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Most compelling evidence for/against the Book of Mormon?


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58 minutes ago, Calm said:

I figured it would be easier to do it than explain and found out he isn't receiving PMs.

Would you like to start a thread about her?  He will probably notice that, he shows up every week or so.

 

58 minutes ago, Calm said:

 

He probably gets overrun with questions. He's a very talented apologist, one of our very best.

I think I'll do some reading her work before I start a thread. Thanks for your help.

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Sorry I couldn't help more.  I read her stuff when the doctors were using me as a chemistry experiment and I don't remember much of those years, sigh.  I need to read her again.

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13 hours ago, Risingtide said:

Hi Calm, It's a fair point about the role of prophets differing, and could to a point help explain, but I feel the point doesn't cover the enormity of the contrast between the OT and the BOM.

I haven't read Margaret Baker. I've read about her a little. Good suggestion Calm, Is there a particular book you would recommend?

Barker is no so fringy that she has not attracted serious attention and respect in high places.  She was President of the Society for Old Testament Studies in England, headed up a Temple Studies Group at Cambridge, has been the editor for scholarly book publishers, was granted her Ph.D. by the Archbishop of Canterbury, had the introduction of her book in Creation written by the head of the Orthodox church, and has been widely published.  That her work is outside the mainstream is because she set out to deliberately challenge that stream.   See

http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/ReflectionsOnBiblicalStudies.pdf

To start, I would recommend Temple Theology: An Introduction and this essay on the transmission of the Hebrew scriptures:

http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/TextAndContext.pdf

And for some of the implications, compare that essay with 1 Nephi 13 on the transmission of the Hebrew scriptures and perhaps this essay of mine:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1459&index=4

Barker has read and commented on the Book of Mormon in an essay published in BYU Studies:

https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/7066/6715"]here

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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Thank you Kevin for taking the time to write and provide links that address some of my concerns. I will certainly read these in the hope of recovery of a more stable faith.

What is troubling my faith is the New Testament concepts and language found in the Book of Mormon prior to 3rd Nephi. I would expect it to read more like the Old Testament prior to Christ's arrival. Maybe there were prophets in the old world we don't know of who were given the knowledge Book of Mormon prophets were given. You may have a more sound reason for the difference in what was reveled to the Jews of the old world and Lehi's dissidents?  

All the best to you, Tom Wilson

Edited by Risingtide
Clarification of my concerns.
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2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

...That her work is outside the mainstream is because she set out to deliberately challenge that stream....

Sounds like someone I would very much like to meet one day.

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1 hour ago, Risingtide said:

What is troubling my faith is the New Testament concepts and language found in the Book of Mormon prior to 3rd Nephi. I would expect it to read more like the Old Testament prior to Christ's arrival. Maybe there were prophets in the old world we don't know of who were given the knowledge Book of Mormon prophets were given. You may have a more sound reason for the difference in what was reveled to the Jews of the old world and Lehi's dissidents?  

Paul quotes many individuals, both inside and outside the Bible.  

Now, you are assuming that when we read a NT "concept and language", we then assume that it is unique to Paul and the NT.  Perhaps you should re-examine that assumption withing the context of the BOM;  Perhaps both are quoting the same author, but his original writings are no longer extant.

Edited by cdowis
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2 hours ago, Risingtide said:

Thank you Kevin for taking the time to write and provide links that address some of my concerns. I will certainly read these in the hope of recovery of a more stable faith.

What is troubling my faith is the New Testament concepts and language found in the Book of Mormon prior to 3rd Nephi. I would expect it to read more like the Old Testament prior to Christ's arrival. Maybe there were prophets in the old world we don't know of who were given the knowledge Book of Mormon prophets were given. You may have a more sound reason for the difference in what was reveled to the Jews of the old world and Lehi's dissidents?  

All the best to you, Tom Wilson

You are welcome.  I expect you will find Barker something of a revelation.  My first reading of The Great Angel in 1999 led to my spending the next two years researching and writing a FARMS Occasional Paper called "Paradigms Regained."  I've often said that one of the things that prepared me to appreciate Barker's significance for Mormon Studies was the longstanding claim that the Book of Mormon was "too Christian before Christ."   Indeed, Ostler's Expansion Theory, which I had read back in 1987, taking cues from both Nibley and James Charlesworth, suggested later editorial expansions to account for it.  Barker focuses on a violent overthrow of the Temple priesthood that occurred during Lehi's lifetime.  I began my Occasional Paper by quoting this from the introduction of her first book, her 1987 The Older Testament:

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The life and work of Jesus were, and should be, interpreted in the light of something other than Jerusalem Judaism. This other had its roots in the conflicts of the sixth century BC when the traditions of the monarchy were divided as an inheritance amongst several heirs. It would have been lost but for the accidents of archaeological discovery and the evidence of pre-Christian texts preserved and transmitted only by Christian hands.1

One of my life lessons has to realize that whenever I run across something I did not expect, one of the first things I should do is to explore the issue of "What should I expect?"  I should not assume that anything I did not expect must be wrong.  After all, I cannot assume that I begin from a position of perfect knowledge.  Quite the contrary.   So the process involves checking my eye for beams, the removal of which subsequently permits me to see more clearly.

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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35 minutes ago, notHagoth7 said:

Sounds like someone I would very much like to meet one day.

