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Book of Mormon: a cognate accusative that works only in Hebrew


Olavarria

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In Biblical Hebrew, when the object of a verb has the same root word as a verb, this is called the cognate accusative. The cognate accusative appears in English translations of the Hebrew Bible and Book of Mormon. Ex. "I dreamed a dream; judged a rightous judgement"

Another interesting name in the Book of Mormon is the toponym: Jershon. What's interesting is that the "y" in Hebrew is often rendered as "j" in English, for example: Yosef and Joseph. Following that convention, Jershon could well be rendered as Yershon.

In Hebrew, the verb yarash(ירש) means "possess/inherit". When we keep these Hebrew items in mind, we see a cognate accusative that is only visible in Hebrew, but not in English.

Alma 27:24

24) And now behold, this will we do unto our brethren, that they may inherit(ירש) the land Jershon;....

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In Biblical Hebrew, when the object of a verb has the same root word as a verb, this is called the cognate accusative. The cognate accusative appears in English translations of the Hebrew Bible and Book of Mormon. Ex. "I dreamed a dream; judged a rightous judgement"

Forgive me (and call me dense), but I don't understand your point. The cognate accusative appears in many languages. Are you saying that at the time the Bible was written, the cognate accusative didn't exist outside of Hebrew? Assuming that's true, why is it significant?

: Another interesting name in the Book of Mormon is the toponym: Jershon. What's interesting is that the "y" in Hebrew is often rendered as "j" in English, for example: Yosef and Joseph. Following that convention, Jershon could well be rendered as Yershon. In Hebrew, the verb yarash(ירש) means "possess/inherit". When we keep these Hebrew items in mind, we see a cognate accusative that is only visible in Hebrew, but not in English.

Alma 27:24

24) And now behold, this will we do unto our brethren, that they may inherit(ירש) the land Jershon;....

How does Reformed Egyptian fit into this (I'm asking in sincerity. . .need to be enlightened).

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Wait... didn't Mormon abridge Alma's words? Do you believe Mormon knew the nuances of Hebrew hundreds of years after they were cut off??

It looks like Mormon is offering a direct quote from Alma.

Besides, if the Nephites' spoken and/or written language was directly descended from Hebrew (as it apparently it was), we should still expect to see Hebraic features in it.

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How does Reformed Egyptian fit into this (I'm asking in sincerity. . .need to be enlightened).

"Reformed Egyptian" was apparently just a writing script that the Nephites had available and doesn't necessarily reflect anything about the actual language -- just like we write English, Spanish, German, Latin, Icelandic, Nahuatl, etc., using the Latin alphabet, the actual Latin letters aren't directly related to the syntax or grammar of those respective languages.

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It's interesting that Jershon shows up in only two places in the scriptures: the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon and also in the Book of Abraham. The footnote in the BofA suggests that "Jershon" may actually be "Jerash," an area of northwestern Jordan. The only common denominator is the translator.

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It's interesting that Jershon shows up in only two places in the scriptures: the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon and also in the Book of Abraham. The footnote in the BofA suggests that "Jershon" may actually be "Jerash," an area of northwestern Jordan. The only common denominator is the translator.

Translators usually do insert some unconscious bias into the text. Since the name Jershon was familiar, perhaps Joseph Smith subconsciously imposed it onto the Book of Abraham as well, supposing there was a similar-enough place-name.

Or maybe the people in the Book of Mormon were aware of the Abrahamic tradition of the patriarch offering sacrifice in Jershon and named the Book of Mormon place-name after it.

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Translators usually do insert some unconscious bias into the text. Since the name Jershon was familiar, perhaps Joseph Smith subconsciously imposed it onto the Book of Abraham as well, supposing there was a similar-enough place-name.

Or maybe the people in the Book of Mormon were aware of the Abrahamic tradition of the patriarch offering sacrifice in Jershon and named the Book of Mormon place-name after it.

Is this Abrahamic tradition mentioned anywhere else but the Book of Abraham?

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Interesting as usual.

Ive once asked, how many "coincidences" does the Book of Mormon have to have before it's looked at seriously? I mean seriously, how many things could Joseph have guessed accurately? And its not the big things that stand out. it's the little things. The things that there is no way he could possibly have understood. The things that make the Book of Mormon more and more plausible.

The Book of Mormon should not be plausible. But it is.

