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Meso American World Tree And Bom


Olavarria

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http://www.famsi.org/research/graz/dresden...img_page03.html

Alma 33: 23

23 And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts , and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye ewill. Amen.

http://research.famsi.org/schele_list.php?...=selden%20codex

8 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree ; and it was like unto the atree which my father had seen; and the bbeauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty ; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.

9 And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is aprecious above all.

10 And he said unto me: What desirest thou?

11 And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof

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Ya Her Amun,

                  I find these motifs to be most interesting. To think that the "fruad" Joe Smith was able to put them dern things in his "gold bible". He guessed lucky, I say lucky.

I do like your style. :P

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Seriosly, these are intresting motifs. It is a shame that more hasn't survived, from the nephites or their descendants/neighbors.

What I find interesting is the evolution of the World Tree iconography from 600 bc at Izapa to 600 AD at Palenque.

The "world tree" at Izapa is fully drawn with leaves branches and roots. The one at palenque is just as elaborate but is more symbolically represented as a cross with the leaves and branches wrapped around the cross.

In the middle east the "world tree' was depicted as a tree prior to the time of Christ. Modern Lutherans depict it as a "rose cross" and explain this change as a result of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

In both the old world and the new world we see a similar change in the iconography from before Christ's life to afterwards. We know the reason for this change in the old world. Was the change in the new world also a result of Christ's visit to the new world? even though they may have completly irradicated any knowledge of Christ's visit from their practice of religion.

Larry P

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Her Amun:

Now tell me with a strait face that the BoM is not the Mexican Bible.

OK. I am skeptical of any connection at all. Your first graphic is a tree of life rising from the opened chest cavity of a human sacrifice whose heart has been excised.

The second graphic is the Mixtec birth three, a mythology that indicates birth of a race coming from the tree.

The concept of a world tree is a very old and very widespread symbol. It is an important part of the shamanic conception of the universe and that is at the heart of native Mesoamerican thought.

There is little thematic connection with the Book of Mormon tree of life - they function differently and have only the most rudimentary similarities to the world axis (which are still at the old level of the tree in Eden - but heavily modified).

The elaboration of the mythological themes is traceable from shamanism, but not from the Book of Mormon ideas.

I can't see the tree-cross as anything but coincidentally connected to Christ's cross. That was not a present symbol in the Book of Mormon. It wasn't the center of any recorded teachings in the Book of Mormon - and it wouldn't (and couldn't) have had the connections that required it to become a recast symbol in the Old World.

The New World certainly has its Tree of Life, but I do not see any traceable connection to the Book of Mormon and lots of traceable connections to the more universal world tree.

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The New World certainly has its Tree of Life, but I do not see any traceable connection to the Book of Mormon and lots of traceable connections to the more universal world tree.

Brant

I dont see any thing traceable to the BoM either.

I agree that the connection has to be to the more universal World tree concept but I am still curious about the reason for changing from a full tree iconography to a cross symbology.

Larry P

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Larry:

I am still curious about the reason for changing from a full tree iconography to a cross symbology.

I am interesting in that kind of thing as well - but I haven't traced that one. I suspect that one of the answers lies in the conflation of the tree and the world directions - and the obvious fact that a cross points 4 ways. The + orientation fits with a tree even through the usual division was X.

