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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, stemelbow said:

I believe Nevo raised the issue earlier.  Joseph being named, the story of the lost pages.  Those events all happened before they left Joseph's lips, but apparently were written in English hundreds of years before he lived.  

As for Joseph being named, that could have been done after the fact. We don’t have the original manuscript for 2 Nephi 3. There’s already some precedent for  Joseph making that prophecy about him with D&C 100. A single sentence is all it would take.
Where do you think the story of the lost 116 pages occurs in the Book of Mormon?

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On 7/30/2020 at 3:14 PM, Ryan Dahle said:

Why? No one knows precisely why the text is the way it is. Or maybe you are specifically asking how the text can be systematically something without being completely something. I think you could probably think of all sorts of analogies where something has systematic tendencies of a certain feature, without being entirely that feature. Its not some sort of categorical error or anything. 

Well sure.  I'm still trying to figure out what it might mean to have a book written in 1820s, but read as if it's from 1500 or something.  How could anyone claim it was written hundreds of years earlier if there is no record or evidence of the text before 1828?  

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The question could easily be flipped around. Why should we think Joseph held the assumption that he couldn't change God's words, especially when many of his comments about revelation shows that he saw God's word as being very adaptable and adjustable. Your question seems to reveal more about your own assumptions than it does about Joseph's.

Sure...not an unfair point.  Joseph certainly seemed like changing scripture was fair game.  I'm not exactly opposed to such thinking.  But, it's gotta be a little true the many believers, particularly of his era, thought changing GOd's word was problematic.  

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What makes you think he knew for sure where the text came from or when/how it was translated?

Well, he's offered the claim that the result amounted to an english translation of whatever was on the plates.  He was under the impression and his close associates seemed to think he was taking archaic unknown characters and spelling out what they mean in english.  

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Also, as a side note, the EModE can't actually date the text's translation, it only dates some of its language. As soon as you invoke the possibility that it was translated by a divine person or persons, then trying to pin down the translation act itself to a specific time becomes impossible (seeing that God knows the future, God knows all languages and can grant linguistic capacities to his servants, and spirits who lived in the EModE period would still be around in the Spirit world long after they died in mortality).

But assuming God and that He is such an all-knower, why in the world would he decide to speak in some long outdated form of english?  

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Several possible purposes:

https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/knowhy/why-were-the-plates-present-during-the-translation-of-the-book-of-mormon

There is also the significance of the plates as an official and binding revelatory document:

https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/doubled-sealed-witnessed-documents-ancient-world-book-mormon

We don't know how the text got to be the way it is. Was someone in the EModE period responsible? Was God responsible? Was it translated by an individual or group of individuals in the Spirit world, who had some tie or connection to the EModE period? No one knows. I prefer something along the lines of the latter possibility, but remain open to other ideas. 

Ok.  Possibilities abound, no matter how probably or possible, I guess.  Maybe God raised up an EModE speaker from the dead and had that person secret himself in the wilderness of NY, as a zombie-like character, to enchant the grounds enough to also raise up an old white lamanite like unto Zelph, in order for these two to collaborate in how to get the etchings from plates into English.  The result they took with them when God took them, as they rehid plates and stuff in the ground.  Then when Joseph came around...well...it all happened.  

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The other question is who are all the intended audiences? Just Joseph Smith's contemporaries? Modern readers from 1830 onward? What about English speakers and readers on the other side of the veil? I think all are possibilities, and the Spirit World offers a wider range of English readers that would need to be accounted for. 

huh?  I like this idea.  Those who die take with them all their learnings and stuff from this world, so they would also need to read some book on earth to get a picture of the past.  And there are plenty of them.  I mean far less than the number of English speakers who were yet to come, but you know, they tend to matter more than the Chinese speakers, or Russian speakers who had long been gone from mortality.   I mean weird but possible.  It's gotta be since it's possible.  

