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Joseph Smith, The Gods And The Corruption Of Scripture: A Case Study


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In the King Follet Discourse, the Prophet Joseph Smith makes two important claims about ancient Israelite theology: first, there exists a council of Gods that is headed by a "head God" and second, this fact was edited out of Genesis 1:1:

"I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible—Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith—in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh—the head, Sheit—grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council."

Though we cannot test the idea that an original of Genesis 1:1 read “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods”, we can show that editing out the Israelite pantheon did happen in other parts of the Hebrew Bible.

In Deuteronomy 32:8-9(KJV) we read: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." The Masoretic text(MT) reads bene Yišrael(בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל), children of Israel. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls version reads bene elohim(בני אלוהים), sons of God. The Septuagint has the same phrase as aggelon theoi(ἀγγέλων θεοῦ), angels of God. Both the MT's sons of Israel and the Septuagint's angels of God are likely derived from the Hebrew,bene elohim, for in each case, later editors required the change of only one word.

Deutoronomy 32:8-9 can thus be read: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the sons of God. For Yahweh's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." The title most High(Elyon) was originally applied to El(Genesis 14:18). El, most High, divides the nations according to the number of His sons and Yahweh, one of His sons, is given Israel. Now we can see that the MT version of Deutoronomy 32:8-9 is an anti-polytheistic revision, similar to a revision described by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

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The challenge here is that Joseph isn't really arguing for a corruption or change in the text of Genesis 1:1 (other than perhaps to remove the leading preposition). What Joseph Smith does is to reduce the first word of the Bible to its constituent parts - this is described in detail (for this specific verse) in the Hebrew manual published by Joseph's Hebrew instructor in 1834 (J. Seixas). Seixas, explains on page 85 (I am going to use transliterations following Seixas's Sephardic system instead of trying to reproduce the Hebrew):

be-ra-sheet in the beginning. For the prefix b see section 9, with the Note. For the termination eith see section 11. See Lexicon rosheith.

bau-rau he created see section 15.

e-lo-heem God; a sing. noun with a plur. form (eim see Section 11); see Lexicon elohim.

et see Sections 32, 71.

So, for the first word. We have a prefix, a termination, and a note to reference the Lexicon. The entry in Section 9 dealing with the prefix b reads (with the Note):

In, with, by, over, among, when, throughout, for, through, against, on, to, under, etc.

Note. The Article (h) is frequently supplied after some of the above Prefixes; as be-ra-sheet in the beginning; ....

For the termination, we turn to section 11 titled Gender and Number of Nouns.

There, eet is listed as the sing. fem. (and lists berosheit as an example). However, this word is also raised in the notes to Section 11. In Note 10, rosh is noted as anomalous - with the plural roshim.

Finally, we turn to the lexicon (Joseph Smith owned the 1832 Gibbs - a translation of Gesenius - but his version was the shorter student edition, the longer complete version that Seixas references was published in 1824 - I have copies of both). The difference between the two Gibbs lexicons is important because it causes some difficulties here. Ra-sheet is not in the 1832 edition as a separate entry. It only has an entry for Rosh. And it mentions rosheit as the plural of roshah. Both are on page 198. It is the entry for rosh that is the most interesting in this discussion:

Rosh a head; the best of its kind; a chief leader; a chief city, metropolis; the highest place, the first rank; the top or highest part, as of a mountain, pillar; the first, in number; the beginning; the sum, whole number; a company, multitude, host; a person, individual.

So, Joseph merely does what Seixas tells him (page 76) - he divests the first word of all of its adjuncts - the prefix, the termination, and comes up with the root Rosh. He then looks this up in the Lexicon.

So given this, we can take a look at the KFD:

I shall comment on the very first word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible, Berosheit. I want to analyze the word; Baith, in, by, through, in, and everything else. Rosh, the head. Sheit, grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. A man a Jew without any authority, though it too bad to begin to talk about the head. It read first, 'The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods,' that is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth.

