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Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon


Daniel Peterson

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The Dude has affirmed that Book of Mormon Hebraisms were derivable, by Joseph Smith, from the English Bible

Daninator,

Dude's theory also assumes the idea that Joseph could recognize the hebraisims-like chiasmus, in the Bible. Which causes the questian to arise: Why did Joseph Smith recognize the hebraisms and then not mention there existance? It seems to me that Joseph was alaways bringing up evidence that he thought substantiated his claims, be it something he read years later about the toltecas or the ruins in chiapas. If he recognized hebraisms in the Bible and then, while looking into his stone worked them into the BoM, why no mention of Hebraisms in mormon thought until the late 20th centuary?

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It seems to me that Joseph was alaways bringing up evidence that he thought substantiated his claims....

You start a lot of threads HA, which is cool. I would love it if you started another thread listing each and every case you know of where Joseph Smith engaged in rational apologetics in favor of his claims. :P

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I will look at it and tell you what I think, and I hope other critics will join me.

The Dude has affirmed that Book of Mormon Hebraisms were derivable, by Joseph Smith, from the English Bible.

Mostly true. I think a lot of Hebraisms will prove to be explainable as coincidence stemming from influence from Joseph Smith's Judeo-Christian culture and particularly the King James Bible. Others I wouldn't even accept as Hebraisms. Remember, (if you read the other thread) Bill Hamblin thought I wouldn't accept anything as a Hebraism, but he has shown me that accepting a Hebraism does not lead directly to evidence that the BoM was produced from an ancient Nephite source. The arument is this: that many/most/all convincing Hebraisms can be explained as entering the BoM by way of a modern author's processes. Note that this doesn't mean modern authorship is proven, just that the alleged Hebraism cannot be taken to the bank as evidence of ancient authorship.

The second problem with the way Dan states my position is that, within a theory for modern authorship, the critic's explanation must state that Joseph Smith was the source. Of course critics do not all agree that Joseph Smith alone wrote the Book of Mormon. I would prefer to explain everything as coming from Joseph Smith (parsimony and all that), but modern authorship does not require it.

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Dude's theory also assumes the idea that Joseph could recognize the hebraisims-like chiasmus, in the Bible....

No it doesn't.

If he recognized hebraisms in the Bible and then, while looking into his stone worked them into the BoM, why no mention of Hebraisms in mormon thought until the late 20th centuary?

I do not assume that Joseph or any other 19th century author purposely seeded the BoM with Hebraisms (like chiasmus) as hidden evidence for future generations. Joseph didn't see them, and that's why JS did not mention of them or otherwise take advantage of them until the apologist "discovers" them.

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And it came to pass that Joseph Smith did write a historical novel. And he called his novel "The Book of Mormon." And his novel did have the a peculiar characteristic of using the word "and" exceedingly often.

And it came to pass that many years later, a Mormon apologist noticed that some of the sentences in the Book of Mormon also contained the word "if." And he did rejoice, for sentences which contain both "and" and "if" were verily used in ancient Hebrew grammar. And he did write an essay to demonstrate this parallel.

And it came to pass that the critics were unimpressed. Verily.

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I've mentioned Royal Skousen's identification of seemingly Hebraic "if-and" conditional sentences in several recent items, including "Editor's Introduction
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And it came to pass that Joseph Smith did write a historical novel. And he called his novel "The Book of Mormon." And his novel did have the a peculiar characteristic of using the word "and" exceedingly often.

And it came to pass that many years later, a Mormon apologist noticed that some of the sentences in the Book of Mormon also contained the word "if." And he did rejoice, for sentences which contain both "and" and "if" were verily used in ancient Hebrew grammar. And he did write an essay to demonstrate this parallel.

And it came to pass that the critics were unimpressed. Verily.

Two words: SELECTIVE IGNORANCE

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It seems to me that Joseph was alaways bringing up evidence that he thought substantiated his claims....

You start a lot of threads HA, which is cool. I would love it if you started another thread listing each and every case you know of where Joseph Smith engaged in rational apologetics in favor of his claims. :P

This isn't Her Amun's thread, Dude.

It was started by Daniel Peterson.

What's your point, anyway?

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Yes...... it would be fascinating to see if Hebraisms of the same caliber and quantity are in either Spauldings or Smith's "View of the Hebrews." THAT would be interesting..........

So far as I know, none of Spalding's extant writings to have any connection with

the ancient Israelites, nor with their language.

Ethan Smith, on the other hand, did write numerous books on the scriptures, prophecy,

etc. I've placed excerpts on-line at my OliverCowdery.com site. Perhaps some reader

who has a doctorate in Semitic languages (now who would that be?) could browse

through the good Reverend's published offerings, to determine if he there shows any

literate acqaintance with biblical Hebrew.

Uncle "I'd do it myself, but my two semesters of OT Hebrew were thoroughly forgetable" Dale

PS -- According to the thread I posted yesterday, Orrin Porter Rockwell was quite

accomplished in "wood-craft" -- no mention of whether he used a skill-saw, however.