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What about the purpose of the EModE? Does it make the text inaccessible to a 19th century audience? Clearly not. Does it add rhetorical value to the text (giving it a feel of antiquity)? I think it does, especially in our day when we can better appreciate and identify the text's archaic features. Does it show that it's language isn't merely derivative of the Bible? Yes. But its intertextuality also shows it is heavily connected to the Bible. Which, in my opinion provides a nice blend and balance to things that accords well with the text's own view of its relationships with the Bible. In my mind, the infusion of EModE can serve multiple rhetorical functions at once. And, of course, it has possible apologetic value, but how much of an influence the text's EModE has in that context ultimately remains to be seen. Critics certainly aren't yet lining up to be baptized, now that the preliminary linguistic data is in. And even many Latter-day Saint scholars are skeptical and perplexed by the data. 

Do we have any solid answers for any of these types of speculations? No. That is the point that I raised before. But the fact that we don't yet have solid working theories for many aspects of the translation shouldn't lead us to reject the strong linguistic data telling us that the text most likely wasn't produced by Joseph.  

I'm sure we can imagine any type of weird convoluted ideas to make it work if we want to.  The problem is, of course, there's no reason to assume any of it.  We can safely say the text didn't appear until late 1820s.  It's not anything spectacular, and it talks about people who likely did not exist.  Kind of a weird bits, kinda cute bits, kinda bad bits, and kinda good bits.  

Edited by stemelbow

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8 minutes ago, JarMan said:

As for Joseph being named, that could have been done after the fact. We don’t have the original manuscript for 2 Nephi 3. There’s already some precedent for  Joseph making that prophecy about him with D&C 100. A single sentence is all it would take.
Where do you think the story of the lost 116 pages occurs in the Book of Mormon?

I don't know.  Might be confused there.  It's been a while.  Thanks for the idea on 2 Ne 3.  

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2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I don't know.  Might be confused there.  It's been a while.  Thanks for the idea on 2 Ne 3.  

I figured you might be referring to 1 Nephi 9:5, 1 Nephi 19:3, and Words of Mormon 1:7 where it’s explained that the small plates are created for a “wise purpose.” People have usually interpreted that to mean that the wise purpose was a replacement for the lost 116 pages. But we get the same “wise purpose” used in Alma 37 in referring to the large plates of Nephi. The wise purpose seems to be the future Book of Mormon, as a whole, instead of just the replacement for the lost pages. “Wise purpose” was a fairly common early modern phrase that most often referred to the will of God not understood by man. Sometimes it referred to pre-destination but it was more often used in other contexts that match the use in the Book of Mormon. 

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I haven’t seen any objection to the early modern hypothesis based on an analysis of the data. Every objection from believers and critics alike is based solely on the fact that it contradicts whatever view is currently held. This isn’t supposed to be how science works.
 

I gave the various papers a fair read and was convinced there is overwhelming evidence of early modern authorship. I changed my view based on this evidence. In my case that meant going from a believer in the expansionist model of inspired translation to a model where Joseph simply read a manuscript written in the 1600s. This isn’t the only explanation for the early modern hypothesis, but it’s the one I’m comfortable with. 

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On 7/30/2020 at 1:17 PM, stemelbow said:

Why is it systematically an EModE product if it's not entirely EModE?  I think that it shows Joseph Smith era English, and declares events that already happened as prophecy, demonstrates nicely it's not systematically an EModE product.

I have repeatedly compared language to a stream so as to emphasize the point that, as time goes by (lots of time), the language undergoes various changes.  Those changes take place gradually, while many other features of a language continue on into the future.  Some features are left behind.  That's why speaking of something being "entirely EModE," misses the point.  That isn't even possible.  No language is entirely this or that.  Instead it carries features forward in time, and leaves other items behind.  The systematic features of English which were considered normative to E. B. Grandin, for example, would not match certain systematic features from a much earlier era.  Graphs can be and are drawn of those competing features, and the statistical appearance of some items and not others is diagnostic of which language is being defined.  Stanford Carmack has been publishing his statistical analyses for several years now.