There seems to me to be a parenthetical in there that doesn't translate through the notes - that is,

"the head one (of the Gods) brought forth the Gods." or rosh baurau elohim. That seems to me to be the simple explanation of what Joseph Smith was doing with the Hebrew of Genesis 1:1 - it comes right out of the Seixas grammar - including his definition of the prefix baith, and his use of the phrase "grammatical termination".

Joseph Smith is providing us with an analysis of the Hebrew primarily using the books on Hebrew that he had - this isn't some kind of revelation that is being given, or a restoration. It is pure commentary. Of course we run into the additional problem that the technical language - "grammatical termination" for example, isn't found in any of the original accounts of the sermon. Did Joseph use that term, or did it come from Phelps during the editing of the sermon for publication in the Times and Seasons? (I suspect it came from Phelps). After analyzing the first three words, Joseph then takes the interpretive step to move on to a grand council - but there is no suggestion in the sermon that Joseph believed that the "grand council" part was in the text originally and had been removed.

Now this isn't to say that there is no similarity between Joseph's teaching on a heavenly council or a divine assembly. But I do think that caution is good when we try to read our own theology backward onto these texts in the Old Testament. And I am not sure that Joseph's comments reflect anything at all like the revisionism that occurs in Deuteronomy 32.

Ben M.

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Respectfully, not being a life long Mormon, I am uneasy with the idea of pural God's. Isaiah 44:6, and Exodus 20:3, but then there is Gen 11:7. Who is "us"?

I don't actually have issue with multiple God's as long as there is one that is superior to the others. It is not surprising at all that there would be disagreement about the actual translation of the OT, or even the NT.

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Respectfully, not being a life long Mormon, I am uneasy with the idea of pural God's. Isaiah 44:6, and Exodus 20:3, but then there is Gen 11:7. Who is "us"?

I don't actually have issue with multiple God's as long as there is one that is superior to the others. It is not surprising at all that there would be disagreement about the actual translation of the OT, or even the NT.

I agree, I think the word "god" or "gods" has a different connotation than some people tend to think, some scriptures LDS use to say that it is proof that we'll be "Gods" really means "god" in the lower "g" form which would be something similar to a king possibly. IMO, there is only one God in upper "G".
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I agree, I think the word "god" or "gods" has a different connotation than some people tend to think, some scriptures LDS use to say that it is proof that we'll be "Gods" really means "god" in the lower "g" form which would be something similar to a king possibly. IMO, there is only one God in upper "G".

Yes, Ellen, Brother Brigham stated in April of 1852, in a sermon in Salt Lake City, that, of the various deities which exist, one "is our father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do" (Journal of Discourses, 1:50; cf. Paul in I Cor 8:5-6).

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In the King Follet Discourse, the Prophet Joseph Smith makes two important claims about ancient Israelite theology: first, there exists a council of Gods that is headed by a "head God" and second, this fact was edited out of Genesis 1:1:

"I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible—Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith—in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh—the head, Sheit—grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council."

Though we cannot test the idea that an original of Genesis 1:1 read “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods”, we can show that editing out the Israelite pantheon did happen in other parts of the Hebrew Bible.

In Deuteronomy 32:8-9(KJV) we read: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." The Masoretic text(MT) reads bene Yišrael(בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל), children of Israel. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls version reads bene elohim(בני אלוהים), sons of God. The Septuagint has the same phrase as aggelon theoi(ἀγγέλων θεοῦ), angels of God. Both the MT's sons of Israel and the Septuagint's angels of God are likely derived from the Hebrew,bene elohim, for in each case, later editors required the change of only one word.

Deutoronomy 32:8-9 can thus be read: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the sons of God. For Yahweh's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." The title most High(Elyon) was originally applied to El(Genesis 14:18). El, most High, divides the nations according to the number of His sons and Yahweh, one of His sons, is given Israel. Now we can see that the MT version of Deutoronomy 32:8-9 is an anti-polytheistic revision, similar to a revision described by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Joseph's funeral sermon for his friend King Follet is an extraordinary piece of theological reflection, even if we do not have a pristine and verbatim account of it (people have tried integrating the notes taken by various people who were there, and have published them).

