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Brant Gardner

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Everything posted by Brant Gardner

  1. Bob can answer for himself, but it is correct that all humans on this continent arrived from somewhere else (starting over 15k years ago).
  2. That is the focus of the book, but I would not recommend this book. Most books on this topic are not very careful, but this one is even less so. It has no footnotes, so you cannot check her. However, there are some of the legends she describes where I do recognize where she got her informaiton, and she is not correctly reporting those stories.
  3. It is the new FARMS (Faithful Answers, Remedial Math Skills).😃
  4. As my good friend Gordon Thomasson has noted, during Joseph's lifetime the word "illiterate" would be better understood as "unlettered," or without formal education. Of course he could read and write.
  5. You know, I have so many people wonder why I think I might be an authority on anything--so I guess it just goes with the territory.
  6. I have it on pretty good authority that he is skeptical of Hebraisms that are not involved with names. Names appear to follow a different logic in the translation--or so I think he thinks.
  7. You'll get a little taste of my commentary in Valletta's book. He cites it from time to time.
  8. I have met him, but do not know him. Here is a short bio from BYU: https://rsc-legacy.byu.edu/authors/valletta-thomas-r
  9. Tom Valleta's is another commentary that is a collection of quoted material--but this time from other commentaries. You should think about the online version which has enlarged content. On the free side, the ScripturePlus app has an integrated commentary. It includes Jack Welch's notes from classes taught over the years and a commentary on verses that I'm partial to.
  10. Yes, some are simply unnecessary. As with the problem of suggesting that there isn't a problem because it is a 22.9% problem, the fact that one can make excuses for some of them doesn't alter the problem with the others. And this continues to be the problem. You certainly have a lot of evidence for your thesis, but there are small but substantial problems that you are ignoring rather than either integrating into the thesis, or realizing that they can invalidate the thesis. The major one is the problem of latest date. There are two problems with your data. One is that some of the evidence is later than the Early Modern English hypothesis. The second is that there is an inherent problem with the way the exclusiveness of the data is asserted. It is asserted because it wasn't yet found. Then then you publish articles indicating that some of them have been found. That, of course, is precisely what a scholar should do--but for some reason you don't understand that it continues to undermine the proposal that "Joseph couldn't" when you find that perhaps he could have on some of them. Your hypothesis cannot explain all of the data, and when it falls short of explaining all of the data, it simply cannot be accepted as an explanation. I suppose a third issue is the idea that a small, but significant percentage of variation from your hypothesis can be dismissed. A fourth would be your own evidence finding similar evidence in the early revelations, but not all revelations. None of those would be translations, and they related to Josephs current situations. There is no need for someone who hasn't learned to keep up with English for 200 years to have given them to him, not to mention the strong evidence that Joseph was very willing to alter them when he thought he needed to communicate the idea better. If your hypothesis only answers one possible question and ignores so many, it isn't very useful.
  11. I continue to be fascinated by this interesting "defense" of the changes at italics. It doesn't say that it didn't happen. It doesn't say that the problems introduced didn't happen. It simply says it wasn't consistent. Yes, they were wrong but not consistently wrong is a strange defense. What the statistics show is that attention was paid to italics. That all of them were not changed does not change the problem for the 22.9% of them that were changed--especially in cases where the change left an incomplete sentence, or required circumlocution to repair the damage of the change. There might be some that were seen as improvements, but I don't remember any. Say it is only 90% of the 22.9% of changes at italics. That still is important information about a process that occurred at a specific location that is definable, and related to the visual inspection of the text. I agree that there is no evidence that a Bible was present, so we still have to figure out how this happened. Presumably the person/persons who did the translation that Joseph read were less than competent translators?
  12. Indeed. I have seen what I think are elements of a primarily oral culture even in writing. It becomes obviously difficult to separate that type of orality from dictation orality. I doubt we will soon have anything that reaches strong consensus. I think the first important barrier created by the English text to fall is the assumption of literal translation. I think there is a reasonable consensus that our English text cannot be a precisely accurate rendition of the Nephite text. I think we can find obvious cases where the modern (even if Early Modern) translation is the cause of certain passages. I have argued for some passages that I think were prophetic expansions on the text, and I am seeing more of those. So far, I'm not sure that there are any that can be dated sufficiently to argue exclusively either for Joseph of the putative earlier translator(s).