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I will look at it and tell you what I think, and I hope other critics will join me.
The Dude has affirmed that Book of Mormon Hebraisms were derivable, by Joseph Smith, from the English Bible.

Mostly true. I think a lot of Hebraisms will prove to be explainable as coincidence stemming from influence from Joseph Smith's Judeo-Christian culture and particularly the King James Bible. Others I wouldn't even accept as Hebraisms. Remember, (if you read the other thread) Bill Hamblin thought I wouldn't accept anything as a Hebraism, but he has shown me that accepting a Hebraism does not lead directly to evidence that the BoM was produced from an ancient Nephite source. The arument is this: that many/most/all convincing Hebraisms can be explained as entering the BoM by way of a modern author's processes. Note that this doesn't mean modern authorship is proven, just that the alleged Hebraism cannot be taken to the bank as evidence of ancient authorship.

The second problem with the way Dan states my position is that, within a theory for modern authorship, the critic's explanation must state that Joseph Smith was the source. Of course critics do not all agree that Joseph Smith alone wrote the Book of Mormon. I would prefer to explain everything as coming from Joseph Smith (parsimony and all that), but modern authorship does not require it.

If I understand you right, you're saying that it's natural for hebraisms to generate in literature that's heavily influenced by the Judeo-Christian culture. To which I would then ask - what is the test to verify this? What other texts from the 19th century were also written as part of the Judeo-Christian culture, and how many hebraisms do they have in comparison with the Book of Mormon? If what you say is true, then these other texts should have an equal number of Hebraisms, and also contain hebraisms that are equally complex. So where is the evidence?

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And it came to pass that Joseph Smith did write a historical novel. And he called his novel "The Book of Mormon." And his novel did have the a peculiar characteristic of using the word "and" exceedingly often.

And it came to pass that many years later, a Mormon apologist noticed that some of the sentences in the Book of Mormon also contained the word "if." And he did rejoice, for sentences which contain both "and" and "if" were verily used in ancient Hebrew grammar. And he did write an essay to demonstrate this parallel.

And it came to pass that the critics were unimpressed. Verily.

MC:

Nice avatar. We do family portraits, too. We always include them in our Christmas cards.

Now, as to the if/and constructions. I suppose it would be pointless to note that the simple usage of "if" and "and" in a sentence is not at all analogous to the rather precise formulation of the if/and clause to which Dan has referred. These clauses are quite analogous to the modern practice of using if/then constructions, but are peculiar to ancient Hebraic texts.

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Yes...... it would be fascinating to see if Hebraisms of the same caliber and quantity are in either Spauldings or Smith's "View of the Hebrews." THAT would be interesting..........

Yes, I would love to see if View of the Hebrews is just bubbling over with authentic Hebraisms. Perhaps David Bokovoy could find the time to give it a perusal. Although chiasms might be difficult to spot with ease, you would think the if/and constructions would lend themselves to a relatively easy search.

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Dude

You start a lot of threads HA, which is cool. .
I love starting threads. We talk about alot of stuff on this board that most mormons/non-mormons no nothing about or are not interested in.
I would love it if you started another thread listing each and every case you know of where Joseph Smith engaged in rational apologetics in favor of his claims
I will, but it may take at most 8 days. I spend way to much time here and I want to cut back. But I will create a thread with examples of Joseph's attempts at highlighting some things he read , THAT IN HIS MIND, provided evidence for the BoM and other things. But I won't do it tonight or tommorow. :P

There are a few in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I don't think their convincing. I just think he tried to prove the point when he could.

Dude's theory also assumes the idea that Joseph could recognize the hebraisims-like chiasmus, in the Bible....
No it doesn't.
Then I assume you believe Joseph did it by chance? Fine. FAIR enough. In that case Joseph's mind would then have to subconsciously absorb the hebraisms from bible study, and subconsciously spill them on to the BoM?

I dont know, Alma 36 seems pretty delibrate. Helaman 6:9-11 only works in hebrew. Zedek Yahu, Lord is often placed in stead of Yahu.....

Joseph didn't see them, and that's why JS did not mention of them or otherwise take advantage of them until the apologist "discovers" them.
I whole heartedly agree. For me goes along with the idea that he was a reader of the text and not it's writer, since the hebraisms-only on of which is chaiasmus, seem very delibrate or at least VEEEERY, VEERYY unlikely. They may not prove the divinty of the BoM, BUT their existance is what one would demand from the translation of a hebrew text.

An example of what I mean.

I speak and write almost fluent chinese, including classical(not as well as my modern chinese but I get by with a dictionary).

I once had a pet theory that since, the Jaredites and chinese came from , what I then saw as, the steppes of asia(boy was I wrong) that studying things related too Spring and Autumn, Three Kingdoms or Zou's Commentary could help me understand the Jaredites better. I looked for parrallels with ancient "China", looked at how wars were fought etc. Nothing matched. The only idea I could come up with was that the Jaredites used some kind of character system-given that 28 plates contained a whole lineage history, I don't think thats possible with an alphabet, though it is with characters. Characters are not unique to the chinese, by the way.

