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Nick Frederick on New Testament -- BOM intertextuality

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Relevant parts mentioned above 

 

"Too often when I hear Latter-day Saints talk about the Book of Mormon, they talk about the Book of Mormon and the gold plates as if they’re the same text. I wonder if it would be useful for us to conceptualize them as two different texts. The Book of Mormon is an English document that was produced in the 19th century by Joseph Smith, however you want to see translation happening. And the gold plates are a record that was written 2,000 years ago by Moroni, by Mormon, and by Nephi. They’re not the same text. One is a translation of another one. If we’re comfortable saying that the New Testament is an antecedent text for the Book of Mormon, for the King James English 19th century Book of Mormon, then that opens up some wonderful avenues of inquiry. We can look at how those passages were understood in the 19th century and say, “Okay, is the Book of Mormon pushing back against something? Is the Book of Mormon affirming one of these ideas? What was the impact of these passages on early converts? How might this have changed through trajectories of 19th century theology?” Whereas if we just say, “No, no, no. It couldn’t be. There’s no way the New Testament was on the gold plates,” that just ends the conversation. If we see these as two different texts that are related through translation, then I think that helps us bridge this at least question of the New Testament in the Book of Mormon a little bit easier."

"What it (BOM) will do is carefully weave these New Testament passages into the larger text so that you almost don’t notice they’re even there unless you’re carefully looking for them. You have places like 1 Corinthian 13, and Romans 7, or the Sermon on the Mount in 2 Nephi 12–14, but the majority of places where the New Testament appears are just at the phrasal level. It’s just four or five (rarely) consecutive words. They’ll just be four or five words that are worked into a larger sentence, that are worked into a larger paragraph. But the words will be clear enough and obvious enough that you can say, “That’s likely drawn from the New Testament.” The problem is you just have to work to find them."

"Quotation, allusion, and echo are the standard terms that biblical scholars use when they talk about the intertextual relationship between the New Testament and the Old Testament. And those are useful for the New Testament because a lot of their criteria are based upon consecutive words. Five consecutive words and more equals a quotation, and four consecutive words or less equals an allusion. Maybe one or two words equals an echo. You’re not going to have that in the Book of Mormon. It has some consecutive words, but a lot of the great interactions are ones where there are maybe four or five words from a sentence that are Episode 92: Intertextuality in the Book of Mormon with Nick Frederick http://www.ldsperspectives.com/2018/08/22/intertextuality-book-mormon/ Page 6 of 16 spread out over a verse, and they’re key identifiable words, but they’ve been deconstructed and reconstructed to form a new sentence. And so, quotation, allusion, and echo didn’t really seem to work because we’re not relying upon consecutive words."

"You could look at a phrase like “full of grace and truth” from John 1, from John’s prologue. That appears only once in the New Testament, but yet it appears in 2 Nephi 2, Lehi’s discourse with Jacob. It appears in Alma 5 when Alma is talking to Zarahemla. It appears in Alma 9 and 13 in his discourse within the city of Ammonihah. You would look at that and say, “It only appears once in the New Testament. Here it is four times in the Book of Mormon. To me, that increases the likelihood that we’re intentionally supposed to see that as drawn from the New Testament in addition to the shared terminology. Having those Episode 92: Intertextuality in the Book of Mormon with Nick Frederick http://www.ldsperspectives.com/2018/08/22/intertextuality-book-mormon/ Page 8 of 16 two criteria filled I think would say this is a New Testament passage that finds itself in the Book of Mormon."

"Again, this comes back to the untethering of the gold plates, this ancient record, from the 19th century Book of Mormon. If we’re looking at the gold plates and the Book of Mormon as the same thing, it doesn’t help us at all. If we can see the Book of Mormon as a translated text that comes to life in the 19th century, then we can say, “What were the influences that led the Book of Mormon to construct a narrative, a story, the way that it did? And one of the ways that it does is to rely heavily on the language, the theology, and in some cases, even the narrative of the Gospel of John. Hopefully, it’s of interest to those outside the church. But how is the Gospel of John understood in the 19th century? Read the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon will tell you how one group of people, how one person in particular, takes the Gospel of John and interprets it."

