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Deutero-Isaiah question?

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3 hours ago, USU78 said:

Labbu = Lion [Ugar.]; Labi'a = Lion [Heb].  Laban/Labi'a makes a lot more sense than what I've been thinking for years [white = hypocrite/spoiled milk = judgment poured out on the ground].  Laban is a lot more menacing as a lion figure, and it fits so much better with the military influence of Nephi's Laban mentioned in 1 Ne.  This also makes me wonder if it would be worthwhile to look for other comparisons between Nephi and Samson besides being both "large and mighty" lion slayers who were both bound with cords by enemies.

Yes, and Tishpak/Nergal slays Labbu with an arrow, Nephi's specialty, even though he slays Laban with his own sword.

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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

. The argument is that this is an artifact of the translation. 

I think I've always thought this way. I think if God gave a revelation now it might be a little less "thee, thou, and thine." Maybe more "I the Lord speak to you openly and am coming quickly..." if that makes sense. It would still be authoritative but it most likely wouldn't possess the same KJV feel as the Doctrine and Covenants. Of course the text could always be edited to be more biblical, similar to Joseph restructuring a lot of his visions into a poetic text.

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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

There's no doubt the text of the Book of Mormon is highly dependent upon the KJV especially the NT. So in that sense the entire text is anachronistic. The argument is that this is an artifact of the translation. 

To the text itself, there's certainly imagery of a great church -- associated I think in the vision with the pseudo-temple potentially of Baal. However it's not represented by the whore as in Revelation. Quoting from 1 Nephi 13:7-8

"And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it. And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots. And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church. And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity."

This then transfigures into the church being the prostitute (i.e. 1 Nephi 14:10-12) However the imagery is hardly unique to Revelation. Rather Revelation is taking common imagery for apostasy from the OT. Hosea is the most obvous example but you find it in Jeremiah and Isaiah as well. (Admittedly Is 57 likely post-exilic but we're talking about pre-hellenistic imagery here) Jeremiah is particularly key since Lehi is a contemporary. So it's hard to ignore Jeremiah 3:1-4:41. So it's fairly trivial to see Nephi as interpreting archetypes of faithful Israel versus unfaithful Israel. The translation puts this as two churches but perhaps two communities would be more accurate - one the apostate version of the other. That's simply not anachronistic but it the imagery just before the exile. Further, the persecution of both Lehi and Jeremiah makes the imagery in Nephi's vision fit with unrighteous Israel who is being warned. We know that's the meaning of the imagery since Nephi makes it explicit in the opening verses of 1 Nephi 14. 

So despite the similarity to Revelation, the meaning fits the pre-exilic context better. Although I'd certainly again never deny the influence of the KJV text on the translation.

I'd note also that Revelation is famously using Babylon and the exile (with the whore being Babylon) as an image for Rome and Israel. In other words the imagery of Revelation is precisely out of the period Nephi is living. So I'd argue you have the direction of causaltiy backwards. The author of Revelation is using pre-existing imagery from apostate Israeal and Babylon. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the word translated as devil is actually Baal which would then parallel Jeremiah even more strongly.

No, it really doesn't. And I don't think the point is even arguable. The whore in Jeremiah is Israel represented as an unfaithful spouse. Revelation represents the whore as a multi-national power who makes war on the faithful represented by the lamb. The Book of Mormon whore is also a multi-national power who makes war upon the faithful saints represented by the Lamb of God. And this is just the beginning of the similarities.

There are really three separate issues here: 1) the specific symbols, 2) the meaning of the symbols, and 3) the literary genre. You have identified some symbols that are common. The problems is that the meaning of the symbols is different and the genre is different. There are whores in Shakespeare, for instance, and rap music. . . but the symbolism and genre for both are obviously different than anything we are talking about.

Furthermore, the Book of Mormon is obviously talking about post-reformation Christianity in using these symbols where the whore = the Catholic church and the faithful of the lamb represent Protestantism. Where else do we see these symbols represented in just this way, but in early modern Europe? (Maybe in later Christianity, but these motifs were very common in the 16th and 17th Centuries.) The point is that we see a convergence of 1) symbols, 2) the meaning of the symbols, and 3) the genre (viewing the world in apocalyptic terms was common) with early modern Europe. There is nothing approaching a convergence in pre-exilic Israel. If we put aside what we want the Book of Mormon to be we have to conclude that 1 Nephi's apocalypse is much more consistent with Revelation and the post-reformation Christian world.

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Or not.

The old Maxwell site was so much easier to work with.  Interested parties could check out "The Temple, the Monarchy and Wisdom: Lehi's World and the Scholarship of Margaret Barker."

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/mi/39/

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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14 hours ago, JarMan said:

No, it really doesn't. And I don't think the point is even arguable. The whore in Jeremiah is Israel represented as an unfaithful spouse.

Let me make my point more explicit. There are three layers to Nephi's account - four if you include artifacts of the translation process.

1. The dream/vision itself

2. The vision meeting the angel explaining the vision

3. The future vision that takes off from the vision.

So in the vision proper we have the people around the great and spacious building. This has two aspects. First it represents a false temple with people trying to lead the righteous away. There are two aspects to this. First is, I speculate, a Baal like doppleganger of YHWH. In that case the people not only represent the Canaanites but also fallen Israel - either Judah proper or more likely the Northern Kingdom frequently portrayed as overly syncretic or outright Canaanite by the south. (I think most archaeologists think this is at best highly exaggerated) 

You then have the second vision where Nephi gets a guide. This one is I think more often seen as apocalyptic and paralleling Revelation. Not that all apocalypses have angelic guides, but it's not that uncommon either. The explanation though, as I noted above, isn't that this "tall and spacious" is the whore but that it seeks after it. Again the connection is much more to Canaanite and wider mesopotamian ritual prostitution. It's here that the types get expanded more towards paralleling Revelation. So Baal and his temple/followers as apostate Israel become transformed into the type of the whore. But this, as you note, is the common trope of Israel as an unfaithful spouse. It's important to note that this is a transformation in the text though. How the type manifests in 1 Nephi 13 is different from what it becomes in 1 Nephi 14. And that change is precisely in the move from the vision proper to the explanation.

As I said, I think you have the causation backwards. Revelation uses Babylon and the exile as a type for Rome and a more general archetype. But It's the exile itself which is the type. For Nephi the issue is also Babylon but while the exile in full hasn't yet happened, Babylon has already conquered Jerusalem once. Zedekiah's appointment as King is by Babylon. Lehi (and Jeremiah) are prophesying about further captivity. That captivity is emphasized by Nephi in 1 Ne 13:5. Further the angel makes use of Isaiah here. He talks about the pit that's the valley of Hinnon outside Jerusalem making the human sacrifice analogy. (Again Canaanite - here quoting and paraphrasing Isaiah 24 & 30) While this is somewhat apocalyptic - it's more tied to the proto-apocalypse of Isaiah as well as the Psalms (although we'll ignore the dating question of the Psalms for now). More significantly this same imagery is used by Jeremiah with the Moab imagery.

"Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the LORD. He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the LORD." (Jer 48:43-44)

Here this is expanded with more volcanic imagery.

"And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell—yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end." (1 Ne 14:3)

Note that this isn't hell in the normal apocalyptic sense of Revelation. There it's a bottomless pit with a beast. (See Rev 17) Here the pit is dug by the people who fall into the pit. That's partially the Church itself, but given the focus is apostate Israel. For Jeremiah it's Moab which is basically the land to the east of the Dead Sea but is a type for apostate surviving Israel. It's worth noting that Moab as a type both in Isaiah (15 & 16) and Jeremiah (48) is focused on its prosperity and pride. The exact imagery in Nephi's vision for the tall and spacious building. 

