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Lehi Naming Valleys and Streams After his Sons


Sargon

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The following is an old "bulls-eye" by Hugh Nibley that I found to be rather impressive from his book "An Approach to the Book of Mormon" that I've recently been browsing. A lot of really good stuff in those old materials. I'd like to present it here for discussion, specifically because I'm curious in how the dedicated skeptic interprets this phenomenon.

Sincerely,

Sargon

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=60&chapid=584#r37

Place-Names in the Desert

Lehi's intimacy with desert practices becomes apparent right at the outset of his journey, not only in the skillful way he managed things but also in the quaint and peculiar practices he observed, such as those applying to the naming of places in the desert.

The stream at which he made his first camp Lehi named after his eldest son; the valley, after his second son (1 Nephi 2:8 ). The oasis at which his party made their next important camp "we did call . . . Shazer" (1 Nephi 16:13). The fruitful land by the sea "we called Bountiful," while the sea itself "we called Irreantum" (1 Nephi 17:5).

By what right do these people rename streams and valleys to suit themselves? By the immemorial custom of the desert, to be sure. Among the laws "which no Bedouin would dream of transgressing," the first, according to Jennings-Bramley, is that "any water you may discover, either in your own or in the territory of another tribe, is named after you."38 So it happens that in Arabia a great wady (valley) will have different names at different points along its course, a respectable number of names being "all used for one and the same valley. . . . One and the same place may have several names, and the wady running close to the same, or the mountain connected with it, will naturally be called differently by different clans," according to Canaan, 39 who tells how the Arabs "often coin a new name for a locality for which they have never used a proper name, or whose name they do not know," the name given being usually that of some person.40

This confusing custom of renaming everything on the spot seems to go back to the earliest times, and "probably, as often as not, the Israelites named for themselves their own camps, or unconsciously confounded a native name in their carelessness."41 Yet in spite of its undoubted antiquity, only the most recent explorers have commented on this strange practice, which seems to have escaped the notice of travelers until explorers in our own times started to make official maps.

Even more whimsical and senseless to a westerner must appear the behavior of Lehi in naming a river after one son and its valley after another. But the Arabs don't think that way, for Thomas reports from the south country that "as is commonly the case in these mountains, the water bears a different name from the wadi."42 Likewise the Book of Mormon follows the Arabic system of designating Lehi's camp not by the name of the river by which it stood (for rivers may easily dry up), but rather by the name of the valley (1 Nephi 10:16; 16:6).

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Agreed!

I'm curious how Joseph, or Rigdon (or whoever wrote the Book of Mormon according to your preferred conspiracy theory) could have gotten so lucky as to include this little bit of ancient Arabian tradition. What insanity is this that Lehi should make up names for streams and valleys as he passes them? What part of 1820s American culture influenced Joseph to write that?

Lehi's practice of naming streams and valleys after his sons, right down to the way he does it, correlates to the time and place it claims to originate from. It seems hopeless that Joseph could have known about this ancient tradition, and it seems even more impossible that had Joseph intentionally done this he wouldn't have pointed it out as evidence at some point.

Seems like a bulls-eye to me.

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folks,

I'm naturally skeptical. Here's what it sounds like our lawyer friend (Nibley) is trying to negotiate part of a bull with me:

Affirming the consequent --

Example:

If it's raining then the streets are wet.

The streets are wet.

Therefore, it's raining.

Counter-Example:

If it's snowing then the streets will be covered with snow.

The streets are covered with snow.

Therefore, it's snowing.

Nibley appears to be trying to tell me this:

If {Lehi was a real, actual person who dwelt in the deserts of the Near East} then {he would exhibit a trait exclusive to Near-Eastern-desert-dwellers}.

One of many traits exclusive of the desert-dwellers of the Near East is that they would rename locations of water such as oases, rivers, streams, oceans and seas, whether they were in their own territory or another tribe's, after the one who finds it.

Lehi's company named places of/near water after themselves.

That proves that they were real Near-Eastern-desert-dwellers.

And that proves that the Book of Mormon is an authentic book about real people.

Let's look closer at that law --

"Among the laws "which no Bedouin would dream of transgressing," the first, according to Jennings-Bramley, is that "any water you may discover, either in your own or in the territory of another tribe, is named after you."

