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Olavarria

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Here are some things, that I think are relevant when talking about Lehi's trail. They are taken from Kent Brown's paper: "New Light from Arabia on Lehi's Trail" from Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon and Journey of Faith

Because I don't feel like typing so much, I will only describe what is written instead of cut and pasting.

1) The libraries that Joseph Smith could have visited during his New England years are :Dartmouth College in Hanover , New Hampshire which was close to where the Smiths lived when Joseph was between the ages of 5-7 years old, and John H. Pratt's Manchester lending library, near Palmyra where Joseph spent his teenage years from 1816 on up.

2) Contemporary maps that deal with the Nehem tribal area do not appear in those libraries during the times that Joseph lived near their vicinities.

3) It took 10,000 Roman soldiers 6 months to venture down the west side of Arabia, from Luece Come(probably modern Aynunah) to the city of Marisaba(perhaps ancient Marib). It took roughly the same time for Lehi's people to travel from "the valley of Lemuel'(Wadi Tayyib al ism) to Nahom(the Nehem tribal area).

We know this because shortly after Ishmael's buriel the birth of the first children are mentioned, marrieges occuring in the Valley of Lemuel. The roman army lost soldiers due to unhealthy water and food; the Lehites lost Ishmael and complaned of starving in the wilderness.

4) Nahom.......Nehem, comes from the south arabic Nahama, to cut stone. The Nehem tribal area existed during the time of Lehi, were it exists today as revealed by the Marib temple alter inscriptions. In other owrds, NHM was the right name, in the right place, at the right time.

5) After the Lehites stay at Nahom, "they did travel nearly eastward from that time forth". Such a path from Nehem will lead you to the Dofar Region of Oman. Satelite imagery from this region shows that it is a little sliver of green on the east coast of the Arabian peninsula. The region contains:lush, green vegetation, fruit, honey, timbers and ever so small ore deposits.

6) The Dhofar region also has an ancient ship building tradition, dating to as far back as 500BCE.

Gosh, that Joe Smith is one lucky guesser, him and that dern gold bible. :P

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I think it's obvious that even if there was access to libraries for Joseph he clearly didn't use them. The NHM argument illustrates an important point. Why does the BOM get almost everything wrong about the new world and the Old World? By coincidence I would expect to see dozens more "hits" but there are none. The text is riddled with misdirection, time, travel, geography problems. It wouldn't be a big stretch to say that the BOM completely misrepresents the flora, fauna, and topography of the lands proposed by the Limited Geography Theory. If Joseph had access to a library they needed to confiscate his library card because his batting average would be .000001%.

Look at Vern Holley's Book of Mormon place names and then compare that to NHM. Or even the random coincidence of the city Moroni on the Comoros Island. Both blow the NHM "evidence" out of the water by a factor of untold multiples. Do this, choose a random friend of yours and ask them to look at the Vern Holley place name evidence and the NHM evidence and see which one is more convincing.

Phaedrus

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Here's some links to prior discussions about and other useful links relating to this issue:

Nahom and the "Eastward" Turn (JBMS article)

New Light: "The Place That Was Called Nahom": New Light from Ancient Yemen (JBMS article)

Newly Found Altars from Nahom (JBMS article)

The Arabian Bountiful Discovered? Evidence for Nephi's Bountiful (JBMS article)

FYI, NHM on a map (FAIR thread)

Probability and NHM (FAIR thread)

Nahom (FAIR thread)

Verification of NHM Altar (ZLMB article)

Nahom/Nihm..Rama/Ramah...Powerful Evidence? (ZLMB thread)

A bit more on Nahom (ZLMB thread)

BoM Historicity - Joseph Smith's library (ZLMB thread)

Even More Evidence for the Ancient Place Nahom (Jeff Lindsay)

Bountiful and Nahom in the Arabian Peninsula (Jeff Lindsay)

On NAHOM / NHM (S. Kent Brown article)

Niebuhr Response (S. Kent Brown article)

The Place which was called Nahom (Personal website)

Have fun.

