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David Bokovoy

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It's amazing how perfectly the Book of Mormon from start to finish adopts this obscure biblical motif. And trust me, in the classic words of the Carpenters, "We've only just begun"!

Fascinating post and good to see you!

I have seen the BOM for 30 years, frankly, as inspired, but without any evidence or support for its Hebrew origins, and it has not bothered me, but the work you and others have done is just amazing in this regard- thanks!

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Fascinating post and good to see you!

I have seen the BOM for 30 years, frankly, as inspired, but without any evidence or support for its Hebrew origins, and it has not bothered me, but the work you and others have done is just amazing in this regard- thanks!

Thanks so much. I'm really looking forward to the FAIR Conference. This is just a very small taste of the really, really profound temple/divine council imagery I'm putting together for a forthcoming Sperry symposium on 1 Nephi 11 (unfortunately, I'm only going to be able to touch briefly on it at FAIR). I've been working on this paper for quite sometime and it's turning out, at least from my perspective, to represent one of the most exciting insights I've ever gained into the Book of Mormon.

Really looking forward to sharing with others.

Best,

--DB

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Glad to see your hiatus wasn't permanent. :P

This is interesting stuff, and IMO one of the most impressive evidences for the historicity of the Book of Mormon that I've seen. 1 Nephi 11 is an amazing view of how such an ancient Israelite narrative might be presented through a 19th century Christian lens. As you and others have pointed out, the motifs are there, yet they're presented through a much-later Christian paradigm.

Here's an open question, though: why does the angel of the Lord replace the Spirit of the Lord after the vision is opened to Nephi?

In v.11, Nephi is careful to explain that, although it's the Spirit of the Lord, it appears to him in the form of a man; the Spirit of the Lord asks Nephi what he desires, Nephi tells the Spirit, and the Spirit of the Lord opens the vision (v. 10-11); in v. 12, the Spirit leaves, and in v. 14, an angel descends.

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Glad to see your hiatus wasn't permanent. :P

This is interesting stuff, and IMO one of the most impressive evidences for the historicity of the Book of Mormon that I've seen. 1 Nephi 11 is an amazing view of how such an ancient Israelite narrative might be presented through a 19th century Christian lens. As you and others have pointed out, the motifs are there, yet they're presented through a much-later Christian paradigm.

Here's an open question, though: why does the angel of the Lord replace the Spirit of the Lord after the vision is opened to Nephi?

In v.11, Nephi is careful to explain that, although it's the Spirit of the Lord, it appears to him in the form of a man; the Spirit of the Lord asks Nephi what he desires, Nephi tells the Spirit, and the Spirit of the Lord opens the vision (v. 10-11); in v. 12, the Spirit leaves, and in v. 14, an angel descends.

Hey Joseph,

That's a great question. Suffice it to say that in these types of celestial ascents, the mystics were quite frequently assisted by different psychopomps. In my mind, the identify of the

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Your parallelisms with the BofM don't have to stop there. Near Tabriz which some consider the Garden of Eden sits Mt. Sahand which is also considered the sacred mountain mentioned in context of the Garden of Eden where Ezekiel identifies the Garden of Eden with the "holy mountain of God," covered with jewels and precious stones (Ezekiel 28:13-14). How salient would the point be in paralleling Olympus with that of the sacred mountain?

In any case, I can sense your enthusiasm and look forward to your presentation. (Lack of $ not withstanding...)

Excellent, Ron. Have you by an chance read R.J. Clifford's, The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the Old Testament? It's an outstanding resource for this topic.

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Here's an open question, though: why does the angel of the Lord replace the Spirit of the Lord after the vision is opened to Nephi?

Could it be that the Spirit of the Lord is just another name for an Angel of the Lord? I recall a title for God (at least in Enochic literature) as being the Lord of Spirits, and in Revelation, there are many references to the '7 Spirits', which may have had a connection to the concept of archangels as representative aspects of the Lord.

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Here's an open question, though: why does the angel of the Lord replace the Spirit of the Lord after the vision is opened to Nephi?

In v.11, Nephi is careful to explain that, although it's the Spirit of the Lord, it appears to him in the form of a man; the Spirit of the Lord asks Nephi what he desires, Nephi tells the Spirit, and the Spirit of the Lord opens the vision (v. 10-11); in v. 12, the Spirit leaves, and in v. 14, an angel descends.

An interesting suggestion was footnoted in a paper published some time ago in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.

It also seems likely that the reason for the change in escorts from the Spirit of the Lord to the angel is that the Spirit of the Lord was in reality Christ in the premortal state. Having carried Nephi to the mountain top and introduced him to the beginning of the vision, the Spirit of the Lord disappeared just prior to Nephi's beholding the birth of the Savior. This may have been done to impress upon Nephi the identity of the Spirit of the Lord as that same child that Nephi witnessed being born in the vision. For Nephi to have simultaneously seen both the premortal Messiah by his side and the Son of God being born in the vision could have led to needless confusion over the issue.

Here is the link to the article:

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=2&num=2&id=30

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

P.S. Awesome work as usual, David!

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An interesting suggestion was footnoted in a paper published some time ago in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.

Here is the link to the article:

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=2&num=2&id=30

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

P.S. Awesome work as usual, David!

Ohh, that's interesting! Thanks for drawing this article to our attention. I think I recall reading this at the time, but if so, I'd clearly forgotten the proposal. Perhaps the ambiguity in the text is intentional, so that as symbols, the spiritual guides could be associated with either Christ and/or the Holy Ghost and their respective roles. This would allow for multiple doctrinal truths to be expressed in the vision depending upon one's perspective while reading and/or experiencing the account.