She's a treasure.  I've met her four times so far.  At BYU in 2003, at the Joseph Smith conference in 2005, at Yonkers a few years ago when she spoke to Greek Orthodox Priests about the Temple, and last year when she spoke at FAIR in Orem on the Heavenly Mother.   I'm finally getting back to England for a vacation this month (first time for me since my mission in 73-75), during which time we have an appointment to drop by her home for an afternoon visit.  It's been more than amazing to watch all that has happened in the years since I proposed to Daniel Peterson that I should write what became Paradigms Regained.  Many of the best LDS scholars have gotten involved with her work, and she with theirs.

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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3 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

...what became Paradigms Regained...

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/periodical/occasional-papers-2/

Looks like something I should read very soon. I appreciate the heads up. :0)

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I noticed a number of James Tunney's comments, which strike me as representative what I have called "off-the-rack positivism".    If a person is going to mention paradigms, it pays to understand what they are, and what they do, and how best to go about comparing which of a set of competing paradigms is best, and to have a healthy self-awareness of the implications of one's own paradigm, and how one goes about deciding which is best.  Barbour, summarizing the intellectual insight that undermined positivism, notes that theory influences observation. “The procedures for making observations, and the language in which data are reported” are “theory-laden.”   That applies to skeptics and believers alike.

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James Tunney:

Yeah, shift to a believing paradigm and all contrary evidence will be magically discounted.  I think that is the only way to overcome the seemingly insurmountable proof against historicity.  Just simply choose to stay in a believing cocoon.  If you have doubts, believe anyway because after you die you will find out the truth or have faith that someone will come up with the answers in the future, etc., etc.  Or just choose to ignore it.  History doesn't matter anyway so don't bother yourself with it.

Well isn't that what the believing paradigm is about? One must assume the church is true in the first place then try it out right? If it works, then one must put oneself in the believing cocoon and stay in the boat, because all contrary so called evidence against belief will vanish in the end.  

I don't think the believing paradigm and non-believers paradigm are equal. I know apologists want that to be the case in order to legitimize belief in something beyond justified belief. However the two aren't equal. One is wedded to a conclusion and the other says that while belief is possible, it isn't justifiable based on the evidence. Thus the non-believer still is willing to be convinced if there is some new proof. However, given the state of affairs as we know it today, one can easily justify non-belief but cannot justify belief. On the other hand, the believer is locked in and won't budge notwithstanding the mountain of contrary evidence that is before the believer.

However at a certain point one has enough evidence to reach a conclusion and for me that was for non-belief. I would venture to say that an overwhelming majority of people on this earth would reach the same conclusion if it was presented to them and it's not because they aren't ready or humble blah blah blah. It's because if one looks rationally at the history, not the one pushed by the church for years, but the actual history, it screams non-belief. God doesn't speak to people through rocks and he doesn't command polygamy.  

 This is why it is difficult to engage on this site. Maybe you ought to review what Festinger has to say about religious belief in the face of contrary evidence. Or not. The religious cocoon is nice and comfortable, especially when everyone is in the same believing paradigm.

I don't think it's laziness why people don't want to commit to a high demand religion that lacks evidence to support its tenets. But of course that could be just me and my desires to "sin."

Notice that these comments all involve high-level generalizations and no specific evidence, nor, of course, consideration of the inevitable interplay between theory and evidence.  "In place of evidence", as Nibley noticed in Sounding Brass, "use rhetoric", for example "believing cocoon", "just choose to ignore it," "History doesn't matter anyway," "screams non-belief", "mountain of contrary evidence."  etc.  Notice that the rhetoric does not display a Spock-like emotional detachment, a total devotion to reason and evidence, but rather, displays a conspicuous emotional content.  We get a McMurrinesque assertion that "God doesn't speak to people through rocks and he doesn't comment polygamy" which I notice does not seem to require evidence for support, let alone anything so crass as demonstration or proof.

I did actually review the use of Festinger in a recent Interpreter essay:

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Wikipedia provides a helpful explanation of the combined term as referring to: “mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.”

Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance — as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it.34

The use of “cognitive dissonance” theory as a rhetorical tool in LDS circles began in 1990. Edward Ashment, in “Reducing Dissonance: The Book of Abraham as a Case Study” invoked the notion of “cognitive dissonance” theory as an explanation of Mormon apologetic behavior.35 [Page 116]He drew on Festinger’s study of the responses of William Miller’s followers when his predictions for the Millennium came and went. Ashment reports on “disillusionment [as] a manifestation of cognitive dissonance” of Millers followers as a manifestation “which occurs when the opposite of a belief follows from the premise on which it is based.”36

At a FAIR conference in 2005, LDS psychologist Wendy Ulrich explored the term.

Decades ago Leon Festinger created cognitive dissonance theory to explain why people hold on to religious beliefs despite the failed prophecies of their leaders. He found that many members of a group he studied who anticipated the end of the world on a given date actually became even more committed when the date came and went with no apocalypse in sight.37

Ulrich goes on to explain alternate theories, and comments on a detail that Ashment mentions but for which he does not see the key significance.