Anyone editing it should of course insert the actual Hebrew words & letters into it. The suggestion that it entails the divine council is actually right on target, since a reasonable, scholarly translation would parse Gen 1:1-3 is a series of circumstantial clauses leading up to the first act of creation:

When the Gods set about to create heaven and earth, the world then being a formless waste, with darkness on the face of the deep, and the Divine Spirit sweeping over the waters, the Gods said "Let there be light," and there was light.

The use of plural "Gods" there is dictated not only by LDS and secular theological insights, but also by the plural verb and pronouns at 1:26, which the late Ephraim Speiser could not bring himself to leave unmolested. Otherwise, I follow Speiser's translation here, for the most part. His circumstantial translation is not only in keeping with Hebrew grammar, but also with the Babylonian Creation Epic, Enuma elish, "When on High," which follows the very same order of creation!! (Speiser, Genesis, Anchor Bible 1, 1964, pp. 9-10, citing A. Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, 129).

Biblical scholars now see Gen 1 as an iterative, catechetical temple drama, just as was the case for Enuma elish -- which was performed annually in Babylon on New Year's Day (during the Akitu Festival) at the Esagila Temple. Moreover, Heaven & Earth (Sumerian An & Ki) are not only the first gods created, but the terms can be taken as a hendiadys representing the divine council/heavenly host.

As to Joseph being quite correct about the creation being about organizing pre-existent material, Speiser virtually admits that this does not comport with ex nihilo Judeo-Christian creation dogma. But, he says, "the text should be allowed to speak for itself" (Genesis, 13).

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Respectfully, not being a life long Mormon, I am uneasy with the idea of pural God's. Isaiah 44:6, and Exodus 20:3, but then there is Gen 11:7. Who is "us"?

I don't actually have issue with multiple God's as long as there is one that is superior to the others. It is not surprising at all that there would be disagreement about the actual translation of the OT, or even the NT.

Ellen I sent you a PM a couple of days ago. If you don't mind would you send me a reply.

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You left out the Holy Spirit, at the very least. And how about the rest of us -- the premortal sons of God, who shouted for joy at the dawn of creation, at the plan of salvation? Are you saying that we were not involved?

Yes. I'm convinced that we humans, the sons of God, took part in the creation. The Father was the supreme or ultimate head of all who created all things through Jesus Christ who used Michael as a chief angel in the creation. From there I'm sure the heavenly hosts took part in the creation. And there is definitely scripture which includes the Holy Spirit in the creation.

Edited by Darren10
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The challenge here is that Joseph isn't really arguing for a corruption or change in the text of Genesis 1:1 (other than perhaps to remove the leading preposition). What Joseph Smith does is to reduce the first word of the Bible to its constituent parts - this is described in detail (for this specific verse) in the Hebrew manual published by Joseph's Hebrew instructor in 1834 (J. Seixas). Seixas, explains on page 85 (I am going to use transliterations following Seixas's Sephardic system instead of trying to reproduce the Hebrew):

"When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.”

That's how I read Joseph here. He saying that there was an original and that what appears in the masoretic text is an alteration.

So, for the first word. We have a prefix, a termination, and a note to reference the Lexicon. The entry in Section 9 dealing with the prefix b reads (with the Note):

For the termination, we turn to section 11 titled Gender and Number of Nouns.

There, eet is listed as the sing. fem. (and lists berosheit as an example). However, this word is also raised in the notes to Section 11. In Note 10, rosh is noted as anomalous - with the plural roshim.

"the head one (of the Gods) brought forth the Gods." or rosh baurau elohim. That seems to me to be the simple explanation of what Joseph Smith was doing with the Hebrew of Genesis 1:1 - it comes right out of the Seixas grammar - including his definition of the prefix baith, and his use of the phrase "grammatical termination".

Joseph Smith is providing us with an analysis of the Hebrew primarily using the books on Hebrew that he had - this isn't some kind of revelation that is being given, or a restoration. It is pure commentary.

