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Ryan Dahle

Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

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15 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Sure, I think we are both not wrong on silk. Silk without a doubt means serikos in Revelations 18:12, and refers to fancy fabrics or fine linens elsewhere. 

Again, I agree that everything (except elephants) was known in Europe in the 17th century. I even accept that Grotius, or an associate, could have been the author/translator. It just seems to me that if Grotius was the author, he wasn't writing about Mesoamerica. He was writing about Asia. My reasons for believing this:

  1. Everything mentioned in the Book of Mormon fits Asia, including elephants. The majority of animals and objects mentioned in the Book of Mormon do not fit Mesoamerica.
  2. The internal geography of the Book of Mormon fits Asia. It does not fit Mesoamerica without some serious contortions.
  3. Traditions of 6th century BC Jews leaving Jerusalem and migrating through Yemen to India would have been known to Grotius. He acknowledges the people of India and Burma were somehow familiar with Biblical traditions, but he did not believe Jews migrated to Mesoamerica.
  4. Grotius was Dutch and the East Indies were colonized by the Dutch. Mesoamerica was colonized by the Spanish.
  5. There is nothing in the Book of Mormon that doesn't fit an East Indian setting, even the history and archaeology are aligned. A Mesoamerican setting has problems that have already been discussed in great detail.   

Let's just look at the map. How does it line up so well with the internal Book of Mormon geography? How do the known archeological sites with matching toponyms line up with the Book of Mormon narrative, also dated to the correct time period? 

I readily admit not everything fits in meso-America. Since I'm assuming a fictional story, this doesn't dissuade me much. As far as geography is concerned, the only real problem I know of with a meso-American model is the directions are off by about 45 degrees. However, I think this is really only a problem if the author has a limited view of the geography (as Mormon probably would have). Once you step way back and look at a map of the entire hemisphere, the east sea really is in the east and the west sea really is in the west. Same with the lands north and south. I think it's likely that a European with a fairly accurate global map would see things in this light.

15 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Grotius, or any 17th century author, could have been the author of a pseudo-Biblical narrative based on historical events and set in a real world geography with matching toponyms and based on traditions that would have been familiar to him. You are saying that is impossible because he was really writing a fiction about Jews in a place he didn't believe Jews had ever been. 

You are conflating the ten lost tribes with Jews and, at the same time, mis-representing what Grotius said. Grotius said he rejected the idea that the ten lost tribes had gone to America because he rejected the authority of 4 Esdras. The three groups he mentions as having possibly come to America were fairly late. The Norse around 1000, the Ethiopians sometime after probably 300 AD or so, and the Chinese fairly recently being that their boats were said to be found on the western shores. One of my theories is that his paper on the subject was more or less a red herring. It's like he went out of the way to make his assertions the furthest away from the Book of Mormon as possible. I wish I could find an English translation of the rest of Grotius' discussion with de Laet. De Laet responded to Grotius, then Grotius responded to de Laet, then de Laet offered a futher response. I've found secondary sources discussing this interchange but I think finding the entire discussion would shed additional light.

16 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

The Jaredite narrative in the Book of Mormon could have been based on medieval traditions of Gomer, son of Japhet, sailing with his family to China in boats modeled after Noah's Ark following the confusion of tongues at the tower. In some traditions Gomer is associated with Amor, and the Amorites. In other traditions he is associated with the Mor, and the Maurians. In other traditions they are associated with the Kumr, or Khmer. One tradition states that they sailed from Egypt past India and resided on the Island of Taprobane (Sri Lanka/Sumatra/Malay Peninsula) before they continued on to Europe.

The Jaredites departed from Morian cumer, but we have no idea where this place was. It could have been Yemen, Egypt, Shanghai or Timbuktu. We have no idea so we can't easily calculate distances and float times.