If Nephi is making use of Moab imagery like Isaiah and Jeremiah then it's possible that instead of the temple being for Baal it's for Chemosh or Nebo (a form of the Babylonian Nabu). The great whore would be Ashtar-Chemosh who becomes a type for the people as the consort of Chemosh. The whole controversy of Solomon and his foreign wives building temples to Chemosh likely is the background. (See 1 Kings 11:7) This temple was removed as part of the Josiah reforms. (2 Kng 23:13) What's interesting is that there's apparently quite the blurring between Ashtar, Ashtar-Chemosh, and Chemosh himself. That in turn blurs into Baal. (See for instance Hosea 9:10)

In Nephi's vision (as opposed to Revelation) you have that same blurring. First you have people digging the pit (reference to human sacrifice) in 14:3. The abominable church is the rival religion to Israel as YHWH's. The head is the devil who is Baal/Chemosh. Yet there's a blurring where this is also the goddess and ritual prostitute. Ashtar-Chemosh (or Ashtoreth in the broader Canaanite) is the mother of the abominations (here meaning human sacrifice not as in Daniel or Revelation the sacrifice of pigs in the temple by the Greeks). Ashtar/Ashtoreth is the mother. In contrast to the other goddess figure (the tree in the garden which becomes the mother of God as Jesus in 1 Ne 11:8, 13-20).

Now you can argue there's somewhat similar imagery in Revelation (the woman who flees to the wilderness is the Church of God). But my point was that Revelation is making use of these pre-existing imagery. So you have the goddess like figure ("defanged" somewhat due to the rise of monotheism and P & D redactions but still present in places like Wisdom personified in places like Proverbs. This is an ancient symbol and almost certainly pre-exilic. Indeed the farther back you go the more manifest these images are. So to call those two personified images of apocalypses as hellenistic is just wrong. They predate it. 

The gentiles focused upon appear to be (at least in Nephi's view) these neighbor's of Israel although it's also undeniable that the shape of the translation is looking at this from a perspective of the 19th century and looking back upon history.

Now there are other elements which may be more problematic but the whore imagery just isn't. That's completely a pre-exilic imagery. The whole unfaithful spouse imagery and whore imagery is an old imagery of pagan apostasy. See for instance 2 Kings 17:5-17 or the entire book of Hosea. But that's precisely the image of the two churches both in Revelation and Nephi. You're so focused on Revelation you're completely missing where Revelation gets its imagery. In Hosea you have two figures: Hosea and Gomer representing both God and Israel but also righteous Israel (since Hosea is faithful) and apostate Israel. In Nephi's vision you don't have the woman as Church imagery you only have woman as young woman who is the righteous divine mother against the false ashtoreth imagery. Likewise in Jeremiah the "queen of heaven" as the false Ashtoreth is pretty common. 

The main anachronistic element is the use of "Church" which I think clearly is Revelation inspired. It's not clear what would actually have been on the underlying text. I suspect that we have something like Exodus 12 with the "congregation of Israel" since Church doesn't appear in the OT KJV but congregation parallels it reasonably well. The underlying Greek is ekklesia. In the Septuagent it's used a fair bit for gathering (Dt 4:10) or assembly (Lv 19:2, Num 14:5, Dt 9:10; 31:30 Joshua 8:35; 1 Kng 8:55 etc.)  To me the parts most similar to what Nephi is dealing with are either Deuteronomy 23 (where "a Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord") Ultimately the idea is two assemblies - those faithful to the covenant and those apostate represented by the whore (due to the worship of Ashtoreth).

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On 7/2/2019 at 9:20 AM, USU78 said:

Clark, why must we make any presumption on parallels/borrowings from the Mesopotamian corpus occurring during or after the Exile?

If we accept Abram's story as having a basis in [otherwise unattested] fact, the Hebrews began in the land between the rivers.  Thus the Mesopotamian sources are their own sources and could have followed them in their peregrinations.

Of course, and this is precisely what such scholars as William F. Albright,* Loren R. Fisher,** and Abraham Malamat*** acted upon in their research and writing.

*  Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, 91,93, and n. 101, citing W. Lambert & A. Millard in Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum, XLVI (1965), pl. 39; and W. Lambert & P. Walcot in Kadmos, IV (1965), 64-72 (esp. n. 3 on Songs of Kumarbi & Ullikummi).

**  Fisher, Ras Shamra Parallels, II, V 2, likewise quoting G. Fohrer, Introduction to the Old Testament, 88: “Not only do isolated narratives in the Primal History have corresponding Mesopotamian prototypes, but even the sequence and structure of the whole agrees with the Mesopotamian original.”

*** Malamat, “The History Behind the Bible: BAR Interviews Avraham Malamat,” BAR, 29/1 (Jan-Feb 2003), 40-44,46.

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Posted (edited)

To add to my comments above, regarding the woman in Rev 12 (which as I noted is different in Nephi's vision despite the strong similarities)

Quote

The theory which best explains the redacted ch. 12 is that the woman is the heavenly Israel. The bacground of this understanding of the woman is in the poetry of the OT. In the book of Hosea, the relationship between the prophet and his harlot-wife is a symbol of the relationship between Yahweh and personified Israel. [...] The reconciliation between Yahweh and his spouse is to take place in the desert in a re-enactment of the Exodus (2:16-17) The same image occurs in deutero-Isaiah where the people are addressed as sons of the personified Israel (Is 50:1). In the poem of Isaiah 54 (a passage which is probably alluded to in Rev 21:9-21) personified Israel or possibly Jerusalem is addressed as the spouse of the Lord (vs 5-9). The many children promised to her undoubtedly represent the restored community of hte earthy post-exilic period.

The redactor of Revelation 12 has intensified this metaphor so that the personified Isreal is a heavenly entity who can be depicted as the Queen of Heaven (vs. 1). This intensification of the image is probably related to the ancient idea that all eartly entitites have heavenly prototypes.

(Collins, The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation, 134-5)

This point about the ancient images is very key and also relates to Mosiah 15.

The relationship of Rev 12 to Isis is well known (See for instance Collins, "Feminine S ymbolism in the Book of Revelation" where he's looking at the iconography during the Roman era. The key underlying myth in both aspects of the final form of Revelation, the texts out of which Revelation was formed, as well as 1 Nephi is two competing "queens of heaven." I've obviously argued for a Canaanite context. That is Ashtoreth as consort of Baal/Chemosh. I see the other figure either as personified heavenly Israel or even as a pre-D/P redactions mother in heaven who is contrasted with Ashtoreth. That is we have Ashtoreth as fallen Israel and the woman as heavenly Israel. 

While I've pushed Moab/Canaan the Egyptian parallels also can't be neglected. Both in the Roman era but also the period around the exile. There the myth is Set vs. Osiris for the struggle of Kingship. There the heavenly mother is Isis (who is also Osiris' wife) Isis conceives a child from Osiris. The son of Osiris and Isis is Horus who when grown kills Set and becomes King. This is a myth that Nephi almost certainly would have known. Further we know repurposing Egyptian myth in a Hebrew context was reasonably common around that time. As one would expect there's lots of Egyptian figurines found in the region around the time of the exile.

So if the author of the original segment of Rev 12 is borrowing the Set myth, it's hardly unlikely that Nephi couldn't as well. (Again, I'm not saying he did - just that if you are arguing that the narrative is anachronistic you must be able to demonstrate he didn't)

What I'm saying is we have the following level:

 
Good 
Bad
Divine Figures
Heavenly Mother
Ashtoreth
Personification
Heavenly Israel
Apostate Israel
Myth
Isis/Set/Osiris
YHWH/Tiamat
Historical
Followers of Covenant
Pagan human sacrifice
 

Now having said all that again let me reemphasize that I don't deny 19th century elements to the text. My position it's that it's a paraphrase styled translation highly influenced by the KJV particularly the New Testament. New Testament quotations and paraphrases are easy to demonstrate in the BCE of the Book of Mormon. Those are anachronistic, but to be expected by the nature of the text. Likewise I think we have to accept, as Blake Ostler pointed out years ago, that the text may well have expansions to what was on the underlying text. The prophet passages of Nephi's vision are the most likely location where what were on the small plates was expanded to make clear a historical connection. I'd also be willing to accept the strong possibility that the Mary expansions in the explanation by the angel are themselves 19th century expansions to the underlying text and thus are influenced by 19th century views on Rev 12.