People who put cognitive dissonance forward as the explanation for the high level of commitment and sacrifice among some Mormons ignore that by the time the prophecy of the world ending in Festinger’s study had failed three times virtually everyone left the group, cognitive dissonance theory or no. People may rationalize their behavior and beliefs for a time, but they will not continue to do so indefinitely unless their beliefs are producing the expected payback–as long as they have reasonable choices about what to believe.38

[Page 117]Stephenson does not recognize the existence of significant payback in my intellectual biography or among LDS apologists in general. That means that I experience dissonance when comparing my actual history to his portrait. And as Ian Barbour explains: “Religious paradigms, like scientific ones, are not falsified by data, but are replaced by promising alternatives. Commitment to a paradigm allows its potentialities to be systematically explored, but it does not exclude reflective evaluation.”39

  http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/image-is-everything-pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain/

Overall, I would recommend a close and careful read of Ian Barbour's Myths, Models, and Paradigms: A Comparative Study of Science and Religion.  I've used it a lot in my Maxwell Institute essays on paradigm debate, all of which, I think are relevant.

http://www.religion-online.org/showbook.asp?title=2238

GIven all I read and written on the topic, can't help but notice what is going on here.

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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4 hours ago, Risingtide said:

Thank you Kevin for taking the time to write and provide links that address some of my concerns. I will certainly read these in the hope of recovery of a more stable faith.

What is troubling my faith is the New Testament concepts and language found in the Book of Mormon prior to 3rd Nephi. I would expect it to read more like the Old Testament prior to Christ's arrival. Maybe there were prophets in the old world we don't know of who were given the knowledge Book of Mormon prophets were given. You may have a more sound reason for the difference in what was reveled to the Jews of the old world and Lehi's dissidents?  

All the best to you, Tom Wilson

I think the issue is multi-dimensional.  If the Book of Mormon is 1) a modern translation given in respect of and through Joseph's language and learning where the Bible (including the New Testament) is the single most influential text ever published, not something that his language and learning could possibly or reasonably be expected to avoid, and 2) is rooted in First Temple Judaism, which Barker has been decades reconstructing independent of Joseph Smith and using language skills and texts that Joseph Smith had no access to.  Read some Barker then re-read the Book of Mormon in light of what she has found.  Barker herself reported to me that she was "amazed at how much I recognized" when she read it for the first time in 2004.

And there are things like the personal experiences of individuals.  One of my first published essays involved comparing the Book of Mormon and NDE accounts.  (JBMS 2/1 at the Maxwell Institute site.)   Regardless of whether a people or a culture believes in life after death, such experiences happen.  At the IANDS conference in Salt Lake City in 1999, I heard a Jewish woman report that she had been taught that this life is all there is, and that one kept to the traditions to be a good ethical person.  On finding herself surviving outside of her body, her first thought was "I HATE being wrong!"  I've also watched the account of a Russian who was run over by the KGB just before he tried to emigrate on a Raymond Moody DVD of Life after Life.   He'd been raised as a dialectical materialist, and expected nothing, and found himself facing something completely unexpected.  Nearly all of the teachings about the afterlife in the Book of Mormon come through Alma's experience and writing, and his conversion happened while "nigh unto death." 

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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On 9/5/2016 at 7:04 AM, cdowis said:

You obviously have a very dry sense of humor.   Anyway, "forgettable" just doesn't describe it, but I give you the last word on the subject.

Actually, I was being quite sincere, cdowis.  I just think that certain examples of chiasmus are very memorable -- aside from being of mnemonic value. As for poetry, they can have a very pleasing architectonic structure.  Indeed, some poems (including children's  nursery rhymes) are chiastic.  I thought that you might find the examples I cited pleasing.  However, there is no accounting for taste.

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31 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Actually, I was being quite sincere, cdowis.  I just think that certain examples of chiasmus are very memorable -- aside from being of mnemonic value. As for poetry, they can have a very pleasing architectonic structure.  Indeed, some poems (including children's  nursery rhymes) are chiastic.  I thought that you might find the examples I cited pleasing.  However, there is no accounting for taste.

As long as you acknowledge that this is simply a poetic device found throughout literature, as well as the BOM.  It has been used as some sort of evidence for the BOM's validity -- evidence of the voice of God speaking through chiasmus, as I remember.

I see this as interesting as any poetic device being used in literature.  Yawn.

Perhaps it is just envy, but Welch and I were in the same mission at the same time, and while I was knocking on doors, he was on some fool's errand.  Everybody was talking about how he had found some amazing evidence for the BOM.  This was before we discovered that it was found almost everywhere.

This was when I learned the lesson ==> be skeptical of any "amazing" BOM evidence.  Stela 5 Izapa comes to mind-- the tree of life stone, and Lehi's cave near Jerusalem.

Edited by cdowis
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On 9/5/2016 at 7:28 AM, Honorentheos said:

I'm saying what's described in Alma 11 is not a base 8 system, and the 56 shekel maneh is an invention. Your apologetic is nonsense.

 

On 9/5/2016 at 8:49 AM, Honorentheos said:

.....................................................

The Claim: ...........that the Nephite system can be favorably compared to ancient near eastern systems that made use of the shekel as the base currency. The Problem: The Book of Mormon text itself tells the reader there is no recognizable relationship between the Nephite system described in Alma 11 and Jewish measurements or that used in Jerusalem.

That is based only on Alma 11:4, which you read as infallible and inerrant, while ignoring the remainder of Alma 11.  Scholars examine the whole context.

