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Deuteronomists


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All,

Joseph Smith taught us that there were many unauthorized changes made in the Bible. Were the Deuteronomists authorized or unauthorized?

Perhaps they were an apostasy away from the true faith,

which acknowledged many gods, immersion baptism in the name

of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, etc. ????

The Bible of Jeremiah's associates had no such Christian baptism

for Father Adam --- Joseph Smith in 1831-32 finally corrected that

devilish editorial deletion of the Great and Abominable Church.

If the Deuteronomists removed Father Adam's Christian immersion,

then they must have been part of the Great and Abominable Church.

Correct?

UD

.

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Perhaps a bit from column a and a bit from column b? <g>

The Book of Mormon seems to reflect the Proto-D text, as seen in how Proto-D texts such as Deut 17 and 18 are used directly and indirectly (e.g., 1 Nephi 18; Jacob 2; the condemnation of King Noah), but does not reflect the later material in the Book of Deuteronomy post-Josiah's Reform. This is an area that, I think, needs to be researched more, as it holds, IMO, a lot of potential for Book of Mormon studies, exegesis, and using the Book of Mormon in biblical textual criticism. I am sure some would argue that the elements in Deuteronomy and Deuteronomic history not reflected in the Book of Mormon (invisible God among other things such as festivals and the like, as discussed by Barker et al) were not authorised and the like.

Dan Peterson, in his essay on Asherah in Mormons, Scripture, and the Ancient World (FARMS: 1998) holds to the view that the changes to the texts by the Deuteronomists were correct due to syncreticism, but I think some other LDS (IIRC, Kevin Christensen) don't hold to such a view.

Some random thoughts.

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Dan Peterson, in his essay on Asherah in Mormons, Scripture, and the Ancient World (FARMS: 1998) holds to the view that the changes to the texts by the Deuteronomists were correct due to syncreticism, but I think some other LDS (IIRC, Kevin Christensen) don't hold to such a view.

I believe he made a later comment that he changed his mind after further research (IIRC, things like Margaret Barker's books and others which suggest that the Deuteronomists "de-Christianized" and de-anthropomorphized the Israelite conception of deity.

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I believe he made a later comment that he changed his mind after further research (IIRC, things like Margaret Barker's books and others which suggest that the Deuteronomists "de-Christianized" and de-anthropomorphized the Israelite conception of deity.

To be fair, I would not be surprised if Dan has changed his views in the past twleve years, as he is a fan of Barker, as are many other LDS scholars and apologists (personally, I like her stuff, though she does have a habit of making mistakes in her comments about ancient texts a bit and other things).

Robert B.

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To be fair, I would not be surprised if Dan has changed his views in the past twleve years, as he is a fan of Barker, as are many other LDS scholars and apologists (personally, I like her stuff, though she does have a habit of making mistakes in her comments about ancient texts a bit and other things).

Robert B.

I would be surprised. From what I understand, true scholars can never change their opinions and if they do, it means that they are too human to be true scholars. :P

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All,

Joseph Smith taught us that there were many unauthorized changes made in the Bible. Were the Deuteronomists authorized or unauthorized?

At the very least, where they were unauthorized is reflected in the JST excerpts (which are canon because they correct canon). One of my favorites for example:

2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, save the words of the everlasting covenant of the holy priesthood, and thou shalt put them in the ark.

JST Deuteronomy 10:2

See also:

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two other tables of stone, like unto the first, and I will write upon them also, the words of the law, according as they were written at the first on the tables which thou brakest; but it shall not be according to the first, for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them.

2 But I will give unto them the law as at the first, but it shall be after the law of a carnal commandment; for I have sworn in my wrath, that they shall not enter into my presence, into my rest, in the days of their pilgrimage. Therefore do as I have commanded thee, and be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai,

14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jehovah, is a jealous God:

JST Exodus 34:1-2, 14

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At the very least, where they were unauthorized is reflected in the JST excerpts (which are canon because they correct canon).

The JST has nothing to do with Deuteronomist editing. It updates and adds to doctrinal understanding to bring it in line with current 1830-1 revelations, and n most cases isn't restoring original manuscript text.

One of my favorites for example:

2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, save the words of the everlasting covenant of the holy priesthood, and thou shalt put them in the ark.

JST Deuteronomy 10:2

See also:

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two other tables of stone, like unto the first, and I will write upon them also, the words of the law, according as they were written at the first on the tables which thou brakest; but it shall not be according to the first, for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them.