 

Edited by clarkgoble
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@clarkgobleYour explanation of the text lacks convergence. You are drawing on ancient Egyptian myth, Canaanite religion, the Northern Kingdom, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, and 19th Century expansion in order to explain Nephi's vision. This is cherry-picking and your explanation still doesn't explain the meaning of Nephi's symbols or address the anachronistic use of the apocalyptic genre. Nor do you seem to want to address Nephi's explicit reference to Revelation. Nephi knows he is expanding/interpreting Revelation. And he knows his reader will make this connection, as well. But just in case we don't make the connection or just in case we are wondering what happened to the rest of the vision he tells us that John wrote the rest of it. Thus, John's Revelation is quite adequate to explain the origin of Nephi's vision. The interpretation of the vision is a  different matter, though. For that we just need to draw on early modern Protestantism.

The following quotes are taken from John Bale's The image of both Churches after the most wonderful and heavenly Revelation of Saint John the Evangelist (1570).

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So glorious are the pretenses of the Romish Pope and Mahomete that they seem unto them which regard not these warnings, the very Angels of light, and their churches most holy congregations, being very devils with their filthy dregs of darkness.

Compare 1 Nephi 13:6: And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it. So we see that the devil is associated with the founding of this church in both accounts. This would make no sense in a pre-exilic context where the concept of the devil is anachronistic.

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They know as did Balaam the sorcerer, that over a gorgeous glittering whore every fleshly man is inordinately wanton, fierce, & greedy. Following his ways therefore, they have always for lucre’s sake, gloriously garnished their holy mother, the madame of mischief, and proud synagogue of Satan, with gold, silver, pearl, precious stone, velvets, silks, miters, copes, crosses, cruets, ceremonies, sensings, blessings, babblings, brawlings, processions, poppets, and such other mad masteries (whereof the church that Christ left here behind him knew not one iota) to provoke the carnal idiots to her whoredom in the spirit.

Compare 1 Nephi 13:7-8

7 And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots.

8 And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.

It's remarkable how similarly the desires of the church is described.

Quote

Herein is the true Christian church (which is the meek spouse of the Lamb without spot) in her right fashioned colors described. So is the proud church of hypocrites, the rose-colored whore, the paramour of Antichrist, and the sinful synagogue of Satan, in her just proportion depainted, to the merciful forewarning of the Lord’s elect. And that is the cause why I have here entitled this book, the Image of both Churches. Neither here spareth the Holy Ghost their hypocrisy nor pride, their idolatry nor whoredom, their covetousness, nor most cruel tyranny, with their other outrageous mischiefs.

Compare 1 Nephi 14: 10: And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

The whole theme of Bale's book is that there are only two churches. This is an idea he apparently borrowed from Augustine's Two Cities. But Bale frames it in an apocalyptic context as an interpretation of Revelation. This is exactly what Nephi has done, as well.

So we have a very tight convergence with an early modern explanation for Nephi's apocalypse. I only need to draw on early modern Protestant religious views to explain the symbols, their meaning, and the genre of Nephi's account. 

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8 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

..............................
Now having said all that again let me reemphasize that I don't deny 19th century elements to the text. My position it's that it's a paraphrase styled translation highly influenced by the KJV particularly the New Testament. New Testament quotations and paraphrases are easy to demonstrate in the BCE of the Book of Mormon. Those are anachronistic, but to be expected by the nature of the text. Likewise I think we have to accept, as Blake Ostler pointed out years ago, that the text may well have expansions to what was on the underlying text. The prophet passages of Nephi's vision are the most likely location where what were on the small plates was expanded to make clear a historical connection. I'd also be willing to accept the strong possibility that the Mary expansions in the explanation by the angel are themselves 19th century expansions to the underlying text and thus are influenced by 19th century views on Rev 12.

The problem with all that it isn't possible to suggest 19th century content simply because it had to have been composed a couple of centuries earlier..

In addition, KJV translation of the OT followed words and phrases not used in the NT.  The committees and predecessors were completely different.  Thus, when a choice for similar phrasing was available, it wasn't chosen.  This fools readers into thinking the OT and NT basically unrelated.  Even if they get over that hurdle, however, they still balk at Margaret Barker's argument that certain apocalyptic traditions were excised from Judaism by the mainstream leadership.  Then too, most readers of the NT are unfamiliar with the intertestamental literature, and with the true nature of intertextualism in understanding the OT vis a vis the NT.

Another matter is translation:  You appreciate loose translation for the Book of Mormon, which means that certain ideas or phrases in the original could be translated in a wide range of ways -- and the ones most familiar to the 16th century translator would most likely fit the context, even if they were not actually the very same in each original language.  The preferences of the translator will fit phrases he already knows, even if they are only really metaphrases.  That is what loose translation presumably means.

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On 7/1/2019 at 12:13 PM, champatsch said:

 

This doesn't work since syntactic patterns and usage definitively rule out Joseph Smith or anyone else commonly associated with the composition of the Book of Mormon as potential authors of the text.

 

I think you are raining on his delusion.

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The contrast between the Harlot and Lady Wisdom is very ancient, and indeed, was a crucial part of the Wisdom tradition that Lehi was heir to.  For instance, Daniel Peterson, "Nephi and HIs Asherah" has this:

Quote

Thus in Proverbs, readers are told of two contradictory "ways"-that of the foolish and that of obedience to wisdom-and Lady Wisdom is contrasted repeatedly with her antagonist, " the strange woman" o r "whorish woman," who is certainly "forbidden" to the righteous. (Likewise opposed to the truth of God is Nephi's striking image, given to him in the same vision as the tree of life, of "the mother o f abominations," "the whore of all the earth," which fights against the saints.) Lady Wisdom and the "whorish woman" are, in fact, competitors.)  (Peterson, 215)

 I also noticed similar observations in Northrop Frye, The Great Code:

Quote

We have next to set this apocalyptic structure in its context. In the first place. there is the problem that the nations outside Israel-Egypt. Babylon, Assyria, Phoenicia-are as a rule more wealthy, prosperous, and successful than Israel. They possess the power and domination that the Israelites themselves desperately longed to possess, and would certainly have regarded as a signal mark of divine favor if they had possessed it. The only recourse is to show this heathen success in a context of demonic parody, as a short-lived triumph that has all the marks of the real thing except permanence. It follows that there must be two forms of demonic imagery: the parody-demonic, attached to temporarily successful heathen nations; and the manifest, or you-just-wait demonic, the ruins and wasteland haunted by hyenas and screech owls that all this glory will inevitably become ... As an example of this structure, let us look at a group of female figures in the Bible. We may divide them into two groups: the maternal and the marital, mother figures and bride figures. Apocalyptic mother figures include the Virgin Mary and the mysterious woman crowned with stars who appears at the beginning of Revelation 12. and who is presented also as the mother of the Messiah. Bridal figures include the central female character of the Song of Songs and the symbolic Jerusalem of Revelation 21 who descends to earth prepared "like a bride adorned for her husband" and is finally identified with the Christian Church .... Eve in particular is the intermediate female maternal figure, "our general mother," in Milton's phrase, going through the cycle of Sin and redemption .... The demonic counterpart of the Bride who is Jerusalem and the spouse of Christ is the Great Whore of Revelation 17 who is Babylon and Rome, and is the mistress of Antichrist. ... But, of course, Israel itself is symbolically the chosen bride of God, and is also frequently unfaithful to him. .. Thus, the forgiven harlot, who is taken back eventually into favor despite her sins, is an intermediate bridal figure between the demonic Whore and the apocalyptic Bride, and represents the redemption of man from sin. (Frye, The Great Code, 140-141)

 

Contextualization is key, as are, on one side, the rationalizations employed to adopt a contextualization, and on the other, the comparative explanatory power of competing explanations.  It's been clear to me for decades now that it's easy to explain the Book of Mormon as a product of the mind and environment of Joseph Smith.  The problem for me is whether that is the best explanation in light of the stuff that not only that context does not explain, but the what that 19th century context does not even see and therefore does not measure or even begin to account for.  I remain most impressed by Nibley's case for testing the Book of Mormon against the contexts that it claims for itself.