  13. My point is that physically writing is a different process than oral presentation of information. The nature of the "or" changes fit oral much better than writing (based on Walter Ong--but I'm too lazy to dig for the citation). The next question is whether the plate text is copied from a less permanent medium. Perhaps, but there is also evidence that many things are triggered asides based on what was just written. If this is posited for the les permanent medium, we have to wonder about the editorial process which didn't create a more coherent text on the plates. It appears to me that the plates were being written on, and that these asides were unplanned additions as the writing occurred. Positing a two-phase writing opens the door to even more editorial changes which are even more surprising to not see in the plate text.
  14. We clearly see understanding the translation very differently. The problem of multiple previous translators is precisely a question of Book of Mormon authorship. We have managed to clarify that the original translation (by whomever) was, in Skousen's terms, "cultural and conceptual." That finally moves away from the problematic word for word translation that cannot explain the text at all. So that does answer one question about the translation. Now we have to understand how that "cultural and conceptual" translation came to be dictated to Oliver. We know Joseph played a part, and since he claimed to be the translator, it seems that we ought to at least attempt to take him seriously. If we look at his revisions to the Book of Mormon, if we look at the way he handled issues of italics in large quotations of biblical material, if we look at the process by which the revelations were received, I submit it begins to be clear that Joseph was an active participant in the process. The entire book Producing Ancient Scripture documents the ways in which Joseph is best seen as an active participant.
  15. Again, this is the standard suggestion, that somehow the engraving on metal made a strikeout difficult. I submit it is a nice idea, but incorrect. There is no reason that a strikeout would be more difficult on plates than on paper. There is no reason that we would expect the original to be without error. However, this type of error is qualitatively different from the "or" clauses. In this case, there was a significant amount of text to be repaired, and the solution was similar to other cases of interjection--the repetitive resumption we see after those insertions. That is different from the problem of the "or" clause which could be fixed much more quickly with the crossout of a single word and a replacement. The "or rather" is very similar to the regular "or." Think about how slowly one has to go when engraving on metal. How soon after writing the word that headed in the wrong direction would you notice it? I know that on a computer keyboard, there are times when I know my fingers have made a mistake and I am backspacing almost without even looking. If not, I can check what I have written very quickly. My fingers are significantly faster on a keyboard than engraving would be--and most of the time I am catching my error in the very word that is a mistake. This is an issue of the difference between writing and oral speech.
  16. That has become the standard explanation, but it doesn't work. The changes are to whole clauses. If you were writing on paper, you would cross out the word. When the Maya carved glyphs, they recarved them. It is more efficient to stop at the first word and cross it out--it is much harder to write several more words on the plates. Where we do see this kind of correction is in oral discourse because the phrase is out when the need to clarify it becomes apparent. You cannot cross out oral texts, but it is easy and well attested on physical texts.
  17. And yet we still have the problem that there are aspects of the text that postdate the other evidence. Since Early Modern English also gets extended to 1800, the issue isn't even Early Modern English, but the conservation of earlier variants. It is possible, perhaps, to posit parts of the Book of Mormon to have been translated earlier, but it must also be conceded that some elements were translated later. If we have only one translator, we have to assume the most recent. If there were multiple translations, then we are in the realm of inexplicable mystery. We haven't even attempted a discussion about the unusual logic of some translator a hundred years before Joseph. That couldn't have been done on earth, and if in Heaven, then why the archaic language?
  18. You are not alone. However, the longer I look at the text, the more I see that is better explained by an "instantaneous" translation. In particular, the multiple times that the corrective "or" is used don't fit with a slow translation, or with the original author. They have the features of oral creation. Many of the long sentences (particularly those that get lost in side alleys and never really complete the sentence) are more evidence of orality that either the original writing or a slower translation. The "cultural and creative" aspects are undeniably there. It is, as it has always been, a question of who the translator was. I put my finger on Joseph. Aspects of the way the Book of Mormon was dictated fit the dictation of the revelations, suggesting a similarity that need not appeal to a prior written translator.