Logically we can therefore establish, based on a law which no bedouin would transgress, that bodies of water will be named after a person who discovers it --

* Father Lehi names a river after Laman. Laman is an established character in the Book of Mormon.

* Father Lehi names a valley after Lemuel. Lemual is an established character in the Book of Mormon.

* The group names an oasis after Shazer. There is no character in the Book of Mormon named "Shazer".

* The group names the ocean after Irreantum. There is no character in the Book of Mormon named "Irreantum".

* The group names the land by the seashore after Bountiful. There is no character in the Book of Mormon named "Bountiful".

You'll notice that Nibley is very selective in the "any bodies of water" conversion. In the leading part of the paragraph he lists the five renamed bodies of water/near-a-body-of-water, but after telling us that the "law" is in reference to "any" bodies of water, not just 2/5 of the types he later refers to by mentioning the river & valley. He didn't address the other 3.

Problems:

* The Book of Mormon does not establish that Laban discovered the river. This would only work if Laban actually did discover it, according to the 'law'. It can only be inferred.

* The Book of Mormon does not establish that Lemuel discovered the valley. This would only work if Lemuel actually did discover it, according to the 'law'. It can only be inferred.

* The Book of Mormon does not explain who Shazer is from Lehi's party. Unless someone named "Shazer" is part of their group and discovered the oasis then they're breaking the law.

* The Book of Mormon does not explain who Irreantum is from Lehi's party. Unless someone named "Irreantum" is part of their group and discovered the oasis then they're breaking the law.

* The Book of Mormon does not explain who Bountiful is from Lehi's party. Unless someone named "Bountiful" is part of their group and discovered the oasis then they're breaking the law.

* Are there rivers and valleys across the world completely removed from Near-East cultures that also have different names? Is this truly an exclusive bulls-eye trait identifying a Near-Eastern-desert-dweller, or does it happen around the world, and in fictional books even by accident?

I don't think the burden of proof has been fulfilled by Nibley's argument, especially in light of where these supposed Near-Eastern-desert-dwellers either didn't follow the dare-not-be-transgressed law of naming water after a person who discovered it, or once again the Book of Mormon hides specific, critical, confirmatory material from us (the reader). I remain therefore unconvinced.

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>Dougthehutt pure and simple, it is a bulls eye. Although you may be unconvinced it appears you are looking (desperately) for reasons to fault an expert in this area. Irreantum, Shazer and Bountiful are not named after people probably because the more things you name after people cheapens the naming of them. If you stick to the the two oldest it honors them and sends a message at the same time. If Lehi named a place after each child it would become not such a big deal.

The other names are also appropriately named after their meanings (Shazer, place of many trees etc). There is not a rule that he has to name them after every child).

You may be unconvinced but there is no way Joseph could have known any of this in 1830, therefore bullseye.

This is only one of many things Joseph just happened to get lucky on (me thinks inspiration is more likely the answer than luck).

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>Dougthehutt pure and simple, it is a bulls eye. Although you may be unconvinced it appears you are looking (desperately) for reasons to fault an expert in this area. Irreantum, Shazer and Bountiful are not named after people probably because the more things you name after people cheapens the naming of them. If you stick to the the two oldest it honors them and sends a message at the same time. If Lehi named a place after each child it would become not such a big deal.

The other names are also appropriately named after their meanings (Shazer, place of many trees etc). There is not a rule that he has to name them after every child).

You may be unconvinced but there is no way Joseph could have known any of this in 1830, therefore bullseye.

This is only one of many things Joseph just happened to get lucky on (me thinks inspiration is more likely the answer than luck).

Then why isn't The Book of Mormon consistent with its use of this practice?

And was Nibley implying that Lehi was a Bedouin, per Nibley's habit of looking anywhere and everywhere for parallels between The Book of Mormon and people of an entirely different culture? Isn't the more pertinent question whether Hebrews around 600 B.C. followed this practice, since Lehi is not generally purported to have been a Bedouin?

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>Dougthehutt pure and simple, it is a bulls eye. Although you may be unconvinced it appears you are looking (desperately) for reasons to fault an expert in this area. Irreantum, Shazer and Bountiful are not named after people probably because the more things you name after people cheapens the naming of them. If you stick to the the two oldest it honors them and sends a message at the same time. If Lehi named a place after each child it would become not such a big deal.

The other names are also appropriately named after their meanings (Shazer, place of many trees etc). There is not a rule that he has to name them after every child).