 

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And one more - "What you have to come up with is a clear catalogue of phrases. These are the precise and probable interactions where the New Testament is present in the 19th century English Book of Mormon. And then you say, “We have this bank of interactions. Now let’s sit back and decide how they’re being used and what they mean,” or else you just get lost in the data. In my own list that’s coming out in a forthcoming publication, I’ve identified that we have about 650 phrases that I think you can demonstrate pretty clearly are from the New Testament in the Book of Mormon. And that’s a lot to have to deal with—650."

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"That, I think, will take us to a point where we can really appreciate a deeper, fuller understanding of what the Book of Mormon wants to do with the Bible. It clearly loves the Bible. All Episode 92: Intertextuality in the Book of Mormon with Nick Frederick  throughout the Book of Mormon, it says this is written so that you’ll believe that. 2 Nephi 3 says that these things are supposed to grow together. The Book of Mormon says we want to be seen as part and parcel with the Bible. Now I think it’s our task to figure out where those similarities are, come to some initial thoughts on why, but then really try to dig into the how. How are they growing together?"

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This is of course additional evidence that the Lord carried out the English-language translation of the Book of Mormon text, and delivered words not ideas to Joseph in 1829, as it states clearly in 2 Nephi 27 several times. Otherwise, Joseph would have had to be a supreme biblical scholar in 1829, which he wasn't.

A March 2015 presentation by Frederick on some of this material can be found on youtube.

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1 minute ago, champatsch said:

This is of course additional evidence that the Lord carried out the English-language translation of the Book of Mormon text, and delivered words not ideas to Joseph in 1829, as it states clearly in 2 Nephi 27 several times. Otherwise, Joseph would have had to be a supreme biblical scholar in 1829, which he wasn't.

A March 2015 presentation by Frederick on some of this material can be found on youtube.

Thanks for the heads up on the video.  I found it.  

 

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46 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

What a fascinating podcast interview Laura Hales with Nick Frederick.  http://www.ldsperspectives.com/2018/08/22/intertextuality-book-mormon/

This is a topic I am keenly interested in and write about a lot, so I wrote up a blog post on it.

http://www.churchistrue.com/blog/nick-frederick-new-testament-in-the-book-of-mormon/

A few points:

--Dr. Frederick has identified 650 intertextual phrases between BOM and the King James New Testament

--he thinks the key to making sense of this with respect to historicity, is to imagine the Gold Plates and the English Book of Mormon as two different texts, implying very liberally applied Expansion Model I assume

--he makes some very interesting doctrinal extrapolations and scriptural insights by looking at the intertextuality and determining what the Book of Mormon is wanting us to understand from the Bible

I think this could be hard for some LDS to deal with, but I assume this crowd is pretty OK with it.

Thanks for that. Will listen when I have time. Judging by the "few points," it sounds like he has reached the same conclusions I did many years ago when I did an informal study of the Book of Mormon's textual dependency on the KJV New Testament. It's not just words, phrases, and ideas that are borrowed, but a lot of times the Book of Mormon takes a reading of the KJV that makes sense only in English and then uses it as a jumping-off point, or doctrinal extrapolation as you put it, for a broader exposition. 

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24 minutes ago, champatsch said:

This is of course additional evidence that the Lord carried out the English-language translation of the Book of Mormon text, and delivered words not ideas to Joseph in 1829, as it states clearly in 2 Nephi 27 several times. Otherwise, Joseph would have had to be a supreme biblical scholar in 1829, which he wasn't.

I agree. When both Old Testament and New Testament intertextuality is considered, it is extremely unlikely that this aspect of the text was due to Joseph. Those who assume  Joseph had a Bible during the translation and that he consulted it during the dictation process, go against the statements from the witnesses that say he didn't. It's always a possibility that he did use a Bible, and it can't be proven one way or another, but I think the historical evidence strongly favors the absence of any reference materials. We have over 200 historical documents that discuss the translation, and not one of them ever discusses Joseph opening up the Bible to help facilitate the translation (at least not that I am aware of): 

https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/sites/default/files/archive-files/pdf/welch/2016-04-11/welch_the_miraculous_translation_of_the_book_of_mormon_opening_the_heavens.pdf

If that is the case (no reference materials during the translation), then the many lengthy quotations of Isaiah and other Old and New Testament texts (such as Matthew) add to the already substantial amount of intertextual relationships scattered throughout. These words just aren't coming from Joseph. Someone can always assume Joseph had an absolutely astounding memory and that he voraciously studied the Bible before the translation, but I think such assumptions don't have any historical merit. Even if he did have such a memory, those who argue that he is making up this text have to assume that he has either memorized the entire text before each sessions or that he is creatively weaving in hundreds of biblical allusions and quotations while at the same time keeping track of other complexities, which are many (geography, chronology, prophecies, characters, doctrines, battles, migrations, flashback sequences, etc).

