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The Theology & Politics Of E And J Found In The Bom?


Irondukesteve

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I was reading Friedman's book "Who wrote the Bible?" and couldnt help but wonder if 1st and 2nd Nephi showed elements of the politics and theology described by Friedman.

Nephi was from the Northern kingdom so presumably he would have an "E type viewpoint". Laman and Lemuel resemble the "J type mindset" where Jerusalem is thought to be indestuctible etc. I noticed that in the polemic where Laman and Lemuel beat Nephi on the Cliff for thinking he can build a ship Nephi talks of Moses's Brazen Serpent (VERY E). The dream of Nephi seems to resemble the Asherah found in the "high places" of the Northern Kingdom.

Is anyone familiar with studies that have compared the Documentary Hypothesis and its political and theological implications with the characters in the BoM to see if they resemble the "E type mindset"?

Daniel Peterson or Kevin Christenson...any insight?

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Shooting from the hip here (so take it with a grain of salt as my memory can't be trusted). But, from memory... I believe that John L. Sorenson wrote a little about the Brass Plates falling into the "E" tradition.

Also (from memory again), I think Kevin Barney is quite knowledgeable about this topic. I don't know if he ever posts here, but I could PM his email to you if you'd like.

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The Sorenson paper on the Book of Mormon as an E source was published in Dialogue as "The Brass Plates and Biblical Scholarship" and reprinted in his 1997 book Nephte Culture and Society. It is also available as a FARMS Reprint, or was. There used to be an online essay by Steven St. Clair (The Stick of Joseph: The Book of Mormon and the Literary Tradition of Northern Israel") "that takes things a bit further. starting from Sorenson's observations. I can send a copy of that. I think Gordon Thomasson had a paper on the Book of Abraham as a J source, which suggests that the E characteristics cannot be explained as Joseph Smith's unconcious style. That was in the first Nibley Festscrift, the precursor to By Study and By Faith, which I expect resides in BYU special collections. I refer to the Sorenson, and St. Clair essays, and to Friedman, in Paradigms Regained, in various places.

There used to be an interesting essay at the Nephi project comparing patterns in the Book of Mormon to Friedman, but it seems to have vanished. It had some interesting ideas, but made no reference to previous LDS studies, such as by Sorenson, and Kevin Barney's essential Dialogue essay "Reflections on the Documentary Hypothesis." Barney's essay is available online.

Friedman argues that Jeremiah, or perhaps Baruch, his scribe "was" the Deuteronomist. I used to find that persuasive, but have since noticed that rather than "agreeing" with the DH on every major poiint, Jeremiah contradicts Deuteronomy on the very things that Margaret sees as key to the reform. I put some of this evidence in my Meridian papers, and my essay in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Margaret also suggested in Washington D.C. that the wickeness that Lehi preached against was the reform. I have since found much to support her suggestion.

You should also look at some papers that have implications for the content of the Brass plates. Noel Reynold's paper in By Study and By Faith, "The Brass Plates Version of Genesis" and Ben McGuires paper on the 1 Nephi allusions to the David story that suggest dependence on a primal source, different than the current MT.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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[...]There used to be an interesting essay at the Nephi project comparing patterns in the Book of Mormon to Friedman, but it seems to have vanished. It had some interesting ideas, but made no reference to previous LDS studies, such as by Sorenson, and Kevin Barney's essential Dialogue essay "Reflections on the Documentary Hypothesis."[...]

I recall there being a chapter in Bro. Potter's book "Ten More Amazing Discoveries" on the topic. Is this the essay you were after? Biblical Scholarship Supports Book of Mormon Authorship by George D. Potter

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Doctor Seuss wrote:

recall there being a chapter in Bro. Potter's book "Ten More Amazing Discoveries" on the topic. Is this the essay you were after? Biblical Scholarship Supports Book of Mormon Authorship by George D. Potter

Yes. That is the one.. Thanks.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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Margaret also suggested in Washington D.C. that the wickeness that Lehi preached against was the reform. I have since found much to support her suggestion.

What implications does this have for the latter-day church which seems so attached to the canon devised by the reform?

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structure cop asks,

What implications does this have for the latter-day church which seems so attached to the canon devised by the reform?

To a large extent the implications are the same as other Biblical based religions: we have to go back and re-read the ancient texts with new eyes. We have to be aware of what the reformers were reforming and why as we consider the canon we have, and the additional texts that bring light to it. That is the point of Margaret's first book, "The Older Testament." She describes Bible scholarship as having had a misreading forced upon it by those who transmitted the text. On the other hand, because the Book of Mormon seems to be way ahead of us in understanding what the reformers were up to, the various prophecies in the LDS scripture concerning other books, and missing plain and precious bits, we should be able to make the adjustments easier. When I first read The Great Angel, back in 1999, I'd gotten what few preconceptions I had about Josiah and the Deuteronomist reform from having read Friedman, and a very few LDS essays that noted influences from Deuteronomy in the Book of Mormon.

Many books and lots of re-reading and re-thinking later, I think the relationship of the Book of Mormon to the reform is one of most significant and impressive things about its present existence. I nearly wrote, "unexpected" but since the Book of Mormon prophecies in spectacular detail, the events and doctrines involved (compare 1 Nephi 13 and Barker's essay "Text and Context", for example), the word "unexpected" might be misleading. Unnoticed till recently.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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