is thought to be "not impressive" to one poster here. That thread lead into the idea of "wordplay" found within the Book of Mormon and in the context of it being used to relate the "place which was called Nahom" and NHM. NHM is an ancient Hebrew root word and one thing it does mean is "mourning". NHM discovered in the Arabian Peninsula is "the largest cemetery in the area" and therefore mourning, as one may imagine, would have been common in that place. Therefore, when Nephi, on educated in ancient Hebrew saw his sister-in-laws mourning at Nahom he included that detail within the Book of Mormon narrative and its existence is a very plausible spot to identify as an onomastic wordplay. By that I mean using proper names to relate to connected meanings of events.
      Before continuing, a big shout out to calm and Rev. Testament on this board for guiding me through the process of removing format on this forum so that when I cite portions of published works it remains compatible to the software this forum uses. I had previously attempted to cite Mathew (Matt as I know him on facebook) Bowen on the other thread only to have my posts deleted as soon as I clicked on "submit reply".
      I choose Bowen here for a few reasons. First, he is highly qualified to look for and present wordplays from ancient Hebrew and Egyptian literature. His academic resume at Mormon Interpreter reads, "Matthew L. Bowen was raised in Orem, Utah and graduated from Brigham Young University. He holds a PhD in Biblical Studies from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and is currently an Assistant Professor in Religious Education at Brigham Young University-Hawaii." on facebook this includes Egyptology at the Catholic University. Facebook also shows he is learned in Latin, Spanish, and Hebrew.
      Second, I choose Bowen because I am very interested in linguistics. I am hardly an expert but I enjoy reading into it and I have thoroughly enjoyed Bowens essays which identifies wordplays in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. 
      Third, from my interaction with him on facebook he seems to be a very decent and pleasant person to associate with. He's a scholar and excellent family man (married with children).
      I will preset three essays from Bowen which identify wordplay situations in the Book of Mormon which reiterate specific doctrine with proper names used. They represent solid research and follow sound scholastic standards.
      in his essay, “O Ye Fair Ones” — Revisited,  Bowen demonstrate how Nephi and Mormon use the meaning of Nephi to describe his people the Nephites.
      Nephi's identity as being "good" and 'fair" extended to his people the Nephites. Before their divine destruction Mormon, as Bowen outlines, laments:
       "O ye fair ones", and "O ye fair sons and daughters..." are definite references from Mormon to the Nephi people. Nephi, being likely derived from the Egyptian nfr, according to Bowen, "indisputably" means good, fair, beautiful, kindness, goodness, etc, to find those characteristics used to describe the Nephites is of no coincidence. Nephi, learned "in the language of the Egyptians", would make that word connection to describe his people who were "favored of the Lord". apparently this was carried throughout their common history as Mormon even used that wordplay to lament their spiritual downfall.
      Father Is a Man: The Remarkable Mention of the Name Abish in Alma 19:16 and Its Narrative Context is another essay Bowen wrote which demonstrates an onomastic wordplay by the Book of Mormon presenting ot its readers with the rare moment of mentioning a female by name. As Bowen writes:
      Bowen points to the use of the Hebrew ab as "father":
      With Abish we read the following:
      During the conversion of King Lamoni we read, "12 And it came to pass that he arose, according to the words of Ammon; and as he arose, he stretched forth his hand unto the woman, and said: Blessed be the name of God, and blessed art thou.13 For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name. Now, when he had said these words, his heart was swollen within him, and he sunk again with joy; and the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit." (Alma 19).
      "God" to the Nephites at the time Abish came onto the scene was known as the Father of Heaven and earth. (Alma 18:5; I Nephi 11:21 original manuscript reads, "& the angel said unto me behold the lam of god yea even the eternal father knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw"). This is God to be "born of a woman" according to King Lamoni. Abish meaning "father is a man" fits perfectly into the content of the conversion of King Lamoni and his house. Therefore, Abish is specifically mentioned in Alma 19 despite a female servant almost never being mentioned in any ancient scripture.
      The third and final essay I'll present here is called Place of Crushing: The Literary Function of Heshlon in Ether 13:25-31.
      Bowen later points out that it was at the place called Heshlon which the Jaredites destroyed ("crushed, subdued, broke into pieces") each other through civil war that their society never did fully recuperate.
      Robert F. Smith in the previous NHM thread simply explained that scholars look into wordplay when events "occur in proximity to a possible occasion for wordplay". All three essays and the several others Bowen wrote at Mormon Interpreter, the Hebrew and/or Egyptian meaning of a proper name is approximately close to an event related to that etymological meaning. These are wordplays. Very easy to identify and very easily supported as wordplays within the Book of Mormon text.
       
    • By Daniel2
      Today's Press Release:
      All kidding aside, if you haven't seen it yet, get out there and go see Moana.... It's phenomenal!  
      And despite my lame attempt at humor, I smiled at how I caught myself thinking how many of the images of the film reminded me of elements of The Book of Mormon, The Testaments movie, etc.  Especially the headdresses, clothes, ships, and other artifacts depicted when showing Moana's sea-faring ancestors.  Funny how our culture influences how we can see the world!
    • By Gray
      http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/book-of-mormon-library-of-congress-christofferson
      I perked up at this:
      Nice to see an apostle quoting Bokovoy!  Also nice to see the Book of Mormon getting some recognition. 
    • By Ouagadougou
      Hello all!
      I was recently having a discussion with my sister (who is an active member of the church) and we discussed the BoM.  I let her know that I think the BoM contains some inspiring, faith-promoting verses; however, I consider it to be a fiction.  She was visibly upset and said I can't be a faithful member without accepting that it actually took place.  This made me think:
      - Can you be an active, faithful member in the church and still believe the BoM is a fictional book?  
      - For those who consider the BoM to be fiction, how do you reconcile Moroni and other vital characters/individuals who participated in the restoration narrative? 
      I'm generally interested to read your opinions about this subject.  
    • By Belshazzar
      I love The Book of Mormon and to me it is an absolutely beautiful book. I love the things that it teaches and it is always amazing to read. However, my testimony in it has been wavering in it for a while with a lot of doubts. For me one of the most difficult things concerning the historicity of The Book of Mormon is the belief that the people in it have of Christ. In the Bible nobody knows about the coming of a savior that will Atone for their sins. They don't really have a belief in an Atoning Messiah or in the Atonement in the time period of the Old Testament. But in the Book of Mormon they do. Can somebody help me with how they have worked through that issue?
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