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Ive once asked, how many "coincidences" does the Book of Mormon have to have before it's looked at seriously? I mean seriously, how many things could Joseph have guessed accurately? And its not the big things that stand out. it's the little things. The things that there is no way he could possibly have understood. The things that make the Book of Mormon more and more plausible.

Did Joseph ever "guess"? I don't think that was his approach; and neither do you. Maybe you should try rephrasing the significance of this "coincidence" without projecting Joseph as a good guesser, which is basically not a real hypothesis on the table.

The Book of Mormon should not be plausible. But it is.

Plausible fiction is not so outstanding. Really, with "plausible" you are setting the bar as low as possible.

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Did Joseph ever "guess"? I don't think that was his approach; and neither do you. Maybe you should try rephrasing the significance of this "coincidence" without projecting Joseph as a good guesser, which is basically not a real hypothesis on the table.

So youre suggesting he researched all these little details and put them in the Book of Mormon so that they would be discovered as correct hundreds of years later and than dictated this to Oliver?

Plausible fiction is not so outstanding. Really, with "plausible" you are setting the bar as low as possible.

The bar is low. Either Joseph recieved the Book from God as he said, or he made it up. If he made it up, he was right on a lot of little details that were completely unknowable in the American frontier at the time.

How often does fiction become more plausible over time? Call Stephen King or any other great fiction writer and ask them to write a book thats outrageous now and that as time goes on will become more likely that it happened. I doubt they could do it.

So what are the chances that the man who creates this improbable book is also going to sift through the Bible, pick out all the geniune Christian doctrines from the early church, incorporate it into his church and throw out all the popular christian beliefs that were later developments?

And what's the probability that he will tell people to ask God if they were really from God and have God answer in the positive?

What are the chances that he will accurately prophecy and preform miracles?

Seriously, at what point do we stop saying it's a coincidence?

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So youre suggesting he researched all these little details and put them in the Book of Mormon so that they would be discovered as correct hundreds of years later and than dictated this to Oliver?

Yeah, I think Joseph researched all these little details in his hidden library. :P

No, actually Joseph wrote a fiction story cobbled together from several contemporary sources (most notably, the KJV Bible) as well as his imagination. Apologists are the ones doing research, with criteria that are exceedingly lose, and often decided ad hoc, and with a little time and effort, and a little education (or not) it is inevitable that dots will be connected. If an amateur apologist like Her Amun put this kind of effort into another complex work of definitive fiction, he would also find instances of vague word play that most certainly were not planted there by their authors (Tolkien, Twain, Howard, Burroughs, whoever).

People who are involved in research are well aware of the problem of too much data. With enough data, and lose criteria, you create a game like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon where dots are connected with ease. So easy that it's meaningless. That is pretty close to what his happening here.

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Did Joseph ever "guess"? I don't think that was his approach; and neither do you. Maybe you should try rephrasing the significance of this "coincidence" without projecting Joseph as a good guesser, which is basically not a real hypothesis on the table.

That would certainly seem to be the implication of those who believe that Joseph just wrote the Book of Mormon himself.

Plausible fiction is not so outstanding. Really, with "plausible" you are setting the bar as low as possible.

True, but even with the bar set that low, most people don't even seem to believe that the Book of Mormon is even plausible.

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Forgive me (and call me dense), but I don't understand your point. The cognate accusative appears in many languages. Are you saying that at the time the Bible was written, the cognate accusative didn't exist outside of Hebrew? Assuming that's true, why is it significant?

I made no such claim. It also exists in Arabic and who knows what else. The cognate accusative in and of itself is not the significant thing here. What is significant is that this example of cognate accusative only works in Hebrew.

How does Reformed Egyptian fit into this (I'm asking in sincerity. . .need to be enlightened).

What is the reformed Egyptian? Well, let's start with what the Book of Mormon actually says. Here is what Moroni says:

Mormon 9:32-33

32) And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

33) And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.

There is no such language as "Reformed Egyptian" per se. What the Book of Mormon mentions are Egyptian characters that Nephite prophet-historians called "the reformed Egyptian"; these Egyptian characters have been "altered" so that they could be used to write according to their spoken language. If Egyptian characters have to be altered so that Nephite speech can be written, then Nephite speech was not Egyptian. If they had written in "Hebrew" then where would be no imperfection in their writing. Why?

Despite having been written in a modified Egyptian script, the English translation of the Book of Mormon contains many patterns of speech that make more sense in Hebrew than they do in English. I have described only one of them. Finding Hebraisms in a text claiming to be translated from a modified Egyptian script tells me we are talking about a Hebrew-based text ,written in Egyptian characters. There is at least one other good example of this in the ancient world.