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Your first graphic is a tree of life rising from the opened chest cavity of a human sacrifice whose heart has been excised.
Of course. All I am saying is that the imagery is very similiar to that in the BoM. Though they may have meant different things to Alma and whoever made that codex, the imagery is still there.
The second graphic is the Mixtec birth three, a mythology that indicates birth of a race coming from the tree.
I am largly agreed. Here again I returm to my first point. Though the imagery meant differnt things to Nephi and the author of that codex, it is still very similar. The mesoamerican tree gives birth to a lineage founder/king. The Nephite Tree is equated with a virgin who gives birth to THE KING.
The concept of a world tree is a very old and very widespread symbol. It is an important part of the shamanic conception of the universe and that is at the heart of native Mesoamerican thought.
Given the multiple Lehite falls into idolatry,magics and the like; I suspect that they were influenced by their shamanist neighbors.
There is little thematic connection with the Book of Mormon tree of life - they function differently and have only the most rudimentary similarities to the world axis.
We would expect them to function differently.
The elaboration of the mythological themes is traceable from shamanism, but not from the Book of Mormon ideas.
I think that it is very likely that BoM peoples and neighboring populations, thru contact with each other, caused a cross pollination of religious motifs.
The New World certainly has its Tree of Life, but I do not see any traceable connection to the Book of Mormon and lots of traceable connections to the more universal world tree.
I would say that unless, we find a maya codex copy of first Nephi, that any connection has yet to be proven. That being said, the similiarities in motifs do something(even if only a little) for the BoM's credibility as an ancient american text.

There is Joe Smith with his head bruied in a hat, dictatiting an ancient american text, claiming that ancient americans had a literary tradition which describe motherly trees(or tree like mothers) who give birth to kings and that these trees can grow out of the visceral cavity. These are meso-american themes, even if the Mixtecs and Nephites intrepreted and used them in different ways.

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Of course. All I am saying is that the imagery is very similiar to that in the BoM. Though they may have meant different things to Alma and whoever made that codex, the imagery is still there.

Your statement is correct, but moves the discussion into the area of virtual meaninglessness. The idea that trees of life are similar but different describes all of the trees in all cultures in the entire world. It is all true, but not necessarily useful information.

The Lehi/Nephi tree is well described in the small plates, but those plates were apparently not well known in the large plate tradition. Mormon doesn't even know they exist until he stumbles over them. The clear reference to the Lehi/Nephi tree is absent in the rest of Mormon's text (of course we don't know what Mormon didn't tell us about the large plates). Alma has a discussion of the tree of life, but he appears to be referencing the Genesis tree, not the Lehi/Nephi tree.

So the Nephites certainly could have (and I suspect did) appropriate the Mesoamerican tree for their own theological purposes. The Book of Mormon emphasis is on the fruit, and that does show up in Mesoamerican contexts, but not very often. The Lehi/Nephi tree and Asherah as mother of the son of God certainly gives a conceptual connection to a tree as a birth conduit - but there are other connections that come to the same idea (the tree as spirit conduit). The Mesoamerican birth tree gives birth to a nation, not a deity, king, or savior.

While there are some similarities, if the purpose of discussing the Mesoamerican Tree of Life is to find some support for the Book of Mormon - it doesn't do it. The similarities are too generic to be causitive, and without any kind of causal link, the existence of the Mesoamerican tree does nothing for demonstrating the Book of Mormon's historicity.

I should note that on this point I disagree with John Clark, who has used the same illustration of a tree growing from the body cavity as a correlation to Alma's tree of life/faith.

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Brant,

While I generally agree with you. I disagree that Alma seems unaware of Nephi and Lehi's tree, and is solely talking about genesis' tree of life. In Alma 32 he practically (if not actually) directly quotes Nephi. In other places he shows knowledge of Jacob as well. There is no doubt to me that he refers to Nephi and Lehi's tree. I can write up the similarities if needs be.

And a vivid tale of a tree with white fruit is in the popol vuh.

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Brant,

While I generally agree with you. I disagree that Alma seems unaware of Nephi and Lehi's tree, and is talking about the tree of life. In Alma 32 he practically (if not actually) directly quotes Nephi. In other places he shows knowledge of Jacob as well. There is no doubt to me that he refers to Nephi and Lehi's tree. I can write up the similarities if needs be.

And a vivid tale of a tree with white fruit is in the popol vuh.

Warship!

It is good to have you here at FAIR. You have brought interesting knowledge to amatuers like myself and I am sure also for many lurkers who are looking for different ways of seeing critical writings. One thing that I have discovered since being on FAIR, is that nothing a critic may say, is what it appears to be. That there are other lds centered theories that can contradict the critic theory.