You may be unconvinced but there is no way Joseph could have known any of this in 1830, therefore bullseye.

This is only one of many things Joseph just happened to get lucky on (me thinks inspiration is more likely the answer than luck).

Anjien,

It's not pure, it's not simple and it's not a bulls eye. I thought my response was a thoughtful, reasonable analysis, not the 'desperate' characterization you try to paint me with. I merely pointed out that:

1. Nibley's argument isn't supported by the specific details from within his own argument.

2. The assertion that his argument is a bulls-eye appears to be more from this compulsion to legiti-mate the Book of Mormon by finding new & whimsical indirect plausibilities and weird authentic-by-association type of arguments rather than straightforward affirmative supporting empirical evidence. We don't need to look inside obscure supposed cultural traits from a group of sheepherders to prove that the Romans or the Huns existed -- they're self evident. When it comes to proving the reality of Book of Mormon societies all these arguments just seem like needy stretches of the imagination.

3. You made an appeal to authority. The person it comes from isn't relevant -- it's his technique. In this case it was Nibley's convenient selectivity on one hand and slight thereof on the other that I don't agree with.

4. I don't mind good apologetic arguments but bad ones need to be seen in their true light. This one by Nibley IMHO isn't very useful and feels more like a shell game than any sort of successful strike.

5. The "Shazer" hit is one of these too-many-results-returned issues that makes one question his technique. Is it shajer? Sajur? Shaghur(really? that's a word? That sounds way too Austin-Powersish)? Segor? Shisur? Shisar? Wadi Sharma? When you have so many plausible hits it calls into question the method that was used which resulted in all these "hits".

6. Irreantum? What language does that even belong to? Sounds sort of curelomish to me. Expert witness anyone?

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I agree somewhat with Doug and Darth J, IMHO Nibley did overemphasize Bedouin parallels to the city-dweller Lehi.

The chances of Lehi knowing the 'law of the desert' are quite slim.

I propose a different intepretation.

The people of the Ancient Near East were of a very poetic mindset. Not only were words extremely important, but so were their meaning, their relation to other words and events, their placing, their rhythm, their cadence, their sound. This is one of the reasons for the very baroque formulations found in the Bible.

Jacob, when complaining, complained in verse. When in grief, also.

Names and nicknames abound.

One of the most important aspects of words were cursing and blessing.

Balaam is a classic example of the power cursing had in the eyes of the ANE, a tradition which flared up as recently as the Gulf War, when Iraq and Saudi Arabia engaged in a bitter poetry duel over the radio.

The same tradition was used for cursing, that is, the flipside of the coin.

Lehi not only bestowed upon his two eldest sons the great honour of naming a place after them (a toponym ensured a memorial for one's name, as the ANE had long memories when it came to those) but bestowed upon them a blesing. There is a precedent for this sort of thing in the psalms. Interestingly enough, according to Nahum Sarna, psalms began to play a vital part in common religion a few generations prior to the BoM.

In Psalm 92:12-14 the righteous is described as a palm that flourishes, as a mighty cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the court of the temple shall bring forth fruit. In the first psalm we read blessed is the man who etc., etc., for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, not fearing drought.

Lehi is exhorting his sons to be like the objects he has named after them for their symbolic virtues.

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2. The assertion that his argument is a bulls-eye appears to be more from this compulsion to legiti-mate the Book of Mormon by finding new & whimsical indirect plausibilities and weird authentic-by-association type of arguments rather than straightforward affirmative supporting empirical evidence. We don't need to look inside obscure supposed cultural traits from a group of sheepherders to prove that the Romans or the Huns existed -- they're self evident. When it comes to proving the reality of Book of Mormon societies all these arguments just seem like needy stretches of the imagination.

You have missed the point. We aren't trying to prove that Romans or Huns existed, we are trying to see if a record purporting to be from a certain time and place matches what is know about said time and place. In other words we are examining the cultural traits of the Romans and the shepherds, to see if the shepherds were from a Roman background.

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Isn't the more pertinent question whether Hebrews around 600 B.C. followed this practice, since Lehi is not generally purported to have been a Bedouin?

It doesn't matter. If there were valleys and rivers there, then they would have had names used by the caravans that went through and used them, and these caravans would not defer to Lehi's names for them. Lehi was just passing through, and the names he chose were so he could keep everything straight in his own records. Name it and claim it. Blab it and grab it.