What Father John McDade observed "Jesus in Recent Research" in The Month (December 1998, 495-505) about Jesus research also applies to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

Quote

There is then a radical dependence between the reconstructed Jesus and the reconstructed context/model: how the context and social model are understood determines how Jesus is understood.  ‘Determines’ is not too strong a word, for one of the problems with this approach is that the grid of social and economic context is such a strong factor it can inhibit responsible handling of the actual textual evidence we have for Jesus.  No wonder Sean Freyne comments that ‘the quest for the historical Jesus is in danger of becoming the quest for the historical Galilee’.8

 

In these investigations, we must remember that both ‘Jesus’ and ‘Palestine’ are constructs arrived at by certain ways of handling the available data and influenced by judgements about the weight to be given to different features of transmitted texts and features of the context.  The past then is not a place of certainties, but a terrain that is plural and that needs to be approached in plural ways (textual, historical and cultural), requiring a complex grid if it is to be charted. 

At the Joseph Smith conference in 2005 Richard Bushman saw exactly the same thing going on with Joseph Smith biography.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

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The Book of Revelation has been read in countless ways over the last almost 2,000 years. To find the origin of the Book of Mormon we just need to find when and where people started reading Revelation in the way the Book of Mormon reads it. One of the ways the Book of Mormon reads it is using the motif of two churches. There is the church of the Lamb and the church of the devil. I've already showed how Bale does this in his 1570 book The Image of Both Churches. Here's another example from 1585 by Phillip Stubbes. "To speake generally there be two Churches. to wit, the Church of God, & the Church of the Diuel: the beloued spouse of Christ, & the whoorish sinagogue of Sathan, the Electe, and the Reprobate, the vessels of saluation, & the vessels of damnation."

It's important to note that the Revelation account does not use the two churches motif, nor does it speak of a church of the devil. The antagonist in Revelation is Rome and the nations that associate with her. The whore is a secular entity not a religious one. After the reformation the whore was seen as a religious entity. It became the Catholic church (which is associated with Rome). And thus we get the idea of just two churches. So using the historical-critical method we can identify Nephi's vision as post-reformation.

And we have the problem that Nephi identifies John the apostle as the author of Revelation. I think most biblical scholars reject this idea even though this idea has been around since the second century.

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A good case can be made that the primary sensibility of the text is in issues that arose during the early Reformation, some retaining their importance for a while. Other themes are connected with issues dating from NT times and from the early church fathers, but of importance to Reformists of the 1500s.  See Skousen, NOL, 2018: 64–89, 411–445.

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On 7/4/2019 at 1:19 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

The problem with all that it isn't possible to suggest 19th century content simply because it had to have been composed a couple of centuries earlier..

I think there's a strong argument for older English in the text. I don't think it follows that it was composed centuries earlier. Second I think that neglects 19th century elements. While most of the parallels that critics try to foist on the text are larger structures rather than linguistic. Typically those parallels have problem for the same reason that many apologetic parallels have problems. I know some of the lists that are in this post by "ChurchIsTrue" turn out to be in the older corpus. (See this discussion from a few years back) However I just don't think 19th century elements have been removed from consideration.

So color me skeptical given the current level of research. I don't want to say we couldn't eliminate or at least make improbable most 19th century influences. I just don't see the evidence to support so strong a claim.

On 7/4/2019 at 1:19 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

Another matter is translation:  You appreciate loose translation for the Book of Mormon, which means that certain ideas or phrases in the original could be translated in a wide range of ways -- and the ones most familiar to the 16th century translator would most likely fit the context, even if they were not actually the very same in each original language.  The preferences of the translator will fit phrases he already knows, even if they are only really metaphrases.  That is what loose translation presumably means.

Yes. And that's what I think primarily happened - there was a bias to NT phrases over OT KJV ones. Both because of the emphasis on anticipatory Christianity but also just because of the significance.

On 7/6/2019 at 8:56 AM, champatsch said:

A good case can be made that the primary sensibility of the text is in issues that arose during the early Reformation, some retaining their importance for a while. Other themes are connected with issues dating from NT times and from the early church fathers, but of importance to Reformists of the 1500s.  See Skousen, NOL, 2018: 64–89, 411–445.

I think one can make this case, but as I mentioned above, I think these broader parallels or topical focuses are also often ambiguous. Many of the 16th century concerns were still debated in 19th century America, for instance. Further once you start allowing 16th century parallels it becomes hard to exclude the broader 19th century parallels critics like to discuss such as say Vogel's mound builder theories or Masonry as an element. While Masonry arises in the late 16th century it clearly isn't the same organization. One can point to the Rosicrucian movement and associated conspiracies of course. But that's early 17th century still. In any case that's just one of numerous 19th century parallels a 16th century proponent has to deal with. 

I'll answer JarMan's comments later tonight. (At work - little time)

 

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37 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I think there's a strong argument for older English in the text. I don't think it follows that it was composed centuries earlier. Second I think that neglects 19th century elements. While most of the parallels that critics try to foist on the text are larger structures rather than linguistic. Typically those parallels have problem for the same reason that many apologetic parallels have problems. I know some of the lists that are in this post by "ChurchIsTrue" turn out to be in the older corpus. (See this discussion from a few years back) However I just don't think 19th century elements have been removed from consideration.

This is where claims of the utterly systematic nature of the EModE make the 19th century version simply impossible.  See below on the parallels.

37 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

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

Yes. And that's what I think primarily happened - there was a bias to NT phrases over OT KJV ones. Both because of the emphasis on anticipatory Christianity but also just because of the significance.

Yes, of course, but only if we understand that this is not the source of the phrasing, but only a way of expressing things which could just as well have been phrased in a strictly OT manner.

37 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

So color me skeptical given the current level of research. I don't want to say we couldn't eliminate or at least make improbable most 19th century influences. I just don't see the evidence to support so strong a claim. * * * 

I think one can make this case, but as I mentioned above, I think these broader parallels or topical focuses are also often ambiguous. Many of the 16th century concerns were still debated in 19th century America, for instance. Further once you start allowing 16th century parallels it becomes hard to exclude the broader 19th century parallels critics like to discuss such as say Vogel's mound builder theories or Masonry as an element. While Masonry arises in the late 16th century it clearly isn't the same organization. One can point to the Rosicrucian movement and associated conspiracies of course. But that's early 17th century still. In any case that's just one of numerous 19th century parallels a 16th century proponent has to deal with. ..........................

I'm glad you are willing to allow that some of those 19th century parallels can also be valid 16th century parallels, and therein lies the problem, as champatsch sees as well:  Earlier parallels which are repeated in the 19th century lull some researchers into fixing on the 19th century; particularly if they know little else.  Dan Vogel, for example, is wedded to that notion.  No other idea is allowed.

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26 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I'm glad you are willing to allow that some of those 19th century parallels can also be valid 16th century parallels, and therein lies the problem, as champatsch sees as well:  Earlier parallels which are repeated in the 19th century lull some researchers into fixing on the 19th century; particularly if they know little else.  Dan Vogel, for example, is wedded to that notion.  No other idea is allowed.

