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Early Sources On Apostle Thomas In America


Uncle Dale

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I recall it once being argued that the Book of Mormon's text could not have been influenced

by Mexican/Spanish narratives of the Apostle Thomas having visited and preached in ancient America.

As I recall, the reason given, was that Joseph Smith could not possibly accessed any of those writings,

since most were unpublished and none were available in English during his day.

Tracing backwards from DeRoo's 1900 Americas Before Columbus, (which includes an entire

chapter on the subject) what were the earliest instances of the St. Thomas legend/identification to

be circulated in English in America?

sn16.gif

Uncle "perhaps our resident Quetzalcoatl expert can answer this one" Dale

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I recall it once being argued that the Book of Mormon's text could not have been influenced

by Mexican/Spanish narratives of the Apostle Thomas having visited and preached in ancient America.

As I recall, the reason given, was that Joseph Smith could not possibly accessed any of those writings,

since most were unpublished and none were available in English during his day.

Tracing backwards from DeRoo's 1900 Americas Before Columbus, (which includes an entire

chapter on the subject) what were the earliest instances of the St. Thomas legend/identification to

be circulated in English in America?

sn16.gif

Uncle "perhaps our resident Quetzalcoatl expert can answer this one" Dale

.

Oh not a problem; i will just pull up the internet on my cell phone and get right back to you. :P

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Lord Kingsborough in his Antiquities of Mexico equated Quetzalcoatl with Christ as early as 1830, possibly even earlier depending on if such passages were found in the early volumes published before 1830. Ofcourse they were published England...but I'm sure playing the six degrees game some of them might have floated across the pond into a certain university's library... :P

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Lord Kingsborough in his Antiquities of Mexico equated Quetzalcoatl with Christ as early as 1830, possibly even earlier depending on if such passages were found in the early volumes published before 1830. Ofcourse they were published England...but I'm sure playing the six degrees game some of them might have floated across the pond into a certain university's library... :P

I'd love to get the citations -- do you know of any later writers who quoted him at length? Or, better

yet, where I can get photocopies from the original volumes (or from microfilms)?

Perhaps this is one of the items in the "restricted" on-line BYU texts library???

UD

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U Dale,

I am mostly familiar with this bc of the arguments over what was available to JS. I have never been able to find the multi-volume work online ...and I have never been able to find it any library I have access to eigther.

But pertinent to Qutzalcoatl I was able to find about a paragraph length extract from Kingsborough in Myths of Pre-Columbian America here...

http://books.google.com/books?id=6chKHROa1...AFVUvEEv0HbC084

page 85...middle of the page.

Hope that can at least give you a starting point.

If I remember correctly there were stories (available to JS..don't know) about Quatzalcoatl circulating on the east coast at the time thru other mediums other than Kingsborough, but Kingsborough's volumes published before 1830 were eigther not really available here in America or very hard to come by.

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Hope that can at least give you a starting point.

Yes -- It jogged my memory, and I came up with this:

"How truly surprising it is to find that the Mexicans, who seem to

have been quite unacquainted with the doctrines of the migration of the

soul and the metempsychosis, should have believed in the incarnation of

the only son of their supreme god Tonacatecutle. For Mexican mythology

speaking of no other son of that god except Quecalcoatle, who was

born of Chimalman the Virgin of Tula, without connection with man,

and by his breath alone, (by which may be signified his word or his will,

announced to Chimalman by word of mouth of the celestial messenger,

whom be dispatched to inform her that she should conceive a son,) it must

be presumed that Quecalcoatle was his only son. Other arguments might

be adduced to show, that the Mexicans believed that Quecalcoatle was both

god and man, that he had previously to his incarnation existed from all

eternity, that he had created both the world and man, that he descended

from heaven to reform the world by penance, that be was born with the

perfect use of reason, that he preached a new law, and, being king of Tula,

was crucified for the sins of mankind, as is obscurely insinuated by the

interpreter of the Vatican Codex, plainly declared in the traditions of

Yucatan, and mysteriously represented in the Mexican paintings.' If the

promise of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, -- The Holy Ghost shall

come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:

therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the

Bon of God -- be couched in the language of ancient prophecy, 'it is not

improbable that the head of the dragon which forms the crest of three of

the female figures (in one of the Mexican pieces of sculpture), as it may also

be presumed it did of the fourth when entire, (if it be not a symbol which

t'himalmun borrowed from her son's name,) was intended to denote that

she had been overshadowed by the power of Huitzilopuchtli, whose device,

as we are informed by Sahagun in the first chapter of the first liook of his

History of New Spain, was the head of a dragon.' Kingsborough Mex. Antiq.,

vol. vi., pp. 507-8.

