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The Book of Mormon is a conundrum.

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12 hours ago, Exiled said:

Does disagreement bother you that much?  It is the proponent of EmodE's burden to prove and I don't think it has been met in this case.  It hasn't been reviewed by a non-mormon linguist, who doesn't have a horse in the race.  Joseph Smith's possible knowledge of EmodE forms (maybe from a spell book like Lumen Walters had) has not been refuted.  Joseph Smith's spoken language has not been eliminated as a source for EmodE.  Also, perhaps one sees EmodE where another, more secular linguist would not see it. 

Look at Robert's answer to Jarman above.  Do you think this is a namby pamby relief society discussion where people don't have to face disagreement?  Again, you are declaring victory too soon.  Your case has not been made, yet. So, it is still your burden of proof to satisfy.

Uh oh.

The sexism cops are gonna get you for that one. 

They use radar, you know.

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39 minutes ago, Dan McClellan said:

Can someone point me to the clearest set of data that support the notion that the Book of Mormon language constitutes something that could not reasonably have been composed in an early-19th century context?

Several papers have been published in Interpreter to show that some features of the Book of Mormon language could have been composed in the 16th century, but that's not the same as showing that it couldn't have been composed in the early 19th century. The argument seems to be simply that the hypothesis of 16th century composition fits the Book's grammar so well that we don't have to ask how well any other hypothesis might fit it also.

Empirical reasoning doesn't work that way, though. The history of science is full of dead theories which were all consistent with large bodies of evidence. They just happened to be inconsistent with some other evidence, and so they were replaced by other theories that could account for all the evidence instead of just some. Accumulating evidence consistent with your hypothesis is never enough to establish it. You have to present evidence against the alternatives to your hypothesis.

So far I've only seen one paper, again in Interpreter, which even tries to show that 19th-century fake archaism could not have come out with grammar like the Book of Mormon. That paper examined pseudo-Biblical works written by educated authors with the intent of amusing book-buyers, rather than texts dictated by uneducated authors with the intent to deceive. So its conclusion that fake archaism could not have produced the Book of Mormon's grammar is like concluding that orange fruits can't exist, because all the fruits in a sample of apples were red.

Is there anything more than that, not to show that 16th-century composition could have produced Book of Mormon grammar, but to show that 19th century fake archaism could not have done it?

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Maybe you are starting to get the bigger picture.

"Evidence" is irrelevant and worthless when faith is the bottom line.

So why debate it?

It depends on each individual what is “the bottom line” will vary widely.  

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2 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

I agree that the Book of Mormon is a conundrum, and I think there remains a wealth of new insights and possibilities to be discovered regarding its form and function, but I'm seeing lots of references to the tight control theory, and I just don't understand the appeal. It seems so methodologically rickety. I see the repeated assertion that there are some linguistic elements that are best situated in a 16th-century context, but I have yet to come across one of those elements that cannot be found occurring multiple times in early-19th century publications. Granted, I've not read the millions of pages these people have written on this topic, but every time I see a synopsis or a presentation about it, the main pieces of evidence they highlight are easily found in 19th-century literature. Then there's the most ridiculous part (in my opinion): the insistence that tight control not only includes 16th-century English, but also every other kind of English all the way up to that contemporary with the Prophet himself. Can someone point me to the clearest set of data that support the notion that the Book of Mormon language constitutes something that could not reasonably have been composed in an early-19th century context?

Maybe I can be of some assistance in this regard. It's the record-setting or near record-setting archaic lexical, grammatical, and syntactic usage of the original Book of Mormon text which indicates that Joseph Smith was not the (partial) author of the text. The content-rich phrasal usage of the text does not indicate it.

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1 hour ago, Physics Guy said:

Several papers have been published in Interpreter to show that some features of the Book of Mormon language could have been composed in the 16th century, but that's not the same as showing that it couldn't have been composed in the early 19th century. The argument seems to be simply that the hypothesis of 16th century composition fits the Book's grammar so well that we don't have to ask how well any other hypothesis might fit it also.

Empirical reasoning doesn't work that way, though. The history of science is full of dead theories which were all consistent with large bodies of evidence. They just happened to be inconsistent with some other evidence, and so they were replaced by other theories that could account for all the evidence instead of just some. Accumulating evidence consistent with your hypothesis is never enough to establish it. You have to present evidence against the alternatives to your hypothesis.