2 But I will give unto them the law as at the first, but it shall be after the law of a carnal commandment; for I have sworn in my wrath, that they shall not enter into my presence, into my rest, in the days of their pilgrimage. Therefore do as I have commanded thee, and be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai,

14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jehovah, is a jealous God:

JST Exodus 34:1-2, 14

While being an important object lesson in teaching the modern saints the difference between the orders of the Priesthood, and the dangers of rejecting the Covenant the Lord desires to give them, I'd bet that none of those were ever on any original ancient manuscript. Especially verse 14, which doesn't take into account that LORD is the KJV rendition of the Hebrew YHWH. I'm sure that the original deuteronomistic history (and its earlier versions) had plenty that recorded in accordance with the understanding of the original writers, which was not in line with 1830s Understanding, and thus was 'updated' and 'revised', and nor by means of a textual restoration.

I love the JST, and find that it has important and even essential doctrinal teachings and insights that are relevant to us today, I just don't look to it to understand the original ancient manuscript versions of the text.

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All,

Joseph Smith taught us that there were many unauthorized changes made in the Bible. Were the Deuteronomists authorized or unauthorized?

Both Doorly (Obsession with Justice: The Story of the Deuteronomists) and Friedman (Who Wrote the Bible?) describe the efforts of the Deuteronomists as occuring in successive waves of activity. Josiah, Exilic, Post-Exilic. When I wrote Paradigms Regained in 2000, I offered a mixed interpretation, arguing that the pre-Exilic changes, directly related to Josiah's reform were good, and the exilic changes for the bad. After hearing Margaret's BYU talk on What King Josiah Reformed, I took a closer look, and decided the thrust was generally negative, despite some worthwhile ideals that lingered. (See Nibley's How to Get Rich for a good survey, but notice that complete "this world" thrust there.) For me the key line in Margaret's 2003 talk was that "Josiah's changes concerned the High Priests, and were thus changes at the very heart of the temple." I went back and read Jeremiah closely. I noticed that despite many shared ideals and linguistic connections, Jeremiah contradicts Deuteronomy on the very issues that Margaret sees as key to the reform. Jeremiah's call comes after the reform begins (that is, it is Josiah's reform, not Jeremiah's). Jeremiah's call in chapter 1 lists the people that he is called against, and they include the very people who put Josiah in power (the people of the land), and includes the very people who would have been implementing the reforms. Ezekiel 22 includes a more elaborate criticism of exactly the same groups. Going back to the Book of Mormon, I recognized that 1 Nephi 1 and Jacob 4 (key examples) favor the Wisdom tradition that the Reformers suppressed, and that Jacob 4 includes a direct charge against the Jews as "looking beyond the mark" and becoming "blind." A recent FARMS Insights argued for reading "mark" in terms of the Webster's 1828 dictionary definition, which does make sense. However, I had previously argued in other FARMS publications that we should follow Margaret's reading in light of "mark" in Ezekiel, as the chi, or X anointing of the High Priest, which quite literally represented the divine name. Margaret had pointed out that the sacred calendar in Deuteronomy 16 does not include the Day of Atonement, a notable omission in light of other material she brings in. Also, Lehi's first public discourse, the one that gets him in trouble, and leads to his own escape into the desert, declares that there will be a messiah (which means "the anointed") and "the redemption of the world" which was ritually enacted by the anointed high priest on the Day of Atonement. I think that the Book of Mormon implicitly and explicitly argues against the Deuteronomists with regard to the Messiah, vision, and the value of the Wisdom tradition, despite some shared social and moral ideals.

I've also been impressed that Ezekiel, Jacob, Jeremiah, and 1 Enoch all refer to a state of "blindness" that occurred in Israel just before the Exile, and this is contrasted with "vision", which as Ezekiel and Lehi express, goes beyond intellectual understanding, or agreement, but includes actual vision of God, and being included in the secrets of the divine council.

And and Robert Boylan has pointed out here, and Ben McGuire has also suggested, scholarship into the layers that make up Deuteronomy comes up with a Proto-Deuteronomy that the Book of Mormon happens to point towards as well.

Frederick Huchel has a forthcoming book on Temple Theology and the Latter-day Saints that will, I gather, make further arguments along this line. Until Daniel Peterson, and Margaret, and my stuff, LDS scholars tended to accept 2 Kings description of the reform as a good thing. Some still do (compare my essay in FR 16:2 with Professor Szink's for example), so discussion is ongoing.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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It also adds greater potential meaning to Lama and Lemuel's insult of calling Lehi a 'visionary man', perhaps a designation (like protestant, or mormonite) of those who opposed the reforms, which claimed that God could not be seen?

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At the very least, where they were unauthorized is reflected in the JST excerpts (which are canon because they correct canon).
The JST has nothing to do with Deuteronomist editing. It updates and adds to doctrinal understanding to bring it in line with current 1830-1 revelations, and n most cases isn't restoring original manuscript text.

That is not accurate in light of the Church's claims about the JST excerpts. From the introduction:

Following are selected portions of the Joseph Smith Translation of the King James Version of the Bible (JST). The Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to restore truths to the Bible text that had become lost or changed since the original words were written. These restored truths clarified doctrine and improved scriptural understanding. The passages selected for the Guide should help improve your understanding of the scriptures regardless of the language into which they are translated.