See https://bookofmormoncentral.org/blog/watch-evidence-of-the-book-of-mormon-internal-complexity 

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This sort of thing has been discussed for years.  A particularly well informed and insightful discussion comes from Ben McGuire on the Ammon Narrative and Lazarus, which my brower won't let me point to here.  Search for Ben McGuire Ammon Lazarus Mormon to see the Ben Seeker thread and look down for Ben McGuire's response.

Quote

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

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

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

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

 Ben McGuire

And a little further down, some excellent comments from Robert Smith.

Once computerized texts and searches appeared, we had the Tanner's jumping in and trying to make a splash.  Matt Roper and John Tvedtnes made a number of particularly telling responses.

For instance, John Tvedtnes here:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1426&index=19

where among other things, he noticed this:

Quote

Old Testament Phrases in the New Testament What concerns me most, however, is that the Tanners neglect to tell us that many of the Book of Mormon concepts and phrases which they claim were borrowed from the New Testament are also found in the Old Testament. While some of them are merely common phrases found in Jewish culture, in some cases, the New Testament is actually quoting from the Old.

In another essay, also in response to Tanner claims, he pointed out the parallels between Lincoln's Gettysburgh Address and various Bible passages:

Quote

While they admit that some of these could be “only a coincidence,” an examination of the text suggests not that Joseph Smith deliberately used King James Bible wording, but that it was part of his vocabulary and therefore naturally came to be used in the translation. To illustrate, let’s do a similar study of the first two paragraphs of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.50

Gettysburg Address King James Bible
   
Four score and seven years ago, fourscore and seven (1 Chr. 7:5)
our fathers brought forth their fathers, which brought forth (2 Chr. 7:22)
on this continent a new nation, conceived  
in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition dedicated unto the (1 Chr. 18:11)
that all men are created equal. that all men (Job 37:7; John 1:7; 5:23)
  that all men were (1 Cor. 7:7)
  all men are (Psalm 116:11)
  a man mine equal (Psalm 55:13)
Now we are engaged in a great civil war,  
testing whether that nation if that nation (Jer. 18:8)
or any nation so conceived and so dedicated  
can long endure. We are met on a great  
battlefield of that war.  
We have come we would have come (1 Thes. 2:8)
  we . . . are come to (Matt. 2:2)
to dedicate to dedicate (2 Chr. 2:4)
a portion of that field, the portion of the field (2 Kings 9:25)
  a portion of (Deut. 33:21)
as a final resting place for those a resting place for them (Num. 10:33)
who here gave their lives gave their life (Psalm 78:50)
that that nation might live. might live (Gen. 17:18; Deut. 4:42; Gal. 1:19; 1 John 4:9)
It is altogether fitting and proper  
that we should do this. that they should do (Neh. 5:12)
  that ye should do that (2 Cor. 13:7)
   

Now, I don’t believe for a moment that Abraham Lincoln was deliberately “plagiarizing” passages from the King James Bible, though it is clear that there are some very close parallels here. In fact, there are many more parallels by volume of text than the ones shown by the Tanners for Mosiah 1-6 and the KJV.51 To what, then, can we attribute Lincoln’s use of these expressions that seem so clearly to be biblical? There are two obvious factors: (1) Both Lincoln and the King James translators spoke English. (2) Lincoln, as a Bible-reading man, would have these expressions as part of his vocabulary. What is important here is that the Bible words were used to describe entirely different circumstances, and yet were appropriate to those circumstances. I suggest that the same can be said of Book of Mormon passages that resemble the Bible. If, as I have suggested, Joseph Smith deliberately used the King James style so the Book of Mormon would sound like scripture, there is even more reason to find such parallels between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Using language and expressions also found in the King James Bible is not plagiarism.