So far I've only seen one paper, again in Interpreter, which even tries to show that 19th-century fake archaism could not have come out with grammar like the Book of Mormon. That paper examined pseudo-Biblical works written by educated authors with the intent of amusing book-buyers, rather than texts dictated by uneducated authors with the intent to deceive. So its conclusion that fake archaism could not have produced the Book of Mormon's grammar is like concluding that orange fruits can't exist, because all the fruits in a sample of apples were red.

Is there anything more than that, not to show that 16th-century composition could have produced Book of Mormon grammar, but to show that 19th century fake archaism could not have done it?

Physics Guy hasn't studied the original Book of Mormon text systematically and holistically. He hasn't comparing it to biblical usage, pseudo-biblical usage, late modern usage, early modern usage, yet he is certain of his position. Physics Guy is a Book of Mormon antagonist, in the sense that he is strongly committed to advocating that there is no divine source for the text. Consequently, what we see above is unstudied, unreliable, ends-oriented reasoning. If he weren't an antagonist, at the very least he would admit publicly that the Book of Mormon is truly remarkable in its archaism, putting to shame pseudo-biblical texts, and even exceeding biblical usage in various aspects of early modern usage.

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1 hour ago, Physics Guy said:

The argument seems to be simply that the hypothesis of 16th century composition fits the Book's grammar so well that we don't have to ask how well any other hypothesis might fit it also.

If this is indeed the theory, it’s wildly misguided, since the majority of the text does not fit a 16th-century provenance. I’ve seen the argument made that the revealed text included then-contemporary English as well as 16th-century English, but this seems to me to be begging the question.

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12 minutes ago, champatsch said:

Maybe I can be of some assistance in this regard. It's the record-setting or near record-setting archaic lexical, grammatical, and syntactic usage of the original Book of Mormon text which indicates that Joseph Smith was not the (partial) author of the text. The content-rich phrasal usage of the text does not indicate it.

So someone has done a quantitative analysis of the Book of Mormon and of other pseudo-classical and archaizing literature? I’d like to see those data and the methodologies underlying them.

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If you are serious about this, you can go to Skousen's The Nature of the Original Language (2018). Pages 555ff deal with a few aspects of the archaic syntax compared with biblical and pseudo-biblical usage. Pages 91ff discuss the archaic vocabulary. Pages 210ff treat the archaic phrases. Pages 266ff treat some aspects of archaic grammar. Pages 344ff treat the archaic expressions, and there is an excursus on archaic expressions, showing that many phrases that have been thought of as strongly characteristic of the 19th century are not necessarily so, that the time-depth of many phrases is greater than has been thought.

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Posted (edited)

As one example of the current misunderstanding of Book of Mormon phrases, we have Grant Hardy writing in BYU Studies 57.1, 176 of "nonbiblical expressions that were commonly used in the nineteenth century". He hasn't studied these carefully, but he is sure that these peaked in popularity in the decades leading up to the time of the Book of Mormon's appearance. In note 20 he writes the following:

"Examples of the latter, through the first sixty-five pages of the 1830 edition, would include “first parents,” “condescension of God,” “temporally and spiritually,” “day(s) of probation,” “final state,” “watery grave,” “God of nature,” “working(s) in/of the Spirit,” “land of liberty,” “cold and silent grave,” “infinite goodness,” “instrument in the hands of God,” “fall of man,” “sacrifice for sin,” “miserable forever,” and “Great Mediator.” In recent lectures, Skousen has appeared eager to find examples of such phrases in EModE, and indeed most of these do occur as early as the seventeenth century".

Some of these are found first in the textual record in the 1400s, some in the 1500s, and some in the 1600s. Therefore what Hardy wrote about them occurring as early as the 17c is inaccurate. I have tried to determine the peak of popularity, textually speaking, of "first parents", which first occurs no later than the late 1400s, and I have found it to be in the 1600s, not in the late 1700s or early 1800s. I have not investigated the other phrases closely for popularity, but I have the first dates of appearance for these phrases, and they are almost all much earlier than Hardy leads us to believe.

Now why is this even interesting or important? Well, for one thing these phrases appear in a syntactic framework that is genuinely archaic and early modern. So there shouldn't be a strong motivation to declare them to be late modern phrases in the Book of Mormon if they appear first in the early modern period (or before). For another thing, why should we privilege a late modern view of these when there is also a lot of archaic lexical usage in the text? In the final analysis, however, it doesn't really matter how we think of these, as long as they are not used to suggest that Joseph could have worded the text.