There seems to be a misunderstanding here as to the nature of the OP. The OP is not taking the position that Joseph's Hebrew, and by extension the Hebrew in the Book of Abraham, came out of a vacuum and that what we are witnessing in the KFD is magic. It should go without saying that Joseph's Hebrew came from his studies with Seixas and that "Joseph Smith is providing us with an analysis of the Hebrew primarily using the books on Hebrew that he had".

Now, the assertion that this isn't revelation or restoration raises some interesting questions:

  • Is revelation independent of academic study?
  • How much of "study it out in your mind" requires actual study?

Correct me if I am wrong but Joseph's "Book of Moses" lacks explicit mention of "the Gods", while the Book of Abraham does not. The Book of Moses was translated before Joseph studied Hebrew, while the Book of Abraham was translated after Joseph studied with Seixas. I think it is possible that Joseph's study of Hebrew words, from Seixas's materials, probably opened his mind to the revelation that is the Book of Abraham's reworking of P, or the derivation of some symbolism from masonry for the endowment.

Of course we run into the additional problem that the technical language - "grammatical termination" for example, isn't found in any of the original accounts of the sermon. Did Joseph use that term, or did it come from Phelps during the editing of the sermon for publication in the Times and Seasons? (I suspect it came from Phelps). After analyzing the first three words, Joseph then takes the interpretive step to move on to a grand council - but there is no suggestion in the sermon that Joseph believed that the "grand council" part was in the text originally and had been removed.
Agreed.
Now this isn't to say that there is no similarity between Joseph's teaching on a heavenly council or a divine assembly. But I do think that caution is good when we try to read our own theology backward onto these texts in the Old Testament

Agreed, I mean, how do we deal with Resheph being part of Yahweh's retinue in Hababkkuk 3:5? Oi!

And I am not sure that Joseph's comments reflect anything at all like the revisionism that occurs in Deuteronomy 32.

That seems to be the crux of it all. I read Joseph saying: "When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.”

, as evidence that Joseph believed Genesis 1;1 was purposefully altered to reflect something more akin to how it is read in the KJV than an ancient Israelite polytheism.

The sermon at the grove seems to support this.

An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James' translators, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; Sheit, a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth;Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim, it renders it Gods. It read first, "In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods," or, as other have translated it, "The head of the Gods called the Gods together." I want to show a little learning as well as other fools.

The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me. In the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth. Now the learned priests and the people rage, and the heathen imagine a vain thing. If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, "Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits." -- "The head one of the Gods said, Let us make a man in our own image," I once asked a learned Jew, "If the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?" He replied, "That is the rule with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible." He acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believe them. Hear and judge for yourselves; and if you go away satisfied, well and good.

ps.

Are there any online resources that have the books Seixas from teaching Joseph from? Thanks:)

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There seems to be a misunderstanding here as to the nature of the OP. The OP is not taking the position that Joseph's Hebrew, and by extension the Hebrew in the Book of Abraham, came out of a vacuum and that what we are witnessing in the KFD is magic. It should go without saying that Joseph's Hebrew came from his studies with Seixas and that "Joseph Smith is providing us with an analysis of the Hebrew primarily using the books on Hebrew that he had".

Now, the assertion that this isn't revelation or restoration raises some interesting questions:

  • Is revelation independent of academic study?
  • How much of "study it out in your mind" requires actual study?

Correct me if I am wrong but Joseph's "Book of Moses" lacks explicit mention of "the Gods", while the Book of Abraham does not. The Book of Moses was translated before Joseph studied Hebrew, while the Book of Abraham was translated after Joseph studied with Seixas. I think it is possible that Joseph's study of Hebrew words, from Seixas's materials, probably opened his mind to the revelation that is the Book of Abraham's reworking of P, similar to Joseph's derivation of some symbolism from masonry for the endowment.

Now this isn't to say that there is no similarity between Joseph's teaching on a heavenly council or a divine assembly. But I do think that caution is good when we try to read our own theology backward onto these texts in the Old Testament.