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1432&index=14

Matt Roper noticed similar methodological problems here:

Quote

Another example of the problems with assuming that certain passages from the New Testament represent later developments, peculiar to Christianity, is seen in the Book of Mormon usage of the terms “Son of God” and “Son of the Most High God” (1 Nephi 11:6-7). These terms are seen by the Tanners as obvious plagiarisms from New Testament gospels (pp. 89-90, 159).6 Yet both titles have recently turned up in an unpublished Dead Sea Scroll fragment written in Aramaic from before the time of Jesus. Although it is unknown to whom the prophecy refers, the fragment states:

[X] shall be great upon the earth. [O king, all (people) shall] make [peace], and all shall serve [him. He shall be called the son of] the [G]reat [God], and by his name shall be hailed (as) the Son of God, and they shall call him Son of the Most High,”

The writer for Biblical Archaeology Review states, “This is the first time that the term “Son of God’ has been found in a Palestinian text outside the Bible. . . . Previously some scholars have insisted that the origin of terms like “Most High’ and “Son of the Most High’ were to be found in Hellenistic usage outside of Palestine and that therefore they relate to later development of Christian doctrine. Now we know that these terms were part of Christianity’s original Jewish heritage.”7

If one small fragment can change our understanding of this term, is it really that hard to believe that other ideas and phrases found in the Book of Mormon, heretofore thought to be anachronistic, might also be verified in the future?

A third problem with the authors’ parallels is that they have made no attempt to show where Book of Mormon prophets may have drawn upon Old Testament material, which could have been found on the brass plates. This is certainly an important issue in evaluating the worth of their comparisons. Yet they have failed to include this kind of information in their list. Since I used the same computer media they did, I can only assume that they have ignored those passages altogether. It is unfortunate that they would suppress this information.

Having reviewed the material in question, I conclude that most of the evidence may be divided into three groups:

1. Examples where Old Testament language is equal to or closer to the that of the New Testament passage given by the authors as proof of plagiarism.

2. Examples where Old Testament language can be found which very closely resembles that of the New Testament language.

3. Examples in which the Book of Mormon could have drawn upon Old Testament ideas.

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1426&index=18

And more Tvedtnes here:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1439&index=13

Plus there are other approaches to the same texts that reveal all sorts of things that don't show when a person decides that all that they need to do is compare the New Testament with the Book of Mormon in English.  Each lens is also a filter.  The problem is not one dimensional, but complex.  We don't have all of the sources behind the New Testament, nor the Old for that matter.  (Can you identify the 128 places in the New Testament where 1 Enoch is alluded to or quoted without consulting 1 Enoch?).  And what is involved in a translation to Joseph's language? 

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

 

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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In the original manuscript, at the transition to the biblical Isaiah portion in 1 Nephi, there is no change in the character of the scribal dictation process. Neither is there any "insert Isaiah 48, 49 here". Furthermore, the Isaiah dictation portions do not follow biblical chapter divisions. Instead, longer narrative divisions are indicated.

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11 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

And what is involved in a translation to Joseph's language?

If you mean Joseph's language in a broad sense, then yes, that works. But the translation was not a translation to Joseph's language in a narrow sense, in a large number of cases, both individual and systematic.

There could of course be a degree of overlap between Joseph's language in a narrow sense and earlier English usage, of various kinds.

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37 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

This sort of thing has been discussed for years.  A particularly well informed and insightful discussion comes from Ben McGuire on the Ammon Narrative and Lazarus, which my brower won't let me point to here.  Search for Ben McGuire Ammon Lazarus Mormon to see the Ben Seeker thread and look down for Ben McGuire's response.

And a little further down, some excellent comments from Robert Smith.

Once computerized texts and searches appeared, we had the Tanner's jumping in and trying to make a splash.  Matt Roper and John Tvedtnes made a number of particularly telling responses.

For instance, John Tvedtnes here:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1426&index=19

where among other things, he noticed this:

In another essay, also in response to Tanner claims, he pointed out the parallels between Lincoln's Gettysburgh Address and various Bible passages:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1432&index=14

Matt Roper noticed similar methodological problems here:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1426&index=18

And more Tvedtnes here:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1439&index=13

Plus there are other approaches to the same texts that reveal all sorts of things that don't show when a person decides that all that they need to do is compare the New Testament with the Book of Mormon in English.  Each lens is also a filter.  The problem is not one dimensional, but complex.  We don't have all of the sources behind the New Testament, nor the Old for that matter.  (Can you identify the 128 places in the New Testament where 1 Enoch is alluded to or quoted without consulting 1 Enoch?).  And what is involved in a translation to Joseph's language? 

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

 

Are you suggesting they are all paralelomania type hits? Or that that they have a common Old Testament source?  Frederick started with 1800 phrases and narrowed down to 650 he felt were direct intertextuality with the KJV as antecedent. He gives his methodology and criteria for eliminating false hits. Seems pretty convincing.