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21 minutes ago, champatsch said:

If you are serious about this, you can go to Skousen's The Nature of the Original Language (2018). Pages 555ff deal with a few aspects of the archaic syntax compared with biblical and pseudo-biblical usage. Pages 91ff discuss the archaic vocabulary. Pages 210ff treat the archaic phrases. Pages 266ff treat some aspects of archaic grammar. Pages 344ff treat the archaic expressions, and there is an excursus on archaic expressions, showing that many phrases that have been thought of as strongly characteristic of the 19th century are not necessarily so, that the time-depth of many phrases is greater than has been thought.

Is the paperback version due out soon? At $125.00 the hardbound is a little pricey.

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27 minutes ago, Dan McClellan said:

So someone has done a quantitative analysis of the Book of Mormon and of other pseudo-classical and archaizing literature? I’d like to see those data and the methodologies underlying them.

You can also read my article here, which compares a variety of things, but is certainly not exhaustive or the final word on the subject. There were things left out, such as the Book of Mormon's remarkable subordinate that usage, which I have summarized earlier in this thread.

If you want to show that Joseph Smith could have worded the original Book of Mormon text, then you must show that the Book of Mormon’s verbal system (the grammatical core of the language) is not early modern in character—this includes verb complementation, verb agreement, various aspects of tense, inflections, auxiliary usage, mood, negation, inversion, etc. I have found that these things only fit an early modern interpretation. In other words, the grammar and syntax of the original text are not pseudo-archaic.

You will also want to show that all the improbable coincidences with extrabiblical lexis, grammar, and syntax that are found in the dictation language, as well as all the (near) record-setting archaism in the original Book of Mormon text were likely for Joseph Smith in 1829.

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6 minutes ago, champatsch said:

If you are serious about this, you can go to Skousen's The Nature of the Original Language (2018). Pages 555ff deal with a few aspects of the archaic syntax compared with biblical and pseudo-biblical usage. Pages 91ff discuss the archaic vocabulary. Pages 210ff treat the archaic phrases. Pages 266ff treat some aspects of archaic grammar. Pages 344ff treat the archaic expressions, and there is an excursus on archaic expressions, showing that many phrases that have been thought of as strongly characteristic of the 19th century are not necessarily so, that the time-depth of many phrases is greater than has been thought.

I take it, then, that no quantitative analysis has been conducted.

I’ve looked at most of those examples, but like I said above, I can find them in multiple different 19th-century publications, just as I can numerous linguistic features that are definitely not from the 16th century, including several that are definitely from the 19th century. I have a paper coming out in the Journal of Book of Mornon Studies early next year that will treat one of those cases. We also know that the 19th century was a period of linguistic revitalization, and precisely because of the Bible. Studies have shown numerous terms and constructions that were abandoned after the 17th century and reintroduced in the early 19th century. Words like “avenge,” “ponder,” and “warfare” became obsolete by the 18th century, but were revived in the early 19th because of growing classicism and increased interest in the Bible as THE source for learning to read and write. This was particularly acute in the burned over districts. This strikes me as a far more helpful framework for understanding the Book of Mormon than proposing a confusing notion of an eclectic text that sometimes and inexplicably reflects a 16th-century provenance, while at other times is definitely contemporary to the Prophet. 

Also, I’m a linguist for the Church and I supervise the translation of the scriptures, so I do kinda take this stuff seriously.

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7 minutes ago, champatsch said:

You can also read my article here, which compares a variety of things, but is certainly not exhaustive or the final word on the subject. There were things left out, such as the Book of Mormon's remarkable subordinate that usage, which I have summarized earlier in this thread.

If you want to show that Joseph Smith could have worded the original Book of Mormon text, then you must show that the Book of Mormon’s verbal system (the grammatical core of the language) is not early modern in character—this includes verb complementation, verb agreement, various aspects of tense, inflections, auxiliary usage, mood, negation, inversion, etc. I have found that these things only fit an early modern interpretation. In other words, the grammar and syntax of the original text are not pseudo-archaic.

You will also want to show that all the improbable coincidences with extrabiblical lexis, grammar, and syntax that are found in the dictation language, as well as all the (near) record-setting archaism in the original Book of Mormon text were likely for Joseph Smith in 1829.

