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The Popol Vuh And The Bom


Warship

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This thread is largely due to a conversation U Dale and I were having about the Spaulding/Rigdon theory. A portion of the debate discussed textual parallels between the Oberlin Spaulding Manuscript and the BOM. I told Dale that similarities between any two texts could be foundâ?¦that is why compare/contrast papers were invented. As an example I offered up Lindsayâ??s Leaves of Grass parallels and that I could draw many parallels between the Popol Vuh and the BOM. So I decided to write this thread to list parallels much like a critic would draw parallels between the Spaulding MS and the BOM. My hope is that anyone who wishes to contribute parallels between the two texts will do so. Hopefully this thread will show the compatibility of the bom with Mesoamerican literature while demonstrating to U Dale that the Spaulding ms doesnâ??t hold exclusive rights to parallels with the BOM. Hopefully it might make a dent in the mantra of the uniqueness of the the Spaulding parallels more so than any others that could be foundâ?¦such as here. I will be heavily â??loading the diceâ? for effect as critics often do (I donâ??t mean U Daleâ?¦I just mean in general of the ones who fall far short your caliber).

If anyone is unfamiliar with the Popol Vuh I copied a brief description of it below.

>>It is believed that the Maya book of creation was first written in hieroglyphics. After the Spanish conquest of the Yucatan, indigenous people were persecuted and most Mayan books were burned. But the stories were passed along orally.

In 1558, a Maya transcribed the Popol Vuh into the Quiche language. Almost two centuries later, a priest, Father Francisco Ximenez, found the manuscript in his church in Chichicastenango, Guatemala and translated it into Spanish. For almost a century, the manuscript was lost. But it was rediscovered and

eventually the bark-paper folding book was transferred to the Newberry Library in Chicago, where it is today.

Like most ancient scriptures, one of the problems with the Popol Vuh is that the original text was difficult to understand. A handful of translations for adults have been published since the Popol Vuh was first made accessible to the public in the 1980s.

The validity of the Popol Vuh has long been in doubt. But in 1997 the discovery of a stone frieze inside a 1,500-year-old temple in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas bolstered the theory that the book was written by Indians who wanted to preserve the religious texts that had been passed down orally or through Mayan hieroglyphics.

The Popol Vuh is, indeed, the Sacred Book of the Quich

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This is very interesting and I am waiting for the comments of Uncle Dale. If all this is true, I am surprised that this is the first time that I am hearing of it. It seems like a great witness to the truthfulness to the Book of Mormon. But it also shows that many books can be compared and slandered because of a comparison that is not really a plagarized comparison at all. Thanks warship for posting this comparison.

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Just read on the Aztlan list.

Justin Kerr reports that a new translation of Popol Vuh on CD rom with pictures from the Original Manuscript will be coming out from BYU in the near future.

Anybody have any more info on this.

Larry P

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3. Common Phrases between Texts...

Ps. U Dale,

A couple of times I heard you mention that all the similarities of the Oberlin

MS being grouped in a tight section of the bom, that being end of Alma and

beginning of Helaman, was significant because of its concentration.

Similarly, most of the correlations in the PV to the BOM are concentrated in

a small portion of the text…PV II ch.14 thru PV IV ch.4.

That’s about 52 pages out of 182 in my copy of the Popul Vuh.

This is the part I find most interesting. There are obviously some fairly lengthy

word-strings common to both texts and we should ask ourselves why that might

be so. Since the English text of the Mayan book was not published until long after

the Book of Mormon was first printed in 1830, it is unlikely that the Mayan English

phraseology was what gave rise to its counterparts in the BoM. And, as Warship

has previously pointed out, it is unlikely that the Popol Vuh translatiors looked to

the BoM or to the Bible for any of their vocabulary and termonology.

I suppose that it might be argued that both the BoM and the Mayan book rely

upon ancient American traditions and language idioms -- that the Indian text

is actually Lamanite, and thus an offshoot of Nephite literature, etc. That is not

an explanation that will go very far, outside of LDS/RLDS circles.

