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clarkgoble

Horses in the Book of Mormon

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1 minute ago, clarkgoble said:

You're conflating the two. They're two different claims. One is Jones whose examples were in the US and Canada. The other is Miller who claimed a mesoamerican dated specimen.

My mistake. Still, there’s nothing solid that I’ve seen. 

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On 8/3/2018 at 10:08 AM, clarkgoble said:

I was hoping to be at the Fair conference this week but work had other plans. The session I was most intrigued by was Wade Miller's this morning on horses. Was anyone able to attend? ...........................

I listened carefully and took notes, but heard nothing new or interesting.  Dr Miller wasted nearly all his time covering elementary phylogeny and the Eocene, and hardly any time on the Holocene.

He did mention that the horse was first domesticated (in the Old World) ca 3500 BC, and that it was reintroduced to the Americas in 1493.  He also mentioned in passing the sedimentary DNA of horse and mammoth in Alaska at a date much later than the end of the last Ice Age, and argued that small pockets of both could easily have existed into Jaredite and Nephite times.  However, we already knew that and have discussed it many times on this board.

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I listened carefully and took notes, but heard nothing new or interesting.  Dr Miller wasted nearly all his time covering elementary phylogeny and the Eocene, and hardly any time on the Holocene.

So he didn't even mention Jones claims nor the BYU Studies article claim? That's rather pointless.

 

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

So he didn't even mention Jones claims nor the BYU Studies article claim? That's rather pointless.

He may have referred to the BYU Studies article.  I'll have to review the transcript when available.  But he should have concerned himself with cutting edge research and discoveries within the Holocene.

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

He may have referred to the BYU Studies article.  I'll have to review the transcript when available.  But he should have concerned himself with cutting edge research and discoveries within the Holocene.

It sounds like the talk ended up what I expected a few days ago. After finding that BYU Studies article and that odd Jones article I thought there might be a lot more. Which, I suspect, is itself an indication of how he views the strength of those dated bones. That's significant on its own given his own involvement in all that.

Edited by clarkgoble
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31 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

It sounds like the talk ended up what I expected a few days ago. After finding that BYU Studies article and that odd Jones article I thought there might be a lot more. Which, I suspect, is itself an indication of how he views the strength of those dated bones. That's significant on its own given his own involvement in all that.

Perhaps, but I would have thought he could ignore Jones and incestuous Mormon scholarship to focus solely upon non-Mormon sources on the range of possible animals and their survival into recent times.  That he did not do so was sadly another lost opportunity.

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On 8/3/2018 at 11:08 AM, clarkgoble said:

I was hoping to be at the Fair conference this week but work had other plans. The session I was most intrigued by was Wade Miller's this morning on horses. Was anyone able to attend? 

My guess is that the session was based upon his and Steve Jones work on dating horse bones that was published in The Lost History of Ancient AmericaWas anyone at that session and can confirm? The big issue, as I mentioned in the Heartland thread, is confirming who did the analysis and the results. The paper in the above didn't have that information.

 

I don't quite get your purpose linking BoM horses and pre_historic horses....I've seen those horse skeletons that look so fresh. displayed in Brea Pitts museum in LA. Unless there was a Disturbance in temporal time dilation and two epochs mixed up.......

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On August 3, 2018 at 12:08 PM, clarkgoble said:

I was hoping to be at the Fair conference this week but work had other plans. The session I was most intrigued by was Wade Miller's this morning on horses. Was anyone able to attend? 

My guess is that the session was based upon his and Steve Jones work on dating horse bones that was published in The Lost History of Ancient AmericaWas anyone at that session and can confirm? The big issue, as I mentioned in the Heartland thread, is confirming who did the analysis and the results. The paper in the above didn't have that information.

 

The topic of horses in the BoM is an odd one to be sure. They are mentioned in passing, yet every warfare and military engagement is expressed in days "walked"; exclusively!  

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1 hour ago, Bill "Papa" Lee said:

The topic of horses in the BoM is an odd one to be sure. They are mentioned in passing, yet every warfare and military engagement is expressed in days "walked"; exclusively!  