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Found link:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/sites/default/files/complete_feature_for_royal_skousen.pdf

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So what’s going to be in part 5 that will be published this fall?
It’s called The King James Quotations in the Book of Mormon, with 440 pages. It will analyze the use of the King James Bible in the Book of Mormon and will list 36 literal quotations as well as numerous examples of paraphrastic quotations, biblical expressions, and passages where King James phraseology has been woven into the text of the Book of Mormon. The use of the King James Bible parallels the findings of parts 1–4, namely, that the Book of Mormon is a creative and cultural translation of the Nephite record and its translation is grounded in the 1500s and 1600s. 

 

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57 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

I'm not rich enough to buy the full set of Skousen's work, so the Harold B. Lee Library better have a copy available. 

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21 hours ago, champatsch said:

That's not the issue. The issue is whether the Book of Mormon's constellation of non(pseudo)biblical archaic features mean that JS didn't author it.

Please inform us of why that construct is so.  It's a statement, nothing more.

Whereas, https://byustudies.byu.edu/sites/default/files/complete_feature_for_royal_skousen.pdf

Edited by JamesBYoung

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Skousen and I don't see the Book of Mormon as a monolithic early modern text. We can stipulate to that. (Plenty of relevant material is laid out in NOL, by Skousen [with my collaboration].)

So, does the late-modern material mean that JS (or anyone else who has been proposed through the years) authored it? We've concluded no, because it has so many non(pseudo)biblical archaic linguistic features.

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18 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Ok.  Possibilities abound, no matter how probably or possible, I guess.  Maybe God raised up an EModE speaker from the dead and had that person secret himself in the wilderness of NY, as a zombie-like character, to enchant the grounds enough to also raise up an old white lamanite like unto Zelph, in order for these two to collaborate in how to get the etchings from plates into English.  The result they took with them when God took them, as they rehid plates and stuff in the ground.  Then when Joseph came around...well...it all happened.  

 

18 hours ago, stemelbow said:

huh?  I like this idea.  Those who die take with them all their learnings and stuff from this world, so they would also need to read some book on earth to get a picture of the past.  And there are plenty of them.  I mean far less than the number of English speakers who were yet to come, but you know, they tend to matter more than the Chinese speakers, or Russian speakers who had long been gone from mortality.   I mean weird but possible.  It's gotta be since it's possible.  

 

18 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I'm sure we can imagine any type of weird convoluted ideas to make it work if we want to.  The problem is, of course, there's no reason to assume any of it.  We can safely say the text didn't appear until late 1820s.  It's not anything spectacular, and it talks about people who likely did not exist.  Kind of a weird bits, kinda cute bits, kinda bad bits, and kinda good bits.

I'm not sure what is so weird about the idea. Under Latter-day Saint assumptions about the Spirit World, we know that missionary work is going on there, and that it involves similar types of messages to what is taught on this side of the veil. So I assume the Book of Mormon plays a key role there as well and that all believing Latter-day Saints probably share that assumption. 

So I leave open the possibility that the text may have been available in English there before it was transmitted to Joseph Smith. So I further leave open the possibility that perhaps the version of the text that was revealed to Joseph Smith was adapted from an EModE text that was already in use in the Spirit World--or perhaps the text was introduced in mortality and in the Spirit World at the same approximate time (either way, these possibilities help explain why the text would retain some EModE features and yet be completely accessible to a 19th century audience--because it would serve both audiences). And as I mentioned before (which you didn't address) I think there are several rhetorical benefits from having the first version of the text retain some EModE features. 

There is no need to invoke silly theories about Zombies or Zelph. 

 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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There is no need to invoke silly theories

Agreed. The Book of Mormon defies simple explanations, but there is no need to reach for the most outlandish ones. 

Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon to scribes in 1829. Like the Nephite king Mosiah, he professed to have a spiritual gift that allowed him to translate "records that are of ancient date" (Mosiah 8:13). Joseph used this gift to bring forth the Book of Mormon and other scriptures, including a parchment of John and a record of Abraham. As soon as the Book of Mormon was published, Joseph founded a church, using the Book of Mormon as a blueprint. 

