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Where did the Book of Mormon come from?

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I'd like to see a stylometric analysis on all those works.

 It was done years ago and published in a few academic journals.  We discussed it here 10 years ago.

Phaedrus  

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4 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

You said God was the author, so if those inconsistencies and contradictions are present then isn't the author responsible for them?  

I actually said it was my opinion that the BoM, the BoA, the inspired translation, & the D&C have the same author. 

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51 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

(The idea that somebody in 1827, anybody, could write even the first chapter of 1 Nephi——grounded as it is in the particular place and time of Jerusalem 600 BC with abundant circumstantial detail——is preposterous. It just couldn't be done.)

Preposterous? 1 Nephi 1 is loaded with anachronisms. The problems start in verse 1 ("I Nephi") and go on from there. See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/2013/01/some-problems-with-book-of-mormon-historicity/ 

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50 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Sounds fair.  Van Wagoner’s book covers the early years  of Joseph’s life up to 1830.  I think it’s the most detailed book of these early years that I’ve read.  Very well researched and he’s not antagonist towards the church a well respected historian although not formally trained in history as Robert noted,  he was respected in the community for his quality scholarship.

Richard Van Wagoner began consulting with me first by mail back in the 1970s, and later visited me in Missouri (where I was doing research in the RLDS Archives).  I provided as much material to him as I could find, and I visited him at his home in Lehi.  A wonderful man.

50 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Taves explores religions experience and the development of three early movements in her book, Mormonism is one of them.  The comparison to Mormonism is quite detailed, but does not focus on the BoM as a central theme in her observations.  She is also quite respectful towards Mormons and respected in the Mormon studies world.  

I have attended lectures by Taves at the Claremont Grad School, and I took careful notes.  An excellent speaker and very approachable.  However, I was never sure what she was actually saying about the BofM or any other issues within Mormonism.  I'm not sure she does either.  :pirate:

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2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

I meant no mocking, you must have misunderstood me.  I think that those efforts can be overworked and unproductive.  I don’t see great value in them, and I find that like Elder Oaks talked about a few years back there are good, better and best things we can prioritize.  I think Mormon studies around the BoM have often prioritized a discussion of something “how Joseph could or couldn’t have produced the BoM” is less valuable than many other things to consider, that’s why I posted this OP, to invite some discussion on the topic.  

I’m not trying to change anyone’s faith perspective.  

Nevo just brought to my attention this from RT back in 2013, but it is still relevant today:

Quote

I can acknowledge that the Book of Mormon has a degree of verisimilitude, intricacy, and detail that is truly remarkable, such as its consistent use of ancient narrators to organize and move the larger narrative forward, its incorporation of multiple literary genres into a relatively seamless whole, and the many intratextual allusions and thematic and rhetorical motifs that bind the text together. However, it is important to remember that these elements in themselves do not tell us when the Book of Mormon was written. They may be inexplicable in our minds and may even suggest that Joseph Smith was not capable of writing the Book of Mormon himself, but historical claims need to be evaluated by historical criteria. Theoretically, these aspects of the text could have arisen in a historical and cultural setting of more recent date that is presently unknown to us (or known).   http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/2013/01/some-problems-with-book-of-mormon-historicity/ .

Mind you, RT does not believe in the historicity of the BofM, but he doesn't downplay the actual complexity of the book, and he admits that Joseph may not have been able to write the book.

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51 minutes ago, Nevo said:

Preposterous? 1 Nephi 1 is loaded with anachronisms. The problems start in verse 1 ("I Nephi") and go on from there. See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/2013/01/some-problems-with-book-of-mormon-historicity/ 

I read your link. Thank you. You are far more knowledgeable on this subject than I am. But still, some thoughts——

I do not say the BOM is without problems. There’s a lot we still don’t know——for example, the subject of this thread, who the original translator was, were there inter-textual additions, etc. There are problems within the text, anachronisms, etc.

But still, could someone invent the first chapter of 1 Nephi, let alone the whole book? Lay out all of the circumstantial detail in 1 Nephi 1, detail that reflects the ancient world, and ask yourself: was there anyone——a Shakespeare, maybe, a Cervantes——was there anyone in 1827-29 capable of producing that? And if there were, to what end?

I mention Shakespeare. Take The Merchant Of Venice. The Merchant of Venice is grounded in a certain place and time, but Shakespeare’s Venice and the Jews of Venice at that time aren’t really much like the historical Venice and its Jews. For example, Shylock goes out at night to eat with Christians, when in historical Venice, the Jews were subject to a curfew and couldn’t leave their ghetto at night. But we know The Merchant of Venice is fiction so it’s okay. But 1 Nephi 1 purports to be actual history, a first person account written on gold plates by a real person.