Yeah I think there are a lot of reasons to think that whatever the horses were they weren't like ANE ones. The main reason people assume that is because often when they are mentioned they're mentioned with chariots (an other term never really clarified). While it's natural to understand why readers would assume the chariots are Egyptian like chariots it seems significant the descriptions of the battles never mention horses.

1 hour ago, Atheist Mormon said:

I don't quite get your purpose linking BoM horses and pre_historic horses....I've seen those horse skeletons that look so fresh. displayed in Brea Pitts museum in LA. Unless there was a Disturbance in temporal time dilation and two epochs mixed up.......

I was linking to the sources we were debating. Links aren't endorsements. (Hopefully if you read the rest of the thread you can see the stance was skeptical) I think Jones theory was that if there were post-ice age horses that is a hole in the traditional view. However IMO if horses were used as the ANE used them we'd expect more finds. That's not necessarily true but is likely. As I recall Nibley kept bringing up Hannibal's elephants as a counter-example. I'd just note that the text has a lot of oddities related to horses. As JKWilliams noted the other problem is the material culture that archaeologists have found. The roads don't seem designed for horses pulling chariots (although I'll admit I just don't know enough to verify that - this is obviously a field I'm largely ignorant on)

 

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22 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Yeah I think there are a lot of reasons to think that whatever the horses were they weren't like ANE ones. The main reason people assume that is because often when they are mentioned they're mentioned with chariots (an other term never really clarified). While it's natural to understand why readers would assume the chariots are Egyptian like chariots it seems significant the descriptions of the battles never mention horses.

Saw this article in my feed today, and thought some might find it interesting:

Horses may have been ridden in battle as early as the Bronze Age (Chechushkov et al. 2018)

"Moreover, comparison of use wear on the ancient artifacts with the replicas provides insight into how long the artifacts were used before they were deposited in the funeral contexts or discarded. These observations support that the Sintashta chariots dating back to ca. 2100 BC were ridden and suggest the end of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500–1200 BC) as the earliest possible date for horseback riding in warfare. This study highlights changes in horse exploitation and simultaneous shifts in human societies."
 

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11 hours ago, Bill "Papa" Lee said:

The topic of horses in the BoM is an odd one to be sure. They are mentioned in passing, yet every warfare and military engagement is expressed in days "walked"; exclusively!  

As it is in modern times as well. In Napoleonic times distances were referred to as a “days march”. Cavalry has always been an auxiliary force, depending on infantry for protection. 

Historically, it was used for reconnaissance, and shock value in a charge in conjunction with infantry. Dragoons are another matter, but that’s still exceptional. 

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On 8/6/2018 at 7:54 PM, mrmarklin said:

As it is in modern times as well. In Napoleonic times distances were referred to as a “days march”. Cavalry has always been an auxiliary force, depending on infantry for protection. 

Historically, it was used for reconnaissance, and shock value in a charge in conjunction with infantry. Dragoons are another matter, but that’s still exceptional. 

Except the distances aren't only for military narratives but also trade and the like. Marching appears mainly from around Alma 50 up through the early chapters of Helaman. Significantly horses aren't mentioned in battle except when quoting OT texts. So while I agree with you, the use of horses in the text itself is very odd. Definitely not what one would expect from a New York written text. 

The only real exception to horse use is the Lamanite king who has "horses" and chariots. But even there we don't hear of him riding them. So you have odd passages like Mosiah 22 where it's clear there are no horses and they have to carry everything themselves. Likewise we have Nephi, after arriving, finding horses in the forest which sounds a bit odd as well. (1 Ne 18:25) My guess is we have a semantic shift with Nephi describing animals he names with Hebrew words.

Edited by clarkgoble
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12 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Likewise we have Nephi, after arriving, finding horses in the forest which sounds a bit odd as well. (1 Ne 18:25) My guess is we have a semantic shift with Nephi describing animals he names with Hebrew words.

Wild horses in 6th century BC forests were not an odd thing. The Nephites sailed past forests full of cow, oxen, asses, horses, goat, wild goat, all manner of wild animals, and elephants.

A friend of mine did an intensive study of the etchings of animals dating back to the 6th century BC. Of course its not always easy to identify animals from primitive etchings, but they suggested nearly all the animals listed in 1 Nephi 18:25.

https://www.iseas.edu.sg/images/pdf/archaeology_report_latinis_kanam_final.pdf

Since all the animals listed in 1 Nephi would have been found in the forests that the Lehites passed on their voyage to the promised land, I don't see a need to argue for semantic shift. 