Joseph Smith presented himself to his followers as a charismatic prophet, seer, revelator, and translator, who could interpret unknown languages "by the gift and power of God." He saw himself as a world-historical figure whose role was foretold by ancient prophets. As early as the second millennium BC, it was allegedly revealed to Joseph of Egypt that Joseph Smith Jr. would be "a choice seer" who would be "great like unto Moses." He would be God's instrument in bringing the Book of Mormon to Joseph's latter-day descendants (and in convincing them of the truth of the Bible), thereby bringing them "unto salvation" (2 Nephi 3: 7, 9, 11, 15; cf. JST Genesis 50:26–33).

Given the role Joseph Smith saw for himself in salvation history, and given the confidence with which he revealed scripture and spoke in the name of God, Occam's razor would suggest that Joseph Smith produced the Book of Mormon, rather than some anonymous Early Modern English speaker. Against Skousen's claim that Joseph Smith simply read words off his seer stone, exercising little or no control over the text, Samuel M. Brown has recently argued that "text-internal clues . . . strongly suggest that he was, in general, not reading from a seer stone or from any other source text" ("Seeing the Voice of God: The Book of Mormon on Its Own Translation," in Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith's Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity [University of Utah Press, 2020], 167). 

Regarding Skousen's observations of "scribal anticipation," Brown writes:

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Skousen has clearly demonstrated that the scribes were not reading a source text. He has missed, however, evidence suggesting that no one was reading a source text for the Book of Mormon. A handful of verbal false starts and missteps, along with their associated corrections, suggest that the Book of Mormon was primarily an oral production. These missteps and corrections sound most like the explanatory emendations and revisions that are ubiquitous in spoken language but should be rare in primarily written works. In simple terms, these missteps sound more like errors of speaking than errors of reading. They suggest that neither the scribes nor Smith was reading the English text of the Book of Mormon. (142; emphasis in original)

Regarding Skousen's evidence for "dictation blocks" of 20 to 30 words, Brown notes:

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Skousen's observations indeed suggest that, at least occasionally, Smith dictated in blocks. A similar method is attested by William McLellin in his 1849 description of Smith's dictation of contemporaneous revelations (texts for which no one has ever proposed a visual-verbal model of revelation). This proposed connection to the visual-verbal model is equivocal. Skousen's implicit claim that Smith could not possibly have held twenty words in memory without having the words depicted visually in the stone in the hat is unpersuasive, even within a strongly theistic worldview. . . . From a purely naturalistic perspective, whatever Smith's lack of formal education, he had a prodigious textual memory that may have been enhanced by the mental focus that surely attended his translation task. (141)

 

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On 7/30/2020 at 3:14 PM, Ryan Dahle said:

.................. Why should we think Joseph held the assumption that he couldn't change God's words, especially when many of his comments about revelation shows that he saw God's word as being very adaptable and adjustable.....................

......................... In my mind, the infusion of EModE can serve multiple rhetorical functions at once. And, of course, it has possible apologetic value, but how much of an influence the text's EModE has in that context ultimately remains to be seen. Critics certainly aren't yet lining up to be baptized, now that the preliminary linguistic data is in. And even many Latter-day Saint scholars are skeptical and perplexed by the data. 

Do we have any solid answers for any of these types of speculations? No. That is the point that I raised before. But the fact that we don't yet have solid working theories for many aspects of the translation shouldn't lead us to reject the strong linguistic data telling us that the text most likely wasn't produced by Joseph.  

Well stated, Ryan.

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On 7/30/2020 at 10:41 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

the presence of EModE is opaque to anyone except scholars.

Indeed. Two scholars to be precise.

This reminds me of a line from David Calabro's review of Grammatical Variation, Parts 1 and 2: "The exacting grammatical approach seems to imply a very specific scholarly audience: a cadre of Book of Mormon philologists who are interested in approaching the English text of the Book of Mormon from a linguistic standpoint, with the same rigor that biblical philologists apply to the Hebrew Bible or the Greek New Testament. But this audience is currently narrow, consisting only of Royal Skousen and Stanford Carmack themselves."