Agreed, I mean, how do we deal with Resheph being part of Yahweh's retinue in Hababkkuk 3:5? Oi!

And I am not sure that Joseph's comments reflect anything at all like the revisionism that occurs in Deuteronomy 32.

That seems to be the only disagreement we have. I read Joseph saying: "When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” , as evidence that Joseph believed Genesis 1;1 was purposefully altered to reflect something more akin to how it is read in the KJV than an ancient Israelite polytheism.

The sermon at the grove seems to support this:

An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James' translators, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; Sheit, a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth;Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim, it renders it Gods. It read first, "In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods," or, as other have translated it, "The head of the Gods called the Gods together." I want to show a little learning as well as other fools

.

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Sermon in the Grove

The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me. In the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth. Now the learned priests and the people rage, and the heathen imagine a vain thing. If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, "Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits." -- "The head one of the Gods said, Let us make a man in our own image," I once asked a learned Jew, "If the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?" He replied, "That is the rule with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible." He acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believe them. Hear and judge for yourselves; and if you go away satisfied, well and good.

In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The wordEloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through -- Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take [that] view of the subject, its sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. All I want is to get the simple, naked truth, and the whole truth.

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Is there anyway to edit a post after it's been posted. The font and quotes on my response are messed up.

You will be able to do so when you hit 25 posts...four more, but I don't know if you will be able to go back and edit posts you made before you hit 25.
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Now, the assertion that this isn't revelation or restoration raises some interesting questions:

Is revelation independent of academic study?

How much of "study it out in your mind" requires actual study?

This brings up the interesting corollary. Why the need to see this part of the KFD as revelation or restoration (as opposed to speculative knowledge gained in some other way)? This is an interesting issue because, of course, it crops up all over the place in the 1835 time frame. Sometimes this sort of knowledge is incorporated back into scripture even (in places, intellectual knowledge - incorrect intellectual knowledge - is edited into Sections of the D&C in the 1835 edition, modifying sections from the Book of Commandments in 1833). Quite a bit earlier, we have adjustments to the KJV in the JST that are clearly out of place (i.e. not plausible as restorations or emendations to the text based on revelation - rather they are theological harmonizations), making it more difficult to understand the underlying textual narrative. In that sense I don't particularly see any need at all to recognize these statements as some sort of restoration or revelation.

>>Correct me if I am wrong but Joseph's "Book of Moses" lacks explicit mention of "the Gods", while the Book of Abraham does not. The Book of Moses was translated before Joseph studied Hebrew, while the Book of Abraham was translated after Joseph studied with Seixas.<<

There is a shift, yes. But, any chronology that tries to frame the writing of the Book of Abraham is debated. Consider the statement from the wikipedia article: "Joseph Smith ostensibly translated the majority of the Book of Abraham text in July and a few days in November 1835 and did some minor revisions in March 1842." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Abraham ). This isn't an endorsement of that dating (just so you know). Joseph Smith doesn't begin his study with Seixas until January 26, 1836. It was in November, 1835 that Oliver returned from New York with a collection of texts including a Hebrew Grammar (one of the editions published by Stuart - maybe the 1830 edition - the edition in this case is reasonably important since Stuart's earlier editions were significantly different from each other - but I have never tried to identify which version he may have used) and the Gibb's student lexicon (I believe it was the 1828 edition but it could have been the expanded 1832 - I seem to remember being more confident in the 1828 edition for some reason, but I am not going to dig through my notes - I have both, and I don't recall there being any difference in the places which I would be concerned about). He also brought with him a copy of Josephus (relevant for the references to Egypt). Joseph begins trying to learn Hebrew without an instructor in December of 1835, and bits from these books work their way into the EAG documents (in particular, we see evidence of Oliver Cowdery's EA document engaging the Gibb's lexicon when they are working through the Genesis material). Some of these issues would suggest the formal teaching of Seixas (as the KFD comments do), some of them do not.

