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Craig Criddle on If/And Conditional Sentences


Daniel Peterson

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Craig Criddle, an apostate-Mormon advocate of the Spalding theory, has posted the following over on the so-called "Recovery" board:

Prof. Daniel C. Peterson has written an article "Not So Easily Dismissed: Some Facts for Which Counterexplanations of the Book of Mormon Will Need to Account"

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=17&num=2&id=582

One observation he makes is that Hebrew makes use of an "if-and" construction found in the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon.

For example, Helaman 12: 13-14 (1830 version) reads:

"if he saith unto the earth move and it is moved yea if he say unto the earth thou shalt go back that it lengthen out the day for many hours and it is done."

In the modern version of the Book of Mormon corrects the faulty English "if-and" grammar in the above verse.

Another example that Prof. Peterson points to is the 1830 version of Moroni 10:4 which reads: "if ye shall ask with a sincere heart with real intent having faith in Christ and he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost".

The "if-and" grammar in this verse has also been corrected in the modern Book of Mormon.

In our published authorship attribution study of the Book of Mormon (Jockers et al., 2008), both of the above chapters (i.e., Helaman 12 and Moroni 10) were attributed to Sidney Rigdon.

I checked one of our Rigdon source texts to see if Rigdon ever used the "if-and" clause. It seems he did.

In Section 98 of the Stephen Post Collection, Copying Books A and B of the Book of the Revelations of Jesus Christ To The Children of Zion Through Sidney Rigdon Prophet & Seer & Revelator, Sidney Rigdon claimed to receive the following scripture as a revelation:

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Yes, Craig botched this one. The "then" in the sentence he quotes is simply elided, not replaced by "and".

I'm inclined to think, however, that the series of if...and conditionals in Helaman 12 has been artificially created by chopping what is essentially one long run-on sentence with conjoined conditions into smaller sentences in which the second condition in each clause is transformed into a predicate. For more on that, see here.

If I am correct, then the passage constitutes a single lengthy "if...therefore" conditional rather than a series of shorter "if...and" conditionals. The inelegance of the passage, IMO, results from its orality.

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Yes, Craig botched this one. The "then" in the sentence he quotes is simply elided, not replaced by "and".

I'm inclined to think, however, that the series of if...and conditionals in Helaman 12 has been artificially created by chopping what is essentially one long run-on sentence with conjoined conditions into smaller sentences in which the second condition in each clause is transformed into a predicate. For more on that, see here.

If I am correct, then the passage constitutes a single lengthy "if...therefore" conditional rather than a series of shorter "if...and" conditionals. The inelegance of the passage, IMO, results from its orality.

I think you tried this explanation previously. I didn't find it convincing. Perhaps somebody else did.

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Craig Criddle, an apostate-Mormon advocate of the Spalding theory, has posted the following over on the so-called "Recovery" board:

Craig Criddle plainly doesn't understand the if/and conditional construction of which I was speaking.

Not a very impressive outing for him.

Nonetheless, he received loud huzzahs from the "Recovery" cheer squad:

Spalding theory??? Really??? Talk about going down with the ship. Some people are still playing shuffle board on the Titanic as it lies on the ocean floor.

If the latter he is worthy of death

He skipped right over the conditional part of that, didn't he? He must not have been good in English or math classes. The hosanna shouts from the cheer squad seem to echo cries of failure in our public schools. :P

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It's either pretty funny or pretty sad, depending on one's point of view. The cheer squad at the curiously-named "Recovery" board has continued to crow with delight at Craig Criddle's supposed triumph, and one feels not merely embarrassed but actually a bit guilty for watching.

Because of their manifest failure to understand the linguistic point about if/and conditionals -- which was first publicly mentioned not by me but by Professor Royal Skousen, who isn't exactly a linguistic na

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It's either pretty funny or pretty sad, depending on one's point of view. The cheer squad at the curiously-named "Recovery" board has continued to crow with delight at Craig Criddle's supposed triumph, and one feels not merely embarrassed but actually a bit guilty for watching.

Because of their manifest failure to understand the linguistic point about if/and conditionals -- which was first publicly mentioned not by me but by Professor Royal Skousen, who isn't exactly a linguistic na

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One of the more articulate posters on the quaintly-named "Recovery" board manages to misrepresent my claim in connection with his misunderstanding of the if/and structure, and then declares victory:

I continue to appreciate your knowledge and analysis. The vast and overwhelming conclusion of all people who have examined the Book of Mormon is that the book is NOT divine or ancient in origin. Despite the earth
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Yes, Craig botched this one. The "then" in the sentence he quotes is simply elided, not replaced by "and".