Another explanation that might be offered, is that where the two texts speak

of similar ideas and similar events, they will naturally use similar vocabulary.

This is an explanation that has been used by some people to account for the

Spalding/BoM textual similarities as mere coincidences. The problem with such

an explanation being, that the more thematic resemblances we admit to, the

more the phraseology similarities appear to have a true common literary origin.

I would like to see the Popol Vuh chapters roughly charted out, so that we all

can quickly determine WHERE the common language occurs in that text -- and

the same for the BoM. Do these instances of similar language form identifiable

patterns of occurrence in the two texts, or are they distributed at random?

Next, I would like to see some instances of several phraseology parallels from

each text forming sequential patterns of common use for common

thematic purposes. Do these sorts of use patterns occurs in both texts?

For example, in the parallels I've previously demonstarted for the stormy

ocean crossings of Spalding's Romans and the BoMs Lehites, there are in

both texts a number of sequential plot elements expressed in common

word-strings, centered about the term "watery grave." Also, in my charting

out of Spalding/Bom commonalities, I have shown that the writers of the

two respective texts relate the use of metal among the ancient Americans,

in which coin-like monatary "pieces" are fabricated -- but that these

valuable metal pieces end up as providing a convenient way to bribe

judges and thus can be subversive of the society.

Perhaps some similar instances of common phraseology, used for a common

narrative, instructional or rhetorical purposes in both texts can be located

and charted out for us -- so that we can look for patterns of sequence and

patterns of concentration in both texts.

I will be very interested in keeping track of these similarities -- and in

keeping track of what readers speculate as to why they occur in both

texts at whatever level of intensity they are present there.

Interesting stuff,

Uncle Dale

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As I read the initial post, Warrior was telling Unca Dale that parallels can be found in unrelated documents and hence isn't a very reliable method.

As long as that is the intent, I don't have any complaint at all. If, however, we start reading the Popol Vuh and assuming that there is a real connection to something in the Book of Mormon we are skating on thin ice. An ineffective methodology isn't better if it is applied in ways you like.

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As I read the initial post, Warrior was telling Unca Dale that parallels can be found in unrelated documents and hence isn't a very reliable method.

As long as that is the intent, I don't have any complaint at all. If, however, we start reading the Popol Vuh and assuming that there is a real connection to something in the Book of Mormon we are skating on thin ice. An ineffective methodology isn't better if it is applied in ways you like.

That is why I felt it was important to steer the conversation away from the

notion that Mayan traditions are "Lamanite" and thus perhaps an offshoot

of a lost Nephite literature. If we go down that path, the discussion here will

soon devolve into a pro/con shouting match over whether the Indians are

Lamanites or not.

Therefore, I'm hoping that the discussion will center around the idea that

books that present common thematic elements will just naturally contain

common phraseology. That is a premise that can be discussed without all

of the pro/anti hostilities -- I would hope.

UD

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I still think that if all that has been said is true in the Popol Vuh and the Book of Mormon, it has quite an importance for all of us. It is not easy to explain this away very easily. We need to remember that if JS did not write the BofM and neither did good ol' Sidney, and if the book of mormon is was it claims to be, well, this can be quite significant. There is no way that sidney nor Joseph could have known about the Popol Vuh.

If the book of mormon was written by an ordinary man or men, he or they came on quite a coincidence.

But it does put a kink in Uncle Dale's theory.

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Brant,

While I wrote the post partly in fun, I don't think it is unreasonable to compare these texts for legitimate correlations. I am certainly not alone in suggesting this, the people at farms agree there should be more study in comparing these texts.

http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=insights&id=145

The central focus of the histories of both the K'iche' and the Nephite/Lamanite people was the appearance of a glorious man whose birth and appearance in the sky are associated with a great light, as brilliant as the sun, that dispels the darkness. Moreover, the death of a god associated with a cross-shaped tree of life was a powerful motif in Mesoamerican theology. In the Popol Vuh, the god One Hunahpu descended into the underworld, where he was sacrificed by the lords of death and hung in a dead gourd tree, which immediately sprang to life and bore a white fruit said to be "truly delicious."3

Interesting echoes such as these invite closer examination.