However, I believe the name Morian cumer is taken from the medieval traditions that Gomer was a Maurian and/or a Kumr. These were known traditions, partly based in history. They are not fictions that the author(s) of the Book of Mormon came up with. For example, the tradition of the Milesians is similar, if not directly related, to the Book of Mormon narrative. It's a rabbit hole, but if you are interested we could discuss how the Smith's might have known the contents of the Lebor Gabála Érenn which describes the journey of Gomer from Egypt to Taprobane (Malay Archipelago) and then continuing on to Ireland. 

Your link to the Milesians was interesting and I'm certainly interested in learning more about similar legends. At this point I'm not interested in how the Smiths may have known any of this. I'm much more interested in how Grotius may have known it.

Does your model have the Jaredites landing on the Malay Peninsula? 

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4 hours ago, JarMan said:

As far as geography is concerned, the only real problem I know of with a meso-American model is the directions are off by about 45 degrees. However, I think this is really only a problem if the author has a limited view of the geography (as Mormon probably would have). Once you step way back and look at a map of the entire hemisphere, the east sea really is in the east and the west sea really is in the west. Same with the lands north and south. I think it's likely that a European with a fairly accurate global map would see things in this light.

45 degrees is generous. It looks like 90 to me. There are other critical problems, that have been discussed in detail elsewhere.

I gather you prefer the Mesoamerican model because the Joseph/Moroni "former inhabitants of this continent and their source" comment. What other reasons do you believe Grotius would have to write a fiction about Mesoamerica and not somewhere else that fits the narrative (and history) better?

(1) Why Mesoamerica, where his narrative could only be a fiction? 
(2) Why not the Dutch East Indies, where his account could be based in Judeo-Christian tradition and history?

4 hours ago, JarMan said:

You are conflating the ten lost tribes with Jews and, at the same time, mis-representing what Grotius said. Grotius said he rejected the idea that the ten lost tribes had gone to America because he rejected the authority of 4 Esdras.

I find this problematic. Grotius rejected the idea that lost tribes could have reached America because he thought the author of 4 Esdras had "his head full of vain dreams". Yet all the while he was writing a fictional Biblical account about a branch of a lost tribe sailing to America? If Grotius wanted people to believe his fictional story, wouldn't it be more likely that he would endorse 4 Esdras and any speculation about lost tribes in America? Why would Grotius need to make public assertions to lead people away from the claims of the Book of Mormon?

It would be helpful to have the rest of the De Laet debate.

4 hours ago, JarMan said:

Your link to the Milesians was interesting and I'm certainly interested in learning more about similar legends. At this point I'm not interested in how the Smiths may have known any of this. I'm much more interested in how Grotius may have known it.

There are several of these pseudo-Biblical histories. I think I'll save that conversation until I've sorted the material and have had it reviewed by people more expert in those texts than me.

4 hours ago, JarMan said:

Does your model have the Jaredites landing on the Malay Peninsula? 

In my model the Jaredites were the Amorite/Mauryan Kumrs described in medieval histories/geographies. Those histories have the Kumrs sailing in boats modeled after Noah's Ark and arriving in "China". (sources) There's a lot of material on this, but in short, some Indian historians identify the Mor clan as coming from the Moron kings in the land of Moron. (source) Ether contains 11 references to King Moron and/or the land of Moron.

There's only two ways to look at this: (1) the author of the Book of Mormon was basing the Jaredite account on the histories/geographies of the Indias, or (2) he got really lucky and picked Moron as the name of his Jaredite kingdom.

Which do you suppose?

Edited by Rajah Manchou

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4 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

45 degrees is generous. It looks like 90 to me. There are other critical problems, that have been discussed in detail elsewhere. If Grotius wanted people to believe his fictional story, wouldn't it be more likely that he would endorse 4 Esdras and all speculation about Jews in America? Why would Grotius need to make public assertions to lead people away from the claims of the Book of Mormon?

He may have had reason to hide his authorship. People in Europe were still being executed for heresy at that point in time.

4 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I gather you prefer the Mesoamerican model because the Joseph/Moroni "former inhabitants of this continent and their source" comment. What other reasons do you believe Grotius would have to write a fiction about Mesoamerica and not somewhere else that fits the narrative (and history) better?

