Jump to content

Another Book Of Mormon Bull's-eye


consiglieri

Recommended Posts

So some non-LDS scholar named William S. Kurz did some research published in 1985 on the subject of commonalities in farewell address in ancient texts such as the Bible as well as other texts from the ancient Greco-Roman world. Kurz comes up with a list of 20 common elements in farewell addresses. None of the texts he looks at have all 20, but the 20 are spread out among the group; some in one farewell address but not in another.

The maximum number of elements that any one farewell address contains is that of Moses, which has 15 elements, plus two more that are implied.

Then some Mormons get ahold of Kurz' study and compare it to King Benjamin's speech in Mosiah 1-6.

They find that King Benjamin's address has many of the same elements.

Not only does it have many of the same elements, it has 16 of the elements, plus two more that are implied.

What should we make of the fact that, when compared with a non-LDS analysis of ancient farewell addresses, King Benjamin's address ends up having more than any other?

In other words, King Benjamin's address is the best known example in the world of the type of literature characterized and documented by William S. Kurz as an ancient Farewell Address.

Source is King Benjamin's Speech, John Welch and Stephen Ricks, eds., (FARMS; Provo) 1998, pp. 89-118.

Source on Kurz' paper is: William S. Kurz, Luke 22:14-39 and Greco-Roman and Biblical Farewell Addresses, JBL 104 (1985): 251-68.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Link to comment

Great topic Consig.

Options:

A) Hyrum secretly studied ancient farewell addresses in college long before Kurz, but never told anyone about them. Then, he passed all this knowledge on to Joseph who flawlessy executed it with no books or manuals in front of him.

B ) Kurz secretly is a Mormon, sort of like how Rigdon secretly met Joseph before the BoM was written.

C) The Palmyra Library had a time portal in the backroom.

D) Joseph has the Devil's luck.

E) Joseph was a Prophet of God.

Take your pick!

family-feud.jpg

Link to comment
So some non-LDS scholar named William S. Kurz did some research published in 1985 on the subject of commonalities in farewell address in ancient texts such as the Bible as well as other texts from the ancient Greco-Roman world. Kurz comes up with a list of 20 common elements in farewell addresses. None of the texts he looks at have all 20, but the 20 are spread out among the group; some in one farewell address but not in another.

The maximum number of elements that any one farewell address contains is that of Moses, which has 15 elements, plus two more that are implied.

Then some Mormons get ahold of Kurz' study and compare it to King Benjamin's speech in Mosiah 1-6.

They find that King Benjamin's address has many of the same elements.

Not only does it have many of the same elements, it has 16 of the elements, plus two more that are implied.

What should we make of the fact that, when compared with a non-LDS analysis of ancient farewell addresses, King Benjamin's address ends up having more than any other?

In other words, King Benjamin's address is the best known example in the world of the type of literature characterized and documented by William S. Kurz as an ancient Farewell Address.

Source is King Benjamin's Speech, John Welch and Stephen Ricks, eds., (FARMS; Provo) 1998, pp. 89-118.

Source on Kurz' paper is: William S. Kurz, Luke 22:14-39 and Greco-Roman and Biblical Farewell Addresses, JBL 104 (1985): 251-68.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Any links to these articles Consig? I would be interested to see them. Thanks.

Link to comment

Having not read the work, I really can't address it. However, my first question would be, why does he suggest there are 20 markers of such elements and the maximum any one of these has is 15? Also, what is his sample set?

Like previously suggested, I would also like to see these elements applied to similar address that definitely do not have Greco-Roman or Biblical origin to see if this test can predict that they are not from this set.

Additionally, I would like to see his justification grouping Greek, Roman and Judaic texts as a meaningful set.

He very well might address these issues in the article. So these are just questions I would be curious about.

Link to comment
Having not read the work, I really can't address it. However, my first question would be, why does he suggest there are 20 markers of such elements and the maximum any one of these has is 15? Also, what is his sample set?