I have seen you frequently cite parallels between Aztec and Nephite culture when the Aztec culture is far farther removed from Nephite culture than that of the Quiche Mayans. I see no reason why such comparisons to the Aztcs be any more valid than those to the Quiche Mayans.

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I still think that if all that has been said is true in the Popol Vuh and the Book of Mormon, it has quite an importance for all of us. It is not easy to explain this away very easily. We need to remember that if JS did not write the BofM and neither did good ol' Sidney, and if the book of mormon is was it claims to be, well, this can be quite significant. There is no way that sidney nor Joseph could have known about the Popol Vuh.

If the book of mormon was written by an ordinary man or men, he or they came on quite a coincidence.

But it does put a kink in Uncle Dale's theory.

I see nothing kinky here -- but I do see a very worthy topic for further

exploration. I am particularly curious to see whether the textual parallels,

when charted out in the BoM books and chapters, form any noticeable

patterns. And, if that does occur, what shall be attribute the patterns to?

In the BoM and Spalding's one extant MS, for example, we can compare

the narrative of single combat between opposing ancient American leaders.

We can compare their battlefield context, their weaponry and technology,

their strategy, their dialog, etc. We can look into the two respective texts

to see how those single combat accounts are similar and different. Does

Spalding depict a slain leader gasping for breath with his head cut off? or

does the BoM depict a fighter in single combat who slips and falls down?

I guess not, in both cases; but what about the Mayan book? Let's look.

My articulation of the Spalding-Rigdon authorship claims does not stand

or fall upon peoples' impressions regarding expectable levels of textual

similarity in various books. That is one, secondary element of my studies.

I put so much time into that aspect of my investiagtion because my RLDS

superiors instructed me that Spalding and the BoM were in no way alike.

Nobody here seems to be echoing that tired old posturing -- and I'm happy

over that much "progress" at least.

So ----- let's clean up that mess of distracting underlinings and get to

work comparing these two texts. I'm excited!

Edit: the underlinings have now been cleaned up.

UD

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U Dale,

I echo your sentiments for exploring these texts. I'll have more response to you later. I'm about to be busy for the next few hours.

Larry P,

The only info on it that I know of is here

http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=insights&id=138

Why Me,

I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I also don't know why more treatments on this subject have not been written. The best one I' ve seen is in the book I mentioned before. Brant has mentioned the book is a little antiquated but the comparisons to the Pv are still worth reading.

Truth,

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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Im currently reading the PV.

Lets not forget & Macaw's ripping off Hunahpu's arm and bringing it back home as a trophy of his victory.

Let us not also forget that part of the PPV describes the founders of a lineage migrating from one place to another, naming mountains as they went along, carrying with them the writings of Tulan and Zayuya, along with a specific set of objects that represented lordship.

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Im currently reading the PV.

Lets not forget & Macaw's ripping off Hunahpu's arm and bringing it back home as a trophy of his victory.

Let us not also forget that part of the PPV describes the founders of a lineage migrating from one place to another, naming mountains as they went along, carrying with them the writings of Tulan and Zayuya, along with a specific set of objects that represented lordship.

I would be curious to know if any of the Mayan details ever ended up being summarized in the

1804 English translation of the Mexican friar Francesco Clavigero's History of Mexico... ???

I've placed a few excerpts here:

http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1804Clav.htm

and elsewhere on the web, but have not checked the 1804 text for parallels.

Uncle Dale

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I would be curious to know if any of the Mayan details ever ended up being summarized in the

1804 English translation of the Mexican friar Francesco Clavigero's History of Mexico... ???

I've placed a few excerpts here:

http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1804Clav.htm

and elsewhere on the web, but have not checked the 1804 text for parallels.