The number of scholars currently convinced that the Book of Mormon "is a creative and cultural translation . . . grounded in the 1500s and 1600s" likewise seems to be hovering around one or two.

Calabro goes on to register some reservations about the EModE hypothesis that I think are worth noting:

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As stated in Carmack’s essay (pp. 45–95) and by Skousen in several places throughout the text, they understand the original language of the Book of Mormon to be Early Modern English and thus to emanate from a period at least one century prior to Joseph Smith. They support this view through numerous quotations from the Oxford English Dictionary, Early English Books Online, and other sources. . . .

It would be good to know, for example, whether the many citations from the Oxford English Dictionary and Early English Books Online come from a single dialect of Early Modern English or from many. If they are from many, one wonders whether the net is cast too wide to support a specific Early Modern English origin for the book’s language. Given the diversity of nonstandard phenomena in Early Modern English dialects as a whole, are there many English texts whose nonstandard grammar could not be found in Early Modern English?

Further, one may wonder whether Joseph Smith’s upstate New York dialect has really been ruled out as the origin of the book’s nonstandard grammar, since the authors do not survey Joseph Smith’s writings nor other sources from upstate New York nearly as extensively as they survey Early Modern English (at least, if these other surveys have been made, they have not entered as prominently into the published analysis).

An older article by Royal Skousen, “The Original Language of the Book of Mormon: Upstate New York Dialect, King James English, or Hebrew?,” indicates that at least some of the nonstandard language of the original text was also used by Joseph Smith and Willard Richards. This includes the use of “for to” instead of “in order to” preceding an infinitive, which Skousen discusses in HTBM: GV (pp. 310–13). Skousen shows that Joseph Smith used this construction in his own writings in the early 1830s and that his editing of the construction for the 1837 Kirtland edition postdated his familiarity with Samuel Kirkham’s English Grammar in Familiar Lectures, which labels the construction as a dialectal feature of English in New England or New York and prescribes against it. Skousen considers the use of this construction in the Book of Mormon to be “archaic” and traces it to Early Modern English, although he ascribes Joseph Smith’s editing of the construction to his familiarity with Kirkham’s book. Here, as elsewhere, Joseph Smith’s editing of the nonstandard grammar may be due to his own increased exposure to prescriptive grammar in the mid-1830s rather than to the original text being foreign to his native dialect.

Skousen mentions in HTBM: GV the role of “improved databases” in his discovery that the vocabulary as well as the grammar of the book dates “from the 1540s up to about 1740” (p. 35). Yet it is not clear if these databases cover nineteenth-century upstate New York sources as extensively as they cover the dialects of Early Modern English; if not, then the data could be skewed.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/10.5406/jbookmormstud2.27.2018.0255.pdf

 

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4 hours ago, Nevo said:

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

Joseph Smith presented himself to his followers as a charismatic prophet, seer, revelator, and translator, who could interpret unknown languages "by the gift and power of God." He saw himself as a world-historical figure whose role was foretold by ancient prophets. As early as the second millennium BC, it was revealed to Joseph of Egypt that Joseph Smith Jr. would be "a choice seer" who would be "great like unto Moses." He would be God's instrument in bringing the Book of Mormon to Joseph's latter-day descendants (and in convincing them of the truth of the Bible), thus bringing them "unto salvation" (2 Nephi 3: 7, 9, 11, 15; cf. JST Genesis 50:26–33).

Given the role Joseph Smith saw for himself in salvation history, and given the confidence with which he revealed scripture and spoke in the name of God, Occam's razor would suggest that Joseph Smith produced the Book of Mormon, rather than some anonymous Early Modern English speaker. Against Skousen's claim that Joseph Smith simply read words off his seer stone, exercising little or no control over the text, Samuel M. Brown has recently argued that "text-internal clues . . . strongly suggest that he was, in general, not reading from a seer stone or from any other source text" ("Seeing the Voice of God: The Book of Mormon on Its Own Translation," in Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith's Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity [University of Utah Press, 2020], 167). 