Write up those similarities for us amatuers and the lurkers. :P

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There is no doubt to me that he refers to Nephi and Lehi's tree. I can write up the similarities if needs be.

And a vivid tale of a tree with white fruit is in the popol vuh.

Alma 32 discusses a tree growing and producing fruit. The Lehi/Nephi tree is full grown. Of course they have fruit in common, but that is so easily explained by the fact that trees can have fruit that I can't see that as a direct reference. I am interested in your correspondences to Nephi and Jacob for entirely different reasons.

In the case of the tree, however, the only aspect of the Lehi/Nephi vision that Alma might possibly use is eating fruit. I do agree that the nature of eating the fruit follows the theology of the Lehi/Nephi tree rather than the typical eating-fruit=immortality that comes from most references. However, seeing a theological connection is quite different from a direct connection of imagery. There is nothing that Alma does with a tree that requires the Lehi/Nephi tree save eating the fruit as an example of spiritual fullness. I can give you that one - but can't see in that any connection to Mesoamerican trees.

Most Mesoamerican trees do not emphasize the fruit, but rather the concept of the tree as soul-conduit. The Mixteca are born from a tree and Pacal "falls" down the tree when he dies.

The Aztec tree was in the underword and had as "fruit" female breasts that fed infants who died. In the Popol Vuh, a head is "fruit" on the tree and comes to life (which can probably be traced to fruit seeds if you want to go naturalistic).

The correspondence of a white fruit is interesting, but less useful than it appears. The Old World used white for purity/cleanliness/righteousness. The New World follows the more Asian color symbolism that associates white with death. In the Popol Vuh you have a death/resurrection imagery that doesn't correspond to spiritual fulfillment of the Lehi/Nephi tree.

It is the visual correlation of finding two texts similar because they have similar words. They do have ways in which they appear similar, but that doesn't make them related in any meaningful way.

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Just out of curiosity Brant,

What are your views regarding BoM geography and the like?

I follow Sorenson - with an open mind to Poulsen right now. At the moment, I think they are the two most serious geographers. I don't have a problem with dithering between the two because they agree on the basic location of the Sidon/Zarahemla location. That is where most of the history takes place and serves as a center point from which I can compare Mesoamerican ethnohistory to the Book of Mormon. I think there is a lot of information about Mesoamerica that I see reflected in the Book of Mormon. However, I also see a lot of LDS speculators attempting to make too much out of both art and history that they don't necessarily handle very well. There are some very good reasons why professional archaeologists haven't been impressed with a lot of what LDS writers have presented.

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Brant,

I agree with you about the PV, I was noting the similarity. Its too bad the pro's are human and can't be right all the time either, many professionals have mishandled info and speculated as well and continue to do so (in reference to your post to Her Amun), I guess that is why so many faith based people don't trust the professionals...and there are good reasons why.

I remember phrases from Alma 32 were similar to the ones in this I Nephi chiasm I found and mapped out. I posted this chiasm on the board but it appears it got discombobulated when the new MB was installed, so I wonâ??t link to that thread here..

I Nephi 8:10-12

A. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.

B. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof;

C. and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before . tasted.

D. a. Yeah, and I beheld

b. that the fruit thereof was white,

D. b. to exceed all the whiteness

a. that I had ever seen.

C. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy;

B. wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also;

A. and I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

Compare to...

Alma 32:42

42] And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.

Look at chiasmus elements C and D for comparison with the bolded lines in Alma 32.

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

In this very same lecture by Alma he shows knowledge of Jacob. Compare both Alma tracts on top and bottom with the Jacob tract in the middle.

[37] And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.

[38] But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.

[39] Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.

[40] And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

Jacob 5

[5] And it came to pass that he pruned it, and digged about it, and nourished it according to his word.

[6] And it came to pass that after many days it began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches; but behold, the main top thereof began to perish.

[47] But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it, Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?