 

 

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1 minute ago, churchistrue said:

Are you suggesting they are all paralelomania type hits? Or that that they have a common Old Testament source?  Frederick started with 1800 phrases and narrowed down to 650 he felt were direct intertextuality with the KJV as antecedent. He gives his methodology and criteria for eliminating false hits. Seems pretty convincing.

Kevin seems to be responding to the Tanners. 

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1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

Are you suggesting they are all paralelomania type hits? Or that that they have a common Old Testament source?  Frederick started with 1800 phrases and narrowed down to 650 he felt were direct intertextuality with the KJV as antecedent. He gives his methodology and criteria for eliminating false hits. Seems pretty convincing.

No.  I am saying that the issue has multiple dimensions that a one dimensional approach will necessarily flatten or obscure or overlook.  That is why I cited several different people. And I started with Ben McGuire because I think his approach to the topic in general and Lamoni/Lazarus is particularly insightful, and I gather from the interview that Frederick is not considering what McGuire has done.  I cited McGuire's comments in a thread here from a few years back because they should make a difference, but it does not appear that Frederick has considered them.  And Robert Smith and Tvedtnes and Matt Roper have brought in more. I could also mention a chapter in Welch's Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount showing just how much the Sermon on the Mount reflects earlier texts and ideas.  Margaret Barker has an essay on  "Jesus the Nazorean" which previews some ideas in her big book on John's Gospel.  Among other things, she points out the

Quote

But ‘of Nazareth’ here is not the usual word Nazarēnos
; it is Nazōraios,  and Jesus’ followers were called Nazōreans (Acts 24.5).  
This suggests that the Greek word did not mean ‘of Nazareth’ but came from the Hebrew
nāṣar, which meant to guard, preserve or keep.  In the Talmud, Jesus was called the
nôṣrî.  The Nazōreans would then be the preserved or guarded people,
neṣûrîm, and with different vowels, they would be the guardians or preservers,
nōṣrîm, which became the Hebrew name for the Christians. 

http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/TemenosJesusintheGospelofJohn.pdf

That is, what they taught was not supposed to be taken as original, but traditional.  Old.  Indeed, it goes back to the First Temple.  Jerusalem 600 BCE.

For that matter, one of the LDS things I wrote was in response (partly) to a 1982 Sunstone article that highlighted this kind of supposedly anachronistic book of Mormon passage.  I have a section in an essay in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 2 that gives examples of how language that the Sunstone authors claimed was from the New Testament had many Old Testament precedents.  So the notion that the New Testament wasn't written in a vacuum but actually quotes other sources ought to be mentioned, and even, explored a bit.  And we ought to consider that some of those sources are not in the Old Testament. 

And we ought to consider that Joseph Smith, when translating according to his language and understanding was not isolated from the New Testament.  Quite the opposite.  He was immersed in it.  That language was available and by definition constituted part of his language and understanding.  That is why Tvedtnes on Lincoln's language is helpful.

And we also ought to consider that even apart from written sources, people can come up with similar language when drawing on common inspiration, and that inspiration can be the Holy Spirit, but can also be just looking at the same sorts of things.  Back in 1999 I heard Howard Storm recount his NDE, and also give his responses and describe his life changes.  I was interested by how often he said things using very similar language to Alma.  Storm became a Congregationalist Minister based in Cincinnati. Had he read the Book of Mormon?  I doubt it.  One of the early Universalist teachers, indeed, one whose teachings were the impetus behind the "restorationist' faction of the Universalists had what we'd now call an NDE.  So, no surprise, that there is some similarity in language and ideas with Alma who also had an NDE.  Common experience produces common ideas.   Vogel just argued for anachronism.  I don't agree.  There were precedents in both the ideas and common experience.

Plus there is the notion that in Ether 12:39 Moroni reports that he had talked to Jesus "face to face".  Several authors of the New Testament report that they had talked with Jesus face to face.  So there is also the possibility that Jesus might have told them the same things.  (Why wouldn't he?)  And there is also the business of the notion that the High Priests were taken into the council and were shown past, present and future (truth being knowledge of things as they are, were and are to come),  so Nephi's vision directly mentions John and his importance.  John was a High Priest as well. 

And finally, there is the notion that Hugh Nibley, James Charlesworth, and Blake Ostler all expressed, that in providing an inspired translation, Joseph Smith is doing more than just translating, but also being inspired.

