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Roman History/Book of Mormon Parallels


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9 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Well, I'm not sure I fully recall the Dales' methodology. But what I can say is that I don't think fortifications alone tells us much of anything. It is a good correspondence that shows that the Book of Mormon could possibly have happened in ancient America (at least when it comes to that feature of the text). And it is probably not an aspect of warfare that 19th century Americans like Joseph Smith would have readily expected from the primitive "savages" (as they viewed them) in the Americas. So it pushes back a little against the argument that Joseph just made up the Book of Mormon. But, in my view, this offers nothing like a 1 in a million or 1 in a billion correspondence. 

This trope about the fortifications being similar has been repeated by many apologists. And it's considered to be one of the strongest parallels (at least by the Dales). But it's actually not even significant once you compare it to the right data point. The same can be said about virtually every supposed parallel between the Book of Mormon and meso-America or the ANE. There is almost always a stronger parallel in Roman history or in the bible or in early modern history. But I've come to realize the apologist is not going to try to falsify his own hypothesis (like a scientist would or should). He's not searching for the right data point. Instead, most apologists have set a very low bar, which is to claim that Joseph couldn't know. Well, this approach is quickly becoming outdated because of the work of Skousen and Carmack.

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40 minutes ago, JarMan said:

But it's actually not even significant once you compare it to the right data point.

The right data point being?

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Both Rome and Israel share an ethnic connection through the Etruscan Greek Tribe , which lived in Tarsus, the home of the Apostle Paul, who was of Hebrew - