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The 1922 B.H. Robert's Meeting With General Authoriteis Re: Book of Mormon Problems and the Secret Meetings That Followed it


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1 hour ago, Nevo said:

long apologetic excurses

I don't expect long apologetic excursuses in non-LDS essays (and Kevin might not either). I just expect, if he's going to trash the language, no more bias by omission, an acknowledgment of complex realities. I think I've even suggested simple statements he could easily include to increase accuracy and make comments less misleading. As of now, it's not a priority.

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On 7/19/2020 at 5:32 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Hardy may have been caught in the midst of a transitional period in 2018, a period which is not yet over.  Many on this board and among the Mormon intelligentsia generally have not yet come to terms with the fact of EModE in the Book of Mormon.  Everyone needs a decent interval in which to become more familiar with the facts -- which can be wrenching and destabilizing to those who have already invested so much time and energy in a somewhat different paradigm.

Yes, it's huge, with vast and rather mysterious repercussions. It changes everything.

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On 7/19/2020 at 7:50 PM, champatsch said:

See my article on the Ngram Viewer where I look at these phrases and address Hardy's position on them.

In this article I discuss how most of these phrases could have reached peak popularity much earlier than the early 19c. These conclusions are based on serious investigative work, not glancing at the Viewer.

Carmack, Stanford, “Pitfalls of the Ngram Viewer,” Interpreter, 36 (2020): 187-210, online at https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/pitfalls-of-the-ngram-viewer/ .

On 7/19/2020 at 7:55 PM, champatsch said:

Bob, I wish it were that he is getting used to the idea of Early Modern English. It just isn't so. He's known about it longer than I have, and he has even sent me bits of Early Modern English from the Book of Mormon that he's wondered about, such as "What is it that thy marvelings are so great?" (Alma 18:17). And I reply with 16c and 17c examples of the language.

Grant was one of my earliest helpers in production of the Book of Mormon Critical Text from 1984-1987, so, yes, he has been in the thick of it for a long time.  All the more reason to go easy on him.  He is no fly by night scholar.  He and his wife Heather are a force to be reckoned with.  If you can convince them, they will become your staunchest advocates.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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On 7/19/2020 at 10:54 PM, Nevo said:

I'm old enough to remember when Skousen himself thought the nonstandard English in the Book of Mormon represented Joseph Smith's upstate New York dialect. E.g.,  "drownded" (1 Nephi 4:2), "they was yet wroth" (1 Nephi 4:4), "this shall be your language in them days" (Helaman 13:37), "the armies of the Lamanites are a marching" (Alma 57:31).

As editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text project until 1987, I can recall thinking the same thing.  The closer look by Skousen and Carmack changes all that utterly.

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Hardy brought up in his recent BYU Studies essay that I had said that the quality of English [syntax] in the book is excellent and even sophisticated, remarking that this isn't "obvious even to those who have read through Grammatical Variation". He's a historian and literary scholar. Therefore he is capable of compiling a considerable list of sentences with syntactic structures found in high-level writings of the past, such as English statutes, scholarly religious writings, histories, etc. Maybe you can figure out what's going on.

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21 minutes ago, champatsch said:

Hardy brought up in his recent BYU Studies essay that I had said that the quality of English [syntax] in the book is excellent and even sophisticated, remarking that this isn't "obvious even to those who have read through Grammatical Variation". He's a historian and literary scholar. Therefore he is capable of compiling a considerable list of sentences with syntactic structures found in high-level writings of the past, such as English statutes, scholarly religious writings, histories, etc. Maybe you can figure out what's going on.

One way to determine "what's going on" is to take seriously this 2018 blurb about NOL seriously:

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“Skousen argues that the themes of the Book of Mormon – religious, social, and political – do not derive from Joseph Smith’s time (also an 1831 claim of Alexander Campbell’s), but instead are the prominent issues of the Protestant Reformation, and they too date from the 1500s and 1600s rather than the 1800s – examples like burning people at the stake for heresy, standing before the bar of justice (often called the pleading bar in the 1600s), secret combinations to overthrow the government, the rejection of infant baptism, the sacrament as symbolic memorial and spiritual renewal, public rather than private confession, no required works of penance, and piety in living and worship. Skousen believes that the Book of Mormon would have resonated much more strongly with the Reformed and Radical Protestants of the 1500s and 1600s than with the Christians of Joseph Smith’s time.”   https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/nature-original-language-book-mormon-parts-3-and-4-volume-iii-book-mormon-critical-text .

With his skills, Grant could easily take that suggestion and run with it, just as JarMan and Rajah Manchou have.

 

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On 7/22/2020 at 1:02 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

One way to determine "what's going on" is to take seriously this 2018 blurb about NOL seriously

This theory of Skousen's has about as much chance of being taken seriously as John Marco Allegro's The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, for the same reason. It's crazy. And furnishes another example of comparative philology leading a brilliant scholar astray. 

On the question of the Book of Mormon's teachings on infant baptism in light of nineteenth-century theological debates, I recommend Amy Easton-Flake, "Infant Salvation: Book of Mormon Theology in a Nineteenth-Century Context," in Abinadi: He Came Among Them in Disguise, ed. Shon D. Hopkin (RSC/Deseret Book, 2018), 233-262.

Easton-Flake notes that the Book of Mormon "clearly resonate[d] with different aspects of various [nineteenth-century] denominational thought" and "touch[ed] on many of the most pressing issues within the nineteenth-century debate", while also offering its own unique teaching. She concludes with the observation that "the Book of Mormon contributes an amalgamated yet unique and sophisticated theology to nineteenth-century religious discourse" (252-253). 

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4 hours ago, Nevo said:

This theory of Skousen's has about as much chance of being taken seriously as John Marco Allegro's The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, for the same reason. It's crazy. And furnishes another example of comparative philology leading a brilliant scholar astray. 

On the question of the Book of Mormon's teachings on infant baptism in light of nineteenth-century theological debates, I recommend Amy Easton-Flake, "Infant Salvation: Book of Mormon Theology in a Nineteenth-Century Context," in Abinadi: He Came Among Them in Disguise, ed. Shon D. Hopkin (RSC/Deseret Book, 2018), 233-262. Easton-Flake noted that the Book of Mormon "clearly resonate[d] with different aspects of various [nineteenth-century] denominational thought" and "touch[ed] on many of the most pressing issues within the nineteenth-century debate", while also offering its own unique teaching. She concludes with the observation that "the Book of Mormon contributes an amalgamated yet unique and sophisticated theology to nineteenth-century religious discourse" (252-253). 

That is a common view, and Rob Bowman would certainly agree.  However, Skousen is not alone in understanding the BofM text as not fitting  in with the 19th century, even if for very different reasons:  Long before Skousen's EModE hypothesis, Richard Bushman, for instance, termed the BofM as “almost postmodern in its self-conscious attention to the production of the text” (87), thus, by implication, lending itself well to analysis via the Documentary Hypothesis.  Instead of the vast numbers of parallels elicited by analysts like Alexander Campbell up to the present, Bushman shows how out-of-synch the BofM is with then contemporary thought: “the American story does not control the narrative” (101); the BofM “does not plant seeds of democracy in the primeval history of the nation” (102), etc.  Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Knopf, 2005), 87-105.

And then there is Dr. Margaret Barker (a Methodist scholar in Sheffield, England, and former president of the Society for Old Testament Study, who is very sensitive to Deuteronomistic revisionism), who has evaluated the BofM for its Wisdom content in I Nephi 11 and concluded that “This revelation to Joseph Smith is the ancient Wisdom symbolism, intact, and almost certainly as it was known in 600 BCE” – Barker, “Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion,” May 2005 paper delivered at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, available in J. W. Welch, ed., The Worlds of Joseph Smith: A Bicentennial Conference at the Library of Congress (2006), 69-82 = BYU Studies 44/4:76 for quote.

In my own detailed and lengthy analysis, made long before Skousen was editor of the BofM Critical Text, I was able to show that Joseph Smith had more in common with a classic Renaissance magus than with some 19th century glass-looker -- which seemed rather odd.  Yet, that was soon backed up by other scholars: 

Brooke, John L., The Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994).

Owens, Lance S., “Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection,” Dialogue, 27/3 (Fall 1994), 117-194.

Owens, Lance S., “Joseph Smith: America’s Hermetic Prophet,” Gnosis: A Journal of Western Inner Traditions, #35 (Spring 1995), 56-65, online at http://www.beyond-the-illusion.com/files/Religion/Gnosticism/Gnostic-Library/lance.html cached on Google.com on Feb 12, 2005; revised form in B. Waterman, ed., The Prophet Puzzle, Essays on Mormonism Series No. 9 (Signature Books, 1999).  Available online at www.gnosis.org/lance.html , or www.lumen.org/issue_contents/contents35.html .

Some have even suggested a connection with the Ephrata Commune and with Rosicrucianism -- on this board in 2014.

Furthermore, now that we have the Skousen-Carmack EModE hypothesis on full display, both Rajah Manchou and JarMan have been able to run with it here on this board, demonstrating in great detail how well the BofM fits into the EModE era.

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18 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Instead of the vast numbers of parallels elicited by analysts like Alexander Campbell up to the present, Bushman shows how out-of-synch the BofM is with then contemporary thought: “the American story does not control the narrative” (101); the BofM “does not plant seeds of democracy in the primeval history of the nation” (102), etc.  Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Knopf, 2005), 87-105.

We've been over this before.

To say that the Book of Mormon belongs to the nineteenth century is not to deny its distinctiveness. Bushman does a good job of highlighting its counter-cultural aspects. It wasn't simply a hodgepodge or pastiche of nineteenth-century Americana. There was nothing else quite like it.

18 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

In my own detailed and lengthy analysis, made long before Skousen was editor of the BofM Critical Text, I was able to show that Joseph Smith had more in common with a classic Renaissance magus than with some 19th century glass-looker -- which seemed rather odd.

I can't comment on your paper because it is unpublished, but even though scrying had been around since the 1500s (and probably much earlier), Joseph Smith was hardly some throwback to the early modern period. He wasn't even the only scryer in his neighborhood. As the Church website notes, "'seeing' and 'seers' were part of the culture in which Joseph Smith grew up. Some people in the early 19th century believed it was possible for gifted individuals to see lost objects by means of material objects such as stones. Joseph Smith and his family, like many around them, accepted these familiar folk practices." 

 

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5 hours ago, Nevo said:

We've been over this before.

To say that the Book of Mormon belongs to the nineteenth century is not to deny its distinctiveness. Bushman does a good job of highlighting its counter-cultural aspects. It wasn't simply a hodgepodge or pastiche of nineteenth-century Americana. There was nothing else quite like it.

Joseph did this time and again.  Non-Mormon scholar Matthew Black, for example, found it impossible to explain the contents of the LDS Book of Enoch (within the Book of Moses), unless Joseph Smith had some sort of access to some secret group in Italy which had been maintaining that tradition.  The parallels are conveniently listed and discussed in Hugh Nibley, Enoch the Prophet, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2 (1986) -- especially those from 2 Enoch (Old Slavonic)..

5 hours ago, Nevo said:

I can't comment on your paper because it is unpublished,

You might try reading Owen and Brooke for perspective, regardless of what I may have said.

5 hours ago, Nevo said:

but even though scrying had been around since the 1500s (and probably much earlier), Joseph Smith was hardly some throwback to the early modern period. He wasn't even the only scryer in his neighborhood. As the Church website notes, "'seeing' and 'seers' were part of the culture in which Joseph Smith grew up. Some people in the early 19th century believed it was possible for gifted individuals to see lost objects by means of material objects such as stones. Joseph Smith and his family, like many around them, accepted these familiar folk practices."

Well, of course.  As non-Mormon scholar Jon Butler said:

Quote

“the survival of European occult or magical practices in the American colonies,” entailed the fact that “magic and Christianity in colonial America were not generically different entities but were subsets of the same phenomenon – religion.”  Butler, “"Magic, Astrology, and the Early American Religious Heritage, 1600-1760," American Historical Review, 84/2 (April 1979):318-319.

Even if Joseph were the greatest scryer on Earth, that does not explain the even more detailed ways in which his cosmology reflects that of the great Renaissance magi.  Much easier to explain that and his EModE BofM as direct products of the Renaissance, even though we cannot explain the mechanism for transmission to the 19th century.

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You might try reading Owen and Brooke for perspective, regardless of what I may have said.

I have read Owen and Brooke. And, like many readers, I remain unconvinced that Joseph Smith was steeped in hermeticism (alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Kabbalah, etc.). But even if Owen and Brooke are right, and Joseph Smith drew from this tradition, how does that support the thesis that the Book of Mormon was written in the Elizabethan era? The Book of Mormon itself has little or nothing of hermeticism in it.

By the way, switching gears, I came across an article today that I think you would be interested in. It has been out for a month but I just learned of it:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/06/29/in-search-of-king-davids-lost-empire

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5 hours ago, Nevo said:

I have read Owen and Brooke. And, like many readers, I remain unconvinced that Joseph Smith was steeped in hermeticism (alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Kabbalah, etc.). But even if Owen and Brooke are right, and Joseph Smith drew from this tradition, how does that support the thesis that the Book of Mormon was written in the Elizabethan era? The Book of Mormon itself has little or nothing of hermeticism in it.

Bear in mind that Joseph was not, and could not be the author of the BofM.  Someone in the EModE period produced that English text.  So, Joseph being a Renaissance magus does in no way control the text of the BofM.  What I am saying is that virtually every aspect of Mormon cosmology finds its most likely source in the works of the great Renaissance magi.  How that information environment was mediated to Joseph is unknown.  And so very mysterious.

The BofM itself could have been (A) a fictional creation (pseudepigraphon) by a powerful literary figure in the EModE era, or (B) a translation from the Plates of Mormon by an EModE writer.  I and some other theorists have put forward the names of men capable of doing either.

5 hours ago, Nevo said:

By the way, switching gears, I came across an article today that I think you would be interested in. It has been out for a month but I just learned of it:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/06/29/in-search-of-king-davids-lost-empire

Thanks for that.  When I was a student at UCLA in the Dept of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, I attended a major debate between Finkelstein and Larry Stager on these very issues.  It was amicable, but Stager clearly won.  Margalit's article is nice, but because she is not an archeologist, she misses some crucial items to be considered -- especially the major mining and metallurgical operations in Wadi Fidan

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On 7/23/2020 at 1:00 AM, Nevo said:
 

This theory of Skousen's has about as much chance of being taken seriously as John Marco Allegro's The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, for the same reason. It's crazy. And furnishes another example of comparative philology leading a brilliant scholar astray. 

On the question of the Book of Mormon's teachings on infant baptism in light of nineteenth-century theological debates, I recommend Amy Easton-Flake, "Infant Salvation: Book of Mormon Theology in a Nineteenth-Century Context," in Abinadi: He Came Among Them in Disguise, ed. Shon D. Hopkin (RSC/Deseret Book, 2018), 233-262.

Easton-Flake notes that the Book of Mormon "clearly resonate[d] with different aspects of various [nineteenth-century] denominational thought" and "touch[ed] on many of the most pressing issues within the nineteenth-century debate", while also offering its own unique teaching. She concludes with the observation that "the Book of Mormon contributes an amalgamated yet unique and sophisticated theology to nineteenth-century religious discourse" (252-253). 

Regarding Alexander Campbell's oft quoted notion that the Book of Mormon "resolved all of the great questions" in 19th century discourse, I've wondered if he would rather that a new revelation from God would be irrelevant and incomprehensible.

On the point of infant baptism in the 19th century, I was very impressed with a 2003 Insights essay on Precolumbian practices by Matthew Roper, alas no longer up at Maxwell Institute, but bits preserved in a Book of Mormon Central essay.

https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/knowhy/why-did-moroni-include-mormons-condemnation-of-infant-baptism

Quote

Matthew Roper explained that in pre-Columbian America, “Aztec midwives ritually bathed newborn children, invoking the cleansing power of the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue. Implicit in the practice was the assumption that infants may inherit evil and impurity at birth.”3 Roper concluded, “It is not difficult to imagine that Mormon and Moroni were resisting similar cultural traditions which were making dangerous inroads into the Nephite church of Christ.”4

Detail from Codex Nuttall depicting a woman being reborn (baptized) underwater.

Interestingly, the controversy over infant baptism among the Nephites somewhat parallels the situation in Europe and the Near East, where the “practice of baptizing infants emerged among Christians in the third century A.D. and was controversial for some time.”5 Origen, one of the early church fathers who defended the practice, “argued that baptism takes away the pollution of birth.”6

Matthew Roper, “The Baptism of Little Children in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica,” Insights: A Window on the Ancient World 23, no. 3 (2003): 2. Upon reviewing several evidences for infant baptism in pre-Columbian America, Roper concluded, “Thus the idea that little children who die unbaptized will suffer torment for their inherited evil or impurity was not peculiar to American discourse in the early 19th century, as some detractors of the Book of Mormon have claimed” (p. 2).

One of the things I got from Joseph Campbell was that the same myths recur everywhere with "inflection to culture."  That is, parallels should be expected.  And it is those cultural specifics that Nibley points to in his 1953 discussion of methods for testing.   19th Century comparisons tell us something, but not everything necessary to answer the some of the best questions.

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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18 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

On the point of infant baptism in the 19th century, I was very impressed with a 2003 Insights essay on Precolumbian practices by Matthew Roper, alas no longer up at Maxwell Institute, but bits preserved in a Book of Mormon Central essay.

The Internet Archive (Wayback Machine) has it here:

Matthew Roper, “The Baptism of Little Children in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica,” Inisghts: A Window on the Ancient World 23, no. 3 (2003)

I'm really glad that that website exists.

Edited by InCognitus
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Since this thread was talking about open-mindedness, Grant Hardy, and the Skousen/Carmack EModE findings, I thought this anecdote from a recent exchange between Grant Hardy and Blake Ostler would be of interest.

Emphasis mine:

Quote

Blake, I too think that our views on the origins of the Book of Mormon are similar—an inspired translation of an ancient source that allows the translator some leeway (though I’m not sure that Joseph Smith was the translator; I have found Royal Skousen’s arguments about Joseph receiving a previously existing translation through revelation persuasive). I also think that your article on the expansion theory is one of the most significant contributions to Book of Mormon studies in the last forty years. That being said, we are going to disagree on the Maxwell Institute and Producing Ancient Scripture (the topic of this thread).

- Grant Hardy to Blake Ostler, July 26 2020, in the comments on Q&A with editors of Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith’s Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity

Perhaps Skousen's theory is not so crazy after all.

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Bravo, Grant.

What we need is an increasing public acknowledgment of the complexities of Book of Mormon English.
Hardy could do it adroitly in various venues, without giving the game away — i.e. compromising his academic standing.

The theory hasn't been crazy — it's based on copious amounts of comparative lexical and syntactic material.
Looking at more textual databases strengthens the position. I'm in a position to know.

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7 hours ago, champatsch said:

Bravo, Grant.

What we need is an increasing public acknowledgment of the complexities of Book of Mormon English.
Hardy could do it adroitly in various venues, without giving the game away — i.e. compromising his academic standing.

The theory hasn't been crazy — it's based on copious amounts of comparative lexical and syntactic material.
Looking at more textual databases strengthens the position. I'm in a position to know.

I confess I haven't gone through the data on EModE yet. It's been recommended to me in strong terms as a trailblazing discovery, though I'm reserving judgement until I've been able to take in the evidence myself. That said, it is really great to see it getting more visibility and open consideration.

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16 hours ago, champatsch said:

What we need is an increasing public acknowledgment of the complexities of Book of Mormon English.
Hardy could do it adroitly in various venues, without giving the game away — i.e. compromising his academic standing.

The theory hasn't been crazy — it's based on copious amounts of comparative lexical and syntactic material.
Looking at more textual databases strengthens the position. I'm in a position to know.

In a lot of ways, what seems crazy or not is more a product of assumptions than of the evidence itself. 

People who are not inclined to accept the implications of heavy amounts of EModE in the text (specifically that the wording of text most likely didn't come from Joseph Smith) often say something like "this theory brings up more questions than it answers"--as if that, in itself, should cause one to dismiss strong linguistic evidence. In science, strong evidence for previously unknown and unexpected phenomena often yields "crazy" results. But that doesn't stop good scientists from tentatively accepting those results as a working model and then continuing to explore the issue from as many angles as possible. Strong evidence--even when it yields unexpected and perplexing conclusions--should be taken seriously, no matter how many new unanswered questions it yields.  

 

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59 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

In a lot of ways, what seems crazy or not is more a product of assumptions than of the evidence itself. 

People who are not inclined to accept the implications of heavy amounts of EModE in the text (specifically that the wording of text most likely didn't come from Joseph Smith) often say something like "this theory brings up more questions than it answers"--as if that, in itself, should cause one to dismiss strong linguistic evidence. In science, strong evidence for previously unknown and unexpected phenomena often yields "crazy" results. But that doesn't stop good scientists from tentatively accepting those results as a working model and then continuing to explore the issue from as many angles as possible. Strong evidence--even when it yields unexpected and perplexing conclusions--should be taken seriously, no matter how many new unanswered questions it yields.  

 

To be fair the reason why people tend to point out that the theory brings up more questions than it answers is simply because the context for which this EModE comes is in defense of the claim that the BoM is ancient, translated from a record created by true people around a couple thousand years ago.  If this observation of EModE wasn't brought up in the context of apologetics to prove the BoM is from God, then there'd be no reason to point out it actually brings in more questions about God's involvement than it solves.  If the text appeared to Joseph's mind's eye as he peered in the darkness, then it wasn't on the plates anyway.  

Shall we suggest someone a couple hundred years before Joseph dug up the plates, looked into a hat, dictated English words, then reburied those plates in NY, so when Joseph came around the English text that the unknown he created by some magical gift, would appear for Joseph so he could read off the words in groups of 20 or so to his scribe?  All while Joseph figured he was really just translating ancient characters off of gold plates?  

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3 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

In science, strong evidence for previously unknown and unexpected phenomena often yields "crazy" results. But that doesn't stop good scientists from tentatively accepting those results as a working model and then continuing to explore the issue from as many angles as possible. Strong evidence--even when it yields unexpected and perplexing conclusions--should be taken seriously, no matter how many new unanswered questions it yields.

I agree.

I think we'll have a better sense how strong the "comparative lexical and syntactic material" is once it is presented to other specialists in historical linguistics. If this is academically serious work, let's see it presented at linguistics conferences or published in linguistics journals (English Language & LinguisticsJournal of Linguistics, etc.) rather than exclusively in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. If Skousen is confident that early modern England provides the Sitz im Leben for the Book of Mormon (1830), let's see him make this argument in Past & Present, Historical Journal, Sixteenth Century, etc.

Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon to scribes in 1829. The Book of Mormon refers to Joseph Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. by name and alludes to Oliver Cowdery. It prominently references an event in 1828 (the loss of the 116 pages), which also affects the book's structure. Those facts alone will stop "good scientists" from accepting the Book of Mormon as a product of the sixteenth century.

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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

To be fair the reason why people tend to point out that the theory brings up more questions than it answers is simply because the context for which this EModE comes is in defense of the claim that the BoM is ancient, translated from a record created by true people around a couple thousand years ago.  If this observation of EModE wasn't brought up in the context of apologetics to prove the BoM is from God, then there'd be no reason to point out it actually brings in more questions about God's involvement than it solves.  

Actually, the objection comes just as often from Latter-day Saints who already believe in the Book of Mormon and certainly don't need a new apologetic frontier to strengthen their faith or "prove" (as you say) to anyone else that the Book of Mormon is from God. In other words, the objection come both from without and within the orthodox Latter-day Saint community. And, for many researchers, there is a lot of value to figuring out the method of the translation beyond apologetic concerns. 

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45 minutes ago, Nevo said:

I agree.

I think we'll have a better sense how strong the "comparative lexical and syntactic material" is once it is presented to other specialists in historical linguistics. If this is academically serious work, let's see it presented at linguistics conferences or published in linguistics journals (English Language & LinguisticsJournal of Linguistics, etc.) rather than exclusively in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. If Skousen is confident that early modern England provides the Sitz im Leben for the Book of Mormon (1830), let's see him make this argument in Past & Present, Historical Journal, Sixteenth Century, etc.

Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon to scribes in 1829. The Book of Mormon refers to Joseph Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. by name and alludes to Oliver Cowdery. It prominently references an event in 1828 (the loss of the 116 pages), which also affects the book's structure. Those facts alone will stop "good scientists" from accepting the Book of Mormon as a product of the sixteenth century.

And...of those particular references how much are composed of the EModE syntax?  

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2 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Actually, the objection comes just as often from Latter-day Saints who already believe in the Book of Mormon and certainly don't need a new apologetic frontier to strengthen their faith or "prove" (as you say) to anyone else that the Book of Mormon is from God. In other words, the objection come both from without and within the orthodox Latter-day Saint community. And, for many researchers, there is a lot of value to figuring out the method of the translation beyond apologetic concerns. 

Thanks for the response. Coincidence we both checked back in on this thread at about the same time.

I still think the work accomplished by Carmack and Skousen is more meaningful if it's excised from the apologetic venue it's housed in.  Not that it cant' be meaningful, but it's framed so heavily in the notion of God being behind the work, it only begs questions.  It seems like every time I see something on EModE published it includes a defense.  I don't see how Mormon Interpreter is a good fit for the work, unless it's only purpose is to suggest Joseph most likely could not have written the book.  

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Just now, Nevo said:

I think we'll have a better sense how strong the "comparative lexical and syntactic material" is once it is presented to other specialists in historical linguistics. If this is academically serious work, let's see it presented at linguistics conferences or published in linguistics journals (English Language & LinguisticsJournal of Linguistics, etc.) rather than exclusively in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. If Skousen is confident that early modern England provides the Sitz im Leben for the Book of Mormon (1830), let's see him make this argument in Past & Present, Historical Journal, Sixteenth Century, etc.

I think we all wish there were more qualified individuals who were interested in the data and could responsibly, thoroughly, and fairly engage it.

Just now, Nevo said:

Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon to scribes in 1829. The Book of Mormon refers to Joseph Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. by name and alludes to Oliver Cowdery. It prominently references an event in 1828 (the loss of the 116 pages), which also affects the book's structure. Those facts alone will stop "good scientists" from accepting the Book of Mormon as a product of the sixteenth century.

Yes, the miraculous nature of the Book of Mormon's claims and the religious and often very personal stakes involved make it difficult to approach the text with "academic objectivity"--to whatever extent such an ideal can even be attained. Hopefully not, but I suspect we will be waiting a long time before a qualified and essentially "neutral" outside scholar weighs on the debate--someone who doesn't have strong anti-Latter-day Saint leanings but who also doesn't have any agenda to promote the cause, as it were. Until then, we all will just have to do the best we can to work with the data and research we do have. And some people, of course, will just opt to wait out the issue indefinitely.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Nevo said:

I agree.

I think we'll have a better sense how strong the "comparative lexical and syntactic material" is once it is presented to other specialists in historical linguistics. If this is academically serious work, let's see it presented at linguistics conferences or published in linguistics journals (English Language & LinguisticsJournal of Linguistics, etc.) rather than exclusively in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. If Skousen is confident that early modern England provides the Sitz im Leben for the Book of Mormon (1830), let's see him make this argument in Past & Present, Historical Journal, Sixteenth Century, etc.

Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon to scribes in 1829. The Book of Mormon refers to Joseph Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. by name and alludes to Oliver Cowdery. It prominently references an event in 1828 (the loss of the 116 pages), which also affects the book's structure. Those facts alone will stop "good scientists" from accepting the Book of Mormon as a product of the sixteenth century.

Two subjects here: linguistic and extralinguistic/historical. The latter is Skousen's proposal and province alone.

It's not a pursuit of academics to make value judgments in relation to a controversial text like the Book of Mormon.

If I had to hazard a guess, historical English linguistic journals won't be interested in descriptive surveys of quite a few nonpseudobiblical archaic features found in the Book of Mormon.

Over time, I suppose that various tangential, piecemeal descriptive papers could be submitted for consideration at JEnglL and elsewhere. If published, the value would be in establishing descriptive adequacy for some skeptics.

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