(1) Why Mesoamerica, where his narrative could only be a fiction? 
(2) Why not the Dutch East Indies, where his account could be based in Judeo-Christian tradition and history?

Meso-America was a convenient setting because the Spanish Catholics were there. The Book of Mormon is partly a polemic against the abuses of the Catholic Church. Grotius was very critical of the way the Spanish treated the natives of America. The setting is also partly etiological. The natives were scattered and smitten by the Lord because they had lost the true gospel and the Lord saw fit to chasten them before finally restoring the gospel for good.

I imagine that Grotius was on a similar wavelength as John Eliot, an English contemporary of Grotius who saw the gospel being brought to the natives of America as completing an epic circle. I haven't researched this particular line of thinking with Grotius, but it's clear that there were several English such as Thomas Thorowgood, author of Jews in America (1650), who saw things similarly. Towards the end of Grotius' life he was very close to the English and became a revered hero among the English after his death. The following is from this source.

Capture.JPG.c029856d0f859a14df6b117fbfab232f.JPG

I am still researching this line of evidence but I think I see a clear indication that people in Grotius' time and environment saw America as very spiritually significant in that European Christians were restoring the lost teachings to these descendants of the ancient Jews. This fits with the message of 1 Nephi 13 and other passages in the Book of Mormon.

4 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I find this problematic. Grotius rejected the idea that lost tribes could have reached America because he rejected the authority of 4 Esdras, perhaps not seeing it as legitimate scripture. Yet all the while he was writing a fictional Biblical account about a branch of a lost tribe (Manasseh) sailing to America? 

Like I said, it's a possible red herring to disguise his authorship. He'd already been imprisoned once for not having the right religious/political views.

4 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

It would be helpful to have the rest of the De Laet debate.

There are several of these pseudo-Biblical histories. I think I'll save that conversation until I've sorted the material and have had it reviewed by people more expert in those texts than me.

In my model the Jaredites were the Amorite/Mauryan Kumrs described in medieval histories/geographies. Those histories have the Kumrs sailing in boats modeled after Noah's Ark and arriving in "China". (sources) There's a lot of material on this, but in short, some Indian historians identify the Mor clan as coming from the Moron kings in the land of Moron. (source) Ether contains 11 references to King Moron and/or the land of Moron.

There's only two ways to look at this: (1) the author of the Book of Mormon was basing the Jaredite account on the histories/geographies of the Indias, or (2) he got really lucky and picked Moron as the name of his Jaredite kingdom.

Which do you suppose?

I haven't had a chance yet to explore your sources so I don't have much comment on them yet. As far as toponyms are concerned I tend to be pretty skeptical. I'm sure you've also seen other models that claim to match place names.

Edited by JarMan

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9 hours ago, JarMan said:

I imagine that Grotius was on a similar wavelength as John Eliot, an English contemporary of Grotius who saw the gospel being brought to the natives of America as completing an epic circle. I haven't researched this particular line of thinking with Grotius, but it's clear that there were several English such as Thomas Thorowgood, author of Jews in America (1650), who saw things similarly. Towards the end of Grotius' life he was very close to the English and became a revered hero among the English after his death. The following is from this source.

Interesting material. Eliot doesn't single out the Americas, instead he describes a simultaneous dispersal of the Jews to the West and the East. His "New World" is not limited to Mesoamerica, instead it is "the appointed site for the utopian encounter of clockwise and counterclockwise Israelites: the Indian descendants of Shem and Eber and the Puritan Israelites bearing westward the Hebrew Scriptures." This is what I have been trying to communicate. The Indian Israelites (from India) go east, and then farther east, until they reach the Atlantic coast, and run into the Puritan Israelites (Europeans) and the Bible. The Book of Mormon is that account, closing the circle. Problem is that we don't have the full Book of Mormon account yet. Never did.