Hubert Howe Bancroft: The Native Races: Of the Pacific States, p. 27.

I do have some lengthy quotes from Kingsborough, on similar topics, which

were reproduced in the 1889 issues of the RLDS periodical "Autumn Leaves."

Perhaps I can place those on the web, for others to make use of.

However, I'm still looking for St. Thomas-in-America lore, and Kingsborough

evidently did not cover that material.

UD

.

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I recall it once being argued that the Book of Mormon's text could not have been influenced

by Mexican/Spanish narratives of the Apostle Thomas having visited and preached in ancient America.

As I recall, the reason given, was that Joseph Smith could not possibly accessed any of those writings,

since most were unpublished and none were available in English during his day.

Tracing backwards from DeRoo's 1900 Americas Before Columbus, (which includes an entire

chapter on the subject) what were the earliest instances of the St. Thomas legend/identification to

be circulated in English in America?

sn16.gif

Uncle "perhaps our resident Quetzalcoatl expert can answer this one" Dale

.

Uncle Dale

One of the foremost proponents of this proposal was Friar Servando Teresa de Mier, who proposed this concept to defend the Mexican revolution against Spain.

http://www.elbalero.gob.mx/kids/history/ht...epend/fray.html

In addition to his stay in England, I am aware that he spent some time in Philidelpia where he gave a number of lectures. I do not know if any of them included any references to St Thomas or if rhey were published in English newspapers.

Larry P

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Yes -- It jogged my memory, and I came up with this:

I do have some lengthy quotes from Kingsborough, on similar topics, which

were reproduced in the 1889 issues of the RLDS periodical "Autumn Leaves."

Perhaps I can place those on the web, for others to make use of.

However, I'm still looking for St. Thomas-in-America lore, and Kingsborough

evidently did not cover that material.

UD

.

Here is some more info on Mier and St Thomas.

http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/10/25/revi....25luciant.html

Larry P

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I'd love to get the citations -- do you know of any later writers who quoted him at length? Or, better

yet, where I can get photocopies from the original volumes (or from microfilms)?

Perhaps this is one of the items in the "restricted" on-line BYU texts library???

UD

.

This preview of the book "Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness"

has a very extensive bibliography on the St, Thomas in Mexico topic.

http://books.google.com/books?id=fWJJua4ao...p;hl=en#PPR7,M1

Larry P

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This preview of the book "Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness"

has a very extensive bibliography on the St, Thomas in Mexico topic.

http://books.google.com/books?id=fWJJua4ao...p;hl=en#PPR7,M1

Larry P

Yes -- Thank you.

I was vaguely familiar with the Mexican revolutionaries using the St. Thomas tradition to partly

justify their revolt against the "unnecessary Spanish rule." Obviously, if Mexico was already a

Christian country when Cortez landed, he had no right to appropriate the land to Spain, without

a decision from the Pope, etc.

However, the nineteenth century traditions appear to have been manufactured ones -- that is, there

was no legend of St. Thomas in the Americas, until the Spanish fabricated that notion and joined it

to authentic native lore. Based upon that sort of artificial analysis, the Rev. Ethan Smith might just

as well have been correct, in concluding that Quetzalcoatl was Moses.

Regardless of the use of the tradition by the revolutionaries, I am more interested in how it impacted

readers/scholars/enthusiasts in the USA before 1830. Ethan Smith relied upon earlier reports in

English editions of von Humboldt and Clavigero, for his information on Quetzalcoatl and Bochica --

as did Prof. Rafinesque a few years later. I haven't checked Boudinot yet, but I suppose he was also

familiar with the lore, via von Humboldt and Clavigero.