Now one might argue about this or that, but still you must grant that the incidental historical detail contained in 1 Nephi 1 is pretty amazing, not only given what we know about Jerusalem now, but considering very little was known at the time of JS and even less by JS himself (for example, he reportedly asked Emma if there was a wall around Jerusalem, she said yes, and he replied, "I did not know that").

Edited by bdouglas

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53 minutes ago, Nevo said:

Preposterous? 1 Nephi 1 is loaded with anachronisms. The problems start in verse 1 ("I Nephi") and go on from there. See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/2013/01/some-problems-with-book-of-mormon-historicity/ 

I myself have often said that the circumstances surrounding the BofM seem "preposterous," and so have other faithful Mormons.  I have also had a long discussion online (2014) with RT in which I explored his facile claims of anachronisms.  Let me just take a couple of his first tendentious comments here:

Quote

“therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days” (“historically unlikely”)
The problem with this statement is that Nephi’s composition of a personal narrative history is without comparison in the biblical world of this period. Literacy was highly restricted in the cultures of the ancient Near East and the kind of literacy necessary to compose extended narratives even more rare (see e.g. Rollston, 2010). Furthermore, Nephi does not seem to be self-conscious of his unique scribal abilities in the way that we would expect him to be.

David Bokovoy similarly objects that the Bible doesn’t exhibit any first-person accounts such as are found throughout the Book of Mormon.[1]  However, ancient Egyptian literature features a plethora of first-person narrative accounts, such as the Shipwrecked Sailor, Wenamon Report, Tale of Sinuhe,[2] Dispute of a Man with His Ba,[3] and hundreds of autobiographical tomb inscriptions, such as those of Weni the Elder,[4] Harkhuf,[5] Ahmose son of Ebana,[6]  and Ahmose Pen-Nekhebet,[7] aside from all the first person songs, such as the Songs of the Harpers,[8] which have their parallel in the biblical Song of Songs. This was a standard genre in ancient Egypt, which was certainly part of the world of the Bible.  Indeed, first-person accounts were also quite common in cuneiform literature (Sargon Birth Legend, Idrimi, Azittawada, etc.).[9]

As to Nephi (and Lehi) as a scribe, we know that there were trained scribes in Israel & Judah (scribes trained in cuneiform and Egyptian were essential),[10] and we have no reason to think that Nephi did not have such training.[11]

[1] Bokovoy, Authoring the Old Testament, 3 vols. (SLC: Kofford, 2013), I:193-194, claiming that “we do not have any type of record from the world of the Bible comparable to the Book of Mormon in which named narrators present their true history as a type of autobiographical narrative” – citing K. van der Toorn, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible, 117.  Cf., however, Ecclesiastes as autobiography.

[2] Context Of Scripture, I:77-84,89-93.

[3] COS, III:321-325; cf. TPPI, 17,5; 20,4, and Urkunden VII, 2.9.

[4] Lichtheim, AEL [UC Press, 1973]. I:18ff; 6th dynasty.

[5] Lichtheim, AEL, I:23-27; 6th dynasty.

[6] Lichtheim, AEL [UC Press, 1975], II:12ff; 18th dynasty.

[7] Breasted, ARE, II, §§ 17ff., 40ff; 18th dynasty.

[8] COS, I:48-50, of Intef, Neferhotep, etc.

[9] As Assyriologist Paul Hoskisson has kindly pointed out to me.  Cf. Tremper Longman III, Fictional Akkadian Autobiography: A Generic and Comparative Study (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1991), 53-73.

[10] Orly Goldwasser, "An Egyptian Scribe from Lachish and the Hieratic Tradition of the Hebrew Kingdoms," Tel Aviv, 18 (1991):248-253.

[11]  Brant A. Gardner, “Nephi as Scribe,” FARMS Review, 23/1 (2011):45–55.

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9 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

Now one might argue about this or that, but still you must grant that the historical verisimilitude of 1 Nephi 1 is pretty amazing, not only given what we know about Jerusalem now, but considering very little was known at the time of JS.

We obviously have very different assessments of 1 Nephi 1. You think the historical verisimilitude is "pretty amazing." I confess I don't see that at all. I find just about everything in the chapter to be out of place for an early sixth-century BC Jerusalem setting: Nephi writing in the first person, Nephi writing in Egyptian, Nephi writing at all, Lehi "being overcome with the Spirit," angelic choirs, Nephi writing on metal plates, "the Jews" mocking Lehi, Lehi testifying of "the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world," etc.