Eliot's letter to Thorowgood says it well: "Hence therefore we may, not only with faith, but also with demonstration, say, that fruitful India are Hebrews, that famous civil (though idolatrous) nation of China are Hebrews, so Japonia, and these naked Americans are Hebrews”

Just as Jacob says in 2 Nephi, all these islands in the sea were populated with Hebrews, and there were many! Eliot sums up my model better than I have:

"May it not be worthy of consideration, that when Ezekiels Gospel-temple shall be measured, the Eastern gate is first measured, again when the glory of the Lord cometh into that glorious Temple, he is upon his Western progresse, and first enters that Temple at the Eastern gate, again the frontispiece of that Temple is Eastward, and those precious waters of that Sanctuary, so wholesome, powerful and precious, they run Eastward into the East land, and the further Eastward the more deep and wonderful they be: doth not all this show, that there shall be a glorious Church in all the Eastern world?" 

In summary, I am proposing exactly what Eliot describes above. The Book of Mormon opens in the east and runs further eastward until it reaches the Atlantic, and the Europeans moving westward, The circle is completed on the American continent, but the source from whence it sprang is in the East.

The Eliot Tracts: With Letters from John Eliot to Thomas Thorowgood and Richard Baxter

Edited by Rajah Manchou

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8 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Interesting material. Eliot doesn't single out the Americas, instead he describes a simultaneous dispersal of the Jews to the West and the East. His "New World" is not limited to Mesoamerica, instead it is "the appointed site for the utopian encounter of clockwise and counterclockwise Israelites: the Indian descendants of Shem and Eber and the Puritan Israelites bearing westward the Hebrew Scriptures." This is what I have been trying to communicate. The Indian Israelites (from India) go east, and then farther east, until they reach the Atlantic coast, and run into the Puritan Israelites (Europeans) and the Bible. The Book of Mormon is that account, closing the circle. Problem is that we don't have the full Book of Mormon account yet. Never did.

Eliot's letter to Thorowgood says it well: "Hence therefore we may, not only with faith, but also with demonstration, say, that fruitful India are Hebrews, that famous civil (though idolatrous) nation of China are Hebrews, so Japonia, and these naked Americans are Hebrews”

Just as Jacob says in 2 Nephi, all these islands in the sea were populated with Hebrews, and there were many! Eliot sums up my model better than I have:

"May it not be worthy of consideration, that when Ezekiels Gospel-temple shall be measured, the Eastern gate is first measured, again when the glory of the Lord cometh into that glorious Temple, he is upon his Western progresse, and first enters that Temple at the Eastern gate, again the frontispiece of that Temple is Eastward, and those precious waters of that Sanctuary, so wholesome, powerful and precious, they run Eastward into the East land, and the further Eastward the more deep and wonderful they be: doth not all this show, that there shall be a glorious Church in all the Eastern world?" 

In summary, I am proposing exactly what Eliot describes above. The Book of Mormon opens in the east and runs further eastward until it reaches the Atlantic, and the Europeans moving westward, The circle is completed on the American continent, but the source from whence it sprang is in the East.

The Eliot Tracts: With Letters from John Eliot to Thomas Thorowgood and Richard Baxter

I'm having a hard time understanding your model. How could the Book of Mormon cover Asia and America? Do the Nephites ever set foot in Asia once they board the ship? Or is it just the Jaredites? Does anybody in the Book of Mormon end up in America?

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4 hours ago, JarMan said:

I'm having a hard time understanding your model. How could the Book of Mormon cover Asia and America? Do the Nephites ever set foot in Asia once they board the ship? Or is it just the Jaredites? Does anybody in the Book of Mormon end up in America?

Many of the people of Ammon, who were Lamanites by birth, went into the land northward. Book of Mormon groups also went east through the Pacific to populate the Polynesian Islands, most likely reaching the Americas. These would have been the followers of the Prophet Onandagus (a prophet not mentioned in the Book of Mormon) who battled on the Plains of the Nephites. Joseph knew this story, somehow. Samuel Mitchill also described the battles between these two groups, the Malay and the Tartars, in Onondaga, New York.