Because the Lord revealed to Joseph certain truths that the original authors had once recorded, the Joseph Smith Translation is unlike any other Bible translation in the world. In this sense, the word translation is used in a broader and different way than usual, for Joseph

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Since the 1981 publication, there have been more studies and understanding on the matter, seeing as the manuscripts and additional records have come into the hands of the Church. See BYU's page on the JST here, under the editing of Robert J Matthews, who was just honored this last conference as 'an authority on the Joseph Smith Translation'.

While I think it's clear (and I strongly believe) that "The Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to restore truths" that were then inserted into "the Bible text", I do not believe that most of them have anything to do with what 'the original authors had once recorded'.

I believe in future editions, we'll see the same thing happening to this introduction as has been done with the introduction to the Book of Mormon - changing the declaration of a cultural assumption to be more accurate to what is actually presented. Here's a relevant portion of the above study. Please read it before uniformly rejecting what it says.

It appears that several different kinds of changes were involved in the process, but it is difficult to know with certainty the nature or origin of any particular change. The following five categories seem to include all of the revisions of the New Translation:

1. Restoration of original text.

2. Restoration of what was once said or done but which was never in the Bible. Joseph Smith stated, "From what we can draw form the scriptures relative to the teachings of heaven we are induced to think, that much instruction has been given to man since the beginning which we have not." Perhaps the JST includes teachings or events in the ministries of prophets, apostles, or Jesus Himself that were never recorded anciently. The JST may include material of which the biblical writers were unaware or which they chose not to include or neglected to record (cf. 3 Ne. 23:6-13).

3. Editing to make the Bible more understandable for modern readers. Many of the individual JST changes fall into this category. There are numerous instances in which the Prophet rearranged word order to make a text read more easily or modernized its language. Examples of modernization of language would include the many changes from wot to know, from an to a before words that begin with h, from saith to said, from that and which to who, and from ye and thee to you. In some instance, Joseph Smith added short expansions to make the text less ambiguous. For example, there are several places where the wordhe is replaced by a personal name, thus making the meaning more clear, as in Genesis 14:20 (KJV "And he gave" = JST "And Abram gave") and in Genesis 18:32 (KJV "And he said. . . . And he said" = JST "And Abraham said. . . . And the Lord said").

These examples are merely word choices and usually have no bearing on how the original text is to be interpreted. But other modernizations may have a more significant aim. Some could be called cultural translations-the conversion of aspects of ancient culture unto modern counterparts to make them communicate better to modern readers. An example might include 1 Thessalonians 5:26, in which "Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss" is changed to "Greet all the brethren with a holy salutation" (see also Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12). It is likely that the King James text here accurately represents Paul's original word and intent. Yet to modern Western readers, unaccustomed to Mediterranean displays of friendship and brotherhood, Paul's word might miscommunicate and misdirect, and thus the Prophet made a change.

4. Editing to bring biblical wording into harmony with truth found in other revelations or elsewhere in the Bible. Joseph Smith said, "[There are] many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelation of the Holy Ghost to me." Where there were inaccuracies in the Bible, regardless of their source, it was well within the scope of the Prophet's calling to change what needed to be changed. Where modern revelation had given a clearer view of a doctrine preserved less adequately in the Bible, it was appropriate for Joseph Smith to add a correction-whether or not that correction reflects what was on the ancient original manuscript. And where a passage was inconsistent with information elsewhere in the Bible itself, a change needed to be made.

Three examples may illustrate this kind of change: (a) The Gospel of John records the statement, "No man hath seen God at any time" (John 1:18), which contradicts the experience of Joseph Smith (JS-H 1:17-20) as well as biblical examples of prophets seeing God (e.g., Ex. 24:9-11; 33:11; Num. 12:6-8; Isa. 6:1; Amos 9:1). The JST change at John 1:18 clarifies the text. (b) The Gospel of Matthew contains what appears to be a misunderstanding of the donkey used in Jesus' triumphal entry (Matt. 21:2-3, 7). The JST revises the text to agree with the clearer accounts in Mark, Luke, and John.

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Since the 1981 publication, there have been more studies and understanding on the matter, seeing as the manuscripts and additional records have come into the hands of the Church. See BYU's page on the JST here, under the editing of Robert J Matthews, who was just honored this last conference as 'an authority on the Joseph Smith Translation'.

Not being published by the Church itself is a significant handicap. The Church published quote I gave is still mantained even now, so what Matthews has to say is not what the Church thinks about it at the moment.

Some have dismissed the JST because its changes are not verified in ancient manuscripts. The claim is that if the JST revisions were justifiable, they would agree with the earliest existing manuscripts of the biblical books. But this reasoning is misdirected in two ways. First, it assumes that all JST changes are intended to restore original text, a claim made neither by the JST itself nor by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Somewhat inaccurate and a misnomer. At the very least, the concepts were in the original text as the Church does claim.