[59] And this I do that, perhaps, the roots thereof may take strength because of their goodness; and because of the change of the branches, that the good may overcome the evil.

[77] And when the time cometh that evil fruit shall again come into my vineyard, then will I cause the good and the bad to be gathered; and the good will I preserve unto myself, and the bad will I cast away into its own place. And then cometh the season and the end; and my vineyard will I cause to be burned with fire.

6:7

[7] For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit, that ye must be hewn down and cast into the fire?

Alma 5

[35] Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire --

[52] And again I say unto you, the Spirit saith: Behold, the ax is laid at the root of the tree; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire, yea, a fire which cannot be consumed, even an unquenchable fire. Behold, and remember, the Holy One hath spoken it.

[56] And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.

Other writers like Helaman and 3Nephi also echo this exact phrase â??cast into the fireâ?. So we can see Jacob is directly quoted while Alma and Lehi is paraphrased. Alma certainly shows awareness of the small plates.

This is why I espouse a tighter control. Exact phrases such as these show up spread out across the Bom. If JS were loosely translating the text then these exact phrases would not exist. I agree that the vocabulary and diction is the product of the 19th century but I cannot agree to a very loose translation. It does not have to be word for word, especially when there is no counterpart words in English, but the translation still had to be tightly controlled for these exact phrases of allusion, such as these, to survive in tact thru the translation process.

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Warship:

I find it ironic that your proof texts for similarities are the very same type of thing you suggest cannot be accurate when Uncle Dale proposes them. That is why this is such a flimsy methodology - it can too easily serve ideology.

In the first case, the similarity is more interesting, but we are dealing with some simple phrases that are just as likely to be due to the way Joseph Smith translated certain ideas that a textual reliance.

In the second set, the much better explanation is the external similarity to KJV language - which clearly influences the Book of Mormon in such clear ways that a dependence upon that vocabularly is much more likely that the intertextuality of the Book of Mormon.

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Brant,

1. We are not dealing with two different texts but one, and its internal consistencies....that is far different than my disagreements with U Dale.

2. I disagree that these are "simple" phrases. Can you find "white above all that is white" or "sweet above all that is sweet" associated with imagery of a tree with white fruit?? If you can I will eat my hat and agree with you. I don't think you could accomplish such a thing.

3. What else would you like besides precise subjects, ideas, and phrases as proof. I suspect nothing would ever bear your burden of proof unless you were the one suggesting it.

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Can you find "white above all that is white" or "sweet above all that is sweet" associated with imagery of a tree with white fruit?

No, nor do I think it is necessary. Note that you have two parallel phrases where only the noun is different. These are English phrases and all it takes is that a translator be familiar with the general construction and the particular nouns are easily substituted. To be interesting, the construction X above all that is X would have to be particularly unusual - and it isn't. The fact that it is repeated with different nouns suggests that it is not.

Next problem is that in order to be significant, you would have to find a way to separate Joseph Smith's English translation from the underlying text that was translated - and find that this particular construction was required by the text and not easily found as part of a translation. Good luck. As for finding them in the context of white fruit - that is irrelevant. The similarity is in the structures. The white fruit is unusual, but in Alma's context it is associated with pure - ergo the whiteness might be related to purity rather than the textual example. You don't know. Since nothing else of the dream-tree is retained, there is too little evidence to create a causative link.

Now, I do believe that the interpretation of the tree of life was modified in Nephite heritage away from Old World meanings into a new form that owed its theology to the Lehi/Nephi dream - but that doesn't mean that we have any textual references - only cultural shifts in how the tree is perceived (which is still different from the Mesomarican forms).

What else would you like besides precise subjects, ideas, and phrases as proof. I suspect nothing would ever bear your burden of proof unless you were the one suggesting it.

Hardly. I find a lot of authors' arguments convincing - as long as they have strong arguments. In the case of similarities in short phrases, I don't find arguments based on them particularly convincing - whether the methodology is used to support the Spalding theory or Book of Mormon intertextuality. Uncertain methods produce uncertain results. I find it fascinating that you believe that Uncle Dale is using a method that is somehow different from what you suppose, just because he discusses relations between two texts and you suggest that it is internal to one. The problem, of course, is that you are also dealing with two texts - Mormon's abridgement and Nephi's holograph. Same problem. The method can't be bad when he does it and good when you do.

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Brant,

I find it hard to believe that Alma was unaware of the small plates when he was in charge of keeping them. Maybe you can explain it to me.

Mosiah 28

[20] And now, as I said unto you, that after king Mosiah had done these things, he took the plates of brass, and all the things which he had kept, and conferred them upon Alma, who was the son of Alma; yea, all the records, and also the interpreters, and conferred them upon him, and commanded him that he should keep and preserve them, and also keep a record of the people, handing them down from one generation to another, even as they had been handed down from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem.

So Alma is quite aware of the records.

Alma is combining Jacob 5 with Lehiâ??s dream while giving it his own twist to create a new analogy, during which he alludes to both of his sources of inspiration. I donâ??t believe this is a cultural product but an Alma product, the product of a great spiritual man. I think doing that belittles Alma who is doing some great new work in harmoizing these themes into a poetic, insightful sermon while giving a fresh analogy that really carves its own path.

How could Lehiâ??s dream effect the culture if people, especially church authorities like Alma who had the record, were unaware of the text?

Now letâ??s again look at the similarities.

1.

First Lehi, Nephi, and Alma are all talking about the same treeâ?¦the tree of life.

1nephi11

[25] And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

Alma 32

[40] And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

2.

In both accounts it is the word of God that leads to the tree of life. This is important, they both identify the word of God as the way to eternal life. In Lehiâ??s dream the rod of iron represents the word of God. In Alma the seed represents the word of God. In Nephiâ??s analogy you must hold to the iron rod following its path to the fruit of the tree of life. In Almaâ??s analogy the word of God must be nourished in order to obtain the fruit of the tree of life.

1nephi8

[30] But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.

1nephi11

[25] And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life;

Alma32

[28] Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.

[39] Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.

[40] And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

[41] But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

As a side note to seed mentioned here, I thought this verse that comes right before Lehi's dream was interesting.

1nephi8

[1] And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind.

[2] And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision.

Its interesting he mentions seeds of fruits right beore going into Lehi's dream about a special fruit. I wonder if this also did not influence Alma and helped form the idea that would become Alma 32.

3.

Both their descriptions of the fruit and its qualities are the same, even to the point of Alma paraphrasing Lehi's unique imagery of the fruit..this is a perfect example of a text book example of an allusion. I donâ??t know how Alma is suppose to garner any info on white delicious fruit in Genesis. But it would be easily garnered from the small plates of Nephi that were in his possession. And to be sure this motif of white delicious fruit on the of tree life is a unique one.

1nephi 8

[11] And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.

Alma 32

[42] And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.

You suggested that â??above all thatâ? is a common a phrase and the same nouns in both places are merely coincidence as well. As a matter of fact â??above all thatâ? appears in only two verses in the entire BOM. Iâ??ll give you two guesses where they are found, above ofcourse.

As we can see they even use the same nouns. These two verses are talking about the same subject, eating the white fruit of the tree of life with the same description of the look and qualities, like taste, of that fruit. Alma is obviously paraphrasing Lehi at this point.

If you donâ??t believe me check hereâ?¦ http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/mormon/

Click on Simple Searches and type in â??above all thatâ? the above verses are the only places this phrase appears.

It is also worth noting Almaâ??s curious use of â??neither shall you thirstâ? here. It is far less curious when seen in conjuction with 1Nephi11:25â??s â??fountain of living waterâ? as the equivalent of the tree of life which can be seen in #1 above.

5.

Beyond the description of the fruit, Lehi talks of its desirability.

1nephi8

[10] And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.

[12] And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

[15] And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.

This is not lost on Nephi or Alma(or me for that matter).

1nephi11

[21] Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?

[22] And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.

Alma 32

[39] Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.

It is worth noting here that besides the above verses just listed there is only one other verse in the bom that utilizes the word desirable. It is used in connection to the word of God no less, a feature prevalent in these two analogies.

1nephi 5

[21] And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.

This makes me wonder of the purposefulness of the rod of iron being a symbol recognizable to Lehi as the word of God. I'm sure Lehi's mind was focused heavily on those plates during the period of this visionary dream as he had just recently taken possesion of them. Brass plates=word of God. Iron Rod=word of God. Brass plates=iron rod?

I have already gone over Jacobâ??s writing of tree cultivation in influencing Alma 32 and showed 8 word long word strings common between the two. I'm suprised that Alma quoting Jacob5 while delivering a sermon that talks about cultivation like Jacob5 is meaningless to you . I donâ??t have time to go into it in more depth now. I find it strange that you say the parallels rely more in the KJV bible when all the bible analogies that I know of about tree cultivation come from the New testament...and I know youre not suggesting they read the new testament before it was written an ocean away?

I have seen far too many instances of doctrine from different parts of the text, when combined, creating a much bigger, more complete picture to think this example any different.

All the basic elements that make up Alma 32 can be derived from Lehi's dream and Jacob 5. From the seed, to the cultivation, to the the consumption and nature of the fruit.

I know that you feel this threatens your theory of Mormon redacting (instead of abridging) all the bom aside from the small plates. Iâ??m sorry this keeps you from seeing the bigger picture here.

But I think you neednâ??t worry, you can reconcile this with your opinion. Afterall this is a direct quotation from Alma. Mormon need not be aware that Alma is alluding to the small plates (or aware of the small plates either) in order to quote Alma.

Ps. The popul vuh uses the terms black and white in relation to true and false which is more akin to pure and impure than the Aztec useage for death and life.

pps. The fact that they are both talking about the same tree gives us more than enough reason to then look for possible connections. If we then find quotations and exact ideas, which we do, than I think it is safe to say they are probably related. In the bible when an author is speaking on the same subject and uses exact phrases and paraphrases from a previous authorâ?¦I have never seen a scholar say that it must be doubted that the one knew of the other. It is quite readily accepted and upheldâ?¦so your level of proof requires that every instance found by scholars where an author in the bible alludes to any previous one is now suspect.

This is a text book case of allusion. Since you reject the normal way academia detects allusions such as quoting and paraphrasing and similar ideas and themes to make an indirect reference...I would like to know what would constitute evidence for an allusion in your mind?

PPPS. You said something about having to know the underlying text...all I need to know is that the underlying texts were similar enough for JS to use the same language when translating.

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I find it hard to believe that Alma was unaware of the small plates when he was in charge of keeping them. Maybe you can explain it to me.

There were two types of plates, the large plates of Nephi and the small plates of Nephi. The small plates are the source of 1 Nephi - Omni and they were a separate transmission line from the large plates. The large plates followed the line of political authority and were deemed the more official history. While Alma certainly might have read them, there is no clear evidence that the source of any reference to earlier events came from the small plates rather than the large. Nephi recorded on both - and we don't know quite what he put on the large plates.

We know that Mormon didn't know much about the small plates. Assuming that Alma did is guessing. Alma kept the large plates. Who knows what the position of the small plates was. They were last a factor two generations before Alma, and were not directly involved in the specific record Alma was supposed to take care of. I suspect that he had quite a bit to read to stay up on the large plates, which were already more numerous in the time of Nephi (which is why they where "large" to the other set's "small."

So Alma is quite aware of the records.

Of course. The large plates.

Alma is combining Jacob 5 with Lehiâ??s dream while giving it his own twist to create a new analogy, during which he alludes to both of his sources of inspiration.

That is the question. It is a viable theory, it simply doesn't have enough supporting evidence.

First Lehi, Nephi, and Alma are all talking about the same treeâ?¦the tree of life.

Not just because it is called a tree of life. The Tree of Life is certainly a biblical theme and the nature of that tree is pretty well known. There is no way that Nephi could have grown up in Jerusalem, understanding the ways of the Jews as he clearly says he did, and not understand the Hebrew Tree of Life. Nevertheless, he had to have an interpretation of his father's dream. Why? If he understood the symbolism why did he need an interpretation? Of course, there was something that he didn't understand. That is because the Lehi/Nephi dream of the Tree is similar but different. Nephi had to restructure his symbolic understanding of the tree of life.

That should tell us that just because a tree of life is called a tree of life doesn't mean that they are the same. Nephi's experience warns us that similarities may be outweighed by differences.

In both accounts it is the word of God that leads to the tree of life.

OK. In Nephi's dream, this leads to a fully grown tree. In Alma, it is a growing seed. There is a very big difference. The Nephi tree is never described as changing state or size, yet that is the critical symbolic meaning for Alma.

As we can see they even use the same nouns.

Then we should accept any comparison of texts based on the same nouns. Ergo, you accept Uncle Dale's conclusion that the Spalding MS is behind the Book of Mormon because of the same nouns. If not - and you don't seem to actually accept that hypothesis, why are his nouns not as good as your nouns?

All the basic elements that make up Alma 32 can be derived from Lehi's dream and Jacob 5. From the seed, to the cultivation, to the the consumption and nature of the fruit.

All the basic elements that make up Alma 32 can be derived from anyone who has had experience with any fruit bearing tree. In fact, nature provides not only a better base for Alma, it makes better sense in the context of the sermon. Alma was preaching to people of the land who were not scriptorians. If his discussion relied upon a text that they had never heard of, it wouldn't really mean much to them. However, people of the land were typically farmers (in the Bible or the Book of Mormon) and they certainly knew nature. Alma's listeners would understand everything in the sermon because they had experience with fruit-bearing trees. They didn't need (and likely didn't have) any reference to the Lehi/Nephi dream - yet they would have understood exactly what Alma was talking about because they had a different and more present reference to real growing trees.

I know that you feel this threatens your theory of Mormon redacting (instead of abridging) all the bom aside from the small plates. Iâ??m sorry this keeps you from seeing the bigger picture here.

I have no idea what you are talking about. There is nothing in the process Mormon used that prevented him from quoting his source text. He does it all the time and particularly when he is inserting sermons. That doesn't change his editorial selection of the material that is entered in to his own record. We see what we have because he chose it. We don't see what he decided to leave out. We have his picture of certain events because he describes them and doesn't quote from his sources. A rather obvious example is his treatment of King Noah. Mormon doesn't like Noah - and shifts from quoting Zeniff to describing Noah - and not in flattering terms. However, if he is using Noah's court records (which would have come with Limhi to Zarahemla) it is absolutely certain that those records described Noah in a much more positive light. Court historians just don't paint their boss black.

This is a text book case of allusion. Since you reject the normal way academia detects allusions such as quoting and paraphrasing and similar ideas and themes to make an indirect reference...I would like to know what would constitute evidence for an allusion in your mind?

I don't believe it is a textbook case of allusion, and not agreeing with you doesn't mean I disagree with the way academia detects allusions. I disagree with you. I agree that both texts talk about aspects of a tree. That similarity creates detectable correlations - but with trees, not texts. From that point, it is a question of how much vocabulary is required to create a connection. On that we disagree.

PPPS. You said something about having to know the underlying text...all I need to know is that the underlying texts were similar enough for JS to use the same language when translating.

Yes, that is the question. To answer it you have to have a comprehensive theory of how the text was translated. In your case, you are suggesting a very tight translation where the underlying text is faithfully represented in the English text such that similarities in the English vocabulary necessarily means a similarity in the underlying text vocabulary.

That is a theory. I can't support it with the evidence of the text and yes - I have looked. I can support the text as a translation, but not as one that faithfully replicates the ancient (and foreign) vocabulary.

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