That's my case.  The Book of Mormon translation represents a multi-dimensional problem that will inevitably lead to inadequate understandings when approached via one-dimensional methods.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2016/book-mormon-communicative-act

Sometimes we discuss potential anachronisms – like the inclusion of ideas from the New Testament, the use of the King James language and textual reliance on the King James translation. Only very rarely do we find discussions of issues significant to translators: do we ever discuss whether the Book of Mormon is a formal equivalence translation or a dynamic equivalence translation? When we speak of translation, we tend to focus more on a description through the eyes of an observer, and less on what it means that the text is a translation in the first place.

When we see places where the text engages New Testament ideas and values, is this potentially the way that a translator understood the text in the modern context? Is this the way the translator believed that the original author would have expressed himself, if he had written it in English, and in a modern time frame? And when we see text that is nearly identical to the King James, perhaps it is there as a way of helping its first readers identify the biblical passages being referred to, instead of suggesting that they are completely literal translations from the gold plates that just happen to validate the King James translation.

Brigham Young in a sermon delivered in 1862 seemed to recognize a fluidity in context:

When God speaks to the people, he does it in a manner to suit their circumstances and capacities. … Should the Lord Almighty send an angel to rewrite the Bible, it would in many places be very different from what it now is. And I will even venture to say that if the Book of Mormon were now to be rewritten, in many instances it would materially differ from the present translation

And when we find this information in the text, it tends to create something of a gap between the reality we see and our expectations – expectations drawn from our attempts to make the Book of Mormon as much like the Bible as possible....  if we adopt the tool kit of biblical studies as our primary approach, and we conflate the modern text of the Book of Mormon with its ancient sources.... Our tendency to try and understand the Book of Mormon and its translation primarily through the lens of biblical studies and the tools employed within traditional biblical studies is part of this inadequate framework.

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1 hour ago, Kevin Christensen said:

And we ought to consider that Joseph Smith, when translating according to his language and understanding was not isolated from the New Testament.  Quite the opposite.  He was immersed in it.  That language was available and by definition constituted part of his language and understanding.

Of course this view doesn't work at all. Have you studied the form and structure of the dictation language carefully? Probably not. If not, then you are speculating. I've recently addressed the relevant issues in an article on pseudo-biblical language.

Because biblical immersion is required for Joseph to produce all the phrasal blending, the form, structure, and systematic usage of the language would be quite different from what it is, which is a strong, mostly nonbiblical archaism. But if Joseph had produced the archaic language, under the dubious assumption that Joseph was a supreme expert in biblical language in 1829, the syntax and lexis of the earliest text would be pseudo-biblical, which is a weak, mostly biblical archaism. And you're ignoring dozens of potential obsolete meanings found in nonbiblical vocabulary and expressions.

So in effect you wish to have your cake and eat it too. You wish to say Joseph produced all the biblical phrasal blending because he was immersed in biblical language, but you are content to ignore all the nonbiblical lexis and syntax, which would have derived in large part from implicit knowledge.

If you rely in part on the assumption that the Lord wouldn't have carried out a translation with large amounts of biblical blending, then you have based your view on an indefensible assumption that has been made elsewhere: "It is easy to see how Joseph could be so heavily influenced by the KJV New Testament; it is harder to explain why a divine interpreter would be" (Gardner 2011: 257).

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5 hours ago, churchistrue said:

--he thinks the key to making sense of this with respect to historicity, is to imagine the Gold Plates and the English Book of Mormon as two different texts, implying very liberally applied Expansion Model I assume

While such a model is natural for expansion, I suspect what he's getting at is more accommodating of a loose translation model. But it's hard to tell from that short bit what he actually thinks the relationship between the two texts is, or what the implications are. i.e. is this really him trying to sneak a fictional model in using language that's more neutral or does he think there's an essential relationship between the plates and the text. My sense is he's pushing for the latter but I could be wrong. The whole bit at the end on the "how" rather than the "why" seems to be intentionally avoiding issues that will inevitably come up. I get why people want to do that. I'm not sure such avoidance will work long term.

 

17 minutes ago, champatsch said:

Of course this view doesn't work at all. Have you studied the form and structure of the dictation language carefully? Probably not. If not, then you are speculating. I've recently addressed the relevant issues in an article on pseudo-biblical language.