Mormon tells us these people also kept many records of their proceedings, and that those records were particular, and very large. These were Book of Mormon Lamanites, Ammonites and Nephites, but we know very little about them because Mormon was commanded not to record everything, not even a hundredth part, in his abridgment. 

Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon intended to tell a much larger story than what we have. 

Edited by Rajah Manchou

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16 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Many of the people of Ammon, who were Lamanites by birth, went into the land northward. Book of Mormon groups also went east through the Pacific to populate the Polynesian Islands, most likely reaching the Americas.

Is there something in the text that supports this theory or is this just speculation?

16 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

These would have been the followers of the Prophet Onandagus (a prophet not mentioned in the Book of Mormon) who battled on the Plains of the Nephites. Joseph knew this story, somehow. Samuel Mitchill also described the battles between these two groups, the Malay and the Tartars, in Onondaga, New York.

Okay, help me fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Book of Mormon people from Asia crossed the Pacific, then eventually crossed America to New York? The Plains of the Nephites are located in New York?

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Upon reaching Asia, Europeans realized that the scriptures they discovered there were older than the Bible, and that was a problem. People like Athanasius Kircher resolved this problem by speculating that an Egyptian priest carried religion (and hieroglyhs) to Siam in the 6th century BC. These Egyptians eventually made their way over to Mexico. Nobody was speculating that Egyptian Jews bypassed Asia, and sailed directly to America. That wouldn't answer the questions that were being asked in the 17th century.

BTW, Kircher claimed to be translating an ancient manuscript written by an Egyptian Jew named Nephi. 

9 hours ago, JarMan said:

Is there something in the text that supports this theory or is this just speculation?

Helaman 3 says "there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land. And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers."

There are Hagoth's ships as well. The speculation among Mormons has always been that Hagoth's ships populated the Polynesian Islands from America to Asia. We now know that isn't the case. Polynesians came from Asia towards America. 

Asia to America migrations also work better in your model. Grotius, Eliot, Kircher, Dee, Thorowgood etc. wouldn't have speculated about migrations from America to Asia, since nearly all 17th century writers on the topic believed America was populated from Asia through the Pacific.

Edited by Rajah Manchou

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9 hours ago, JarMan said:

Okay, help me fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Book of Mormon people from Asia crossed the Pacific, then eventually crossed America to New York? The Plains of the Nephites are located in New York?

Joseph's story of the white Lamanite who fought for freedom under the Prophet Onandagus, known from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic, was not a story from the Book of Mormon. It sounds more like a Samuel Mitchell essay. Mitchell believed that the fair-skinned Tartars had crossed over from Asia to inhabit North America, and they battled with the dark-skinned Malay who had also crossed over from Asia. These battles happened in Onondaga, New York. Sounds to me like Joseph Smith had been discussing academic essays about Native American origins and was expanding on Book of Mormon events. 

This sort of speculation about Native American origins was not at all unusual for the 1820s. For example, Rafinesque, an associate of Mitchell, wrote his own set of Native American scriptures around the same time the Book of Mormon was published. And look where he got all his ideas:

l_sMHXfHxo-3000x3000.jpeg

There's a lot packed in there, but in short, its not unreasonable to assume that contemporaries of Joseph Smith were familiar with all the 17th century material we have been discussing.

Edited by Rajah Manchou

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5 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Helaman 3 says "there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land. And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers."

There are Hagoth's ships as well. The speculation among Mormons has always been that Hagoth's ships populated the Polynesian Islands from America to Asia. We now know that isn't the case. Polynesians came from Asia towards America.

I'm not seeing anything here that seems to point to the east. Hagoth went north from the west coast. The others just went north by land.

5 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Asia to America migrations also work better in your model. Grotius, Eliot, Kircher, Dee, Thorowgood etc. wouldn't have speculated about migrations from America to Asia, since nearly all 17th century writers on the topic believed America was populated from Asia through the Pacific.