-Smac

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Is the similarities here- http://www.mazeministry.com/mormonism/holley/holleymaps.htm a coincedence? The City of Ramah, Angola, and Oneida approximately where they would be in the Book of Mormon relative to the narrow strip of land. I admit that I find the NHM thing to be good evidence and quite impressive but I am simply pointing out that I don't think that it is strong enough to not be potentially attributed to coincidence(since I think the New York area map similarities to BoM geography is probably a coincedence). I am hopeful for more information to come to light and I would like to buy the DVD about the Nephi project(if it weren't so darn expensive and if I weren't on a student budget). I guess anyone is free to point out the problems on the Holley map-though this isn't meant to be a 'promotion' of his theory. I did look up Rama, Angola, and Oneida on Mapquest and the Holley map does show the approximate correct spot for the modern day cities, and in the Book of Mormon Ramah is north of the narrow strip, Angola is south of it, and the hill Onidah is also southeast of it from what I was able to get from a 'pro-Mormon' site(I wasn't up to doing the full textual research myself-sorry).

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1) The libraries that Joseph Smith could have visited during his New England years are :Dartmouth College in Hanover , New Hampshire which was close to where the Smiths lived when Joseph was between the ages of 5-7 years old, and John H. Pratt's Manchester lending library, near Palmyra where Joseph spent his teenage years from 1816 on up.

You forgot the super-secret Joseph Smith Frontier Library

Sheesh, we all know Joseph Smith was a super bookworm.

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I think it's obvious that even if there was access to libraries for Joseph he clearly didn't use them. The NHM argument illustrates an important point. Why does the BOM get almost everything wrong about the new world and the Old World? By coincidence I would expect to see dozens more "hits" but there are none. The text is riddled with misdirection, time, travel, geography problems. It wouldn't be a big stretch to say that the BOM completely misrepresents the flora, fauna, and topography of the lands proposed by the Limited Geography Theory. If Joseph had access to a library they needed to confiscate his library card because his batting average would be .000001%.

Look at Vern Holley's Book of Mormon place names and then compare that to NHM. Or even the random coincidence of the city Moroni on the Comoros Island. Both blow the NHM "evidence" out of the water by a factor of untold multiples. Do this, choose a random friend of yours and ask them to look at the Vern Holley place name evidence and the NHM evidence and see which one is more convincing.

Phaedrus

I wonder when someone is going to actually address the evidence instead of asking us to examine a completely different topic, as if examining it will suddenly change the name of NHM.

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I wonder when someone is going to actually address the evidence instead of asking us to examine a completely different topic, as if examining it will suddenly change the name of NHM.

The altar reads "Bi'athar, son of Sawad, son of Naw'an, the Nihmite, has consecrated to Almaqah Fari'at" Nihmite is assumed to be a tribal name from the root NHM. It wasn't called Nahom. It was likely called Nihm or Nehem(see Kent Brown JBMS 8:1).

Just the existence of the name NHM in South Arabia does not rise to the level of evidence. Is NHM the name of a location or just a tribal name? Is NHM Nahom? Or is it Nuhum or Niham or Nohm. Since the place is known to the people as Nihm are we to assume is was different anciently? Remember the name on the altar refers to a tribe and has the possibility of also being a place name. How likely are a people to forget how to pronounce their own tribal name?

Would Joseph Smith translate NHM "nun chet mem" as Nahom? Chet is pronounced in Hebrew with a "k" sound. So Nahom would probably sound something like Nachom. Since translation assumes a Hebrew name written in reformed Egyptian on the plates and then translated to English wouldn't you expect the translator to try to match the sound of the name not a close spelling?

Another option for Nahom is that the author likes "om" names. Such as:

Jarom, Abinadom, Ezrom, Rameumptom, Shilom, Sidon, Corom, Cumom, Curelom, Jacom, Shiblom, Hearthom, Ablom, Com, Esrom, Gadiomnah.