Yes, he really should have given that one a little more thought before he declared victory.

In fact, if his study identified these if/and passages for Rigdon, and one can't find the construction in Rigdon's other writings, then I wonder what the implications of such a failure might be for his method. After all, the Jockers study focuses on lexical choices, not grammar. Could this be a weakness in the study?

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If I am correct, then the passage constitutes a single lengthy "if...therefore" conditional rather than a series of shorter "if...and" conditionals.

You are correct, the Book of Mormon passages in question constitute a single lengthy "if...therefore" conditional formulation rather than a series of shorter "if...and" conditionals and this pattern reflects a highly literal, albeit somewhat inaccurate reading of Hebrew grammar.

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We disagree.

I suspect not. It's probably simply a reflection of a poorly worded/incomplete response on my part.

I believe that the "if/then" conditionals in the Book of Mormon reflect a Hebraic background for the text. I also accept Chris' observation that the Book of Mormon frequently contains lengthy "run on" sentences with a multiplicity of conjunctions. Rather than accept Chris' proposal for this phenomenon, I believe that this matter is also a Hebraic feature behind the text, albeit a technically incorrect one. It's too literalistic and oftentimes an issue such as waw conversive appears in the Book of Mormon with a "conjunction" prior to the verb. In so doing, the Book of Mormon reflects the King James approach to Hebrew (in my estimate by divine intent), which is highly literalistic, albeit technically incorrect.

I'd have to take some more time to illustrate my points.

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You are correct, the Book of Mormon passages in question constitute a single lengthy "if...therefore" conditional formulation rather than a series of shorter "if...and" conditionals and this pattern reflects a highly literal, albeit somewhat inaccurate reading of Hebrew grammar.

Went over to check out the thread, and someone mentioned that the Book of Mormon was not written in Hebrew, it was written in Reformed Egyptian. Is the if/and construction a part of ancient Egyptian or "Reformed" Egyptian grammar?

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Went over to check out the thread, and someone mentioned that the Book of Mormon was not written in Hebrew, it was written in Reformed Egyptian. Is the if/and construction a part of ancient Egyptian or "Reformed" Egyptian grammar?

The standard view among Mormon scholars who have considered the nature of "reformed Egyptian" is that it refers to script, not to language.

There's a good brief treatment of "reformed Egyptian" here, with references for further reading:

http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Anachronisms/Reformed_Egyptian

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The standard view among Mormon scholars who have considered the nature of "reformed Egyptian" is that it refers to script, not to language.

There's a good brief treatment of "reformed Egyptian" here, with references for further reading:

http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Anachronisms/Reformed_Egyptian

Does the study of "reformed Egyptian" carry any attention and/or interest anywhere outside of the Church in the secular area of language or script study in any meaningful environment of academia?

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Does the study of "reformed Egyptian" carry any attention and/or interest anywhere outside of the Church in the secular area of language or script study in any meaningful environment of academia?

First, you are making the false assumption that interest "anywhere outside of the Church" would determine accuracy or relevance. Perhaps for you.

Non-Mormon scholars have discovered examples of Egyptian script depicting Hebrew or other Semetic languages in hybrid scripts that are theoretically similar to the Book of Mormon's reformed Egyptian. Examples of Egyptian/Semetic hybrid scripts and their sources include, but are not necessarily limited to, an Egyptian hieratic and demotic script[11], Byblos Syllabic texts (written on copper plates)[12], Cretan hieroglyphics [13], and Meroitic [14]. Non-Mormon scholars have deciphered an Aramaic version of Psalm 20:2-6 that was written in demotic Egyptian characters."[15] The joining of an Egyptian script with Hebrew scripture in this manner is similar to the claim of reformed Egyptian in the Book of Mormon.

11^ W. V. Davies, Egyptian Hieroglyphics (London: Trustees of the British Museum by British Museum Publications, 1987), 21

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I take that as a "no". Agree?

Dan, I don't mean to sound harsh, but do you actually read people's posts before you dismiss them? I realise it's possible that you do, but, in the several months you've been asking questions here, I've yet to see any evidence that this is the case.

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Oh dear. Against my better judgment, I actually read the thread on the other site. It was a bit like driving past a multi-car pile-up. Do you think anyone over there will actually point out to this Criddle guy that his supposed example of an if/and condtional from the writings of Sidney Rigdon is really just a classic if/then conditional with an elided 'then' followed by a coordinate clause? I find it fascinating that a man who apparently has attempted an 'academic' critique of Book of Mormon authorship is so unfamiliar with the nuts and bolts of language that he could make a mistake this painful.

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