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39 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

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

Now one might argue about this or that, but still you must grant that the incidental historical detail contained in 1 Nephi 1 is pretty amazing, not only given what we know about Jerusalem now, but considering very little was known at the time of JS and even less by JS himself ....................

No one knew (for example) in Joseph's day that Israel & Judah regularly used hieratic Egyptian on their weights, and that their system of weights was a basically Egyptian system identical with the one summarized in Alma 11.  That doesn't explain why a set of Egyptian Brass Plates was being kept and regularly added to, but it helps provide context.  Moreover, there are many specifically Egyptian names, motifs, idiomatic phrases, and literary topoi in the Book of Mormon which only make sense in a Book of Mormon engraved in ancient Egyptian.  I am thinking of motifs and phrases which do not appear in the Hebrew Bible at all, such as the "second death" and "lake of fire" -- which are specifically Egyptian phrases and concepts.

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12 minutes ago, Nevo said:

Nephi writing in Egyptian

Where would someone concocting a story, fabricating a whopper, come up with the idea of Nephi writing in Egyptian? Wouldn't he have him writing in Hebrew? Where would he get a name like Nephi (with Egyptian roots)?

And where would such a person find in himself the ability, especially if he were a fraudster, to deal with ultimate questions, questions of life and death, god and the devil, the afterlife? There are texts outside of the Bible that deal with such "ultimate questions", but mostly all they do is pose the questions (the tragedies of Shakespeare, for example), they don't have any answers. But the BOM not only poses the questions, it provides answers.

The ability to deal with such ultimate questions with authority is very rare indeed, really only a prophet has such ability, and then add onto that JS creating a whole world out of nothing, his imagination only . . . .

The difficulties mount and mount——unless we accept the explanation JS gave.

Edited by bdouglas
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2 hours ago, Nevo said:

We obviously have very different assessments of 1 Nephi 1. You think the historical verisimilitude is "pretty amazing." I confess I don't see that at all. I find just about everything in the chapter to be out of place for an early sixth-century BC Jerusalem setting: Nephi writing in the first person, Nephi writing in Egyptian, Nephi writing at all, Lehi "being overcome with the Spirit," angelic choirs, Nephi writing on metal plates, "the Jews" mocking Lehi, Lehi testifying of "the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world," etc.

The Book of Mormon is not exactly a 6th century BC text. It claims to be a 5th century AD abridgment of earlier texts including histories that date back to the 6th century BC. So we can't say for certain that "I Nephi" is an anachronism, especially since all the elements you list above are found in 5th century Judeo-Christian texts. There is even a possibility that there was an Egyptian Jew named Nephi writing in Coptic/Egyptian dating to this period. You haven't provided convincing evidence that Kircher made all of that up.

As an example, the text we've discussed elsewhere (History of the Rechabites) has a similar narrative and dates between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, possibly earlier. It is also written as a first person narrative history and tells the history of Israelites dating back to the 6th century BC. So it is "historically likely" that Christians in the 5th century were writing first person narratives about Israelite groups that left Jerusalem for promised lands in that period.

Edited by Rajah Manchou

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21 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

No one knew (for example) in Joseph's day that Israel & Judah regularly used hieratic Egyptian on their weights, and that their system of weights was a basically Egyptian system identical with the one summarized in Alma 11.  That doesn't explain why a set of Egyptian Brass Plates was being kept and regularly added to, but it helps provide context.  Moreover, there are many specifically Egyptian names, motifs, idiomatic phrases, and literary topoi in the Book of Mormon which only make sense in a Book of Mormon engraved in ancient Egyptian.  I am thinking of motifs and phrases which do not appear in the Hebrew Bible at all, such as the "second death" and "lake of fire" -- which are specifically Egyptian phrases and concepts.

The whole Egyptian angle——pretty amazing, although I know very little about it. How would anybody, in 1827-29, come up with such an angle if he were concocting a story? What would be the point of it? "Truth is stranger than fiction, but not so tidy." A mere storyteller would never complicate his story by throwing in such an unlikely angle, or detail; and he wouldn't have Hagoth disappear into the north country without telling what eventually happened to him, and he would not tell us the Liahona had two spindles but only tell us what one was for; and so on and so on. But someone writing real history would. Real history is filled with such loose ends, such improbabilities.