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5. The "Shazer" hit is one of these too-many-results-returned issues that makes one question his technique. Is it shajer? Sajur? Shaghur(really? that's a word? That sounds way too Austin-Powersish)? Segor? Shisur? Shisar? Wadi Sharma? When you have so many plausible hits it calls into question the method that was used which resulted in all these "hits".

Shazer is perfectly understandable as a Biblical Hebrew word meaning 'entwined' or 'woven'. It is the term for one of the textile types used in constructing the Tabernacle, so it would seem that Lehi and co. named their camp after their tents.

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Shazer is perfectly understandable as a Biblical Hebrew word meaning 'entwined' or 'woven'. It is the term for one of the textile types used in constructing the Tabernacle, so it would seem that Lehi and co. named their camp after their tents.

heya Volgadon,

Okay, Shazer means something in Hebrew. Is the bullseye because that word could only possibly exist in the Book of Mormon because it's about real Hebrews, who really existed? Or is it possible that the 19th century author of the Book of Mormon used surnames, placenames, oral stories, written stories, the King James Bible and other spiritual lessons from his own experience as source material for the Book of Mormon? Let's just stick with Shazer since the rest of that would require its own thread.

Q: Was the name "Shazer" or variations thereof found in America during the early 19th century?

*drumroll*

A: YES it was!

Using Familysearch.org I quickly discover that "Shazer" is a surname found in the USA during and after Joseph Smith's life:

1. go here: http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Search/frameset_search.asp

2. enter "Shazer", and "United States"

3. you'll quickly discover that Shazers and phonetic equivalents have been around the USA for years, even back in the 1820s and before.

4. you'll also recall that America is a land of immigrants where Shazers and Smiths and Joneses and Franklins and Johnsons and every name in the world have been making places in communities for 400 years.

I think a reasonable person would have to agree that finding names with Hebrew roots in the Book of Mormon does not necessarily authenticate it as being a book of ancient Hebrew origin because doing so has to ignore the fact that the names/words in question are found in the culture where a 19th century writer could draw upon. This gets especially difficult for the side arguing that the Book of Mormon is about real ancient people when we bring Vernal Holley's map back into the picture and discover that, yes, once again the names found in the book can be explained as contemporary borrowings from 19th century American culture and Shazer fits that pattern just like the others do. Which is truly more likely?

Details: Shazer --

Here's a "Shazer" from Suffolk, Massachusetts in the 1800 census -- didn't Joseph spend time recuperating from surgery in Massachusetts? (yes, with Uncle Jesse in Salem, Mass. -- timeline):

http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?cj=1&ti=0&submit.y=14&submit.x=48&server=search&rank=0&databaseid=7590&pcc=2&type=p&gsln=Shazer&title=1800+U.S.+Federal+Census&db=1800usfedcenancestry&o_xid=0002530106&o_lid=0002530106

Here's a boatload (no offense to immigrants) of DeShazers from the 1800's:

http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?cj=1&sid=ManilaSearch&starttree.y=18&starttree.x=49&gsln=DeShazer&mst=1&msav=0&gss=ms_f-2&new=1&gl=ROOT_CATEGORY&so=3&rank=1&o_xid=0002530104&o_lid=0002530104

Here's mention of a George Shazer involved in some Indian treaty December 26, 1854:

http://www.accessgenealogy.com/scripts/data/database.cgi?file=Data&report=SingleArticle&ArticleID=0040229

He also apparently built roads in Washington:

http://www.accessgenealogy.com/scripts/data/database.cgi?file=Data&report=SingleArticle&ArticleID=0045229

Here's a black "Shazer" from Joseph Smith's era:

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/search/Census/individual_record.asp?indi_code=1880US_13825928_1&lds=5&region=0&regionfriendly=1880+US+Census&frompage=99

Here's a white "Shaser" again from the decade after Joseph's era (1855):

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/search/Census/individual_record.asp?indi_code=1880US_4148309_0&lds=5&region=0&regionfriendly=1880+US+Census&frompage=99

Here's a white "Shazier" born in 1822:

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/search/Census/individual_record.asp?indi_code=1880US_12611282_0&lds=5&region=0&regionfriendly=1880+US+Census&frompage=99

Here's a Prussian woman born in 1829 named "Sheser":