Second, it assumes that extant ancient manuscripts accurately reproduce the original text.

True as there are no extant original texts to compare with.

Wasn't Matthews also the one who inaccurately explained (or people use to inaccurately explain) what is official doctrine?

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...

The Church published quote I gave is still mantained even now

...

From the first edition:

PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION

This work is given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and to the

public in pursuance of the commandment of God.

As concerning the manner of translation and correction, it is evident, from the

manuscripts and the testimony of those who were conversant with the facts,

that it was done by direct revelation from God.

It was begun in June, 1830, and was finished July 2, 1833....

It is declared in the Book of Mormon that "many plain and precious parts"

have been taken away from the Bible:

"For behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb, many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have been taken away; and all this have they done, that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord; that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men: wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God; and after these plain and precious things were taken away, it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles."--1 Book of Nephi, 3:168-172--Book of Mormon....

From JST Genesis:

54 And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said, Why is it that men must repent, and be baptized in water?

55 And the Lord said unto Adam, Behold, I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the garden of Eden.

56 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.

57 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying, Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so, when they begin to grow up sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.

58 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore, they are agents unto themselves.

59 And I have given unto you another law and commandment; wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God.

60 For no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name; and the name of his Only Begotten is the son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.

61 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying, that by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death; and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so become of dust a living soul;

62 Even so ye must be born again, into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye may be sanctified from all sin; and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come; even immortal glory.

63 For, by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified; and by the blood ye are sanctified.

64 Therefore it is given to abide in you, the record of heaven, the Comforter, the peaceable things of immortal glory, the truth of all things, that which quickeneth all things which maketh alive all things, that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice and judgment.

65 And now, behold, I say unto you, This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.

66 And, behold, all things have their likeness; and all things are created and made to bear record of me; both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath, all things bear record of me.

67 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water; and thus he was baptized.

I was taught that the Great and Abominable Church removed the above-quoted

passage from the Torah, sometime after the death of Moses.

Are Mormons now saying that Joseph Smith never believed such a thing?

Is this what the LDS First Presidency now believes -- That the Christian

baptism of Adam was never in the Bible in the first place, but that

Joseph Smith added it as a sort of "extra insertion" that Moses would

never even have had knowledge of?

I doubt very much that Joseph Smith, were he to appear here today,

would agree with this modern LDS revisionism.

UD

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From the first edition:

From JST Genesis:

I was taught that the Great and Abominable Church removed the above-quoted

passage from the Torah, sometime after the death of Moses.

Are Mormons now saying that Joseph Smith never believed such a thing?

Is this what the LDS First Presidency now believes -- That the Christian

baptism of Adam was never in the Bible in the first place, but that

Joseph Smith added it as a sort of "extra insertion" that Moses would

never even have had knowledge of?

I doubt very much that Joseph Smith, were he to appear here today,

would agree with this modern LDS revisionism.

UD

My position, subject to change as I learn more, is that the Joseph Smith Book of Moses is one of the original sources of our Genesis. Some of the JST is restoration of original texts, while other parts are inspired commentary. If I am shown evidence that I am wrong, I will happily consider it and may even change my mind.

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...

other parts are inspired commentary

...

Without having Joseph Smith himself, here with us to question,

I cannot say for certain whether he would agree with you or not.

But, going back over the D&C and Church publications issued

before his death in 1844, where do we find even a hint that

Joseph preached such a thing, or was taught such a thing by

Divine revelation?

Is there some passage in the Standard Works which I have missed

reading, which informs us that the "New Translation" is something

other than a restoration of the text, prior to the devilish

handiwork of the Great and Abominable Church?

I do see one problem with the "restored" Genesis account, however --

it is not present in the earliest known texts. No hints of that

reading in preserved documents from Qumran, etc. -- So, what text

did Jesus have in mind, when he tells us to search the scriptures?

What scroll of Genesis did he grow up studying and teaching to his

disciples from? Did he have the pristine, original text available

during the "Dispensation at the Meridian of Time," or did even Jesus

have to rely upon a corrupted Genesis?

I'm not sure that question has ever been asked.

UD

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My position, subject to change as I learn more, is that the Joseph Smith Book of Moses is one of the original sources of our Genesis. Some of the JST is restoration of original texts, while other parts are inspired commentary. If I am shown evidence that I am wrong, I will happily consider it and may even change my mind.

There are many things that lead me to think that this isn't the case. For example, distinct accounts from different sources are attempted to be fused into a single consistent narrative, including elements which are non-sequitur to the ancient versions. For example:

Genesis 1 and 2 have two distinct creation stories as their source, with different details, teaching different things. The second, in Genesis 2-3, is a fascinating and cohesive story:

4

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