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2 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Wild horses in 6th century BC forests were not an odd thing. The Nephites sailed past forests full of cow, oxen, asses, horses, goat, wild goat, all manner of wild animals, and elephants.

A friend of mine did an intensive study of the etchings of animals dating back to the 6th century BC. Of course its not always easy to identify animals from primitive etchings, but they suggested nearly all the animals listed in 1 Nephi 18:25.

https://www.iseas.edu.sg/images/pdf/archaeology_report_latinis_kanam_final.pdf

Since all the animals listed in 1 Nephi would have been found in the forests that the Lehites passed on their voyage to the promised land, I don't see a need to argue for semantic shift. 

Can't get it to load up, but sounds cool...so a point for promising. ;)

Add-on:  eventually got there, like the DStretch technique.  Didn't see horses being mentioned, but more than enough elephants.  :)

Edited by Calm

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48 minutes ago, Calm said:

Can't get it to load up, but sounds cool...so a point for promising. ;)

Add-on:  eventually got there, like the DStretch technique.  Didn't see horses being mentioned, but more than enough elephants.  :)

Horses date back to the Book of Mormon time period (here, here, here, here), so we know horses in forests were not uncommon. But for some reason the local communities and the researchers did not think to identify the animals in the paintings as horses. I'd assume this is because horses are no longer common in the area. All the other animals described in 1 Nephi 18:25 were suggested as plausible:

"Initially, it was suggested that many depictions may represent domestic and wild buffalo, cow, ox, and possibly cats (civet cats to tigers), dogs, pigs, etc. These are also part of the Cardamom ecosystem. Only one buffalo, however, was discerned with a somewhat high level of confidence. Additionally, it is unknown whether it is a wild or domestic variety. Goats were also suggested as were apes, monkeys, dogs, pigs, rabbits, snakes, birds and other animals, although their presence in the image repertoire are less likely than deer. Goats are also not listed in the biodiversity index of the Cardamoms (Daltry and Traeholt 2003), and if present, are possibly recent introductions. However, goats were depicted at the Gua Tambun Site in Malaysia (Tan 2014:83) and their possible inclusion at Kanam cannot be summarily ruled out. Interestingly, horses were never mentioned as a possibility by locals or the research team. Chou Ta Kuan mentioned “chariots drawn by goats and horses…” for an Angkorian procession (see Schliesinger 2011:170 who also mentions ethnic minority goat sacrifice on occasion), thus indicating goats were possibly of high value as war beasts but evidence is thin."

In any case, we don't know where the Book of Mormon took place, so we can't say cows, oxen, horses, and goats were anachronistic to 1 Nephi. Clearly these animals were wandering through the forests of the "islands of the sea" described by Jacob.

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19 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Horses date back to the Book of Mormon time period (here, here, here, here), so we know horses in forests were not uncommon. But for some reason the local communities and the researchers did not think to identify the animals in the paintings as horses. I'd assume this is because horses are no longer common in the area. All the other animals described in 1 Nephi 18:25 were suggested as plausible:

"Initially, it was suggested that many depictions may represent domestic and wild buffalo, cow, ox, and possibly cats (civet cats to tigers), dogs, pigs, etc. These are also part of the Cardamom ecosystem. Only one buffalo, however, was discerned with a somewhat high level of confidence. Additionally, it is unknown whether it is a wild or domestic variety. Goats were also suggested as were apes, monkeys, dogs, pigs, rabbits, snakes, birds and other animals, although their presence in the image repertoire are less likely than deer. Goats are also not listed in the biodiversity index of the Cardamoms (Daltry and Traeholt 2003), and if present, are possibly recent introductions. However, goats were depicted at the Gua Tambun Site in Malaysia (Tan 2014:83) and their possible inclusion at Kanam cannot be summarily ruled out. Interestingly, horses were never mentioned as a possibility by locals or the research team. Chou Ta Kuan mentioned “chariots drawn by goats and horses…” for an Angkorian procession (see Schliesinger 2011:170 who also mentions ethnic minority goat sacrifice on occasion), thus indicating goats were possibly of high value as war beasts but evidence is thin."