Both English language sources were in print early enough to have influenced Solomon Spalding, before

his death in 1816. He obviously relied upon them to create his Promethean "Baska" character.

A less certain possibility, however, is that Spalding, Ethan Smith, and their contemporaries knew of

the Quetzalcoatl=St. Thomas conclusion from some additional popular published source -- such as a

magazine or newspaper article.

For this reason, I am curious as to what published sources existed on the subject before 1816, as

well as before 1828 (at which time the Book of Mormon was already being written down for publication)

And -- as a tangentially related matter -- I also want to read Kingsborough on the subject. Where did

the old LDS writers get their Kingsborough quotes from? Probably mostly from Bancroft -- but perhaps

the Church also owns a copy of Kingsborough???

UD

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Oh not a problem; i will just pull up the internet on my cell phone and get right back to you. :P

With all the books JS was supposed to read and have access to-- when did he have time to search for buried treasure, plow fields, move, get married, have children, bury children, write a book, act friendly and start a church, dress, sleep, eat, dig up plates, teach, ?????

Okay I'm done ranting.

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With all the books JS was supposed to read and have access to-- when did he have time to search for buried treasure, plow fields, move, get married, have children, bury children, write a book, act friendly and start a church, dress, sleep, eat, dig up plates, teach, ?????

Okay I'm done ranting.

:P

Duh, that's easy. He read while he was walking from town to town finding work and fleeing for his life. ;) (Please read my sarcasm, please, please, please).

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...and fleeing for his life

....

When (do the LDS teach) did that fleeing for his life, first begin?

UD

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When (do the LDS teach) did that fleeing for his life, first begin?

UD

I've never seen anything recent that addresses that particular question, but I have a personal hunch.

USU "What's round on the ends and high in the middle?" 78

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I've never seen anything recent that addresses that particular question, but I have a personal hunch.

USU "What's round on the ends and high in the middle?" 78

Dale's tabulated "hunch list."

1. 1820, when JS stole a chicken from the Chases' coop.

2. 1823, when JS's daddy placed an "I did not desecrate Alvin's grave" ad in the local paper

3. 1824 when brother William stole a chicken from the Staffords' coop.

4. 1825 when JS's daddy did not pay his cider bill on time.

5. 1826 when JS got in trouble, doing a bit of neighborly glass-looking

6. 1827 when Hyrum stole a chicken from the Ingersoll coop.

7. 1828 when JS refused to share uncovered golden treasures with local money-diggers

8. 1829 when JS's daddy could no longer pay the farm mortgage

9. 1830 when the "Palmyra Reflector" said nasty stuff about the Lord's Anointed.

Uncle "I choose the time when boss of the money-diggers was murdered on the Susquehanna" Dale

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  • 1 month later...

Just a side note: I have been on the internet for around 8 years and I am still just learning of these kinds of insights that JS was supposed to have had access to out there on the farms between moves.

He was marvelous wasn't he?

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This preview of the book "Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness"

has a very extensive bibliography on the St, Thomas in Mexico topic.

I looked through my copy of Lafaye's book and he doesn't leave the Spanish sources. His interest is, after all, "Mexican National Consciousness," so that was where he left it. My interests similarly never extended to anything that late.

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Quite an accomplishment for Thomas to have preached in India AND the Americas in his lifetime don't you think? Perhaps there is an English rendition of this reference...(i, 8; cf. Berchet "Fonte italiane per la storia della scoperta del Nuovo Mondo", II, 236, and I, 44) showing this notion stemming from a misunderstanding of the text in Acts?

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And -- as a tangentially related matter -- I also want to read Kingsborough on the subject. Where did

the old LDS writers get their Kingsborough quotes from? Probably mostly from Bancroft -- but perhaps

the Church also owns a copy of Kingsborough???

Probably from each other. Someone found Bancroft and Brinton and then everyone used them, and most of them used the very same quotations, a practice that frequently occurs in more modern literature on the subject. There must not be many books in LDS libraries :P .

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