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/search/Census/individual_record.asp?indi_code=1880US_8123141_4&lds=5&region=0&regionfriendly=1880+US+Census&frompage=99

Here's a Swiss woman born in 1838 named "Shaser":

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/search/Census/individual_record.asp?indi_code=1880US_8129477_1&lds=5&region=0&regionfriendly=1880+US+Census&frompage=99

Here's a Swiss man born in 1825 named "Shaser":

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/search/Census/individual_record.asp?INDI_CODE=1880US_8129477_0&frompage=99

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heya Volgadon,

Okay, Shazer means something in Hebrew. Is the bullseye because that word could only possibly exist in the Book of Mormon because it's about real Hebrews, who really existed? Or is it possible that the 19th century author of the Book of Mormon used surnames, placenames, oral stories, written stories, the King James Bible and other spiritual lessons from his own experience as source material for the Book of Mormon? Let's just stick with Shazer since the rest of that would require its own thread.

I never used the term bullseye with Shazer. It is not proof, but it is good evidence. It is a word found in Bilical Hebrew, a word which fits the context. As for your Shazers, you have yet to provide any evidence that Joseph knew of them.

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I never used the term bullseye with Shazer. It is not proof, but it is good evidence. It is a word found in Bilical Hebrew, a word which fits the context. As for your Shazers, you have yet to provide any evidence that Joseph knew of them.

Or that, even if it could be established that he did or it were at least plausible that he did, why it should make a bit of difference. Shazer is sufficiently obscure in the Bible that he wouldn't necessarily connect the name of a MA neighbor of an uncle to a quasibiblical novel he was working on . . . or even Rigdon or somebody else was working on if that floats your boat.

That I know a Louise doesn't mean I was thinking of her when I played Fuer Elise on my well-tempered clavicord.

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Or that, even if it could be established that he did or it were at least plausible that he did, why it should make a bit of difference. Shazer is sufficiently obscure in the Bible that he wouldn't necessarily connect the name of a MA neighbor of an uncle to a quasibiblical novel he was working on . . . or even Rigdon or somebody else was working on if that floats your boat.

Excellent point. Shazer does not appear in the KJV.

That I know a Louise doesn't mean I was thinking of her when I played Fuer Elise on my well-tempered clavicord.

:P

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I never used the term bullseye with Shazer. It is not proof, but it is good evidence. It is a word found in Biblical Hebrew, a word which fits the context. As for your Shazers, you have yet to provide any evidence that Joseph knew of them.

Okay, fair enough that you're not drawing the bullseye on Shazer. It's interesting circumstantial evidence than can be explained in more than one way -- legitimately rooted from ancient Hebrew writings or borrowed from the community of his time.

As far as proving that Joseph Smith Jr., or the 19th century author(s), hearing the name of any particular name in their early life would be impossible.

Hmmm...found something interesting.

Joseph Smith stayed in Salem, Massachusetts during his recuperation from leg scraping surgery. And being the Midwestern American Redneck with pickups, guns and Google that I am, who's never been to the East Coast I've now discovered that Salem is a mere 15.63 miles from Boston(Suffolk County). Did he cross paths with, hear mentioned or read about the family of Shazers from Suffolk County during his few month stay in Mass. (refer back to the urls I posted & see the 'Suffolk' refernce)? Was the name in a history book? Was it the name of a shopkeeper or friend? The possibility certainly exists. Nothing concrete, just kind of interesting.

OTOH how does the challenge of needing to prove that he knew someone named Shazer really look? Can you prove that I know anyone or have heard any particular name? Without me disclosing the bazillions of names & people I've met over the last __ years how would you establish something like that on me? I don't think you could ever prove something like that, and yet I do manage to quietly, secretly, carry around in my brain oodles of data among which are names, places, idea, things I've heard, etc. That challenge kind of goes like: unless person X knows a person named Y they could not have come across the name Y in any other venue. You know, I don't personally know anyone named "Fudpucker", but I have seen a "Tucker T. Fudpucker" in the phone book years ago (I swear on a stack of Bibles that we did come across that name in the phone book; made me lmao -- who would burden their child with that name??). I'm not saying that Joseph personally knew a person named Shazer or even had to know them. All that's required is that he encounters the name through discourse, or reading, or other mundane ways. For that reason I don't think it's necessary to make such a profound, direct, in-your-face connection when a peripheral connection a-la-Mr.-Fudpucker is all that's needed. Same goes for the long list of other names found in the Book of Mormon (see Vernal Holley's map for other considerations).