Like previously suggested, I would also like to see these elements applied to similar address that definitely do not have Greco-Roman or Biblical origin to see if this test can predict that they are not from this set.

Additionally, I would like to see his justification grouping Greek, Roman and Judaic texts as a meaningful set.

He very well might address these issues in the article. So these are just questions I would be curious about.

Here's the specific citation to Kurz' work:

William S. Kurz, "Luke 22:14â??38 and Greco-Roman and Biblical Farewell Addresses," JBL 104 (1985): 251â??68. See also William S. Kurz, Farewell Addresses in the New Testament (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1990).

Is there a school of divinity near you, JL? Maybe their library had a copy of the book or could get it (or the earlier article) through ILL.

Link to comment
The maximum number of elements that any one farewell address contains is that of Moses, which has 15 elements, plus two more that are implied.

Why should I be overly impressed with a pattern established in the Bible, which was available to any 19th century author?

Link to comment
Why should I be overly impressed with a pattern established in the Bible, which was available to any 19th century author?

On the one hand, I can see where you're coming from. On the other hand, this would be the culture of origin claimed for Book of Mormon peoples.

And then there is the question of Joseph Smith identifying the pattern, the elements, and reformulating it into a speech for King Benjaim which has the same elements but in different words and a different order.

And all of this while creating one of the most profound and challenging sermons I have ever heard or read.

And because this wasn't tough enough, he also inserted a number of complex chiasms in his spare time.

Specifically, the paper can be found at the link below.

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publicatio...&chapid=117

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Link to comment
And then there is the question of Joseph Smith identifying the pattern, the elements, and reformulating it into a speech for King Benjaim which has the same elements but in different words and a different order.

Of course if we think of him laboriously trying to pick out specific details to match some future scholarly article such an accomplishment will seem incredible. But I don't think Joseph Smith would have to carefully identify any pattern or attempt to reformulate it. He would simply have to be familiar with certain Bible passages and try to imitate their style or key thematic elements.

And all of this while creating one of the most profound and challenging sermons I have ever heard or read.

I imagine people of every faith tradition consider the sermons of their holy books as the most profound.

And because this wasn't tough enough, he also inserted a number of complex chiasms in his spare time.

Can we really argue the chiasmus of this section is remarkably 'complex'? Can you, for example, demonstrate that no words or phrases are omitted to 'fit' the chiasmus? I doubt very much that the author of the BoM intended to place chiasmus, but if you tend to be repititive, as religious texts often are, chiasmus is bound to be the result in some cases.

Link to comment
Can we really argue the chiasmus of this section is remarkably 'complex'? Can you, for example, demonstrate that no words or phrases are omitted to 'fit' the chiasmus? I doubt very much that the author of the BoM intended to place chiasmus, but if you tend to be repititive, as religious texts often are, chiasmus is bound to be the result in some cases.

Are there chiasmus in the Quran? Or other religious texts aside from the Bible and BoM?

Edit: This might be a derailment.

Link to comment
So what is the counter-argument to this being a bullseye? Are these elements also present in the standard benedictions to all 19th century NY camp revival meetings?

From "Paradigms Crossed" by Kevin Christenson:

(Referring to Brent Metcalfe's New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology)

[Metcalfe] writes about King Benjamin's oration as though it were a nineteenth-century revival, claiming that "the apex of the narrative . . . depends . . . fundamentally on a nonbiblical pattern contemporary with Smith" (p. 421 n. 31). He sees the four-step pattern as "(1) Revival Gathering (Mosiah 2); (2) Guilt-Ridden Falling Exercise (4:1-2a); (3) Petition for Spiritual Emancipation (v. 2b); and (4) Christological Absolution and Emotional Ecstasy (v. 3)" (ibid.).