On 9/5/2016 at 8:49 AM, Honorentheos said:

The Claim: The discovered relationship between Egyptian decimal-based weight used in trade and the Judaean Shekel base-8 system used to reconcile the two is compatible with the Nephite system which can be favorably compared to the shekel. The Problem: The Nephite system as described in the Book of Mormon is not a base-8 system. It lacks units at the eights and sixty-four positions, which is not unlikely claiming the US decimal system would still be decimal but lacked a denomination for a 100-cent dollar or 10 dollar bill, but instead had a complicated denomination based on the sum of a penny, nickel, and dime.

Taking a true base-8 system (as described by Dever) and finding that it forms a nice overlay with the Nephite system is only a first step, and does not require that the entire Nephite system be laid out.  We need only see the essential elements.  Without any input from me, Matthew Bowman thought the Nephite system base-8, and so have a lot of other independent Mormon scholars.  None of them had the Israelite-Egyptian system in view, and knew nothing about it.  Moreover, as in the Bible, we are presented in the BofM with only a slice of the whole system.  You base your a priori views upon an unreasonable demand for evidence which is unlikely to exist.  And that characterizes your palaver all through this thread.

On 9/5/2016 at 8:49 AM, Honorentheos said:

The Claim: The relationship between the Egyptian/Judaean reconciled system relies on demonstrating the shekel to qite relationship described by secular archaeologists as demonstrated in the archaeological record supports the same ratios occuring in the Nephite system up to the highest units described in the Book of Mormon (the onti and limnah) The Problem: Sources ................ are careful to describe the record up through the 40 shekel/50 qite/5 dbn and then reference the unattested in the archaeological record maneh of either 50 or 60 shekels. Robert has assumed the relationship up through 40 shekels should continue up to 56 shekels or 70 qites. He does this to try and support a Nephite onti/limnah as the equivilent of 7/8 shekel = mina.

Actually, I looked at the term "limnah" in 7 leahs x 8 = 56 position (which pre-existed my ever concerning myself with it), and could immediately see that Dever's base module of 8 shekels would be well suited to fit the limnah position as a mina, and it made sense linguistically.  Whether this was unique to the Nephites, we cannot know.  We only have the mathematical relationship and the linguistic term in place, and those seem statistically unlikely to have happened by sheer accident.

On 9/5/2016 at 8:49 AM, Honorentheos said:

Not only is this nonsensical to believe that actual living Nephites would have a system whose largest unit is based on a fraction of a foreign currency 500 years in their past and an ocean away, it demands a maneh be equal to 56 shekels in the iron age near east despite zero supporting evidence for this and direct evidence this would never occur to be reasonable to the very expert from whom Robert has drawn his conclusions. Of side interest to this problem, actual evidence from the archaeological record DOES support a 128 shekel, 1.6 dbn weight which would mean the shekel unit is equivilent to two 64 shekel weights, a base position in the base-8 system, and reconcilable with the Egyptian decimal system at higher weights outside of common trade useage. A 400 shekel weight has been discovered in the archaeological record which would be consistent with this progression as the next point in which the base-8 shekel and the Egyptian decimal system would converge. This tangent illustrates how the reality of the reconciled system works, and that this differs meaningfully from the pigeon hole Robert would see it conforming to in order to create a Nephite-Judaean-Egyptian reconciled system despite there being zero possibility these three groups could trade with one another. (Nephites being, at best, in the new world and at worst fictional).

Based on your usual hubris, you here attempt to speak for Kletter, who has not had a chance to compare the limnah for himself, nor to consider the bare factual questions.  Moreover, for you there must be zero possibility of Jews, Egyptians, and Nephites having traded with one another -- another gauche straw man.  You never tire of finding a non sequitur to throw into the bin.

On 9/5/2016 at 8:49 AM, Honorentheos said:

The Claim: The phonetic similarities between various near eastern names and the names in the Book of Mormon demonstrate a connection. The Problem: The terms used in the apologetic range over thousands of years and various geographies in the near east. The potential to find similarities is almost endless using this methodology and therefore meaningless.

There are other continuing issues for Robert, like his insistence on using Mina to described an Iron Age Judaean unit when the Maneh was in use; the complete failure of the apologetic to tie Alma 11 to the new world 500 years after the Nephites would have left the near east and been in trade with whatever peoples were present around them; the lack of a Nephite trade fingerprint matching Alma 11 found in the archaeological record of the New World, etc.

Given your extreme negative mindset, Honorentheos, any evidence of such New World use would also be immediately swept aside by you based on a new straw-man construct.  You apparently do not even understand that "mina" is merely another way of saying "maneh."  Even at the most elementary level you guarantee dismissal before the fact.

On 9/5/2016 at 8:49 AM, Honorentheos said:

As apologetics go, it's flaws run from the purely mathematical to the physical. The fact it retains support is a lesson regarding the will to believe.

What you have really shown is how quickly and thoroughly any and all evidence can simply be swept aside and declared null and void in support of the will to disbelieve.

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30 minutes ago, cdowis said:

As long as you acknowledge that this is simply a poetic device found throughout literature, as well as the BOM.  It has been used as some sort of evidence for the BOM's validity -- evidence of the voice of God speaking through chiasmus, as I remember.

I see this as interesting as any poetic device being used in literature.  Yawn.

Perhaps it is just envy, but Welch and I were in the same mission at the same time, and while I was knocking on doors, he was on some fool's errand.  Everybody was talking about how he had found some amazing evidence for the BOM.  This was before we discovered that it was found almost everywhere.

This was when I learned the lesson ==> be skeptical of any "amazing" BOM evidence.  Stela 5 Izapa comes to mind-- the tree of life stone, and Lehi's cave near Jerusalem.