The views on the origins of the Americans are much more diverse than you suppose. Theories include the Welsh, Irish, Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, Dutch, Celts, Gauls, Greeks, Etruscans, Italians, Romans, Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Atlantians, Canaanites, Israelites, Mauritanians, Ethiopians, Turks, New Guineans, Samoides and Laplanders, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Chinese, Scythians, Tartars, Japanese, Huns, and others (source, see first chapter).

In English and Dutch sources from the 1620's or so onward I see a great fascination with the Americas. This was the new frontier these nations were just beginning to explore. The English seem to have had a larger interest in missionary work than the Dutch, whose interest seemed to have been primarily trade. From the English I see very little about Asia. The Dutch still talk about Asia, but America is where all the new action is taking place. If my model was fifty years earlier than what I am proposing, then the East Indies would make some sense. Slightly telling is this 1656 Dutch map which shows the St Lawrence River named for Grotius ("De Groote Rivier van Nieu Nederlandt").

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1 hour ago, JarMan said:

Slightly telling is this 1656 Dutch map which shows the St Lawrence River named for Grotius ("De Groote Rivier van Nieu Nederlandt").

I'm curious: 'De Groote Rivier van Nieu Nederlandt' simply means, in Dutch, 'The Big River from New Netherlands'. What exactly is the link to Hugo Grotius/Huig de Groot? (In addition, the map actually gives the name 'St Lawrence' twice.)

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1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I'm curious: 'De Groote Rivier van Nieu Nederlandt' simply means, in Dutch, 'The Big River from New Netherlands'. What exactly is the link to Hugo Grotius/Huig de Groot? (In addition, the map actually gives the name 'St Lawrence' twice.)

Apparently I need a remedial course in Dutch.

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3 hours ago, JarMan said:

I'm not seeing anything here that seems to point to the east. Hagoth went north from the west coast. The others just went north by land.

Hairsplitting details, but the first of Hagoth's ships went north. He then built more ships, and we have no idea where those went. The first ship returned and filled with provisions and went north again. Another ship went somewhere, nobody knows which direction. While all this was happening, many Nephites went north. These migrations were just a few years previous to the Ammonite/Lamanite migrations described in Helaman.

Does this account fit anywhere?

Mesoamerica: there is nothing to support migrations by boat from Mexico to the north. The Maya didn't have ships that could move hundreds of people with provisions. This doesn't fit historically.

Southeast Asia: around the turn of first century there was an increase in the timber and wood trade, particularly in the north (source). There was also an increase in construction of buildings and temples. Forests were cleared to provide wood for kilns (source). This fits the Book of Mormon account perfectly. The timber trade went west to the Coromandel Coast in India, where 1st century Roman and Greek accounts describe massive trading vessels from "Kunlun" or Kumr. The trade also extended to the Southeast African coast where the Lemba Jews describe coming from a place across the sea, most likely somewhere in India. These ships average 50 meters long and were capable of transporting between 500 and 1000 people with provisions weighing between 250 and 1000 tons. There's a 1st century AD record of these massive ships arriving at the right time (source), from exactly the narrow neck identified in my map as the place where the sea divides the land, a place called Tarnassari, on the Malay Peninsula. (source)

These Kunlun ships are the only ships that could possibly meet the requirements of the Book of Mormon account in the first century. No other known vessel beyond the Middle East could qualify. The Asian model is the only model that can explain the placement of massive 1st century shipping vessels at the narrow neck described in the Book of Mormon. The Maya had nothing bigger than a canoe, if I'm not mistaken.

I know you aren't arguing for a historical Book of Mormon. But even in that case, Grotius would likely have known these accounts of massive ships from the Golden Peninsula, plying their trade from a narrow neck of land, and all their movements north into the area where the lost tribes, Seres, Nephtalites, Scythians, and Chinese were supposedly making their passage from Tartary to America.