Metcalfe then remarks that "some have attempted to assert comparisons between Lehite religious awakenings and ancient Hebrew rituals" (p. 421 n. 31), referring to, but neglecting the strengths of, valuable studies by Welch, Nibley, Ostler, Ricks, and Tvedtnes, 84 and ignoring other studies such as thoseby Welch on the farewell address form 85 and on the complex interwoven chiastic structures,86 and Thomasson on kingship.87 He defends the priority of his reading by asserting that nineteenth-century camp meetings were modeled after the Israelite Feast of Tabernacles. He also leaves us to wonder why the ancient studies provide a far more comprehensive set of parallels to the ancient convocations than does comparison with the nineteenth-century sources. Nibley's chapter alone, "Old World Ritual in the New World" in An Approach to the Book of Mormon, includes a thirty-six-step pattern, versus a four-step pattern in Metcalfe.88

Reluctant to confront directly the undeniably more comprehensive account by "traditionalists," Metcalfe shifts his ground and anchors his account to a "key" anomaly, claiming that traditionalists need to show "neophytes of any culture B.C.e." experiencing a " "revival' conversion." This begs the question of whether " "revival' conversion" is an appropriate description of the Mosiah account, sidesteps serious consideration of the more comprehensive studies assembled by FARMS, and ignores the potential effect of translation factors on the language used.89

See Kevin Christensen, "Paradigms Crossed." Review of New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology by Brent Lee Metcalfe

Footnotes to the section are also interesting for bibliographical and commentary content:

84 See John W. Welch, "King Benjamin's Speech in the Context of Ancient Israelite Festivals" (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1985); Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 295-310; Blake Ostler, "The Book of Mormon as an Expansion of an Ancient Source," Dialogue 20 (Spring 1987): 66-123. Stephen D. Ricks, "The Treaty-Covenant Pattern in King Benjamin's Address (Mosiah 1-6)," BYU Studies 24 (Spring 1984): 151-62, John Tvedtnes, "King Benjamin's Speech as a Feast of Tabernacles," in By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley, ed. John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), 2:197-237.

85 John W. Welch and Daryl R. Hague, "Benjamin's Speech: A Classic Ancient Farewell Address," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, ed. John W. Welch (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 120-22.

86 John W. Welch, "A Study Relating Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon to Chiasmus in the Old Testament, Ugaritic Epics, Homer, and Selected Greek and Latin Authors" (M. A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1970).

87 Gordon C. Thomasson, "The Complex Symbolism and Symbolic Complex of Kingship in the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1 (1993): 21-38.

88 Welch, "King Benjamin's Speech," 25 n. 42, summarizes Nibley's points as:

the proclamation, transfer of kingship, assembly around the temple, taking a census, bringing firstlings and offerings, giving thanks for deliverance, dwelling in tents around the temple, the king speaking from a tower, the call or silentium and teaching of the mysteries, hailing the king, homage by the people to the king (which Benjamin rejects), cleansing from sin, acclaiming the king, recounting the story of creation, the king's ritual farewell and descent into the underworld (which Benjamin refers to as a literal event soon to occur), choirs, ensuring succession to the throne, promises of peace and prosperity, the preservation of records, God preserving his people, promises of never-ending happiness, divination of the future, a day of judgment, falling to the ground before the king, seeing all men as equals, the closing acclamation, making of a covenant, receipt of a new name, begetting of the human race, concern about standing in the proper place, having a seal, recording names in a register, appointing priests to remind people of their covenant, and dismissal.

89 Interested parties might gain useful perspectives on "revival conversion" from the discussion of rebirth in Stanislav and Christina Grof, Beyond Death: The Gates of Consciousness (London: Thames and Hudson, 1980), 23-31.

Link to comment
Of course if we think of him laboriously trying to pick out specific details to match some future scholarly article such an accomplishment will seem incredible. But I don't think Joseph Smith would have to carefully identify any pattern or attempt to reformulate it. He would simply have to be familiar with certain Bible passages and try to imitate their style or key thematic elements.

Not only that, but he would have had to reproduce those "key thematic elements" in a fashion that is superior to anything known in the bible. After all, according to Welch this speech has 16 of those elements, while only 15 can be found in any one biblical address.

I take it you are opting for option D.