You are right to be skeptical of any and all claims, because a lot of nonsense gets thrown in the bin (and the result can be embarrassing when the "truth" comes out), but I am not so sure that deep cynicism is called for.*  For one thing, chiasmus does not appear almost everywhere, and where it does appear it does not always take the same form or have the same value.

I have known Jack Welch for over 40 years, and have never heard him suggest (or write) that chiasmus is evidence of the voice of God.  Indeed, I have heard him tell a couple of upstarts that their notion that chiasmus exposed the mind of God to be wildly offbase.  Not to say that God cannot speak in chiastic format, just as He does in many other formats and genres -- assisted by his human spokespersons.  Jack was not "on some fool's errand" a half-century ago.  He was prompted to uncover a key means of disclosing meaning in many a text, and his Jewish and Christian colleagues agreed with him as to its value in biblical exegesis.

* I recall one Jewish colleague telling me that the Diary of Anne Frank was a forgery, which it certainly is not.  Anything can be mocked, cdowis.

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54 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

 

That is based only on Alma 11:4, which you read as infallible and inerrant, while ignoring the remainder of Alma 11.  Scholars examine the whole context.

Taking a true base-8 system (as described by Dever) and finding that it forms a nice overlay with the Nephite system is only a first step, and does not require that the entire Nephite system be laid out.  We need only see the essential elements.  Without any input from me, Matthew Bowman thought the Nephite system base-8, and so have a lot of other independent Mormon scholars.  None of them had the Israelite-Egyptian system in view, and knew nothing about it.  Moreover, as in the Bible, we are presented in the BofM with only a slice of the whole system.  You base your a priori views upon an unreasonable demand for evidence which is unlikely to exist.  And that characterizes your palaver all through this thread.

Actually, I looked at the term "limnah" in 7 leahs x 8 = 56 position (which pre-existed my ever concerning myself with it), and could immediately see that Dever's base module of 8 shekels would be well suited to fit the limnah position as a mina, and it made sense linguistically.  Whether this was unique to the Nephites, we cannot know.  We only have the mathematical relationship and the linguistic term in place, and those seem statistically unlikely to have happened by sheer accident.

Based on your usual hubris, you here attempt to speak for Kletter, who has not had a chance to compare the limnah for himself, nor to consider the bare factual questions.  Moreover, for you there must be zero possibility of Jews, Egyptians, and Nephites having traded with one another -- another gauche straw man.  You never tire of finding a non sequitur to throw into the bin.

Given your extreme negative mindset, Honorentheos, any evidence of such New World use would also be immediately swept aside by you based on a new straw-man construct.  You apparently do not even understand that "mina" is merely another way of saying "maneh."  Even at the most elementary level you guarantee dismissal before the fact.

What you have really shown is how quickly and thoroughly any and all evidence can simply be swept aside and declared null and void in support of the will to disbelieve.

Robert, you have the patience of Job.  To continue to deal with this after already besting him and proving your point is the epitome of patience.  You have been a pleasure to watch.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

 

I refuse to get into a meta discussion with you.  I do not appreciate where you have twisted and misrepresented my post.  I will leave it to others to read my post and decide for themselves what I said, and did NOT say.  

I give you the last word and wish you all the best.

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In addition to my other comment about coins in Alma 11, I would point out that this is pretty clearly referring to coins:

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 Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value.

If "weights and measures" were being described, then the names would have been given according to their weight.  For example, an "ounce" is a unit of measure.  So is a "pound."  But if you take a piece of metal and give it a name so that the name identifies that kind of piece of metal (and the pieces are made in such a way that you can tell what they are by looking at them), then you have coins. 

If I ask for an "ounce" of silver, and someone takes a glob of silver and measures it on a scale, then I'm talking about a unit of measure.  But if a community is carrying around pieces of silver that are made in such a fashion that everyone can tell what they are by looking at them, and we all agree to call them "ounces", then we're still talking about coins.

Even if you name the coin after a unit of weight (say...a "pound"?)  it is no longer referring to a unit of weight when you are talking about the name of the coin!  So even if the odd names in Alma 11 were at one time referring to their units of weight, they stopped referring to that once they used those names for uniquely identifiable pieces of metal that were used as money.

Alma 11 is clearly talking about a system of coinage.

Edited by cinepro
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16 hours ago, Risingtide said:

Hi RT, I'm not claiming there are no Old Testiment references to Christ and His mission, or passages that address an afterlife, but the detailed explanation of Christ's mission and post mortal life in the Book of Mormon differs sharply with the scant attention given these subjects in the Old Testiment. 

Yes they are quite different. I almost find it odd. Whereas the NT has much about Christ, and a decent amount on the afterlife, that is mostly found in the "OT" section of the Book of Mormon. Then when Christ does come, His visit seems brief. He gives the equivalent of the sermon on the mount and a few other directions, sets up a church and is gone. I suppose a lot of that had to do with His having a limited time in the Americas versus 3.5 years in Judah. I believe some of that has to do with Jesus' mission to die for us in Judah. If the OT had all the detail, would they have rejected Him? Therein lies the rub. In the Americas the prophets had already given a lot of the teachings to the people, so Christ did not have to reteach these things. I find the teachings to be highly consistent though, so it doesn't bother me like it does you I guess. I mean if it taught heretical things like the Urantia Book or the Koran, I would definitely not even sat to finish the missionary discussions I don't think. But the teachings are quite consistent even down to small details, and I know the two books will become one in the hands of the Lord, because they are His words.