  19. No. Not my specialty. I have no qualms about your data, as I have noted multiple times before. Data are data. I am concerned with the way the data have been analyzed. I have read all of your articles, and you noted that there were forms that Joseph used that also show up in other pseudobiblical texts. Your argument was a greater frequency in the Book of Mormon. That is a very different argument that saying that Joseph couldn't have done it because the forms were unavailable. Apparently many were. So the question of exclusiveness is now diminished to "he did it more," which doesn't demonstrate a strong corollary to someone else writing the text at a different time. As you know (but for the benefit of other readers) the presence of these forms in Early Modern English are not indicative that they were the only forms being used. Language tends to become a little more regular and regularized with time. To use the analogy of genetics, you start with a gene pool that starts to be narrowed and arrive at dominant traits--but with recessive traits continuing. That happens in language. Correct modern grammar also had its historical roots. The pseudobiblical movement either dredged up the recessive grammar, or simply incorrectly recreated it. Yep. Language does not develop uniformly or cleanly. Some "recessive" grammar is to be expected. I don't hear "ain't" as much as I used to, but it is still around. Yes. This is precisely your argument. Yes, there are no texts with more than two--however, that obviously means that there are some uses, and that it persisted. It isn't an absolute absence, but rather a statistical change. The grammar in the Book of Mormon is not consistent. There are elements that can be seen in Early Modern English sitting side by side with the more modern grammar. Thus, it is a question of timing or statistics, not the absolute absence. More is happening in the text that postdates Early Modern English. It is not over rigid to expect general standards of authenticity of the text. Textual dating doesn't happen by taking the earliest, nor even the largest amount of the text for the date. Texts are dated by the latest. Since there are elements that post-date Early Modern English, the text can certainly have those elements, but someone was writing that text after. Either it is one author (and I believe Joseph was the best candidate) or it was more than one person, with an original Early Modern English that someone updated without fixing all of the older forms. Interesting idea, but the only support it has is that it makes the theory of Early Modern English work. Now, the case for unwearyingness is really interesting. You are correct that if we date by the latest we have to have the Book of Mormon written after Joseph. However, that isn't the case because the problem isn't the absolute absence, but rather that it wasn't found. There is every reason to believe that it could be related to the forms found. That simply highlights the problem of the methodology. Your case for exclusive Early Modern English depends upon not finding examples. As several recent updates have indicated, sometimes they are found. In your own analysis of pseudobiblical texts, it isn't that they weren't found, but the Book of Mormon uses them more. That is not exclusive. It demonstrates that the forms were available and therefore need not be explained by Early Modern English.
  20. There is a growing amount of evidence concerning all of Joseph's translation projects. What is becoming clear is that Joseph's mind was an important aspect of each of the projects. Of course, the most controversial of those is the Book of Mormon because we can actually know so little of what the actual process was. My opinion is that Joseph received the meaning of the plates (or of the revelations, or the book of Abraham), and wrote that meaning according to his available language. I do believe that he saw words when he used the seer stone. There seems to be a lot of evidence that he saw something, and the spelling of names is the strongest suggestion that there were words. I also suggest that there was a process that allowed him to see text that was still derived from his seeric ability. There is an important case of another person seeing a paper with text on it when using a crystal ball (a type of seer stone).
  21. I disagree. While Skousen and Carmack have found forms that were in printed texts from Early Modern English, their argument entirely rests upon not finding them later than that. Both Skousen and Carmack know that this is not correct, and have indicated in various places that there is even on form in the Book of Mormon that wasn't found until literarure written after 1830. The principle of dating from the latest known dates is not used. They assume the earlier dating, and adjust their arguments to show why one might still accept the Early Modern English Book of Mormon. The second methodological problem is that they compare the the Book of Mormon (typically) to regular texts, and not to those using pseudo-KJV. That is a smaller sample, but an important one because there were many writers using those forms--and not doing them correctly. Carmack looked at those and concluded that many of them do use the same kind of Early Modern English forms as the Book of Mormon, but there are statistically more in the Book of Mormon. The argument about statistics misses the point. If other contemporaries of Joseph produced those forms when imitating KJV language, then there is no reason to believe that Joseph did not our could not. Statistically, it simply indicates that he made more grammatical mistakes that contemporary writers.
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