Right, my point is just that people are leaping to the idea that the conclusion has been strongly established while it hasn't. I'm certainly sympathetic to the conclusion, but I think that means we ought be that much more skeptical. It's easy to get mislaid when something confirms our priors. 

In this case what still needs to be established are that there were pockets of EModE or EModE-like grammar in New York and that there aren't 19th century phrases in the text that aren't EModE.

The issue of larger structure parallels is an other issue that needs dealt with, although it seems separate from the linguistic issues. (And I think most likely to be far more ambiguous given the nature of broad abstract parallels) Thre are of course good reasons why scholars, particularly those who don't buy into the historiicity of the text, look to 19th cenutry parallels. If you reject out of hand angles and magical translations then you have to explain it either as a copy of an earlier text or arising out of the contemporary environment. Given Vogel lost his faith it's hardly surprising he takes as a starting point his naturalism. What I think apologists have to do a better job of is showing how those parallels fail and providing stronger explanations of the nature of the translation. To the typical person they see anachronistic KJV quotes in the pre-Christian era and think "obvious pseudopigrapha." That Vogel and Metcalf can thereafter find lots of other explanations shows the strength of their position.

My personal feeling is that while appeals to paradigms can explain how a believer can rationally believe in the historic text, it is largely orthogonal to the issue of who gives the better explanations. And there I think apologists have unfortunately not stepped up their game. EModE is arguably the strongest element we have, but that only gets rid of Joseph as author not Joseph as potential plagiarist. Moving the text to the 16th century doesn't really help things apologetic speaking and in some ways makes the apologetic case worse.

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On 7/3/2019 at 10:45 PM, JarMan said:

@clarkgobleYour explanation of the text lacks convergence. You are drawing on ancient Egyptian myth, Canaanite religion, the Northern Kingdom, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, and 19th Century expansion in order to explain Nephi's vision. This is cherry-picking and your explanation still doesn't explain the meaning of Nephi's symbols or address the anachronistic use of the apocalyptic genre.

The argument is over what is or isn't essentially Hellenistic era apocalypse. If the relevant elements can be found pre-exilic then the claim it's a Hellenistic apocalypse becomes more problematic. So it's not so much cherry picking as pointing out other parallels. 

On 7/3/2019 at 10:45 PM, JarMan said:

@clarkgoble Nor do you seem to want to address Nephi's explicit reference to Revelation. Nephi knows he is expanding/interpreting Revelation. And he knows his reader will make this connection, as well. But just in case we don't make the connection or just in case we are wondering what happened to the rest of the vision he tells us that John wrote the rest of it. Thus, John's Revelation is quite adequate to explain the origin of Nephi's vision.

I think I did explain that with the claim of loose translation and expansion. Of course I personally have no trouble with Nephi knowing about John via revelation since I accept that. But even if that turns out to be wrong, it could just as easily be a 19th century expansion with the translator explaining who would receive the rest of the vision. 

So this only counts as an anachronism if one adopts a strict naturalistic stance that prophecy is impossible. Which is fine of course but then the text intrinsically just 19th century since that naturalistic stance rejects angels and divine translations as well. One just ends up in Vogel's camp with little to discuss.

If we're talking about anachronisms that are problematic to the believer though then it seems to me this objection fails and the issues is more a stylistic one of whether these elements exist in pre-exilic Israel.

On 7/3/2019 at 10:45 PM, JarMan said:

The following quotes are taken from John Bale's The image of both Churches after the most wonderful and heavenly Revelation of Saint John the Evangelist (1570).Compare 1 Nephi 13:6: And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it. So we see that the devil is associated with the founding of this church in both accounts. This would make no sense in a pre-exilic context where the concept of the devil is anachronistic.

That's not much of a parallel given the role of the devil in the NT which seems a much more obvious source. The other obvious source for the imagery in the afore mentioned Isaiah 47 with the so-called Jezebel imagery. (She's the wife of Ahab in 1 Kings 18:13 but is a type in Revelation) The devil as the founder or king can be found in the idea of the fallen King in Isaiah (once tied to Canaanite Mot myth but that's now generally seen as unlikely - which just means the imagery arose from some other unknown narrative). Yes the translation of the figure as the devil is potentially anachronistic given what we know of the devil. However as I said this could easily be explained by the fallen king myth in Isaiah, the contrast of Baal against YHWH in the Old Testament or so forth. So the word is potentially anachronistic but not the idea. The idea just is pretty common in Jeremiah and Isaiah.

That's the point that loose translation brings up. You can't point to the words are reflecting the underlying word in the original text. (And by original text I don't even mean the gold plates since they may be compressed using ideograms but the word Nephi would have used in his original speech) Put an other way the text itself demands that the text be loose and transformative by its quotations of the KJV to translate passages different from what the quote is. 

This is important and key point. It means the intrinsic nature of the text means arguments against its authenticity simply can't point to the particular word used but only to broader structures. So if we find say 19th century use of the Old Testament in terms similar to the Book of Mormon that doesn't mean the underlying text (the OT) is anachronistic. I'm making the same argument for the Book of Mormon.

On 7/3/2019 at 10:45 PM, JarMan said:

Compare 1 Nephi 14: 10: And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

The whole theme of Bale's book is that there are only two churches. This is an idea he apparently borrowed from Augustine's Two Cities. But Bale frames it in an apocalyptic context as an interpretation of Revelation. This is exactly what Nephi has done, as well.

Again though the idea of two separate assemblies is pre-exilic. So that's insufficient to portray it either as apocalyptic or anachronistic. Rather it's the conflict between Baal (or his other forms) and YHWH for Israel. Baal is the chief competitor. So we have Baal continually presented as a counterfeit of YHWH. That goes back to the Elijah narratives (I think generally conceded as pre-royalty) It's that tradition including the history of Ahab and Jezebell that the author of Revelation is reworking. The whole idea of the heavenly council the prophet is a member of in pre-exilic writings is contrasted with the false temples and congregations of Baal (or again similar deities). Even when these traditions, such as 1 Kings, are assigned to say the Deuteronomist scholars typically see it as D reworking these earlier pre-royalty traditions. More significantly though that these are of the D tradition makes them a contemporary concern for Nephi.

So the underlying myth of divine combat (Baal vs Yamm, YHWH vs. Tiamat) becomes a type. This is both in pre-exilic Israel as well as in post-exilic Israel when it becomes popular again. The one point of anachronism you could raise here is that this myth as the foundational myth tends not to be prominent in the Deuteronomist tradition. It's there before and then rearises after the return from exile. However I'd argue that's actually an argument for the Book of Mormon since Nephi and Lehi clearly have an uneasy relationship with the Deuteronomist tradition. It is a feature of deutero-Isaiah though - and we know that's influential on Isaiah in it's proto form from before the exile. "Was it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the dragon?" (Is 51:9-10) Here Rabah is the symbolic name for Egypt (referring to the escape from Egypt as the repetition of the divine combat) 

It's certainly the case that in the Hellenistic era this combat myth is used to give shape to apocalyptic narratives. Both Daniel and Revelation make use of it for example. However the structure itself is not just characteristic of apocalypses but is found in numerous texts including pre-exilic ones. Again, both the conquest by Assyria and the conquest by Babylon fall into that pattern.

On 7/5/2019 at 4:12 PM, JarMan said:

It's important to note that the Revelation account does not use the two churches motif, nor does it speak of a church of the devil. The antagonist in Revelation is Rome and the nations that associate with her. The whore is a secular entity not a religious one. After the reformation the whore was seen as a religious entity. It became the Catholic church (which is associated with Rome). And thus we get the idea of just two churches. So using the historical-critical method we can identify Nephi's vision as post-reformation.

Again to be picky we can identify the language of Nephi's vision as post-reformation. Which I've never disagreed with. It seems to me the only interesting question there is whether the language is 19th century or 15/16th century. 