There is no doubt that Joseph Smith Jr saw himself as a "translator," but one must always bear in mind the 1828 Webster's meaning for the word "translate":

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1. To bear, carry, remove from one place to another.
2. To remove or convey to heaven
3. To transfer; to convey from one to another.  II Sam 3:10
4. To cause to remove from one part of the body to another
5. To change
6. To interpret; to render into another language
7. To explain  https://www.originalbibles.com/webster-english-dictionary-1828-pdf-volume-2/ , page 790

The primary meanings indicate that one could just as well speak of a "transfer" of an EModE text to Joseph's own time simply by his reading it from the stone in his hat, which is how virtually all of those present described it (Emma Smith, Elizabeth Anne Whitmer, Michael Morse, Joseph Knight Sr, et al.).  Moreover, there is no indication that Joseph actually knew how the seerstone worked.  He read it the same way modern TV newscasters read their teleprompters.  How would he know that he was merely transferring an EModE text into his own day?  He could not.

Occam's Razor (the law of parsimony) seeks to find the simplest explanation for the actual data, and the data demand that one account for EModE.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Nevo said:

Indeed. Two scholars to be precise.

This reminds me of a line from David Calabro's review of Grammatical Variation, Parts 1 and 2: "The exacting grammatical approach seems to imply a very specific scholarly audience: a cadre of Book of Mormon philologists who are interested in approaching the English text of the Book of Mormon from a linguistic standpoint, with the same rigor that biblical philologists apply to the Hebrew Bible or the Greek New Testament. But this audience is currently narrow, consisting only of Royal Skousen and Stanford Carmack themselves."

The number of scholars currently convinced that the Book of Mormon "is a creative and cultural translation . . . grounded in the 1500s and 1600s" likewise seems to be hovering around one or two.

I can think of at least three scholars on this board (pretentiously including myself) who take Skousen & Carmack very seriously.  And I can think of a handful of scholars not on this board who have likely been convinced of some form of the Skousen-Carmack theory.  Most of them are textual scholars.

11 minutes ago, Nevo said:

Calabro goes on to register some reservations about the EModE hypothesis that I think are worth noting:

I agree that Calabro's  comments should be take seriously (same for those of Grant Hardy), and I am happy to see someone reading critically.  Serious third party examination of the entirety of the Skousen-Carmack hypothesis should only be encouraged.

The problem with Calabro's critique is that it assumes that any analysis should be made according to prescriptive grammatical standards.  However, the grammar found and derivable from the exemplars in the OED (which Calabro complains about) are descriptive, not prescriptive.  EModE was never a sovereign and dictatorial standard of the language -- such as we meet with today.  It grew like topsy, as language has always tended to do.

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I don't know Calabro personally, but I know he's a careful scholar.

Skousen has incorporated many of his comments in ATV. There are more than 200 instances of Calabro in ATV2. (By way of comparison, there are eight instances of Carmack in ATV2, since I didn't start work in this area until 2014.)

Calabro was asked by Skousen to go over parts of volume 3 and didn't get back to him for many months, perhaps for more than a year, too late for ideas / corrections to make it to press. That didn't help the project.

My essay in GV is preliminary, rudimentary — since then I've greatly expanded the scope of comparisons. I've now surveyed JS's early writings as well: many of his native linguistic preferences directly oppose important aspects of Book of Mormon usage. His rather typical, modern dialect cannot explain mostly archaic Book of Mormon usage. Have an unpublished study on the topic.

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1 minute ago, champatsch said:

I don't know Calabro personally, but I know he's a careful scholar.

Skousen has incorporated many of his comments in ATV. There are more than 200 instances of Calabro in ATV2. (By way of comparison, there are eight instances of Carmack in ATV2, since I didn't start work in this area until 2014.)

Calabro was asked by Skousen to go over parts of volume 3 and didn't get back to him for many months, perhaps for more than a year, too late for ideas / corrections to make it to press. That didn't help the project.