Just change Kevin's comments from Joseph to the environment of the produced text. While the language may have the elements you mention, that doesn't mean the translation isn't making no use of the 19th century context.

 

Edited by clarkgoble

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8 hours ago, churchistrue said:

What a fascinating podcast interview Laura Hales with Nick Frederick.  http://www.ldsperspectives.com/2018/08/22/intertextuality-book-mormon/

This is a topic I am keenly interested in and write about a lot, so I wrote up a blog post on it.

http://www.churchistrue.com/blog/nick-frederick-new-testament-in-the-book-of-mormon/

A few points:

--Dr. Frederick has identified 650 intertextual phrases between BOM and the King James New Testament

--he thinks the key to making sense of this with respect to historicity, is to imagine the Gold Plates and the English Book of Mormon as two different texts, implying very liberally applied Expansion Model I assume

--he makes some very interesting doctrinal extrapolations and scriptural insights by looking at the intertextuality and determining what the Book of Mormon is wanting us to understand from the Bible

 

 

I think this could be hard for some LDS to deal with, but I assume this crowd is pretty OK with it.

 

I’ve got the podcast in my feed, just haven’t listened yet, I’ll try listening tonight and comment again in the morning, this sounds interesting and also in a the same vein as other studies recently about the JST and dependence on other sources like biblical commentaries.   

Just a question based on your comments, but I’m assuming he reconciles this new information in some kind of apologetic that still allows for an ancient text on the Golden Plates.  When his findings and others show a clear dependence on the KJV and other 19th century ideas, how does his explanation hold up to scrutiny in your opinion?  It seems like the more this is studied the less room is left for some kind of ancient text to be the source of the material in the BoM. 

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7 hours ago, Steve J said:

Too often when I hear Latter-day Saints talk about the Book of Mormon, they talk about the Book of Mormon and the gold plates as if they’re the same text.

The simplest explanation is that there wasn’t any Gold Plates text.  We just don’t have any substantive evidence to support that claim.  That makes things a lot easier to start looking at how the text is interpreting the KJV and critiquing ideas in the 19th century, without also having to say that its also drawing on some ancient translation.  I think the best thing for apologists to do would be to table that idea, and then just look at the text for what it says and mine value out of the text we have for moral and spiritual insight, but to forget trying to defend historicity.  It can’t be defended with serious scholarship anyway.  This is the direction I see things going eventually, but it would be nice if more of the old guard got on board quicker instead of kicking against the perverbial pricks.  

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7 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I agree. When both Old Testament and New Testament intertextuality is considered, it is extremely unlikely that this aspect of the text was due to Joseph. Those who assume  Joseph had a Bible during the translation and that he consulted it during the dictation process, go against the statements from the witnesses that say he didn't. It's always a possibility that he did use a Bible, and it can't be proven one way or another, but I think the historical evidence strongly favors the absence of any reference materials. We have over 200 historical documents that discuss the translation, and not one of them ever discusses Joseph opening up the Bible to help facilitate the translation (at least not that I am aware of): 

https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/sites/default/files/archive-files/pdf/welch/2016-04-11/welch_the_miraculous_translation_of_the_book_of_mormon_opening_the_heavens.pdf

If that is the case (no reference materials during the translation), then the many lengthy quotations of Isaiah and other Old and New Testament texts (such as Matthew) add to the already substantial amount of intertextual relationships scattered throughout. These words just aren't coming from Joseph. Someone can always assume Joseph had an absolutely astounding memory and that he voraciously studied the Bible before the translation, but I think such assumptions don't have any historical merit. Even if he did have such a memory, those who argue that he is making up this text have to assume that he has either memorized the entire text before each sessions or that he is creatively weaving in hundreds of biblical allusions and quotations while at the same time keeping track of other complexities, which are many (geography, chronology, prophecies, characters, doctrines, battles, migrations, flashback sequences, etc).

See https://bookofmormoncentral.org/blog/watch-evidence-of-the-book-of-mormon-internal-complexity 

We don’t have any witness accounts of the JST production that Joseph used Clarke’s biblical commentary, yet we have modern scholarship that clearly shows a dependence.  We really have two options here, either Joseph was excellent at memorization, or he used a KJV during the translation process.  I guess the third option is the supernatural explanation.  

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5 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

 I guess the third option is the supernatural explanation.

Not supernatural. Everything is natural. Every natural event may not be understood.