So parts of the EA work definately post-dates the November 1835 time frame. And probably some of the BoA does as well. But, we don't see clear relationships to the Seixas grammars until we get the facsimiles, which not only contain Hebrew words, which in places (particularly in Facsimile 2) follow the visual style of Seixas transliterations as well as following the Sephardic spelling of the Hebrew words (consider, for example, Raukeeyang in the Book of Abraham - consistently transliterated as "rau-kee-ang" by Seixas). So while some of the Book of Abraham material postdates the Seixas studies, there is nothing close to a general consensus that all of the BoA material comes after the encounter with Seixas, including the references to "the Gods".

For a couple of links:

1834 Seixas Grammar: books.google.com/books?id=wkRAAQAAIAAJ

1832 Gibbs Hebrew Lexicon: books.google.com/books?id=OXxFAAAAcAAJ

I have a personal copy of the 1832 Seixas grammar, but I am not sure you can get a copy of that on the internet.

Ben M.

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  • 2 weeks later...
This brings up the interesting corollary. Why the need to see this part of the KFD as revelation or restoration (as opposed to speculative knowledge gained in some other way)?

I don't think there is a need. Like I said in the OP, there is no way of knowing whether this is a restoration or not. I said "Though we cannot test the idea that an original of Genesis 1:1 read...". Even if Joseph's view is purely speculative knowledge, devoid of a divine help, it doesn't invalidate the fact that the sort of thing he describes DID happen in other scripture. That's the only point I was trying to make.

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Respectfully, not being a life long Mormon, I am uneasy with the idea of pural God's. Isaiah 44:6, and Exodus 20:3, but then there is Gen 11:7. Who is "us"?

I don't actually have issue with multiple God's as long as there is one that is superior to the others. It is not surprising at all that there would be disagreement about the actual translation of the OT, or even the NT.

Depending on whose semantics one is using the first vision is proof of plurality of Gods. We have the head of the Gods, God the Father and we have another God, Jesus Christ.

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I agree, I think the word "god" or "gods" has a different connotation than some people tend to think, some scriptures LDS use to say that it is proof that we'll be "Gods" really means "god" in the lower "g" form which would be something similar to a king possibly. IMO, there is only one God in upper "G".

So Lucifer rebelled over a capitalization issue wanting the upper case title? ;)

Yes. I'm convinced that we humans, the sons of God, took part in the creation.

And I would like to apologize for creating Black Death. It was much funnier when I created it before the world was.

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      ;0)

      The conference crescendo came with a Thursday night party for the 30,000 participants (quite a large event, unless you’re Salesforce).  A famous DJ was flown in to work the audio/visual magic, Martin Gerrix.  And he knew his craft.  Someone shot a brief video late in the evening, you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEtjryeY0RI

      For a while I was at the very front, enjoying the spectacle.  And as I stood there listening to him mix pieces of songs and splice them into new sounds, I thought how very different it was from my humble DJing efforts back in the day.  And then I had another thought: Modern DJing is a bit like my old religion, Mormonism.  It does to Scripture what the modern DJ does with songs—take a bit here, take a verse there, mix in some modern revelation and voilà—a fresh context, sounding familiar yet exciting and new. 

      Back in January, 2005 I had my first encounter with verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter expositional-style preaching.  It was on the Book of Genesis and I got hooked, returning to the evening service each Sunday for the next installment (while attending LDS services in the morning).  Therein I discovered the Bible is remarkably coherent and compelling, all of its own.  And I’ve no doubt God used the experience to change me and bring me to faith. 

      Not every Christian preacher preaches through entire books of the Bible, of course.  And those who do don’t necessarily do so exclusively, meaning they may do a topical sermon series from time to time. Nothing inherently wrong with that.  But in Mormonism, a verse-by-verse exposition of an entire book of the Bible—well, that simply isn’t done.  Nowhere in the ~ 3 hour weekly block.  Nowhere in seminary or Institute programs.  Nowhere in firesides or YSA family home evenings.  All the many hours/week devout LDS consume with meetings, instruction, service, etc.—they never find time for this…

      Well, why not?   