I see a few issues here. You seem to suggest the only two possibilities are that God imported a (mostly) 16th-century text that the prophet simply dictated, or that the Prophet himself composed the text completely unaided. I think there are quite a few other possibilities that both do and don’t appeal to inspiration.

 

Also, I wouldn’t have to show that the text ISN’T early modern in character, I would just have to show that someone (the Prophet or someone else) in the 19th century could produce (with or without inspiration) a text that was sporadically early-modern in character.

 

Finally, you say “(near) record-setting” again. What is the record and where is it published? I’d like to see the methodologies and the data.

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By the way, thanks for sharing your paper. I’m on my phone, so I’ll have to look at it another time when I’m in front of my computer with some time.

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The archaism of the Book of Mormon is not a biblical knock off. It is independent.

The text, in its grammar and syntax, isn't just sporadically early modern in character. You may be thinking primarily about content-rich things.

There are many things in the text that are (near) record-setting. I'll mention a few here:

The Book of Mormon's more-part usage. 26 of these, the most since Holinshed's Chronicles. Four variants, two of them rare; the rarest is "a more part (of it)". I currently know of two or three examples of this, found in the 16c textual record (one of the three is distinguishable). I've seen some false positives of "a more part", in ECCO I think. More-part usage is never biblical in formation, though it could have been a dozen times. So it's not a biblical knock-off, and it's not revivalist, since it has the rare variants. Pseudo-biblical texts don't have it at all, so how can one reasonably argue that the 26 instances, the four variants, the two rare variants, were likely for Joseph Smith to have produced?

Complex finite verb complementation with a few verbs: SVOC. A large amount with command, cause, suffer, desire, grant. The stand-out example is the record-setting 12 with the verb cause—e.g. CAUSE X that X shall/should <infinitive>. Maybe you can find complex finite verb complementation with this verb extending into the 1800s. I haven't found it yet, and I've looked for it multiple times. I've seen it up to 1725, and the latest independent example I've found is dated 1701. I've seen as many as 4 of these in one early 17c text. The King James Bible has only three examples of simple finite verb complementation; the rest are infinitival. The 15 pseudo-biblical texts I've checked do not have any finite examples, all infinitival, strongly indicating that this is what Joseph Smith would have produced form revealed ideas.

Object they, 36 instances, record setting. The 23 instances of object "they which" in the original dictation would have almost certainly been worded by Joseph out of his own language as "those who" or "those that". Not in the King James Bible. A few of these could have come from Joseph's language, like the conjoined cases, but highly unlikely that he would have produced the totality of this "bad grammar".

The non-emphatic affirmative declarative periphrastic did, with a variety of archaic features and variants, record-setting for 1829. One of the features is the 90+% rate of did-infinitive adjacency, so low rates of inversion and adverbial intrusion. Other matches with attested early modern usage. Not pseudo-archaic.

How about "of which/whom hath/has been spoken" language? Ten of these in the Book of Mormon. Record setting. I haven't found this beyond 1708 outside of LDS scripture, and the latest definite example is dated 1688. Maybe with some crowd sourcing we can find further examples, a chain of use extending to Joseph Smith's time.

The heavy personal relative pronoun usage with which. The King James Bible is heavy in that. We might find a lengthy text with more than the Book of Mormon. I haven't spent much time looking.

This should be enough to give you the picture. Extrabiblical, early modern usage is extensive and non-sporadic in the original Book of Mormon text.

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6 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Uh oh.

The sexism cops are gonna get you for that one. 

They use radar, you know.

Talk to Robert Smith about that. The relief society comment is from something he said to JarMan earlier in the thread.

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14 hours ago, RevTestament said:

Clark, I am not sure what you mean by many who survive will be other religions. I assume you mean many who are left after the rapture. However, the time will come that all alive in the millennium will be members of this Church, and all will bend the knee. Because all will be of one accord, the power of Satan will be bound until the end of the thousand years, when apostasy will again enter the Church, and Satan will be loosed again. That is from Revelation. 

Rapture has a fairly specific meaning that's popular in the small e evangelical community. You see it in evangelical fiction such as the very popular Left Behind series. More or less it means that prior to the 2cd coming the righteous are taken to heaven (usually implying only believers) and everyone else left behind for wars.

