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Robert F. Smith

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  1. We have no such systematic evidence. Anyone can pretend to adopt a pseudo-biblical style. For a yokel to bring it off successfully, however, is just not possible. The BofM itself is the best evidence of this, as Carmack & Skousen demonstrate systematically. I fully expect eye-rolls from those who don't read the evidence -- they have apriori views, in any case, which automatically reject anything scholarly. While it is true that many people automatically disbelieve the BofM, usually without even reading it, they are not scholars and have made no scholarly assessment of BofM claims. For scholars, however, there is plenty of evidence to be considered in a host of different fields of study. I take a look at some of that in my 2014 FAirMormon Conference presentation: http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/PREPOSTEROUS-BOOK-OF-MORMON.pdf . On the contrary, as Royal Skousen has shown, Not only is there no evidence to support a 19th century origin for the BofM, but the full panoply of LDS theology is already present in the BofM: https://www.scribd.com/doc/251781864/BOOK-OF-MORMON-THEOLOGIES-A-THUMBNAIL-SKETCH . A lot of people, both pro- and anti-Mormon, have a lot invested in the 19th century context. Heck, I used to think that Joseph actually did the translation by putting ideas from the Egyptian text into his own words -- as mediated through his mind by the Holy Ghost. A kind of biofeedback loop. New evidence has negated that possibility. We need to be able to adapt.
  2. You obviously disagree with Carmack & Skousen on that. Their whole point is that the EModE in the BofM is systematic. Otherwise, just like hopscotch, EModE occurrences in the BofM would simply be hit and miss. No statistical charts could be drawn, and no consistent features of the language would be evident. That is the opposite of what Carmack's many detailed articles have shown. A scholar must necessarily read the text and locate the instances which demonstrate the grammatical phenomena. Otherwise he would be irresponsbible. If your claim is that his evidence is faulty, by all means show that to be the case through a close reading and citation of the text.
  3. All good points. However, it is like saying that a murder was committed, but, since we have no motive, we have to disregard the forensic evidence. The evidence stands on its own, regardless of any outstanding questions we may justifiably have. One cannot hopscotch his way to an EModE BofM. The systematic nature of it leaves any offhand examples of later usage out in the cold. A fact that Bob Crockett just doesn't allow for.
  4. Once again, where is your statistical chart? You are equating single uses in some work here or there with the many uses throughout the BofM. For you, perhaps statistics constitutes "fraudulent pseudo-babble." Yet it is the heart and soul of science and scholarship. It is you who follows the subjective psychohistorical approach of Fawn Brodie. Just as you do, she eschewed science and scholarship.
  5. I stand corrected, Nevo. Was not familiar with Oaks fils. I agree that we should have fair and representative statistics. You are alleging that Carmack has not done due diligence. You (or someone you cite) should be prepared to make that actual case.
  6. I gave two examples already in this thread: Carmack claims for periphrastic "did" (Past Tense) that Joseph Smith was extremely unlikely to have produced the ubiquitous past-tense syntax of the Book of Mormon (didst go, did go, didst eat, did eat, did arrive), because its high rate and syntactic distribution are 16th-century in character, not pseudo-biblical, biblical, or modern. 30% positive did used with infinitives (excluding lengthy biblical passages), 90% adjacency "did <verb>", some archaic simple past-tense. Best fit is mid- to late-1500s, but "did do" and "do do" is mainly found in 1600s, and markedly different from the relatively low rate of affirmative did found in the KJV. Same for Perfect Tense (hath/had/have (not) been spake/spoken).
  7. I thought the point was that Joseph need not be consciously using any types of phrases he had learnt through dictating and reading the BofM. If familiarity with some phrase here or there led to its reuse by Joseph, why would that tell us anything about intentionality? Particularly if it was hit and miss and not systematic.
  8. It is not "ludicrous" or "fraudulent science" to use statistics to detect the frequency of use of some feature. In fact it is ludicrous to do otherwise, Bob. And since when is "had smote" the supposed "best example"? Carmack discusses the perfect tense in the BofM, as with "had been spake" at Alma 6:8 (cf. "hath/had/have (not) been spake"). He cites William Tyndale's use of "had smote," so that your use of it in Joseph Smith's day is just another red herring (and you do love red herring). I have noted repeatedly that some aspects of language continue into the future, some do not. If you want to focus on "had smote," but refuse to provide the statistical rate of usage of it through time, that is a perfect example of "fraudulent science." If "had smote" continues in use through time at the same rate from Tyndale to today that does not in any way disprove the presence of EModE in the BofM, but only tells us that the phrase is not diagnostic of anything. We need instead to look at other examples of the perfect tense (as Carmack does). Otherwise we are merely baying at the moon.