Link to comment

I just think it's amazing that the Nephites were able to preserve the knowledge of these 16 elements of farewell speeches for over 400 years. They land in the New World, start converting and intermarrying with the natives, presumably mix with their language and culture, but are able to make sure that the knowledge of how to write a proper Greco-Roman farewell address is preserved.

And not just preserved, but preserved to such a degree that King Benjamin is able to surpass every other known speech from world history for the quality of this format.

That really is incredible.

Someone should make a list of all the knowledge that was preserved among the Nephites from Lehi to Moroni. Language, Hebraisms, Doctrine, Mosaic Law. All the details that were passed from generation to generation for 1000 years, all the while they were living as a minority subset of a larger pagan population.

Link to comment
I just think it's amazing that the Nephites were able to preserve the knowledge of these 16 elements of farewell speeches for over 400 years. They land in the New World, start converting and intermarrying with the natives, presumably mix with their language and culture, but are able to make sure that the knowledge of how to write a proper Greco-Roman farewell address is preserved.

...

Someone should make a list of all the knowledge that was preserved among the Nephites from Lehi to Moroni. Language, Hebraisms, Doctrine, Mosaic Law. All the details that were passed from generation to generation for 1000 years, all the while they were living as a minority subset of a larger pagan population.

Someone already did.
19 And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers; 20 And also that we may preserve unto them the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets, which have been delivered unto them by the Spirit and power of God, since the world began, even down unto this present time.
We don't have that list, as yet, but they did, and that's all that matters.

Lehi

Link to comment
I just think it's amazing that the Nephites were able to preserve the knowledge of these 16 elements of farewell speeches for over 400 years. They land in the New World, start converting and intermarrying with the natives, presumably mix with their language and culture, but are able to make sure that the knowledge of how to write a proper Greco-Roman farewell address is preserved.

And not just preserved, but preserved to such a degree that King Benjamin is able to surpass every other known speech from world history for the quality of this format.

That really is incredible.

Are you saying that no other ceremonies like this had occurred among the group until the one with King Benjamin?

Link to comment
Not only that, but he would have had to reproduce those "key thematic elements" in a fashion that is superior to anything known in the bible. After all, according to Welch this speech has 16 of those elements, while only 15 can be found in any one biblical address.

I take it you are opting for option D.

Wow an extra element not in the Bible from a list of general patterns from farewell addresses. That is a miracle.

Link to comment
I just think it's amazing that the Nephites were able to preserve the knowledge of these 16 elements of farewell speeches for over 400 years. They land in the New World, start converting and intermarrying with the natives, presumably mix with their language and culture, but are able to make sure that the knowledge of how to write a proper Greco-Roman farewell address is preserved.

And not just preserved, but preserved to such a degree that King Benjamin is able to surpass every other known speech from world history for the quality of this format.

That really is incredible.

Someone should make a list of all the knowledge that was preserved among the Nephites from Lehi to Moroni. Language, Hebraisms, Doctrine, Mosaic Law. All the details that were passed from generation to generation for 1000 years, all the while they were living as a minority subset of a larger pagan population.

What is interesting is that Benjamin got the highest score. So not only did he conform to patterns that were 100s of years and 1000s of miles away or years after his speach (i.e. Roman) but that he out did them all in terms of pattern compliance. He was more Judo-Greco-Roman in hish speech pattern than the actual groups.

Link to comment
Someone already did.We don't have that list, as yet, but they did, and that's all that matters.

Lehi

I can totally understand preserving the Gospel, and Priesthood authority. But the claim in this thread is that the Lehites were also familiar with and preserved the Greco-Roman traditions of Kingship Farewell addresses, which as far as I can tell, have nothing to do with the Gospel.

It would be like LDS preserving the Standard Works and Statements of the First Presidency for 400 years, but someone also including a copy of "Robert's Rules of Order" so people 400 years from now would run their non-Church meetings according to 19th century parliamentary procedure.

Sure, it could happen, but ???

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...