It's the same with "um" names and "em" names. There's lots and lots of em!

The problem with these suffixes is there isn't really suitable etymologies in Near Eastern languages to match these names. Any examiner of ancient records would expect that naming conventions would match the specific details of the specific historical period. Not be strange repitition and completely out of place.

However, the persistence things like "om", "um", "em" names is really good evidence. These out of place suffixes are evidence that the names are the creation of a common author. A modern mind would fail to use names from antiquity. A single author could easily fall into repitition.

Phaedrus

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Just the existence of the name NHM in South Arabia [in the right location at the right time and in the right relationship to a marvelously suitable location for Old World Bountiful] does not rise to the level of evidence.
It sure fooled me.
Is NHM the name of a location or just a tribal name?
Are you certain, in a nomadic environment like the Arabian Peninsula, that the two are necessarily (and were anciently) mutually exclusive?
Is NHM Nahom? Or is it Nuhum or Niham or Nohm.
It could have been any of those, and would still retain considerable evidentiary value, in my judgment.

We're talking about a twenty-six-century-old South Arabian toponym, heard by traveling Hebrews, that was recorded, most likely, in a demotic Egyptian script (probably several decades after leaving the area), and that was then transliterated into Roman letters.

Since the place is known to the people as Nihm are we to assume is was different anciently?
With the passage of 2600 years, and given the shift from the South Arabian language current in the area in 600 BC to Arabic proper (a quite distinct Semitic language whose oldest written texts date from fully a thousand years after Lehi), I would be absolutely astonished if it were not different anciently.
Remember the name on the altar refers to a tribe and has the possibility of also being a place name. How likely are a people to forget how to pronounce their own tribal name?
With the passage of twenty-six centuries, or roughly 100 generations, and in view of the massive cultural and linguistic shift that occurred with the spread of Arabic and the rise of Islam, it is very likely indeed that pronunciation of the name would change.

There are even variations between classical Arabic and the various local vernaculars, including variations in the pronunciation of toponyms. The pyramids of Egypt, for example, stand on the outskirts of Giza. But that's Cairene-dialect Arabic. In the dialect of Luxor and the Egyptian Saâ??id, and in the classical language, the pyramids stand on the outskirts of Jiza. Jerusalem is called al-Quds in modern standard Arabic, but al-â??uds in colloquial Palestinian.

Would Joseph Smith translate NHM "nun chet mem" as Nahom?
Very possibly. Anyway, what makes you think that there was a chet on the plates? I can think of no reason to believe that. And what is the relevance of the Hebrew chet to an Old South Arabian consonant? Arabic has two "H"-like letters. Both of them would properly be transliterated with a Roman "H."
Chet is pronounced in Hebrew with a "k" sound.
That's a bit misleading. Hebrew kaf is pronounced like a "K." Chet is a very strong "H" that comes very close to the "CH" in German ach. But the Arabic "H"-letters are considerably closer to English "H." (In fact, one is really indistinguishable from it.)
So Nahom would probably sound something like Nachom.
How do you know that?
Since translation assumes a Hebrew name written in reformed Egyptian on the plates and then translated to English wouldn't you expect the translator to try to match the sound of the name not a close spelling?
What makes you think that a Hebrew place name was somehow sitting there in the southeast Arabian Peninsula in 600 BC?

Semitic, yes. But Hebrew?

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:P Yeah, Phaedrus! Way to engage that evidence!

To both Dan and Phaedrus, I would like to remind you that Joseph Smith didn't really translate characters written on ancient plates. He dictated the word "Nahom", supposedly as it appeared in the stone he was viewing in a darkened hat. Because of that, I don't think we can be tied to the logic of "a twenty-six-century-old South Arabian toponym, heard by traveling Hebrews, that was recorded, most likely, in a demotic Egyptian script (probably several decades after leaving the area), and that was then transliterated into Roman letters."

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The altar reads "Bi'athar, son of Sawad, son of Naw'an, the Nihmite, has consecrated to Almaqah Fari'at" Nihmite is assumed to be a tribal name from the root NHM. It wasn't called Nahom. It was likely called Nihm or Nehem(see Kent Brown JBMS 8:1).

The vowels are immaterial. How many years will pass before people stop insisting that modern transliterations of long dead Semitic languages pretend to accurately represent the vowels?

Nehem is a place name, according to an 1818 map of Arabia. Here it is:

http://www.geographicus.com/Merchant2/merc...-pinkerton-1818

You can click on it an zoom in. Just down and to the left of the "M" in YEMEN you'll see Nehem. Just to make sure you don't insist it is not a place name, but a tribal name, look down and to the left of the second "E" in YEMEN and you'll find the Dobean Tribe. No assumption necessary anymore.

Just the existence of the name NHM in South Arabia does not rise to the level of evidence.

True, but this is not what we presented. We presented the name NHM, which corresponds to the time of Nephi's journey, the path of the journey, and the existence of a very large burial ground there corresponds perfectly to the context in which the place is mentioned. This is evidence.

Is NHM the name of a location or just a tribal name?

Both.

Is NHM Nahom? Or is it Nuhum or Niham or Nohm. Since the place is known to the people as Nihm are we to assume is was different anciently? Remember the name on the altar refers to a tribe and has the possibility of also being a place name. How likely are a people to forget how to pronounce their own tribal name?

Considering they use an entirely different language, and the previous died completely, I'd say pretty high. If you like I can point out a dozen place names that we have forgotten how to pronounce in English. Pronunciation (even in the same language) changes drastically over time.

I could call it Nahom and there is not a person on this planet that could tell me it was not pronounced that way anciently. The vowels are pretty much arbitrary at this point.

Would Joseph Smith translate NHM "nun chet mem" as Nahom? Chet is pronounced in Hebrew with a "k" sound. So Nahom would probably sound something like Nachom. Since translation assumes a Hebrew name written in reformed Egyptian on the plates and then translated to English wouldn't you expect the translator to try to match the sound of the name not a close spelling?

Well, the original name passed through the hands of Nephi and Mormon (and two languages!) before it ever got to Joseph Smith, so variant pronunciation or spelling is highly likely.

Another option for Nahom is that the author likes "om" names. Such as:

Jarom, Abinadom, Ezrom, Rameumptom, Shilom, Sidon, Corom, Cumom, Curelom, Jacom, Shiblom, Hearthom, Ablom, Com, Esrom, Gadiomnah.

It's the same with "um" names and "em" names. There's lots and lots of em!

We can start a thread to discuss the feasability of these names if you would like.

The problem with these suffixes is there isn't really suitable etymologies in Near Eastern languages to match these names. Any examiner of ancient records would expect that naming conventions would match the specific details of the specific historical period. Not be strange repitition and completely out of place.

However, the persistence things like "om", "um", "em" names is really good evidence. These out of place suffixes are evidence that the names are the creation of a common author. A modern mind would fail to use names from antiquity. A single author could easily fall into repitition.

You're chasing another issue (which we can discuss in another thread, if you like). Let's stick with the applicability of NHM.

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:P Yeah, Phaedrus! Way to engage that evidence!

To both Dan and Phaedrus, I would like to remind you that Joseph Smith didn't really translate characters written on ancient plates. He dictated the word "Nahom", supposedly as it appeared in the stone he was viewing in a darkened hat. Because of that, I don't think we can be tied to the logic of "a twenty-six-century-old South Arabian toponym, heard by traveling Hebrews, that was recorded, most likely, in a demotic Egyptian script (probably several decades after leaving the area), and that was then transliterated into Roman letters."

Why not? Nephi was not under the influence of revelation or inspiration when he heard the name. He was not given revelation on how to spell it when he recorded it. His script was not magically altered to represent a transcendant representation of the word. He was not given revelation when he remembered the name. God (whether directly from Nephi's text, or from his own understanding) did transliterate it into Roman letters. These things in no way, shape, or form make Joseph's Smith's style of translation an issue.

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To both Dan and Phaedrus, I would like to remind you that Joseph Smith didn't really translate characters written on ancient plates. He dictated the word "Nahom", supposedly as it appeared in the stone he was viewing in a darkened hat. Because of that, I don't think we can be tied to the logic of "a twenty-six-century-old South Arabian toponym, heard by traveling Hebrews, that was recorded, most likely, in a demotic Egyptian script (probably several decades after leaving the area), and that was then transliterated into Roman letters."

Why not?

Are you engaging in transparently circular begging of the question, or have I missed something?

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To both Dan and Phaedrus, I would like to remind you that Joseph Smith didn't really translate characters written on ancient plates. He dictated the word "Nahom", supposedly as it appeared in the stone he was viewing in a darkened hat. Because of that, I don't think we can be tied to the logic of "a twenty-six-century-old South Arabian toponym, heard by traveling Hebrews, that was recorded, most likely, in a demotic Egyptian script (probably several decades after leaving the area), and that was then transliterated into Roman letters."

Why not?

Are you engaging in transparently circular begging of the question, or have I missed something?

We only know the last phrase is true: "transliterated into Roman characters." Other than that, you are just assuming what was written on the plates.

What question do you think I am begging?

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To both Dan and Phaedrus, I would like to remind you that Joseph Smith didn't really translate characters written on ancient plates. He dictated the word "Nahom", supposedly as it appeared in the stone he was viewing in a darkened hat. Because of that, I don't think we can be tied to the logic of "a twenty-six-century-old South Arabian toponym, heard by traveling Hebrews, that was recorded, most likely, in a demotic Egyptian script (probably several decades after leaving the area), and that was then transliterated into Roman letters."

Why not?

Are you engaging in transparently circular begging of the question, or have I missed something?

We only know the last phrase is true: "transliterated into Roman characters." Other than that, you are just assuming what was written on the plates.

What question do you think I am begging?

I think you're begging the question of the antiquity of the Book of Mormon by, it seems, refusing to entertain that antiquity even as a hypothesis to be assumed while testing one of the book's claims.

But then, I expect that I know already what your verdict will be: It's just coincidence.

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What question do you think I am begging?

I think you're begging the question of the antiquity of the Book of Mormon by, it seems, refusing to entertain that antiquity even as a hypothesis to be assumed while testing one of the book's claims.

Not really, no. The book may or may not represent actual events from antiquity. Whatever a person's respective position may be on that issue, it begs the question when you construes the production of the Book of Mormon as more than Joseph's dictation. We should consistently portray the process as a black box and not try to elevate our case by fabricating a series of textual transmogrifications. It's a hard habit to break... I slip into it myself sometimes.

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What question do you think I am begging?

I think you're begging the question of the antiquity of the Book of Mormon by, it seems, refusing to entertain that antiquity even as a hypothesis to be assumed while testing one of the book's claims.

Not really, no. The book may or may not represent actual events from antiquity. Whatever a person's respective position may be on that issue, it begs the question when you construes the production of the Book of Mormon as more than Joseph's dictation. We should consistently portray the process as a black box and not try to elevate our case by fabricating a series of textual transmogrifications. It's a hard habit to break... I slip into it myself sometimes.

So you'll stop shooting down premises by saying since it never really happened it's irrelevant?

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Maklelan:

Speculating about why a particular passage is translated the way it is is perfectly pointless. It involves multiple assumptions about a revelatory translation process which I daresay no one participating on this board has experienced. It requires us to read not only the mind of Joseph Smith, but the mind of God.
If I were forced to speculate as to why that particular translation was made, I might suggest that God knew it would evetually be recognized as a Hebraism, and did it to annoy anti-Mormons.

http://www.fairboards.org/index.php?s=&amp...mp;p=1208013024

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What question do you think I am begging?

I think you're begging the question of the antiquity of the Book of Mormon by, it seems, refusing to entertain that antiquity even as a hypothesis to be assumed while testing one of the book's claims.

Not really, no. The book may or may not represent actual events from antiquity. Whatever a person's respective position may be on that issue, it begs the question when you construes the production of the Book of Mormon as more than Joseph's dictation. We should consistently portray the process as a black box and not try to elevate our case by fabricating a series of textual transmogrifications. It's a hard habit to break... I slip into it myself sometimes.

Sorry. That strikes me as methodologically bogus.

The book claims to be a translation of an ancient text with roots in the Near East. The NHM find is, arguably, an authentic bit of ancient Near Eastern data that relates, in a striking way, to the contents of the Book of Mormon. To pretend that ancient Semitic philology is irrelevant to evaluating this potential bit of evidence is, in my view, manifestly silly -- though, candidly, I can readily understand why someone innocent of the relevant languages might want to argue their irrelevance.

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What question do you think I am begging?

I think you're begging the question of the antiquity of the Book of Mormon by, it seems, refusing to entertain that antiquity even as a hypothesis to be assumed while testing one of the book's claims.

Not really, no. The book may or may not represent actual events from antiquity. Whatever a person's respective position may be on that issue, it begs the question when you construes the production of the Book of Mormon as more than Joseph's dictation. We should consistently portray the process as a black box and not try to elevate our case by fabricating a series of textual transmogrifications. It's a hard habit to break... I slip into it myself sometimes.

Sorry. That strikes me as methodologically bogus.

The book claims to be a translation of an ancient text with roots in the Near East. The NHM find is, arguably, an authentic bit of ancient Near Eastern data that relates, in a striking way, to the contents of the Book of Mormon. To pretend that ancient Semitic philology is irrelevant to evaluating this potential bit of evidence is, in my view, manifestly silly -- though, candidly, I can readily understand why someone innocent of the relevant languages might want to argue their irrelevance.

These message board "romance novels" will never cease to amaze me. Why do we continue to "promote" and idea of "ancient origin" for the BOM when the only place one can find such "promotion" is here and at FARMS. I recognize the "home boy" audience that must be placated here, but really, is there, or will there ever be, any real serious scholarship acceptance, to carry such thought beyond this board or the City of Provo???

Where is Harry Potter when he is really applicable?

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The book claims to be a translation of an ancient text with roots in the Near East.

Yes, it claims to be. You can't proceed assuming a series of transmogrifications (Arabian toponym...demotic Egyptian script...Roman letters) or else you are certainly begging the question.

The NHM find is, arguably, an authentic bit of ancient Near Eastern data that relates, in a striking way, to the contents of the Book of Mormon. To pretend that ancient Semitic philology is irrelevant to evaluating this potential bit of evidence is, in my view, manifestly silly....

Joseph Smith dicated the book from a stone in his hat. Unless you can read his mind, and the mind of God, you have no idea if Semitic philology is relevant or not.

The book is what it is. You shouldn't pretend to know more about the method of it's production that the rest of us.

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Joseph Smith dicated the book from a stone in his hat.

. . .

You shouldn't pretend to know more about the method of it's production that the rest of us.

Is this the only way that historical accounts describe the translation process? How many of the accounts say this? Perhaps this is one of a variety of ways it happened.

Who is doing the pretending here?

The Dude shouldn't pretend to know less about the method of it's production than the rest of us. Unless, of course, s/he is not pretending . . . No, I'm sure s/he's pretending . . . just more evidence of the axe shining through. The Dude slips every once in awhile, doncha know.

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These message board "romance novels" will never cease to amaze me. Why do we continue to "promote" and idea of "ancient origin" for the BOM when the only place one can find such "promotion" is here and at FARMS. I recognize the "home boy" audience that must be placated here, but really, is there, or will there ever be, any real serious scholarship acceptance, to carry such thought beyond this board or the City of Provo???

What amazes me, Ref, is the supreme irrelevancy of the criteria that you favor for evaluating arguments. Even if it were true that the FAIR message board, FARMS, and the City of Provo are the only places where such arguments for Book of Mormon antiquity are heard, that would not, in and of itself, prove those arguments wrong.

Arguments are properly judged on the basis of the quality of the evidence supporting them and the cogency of the logic with which they have been constructed. Period. Arguments are not properly judged on the basis of the ethnicity, religious persuasion, number, geographical location, popularity, or eye-color of their advocates.

I can't remember your ever having engaged the relevant substance. Instead, it's always diversion, distraction, and irrelevancy.

The book claims to be a translation of an ancient text with roots in the Near East.

Yes, it claims to be. You can't proceed assuming a series of transmogrifications (Arabian toponym...demotic Egyptian script...Roman letters) or else you are certainly begging the question.

Not so. Not even remotely so.

1 Nephi claims to represent a party of Hebrews traveling through the Arabian Peninsula just after the beginning of the seventh century BCE, and to have been written relatively late in life by a member of that party. It then claims to have been translated into English.

The way to examine the plausibility of that claim is to bring to bear what we know about the Arabian Peninsula during that period, and etc., in order to determine whether or not the claim is believable. In doing so, it seems entirely reasonable to keep in mind the fact that the person writing the account was not a South Arabian but a Hebrew, that English transliterations lacking diacritical marks are limited in their capacity to fully represent Semitic vowels and consonants, and the like.

There is nothing in the thoughts that I laid out that is in any way unreasonable, and there is nothing in them that constitutes begging the question.

To assume the antiquity of the Book of Mormon in order to test it against its claimed time and place of origin is no more to beg the question than assuming certain variables in a computer model for purposes of running a test is to beg the relevant questions. Scholars and scientists do this sort of thing all the time: If X were the case, what would I expect to find? Do I, in fact, find it? Or, alternatively: Y is the case. It is claimed that Y derives from A. Is this plausible, given what we know of A and the purported provenance of Y? Begging the question is a matter of circular reasoning, in which the conclusion has already been smuggled into the premises of the argument. That is not happening in this case. The assumption of antiquity is provisional, for the sake of evaluating a claim.

The NHM find is, arguably, an authentic bit of ancient Near Eastern data that relates, in a striking way, to the contents of the Book of Mormon. To pretend that ancient Semitic philology is irrelevant to evaluating this potential bit of evidence is, in my view, manifestly silly....

Joseph Smith dicated the book from a stone in his hat. Unless you can read his mind, and the mind of God, you have no idea if Semitic philology is relevant or not.

Balderdash. Joseph Smith dictated a book that claims to reflect a Hebrew culture and that, in one of its portions, claims to narrate a story that takes its protagonists through ancient South Arabia. It can be examined for signs of Hebrew culture and for the accuracy of its representation of ancient South Arabia, and doing so is by no stretch of the imagination "begging the question."

The book is what it is. You shouldn't pretend to know more about the method of it's production that the rest of us.

I don't. I'm simply going by what the book claims for itself.

I get a kick, though, out of your arbitrary and quite obvious wish to rule my studies and discipline completely irrelevant to consideration of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. That, coupled with your persistent dismissal of any evidence proffered for the Book of Mormon as mere "coincidence," is, to my mind at least, genuinely amusing. It seems that, by declaring ancient and Near Eastern evidences irrelevant in principle, and by pronouncing any seeming parallels purely coincidental from the get-go, you effectively make any secular argument for the antiquity of the Book of Mormon utterly impossible. I guess it saves effort.

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