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

 

That is based only on Alma 11:4, which you read as infallible and inerrant, while ignoring the remainder of Alma 11.  Scholars examine the whole context.

Taking a true base-8 system (as described by Dever) and finding that it forms a nice overlay with the Nephite system is only a first step, and does not require that the entire Nephite system be laid out.  We need only see the essential elements.  Without any input from me, Matthew Bowman thought the Nephite system base-8, and so have a lot of other independent Mormon scholars.  None of them had the Israelite-Egyptian system in view, and knew nothing about it.  Moreover, as in the Bible, we are presented in the BofM with only a slice of the whole system.  You base your a priori views upon an unreasonable demand for evidence which is unlikely to exist.  And that characterizes your palaver all through this thread.

Actually, I looked at the term "limnah" in 7 leahs x 8 = 56 position (which pre-existed my ever concerning myself with it), and could immediately see that Dever's base module of 8 shekels would be well suited to fit the limnah position as a mina, and it made sense linguistically.  Whether this was unique to the Nephites, we cannot know.  We only have the mathematical relationship and the linguistic term in place, and those seem statistically unlikely to have happened by sheer accident.

Based on your usual hubris, you here attempt to speak for Kletter, who has not had a chance to compare the limnah for himself, nor to consider the bare factual questions.  Moreover, for you there must be zero possibility of Jews, Egyptians, and Nephites having traded with one another -- another gauche straw man.  You never tire of finding a non sequitur to throw into the bin.

Given your extreme negative mindset, Honorentheos, any evidence of such New World use would also be immediately swept aside by you based on a new straw-man construct.  You apparently do not even understand that "mina" is merely another way of saying "maneh."  Even at the most elementary level you guarantee dismissal before the fact.

What you have really shown is how quickly and thoroughly any and all evidence can simply be swept aside and declared null and void in support of the will to disbelieve.

Amigo, until you have a unit occupying the 64 position, and don't have a primary unit in a place that is not occupying an actual place in a base-8 notation system you don't have a base-8 system.Hint, 56 does not do so in the same sense that 70 does not occupy such a position in a base-10 (1, 10, 100, etc.) system. Again, you ignore basic principles of math to force an apologetic that is not protecting the Book of Mormon.

While being ancient, the mina incurred itself into Hebrew use late where the maneh. Your use of it in the context of the 7th c. Judaean discoveries is the sort of distortion of reality that suits your purposes perhaps but isn't particularly precise. Again, for no other reason than to protect an argument that Limnah has some sort of linguistic parent in the Near East.

and so on and so on and so on...

Edited by Honorentheos
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1 hour ago, cinepro said:

In addition to my other comment about coins in Alma 11, I would point out that this is pretty clearly referring to coins:

If "weights and measures" were being described, then the names would have been given according to their weight.  For example, an "ounce" is a unit of measure.  So is a "pound."  But if you take a piece of metal and give it a name so that the name identifies that kind of piece of metal (and the pieces are made in such a way that you can tell what they are by looking at them), then you have coins. 

If I ask for an "ounce" of silver, and someone takes a glob of silver and measures it on a scale, then I'm talking about a unit of measure.  But if a community is carrying around pieces of silver that are made in such a fashion that everyone can tell what they are by looking at them, and we all agree to call them "ounces", then we're still talking about coins.

Even if you name the coin after a unit of weight (say...a "pound"?)  it is no longer referring to a unit of weight when you are talking about the name of the coin!  So even if the odd names in Alma 11 were at one time referring to their units of weight, they stopped referring to that once they used those names for uniquely identifiable pieces of metal that were used as money.

Alma 11 is clearly talking about a system of coinage.

The editors of the 1981 edition of the BofM certainly agree with you on that, which is why they spoke of "coinage" in the heading to Alma 11.  Alas, there and elsewhere they didn't pay close attention to historical and archeological reality.  They might even have looked to KJV precedent, but did not.

In Alma 11:4, it is declared that following will be listed Athe names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value.@  Pieces here is reminiscent of Apieces@ in the KJV Bible: I Samuel 2:36 Apiece of silver,"  ʼagôrat-kesep, and Psalm 68:31 (30 KJV) Apieces of silver@  raṣê-kāsep.  These are of course not references to coins, which did not yet exist in Israel & Judah, but to weighable pieces of silver (weighed on scales) – again as in ancient Egyptian: Several times in the Gurob Papyrus II.1, and 2, during the time of Amenhotep III, the Aprice@ or Apayment@ is listed in terms of Apieces@ and even a Ahalf piece.@[1]  Note also the Apieces of gold@ in instructions for priests at the Temple of Horus at Edfu.[2]  The same phenomenon is found in the Papyrus Berlin 9785 from the same period.[3]  Murnane defines it thus in his AGlossary@:

Piece.  This unit of weight (in the shape of a flat round piece of metal) was a widely used measure of value during the New Kingdom.  A number of Apieces@ made up a deben, but the relation of these two units apparently depended on the value of the materials.[4]

Coils of metal were used from at least Old Babylonian times and in ancient Egypt[5] which were cut for “pieces” of money (those Alma 11:4 “pieces”), with the BofM leah as the smallest such “piece.”  In addition, names of weights frequently carry such meanings, e.g., Egyptian dbn (diban/ iban) “round.”[6]  All ancient Near Eastern scholars understand these to be references of weights

[1] Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt  (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995), 45-46 (texts 19-B, 19-C).