  9. Carmack points out the reuse of some such phrases later than their EModE origins, but his main point is the statistical usage. Some balloon in popularity, some disappear completely. Some appear later, but are quite rare -- as you might expect in poetry especially. If you can't graph the rate of occurrence, you aren't telling us anything.
  10. Carmack does theorize that instances of archaic usage are evidence of revelatory archaisms which Joseph did not use personally. He doesn't say that Joseph came up with those archaisms on his own. If, as JarMan suggests, "God is a super lousy communicator.," I would respond that could only be because he has flawed humans to communicate with (D&C 1:24, II Ne 31:3). what else is going on there is opaque.
  11. Well, at least she is improving. In particular, I enjoyed her willingness to compare Lori and Chad to Korihor. Followed by an excellent theological dispute.
  12. You may have noticed that JarMan (on this board) has suggested Dutchman Hugo Grotius as a potential author/translator of the BofM. Though not his only suggestion, Grotius is his prime candidate. Perhaps there is something about Dutch grammar that would favor using periphrastic "did," and other characteristics. But then we are looking for an entire range of features, not simply that one characteristic. There is nothing wrong with such offhand notions. I myself used to take that view. However, it is absurd to ask Oaks to write such an article, when actual experts are available. Grant Hardy, who does not agree with Carmack & Skousen on this, would have been a far better choice. There are several ways to approach this stylometric authorship question. I once did a very detailed statistical analysis of the usage of "it came to pass" in the Book of Mormon and the KJV Bible. I did not know what to expect, as this was basic research. Two conclusions stood out: (1) narrative use in the BofM was the same as narrative use in the Bible, and (2) the one place where a BofM author was exactly the same in that phrase usage in two separate books was Mormon in the book of Mormon and Words of Mormon. That seemed hardly likely by chance, since the two books were separated by such distance in the BofM. Similarly, all of the basic research of Skousen & Carmack took place in complete innocence of possible conclusions. Both were quite surprised by the results, as am I. You may also recall the late John Tvedtnes' "Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon" (BYU Studies, 11/1 [Aut 1970]:50-60), showing how certain types of phrasing or construction could easily have been derived or influenced by biblical Hebrew. My immediate reaction was that the BofM claims to have been written in Egyptian, and it seemed to me that all those Hebraisms posited by Tvedtnes were even better as Egyptianisms. Indeed, there are many Egyptianisms in the BofM text which cannot be Hebraisms. That include citations to the written claims by the late William F. Albright (non-LDS) that names such as Pahoron and Paanchi are excellent Egyptian names. I have a huge paper with full documentation making my case, which will be forthcoming in a volume on the Book of Mormon. There is more than one way to approach this issue. Actually, Carmack has spent a lot of time examining 19th century sources, and that only reinforces his data on EModE. I too looked around for local dialects, long before the EModE connection was advanced. I had the same off the wall notions as Oaks. Was simple common sense. Unfortunately, there is nothing to back it up. Certainly nothing in Joseph's personal writings, and nothing in local publications in which people are quoted in their own dialect. We have gone over this several times on this board.
  13. Just listened to the Dec 8, 2019, recorded cell phone conversation of Melanie Gibb with Lori Vallow & Chad Daybell, played at Chad's preliminary hearing Remarkable. Melanie is tough and accuses both of them of inappropriate behavior while still married to others, and says that each of them is like Korihor. Lori was not at all happy with the conversation, and eventually hung up on Melanie. Melanie has her head on straight.
  14. The syntax doesn't depend on literary or lexical knowledge, but only on basic English grammar. The types of phrases in question simply appear or do not appear in various texts, and are easily quantified. Moreover, these phrase are not important to the narrative at all. Thus, one's personal feelings or literary value play no role in the analysis. They can be quantified and graphed via computer. Stylometrics are used regularly by non-Mormon experts. There is nothing odd, subjective, or speculative about it. The authors themselves are not even aware that they have any sort of style which can be analyzed in this way. Certainly Joseph and his contemporaries could not have been thus aware. Same applies to Saint Paul.
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