Edited by Rajah Manchou

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On 8/9/2018 at 4:18 AM, Rajah Manchou said:

Hairsplitting details, but the first of Hagoth's ships went north. He then built more ships, and we have no idea where those went. The first ship returned and filled with provisions and went north again. Another ship went somewhere, nobody knows which direction. While all this was happening, many Nephites went north. These migrations were just a few years previous to the Ammonite/Lamanite migrations described in Helaman.

Does this account fit anywhere?

Mesoamerica: there is nothing to support migrations by boat from Mexico to the north. The Maya didn't have ships that could move hundreds of people with provisions. This doesn't fit historically.

Southeast Asia: around the turn of first century there was an increase in the timber and wood trade, particularly in the north (source). There was also an increase in construction of buildings and temples. Forests were cleared to provide wood for kilns (source). This fits the Book of Mormon account perfectly. The timber trade went west to the Coromandel Coast in India, where 1st century Roman and Greek accounts describe massive trading vessels from "Kunlun" or Kumr. The trade also extended to the Southeast African coast where the Lemba Jews describe coming from a place across the sea, most likely somewhere in India. These ships average 50 meters long and were capable of transporting between 500 and 1000 people with provisions weighing between 250 and 1000 tons. There's a 1st century AD record of these massive ships arriving at the right time (source), from exactly the narrow neck identified in my map as the place where the sea divides the land, a place called Tarnassari, on the Malay Peninsula. (source)

These Kunlun ships are the only ships that could possibly meet the requirements of the Book of Mormon account in the first century. No other known vessel beyond the Middle East could qualify. The Asian model is the only model that can explain the placement of massive 1st century shipping vessels at the narrow neck described in the Book of Mormon. The Maya had nothing bigger than a canoe, if I'm not mistaken.

I know you aren't arguing for a historical Book of Mormon. But even in that case, Grotius would likely have known these accounts of massive ships from the Golden Peninsula, plying their trade from a narrow neck of land, and all their movements north into the area where the lost tribes, Seres, Nephtalites, Scythians, and Chinese were supposedly making their passage from Tartary to America.

I don't know how a 17th Century (or a 19th Century) author could know details about what was going on in southeast Asia in antiquity. I'm stating the obvious here, but they didn't have the internet to research all of this stuff. One of the things I've tried to be conscientious about in supporting my 17th Century hypothesis is the sources that were available and, in many cases, known to have been used by my proposed author. I'm not sure when some of this information became known about southeast Asia, but my guess is that even 20 years ago it would have been tough for a layperson to come up with some of this information. So I think the onus is on you to show that contemporary sources (whether that means 17th or 19th Century) were available.

It seems like you are expecting your author to think like a modern apologist with some compulsive obsession to eliminate all anachronisms. I think the reality is that a work of fiction when there is little information known about the real world location is going to be full of anachronisms and elements that reflect the actual world of the writer. I think you need to identify your writer (if only just generally), demonstrate the sources available to him and also develop a theory about his motive for an Asian setting.

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3 hours ago, JarMan said:

I don't know how a 17th Century (or a 19th Century) author could know details about what was going on in southeast Asia in antiquity.


I don’t know either. I have a couple of scenarios that work better than any other model I’ve heard, but the version I am most interested in here is the one that allows the Book of Mormon to be exactly what it claims to be, a record of first temple Israelites that was compiled and abridged by Christians in the 5th century AD, and later translated into English to be published in 1830. Something like:
 
Following the Deuteronomist reforms, first temple Israelites departed Jerusalem in the 6th century BC. Some went south to the Sena or Saana region (not far from Nehhem) in Yemen and then east to a port on the coast of Oman. Carrying a set of brass plates, they boarded a ship and ventured east to what they would have known as Sinim or Ophir, a land across the great sea. Following the coast, they arrive around 589 BC at the Strait of Malacca and finding it impossible to go any further, stopped there. They began smelting iron at a point that archaeologists have recently dated to 582 BC. I propose that the founders of this civilization were at some point identified as Israelites, and over the next 2500 years, speculation about them would result in texts such as the History of the Rechabites, the Lebor Gabála Érenn and the Book of Mormon.