[2] M. Aliot, Le Culte D=Horus á Edfou au Temps des Ptoléméés, Bibliothéque d=Étude 22 (Cairo: Institut Français d=archéologie Orientale, 1949), 185.

[3] Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt, 46-47 (text 19-D)

|4] Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt, 282.

[5] Kemp, Ancient Egypt, 237, 244-255; Janssen, Commodity Prices from the Ramesside Period, 105. 

[6] Faulkner, Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, 311; Cochavi-Rainey, Akkadian Dialect of Egyptian Scribes,26, 152. 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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4 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I think the issue is multi-dimensional.  If the Book of Mormon is 1) a modern translation given in respect of and through Joseph's language and learning where the Bible (including the New Testament) is the single most influential text ever published, not something that his language and learning could possibly or reasonably be expected to avoid, and 2) is rooted in First Temple Judaism, which Barker has been decades reconstructing independent of Joseph Smith and using language skills and texts that Joseph Smith had no access to.  Read some Barker then re-read the Book of Mormon in light of what she has found.  Barker herself reported to me that she was "amazed at how much I recognized" when she read it for the first time in 2004.

And there are things like the personal experiences of individuals.  One of my first published essays involved comparing the Book of Mormon and NDE accounts.  (JBMS 2/1 at the Maxwell Institute site.)   Regardless of whether a people or a culture believes in life after death, such experiences happen.  At the IANDS conference in Salt Lake City in 1999, I heard a Jewish woman report that she had been taught that this life is all there is, and that one kept to the traditions to be a good ethical person.  On finding herself surviving outside of her body, her first thought was "I HATE being wrong!"  I've also watched the account of a Russian who was run over by the KGB just before he tried to emigrate on a Raymond Moody DVD of Life after Life.   He'd been raised as a dialectical materialist, and expected nothing, and found himself facing something completely unexpected.  Nearly all of the teachings about the afterlife in the Book of Mormon come through Alma's experience and writing, and his conversion happened while "nigh unto death." 

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Hello Kevin, you've been very generous in helping me. Thank you. I started reading your Paragigms Regained. I'm beginning to feel more confident that I'll find answers that will reassure. I've already found answers that settle my questions about the rejection of a belief in an afterlife in Judaism coming about as a result of Greek Philosopy's influence during the Second Temple period. Is that what you've found?  It's hard to imagine giving up a belief in life beyond mortality, not that I reject that this was the case, is just that an afterlife is so consequential. 

 

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24 minutes ago, Honorentheos said:

Amigo, until you have a unit occupying the 64 position, and don't have a primary unit in a place that is not occupying an actual place in a base-8 notation system you don't have a base-8 system.Hint, 56 does not do so in the same sense that 70 does not occupy such a position in a base-10 (1, 10, 100, etc.) system. Again, you ignore basic principles of math to force an apologetic that is not protecting the Book of Mormon.

This has nothing to do with apologetics, but rather with basic math, and you are thinking of place-value notation -- here I am saying that one first needs to know his eight times tables (8,16,24,32,40,48,56,64,72,80,88,96, etc.), and for the tens (10,20,30,40,50,60,70,80,90,100, etc.), which makes conversion back and forth so easy.  That is what Dever was talking about. Place-value notation is another issue entirely.  Mesopotamians used base-60, while the Yuki of California used base-8, and the Maya used base-20.

24 minutes ago, Honorentheos said:

While being ancient, the mina incurred itself into Hebrew use late where the maneh. Your use of it in the context of the 7th c. Judaean discoveries is the sort of distortion of reality that suits your purposes perhaps but isn't particularly precise. Again, for no other reason than to protect an argument that Limnah has some sort of linguistic parent in the Near East.

........................................................  

Maybe I'm missing your point here, but no scholar thinks that a mina is different from a maneh.  They are merely two ways of saying the same thing.  I cited the biblical sources in detail, but that wasn't apparently enough for you.  Are you only interested in polemic?

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53 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The editors of the 1981 edition of the BofM certainly agree with you on that, which is why they spoke of "coinage" in the heading to Alma 11.  Alas, there and elsewhere they didn't pay close attention to historical and archeological reality.  They might even have looked to KJV precedent, but did not.

In Alma 11:4, it is declared that following will be listed Athe names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value.@  Pieces here is reminiscent of Apieces@ in the KJV Bible: I Samuel 2:36 Apiece of silver,"  ʼagôrat-kesep, and Psalm 68:31 (30 KJV) Apieces of silver@  raṣê-kāsep.  These are of course not references to coins, which did not yet exist in Israel & Judah, but to weighable pieces of silver (weighed on scales) – again as in ancient Egyptian: Several times in the Gurob Papyrus II.1, and 2, during the time of Amenhotep III, the Aprice@ or Apayment@ is listed in terms of Apieces@ and even a Ahalf piece.@[1]  Note also the Apieces of gold@ in instructions for priests at the Temple of Horus at Edfu.[2]  The same phenomenon is found in the Papyrus Berlin 9785 from the same period.[3]  Murnane defines it thus in his AGlossary@:

Piece.  This unit of weight (in the shape of a flat round piece of metal) was a widely used measure of value during the New Kingdom.  A number of Apieces@ made up a deben, but the relation of these two units apparently depended on the value of the materials.[4]

Coils of metal were used from at least Old Babylonian times and in ancient Egypt[5] which were cut for “pieces” of money (those Alma 11:4 “pieces”), with the BofM leah as the smallest such “piece.”  In addition, names of weights frequently carry such meanings, e.g., Egyptian dbn (diban/ iban) “round.”[6]  All ancient Near Eastern scholars understand these to be references of weights

[1] Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt  (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995), 45-46 (texts 19-B, 19-C).