While we have scriptures talking about being "caught up" it isn't the rapture but something else. For instance the prophets are pretty emphatic that there will be righteous members along with people who aren't members in the Millennium. Indeed many see the main work in the Millennium being missionary work (either for others here or for work for the dead). Brigham Young's interpretation was that in the Millennium "there will be as many sects and parties then as now" (JD 11:275) Typically the interpretation is that the Millennium will be.a terrestrial world, unlike our current telestial world. Again quoting Young

  • In the millennium men will have the privilege of being Presbyterians, Methodists, or Infidels, but they will not have the privilege of treating the name and character of Deity as they have done heretofore. No, but every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God the Father that Jesus is the Christ (JD 12:274)

I think the common view even by many GAs is that we should be cautious interpreting these prophecies. We simply don't always know what they mean. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, champatsch said:

Physics Guy hasn't studied the original Book of Mormon text systematically and holistically. He hasn't comparing it to biblical usage, pseudo-biblical usage, late modern usage, early modern usage, yet he is certain of his position. Physics Guy is a Book of Mormon antagonist, in the sense that he is strongly committed to advocating that there is no divine source for the text. Consequently, what we see above is unstudied, unreliable, ends-oriented reasoning. If he weren't an antagonist, at the very least he would admit publicly that the Book of Mormon is truly remarkable in its archaism, putting to shame pseudo-biblical texts, and even exceeding biblical usage in various aspects of early modern usage.

I do strongly believe, myself, that there is no divine source for the Book of Mormon. I am not particularly committed to advocating that position. I do not feel that I have enough evidence or argument on my side that it should persuade convinced Mormons, and anyway I don't care what they believe.

I'm not going to admit that the Book of Mormon has remarkable archaism exceeding that of the King James Bible or pseudo-Biblical texts, because I lack the expertise to make an informed judgement either way on this matter. I believe I have said before on this forum, and I happily say it again now: I do not challenge Carmack's claims that the Book of Mormon has remarkable archaism exceeding that of the King James Bible or of pseudo-Biblical texts by authors who were not at all like Joseph Smith. For the sake of argument I am perfectly willing to stipulate to these claims, pending more informed judgement by Carmack's trained peers.

My point is that these claims do not contradict 19th century composition, because it has not been ruled out that fakery by an author like Joseph Smith or his associates could have produced similar remarkable archaism. This is the missing link in the linguistic argument against 19th century composition and without this link the chain does not hold.

The fact that this simple logical criticism is not even being acknowledged, but instead is being deflected by accusing me of bias, is a worrying sign. If my simple criticism is misplaced, it should still be obvious that it's a natural issue to raise, and its simple rebuttal should just have been given.

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1 hour ago, champatsch said:

The archaism of the Book of Mormon is not a biblical knock off. It is independent.

I'm not suggesting it's a biblical knock-off, I'm pointing out that the English Bible influenced extraordinary influence on the English language in certain periods, and pseudo-classicism was a main result of that, whether that pseudo-classicism went directly to the Bible or to some other archaizing register. This is not just about pseudo-biblical texts, but a variety of different ways to rhetorically arrogate literary authority and gravitas. I think limiting the data set only to pseudo-biblical texts is problematic. 

Quote

The text, in its grammar and syntax, isn't just sporadically early modern in character. You may be thinking primarily about content-rich things.

You are suggesting you can demonstrate that the Book of Mormon is uniquely early modern in linguistic character from beginning to end? Elsewhere you've written:

Quote

. . . tight control can involve modern English vocabulary and syntax as well as Early Modern English (1500–1700), and even some late Middle English.

Is this a description of the "tight control" theory of the Book of Mormon or of some other text? 

There are many things in the text that are (near) record-setting. I'll mention a few here:

Quote

The Book of Mormon's more-part usage. 26 of these, the most since Holinshed's Chronicles. Four variants, two of them rare; the rarest is "a more part (of it)". I currently know of two or three examples of this, found in the 16c textual record (one of the three is distinguishable). I've seen some false positives of "a more part", in ECCO I think. More-part usage is never biblical in formation, though it could have been a dozen times. So it's not a biblical knock-off, and it's not revivalist, since it has the rare variants. Pseudo-biblical texts don't have it at all, so how can one reasonably argue that the 26 instances, the four variants, the two rare variants, were likely for Joseph Smith to have produced?

Thanks for this example. I'll take a closer look when I have more time.