Edited by bdouglas
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24 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Also, the Book of Mormon itself claims to be a 5th century AD abridgment of earlier texts. So we can't say for certain that "I Nephi" is an anachronism. All the elements you list above are found in 5th century Judeo-Christian texts.

The Book of Mormon doesn't claim that the Small Plates of Nephi were abridged by Mormon, only the Large Plates. But I agree that 1 Nephi 1 wouldn't be terribly out of place as a 5th-century Christian apocryphal writing.

Edited by Nevo

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27 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

Where would someone concocting a story, fabricating a whopper, come up with the idea of Nephi writing in Egyptian? Wouldn't he have him writing in Hebrew? Where would he get a name like Nephi (with Egyptian roots)?

Nephi and Lehi are both names that Joseph had access to in his KJV Bible. While there is no good reason why a Jerusalemite ca. 600 BC would pen a lengthy narrative in Egyptian on metal plates, I can see how Joseph Smith may have found the idea plausible—as I noted here: http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/65410-learning-of-the-jews-language-of-the-egyptians/?page=2&tab=comments#comment-1209498925.

 

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16 minutes ago, Nevo said:

Nephi and Lehi are both names that Joseph had access to in his KJV Bible. While there is no good reason why a Jerusalemite ca. 600 BC would pen a lengthy narrative in Egyptian on metal plates, I can see how Joseph Smith may have found the idea plausible—as I noted here: http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/65410-learning-of-the-jews-language-of-the-egyptians/?page=2&tab=comments#comment-1209498925.

 

I'm curious (I've never seen this question addressed anywhere before), where do you think a fraudster, even a pious fraud——assuming JS was this, a fraudster, or pious fraud, where did he get the ability to deal authoritatively with ultimate questions, and to deal with them in a way that we do not see anywhere else outside of the Bible?——and integrate this all into an amazing tale, a whole new world with a wealth of circumstantial detail, firmly grounded in space and time, all spun out of——what?——his imagination?

Where did he get this ability? Has there been anyone in the whole history of the world, any creative genius, with such amazing ability? Or has there ever been someone so diabolical?

Edited by bdouglas
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1 hour ago, Nevo said:

We obviously have very different assessments of 1 Nephi 1. You think the historical verisimilitude is "pretty amazing." I confess I don't see that at all. I find just about everything in the chapter to be out of place for an early sixth-century BC Jerusalem setting: Nephi writing in the first person, Nephi writing in Egyptian, Nephi writing at all, Lehi "being overcome with the Spirit," angelic choirs, Nephi writing on metal plates, "the Jews" mocking Lehi, Lehi testifying of "the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world," etc.

Virtually all of your claimed anachronisms here are way out of line, Nevo, and the same applies to RT's objections in the article you cited.  Too impressionistic, and lacking completely in substantive backing.  Thus, Lehi cannot be overcome with the Spirit, and there cannot be angelic choirs, even though we have Isaiah describing powerful spiritual events in Isa 6:6, 61:3, angels singing in Psalms 103:20, 148:2, and Job 38:7, and Saul and his messengers overcome by the Spirit and singing and prophesying with a band of ecstatic prophets (1 Sam 10:5-7,19:20-24), and the Levitical choir singing at the Jerusalem temple.

As to writing on metal plates, 

Non-Mormon scholar Alan Millard interprets Hebrew gillayon gadol (Isaiah 8:1 ǁ2 Nephi 18:1; cf. Isaiah 3:23) as “large writing tablet,” saying: 

Quote

In light of the Ketef Hinnom amulets, the “large writing tablet,” gillayon gadol, may denote a sheet of metal, assuming the gilyonim of 3:23 are “mirrors,” on which letters would need to be written by incision with a graving tool (heret).[1]

 Cf. Isaiah 30:8 Hebrew lûaḥ “plate, tablet” (a permanent record), as in lûaḥ (sēper);  ḥqq “engrave” = bʻr  “incise” in Habakkuk 2:2 – with a ḥereṭ “stylus.”[2]  Such a stylus or engraving tool could be metal itself, or a very hard stone such as flint or obsidian.  


[1] Alan Millard, “`Take a large writing tablet and write on it’: Isaiah – A writing prophet?” In Katherine J. Dell, Graham Davies,  and Yee Von Koh, eds., Genesis, Isaiah and Psalms: A Festschrift to Honor Professor John Emerton for his Eightieth Birthday (Leiden/ Boston: Brill, 2010), 115-116. 

[2] F. I. Andersen, Habakkuk, Anchor Bible 25 (Doubleday, 2001), 203-204.