My essay in GV is preliminary, rudimentary — since then I've greatly expanded the scope of comparisons. I've now surveyed JS's early writings as well: many of his native linguistic preferences directly oppose important aspects of Book of Mormon usage. His rather typical, modern dialect cannot explain mostly archaic Book of Mormon usage. Have an unpublished study on the topic.

Are you planning to publish that study at some point? I for one would be delighted to read it and it sounds like it could be enlightening. 

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10 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Are you planning to publish that study at some point? I for one would be delighted to read it and it sounds like it could be enlightening. 

Yes, at some point.

12 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:
Quote

Calabro goes on to register some reservations about the EModE hypothesis that I think are worth noting:

I agree that Calabro's  comments should be take seriously (same for those of Grant Hardy), and I am happy to see someone reading critically.  Serious third party examination of the entirety of the Skousen-Carmack hypothesis should only be encouraged.

Calabro has expertise in Hebrew.

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On 8/1/2020 at 7:43 AM, champatsch said:

Skousen and I don't see the Book of Mormon as a monolithic early modern text. We can stipulate to that. (Plenty of relevant material is laid out in NOL, by Skousen [with my collaboration].)

So, does the late-modern material mean that JS (or anyone else who has been proposed through the years) authored it? We've concluded no, because it has so many non(pseudo)biblical archaic linguistic features.

So, how do you think the late-modern material, material that a 16th century author would not have known, made it to the book of mormon?  How could the 16th century author have known?

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28 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

So, how do you think the late-modern material, material that a 16th century author would not have known, made it to the book of mormon?  How could the 16th century author have known?

The original manuscript could have been re-worked one or more times at a later period. Perhaps this was done as it was being re-copied.

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4 hours ago, JarMan said:

The original manuscript could have been re-worked one or more times at a later period. Perhaps this was done as it was being re-copied.

It could have been re-worked, I guess.  But what evidence is there for this?  Has the bad grammar as merely bad grammar been disproved?  Do we know how Joseph Smith actually spoke or those in upstate NY back then?  I don't think we can know this as there isn't any recorded conversations, speeches, etc. from that period.  Perhaps the backwoods peoples of upstate NY spoke this way?  Perhaps JS was trying to speak as he thought a native american jew would speak from the dust, as it were, and so dictated the book with bad grammar?

Also, the EmodE theory seems to be based on the "how could have Joseph have known" common apologetic.  However, how do we even know what Joseph knew or didn't know?  He was pretty clever and no one has eliminated that he might have had confederates in his enterprise.  The script could have been written prior to the rock and the hat show.  Or, maybe the rock and the hat show didn't produce anything and the thing was written between when the rock and the hat show ended and the publication of the book?  Or, maybe the rock and hat production was merely a rough draft that was continually changed until publication?  Joseph wasn't afraid of changing the D&C after claiming it was God's word.  He also made edits to the book of mormon itself.

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On 7/31/2020 at 11:43 AM, bdouglas said:

Royal Skousen, in an interview that was published in a BYU magazine (I have looked for link but can’t find it) a few months ago, said the BOM was a “creative and cultural translation” from 1500-1600.

This made a lot of sense to me … so much so, in fact, that I have accepted this explanation.

It makes sense to me that JS was reading off an existing translation. He wasn’t working the translation out in his mind. The speed of transmission, the fact that he wasn’t referencing the plates——this, in addition to presence of EModE, suggests he was reading off an existing translation.

The interesting question is, who did this “cultural and creative translation” from 1500-1600?

I have heard some say “God did it.” But God works through human agents. I am of the opinion a mortal man, living in England circa 1600, did it.

The one big constant in my testimony of the Restoration has always been the BOM——for 30 odd years now. The BOM only get more interesting——and more credible——as time goes on.

There is always a "yeah but" in the apologetics business ...

Yeah, but:

You still have Joseph reading out of a hat!  And now another question- who was the translator and how did Joseph receive the translation??

I am not sure that helps the argument in favor of Book of Mormon authenticity move along very well.

I am still in the spiritual Moroni 10 crowd.  There's no way of getting around that so why not just concentrate on that point?

You could still have a perfectly logical explanation for it all and not take it as scripture.

 

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