Quote

Complex finite verb complementation with a few verbs: SVOC. A large amount with command, cause, suffer, desire, grant. The stand-out example is the record-setting 12 with the verb cause—e.g. CAUSE X that X shall/should <infinitive>. Maybe you can find complex finite verb complementation with this verb extending into the 1800s. I haven't found it yet, and I've looked for it multiple times. I've seen it up to 1725, and the latest independent example I've found is dated 1701. I've seen as many as 4 of these in one early 17c text. The King James Bible has only three examples of simple finite verb complementation; the rest are infinitival. The 15 pseudo-biblical texts I've checked do not have any finite examples, all infinitival, strongly indicating that this is what Joseph Smith would have produced form revealed ideas.

I'll be happy to look. 

Quote

 

Object they, 36 instances, record setting. The 23 instances of object "they which" in the original dictation would have almost certainly been worded by Joseph out of his own language as "those who" or "those that". Not in the King James Bible. A few of these could have come from Joseph's language, like the conjoined cases, but highly unlikely that he would have produced the totality of this "bad grammar".

The non-emphatic affirmative declarative periphrastic did, with a variety of archaic features and variants, record-setting for 1829. One of the features is the 90+% rate of did-infinitive adjacency, so low rates of inversion and adverbial intrusion. Other matches with attested early modern usage. Not pseudo-archaic.

How about "of which/whom hath/has been spoken" language? Ten of these in the Book of Mormon. Record setting. I haven't found this beyond 1708 outside of LDS scripture, and the latest definite example is dated 1688. Maybe with some crowd sourcing we can find further examples, a chain of use extending to Joseph Smith's time.

The heavy personal relative pronoun usage with which. The King James Bible is heavy in that. We might find a lengthy text with more than the Book of Mormon. I haven't spent much time looking.

This should be enough to give you the picture. Extrabiblical, early modern usage is extensive and non-sporadic in the original Book of Mormon text.

 

So by "record-setting," you mean more occurrences of a specific linguistic feature within a single document? What are the lengths of these other documents to which you're comparing the Book of Mormon?  

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5 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Rapture has a fairly specific meaning that's popular in the small e evangelical community. You see it in evangelical fiction such as the very popular Left Behind series. More or less it means that prior to the 2cd coming the righteous are taken to heaven (usually implying only believers) and everyone else left behind for wars.

While we have scriptures talking about being "caught up" it isn't the rapture but something else. For instance the prophets are pretty emphatic that there will be righteous members along with people who aren't members in the Millennium. Indeed many see the main work in the Millennium being missionary work (either for others here or for work for the dead). Brigham Young's interpretation was that in the Millennium "there will be as many sects and parties then as now" (JD 11:275) Typically the interpretation is that the Millennium will be.a terrestrial world, unlike our current telestial world. Again quoting Young

  • In the millennium men will have the privilege of being Presbyterians, Methodists, or Infidels, but they will not have the privilege of treating the name and character of Deity as they have done heretofore. No, but every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God the Father that Jesus is the Christ (JD 12:274)

I think the common view even by many GAs is that we should be cautious interpreting these prophecies. We simply don't always know what they mean. 

I disagree. Rapture is essentially a term which refers to the verses by Paul:

1 Cor 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

and

1 Thess 4:

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

What it refers to is essentially what the Church calls translation. All that other stuff you add on your own accord. Some may believe it , and others not.

I agree with BY to the extent that he appears to be talking about the beginning of the Millennium. Yes, despite being shown they were wrong, many peoples of the earth will not accept it - their churches and religions will continue - as I have already said - for several hundred years. To conclude that his statement lasts throughout the millennium contradicts other scripture. Every knee cannot bow if it is beholden to Allah of the Quran, or atheism. Satan will still have power - even by definition of the Church of the great and abominable Church. The two positions irreconcilably conflict. 

I believe everyone who is worthy will be caught up in the "rapture" or translation - with the possible exception of some who choose to stay. I'm not sure what else I have said you disagree with, but this about sums it up for my position, and I think shows why I feel the Church does not really have an eschatology. The Church doesn't seem to believe their own scriptures any more than anyone else.

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3 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

So by "record-setting," you mean more occurrences of a specific linguistic feature within a single document? What are the lengths of these other documents to which you're comparing the Book of Mormon?

Each case is different. In the case of "the more part", Holinshed's Chronicles has more than 2 million words, so while it is the closest text in time with more instances of "the more part" than the Book of Mormon, it has a lower usage rate, because it "only" has about 100 examples of it. There is a 1550 text, however, with double the usage rate of the Book of Mormon. And there's probably one or two others in the mid 1500s with higher usage rates.