Any "parrallels" to ancient china that I could "find" could all be chalked up to chance, and I knew it. I remember when we translated classical chinese-Mencius, Mozi, some legends about scholars and their ghostly lovers, court life, and warfare ; as much as I would have liked to be a Sino-Nibley nothing parralleled the BoM. The BoM peoples are so non chinese.

Anyways, Its almost impossible to translate an ancient text without retaining some of their idiums. So I am skeptical when people attribute Hebraisms in the BoM to mere chance. If it were mere chance one might expect to find chinese idiums in it too. Though I've never exhaustivly looked for them, I have found none of the most common classical idiums in the BoM-nor would anyone expect to given he had no exposure to china.

Similiarly, if Joseph Smith was the author of the BoM, I wouldn't expect to find extra-biblical parrallels to the ancient near east in there either.

Just some thoughts.

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Yes...... it would be fascinating to see if Hebraisms of the same caliber and quantity are in either Spauldings or Smith's "View of the Hebrews." THAT would be interesting..........

Yes, I would love to see if View of the Hebrews is just bubbling over with authentic Hebraisms. Perhaps David Bokovoy could find the time to give it a perusal. Although chiasms might be difficult to spot with ease, you would think the if/and constructions would lend themselves to a relatively easy search.

No need to wax rhetorical about the idea -- I already suggested that it would be more

appropriate to look at Ethan Smith's other books. Such a search would NOT be made

in order to detect sham scriptural creations attributal to ancient Israelites -- but

merely a survey, to dertermine whether or not Ethan Smith's writings demonstrate

a working knowlege of biblical Hebrew. If he did possess that much knowledge (and I

rather think he did), he might have consulted various reference books (or his own

notes as a former student of the language) for additional examples.

According to Ethan Smith's grandson, Ethan knew Solomon Spalding (whose tenure

at Dartmouth overlapped that of Ethan by a semester) and once entrusted him with

a manuscript on the Israelite orgin of the American Indians -- which Spalding then

neglected to return. All of this was published long before I. Woodbridge Riley, B. H.

Roberts, and Fawn Brodie popularized the "Ethan Smith theory."

At any rate, if you ARE serious in your suggestion, the 1823 and 1825 editions of VoH

are available on-line, and I'd welcome your refining your suggestion, by letting us

know which particular chapters in the book you recommend first being so examined.

UD

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What other texts from the 19th century were also written as part of the Judeo-Christian culture, and how many hebraisms do they have in comparison with the Book of Mormon? If what you say is true, then these other texts should have an equal number of Hebraisms, and also contain hebraisms that are equally complex. So where is the evidence?

You are absolutely correct, OLL. Next time I read the Chronicles of Narnia, I'll keep an eye out for Hebraisms. Of course someone like David Bokovoy or Dan Peterson would be more likely to pick up the subtle Hebraisms that seem to be so prevalent to the BoM. If that kind of thing were present in the Chronicles of Narnia, readers like you and I wouldn't notice them in a million years.

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There was an elder on my mission who wrote his journal in "Biblical voice." It might be interesting to examine a text like that and see how well the person has managed to echo the grammar and syntax of the KJV.

That's all I'll say on the matter cause I don't know much about it.

chiaro

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What other texts from the 19th century were also written as part of the Judeo-Christian culture, and how many hebraisms do they have in comparison with the Book of Mormon?  If what you say is true, then these other texts should have an equal number of Hebraisms, and also contain hebraisms that are equally complex.  So where is the evidence?

You are absolutely correct, OLL. Next time I read the Chronicles of Narnia, I'll keep an eye out for Hebraisms. Of course someone like David Bokovoy or Dan Peterson would be more likely to pick up the subtle Hebraisms that seem to be so prevalent to the BoM. If that kind of thing were present in the Chronicles of Narnia, readers like you and I wouldn't notice them in a million years.

Why not make a serious study of it then? Donald Parry has reformatted the Book of Mormon text according to Hebrew parallelisms. You can judge the strength of those Hebraisms for yourself. It's published by FARMS. I would sincerely like to see the critics that subscribe to your view do a similar study on something like the Chronicles of Narnia to demonstrate the strength of their claims. Really - this is more than just another jab.

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There was an elder on my mission who wrote his journal in "Biblical voice." It might be interesting to examine a text like that and see how well the person has managed to echo the grammar and syntax of the KJV.

That's all I'll say on the matter cause I don't know much about it.

chiaro

Gee -- if we're getting into those sorts of obscurities, let's also examine Sidney Rigdon's

1824 "3rd Epistle of Peter."

Then again, would we there be looking for sham Aramaicisms, as rendered into Rigdon's

English, from an ancient koine translation? Or did Peter write in Greek? Or did Rigdon?

Uncle I'm getting a headache -- where's my ice-pack? -- apply directly to the forehead!" Dale

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