The question of the imagery though is a different question. The idea of two congregations, assemblies or churches simply is pretty common. Particularly in pre-exilic Israel where true covenant Israel is set against paganism, or YHWH against Baal.

 

Edited by clarkgoble

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

The argument is over what is or isn't essentially Hellenistic era apocalypse. If the relevant elements can be found pre-exilic then the claim it's a Hellenistic apocalypse becomes more problematic. So it's not so much cherry picking as pointing out other parallels. 

I think I did explain that with the claim of loose translation and expansion. Of course I personally have no trouble with Nephi knowing about John via revelation since I accept that. But even if that turns out to be wrong, it could just as easily be a 19th century expansion with the translator explaining who would receive the rest of the vision. 

So this only counts as an anachronism if one adopts a strict naturalistic stance that prophecy is impossible. Which is fine of course but then the text intrinsically just 19th century since that naturalistic stance rejects angels and divine translations as well. One just ends up in Vogel's camp with little to discuss.

If we're talking about anachronisms that are problematic to the believer though then it seems to me this objection fails and the issues is more a stylistic one of whether these elements exist in pre-exilic Israel.

That's not much of a parallel given the role of the devil in the NT which seems a much more obvious source. The other obvious source for the imagery in the afore mentioned Isaiah 47 with the so-called Jezebel imagery. (She's the wife of Ahab in 1 Kings 18:13 but is a type in Revelation) The devil as the founder or king can be found in the idea of the fallen King in Isaiah (once tied to Canaanite Mot myth but that's now generally seen as unlikely - which just means the imagery arose from some other unknown narrative). Yes the translation of the figure as the devil is potentially anachronistic given what we know of the devil. However as I said this could easily be explained by the fallen king myth in Isaiah, the contrast of Baal against YHWH in the Old Testament or so forth. So the word is potentially anachronistic but not the idea. The idea just is pretty common in Jeremiah and Isaiah.

That's the point that loose translation brings up. You can't point to the words are reflecting the underlying word in the original text. (And by original text I don't even mean the gold plates since they may be compressed using ideograms but the word Nephi would have used in his original speech) Put an other way the text itself demands that the text be loose and transformative by its quotations of the KJV to translate passages different from what the quote is. 

This is important and key point. It means the intrinsic nature of the text means arguments against its authenticity simply can't point to the particular word used but only to broader structures. So if we find say 19th century use of the Old Testament in terms similar to the Book of Mormon that doesn't mean the underlying text (the OT) is anachronistic. I'm making the same argument for the Book of Mormon.

Again though the idea of two separate assemblies is pre-exilic. So that's insufficient to portray it either as apocalyptic or anachronistic. Rather it's the conflict between Baal (or his other forms) and YHWH for Israel. Baal is the chief competitor. So we have Baal continually presented as a counterfeit of YHWH. That goes back to the Elijah narratives (I think generally conceded as pre-royalty) It's that tradition including the history of Ahab and Jezebell that the author of Revelation is reworking. The whole idea of the heavenly council the prophet is a member of in pre-exilic writings is contrasted with the false temples and congregations of Baal (or again similar deities). Even when these traditions, such as 1 Kings, are assigned to say the Deuteronomist scholars typically see it as D reworking these earlier pre-royalty traditions. More significantly though that these are of the D tradition makes them a contemporary concern for Nephi.

So the underlying myth of divine combat (Baal vs Yamm, YHWH vs. Tiamat) becomes a type. This is both in pre-exilic Israel as well as in post-exilic Israel when it becomes popular again. The one point of anachronism you could raise here is that this myth as the foundational myth tends not to be prominent in the Deuteronomist tradition. It's there before and then rearises after the return from exile. However I'd argue that's actually an argument for the Book of Mormon since Nephi and Lehi clearly have an uneasy relationship with the Deuteronomist tradition. It is a feature of deutero-Isaiah though - and we know that's influential on Isaiah in it's proto form from before the exile. "Was it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the dragon?" (Is 51:9-10) Here Rabah is the symbolic name for Egypt (referring to the escape from Egypt as the repetition of the divine combat) 

It's certainly the case that in the Hellenistic era this combat myth is used to give shape to apocalyptic narratives. Both Daniel and Revelation make use of it for example. However the structure itself is not just characteristic of apocalypses but is found in numerous texts including pre-exilic ones. Again, both the conquest by Assyria and the conquest by Babylon fall into that pattern.

Again to be picky we can identify the language of Nephi's vision as post-reformation. Which I've never disagreed with. It seems to me the only interesting question there is whether the language is 19th century or 15/16th century. 

The question of the imagery though is a different question. The idea of two congregations, assemblies or churches simply is pretty common. Particularly in pre-exilic Israel where true covenant Israel is set against paganism, or YHWH against Baal.

 

Agreed. The imagery can be traced to ancient sources but the presentation is seemingly more modern. Sounds similair to one of our other important liturgy haha

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4 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Right, my point is just that people are leaping to the idea that the conclusion has been strongly established while it hasn't. I'm certainly sympathetic to the conclusion, but I think that means we ought be that much more skeptical. It's easy to get mislaid when something confirms our priors. 

In this case what still needs to be established are that there were pockets of EModE or EModE-like grammar in New York and that there aren't 19th century phrases in the text that aren't EModE.

Carmack himself has pointed out the occasional recurrence of 16th century expressions in modern times, but that is to be expected in the normal course of things.  We are still quoting Shakespeare, for heaven sake.  The reason why we cannot find pockets of EModE in upstate NY is because it cannot have been there.  We would know if it had.  There'd be no mistaking it.  Yet no vehicle was available by which that phenomenon could have take place, and occasional expressions do not prove transfer of a full language.  What Carmack has shown through painstaking effort is that the systematic, detailed use of EModE in the BofM simply cannot be found in the KJV, nor in any 18th or 19th century source.  It just isn't there because it was extinct long before.

4 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

The issue of larger structure parallels is an other issue that needs dealt with, although it seems separate from the linguistic issues. (And I think most likely to be far more ambiguous given the nature of broad abstract parallels) Thre are of course good reasons why scholars, particularly those who don't buy into the historiicity of the text, look to 19th cenutry parallels. If you reject out of hand angles and magical translations then you have to explain it either as a copy of an earlier text or arising out of the contemporary environment. Given Vogel lost his faith it's hardly surprising he takes as a starting point his naturalism. What I think apologists have to do a better job of is showing how those parallels fail and providing stronger explanations of the nature of the translation. To the typical person they see anachronistic KJV quotes in the pre-Christian era and think "obvious pseudopigrapha." That Vogel and Metcalf can thereafter find lots of other explanations shows the strength of their position.

On the contrary, Grant Hardy's fine analysis of the BofM shows the weakness of Vogel and Metcalfe.  They never really plumb the depths of BofM structure or content.  They limit themselves the same way that Mark Thomas failed miserably in evaluating BofM epistles based only on the most narrow of terms.  See my “Epistolary Form in the Book of Mormon,” FARMS Review, 22/2 (2010):125-135, online at https://www.pdffiller.com/53503659-S00005-5176a09fdc8d04Smithpdf-Epistolary-Form-in-the-Book-of-Mormon-Robert-F-Smith-FARMS--Various-Fillable-Forms .

4 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

My personal feeling is that while appeals to paradigms can explain how a believer can rationally believe in the historic text, it is largely orthogonal to the issue of who gives the better explanations. And there I think apologists have unfortunately not stepped up their game. EModE is arguably the strongest element we have, but that only gets rid of Joseph as author not Joseph as potential plagiarist. Moving the text to the 16th century doesn't really help things apologetic speaking and in some ways makes the apologetic case worse.

I agree, but following the evidence wherever it leads is good science.  I don't see this an an apologetic issue at all.  No good purpose is served by trying to buttress apriori views, and much harm can come from it -- for apologists as well as critics.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The reason why we cannot find pockets of EModE in upstate NY is because it cannot have been there.  We would know if it had.  There'd be no mistaking it.  

