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Polysemy in the Book of Mormon


Olavarria

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The problem with this kind of argument is that it makes a lot of assumptions. First of all, it cannot refer to Polysemy in the Book of Mormon itself (which is not Hebrew, and which clearly uses words which do not share this feature). It also cannot refer to it in the Gold Plates (which were also not written in Hebrew). It has to reference it in the original words spoken by the voice in the darkness. And an assumption is being made that the Hebrew used by the Nephites hadn't changed for these words (the notion that it might have changed would not be unreasonable given the one statement which the Book of Mormon makes about the Hebrew language).

This doesn't mean that it isn't the case, merely that it requires a bit more scrutiny.

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Pedro,

Huh? You didn't actually describe anything, unless you did and it only made sense to you in some mystery-man code....Care to embellish?

Polysemy, according to that link means "one word with several meanings". But so many languages such as ENGLISH (you know, the "Language of the Restoration") have one word with multiple meanings.

Example:

1. You sat on your ***.

2. An *** is not a tapir.

1. She wears only one white pasty.

2. Her thighs are pasty-white.

1. The spirits like a fire burn on the way down and warm the soul.

2. The spirits possessed a herd of swine and tumbled into the ocean.

3. My shoes have a soul.

Trying to say that polysemy in the Book of Mormon is proof of it being a Hebrew construct is simply a jump to conclusion, especially since it's very easy to produce polysemy in English without much effort.

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Doug the Hutt writes:

Trying to say that polysemy in the Book of Mormon is proof of it being a Hebrew construct is simply a jump to conclusion, especially since it's very easy to produce polysemy in English without much effort.
I am going to disagree with you on this point.

It is clearly a construct used in Hebrew poetics. Your lines taken out of the context of this discussion are not examples of polysemy. What identifies polysemy is its apparent intentional use to create a poetic form (and often they are designed to be read). When it fits in the narrative pattern and has rhetorical value, it is quite a compelling argument.

On the other hand, your constructions are merely made to create an argument - and don't really seem to have any rhetorical value on their own. And that is a major difference. Rhetorical figures like polysemy are defined by intention and not strictly by form.

Ben M.

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1. Can the supposed poetic polysemy construct be found in non-Hebrew languages?

2. IF a person has used the Old and New Testaments as a basis for their education, is it possible, plausible, likely, or any other measure on the scale of probabilities that those linguistic devices/patterns could be parroted, or mimicked in one's own writings? If so, how does a person differentiate between a genuine ancient Hebrew polysemy and one from of modern origin by a non-Hebrew poet but heavily influenced by the Bible?

3. Can someone provide three or four non- Book-of-Mormon examples for Hebrew polysemy?

4. Can polysemy be found in the Book of Abraham?

5. Can polysemy be found in the Doctrine & Covenants?

Thanks for your input folks.

(note: I still don't even know what Pedro was referring to --- i see the verse, and related repent-return-sin-stuffs, but nothing that makes me think "it MUST be HEBREW".)

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The problem with this kind of argument is that it makes a lot of assumptions.

I agree. There are alot of assumptions here. If you look at my blog, ive taken this post diwn. Im not all together sure about how I rendered "repent".

First of all, it cannot refer to Polysemy in the Book of Mormon itself (which is not Hebrew, and which clearly uses words which do not share this feature).

True.

It also cannot refer to it in the Gold Plates (which were also not written in Hebrew).

Was the reformed egyptian a language or a script?

It has to reference it in the original words spoken by the voice in the darkness.

Right, how do we know it isn't someone elses paraphrase? How much artictic license was used?

And an assumption is being made that the Hebrew used by the Nephites hadn't changed for these words (the notion that it might have changed would not be unreasonable given the one statement which the Book of Mormon makes about the Hebrew language).
I think that its certain that it did change. The questian is, to what extant? Was the difference like the difference between Macbeth and Cantebury Tales? Or, was the difference comparable to the difference between Macbeth and Beowulf?
This doesn't mean that it isn't the case, merely that it requires a bit more scrutiny.

Exactly. Alot more scrutiny.

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Was the reformed egyptian a language or a script?
It doesn't really matter I don't think. This is a very complicated topic. Would making it a script make it somehow more compact? I think though that the text makes a pretty convincing argument that it is more of a language than a script. At any rate, more assumptions get piled into the mix ....
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1. Can the supposed poetic polysemy construct be found in non-Hebrew languages?

Yep it exists in Akkadian,Ugaritic and Chinese. Ever wonder why so many Chinese paintings in places of business have fish?