      --Erik
      PS.  On an unrelated note, if you're a single female who wants to maximize her odds vis-a-vis males, of those 30,000 attending Amazon Web Services re:Invent 2016—maybe 3,000 were women.
      PPS.  Yes, I worked in a Cocteau Twins reference in the title.
      __________________________________________________
      Burn down the disco
      Hang the blessed DJ
      Because the music that they constantly play
      It says nothing to me about my life
      --The Smiths, 1986
       
    • By Tony Frank
      The Bible makes it clear that salvation comes only to those numbered among the house of Israel. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the gathering of Israel that had been prophesied in the Old Testament. The keys of salvation, which were on the earth when the Apostles went out to preach the gospel almost 2000 years ago, have been restored to the earth again in these latter days.
       
      The Bible tells us that Jesus sent the Apostles to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” and specifically told them not to go to “the Gentiles.” The gospel was not preached to the Gentiles until after Peter had the vision that he related in Acts, chapter 11.
       
      Paul told the Ephesians, who had been “Gentiles” but were now converted to the gospel and numbered among Israel, that they should “remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh . . . that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.”
       
      After accepting the gospel, the Ephesians were, as Paul stated, “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God” because they were now numbered with the saints and the household of God in the “commonwealth of Israel.”
       
      The Gentiles who partook of the gospel “received the Spirit of adoption,” which is what Paul stated in his letter to the Romans because they were adopted into the house of Israel. Paul also told them that the Lord said, “I will call them my people, which were not my people . . . . And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”
       
      Paul told the Corinthians that “the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God.” He also told the Corinthian saints to “give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God,” making it clear there were three separate entities that should not be given offence; the Jews, the Gentiles, and the church of God, which obviously means the Jews and the Gentiles did not belong to the church of God.
       
      Immediately before the resurrected Savior ascended into heaven, the Apostles asked him, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” This they did because they knew of the prophecies that the gathering of Israel would take place someday and that God would restore his kingdom to Israel.
       
      More than 300 years after Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the prophet Mormon saw our day and wrote the words of Jesus Christ, who said;
       
      “Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations and come unto me, and be baptized in my name that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.”
       
      Jesus Christ’s people are the house of Israel, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the long-prophesied gathering of Israel. Salvation will come only to those numbered among the house of Israel.
       
      Questions, comments, agree, disagree, other perspectives?
    • By Tony Frank
      Putting this out there for discussion. I know this is a long post, but I say that anyone who believes the Bible and believes in Jesus Christ, and who carefully reads this post, will know that the Bible proves the Book of Mormon is the word of God. (If you are a faithful Latter-day Saint, you will really like this post.)
       
      In the Bible, 1 John, chapter 4, we can clearly read the criteria for true prophets and false in verses 1-3:
       
      “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
       
      “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
       
      “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
       
      Now that we know God’s criteria for knowing true prophets from false prophets, let’s see if the Book of Mormon prophets confess that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”
       
      600 years before the coming of the Savior, a Book of Mormon prophet named Nephi wrote that the Messiah of whom the prophets had spoken was the Son of God, and he declared, “The way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world if it so be that they repent and come unto him.”
       
      Lehi, another prophet, told his son Jacob, “There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
       
      “Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.”
       
      Nephi prophesied to his people, “Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days, he shall rise from the dead with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Wherefore, my soul delighteth to prophesy concerning him, for I have seen his day and my heart doth magnify his holy name.
       
      “For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
       
      “And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this, ye shall in nowise be cast out.”
       
      We read in the Book of Mormon that a King named Benjamin foretold the coming of the Savior about 120 years before his birth: “For behold, the time cometh and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
       
      “And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.”
       
      After King Benjamin finished his lengthy talk putting forth the precepts of eternal salvation, the people responded: “We believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also we know of their surety and truth because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually.”
       
      Abinadi, another prophet, testified to wicked King Noah and his priests, “I say unto you that salvation doth not come by the law alone, and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.
       