In the case of causative SVOC language, the 1616 text with four instances is much longer than the Book of Mormon, which has 12. But if a text with only one instance of causative SVOC is one-twelfth as long as the Book of Mormon, then of course the usage rate would be the same.

The Book of Mormon has 13 instances of spake used as a past participle. I know of a somewhat longer text with 31 (1646), and another text with 5 (1685), of unknown length, since it's a biblical commentary, and I haven't extracted the number of nonbiblical words. So currently the Book of Mormon is number two in absolute number of occurrences (who knows about usage rate), and it has one example of rare "been spake" morphosyntax (aa0608; three other instances currently known).

Etc.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Physics Guy said:

I do strongly believe, myself, that there is no divine source for the Book of Mormon. I am not particularly committed to advocating that position. I do not feel that I have enough evidence or argument on my side that it should persuade convinced Mormons, and anyway I don't care what they believe.

I'm not going to admit that the Book of Mormon has remarkable archaism exceeding that of the King James Bible or pseudo-Biblical texts, because I lack the expertise to make an informed judgement either way on this matter. I believe I have said before on this forum, and I happily say it again now: I do not challenge Carmack's claims that the Book of Mormon has remarkable archaism exceeding that of the King James Bible or of pseudo-Biblical texts by authors who were not at all like Joseph Smith. For the sake of argument I am perfectly willing to stipulate to these claims, pending more informed judgement by Carmack's trained peers.

My point is that these claims do not contradict 19th century composition, because it has not been ruled out that fakery by an author like Joseph Smith or his associates could have produced similar remarkable archaism. This is the missing link in the linguistic argument against 19th century composition and without this link the chain does not hold.

The fact that this simple logical criticism is not even being acknowledged, but instead is being deflected by accusing me of bias, is a worrying sign. If my simple criticism is misplaced, it should still be obvious that it's a natural issue to raise, and its simple rebuttal should just have been given.

It is known now that the archaism of written pseudo-biblicism doesn't measure up to the archaism of the Book of Mormon. It is also known that biblical influence is contraindicated in many grammatical and syntactic domains. The fallback is oral pseudo-biblicism, I guess, which is very hard if not impossible to test for. I will be happy to test the Book of Mormon against any oral pseudo-biblical text that you can point me to. (I've looked at the Sorry Tale, and found some interesting usage, but it is lacking in many respects, plus it's not close enough in time.)

On a general note, you are content to conclude that Joseph Smith did produce a vast array of extrabiblical archaism in the dictation, without sufficient external textual support for such a conclusion. The lack of external support for the production of many aspects of the Book of Mormon's (morpho)syntax is why it's reasonable to conclude that he didn't produce it—the probability that he could have produced it is, to this point, vanishingly low.

Granted, dialects can be conservative, but they are not conservative in all respects. We know Joseph Smith's dialect was not conservative in several important ways, and that these usage patterns were different from important patterns in the dictation language. So that means that during the dictation he must have been continually aware of not only the very complex content but also the archaic forms and structures he used, consciously dictating against his own native speaker intuitions and biblical language.

Another thing worth mentioning is that we can see almost all the interesting, extrabiblical archaic syntax and grammar in the earlier textual record, and often it is in formal writing. There's actually a lot of correspondence with older legal writing. And because there's so much correspondence with high-level, literate writing, it's not unreasonable to say that the vast majority of the dictation language has the character of a written text. For instance, if we look for something like archaic "after that he shall have . . ." (e.g. "after that ye shall have witnessed him, ye shall bear record . . ." 1n1107), with the archaic subordinating conjunction after that and future subjunctive shall, something that is not in the King James Bible or in pseudo-biblical texts, we can find it most prominently in the 16c, less so in the 17c, remaining ever so slightly in the 18c, mostly in books reprinting earlier legal language. So by the end of the 18c it is indeed rare, literate language.

Now, it's an easy matter to make vague, dismissive comments without knowing much of the subject matter. It just isn't that valuable or interesting. What I think would be valuable is if you would dig in to the details and do some comparative work of your own. There's a hundred things you could investigate. Why not study the mixing of T and Y forms in the textual record. Or how about tracing the trajectory of "notwithstanding that S" or "since that S" during the 1700s and early 1800s. Or maybe you can track the use of "of which/whom has/hath been spoken" language in the 1700s, and demonstrate a chain of use. Or you can document late modern usage of SVOC with the verb cause, or demonstrate a continuation of "a more part of X" through the 1600s and 1700s. Etc.