In any case, we don't know where the Book of Mormon took place, so we can't say cows, oxen, horses, and goats were anachronistic to 1 Nephi. Clearly these animals were wandering through the forests of the "islands of the sea" described by Jacob.

Some of the pictures could be interpreted as horses from what I saw, though there might be some identifier I am not aware of that eliminated them.

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I didn't see any horses in those pictures nor would I expect to. Horses aren't adapted to jungle life. However, if ancient people had never seen a deer and saw a group of female deer from a distance, I suppose its possible they could have mistaken them for small, large eared horses.

Edited by katherine the great
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Jared Diamond says 13 out of the 14 were in Eurasia.  He only calls out the llama as domesticated in South America.  Is this the book of Ether "curelom" ?   I didn't think the olmec lived anywhere near domesticated llamas or alpacas.  It looks to me like a stronger connection to borrowing from the Late war book than to actual mesoamerican animals.   If there is little to no evidence of mayan or olmec horses, then what of llamas being brought north to mesoamerica, mexico? 

https://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/show/episode2.html

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On 8/6/2018 at 8:54 PM, mrmarklin said:

As it is in modern times as well. In Napoleonic times distances were referred to as a “days march”. Cavalry has always been an auxiliary force, depending on infantry for protection. 

Historically, it was used for reconnaissance, and shock value in a charge in conjunction with infantry. Dragoons are another matter, but that’s still exceptional. 

Until you invent the stirrup horses are not that useful militarily for use with chariots. And that assumes the terrain is conducive to the use of chariots.

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20 minutes ago, blueglass said:

Jared Diamond says 13 out of the 14 were in Eurasia.  He only calls out the llama as domesticated in South America.  Is this the book of Ether "curelom" ?   I didn't think the olmec lived anywhere near domesticated llamas or alpacas.  It looks to me like a stronger connection to borrowing from the Late war book than to actual mesoamerican animals.   If there is little to no evidence of mayan or olmec horses, then what of llamas being brought north to mesoamerica, mexico? 

https://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/show/episode2.html

I think deer are a possibility. We know they were traded for instance and we know natives called horses deer. The other typical species offered as a possible semantic drift is tapir. Tapir also live in the forest. Indeed after Columbian horses arrived they started distinguishing tapir from horse by saying tapir were forest beast. (Beast or tzimin being the original word for tapir) I've never heard of llamas or alpacas in mesoamerica. But I'll also fully confess my relative ignorance. That just seems a bit questionable though. (Of course here assuming a mesoamerican setting - I do know some have suggested further south sites)

Again, I'm relatively ignorant of the material culture of southern Mexico, but my own ancestors in Norway and Sweden regularly road reindeer. They also used wheelless sleds pulled by reindeer in the summer. I know there are some carvings of riding deer in mayan areas, but I'm not sure how significant that is. I know north American tribes used travois sometimes pulled by dogs and then later in post-Columbian times horses. That's effectively just a sled of a different design. (IMO) Although to be fair I don't think there's any evidence of deer pulling a travois, which is why I believe Brant Gardner thinks the chariot is more a ritual stage that was moved around.

 

 

Edited by clarkgoble
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Except that deer and gazelles are mentioned quite a few times in the Old Testament. Quick googling seems to indicate that there were also deer in ancient Egypt. So surely Nephi would have known deer and had a familiar Hebrew or Egyptian word for them. If he saw anything that was more like a deer than it was like a horse he would be more likely to call it a deer than to call it a horse.

Central American deer wouldn't have been just like Middle Eastern deer, so for Nephi to call them deer would indeed have been an example of applying familiar words to new things. The distinction between deer and horses was important to ancient people, however. When he came to put an Old World name to Mesoamerican deer, Nephi would have had the choice between calling them deer and calling them horses, and I can't see how on Earth he would ever have picked "horse" over "deer".

For native Americans to call horses "deer" would be entirely different: it would make sense. Pre-Columbian Americans didn't have anything like horses, so a deer might well have been the closest familiar animal they knew.