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This would allow for multiple doctrinal truths to be expressed in the vision depending upon one's perspective while reading and/or experiencing the account.

I think this observation is interesting in that it provides at least some basis to counter the predominant (though by no means universal) LDS view that Nephi's first guide is the one scriptural instance of the Holy Ghost appearing in the form of a man.

I am all in favor of allowing scriptural presentations to convey "multiple doctrinal truths," as you suggest.

Regardless of what the "guide-shift" means, it seems clearly to have meant "something" in the mind of the author.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Could it be that the Spirit of the Lord is just another name for an Angel of the Lord? I recall a title for God (at least in Enochic literature) as being the Lord of Spirits, and in Revelation, there are many references to the '7 Spirits', which may have had a connection to the concept of archangels as representative aspects of the Lord.

It's certainly possible. I've tried to make this proposal work as well. I get stuck on the fact, however, that one would have to explain not only the reason for the change in title, but also identify the reason why the Spirit left and then immediately returned.

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And of course there is a similar question raised in the story of Jacob in the OT- with whom did he really "wrestle"?

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Thanks for the crib notes! I always worry about passing the test after the lecture. Last year I didn't get any lunch.

I think the OT is little but a collection of really creepy stories for modern readers without the ascension motifs. I feel really fortunate to have been taught about covenant lawsuits by James Sanders and the OT came together for me after that.

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Excellent, Ron. Have you by an chance read R.J. Clifford's, The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the Old Testament? It's an outstanding resource for this topic.

Strangely, I was just looking through it. I agree. Its excellent.

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Thanks for the crib notes! I always worry about passing the test after the lecture. Last year I didn't get any lunch.

I think the OT is little but a collection of really creepy stories for modern readers without the ascension motifs. I feel really fortunate to have been taught about covenant lawsuits by James Sanders and the OT came together for me after that.

There's a great book out there that discusses the gibberish of OT as well as other ancient writings: "When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth" by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, Paul T. Barber . They write,

The problem lies not in differing intelligence but in differing resources for the storage and transmission of data. Quite simply, before writing, myths had to serve as transmission systems for information deemed important; but because we--now that we have writing--have forgotten how nonliterate people stored and transmitted information and why it was done that way, we have lost track of how to decode the information often densely compressed into these stories, and they appear to us as mostly gibberish. And so we often dismiss them as silly or try to reinterpret them with psychobabble. As folklorist Adrienne Mayor points out, classicists in particular "tend to read myth as fictional literature, not as natural history" [Mayor 2000b, 192]--not least because humanists typically don't study sciences like geology, palaeontology, and astronomy, and so don't recognize the data.

In order to understand how and why myths were constructed to encode real and important data, we must come to understand the possibilities--and hazards--for the collection, processing, and transmission of information in nonliterate societies. Just how much can you keep in your head? Simply put, writing allows people to stockpile data in masses that are not possible when one must rely on memory alone, and it allows people to transmit as much as they want--without much compression--to future generations. Conversely, without writing, people had both to winnow out the key information, presumably according to perceived importance, and to compress it by any means possible until it fit into the available channel: human memory. We have come to term this overarching problem the Memory Crunch.

Therefore, the ancients while seemingly incoherent or ridiculously superstitious were actually using a language system totally different than our own. The one thing we need in understanding the OT as well as ancient myth is a cognition suited not to our own century, but one of three thousand years ago.

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Thanks for the crib notes! I always worry about passing the test after the lecture. Last year I didn't get any lunch.

Wow! Now I knew Mike Ash was strict but I had no idea. Thanks for the head's up. I'll make sure to bring some Excedrin so that I don't ever accidently dose off.

I think the OT is little but a collection of really creepy stories for modern readers without the ascension motifs.

There's no doubt some "creepiness" going on. I've just got to get you into one of my classes so I can show you how I've come to appreciate the creepy.

I feel really fortunate to have been taught about covenant lawsuits by James Sanders and the OT came together for me after that.

I'm with you. I'm convinced covenant lawsuits and the invocation of the council as witnesses is one of the single most important concepts to grasp in order to understand the Old Testament. This background really makes the the Prophetic writings come alive.

Best,

--DB

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One of the fun parts about this text from the Book of Mormon that depicts Nephi's journey into the heavenly temple/setting for the divine council is that of course the account parallels many ancient traditions.

The ancient Mesopotamian myth of Adapa, for instance, describes the heavenly ascent of the famous priestly sage into the presence of Anu, the head god of the assembly. According to the myth, the god Ea had bestowed great wisdom upon Adapa and attempted to prepare the mortal man to pass by the sentinels Dumuzi and Gizzida by providing Adapa with the guardians

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One of the fun parts about this text from the Book of Mormon that depicts Nephi's journey into the heavenly temple/setting for the divine council is that of course the account parallels many ancient traditions.

The ancient Mesopotamian myth of Adapa, for instance, describes the heavenly ascent of the famous priestly sage into the presence of Anu, the head god of the assembly. According to the myth, the god Ea had bestowed great wisdom upon Adapa and attempted to prepare the mortal man to pass by the sentinels Dumuzi and Gizzida by providing Adapa with the guardians

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Though each account of course has its own unique qualities, in my mind, Adapa's question and answer exchange with the divine sentinels Dumuzi and Gizzida mirrors the ultimate purpose for Nephi's interactions with the Spirit of the Lord on the exceedingly high "council" mountain.

Wow.

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