 

13 hours ago, Steve J said:

What it (BOM) will do is carefully weave these New Testament passages into the larger text so that you almost don’t notice they’re even there unless you’re carefully looking for them.

And maybe that is the crux of the matter i.e  finding what you expect to find. As opposed to the discovery of the veavy usage of Early Modern English in the Book of Mormon which is something Royal Skousen did not expect to find.

 

11 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Plus there is the notion that in Ether 12:39 Moroni reports that he had talked to Jesus "face to face".  Several authors of the New Testament report that they had talked with Jesus face to face.  So there is also the possibility that Jesus might have told them the same things.  (Why wouldn't he?)  And there is also the business of the notion that the High Priests were taken into the council and were shown past, present and future (truth being knowledge of things as they are, were and are to come),  so Nephi's vision directly mentions John and his importance.  John was a High Priest as well. 

Exactly. Aother question is, Why would Jesus tell different prophets something different when talking about the same types of things?

Glenn

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13 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

Thanks for that. Will listen when I have time. Judging by the "few points," it sounds like he has reached the same conclusions I did many years ago when I did an informal study of the Book of Mormon's textual dependency on the KJV New Testament. It's not just words, phrases, and ideas that are borrowed, but a lot of times the Book of Mormon takes a reading of the KJV that makes sense only in English and then uses it as a jumping-off point, or doctrinal extrapolation as you put it, for a broader exposition. 

I think that’s where some of the chiasmuses (chiasmi???) happen organically. The writer plays out a concept that has KJV commonality and then plays it back a second time, working backwards before commenting on it further and exploring around the topic some more. 

I had found several examples of that some years ago (one where Peter was quoted I think). I’ve since lost the notes to the mists of time. It was for personal conclusions, not publication, so I didn’t keep it all in a meticulous structure. 

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7 hours ago, Glenn101 said:
13 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

 I guess the third option is the supernatural explanation.

Not supernatural. Everything is natural. Every natural event may not be understood.

I would call seeing text on a stone a supernatural phenomenon.  

 

 

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8 hours ago, Glenn101 said:
14 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

 I guess the third option is the supernatural explanation.

Not supernatural. Everything is natural. Every natural event may not be understood.

1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

I would call seeing text on a stone a supernatural phenomenon.  

I'm not sure why we shouldn't use the term supernatural. Orthodox Latter-day Saints would usually use the term "miracle" but that implies divine intervention. Those who don't share our assumptions naturally want a word that doesn't have such theological connotations. So they use supernatural. It leaves the door open for them to entertain other possibilities. Aliens, devil, and other out of the ordinary phenomenon. In both contexts, the words basically refer to something unexplainable by typical natural laws. The term "miracle," for instance, wouldn't mean anything if the miraculous phenomenon didn't transcend the natural order of the cosmos (at least as typically discerned by humans).

I get that Latter-day Saints have a nuanced understanding of matter and that we accept that all miracles are actually in accordance with higher, currently unknown laws, but why insist on this nuance when most people who use the term "supernatural" could easily, and most likely do, feel the same way about "supernatural" phenomena. In each case, I think everyone would agree that the phenomenon is probably explainable, but simply that it defies our current understanding of natural laws. 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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3 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I'm not sure why we shouldn't use the term supernatural. Orthodox Latter-day Saints would usually use the term "miracle" but that implies divine intervention. Those who don't share our assumptions naturally want a word that doesn't have such theological connotations. So they use supernatural. It leaves the door open for them to entertain other possibilities. Aliens, devil, and other out of the ordinary phenomenon. In both contexts, the words basically refer to something unexplainable by typical natural laws. The term "miracle," for instance, wouldn't mean anything if the miraculous phenomenon didn't transcend the natural order of the cosmos (at least as typically discerned by humans).

I get that Latter-day Saints have a nuanced understanding of matter and that we accept that all miracles are actually in accordance with higher, currently unknown laws, but why insist on this nuance when most people who use the term "supernatural" could easily, and most likely do, feel the same way about "supernatural" phenomena. In each case, I think everyone would agree that the phenomena is probably explainable, but simply that it defies our current understanding of natural laws. 

I totally agree with you here.  It seems like a good term to use.  However, I have interacted with some people on this board who claim to not believe in anything supernatural, and the way the distinguish this is by saying that God works using natural means, so by definition anything God does is natural, we just don't understand it.  Makes everything natural, but it makes it more difficult to communicate on topics like this.  

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