The same principle seems to me to apply to chariots, too. A movable ritual stage would be much more like a cart or wagon than like a chariot, and ancient Hebrew had words for carts and wagons. So I don't see how ancient Hebrews would have called a movable stage a chariot instead of calling it a wagon. Chariots and wagons are both wheeled platforms drawn by animals, but I think the fact that chariots were fast-moving weapons platforms must have been pretty salient for ancient people. I doubt they'd call a movable stage a chariot instead of a wagon any more than we would call a hockey stick a rifle instead of calling it a cane.

Edited by Physics Guy
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1 minute ago, Physics Guy said:

Except that deer and gazelles are mentioned quite a few times in the Old Testament. Quick googling seems to indicate that there were also deer in ancient Egypt. So surely Nephi would have known deer and had a familiar Hebrew or Egyptian word for them. If he saw anything that was more like a deer than it was like a horse he would be more likely to call it a deer than to call it a horse.

Central American deer wouldn't have been just like Middle Eastern deer, so for Nephi to call them deer would indeed have been an example of applying familiar words to new things. The distinction between deer and horses was important to ancient people, however. When he came to put an Old World name to Mesoamerican deer, Nephi would have had the choice between calling them deer and calling them horses, and I can't see how on Earth he would ever have picked "horse" over "deer".

What about the goats and "wild goats"?  I thought these were also still missing.    Horses are tapirs and goats are deer?  cureloms are llamas, and cumoms alpacas?  

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31 minutes ago, Physics Guy said:

Except that deer and gazelles are mentioned quite a few times in the Old Testament. Quick googling seems to indicate that there were also deer in ancient Egypt. So surely Nephi would have known deer and had a familiar Hebrew or Egyptian word for them. If he saw anything that was more like a deer than it was like a horse he would be more likely to call it a deer than to call it a horse.

Central American deer wouldn't have been just like Middle Eastern deer, so for Nephi to call them deer would indeed have been an example of applying familiar words to new things. The distinction between deer and horses was important to ancient people, however. When he came to put an Old World name to Mesoamerican deer, Nephi would have had the choice between calling them deer and calling them horses, and I can't see how on Earth he would ever have picked "horse" over "deer".

That's a fair criticism.

If we're just dealing with what the glyph on the plates was understood by with Nephi. However remember that 1 Nephi - Jarom is the last thing translated and is a different textual source and tradition. The main body is Mormon and Moroni's work. So what Nephi used words or characters for matter less than what it meant at the time of Mormon or Moroni. Again. not knowing the translation method it's hard to say too much there. However assuming the word means what it meant to Nephi seems a big assumption. One I completely understand why people would make, but not one necessarily the case. I'd add that for Mormon we don't know what language the texts he was compiling into the Book of Mormon were written in. Given the difficulty of writing on the plates, I personally doubt it was reformed Egyptian. So you have Mormon likely translating from these texts on the Egyptian/Hebrew mix.

I could be wrong, but I believe the word deer in Hebrew (ayyal) refers to deer of which there are a few species in the Palestine/Arabian region. Interestingly the word for deer apparently comes from ulam which is the word for porch as in the temple porch. Gazelle is tsbiy although to me they look reasonably similar with just different horns.

In southern Mexico you had tapir, peccary, then various types of cervidea including deer, elk, and then a brocket deer. There then was a pronghorn that looked like an antelope. Then you had the bovidae including bison although I don't know the time period they went extinct in the region. There's then the bighorn sheep. Presumably the species in the area where Nephi and Lehi originally landed and then where the main body of the narrative from Mosiah - 3 Nephi takes place are somewhat different. I'd imagine the fauna would vary somewhat too. What the names would end up as I couldn't say. However you raise a good point to at least suggest deer would be less likely. 

That said though, neither the word deer nor the word gazelle/roeback don't appear in the Book of Mormon, despite Joseph Smith presumably being quite familiar with deer in the Americas. It's hard not to find that significant. The word deer appears in Deut 12; 14 and Isaiah 35:6 many other places. Not necessarily in the KJV which frequently translated it as hart. But hart also doesn't appear in the BoM text. So at minimum we have missing creatures words.

 

35 minutes ago, Physics Guy said:

The same principle seems to me to apply to chariots, too. A movable ritual stage would be much more like a cart or wagon than like a chariot, and ancient Hebrew had words for carts and wagons.