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It doesn't matter. If there were valleys and rivers there, then they would have had names used by the caravans that went through and used them, and these caravans would not defer to Lehi's names for them. Lehi was just passing through, and the names he chose were so he could keep everything straight in his own records. Name it and claim it. Blab it and grab it.

No, the place names remaining there is not the point. The question is why would a Bedouin custom for naming places be circumstantial evidence for The Book of Mormon when Lehi was not a Bedouin.

But it isn't as if apologists have been looking for anything as circumstantial evidence, no matter how irrelevant, is it? Well, yes. Yes they have. Like trying to say Machu Picchu is circumstantial evidence for The Book of Mormon:

Similarly, the city of Macchu Picchu has been used countless times as an example of Nephite workmanship but is rarely identified as having been built by the Incas, who flourished during the late fifteenth century, a full one thousand years after the time of Mormon and Moroni.

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/025-10-15.pdf

Okay, but the Church itself would never publish an edition of The Book of Mormon with photos of various South American archaeological relics, including a picture of Machu Picchu, implying that Machu Picchu is evidence of The Book of Mormon, would it? Well, yes. Yes it did. I need to borrow my friend's copy of this edition so I can scan this all for you, but I'm sure many of you have seen it. It's a circa 1981 edition.

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Joseph Smith stayed in Salem, Massachusetts during his recuperation from leg scraping surgery. ... Was the name in a history book? Was it the name of a shopkeeper or friend? The possibility certainly exists.

The leg operation was when Joseph was eight years old. He was in a great deal of pain for much of that time, and in bed, not hanging out at the local pub.

I tried to duplicate your search for the name "shazar" in family search and could not find any more than one person with that name in the early XIX. He was not in Massachusetts, he was in Kentucky.

On the other hand, the word "shazar" does mean "seepings" in Hebrew, and that is what Lehi's family would have needed: a place with water.

Your argument is flimsy, at best, and your counter argument is pathetic.

Lehi

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The question is why would a Bedouin custom for naming places be circumstantial evidence for The Book of Mormon when Lehi was not a Bedouin.

How do you know he was not?

It is possible that he was. Nibley made a reasonable case for the proposition.

Even if he was not a Bedouin, he was a Jew (politically), and he was very familiar with the habits of the "national hero", the wandering, camel driving/riding desert dweller.

Just as (until recently) the cowboy was the USmerican national hero, the one every child dreamed of being. Lehi would have known the concept. He was an educated man, and wealthy. There is little doubt he would have done exactly as Nephi records his doing. And the customs of the nomads of his day wold have been those he'd have followed in his trek.

One thing is for certain: Neither Joseph Smith nor any XIX USmerican would have known about the naming conventions of the Semites of the vii/vi. Yet we have just what should be in the account, just where it should be.

Lehi

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Hello Doug the Hutt. Thanks for responding. As my opening post said I was especially hoping that a dedicated critic would comment on this. You wonderfully did exactly what I was hoping someone would do...force us to reexamine and dig a little deeper just in case.

So here are my comments:

(1) Neither me, Nibley, or anyone else has suggested that this information constitutes proof of anything. Nevertheless, you have misinterpreted Nibley's argument as an attempt to "proves that the Book of Mormon is an authentic book about real people." I certainly claim no such thing and neither did Nibley. What I claim is that this constitutes evidence.

(2) I'm not sure Nibley was using the word "law" in the sense that you seem to be using it. It seems to me that it is just a custom or a cultural tradition. So it isn't as if Lehi was breaking the law of the land, and the police were going to come after him, if he didn't name every body of water he came across "Lehi."

(3) As others have alluded to, Nibley's idea that Lehi was a Bedouin hasn't really caught on. So we can let Lehi off the hook a little if he isn't following the traditions of the desert to a T. Early in their journey he seems to respect the custom by naming the stream and valley after his sons, and poetically infusing it with meaning, but years later on the other side of the peninsula he apparently lost interest. No big deal.

(4) I think you may be stretching a little too much in your points about how Laman and Lemuel may not be the actual "discoverers" of the stream and valley. They were members of the traveling party who came across them, and thus they are among the discoverers. But it doesn't stop there. Lehi named the stream one thing, and the valley the stream was in something else. Sure, this may not be mind-boggling but it is the right thing in the right place at the right time.