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

In any case, writing on metal tablets was quite common in the ancient world: 

H. Curtis Wright, Modern Presentism and Ancient Metallic Epigraphy (SLC: Wings of Fire, 2006).

John A. Tvedtnes, “Etruscan Gold Book from 600 B.C. Discovered,” Insights, 23/5 (2003):1,6 (6-page 24-carat gold book bound with rings, found in a tomb in Bulgaria ca. 1943).

William J. Hamblin, "Sacred Writing on Metal Plates in the Ancient Mediterranean,” FARMS Review,19/1 (2007):37-54.

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

Jews believed in the coming of the Messiah long before Jesus showed up, and the rabbis have always spoken of the redemption/repair of the world (Tikkun Olam).

Israel Knohl, The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls, trans. D. Maisel, S. Mark Taper Foundation Book in Jewish Studies  (Berkeley: U.C. Press, 2000).

Michael Wise.  The First Messiah: Investigating the Savior Before Christ.  (S.F.: Harper San Francisco, 1999).

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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10 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Where did the Book of Mormon come from.  I constantly hear this idea argued from both apologetic and critical sides.  All in an attempt to explain how Joseph could have produced the Book of Mormon.  Yet, when it comes right down to it, both sides should be able to agree on some pretty basic historical facts from the evidence.  

  • Joseph Smith dictated the content of the BoM to some scribes

Nearly everyone should be able to agree on that statement, and I think that really explains it in a nutshell.  I was thinking about other figures in history that are revered for things they produced.  Newton, Einstein, Beethoven, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.  Do anyone else spend so much time asking where they came up with their masterpiece works?  Where did Einstein get that amazing theory of relativity?  Where did Michelangelo get that amazing statue of David.  How could they have possibly produced these things?  Where did they come from?  

I think we spend so much time looking for evidence, trying to find parallels, seeking to understand where the BoM came from, that we are missing the answer right in front of our faces and we should all be able to agree on.  The BoM came from Joseph Smith.  This is the clear and straightforward answer that both believers and nonbelievers should be able to agree on, and its the simple answer to a highly debated question.  

The process of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is a mystery just begging to be solved. I have found the exercise of searching for its "true" origins has brought me a deeper understanding and appreciation of it. But Joseph could not possibly have created it--just as he couldn't have created The Brothers Karamozov, Shakespeare's plays, or Plato's Republic. There is simply too much substance involving too many subjects. The "real"author is first and foremost a master of the bible. Add to that a deep understanding of warfare, government, history, politics, theology and literature. Throw in hundreds of names of places and people including lengthy genealogies, a complex but consistent geography, intertwining plot lines (complicated by multiple flashbacks and flash-forwards) that merge together seamlessly, and sprinkle in a plethora of source documents, masterful doctrinal sermons, and a complicated set of records. Now combine this all into a related series of wisdom stories that tell individuals how to live in order to attain happiness and instructs societies how to operate in order to live in peace and prosperity. To simply say Joseph dictated the Book of Mormon to some scribes end of story is, in my opinion, to miss much of the beauty, complexity, and mystery of the book.

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8 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

I'm curious (I've never seen this question addressed anywhere before), where do you think a fraudster, even a pious fraud——assuming JS was this, a fraudster, or pious fraud, where did he get the ability to deal authoritatively with ultimate questions, and to deal with them in a way that we do not see anywhere else outside of the Bible?——and integrate it all into an amazing tale, a whole new world spun out of——what?——I guess his imagination.

Where did he get this ability? Has there been anyone in the whole history of the world, any creative genius, with such amazing ability? Or has there ever been someone so diabolical?

As Grant Hardy has noted, "a new addition to the library of world scripture is a relatively rare phenomena. In every age there are individuals who claim revelations, some of which get committed to writing and eventually published, but very few of these texts come to be regarded by millions of believers as sacred and authoritative and then, through translations, gain readers and adherents beyond their culture of origin." Hardy estimates this has happened "perhaps only a dozen times" over the past thousand years. But it does happen.

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25 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

Has there been anyone in the whole history of the world, any creative genius, with such amazing ability?