Because...

Without a broad survey of dialects and grammar I can't see how you could possibly know that. Appealing to written books is simply insufficient.

Don't get me wrong, I'm convinced, but this is a big obvious hole in the data.

Edited by clarkgoble

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6 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

The argument is over what is or isn't essentially Hellenistic era apocalypse. If the relevant elements can be found pre-exilic then the claim it's a Hellenistic apocalypse becomes more problematic. So it's not so much cherry picking as pointing out other parallels. 

I think I did explain that with the claim of loose translation and expansion. Of course I personally have no trouble with Nephi knowing about John via revelation since I accept that. But even if that turns out to be wrong, it could just as easily be a 19th century expansion with the translator explaining who would receive the rest of the vision. 

So this only counts as an anachronism if one adopts a strict naturalistic stance that prophecy is impossible. Which is fine of course but then the text intrinsically just 19th century since that naturalistic stance rejects angels and divine translations as well. One just ends up in Vogel's camp with little to discuss.

If we're talking about anachronisms that are problematic to the believer though then it seems to me this objection fails and the issues is more a stylistic one of whether these elements exist in pre-exilic Israel.

That's not much of a parallel given the role of the devil in the NT which seems a much more obvious source. The other obvious source for the imagery in the afore mentioned Isaiah 47 with the so-called Jezebel imagery. (She's the wife of Ahab in 1 Kings 18:13 but is a type in Revelation) The devil as the founder or king can be found in the idea of the fallen King in Isaiah (once tied to Canaanite Mot myth but that's now generally seen as unlikely - which just means the imagery arose from some other unknown narrative). Yes the translation of the figure as the devil is potentially anachronistic given what we know of the devil. However as I said this could easily be explained by the fallen king myth in Isaiah, the contrast of Baal against YHWH in the Old Testament or so forth. So the word is potentially anachronistic but not the idea. The idea just is pretty common in Jeremiah and Isaiah.

That's the point that loose translation brings up. You can't point to the words are reflecting the underlying word in the original text. (And by original text I don't even mean the gold plates since they may be compressed using ideograms but the word Nephi would have used in his original speech) Put an other way the text itself demands that the text be loose and transformative by its quotations of the KJV to translate passages different from what the quote is. 

This is important and key point. It means the intrinsic nature of the text means arguments against its authenticity simply can't point to the particular word used but only to broader structures. So if we find say 19th century use of the Old Testament in terms similar to the Book of Mormon that doesn't mean the underlying text (the OT) is anachronistic. I'm making the same argument for the Book of Mormon.

Again though the idea of two separate assemblies is pre-exilic. So that's insufficient to portray it either as apocalyptic or anachronistic. Rather it's the conflict between Baal (or his other forms) and YHWH for Israel. Baal is the chief competitor. So we have Baal continually presented as a counterfeit of YHWH. That goes back to the Elijah narratives (I think generally conceded as pre-royalty) It's that tradition including the history of Ahab and Jezebell that the author of Revelation is reworking. The whole idea of the heavenly council the prophet is a member of in pre-exilic writings is contrasted with the false temples and congregations of Baal (or again similar deities). Even when these traditions, such as 1 Kings, are assigned to say the Deuteronomist scholars typically see it as D reworking these earlier pre-royalty traditions. More significantly though that these are of the D tradition makes them a contemporary concern for Nephi.

So the underlying myth of divine combat (Baal vs Yamm, YHWH vs. Tiamat) becomes a type. This is both in pre-exilic Israel as well as in post-exilic Israel when it becomes popular again. The one point of anachronism you could raise here is that this myth as the foundational myth tends not to be prominent in the Deuteronomist tradition. It's there before and then rearises after the return from exile. However I'd argue that's actually an argument for the Book of Mormon since Nephi and Lehi clearly have an uneasy relationship with the Deuteronomist tradition. It is a feature of deutero-Isaiah though - and we know that's influential on Isaiah in it's proto form from before the exile. "Was it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the dragon?" (Is 51:9-10) Here Rabah is the symbolic name for Egypt (referring to the escape from Egypt as the repetition of the divine combat) 

It's certainly the case that in the Hellenistic era this combat myth is used to give shape to apocalyptic narratives. Both Daniel and Revelation make use of it for example. However the structure itself is not just characteristic of apocalypses but is found in numerous texts including pre-exilic ones. Again, both the conquest by Assyria and the conquest by Babylon fall into that pattern.

Again to be picky we can identify the language of Nephi's vision as post-reformation. Which I've never disagreed with. It seems to me the only interesting question there is whether the language is 19th century or 15/16th century. 

The question of the imagery though is a different question. The idea of two congregations, assemblies or churches simply is pretty common. Particularly in pre-exilic Israel where true covenant Israel is set against paganism, or YHWH against Baal.

 

If you can't find a convergent narrative you're cherry picking. You wouldn't let me get away with that. . .

The two churches idea is not found in the OT as far as I can tell. The point of two churches is that there are ONLY two churches. The church of the Lamb or of the devil. You might think that only a Sith thinks in absolutes like that, but apparently so does Nephi. And so did some early modern protestants.

If you are going to appeal to the supernatural to explain missing links I don't see any reason to engage in apologetics. You may as well just say, as some do, that God is responsible for it all but we just don't know how. End of story. Once you begin to engage the evidence you've sort of committed to looking at facts and using reason. Retreating behind the supernatural when the going gets tough is not a good look.

 

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Carmack himself has pointed out the occasional recurrence of 16th century expressions in modern times, but that is to be expected in the normal course of things.  We are still quoting Shakespeare, for heaven sake.  The reason why we cannot find pockets of EModE in upstate NY is because it cannot have been there.  We would know if it had.  There'd be no mistaking it.  Yet no vehicle was available by which that phenomenon could have take place, and occasional expressions do not prove transfer of a full language.  What Carmack has shown through painstaking effort is that the systematic, detailed use of EModE in the BofM simply cannot be found in the KJV, nor in any 18th or 19th century source.  It just isn't there because it was extinct long before.

On the contrary, Grant Hardy's fine analysis of the BofM shows the weakness of Vogel and Metcalfe.  They never really plumb the depths of BofM structure or content.  They limit themselves the same way that Mark Thomas failed miserably in evaluating BofM epistles based only on the most narrow of terms.  See my “Epistolary Form in the Book of Mormon,” FARMS Review, 22/2 (2010):125-135, online at https://www.pdffiller.com/53503659-S00005-5176a09fdc8d04Smithpdf-Epistolary-Form-in-the-Book-of-Mormon-Robert-F-Smith-FARMS--Various-Fillable-Forms .

I agree, but following the evidence wherever it leads is good science.  I don't see this an an apologetic issue at all.  No good purpose is served by trying to buttress apriori views, and much harm can come from it -- for apologists as well as critics.

I think we can look at Nephi's vision and, using the same techniques used to date the Book of Daniel, we can come up with a reasonable date for 1 Nephi.

In the first part of chapter 13 Nephi tells us of the formation of a great and abominable church using language very similar to how the Catholic church was described by Protestants in the late 16th Century (see my previous discussion). This church “destroys the saints of God,” a reference to the counter-reformation tactics which persecuted and killed many Protestants throughout Europe, and “brings them down into captivity,” - a reference to the heavy-handed tactics of Catholic Spain and the Holy Roman Empire in controlling much of the countries and kingdoms of Europe. We see the inspiration of Columbus (a common early modern trope) and his discovery of America. Some of the persecuted Protestants “went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters” - meaning the Dutch and English who began exploring the oceans, both to the east and to the west.