Papyrus Amherst 63

Papyrus Amherst 63 is an Aramaic version of Psalm 20:2-6 written in Demotic script. This is very relevant for Papyrus Anherts 63 is exactly what the Book of Mormon tells us existed: North West Semetic scripture, in North West Semetic language, written in Egyptian script!

Wait... didn't Mormon abridge Alma's words? Do you believe Mormon knew the nuances of Hebrew hundreds of years after they were cut off??

Yep, though he tells us that the Hebrew had been altered also. In that case, the Hebrew of the Nephite prophet historians might have been to biblical Hebrew what the English of JK Rowling's Harry Potter is to Chaucer's Cantebury Tales...an altered version of the same language.

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That would certainly seem to be the implication of those who believe that Joseph just wrote the Book of Mormon himself.

Read my post #13 to see what the real implication is, from those who believe Joseph wrote it himself.

True, but even with the bar set that low, most people don't even seem to believe that the Book of Mormon is even plausible.

Not my problem.

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. . . . What is significant is that this example of cognate accusative only works in Hebrew.

And so your point is that Joseph rendered a dead-on translation of a grammatical term unique to Hebrew, and that he did so sans any knowledge of that language (although he would study it later). Right?

How do you know, with certitude--given the complexity of the development of language over tens of thousands of years--that the term was/is unique to Hebrew?

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And so your point is that Joseph rendered a dead-on translation of a grammatical term unique to Hebrew, and that he did so sans any knowledge of that language (although he would study it later). Right?

How do you know, with certitude--given the complexity of the development of language over tens of thousands of years--that the term was/is unique to Hebrew?

It's not necessarily completely unique to Hebrew, but it is most common on Semitic languages, and it was not common to English literature in the 19th century and was certainly absent from Joseph Smith's literary vocabulary.

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Let me get this straight. You posit that the phrase "inherit the land Jershon" is a cognate object construction (as in "I fight the good fight") because Yarash and Jershon are Hebrew cognates? In other words, it could have been translated as "inherit [the land of] their inheritance." Is that right?

What's interesting is that the "y" in Hebrew is often rendered as "j" in English, for example: Yosef and Joseph. Following that convention, Jershon could well be rendered as Yershon.

I can't say for certain, but my assumption for the reason the Hebrew Y became J in English is that many of the translations came to English via German (or Latin). Perhaps maklelan can say better. If so, I don't see a good reason to assume that a direct translation into English would not retain the Y, which would more accurately represent the pronunciation.

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Let me get this straight. You posit that the phrase "inherit the land Jershon" is a cognate object construction (as in "I fight the good fight") because Yarash and Jershon are Hebrew cognates? In other words, it could have been translated as "inherit [the land of] their inheritance." Is that right?

I can't say for certain, but my assumption for the reason the Hebrew Y became J in English is that many of the translations came to English via German (or Latin). Perhaps maklelan can say better. If so, I don't see a good reason to assume that a direct translation into English would not retain the Y, which would more accurately represent the pronunciation.

The pronunciation is influenced by late Latin and French, when the consonantal /y/ (as opposed to the vowel) developed "dzh" pronunciation.

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Let me get this straight. You posit that the phrase "inherit the land Jershon" is a cognate object construction (as in "I fight the good fight") because Yarash and Jershon are Hebrew cognates? In other words, it could have been translated as "inherit [the land of] their inheritance." Is that right?

Ya, Tvedtnes saw the etymology for Jershon long ago. I just noticed how it meshed.

We should also remember that waw(וַ), when placed before a verb, makes the future tense into past tense and vis versa. With waw(וַ), possess(יִרְשׁוּ) is turned into and possessed(וַיִּרְשׁוּ)(Joshua 19:47). When we keep these Hebrew items in mind, we see a cognate accusative that is only visible in Hebrew, but not in English.

Alma 27:26

26)And it came to pass that it did cause great joy among them. And they went down into the land of Jershon, and took possession(וַיִּרְשׁוּ) of the land of Jershon; and they were called by the Nephites the people of Ammon; therefore they were distinguished by that name ever after.

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The pronunciation is influenced by late Latin and French, when the consonantal /y/ (as opposed to the vowel) developed "dzh" pronunciation.

Thanks.

Do you agree that an English-speaking translator who took a Hebrew name directly from an ancient document would have no reason to represent an initial Y sound with a J?

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