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caspianrex

How We Got the Bible (paper)

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This "paper" (it's actually more like a bunch of material from the internet, all thrown together) popped up on my Academia.edu feed: https://www.academia.edu/34054821/HOW_WE_GOT_THE_BIBLE_Overview_of_Aspects_of_the_Scripture_Transmission_Process

Some of the information in the document is good, some of it is highly flawed. But as I was glossing through it, I was interested to see (starting at p. 141) that there was a section about textual criticism in religious documents in general, including: the Qur'an, the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, the Talmud, and The Book of Mormon. As most of the material in the document seems to be from a fairly conservative evangelical point of view, it was surprising to see The Book of Mormon and the Qur'an included. And the material on textual criticism in the context of those works, although not incredibly detailed, is not presented polemically. In other words, there is no attempt in the document to discredit either religious tradition.

Also, I smiled when I read @Robert F. Smith's name on p. 142...

BTW, in case you don't feel like wading through the entire document, I've copied the text about The Book of Mormon in a reply to this post.

 

Edited by caspianrex
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 9.8.2 Book of Mormon
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) includes the Book of Mormon as a
foundational reference. LDS members typically believe the book to be a literal historical record.
Although some earlier unpublished studies had been prepared, not until the early 1970s was true textual
criticism applied to the Book of Mormon. At that time BYU Professor Ellis Rasmussen and his associates
were asked by the LDS Church to begin preparation for a new edition of the Holy Scriptures. One aspect
of that effort entailed digitizing the text and preparing appropriate footnotes, another aspect required
establishing the most dependable text. To that latter end, Stanley R. Larson (a Rasmussen graduate
student) set about applying modern text critical standards to the manuscripts and early editions of the
Book of Mormon as his thesis project – which he completed in 1974. To that end, Larson carefully
examined the Original Manuscript (the one dictated by Joseph Smith to his scribes) and the Printer’s
Manuscript (the copy Oliver Cowdery prepared for the Printer in 1829–1830), and compared them with
the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions of the Book of Mormon to determine what sort of changes had occurred
over time and to make judgments as to which readings were the most original.[78] Larson proceeded to
publish a useful set of well-argued articles on the phenomena which he had discovered.[79] Many of his
observations were included as improvements in the 1981 LDS edition of the Book of Mormon.
By 1979, with the establishment of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) as
a California non-profit research institution, an effort led by Robert F. Smith began to take full account of
Larson’s work and to publish a Critical Text of the Book of Mormon. Thus was born the FARMS Critical Text
Project which published the first volume of the 3-volume Book of Mormon Critical Text in 1984. The third
volume of that first edition was published in 1987, but was already being superseded by a second, revised
edition of the entire work,[80] greatly aided through the advice and assistance of then Yale doctoral
candidate Grant Hardy, Dr. Gordon C. Thomasson, Professor John W. Welch (the head of FARMS),
Professor Royal Skousen, and others too numerous to mention here. However, these were merely
preliminary steps to a far more exacting and all-encompassing project.
In 1988, with that preliminary phase of the project completed, Professor Skousen took over as editor and
head of the FARMS Critical Text of the Book of Mormon Project and proceeded to gather still scattered
fragments of the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon and to have advanced photographic
techniques applied to obtain fine readings from otherwise unreadable pages and fragments. He also
closely examined the Printer’s Manuscript (owned by the Community of Christ—RLDS Church in
Independence, Missouri) for differences in types of ink or pencil, in order to determine when and by whom
they were made. He also collated the various editions of the Book of Mormon down to the present to see
what sorts of changes have been made through time.
Thus far, Professor Skousen has published complete transcripts of the Original and Printer’s
Manuscripts,[81] as well as a six-volume analysis of textual variants.[82] Still in preparation are a history of
the text, and a complete electronic collation of editions and manuscripts (volumes 3 and 5 of the Project,
respectively). Yale University has in the meantime published an edition of the Book of Mormon which
incorporates all aspects of Skousen’s research.[83] 

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2 hours ago, caspianrex said:

This "paper" (it's actually more like a bunch of material from the internet, all thrown together) popped up on my Academia.edu feed: https://www.academia.edu/34054821/HOW_WE_GOT_THE_BIBLE_Overview_of_Aspects_of_the_Scripture_Transmission_Process

Some of the information in the document is good, some of it is highly flawed. But as I was glossing through it, I was interested to see (starting at p. 141) that there was a section about textual criticism in religious documents in general, including: the Qur'an, the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, the Talmud, and The Book of Mormon. As most of the material in the document seems to be from a fairly conservative evangelical point of view, it was surprising to see The Book of Mormon and the Qur'an included. And the material on textual criticism in the context of those works, although not incredibly detailed, is not presented polemically. In other words, there is no attempt in the document to discredit either religious tradition.

Also, I smiled when I read @Robert F. Smith's name on p. 142..............................

I smiled when I saw this, because Ernst R. Wendland lifted my own Wikipedia piece on Textual Criticism of the Book of Mormon wholesale from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textual_criticism .  However, he does state in his preface that he obtained his materials from the WorldWide Web and only lightly edited them.  His intent was to provide a broad cross-section of materials for the student who needs it.  So it is not actual plagiarism in the strict sense.

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On 7/30/2019 at 8:24 AM, caspianrex said:

This "paper" (it's actually more like a bunch of material from the internet, all thrown together) popped up on my Academia.edu feed: https://www.academia.edu/34054821/HOW_WE_GOT_THE_BIBLE_Overview_of_Aspects_of_the_Scripture_Transmission_Process

Some of the information in the document is good, some of it is highly flawed. But as I was glossing through it, I was interested to see (starting at p. 141) that there was a section about textual criticism in religious documents in general, including: the Qur'an, the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, the Talmud, and The Book of Mormon. As most of the material in the document seems to be from a fairly conservative evangelical point of view, it was surprising to see The Book of Mormon and the Qur'an included. And the material on textual criticism in the context of those works, although not incredibly detailed, is not presented polemically. In other words, there is no attempt in the document to discredit either religious tradition.

Also, I smiled when I read @Robert F. Smith's name on p. 142...

BTW, in case you don't feel like wading through the entire document, I've copied the text about The Book of Mormon in a reply to this post.

 

Are there any documents pre 1800's of the BOM to compare to the current BOM? I thought that no documents were available before this time.....meaning you can't really do textual criticism on the BOM? 

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Are there any documents pre 1800's of the BOM to compare to the current BOM? I thought that no documents were available before this time.....meaning you can't really do textual criticism on the BOM? 

I guess textual criticism of the Book of Mormon is a bit different from textual criticism of biblical manuscripts, because it is mostly based on analysis of printed editions. (The only two manuscripts are the Original manuscript, which is only 28% extant, and the Printer's manuscript, which I understand is mostly complete.) However, even in the case of biblical textual criticism, there are no autographs. So I don't think the unavailability of the golden plates negates textual criticism of the Book of Mormon.

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Because 72 percent of O is lost, the estimate is that 200+ original readings are not recoverable. However, for one-sixth of the text — from Helaman 13 to the end of Mormon — there are two firsthand copies of O. P is a direct copy of Helaman 13 to Mormon 9, of course, but so is the 1830 first edition, since the typesetter used O to compose the type for that stretch of text. The rest of the time P was used to set the type. Thus, for five-sixths of the text the 1830 is a copy of a copy.

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