Next we see a clear description of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. In verse 17 “their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.” This is the Spanish armies getting ready to invade England. The famous Spanish Armada gathered upon the waters while the other half of the Spanish army was on the European mainland at Flanders waiting to be ferried across the English Channel. But the “wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle” and “the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God”. This was the “Protestant Wind” that scattered the armada. The English even struck a commemorative medal that said, "God blew with his winds and they were scattered." Also notice this deliverance from God comes when the “mother Gentiles” are only gathered together for battle, but before the battle has started in earnest. The English and Dutch spoke of the victory in apocalyptic terms, so it is right at home in Nephi's Apocalypse. The defeat of the Spanish Armada occurred in 1588 so we can be sure 1 Nephi was written after then.

As we move forward in the vision and forward in time we see more apocalyptic events occurring in Europe, this time in the 17th Century. In 14:13 the “great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God.” This refers to the 80 Years War, beginning in 1568, and the 30 Years War, beginning in 1618, in which the Catholic Spanish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire fight (mostly) against the Protestant states of Europe. So at this point we are up to 1618. By verse 16 the war is well under way and things seem to be getting really bad. But notice what happens next. Nothing. Nothing happens next. Nephi ends the description of the vision and tells us that John will give us the rest. The reason the vision ends there is that the writer doesn't know what happens next. That's because it was written in the midst of the war before the outcome was known. These catastrophic wars did not end until 1648, so we know the vision had to have been written prior to this. At this point we know it had to have been written between 1618 and 1648.

But we can narrow it down even further with some clues from Chapter 22. In this chapter Nephi is explaining to his family the meaning of Isaiah 48 and 49 (20 and 21 of 1 Nephi). There is a hint in 14:16 that is made clearer in 22:13. 14:16 tells us there is war “among all the nations which belonged to the mother of abominations”. This is important since France, a Catholic nation, didn’t enter the war until 1635. Worried about Spain’s power, France entered the war on the side of the Protestants. 1 Nephi 22:13 then tells us: “And the blood of that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall turn upon their own heads; for they shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood.” This is France’s entry into the war in 1635, primarily against Spain.

For further evidence the writer did not know the outcome of this war, the very next verse (22:14) tells us the great and abominable church “shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it.” Nephi is extrapolating this from Isaiah 49 which says:

25 But thus saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine; and all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

But the Catholic nations did not lose the war. The Catholic Church did not tumble to the dust as a result of these wars as Nephi prophesied. If anything, they got stronger over the next century. So at the point that Nephi's prophecy fails is the point where we know the writer of 1 Nephi is predicting the future. This confirms he is writing during the time of these apocalyptic wars, but now we can narrow it down to 1635-1648 since we can clearly see that France has joined the fight.

I can cite a dozen other clues that give us this basic time frame for the Book of Mormon's production.

Edited by JarMan

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2 hours ago, JarMan said:

I think we can look at Nephi's vision and, using the same techniques used to date the Book of Daniel, we can come up with a reasonable date for 1 Nephi.

In the first part of chapter 13 Nephi tells us of the formation of a great and abominable church using language very similar to how the Catholic church was described by Protestants in the late 16th Century (see my previous discussion). This church “destroys the saints of God,” a reference to the counter-reformation tactics which persecuted and killed many Protestants throughout Europe, and “brings them down into captivity,” - a reference to the heavy-handed tactics of Catholic Spain and the Holy Roman Empire in controlling much of the countries and kingdoms of Europe. We see the inspiration of Columbus (a common early modern trope) and his discovery of America. Some of the persecuted Protestants “went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters” - meaning the Dutch and English who began exploring the oceans, both to the east and to the west.

The killing of the French Huguenots could easily be the killing of the Saints of God, and many of them fled to Holland, England, and America.  Of course, Columbus (Cristoforo Colombocristóbal colón) was in 1492 and following years.  Christopher means "Christ-bearer," and there is a tale about him carrying the Christ-child across a river.  Italian Colombo means "dove."  Does that fit?  Did a Huguenot bring the Book of Mormon manuscript to America?  They were the intellectual elite in France.  Doesn't adieu appear in the BofM?

2 hours ago, JarMan said:

Next we see a clear description of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. In verse 17 “their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.” This is the Spanish armies getting ready to invade England. The famous Spanish Armada gathered upon the waters while the other half of the Spanish army was on the European mainland at Flanders waiting to be ferried across the English Channel. But the “wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle” and “the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God”. This was the “Protestant Wind” that scattered the armada. The English even struck a commemorative medal that said, "God blew with his winds and they were scattered." Also notice this deliverance from God comes when the “mother Gentiles” are only gathered together for battle, but before the battle has started in earnest. The English and Dutch spoke of the victory in apocalyptic terms, so it is right at home in Nephi's Apocalypse. The defeat of the Spanish Armada occurred in 1588 so we can be sure 1 Nephi was written after then..........................................................

Yes, of course, if the book is a non-prophetic work of human imagination.  Spain was the most powerful nation in the world then, at least before the destruction of the Armada.

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3 hours ago, JarMan said:

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

The two churches idea is not found in the OT as far as I can tell. The point of two churches is that there are ONLY two churches. The church of the Lamb or of the devil. You might think that only a Sith thinks in absolutes like that, but apparently so does Nephi. And so did some early modern protestants.

Yes, and remember Naboo.  As to two churches, the doctrine of the Two Ways is prominent in both Bible and ancient Egypt.

3 hours ago, JarMan said:

If you are going to appeal to the supernatural to explain missing links I don't see any reason to engage in apologetics. You may as well just say, as some do, that God is responsible for it all but we just don't know how. End of story. Once you begin to engage the evidence you've sort of committed to looking at facts and using reason. Retreating behind the supernatural when the going gets tough is not a good look.

Yes, and God does his works primarily through human agency.

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16 hours ago, JarMan said:

If you can't find a convergent narrative you're cherry picking. You wouldn't let me get away with that. . .

There's no texts from that era. However the types are all there. Indeed I think all writers on the apocalyptic genre note how the Hellenistic genre repurposes these earlier elements. That's not cherry picking. Now it's not in the exact form you're right. But again, we have no pre-Hellenistic texts. So by your criteria it's impossible to say anything one way or the other.

16 hours ago, JarMan said:

I think we can look at Nephi's vision and, using the same techniques used to date the Book of Daniel, we can come up with a reasonable date for 1 Nephi.

Again let me repeat my point that elements are clearly 19th cenutry (or perhaps, to offer allowance to you and Robert at least modern). So this doesn't really establish much. By the same measure we can establish the final dating for Daniel yet acknowledge elements out of which the narrative was formed are older. Now I happen to think that far more extensive with the BoM than with Daniel of course. The translator of the Book of Mormon who was familiar with how things turned out simply described them in terms of the perspective of finished history even if the underlying text was likely much more ambiguous. 

So you're largely arguing with someone who already agrees with you to a point but not addressing the central point of why I or others think the book ancient and historic even if the translation isn't.

The problem with the 16th century context using your type of criticism is precisely 1 Nephi 13:30-38. You could argue (as Don Bradley did in his thesis) that this reflects the New York attempted gathering of Israel. However it definitely presupposes a relative end to genocide of native Americans that wasn't going on in the 17th century. Even if this reflects the aims of some 16th century author, there's many things in that section that simply didn't happen until the 18th and 19th centuries. The other problem with the chapter you quote, 22, is that the "might nation...upon the face of this land" that scatters the seed of Lehi doesn't fit England, Portugal or Spain. Rather it fits the United States and the scattering (not genocide or enslavement) of the American Indians. It seems such a clear reference to 19th cenutry Indian policy (against the policy of Great Britain) that its very hard to see that as occuring before the mid-18th century and arguably not until after the break from Britain. There's also the prophecies in 3 Nephi about the seed rising up. Again, difficult to date before the rise of say Tecumseh. 

So by your own methodology you undermine your 16th century dating.

 

 

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