Uncle Dale

You know, if the makers of Olivers book shelf are right, then Joseph was the first googler. :P:unsure:<_<

If he did take things from this book, why didnt he just call the Nephites and Lamanites, Cachiquel and Otomi?

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Heres the history of the Popul Huh text

Thanks for the link -- I've been poking about just a little in my own resources also.

Here's an interesting report:

Cabrera's Teatro Critico Americano c. 1796 -- translated into English in 1822

http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1822DRio.htm#part2a

Too late to have been a Spalding source, but the antique resources that Cabrera cites

really look amazing to me. What do you think? Any thoughts about Votan?

UD

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u Dale,

I found this on the same site.

1829 - June Joseph Smith registers his copyright to the Book of Mormon at Utica, New York. Although Smith may have heard some vague reports concerning Mayan ruins and artifacts, it is improbable that he ever saw the 1822 publication of del Rio's report and Cabrera's comments.

Votan is just Mayan Folklore...I'm not sure what connection with Votan you mean?

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u Dale,

I found this on the same site.

1829 - June Joseph Smith registers his copyright to the Book of Mormon at Utica,

New York. Although Smith may have heard some vague reports concerning

Mayan ruins and artifacts, it is improbable that he ever saw the 1822 publication

of del Rio's report and Cabrera's comments.

Votan is just Mayan Folklore...I'm not sure what connection with Votan you mean?

The 1822 del Rio report and the Cabrera paper were only published in London

and it would have been quite a miracle for a copy to have ever ended up in the

hands of JS. Del Rio was cited in Yates' 1824 History of New York though -- see

Vogel's compilation of sources on the Indians as well as excerpts from Yates

at my Cowdery site.

Even though the 1822 del Rio report was a news item in western New York

newspapers that same year, I doubt that any people in that area had access

to its details until the first volume of Yates' history came out. Since I am not

too keen on the JS-as-author theory, I do not put much stock in the possibility

that JS read Yates. What Rigdon may have read then, I'm not sure. Rigdon's

brother Loammi Rigdon attended Transylvania University in Kentucky at the

same time that Conrad Rafinesque was teaching there -- and Rafinesque had

a London edition of del Rio and Cabrera -- but I do not fathom how any of

that stuff could have reached Sidney (except for some excerpts in the local

newspapers, which Loammi might possibility have sent home to the family near

Pittsburgh, when Sidney was living in that area).

As for Votan, I think THAT legend was rather better known than the accounts

regarding Palenque. As I recall Clavigero re-told the story, and I think that

Spalding had access to that much of the legend, at least. Whether or not

Spalding had access to the speculation that Votan came from the Middle East

via the Gadianton area of southern Spain, I know not. Robert Southey seems

to have had that stuff available to him, and I think Spalding read and copied

Southey's Madoc -- Mormon writers have compared and contrasted Votan

with the brother of Jared.

But all of that is getting rather far afield from your posting topic.

I just wished to show that some legends from MesoAmerican Indian cultures

were reaching Europe and America, via Clavigero, Von Humboldt, Cabrera,

Rafinesque, etc. during the pre-1830 period.

UD

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u Dale,

I found this on the same site.

Votan is just Mayan Folklore...I'm not sure what connection with Votan you mean?

The key words are may and improbable. When we look into a past life, we can always detect a lot of 'may's' in someone's life. The word 'may' can create doubt but it is also a fact that when we die and if someone writes about our own lives, many 'may's' can fill the story. The word 'may' can be a great speculative hole filler, likewise for the word 'might'.

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The key words are may and improbable. When we look into a past life, we can always detect a lot of may's in someone's life. The word 'may' can create doubt but it is also a fact that when we die and if someone writes about our own lives, many 'may's' can fill the story. The word 'may' can be a great speculative hole filler.

Unfortunately, in the church where I previously had my membership, we were

very strongly discouraged from using any "mays" when speaking of the origins

of Mormon secret polygamy (or of the BoM "maybe" having any literary relationship

to any other books).

That prohibition on "mays" did not contribute much to my good will and sense

of loyality there -- and especially not, when I was strongly advised NOT to look

any further into any "maybes" concerning Spalding, Rigdon. etc.