But chariot only appears (when not quoting Isaiah) five hundred years later. So its semantics would very much depend upon how they read ANE scripture that had been divorced from the references. Yes Nephi and possibly Jacob would have known. That doesn't mean Alma let alone Mormon knew what an old world chariot was. Further chariot in the Old Testament has a more mystical sense. Ezekiel is the obvious example although that's post-exilic but may be making use of traditions about Elijah that are pre-exilic. Certainly beyond Elijah there are many texts typically dated to the first temple period. Ps 68:17-18 for instance talks of God coming with these mystic chariots.

What's weird, as I think I've mentioned, is that chariot is mentioned with lists of animals, which just seems odd in the text and doesn't have a good explanation that I know of.  (Say 3 Nephi 3:33) While it's not a hypothesis I'm in the least able to defend, given my ignorance of the mayan, I've often wondered if chariot is actually a word for an animal. (Maybe a turkey or the like) So in that case Alma 18 should be taken to prepare two unknown species of animal for a feast. i.e. to be eaten. Structurally that works much better with not only Alma 18 but also 3 Ne 3:22. Again, not arguing for it, just noting the structural requirements in those narratives make very little sense with a literal chariot.

Again I'm not in the least qualified to really make these arguments. So I'm just pointing out the claims or potential claims. (I don't think anyone has made that chariot as animal claim that I'm aware of)

 

1 hour ago, blueglass said:

What about the goats and "wild goats"?  I thought these were also still missing.    Horses are tapirs and goats are deer?  cureloms are llamas, and cumoms alpacas?  

The Hebrew is sa'iyr (which is also used for "hairy") If the scapegoat turns out to be pre-exilic (it's still controversial as I understand it) then they'd definitely be important to the Nephites. Again no idea what was referred to but there's lots of mammals to choose from. The mayan word for brocket deer is what they applied to Spanish goats. (cabro in Spanish, CHIB´AAT apparently in mayan) 

We should also not that different languages might not divide creatures the way an other language does. So Hebrew distinguishes gazelle from deer. However mayan apparently distinguished different kinds of cobra with different words.

Again I'm not in the least qualified to make an argument here. I'll leave that to people like Brant Gardner who have a background.  As I said, I rather doubt llamas or alpacas are relevant, although I'm open to argument. I've no idea what cureloms or cumoms are or why they apparently transliterated a word rather than picking a KJV word. There have been various speculative etymologies proposed. But I've not seen anything terribly compelling. I guess the methodology would be to see what animals haven't been taken. LOL.

 

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The only reason I can see why a decent translation would ever write "horse" for deer would be if the plates' authors really did deliberately write a word that meant "horse" to them, even though they knew they were referring to deer. Authors might possibly do that if they were familiar with horses, having come from the Old World, and therefore applied a word they knew to an unfamiliar animal. And then an inspired translation might possibly preserve that awkward lexicon shift because it was a significant feature of the original text.

It would be a tricky judgement for a translator, whether to render what the word meant to the author (horse) or what the author meant by the word (deer). But I can see it as a defensible choice to go with the first option instead of the second. That was what I thought you were getting at with your idea that "horse" might mean "deer".

The point of my previous post was that actually that doesn't make sense, because an Old World immigrant would know deer as well as horses and would surely have called deerlike animals "deer" and not "horse". So the theory that an inspired translation could have preserved "horse" for "deer" as a newcomer's lexicon shift doesn't actually make sense after all.

So then we are back at the basic problem. If the original authors meant to refer to deer, and were also using a word that simply meant "deer" to them (whatever it might once have meant to their forebears), why would God deliberately garble that into "horse"? Even if Joseph Smith only got a sort of vision of what the plate text meant and had to put it into his own words, he also knew horses from deer and would have dictated "deer".

Edited by Physics Guy
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I think a horse is a horse of course. If an elephant is an ox and a hippo is a horse then a deer can be a horse also. Language is strange. As side note, that fact that the horse teeth found were fossilized does not automatically mean they were many thousands of years old. Fossils have been made within decades, and under the correct conditions , much quicker. 

http://www.curiousmeerkat.co.uk/questions/how-long-fossilisation-take/

Edited by strappinglad

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