2. IF a person has used the Old and New Testaments as a basis for their education, is it possible, plausible, likely, or any other measure on the scale of probabilities that those linguistic devices/patterns could be parroted, or mimicked in one's own writings? If so, how does a person differentiate between a genuine ancient Hebrew polysemy and one from of modern origin by a non-Hebrew poet but heavily influenced by the Bible?

The poin in the OP was that the polysemy in these verses is only visible if rendered in Hebrew. Again, Im not so sure now as I doubt whether or not I rendered "repent" correctly, given the context. But I throw the questian back to you, how would you know?

3. Can someone provide three or four non- Book-of-Mormon examples for Hebrew polysemy?

Then the LORD God formed man(???????) of the dust of the groind(?????????),

more here

4

. Can polysemy be found in the Book of Abraham?

5. Can polysemy be found in the Doctrine & Covenants?

haven't checked

T

hanks for your input folks.

(note: I still don't even know what Pedro was referring to --- i see the verse, and related repent-return-sin-stuffs, but nothing that makes me think "it MUST be HEBREW".)

When did i say, "it must be hebrew"? Seriously, I'm just making an observation; that it means, if anything, is irrelevant. Converted, repent and return all use the same root, "shoob". Im questianing my rendering of repent in this context. But if I was right, al im saying is that if translated into hebrew, we see some word play. Thats it.

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Doug the Hutt writes:

1. Can the supposed poetic polysemy construct be found in non-Hebrew languages?
This is completely irrelevant. If you think otherwise, perhaps you could explain your logic. Remember - we are talking about a construction that would only exist in an assumed Hebrew (or hebrew-like) urtext.
2. IF a person has used the Old and New Testaments as a basis for their education, is it possible, plausible, likely, or any other measure on the scale of probabilities that those linguistic devices/patterns could be parroted, or mimicked in one's own writings? If so, how does a person differentiate between a genuine ancient Hebrew polysemy and one from of modern origin by a non-Hebrew poet but heavily influenced by the Bible?

I don't really follow this. Your suggestion is really kind of inane - you are suggesting that the author of the Book of Mormon decided to construct first a Hebrew text, then translate that into English as the basis for the Book of Mormon so that Hebraisms would be apparent - not in the English, but in the underlying hypothetically reconstructed Hebrew source - right?

3. Can someone provide three or four non- Book-of-Mormon examples for Hebrew polysemy?
Completely irrelevant to this issue.
4. Can polysemy be found in the Book of Abraham?

Also completely irrelevant.

5. Can polysemy be found in the Doctrine & Covenants?

And finally more complete irrelevance.

You might have a point (but I have no idea how you would argue it) if this were being presented as something polemical. But its not.

And, since you are so interested in the topic, why don't you take a few minutes to try and answer your own questions instead of suggesting that everyone else do your homework for you.

Ben M.

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If you are a proponent of a loose translation process for the BoM, how likely is it that hebraisms would crop up at all, even assuming the original text was Hebrew? Such a process has Smith coming up with his own words to explain what he saw or felt or whatever.

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If you are a proponent of a loose translation process for the BoM, how likely is it that hebraisms would crop up at all, even assuming the original text was Hebrew? Such a process has Smith coming up with his own words to explain what he saw or felt or whatever.

Im a proponant of the Looght translation model :P

Now, in the last few days, I've produced some pretty shady stuff. I kinda use this board to bounce ideas of everyone's head. Here is a better example of what im talking about.

Morm. 5: 16

16)For behold, the Spirit of the Lord( ?????-?????? ) hath already ceased to strive with their fathers; and they are without Christ and God in the world; and they are driven about as chaff before the wind(?????? ???????-?????).

Ruach(?????)means both "spirit" and "wind". This is a nice strophic inclusio, based on based on the multiple meanings of one word. See Psalms 35:5 and 1 Kings 22:24.

Now, with regards to the whole Egyptian issue. There have been a great many Hebraisms found in the BoM. Yet it was written in the "the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech."

That tells me the speech wasn't Egyptian. Well, what was it? I dunno.

"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."

So the Nephite prophet historians knew some form of Hebrew and if they had written in Hebrew(no mention of modified script to match speech) then they would have no imperfection in their record. Why? Could it be that te source material was in Hebrew? We can never really know.

Hebraisms+modified egyptian characters.....it seems to me that the best explanation would be "hebrew" written in Egyptian characters. This si similiar to P.Amherst 63.

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