So, I was a good boy -- I desposed of all my research material (to the UofU Library)

and went off upon a ten-year overseas mission. But even THAT did not calm my

penchent for citings "maybes" and I was continually driven closer and closer to

the outer edge of that covenant community -- just by my saying "may" and "maybe."

Although Mormons won't admit it, many of them are actually more open-minded

about the details of the Latter Day Saint religion and past history than are RLDS.

Or, at least my continued good treatment here at the FAIR MB has re-awakened

my old "mays" and "maybes" and I can FINALLY speak freely about them.

d'Unk

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U Dale,

I was just going to edit and mention its publication in London but I saw you beat me too it.

Von Humboldt..yes. It is true that scant info and tales or legends may have been circulating...but there were very few sources for info. Lord Kingsborough would not publish his later volumes with the best information to date until after 1830.

I read some of the Von Humbolt material a couple years ago...lots of stuff on fauna and a land bridge from asia is what I remember. Although I do remember he mentioned ancient ruins, I think. This would make some preliminary evidence of possible civilizations around "the narrow neck of the land" possibly available. There was a lot of specific evidence that JS or Rigdon could have used to place the setting of the bom in Mesoamerica, but none of that info was used. And if I remember Von Humbolt's work was kind of obscure. At least I don't think it was published near JS like View of hebrews was. My point is I don't know how accesible VH work was to JS or Rigdon.

I saw Gadianton mentioned in one of the links you posted and thought it an oddity. But there is a Mayan city named Lamanai that began around 500 bc. Coincidences happen. I wrote a brief poll about this city....

http://www.fairboards.org/index.php?showto...p;p=entry

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Unfortunately, in the church where I previously had my membership, we were

very strongly discouraged from using any "mays" when speaking of the origins

of Mormon secret polygamy (or of the BoM "maybe" having any literary relationship

to any other books).

That prohibition on "mays" did not contribute much to my good will and sense

of loyality there -- and especially not, when I was strongly advised NOT to look

any further into any "maybes" concerning Spalding, Rigdon. etc.

So, I was a good boy -- I desposed of all my research material (to the UofU Library)

and went off upon a ten-year overseas mission. But even THAT did not calm my

penchent for citings "maybes" and I was continually driven closer and closer to

the outer edge of that covenant community -- just by my saying "may" and "maybe."

Although Mormons won't admit it, many of them are actually more open-minded

about the details of the Latter Day Saint religion and past history than are RLDS.

Or, at least my continued good treatment here at the FAIR MB has re-awakened

my old "mays" and "maybes" and I can FINALLY speak freely about them.

d'Unk

Well, uncle, the problem with 'may' is that there can be a 'may not' also tied along with it. It is just that we do not use the words 'may not' so often when trying to prove a point that we may have. The same with the word 'might'. The word 'might' may also have the words 'might not' tied to it. The word 'may' or 'might' does not prove who made the porridge. But it can lead to more speculatory searches to try to prove who made it with the eventuality of finding that person. But then again, it might not happen at all. Such is a life with 'mays' and 'mights'. What to do??

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Im currently reading the PV. Lets not forget & Macaw's ripping off Hunahpu's arm and bringing it back home as a trophy of his victory.

Beowulf made it to Mexico?

USU "Dang, them Vikings was tough" 78

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if I remember Von Humbolt's work was kind of obscure...

Yes and no -- the average country farm-boy would not have known much, if anything

about the guy and his reporting of ancient Latin American legends, etc. However,

that same farm-boy's school teacher, or home town newspaper editor, or local

ordained preacher probably knew of that multi-volume reporting by the 1820s.

The guy published the first widely-distributed illustration of Mayan art in Europe:

maya0.gif

However, we are again straying from your topic, and I want to start looking at PV

overlap with the BoM. Would you mind re-posting what you feel are the half dozen

or so most striking phraseology parallels -- we can digest this stuff a little at a time.

UD

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