This is a bit of evidence for the Book of Mormon. It is a bulls-eye. It isn't proof, but it is evidence.

(5) What we have here is Lehi doing something strange that fits both the time and the place that it claims for itself. It was a desert custom to name bodies of water, valleys, etc as you pass by them. Lehi did that. Furthermore, they were named after members of the discovering party. Furthermore,

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How do you know he was not?

It is possible that he was. Nibley made a reasonable case for the proposition.

Lehi in the Desert is not one of Nibley's better works. He overstates his case, possibly due to the romance of the desert.There are plenty of indications that he wasnt a Bedouin. He lived in or near Jerusalem, in a house, so that makes him a city dweller. he also had a lot of possesions he had to leave behind in order to flee into the desert, indicating a sedentary lifestyle, whereas a bedouin's possesions are what he can take with him in a hurry. There was a very strong divide between city dwellers and desert ones. There was a strong sense of mutual distrust and misunderstanding, as well as a sense of superiority.

The Lord has to give them specific instructions in things desert adepts would not think twice about. When not to light fires is one example.

Even if he was not a Bedouin, he was a Jew (politically), and he was very familiar with the habits of the "national hero", the wandering, camel driving/riding desert dweller.

Not the very detailed things that Nibley brought up.

Just as (until recently) the cowboy was the USmerican national hero, the one every child dreamed of being. Lehi would have known the concept.

But not the detailed lifestyle.

He was an educated man, and wealthy.

And as such would not have been caught dead playing at Bedouins.

There is little doubt he would have done exactly as Nephi records his doing. And the customs of the nomads of his day wold have been those he'd have followed in his trek.

Why would he have known them?

One thing is for certain: Neither Joseph Smith nor any XIX USmerican would have known about the naming conventions of the Semites of the vii/vi. Yet we have just what should be in the account, just where it should be.

Lehi

Doug and Darth J are right, Nibley's source doesnn't say what Nibley does.

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How do you know he was not?

For more on arguing from ignorance, see: http://www.fallacyfi...g/ignorant.html

I don't know he wasn't a Martian, either. Maybe we should look at some of NASA data from the Mars rover to see what that can tell us.

It is possible that he was. Nibley made a reasonable case for the proposition.

It is possible that he was Chinese. I bet Nibley could have found some parallels between The Book of Mormon and Chinese culture if he had tried. By the way, a series of mounting speculation and assumption is not "a reasonable case."

Even if he was not a Bedouin, he was a Jew (politically), and he was very familiar with the habits of the "national hero", the wandering, camel driving/riding desert dweller.

Just as (until recently) the cowboy was the USmerican national hero, the one every child dreamed of being. Lehi would have known the concept. He was an educated man, and wealthy. There is little doubt he would have done exactly as Nephi records his doing. And the customs of the nomads of his day wold have been those he'd have followed in his trek.

My favorite thing about building a house of cards is how easy it is to stack more cards when you have a good foundation of speculation and assumption to start with.

Cowboys were national heroes in the U.S. That's why I eat dinner from a chuck wagon and use a branding iron to identify my car. If you're aware of a cultural existing, it naturally follows that you will adopt its memes.

Of course, a lot of what we "know" about cowboys and try to pantomime in some way or other is folklore and myth, whereas you are trying to draw a parallel between Lehi and actual, real Bedouin habits, but your example sort of runs into a brick wall right there, so maybe we should just leave it.

It's also well known, of course, that the Bedouins were the national heroes of the Jews/Hebrews. :P So it logically follows that if Lehi was aware that Bedouins existed, he was intimately familiar with their cultural practices and would copy them, instead of the culture in which he was born and lived through adulthood and raising a family.

One thing is for certain: Neither Joseph Smith nor any XIX USmerican would have known about the naming conventions of the Semites of the vii/vi. Yet we have just what should be in the account, just where it should be.

Oh, now we're expanding Nibley's parallelism from Bedouins to "Semites." Well, don't stop there. Let's look for parallels in "Asia." Or what about the Eastern Hemisphere?

Yet we have just what should be in the account, just where it should be.

Why isn't this "just what should be in the account just where it should be" consistent in The Book of Mormon, again? And doesn't fit the custom Nibley described? Well, things get a little vague there.

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