I believe I can name one person who fits the bill. Someone considered to be one of the brightest minds in history. Someone who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the bible and wrote volumes of commentary on it. Someone who extensively studied and wrote about history, politics, war, religion, and theology. Someone who produced great literary works about the Garden of Eden, Joseph in Egypt, and Christ's Passion, among other subjects. Someone who lived an exemplary and pious life who was a master of several languages including Hebrew and who knew about chiasmus. Someone, even, whose theology and theory of government and warfare is reflected in the Book of Mormon. Someone who believed that people came to America anciently by sailing across the Pacific Ocean. Someone who lived during a terrible period of warfare and witnessed both intense domestic strife and devastating war casualties the level of which had never been seen in human history. Someone whose life, education and experience qualify him in every way to have written the Book of Mormon. Hint: this someone is not named Joseph Smith.

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14 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I believe I can name one person who fits the bill. Someone considered to be one of the brightest minds in history. Someone who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the bible and wrote volumes of commentary on it. Someone who extensively studied and wrote about history, politics, war, religion, and theology. Someone who produced great literary works about the Garden of Eden, Joseph in Egypt, and Christ's Passion, among other subjects. Someone who lived an exemplary and pious life who was a master of several languages including Hebrew and who knew about chiasmus. Someone, even, whose theology and theory of government and warfare is reflected in the Book of Mormon. Someone who believed that people came to America anciently by sailing across the Pacific Ocean. Someone who lived during a terrible period of warfare and witnessed both intense domestic strife and devastating war casualties the level of which had never been seen in human history. Someone whose life, education and experience qualify him in every way to have written the Book of Mormon. Hint: this someone is not named Joseph Smith.

Ah yes, Emanuel Swedenborg. ; )

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28 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Virtually all of your claimed anachronisms here are way out of line, Nevo, and the same applies to RT's objections in the article you cited.  Too impressionistic, and lacking completely in substantive backing.

Virtually all? Now I'm curious to know which one(s) you think might have merit. :)

28 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As to writing on metal plates, 

Non-Mormon scholar Alan Millard interprets Hebrew gillayon gadol (Isaiah 8:1 ǁ2 Nephi 18:1; cf. Isaiah 3:23) as “large writing tablet,” saying:

There is a very great difference between writing a fairly short message on a single sheet of metal and writing an entire book on metal plates. And this latter otherwise unattested feat is what we find over and over in the Book of Mormon: with the brass plates, the plates of Ether, the plates of Nephi, the plates of Mormon...

28 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Jews believed in the coming of the Messiah long before Jesus showed up, and the rabbis have always spoken of the redemption/repair of the world (Tikkun Olam).

Not in preexilic Jerusalem.

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23 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I believe I can name one person who fits the bill. Someone considered to be one of the brightest minds in history. Someone who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the bible and wrote volumes of commentary on it. Someone who extensively studied and wrote about history, politics, war, religion, and theology. Someone who produced great literary works about the Garden of Eden, Joseph in Egypt, and Christ's Passion, among other subjects. Someone who lived an exemplary and pious life who was a master of several languages including Hebrew and who knew about chiasmus. Someone, even, whose theology and theory of government and warfare is reflected in the Book of Mormon. Someone who believed that people came to America anciently by sailing across the Pacific Ocean. Someone who lived during a terrible period of warfare and witnessed both intense domestic strife and devastating war casualties the level of which had never been seen in human history. Someone whose life, education and experience qualify him in every way to have written the Book of Mormon. Hint: this someone is not named Joseph Smith.

Maybe, but it is a lot easier to believe we got the BOM the way JS said: by way of an angel, gold plates. The theory that some transcendent genius, a genius such as the world has never seen before, concocted it, and this concoction some way found its way in JS’s hand——well, such a theory is about as convincing as the theory that Shakespeare really didn’t write the plays that bear his name but some other guy, or group of guys. But the fact is, only Shakespeare was really circumstanced to write the plays; and so it is with JS i.e. the theory that someone else dreamed up the book and somehow passed it along to him (for what reason?) doesn’t pass muster.

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9 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Ah yes, Emanuel Swedenborg. ; )

Nope. Solomon Spalding. 

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4 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

Maybe, but it is a lot easier to believe we got the BOM the way JS said: by way of an angel, gold plates. The theory that some transcendent genius, a genius such as the world has never seen before, concocted it, and this concoction some way found its way in JS’s hand——well, such a theory is about as convincing as the theory that Shakespeare really didn’t write the plays that bear his name but some other guy, or group of guys. But the fact is, only Shakespeare was really circumstanced to write the plays; and so it is with JS i.e. the theory that someone else dreamed up the book and somehow passed it along to him (for what reason?) doesn’t pass muster.

1) This transcendent genius did exist in the 17th Century in Europe.

2) Joseph Smith could have accessed it through the seer stone.

This is easier to believe than a 4th Century genius produced it. 

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