      “For behold, did not Moses prophesy concerning the coming of the Messiah and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?
       
      “Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men and take upon him the form of man and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?
       
      “And have they not said also that he should bring to pass the resurrection of the dead and that he, himself, should be oppressed and afflicted?
       
      “I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men and shall redeem his people.”
       
      Abinadi prophesied that the Lord would suffer temptation “and yieldeth not to the temptation but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.
       
      “And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
       
      “Even so, he shall be led, crucified, and slain.”
       
      Abinadi continued, “And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men.
       
      “And now if Christ had not come into the world, speaking of things to come as though they had already come, there could have been no redemption.
       
      “And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death, that the grave should have no victory and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
       
      “But there is a resurrection, therefore, the grave hath no victory and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
       
      “He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless that there can be no more death.
       
      “And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved?”
       
      Alma the elder, who believed the words of Abinadi, went among the people of King Noah teaching the words of Abinadi. He taught them about the resurrection of the dead and the redemption that would be brought to pass through the power, and sufferings, and death of Christ and his resurrection and ascension into heaven.
       
      In due time, Alma returned to the land of Zarahemla and organized the Church of Christ among the Nephites throughout the land, and all those who desired to take upon them the name of Christ joined themselves to the Church.
       
      Not long afterwards, the Lord spoke unto Alma these words: “Blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine.”
       
      The Lord also said to Alma, “Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life; and thou shalt serve me and go forth in my name and shalt gather together my sheep.
       
      “And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church and him will I also receive.
       
      “For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name and him will I freely forgive.
       
      “For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world; for it is I that hath created them; and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand.
       
      “For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me, they shall come forth and shall have a place eternally at my right hand.
       
      “And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound, then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me. (That would include all those who have rejected the true gospel of Jesus Christ that he has restored in these latter days.)
       
      “And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer; but they would not be redeemed.”
       
      Alma the younger, after having gone about with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church of God, and after having had an angel appear unto him to admonish him of his iniquity, and after having been racked with the pains of eternal torment for three days, testified to the people, “I have repented of my sins and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.
       
      “And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
       
      “And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.”
       
      Alma explained, “Unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off.
       
      “Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.
       
      “My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched and my soul is pained no more.
       
      “I rejected my Redeemer and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers; but now that they may foresee that he will come and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all.
       
      “Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye.”
       
      King Lamoni, a Lamanite who found salvation thru the preaching of Ammon, proclaimed, “Behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name.”
       
      Aaron taught the Lamanites “concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ and the atonement of his blood.”
       
      Aaron also expounded unto Lamoni’s father that “since man had fallen, he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins through faith and repentance and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory.”
       
      In Mormon’s narrative, he wrote, “Thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life.”
       
      Alma taught the Zoramites to “believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him to be judged at the last and judgment day.”
       
      Alma instructed his son Helaman to bring the message of salvation to the Nephites, stating, “Preach unto them repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
       
      Just prior to the birth of the Savior, the Lord spoke to Nephi, this Nephi being the son of Nephi, who was the son of Helaman, and the Lord said, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.”
       
      After his resurrection and ascension into Heaven, the risen Savior appeared to the Nephites and the first thing he said was: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
       
      “And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.”
       
      And after the Nephites fell to the earth in astonishment, the Savior said: “Arise and come forth unto me that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.”
       
      All of these scriptures and more are in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon truly is a testimony of Jesus Christ written by prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ.
       
      Again, the Biblical criteria for true prophets and false prophets is in 1 John, chapter 4, verses 1-3.
       
      “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
       
      “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
       
      “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
       
      Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ and believes what the Bible says will believe the Book of Mormon, and they will know that it is the word of God.
       
      Give heed to the words of Nephi, a Book of Mormon prophet who wrote, “And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you with power and great glory that they are his words at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things.”
       
      If you have carefully read every word of this post, then I ask do you agree that the Bible proves the Book of Mormon is the word of God?
    • By Bernard Gui
      Yonder is matter unorganized. Who wants to go down?
       
      http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150523.html
       
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