[2] M. Aliot, Le Culte D=Horus á Edfou au Temps des Ptoléméés, Bibliothéque d=Étude 22 (Cairo: Institut Français d=archéologie Orientale, 1949), 185.

[3] Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt, 46-47 (text 19-D)

|4] Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt, 282.

[5] Kemp, Ancient Egypt, 237, 244-255; Janssen, Commodity Prices from the Ramesside Period, 105. 

[6] Faulkner, Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, 311; Cochavi-Rainey, Akkadian Dialect of Egyptian Scribes,26, 152. 

The "pieces of silver" is actually a good example of metal being used for exchange that isn't a coin.

But if a community decides that a certain weight of silver will have a set value, and in order to make it easier on people they're going to make these pieces of silver distinguishable on sight so people don't have to weigh them every time, and then they give it a name for people to refer to them, then they've just invented coins.

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5 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

This has nothing to do with apologetics, but rather with basic math, and you are thinking of place-value notation -- here I am saying that one first needs to know his eight times tables (8,16,24,32,40,48,56,64,72,80,88,96, etc.), and for the tens (10,20,30,40,50,60,70,80,90,100, etc.), which makes conversion back and forth so easy.  That is what Dever was talking about. Place-value notation is another issue entirely.  Mesopotamians used base-60, while the Yuki of California used base-8, and the Maya used base-20.

I'm definately talking about place-values because that is what defines a system. It's incredibly wrong to state that the Nephite system is base-8 and I guess being as explicit as possible is necessary to illustrate this if not for you then perhaps for someone else who is still wondering why I'm saying your apologetic is fatally flawed.

To be a minimally reductive as possible, it is almost certainly easy for anyone reading this thread to visualize the way our decimal counting works. We count up by ones until we reach the "tens" position (1, 2, 3, ...8, 9, 10...) and then from there up to when we reach the hundreds position (11, 12, 13,...97, 98, 99, 100). And in a base-10 currency/measuring system, this also applies to the denominations used. Major denominations are at each of the primary places in base-10 (dollar, ten dollar, 100 dollar) as well as fractions that can be used to sum to one of these values ($5, $20, $50). This also applies to the fractions. So, supposing you had a system that counted up to 69 then jumped to 100 (sixty-nine dollars plus one moving the system to the next major unit). It would be illogical to say it was a decimal system just because it happens to end on a number that was a multiple of 10. (ETA: It's also illogical for such a system to be noted this way, but it's for illustration purposes only. Moving on...)

In a base-8 system using our numerals, the units would run from 1 to 7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) in the ones position of whatever it is we are describing at which point we arrive at a value that goes to the "eight" position. So, counting up it would run 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10. There is a zero in the ones position, a 1 in the eights position. It would then count up 10, 11,...16, 17, 20. The "20" would be the equivilent of sixteen in the decimal system, And so on, up to 77 in the base-8 system which would be 63 (seven 8's plus seven 1's) at which point by adding one we arrive at 100 in the base-8 system, or sixty-four decimal.

So what about the Nephites?

Starting with the leah, as you prefer, we have a leah occupying the 1's position in the system. Setting it up vertically for legibility:

1 = leah

2 = Shiblum (half of the shiblon or half of four leahs)

3 = 

4 = Shiblon (half of the senum, or half of eight leahs)

5 =

6 =

7 =

Then when we hit the eights position the Senum holds this position. Assuming it were a base-8 system, it would be "10" leah. It provides the eight value and there are zero ones or leahs.

So, 1, 2, 3, ...6, 7, 10

10 = Senum

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

20 = Amnor (two Senum, or two 8's, or sixteen leah)

Skipping past the Ezrom (40, four 8's, or thirty-two leahs) we start to approach the largest unit in the Nephite system and the one you insist the Judaean system also used in a base-8 system. But what we see if we count up here is this...

40 = Ezrom (four 8's, thirty-two leahs)

41

42

...

47,

50

51

...

57

60

61...

66

67 (6 eights and seven one's)

70? = Onti (7 eights with zero ones, or 56 leahs)

And then? 71? (seven senum plus a leah?) but the system itself places the onti as a placeholding unit. So it should become one onti, one leah.

So instead, the onti is acting as 100 (one onti, zero Senum, zero Leah)

So the Nephite system progresses 66, 67, 100, 101...

It never reaches 77, 100.

...................................................................

In contrast, which the Kletter evidence helps show, the Judaean system does exactly what a base-8 notation system should do. It progresses to 77, then it moves to the 100, sixty-four position. The 1450 g weight is equal to two of these units.

Again, if its been said once it's been said sixty-four times, the Nephite system in Alma 11 is not a base-8 system. At best it's a binary system (halving and doubling) with an odd unit at the end equal to the sum of the units from the whole senum to the ezrom.

It's black and white. It doesn't matter how many apologists believe the Nephite system is base-8. It's not. It's not even that hard to see why it's not. 

Edited by Honorentheos
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