Edited by champatsch

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i'd have to say, even as an outsider looking in, I'd be pleased to hear if Stanford's conclusions that suggest it'd be impossible or near impossible for Joseph to come up with the language bits that constitute EModE were untenable.  As I see it his conclusions open up a whole other can of crap, and only put stress on the Church.  In his effort to prove JOseph wasn't the author it seems to me he's only made the book look all the more kooky.  

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15 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

i'd have to say, even as an outsider looking in, I'd be pleased to hear if Stanford's conclusions that suggest it'd be impossible or near impossible for Joseph to come up with the language bits that constitute EModE were untenable.  As I see it his conclusions open up a whole other can of crap, and only put stress on the Church.  In his effort to prove JOseph wasn't the author it seems to me he's only made the book look all the more kooky.  

Yes, I don't think God would purposefully speak in older English forms.  I think He would want to communicate with his children in a direct manner and would speak clearly and plainly as the book of mormon, itself claims.

I think the sensible conclusion will be that Joseph Smith deliberately had his God speak in older, archaic forms, in order to impress his group of believers. Or perhaps the archaic forms are merely a product of Joseph Smith's spoken language? 

If EmodE is there in the book of mormon and d&c and plot of Zion, etc., then perhaps this is Joseph Smith's way of making a distinction in his mind of when God is speaking? However, I would think God would then intervene in this case and correct Joseph, because God probably wouldn't want to have people believe that his words were part of a magician's trick.

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22 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

Also, I’m a linguist for the Church and I supervise the translation of the scriptures, so I do kinda take this stuff seriously.

On this, I would urge you to bring influence to bear within your committees so that readers worldwide are able to obtain more accurate Book of Mormon translations than are currently offered. There are dozens of uncontroversial incorrect readings in the 1981 text that inevitably lead to incorrect translations: 1n0831, 1n1324, 1n1516, etc. The church really needs to go through two or three stages of updating the text, which fits fine with the recent glasnost and perestroika.

22 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

I take it, then, that no quantitative analysis has been conducted.

No, there's quantitative analysis in NOL in the archaic syntax section. I've done a lot of other quantitative analysis.

22 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

I’ve looked at most of those examples, but like I said above, I can find them in multiple different 19th-century publications, just as I can numerous linguistic features that are definitely not from the 16th century, including several that are definitely from the 19th century. I have a paper coming out in the Journal of Book of Mornon Studies early next year that will treat one of those cases. We also know that the 19th century was a period of linguistic revitalization, and precisely because of the Bible. Studies have shown numerous terms and constructions that were abandoned after the 17th century and reintroduced in the early 19th century. Words like “avenge,” “ponder,” and “warfare” became obsolete by the 18th century, but were revived in the early 19th because of growing classicism and increased interest in the Bible as THE source for learning to read and write. This was particularly acute in the burned over districts. This strikes me as a far more helpful framework for understanding the Book of Mormon than proposing a confusing notion of an eclectic text that sometimes and inexplicably reflects a 16th-century provenance, while at other times is definitely contemporary to the Prophet. 

Sounds like you're interested in lexical matters and contextual language. I'm principally interested in grammatical and syntactic things, much less contextual language, which is the strongest evidence to consider in determining whether Joseph Smith had the implicit knowledge to produce the language. Nevertheless, I did work on all this material, so I know it, and therefore I know that your general statement above, about finding most of the examples in multiple different 19c publications, in effect dismisses many entries found in the online, third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. And it also goes against many things that I have researched. So you've found whereby = 'why' and depart (intr.) = 'divide' and but if = 'unless' and mar = 'stop', etc. in the 19c. All the lexical usage of the Book of Mormon persisted. Well, then you have dozens of things to submit to the OED so that they can update their entries.  Sarcasm aside, I'm well aware, knowing by experience, that the OED has incomplete entries and that it has many subentries that aren't quite accurate in terms of obsolescence. Over time they are updating their entries, adding usage found in recently developed corpora. But to say that you've looked at most of the examples of potential archaism in NOL and have found them in the 19c. I will need to know what you are referring to specifically so that I can begin to believe you. Why don't you give me three specific lexical items you mean so I can look them over.

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