I'll stop there for now. It is easier to process one data point at a time, and there's no need to go farther if I am wrong about the above.
 
Do you see anything impossible/anachronistic with what I have proposed so far?

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On 8/11/2018 at 2:53 AM, Rajah Manchou said:

I don’t know either. I have a couple of scenarios that work better than any other model I’ve heard, but the version I am most interested in here is the one that allows the Book of Mormon to be exactly what it claims to be, a record of first temple Israelites that was compiled and abridged by Christians in the 5th century AD, and later translated into English to be published in 1830. Something like:
 
Following the Deuteronomist reforms, first temple Israelites departed Jerusalem in the 6th century BC. Some went south to the Sena or Saana region (not far from Nehhem) in Yemen and then east to a port on the coast of Oman. Carrying a set of brass plates, they boarded a ship and ventured east to what they would have known as Sinim or Ophir, a land across the great sea. Following the coast, they arrive around 589 BC at the Strait of Malacca and finding it impossible to go any further, stopped there. They began smelting iron at a point that archaeologists have recently dated to 582 BC. I propose that the founders of this civilization were at some point identified as Israelites, and over the next 2500 years, speculation about them would result in texts such as the History of the Rechabites, the Lebor Gabála Érenn and the Book of Mormon.

I'll stop there for now. It is easier to process one data point at a time, and there's no need to go farther if I am wrong about the above.
 
Do you see anything impossible/anachronistic with what I have proposed so far?

If I understand correctly it sounds like you’re saying it was written as a speculative history and that it was written in the 5th Century. In my mind it couldn’t have been written that early because the theology in the Book of Mormon hadn’t been developed in the Christian world by that point. It can’t be older than the 17th Century. 

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6 hours ago, JarMan said:

If I understand correctly it sounds like you’re saying it was written as a speculative history and that it was written in the 5th Century. In my mind it couldn’t have been written that early because the theology in the Book of Mormon hadn’t been developed in the Christian world by that point. It can’t be older than the 17th Century. 


Joseph Smith was Irish, descended from the Mor King Niall, a 5th century king of Ireland. 17th century Irish historians like Geoffrey Keating pulled from earlier Irish sources like the Lebor Gabala Erenn to trace the lineage of these "Mor" kings to Egypt, via Scythia and Taprobane (Malay Archipelago). Texts like the Lebor Gabal Erenn drew from even older texts. At least three 5th century Christian works seem to have had a significant bearing on the formation of LGE:
  • St Augustine's The City of God, (413–426 AD)
  • Orosius's Historiae adversum paganos, (417 AD)
  • Eusebius's Chronicon, translated into Latin by St Jerome as the Temporum liber (379 AD)
Why?
 
Because 17th century Irish historians like Geoffrey Keating were trying to "provide the Irish with a written history comparable to that which the Israelites provided for themselves in the Old Testament. Drawing upon the pagan myths of Gaelic Ireland but reinterpreting them in the light of Judeo-Christian theology and historiography...Biblical paradigms provided the mythologers with ready-made stories which could be adapted to their purpose."
 
300 to 400 pages of Keating's work turns up in manuscript form, written in classical Irish and a mysterious Latin shorthand, under the home of Colonel Edwards, a business associate of Steven Mack. Another manuscript of Keating's History of Ireland turns up in a cave in Sandusky, New York in 1824. If speculative Biblical histories describing the migrations of Joseph Smith's ancestry from the son of an Egyptian Princess --> Defrobani (Taprobane) --> Ireland were floating around New York and Michigan in the 17th century, I could imagine the Book of Mormon narrative following a similar path from Egypt to Cumorah. 

The question is not whether pseudo-Biblical speculative histories, based on much older historical texts, were available in the 1820s. The question is: how much was speculation, and how much was history?

I'm saying there is a lot more ancient history to the Book of Mormon than the 17th-19th century theology would suggest.
 
 
Edited by Rajah Manchou
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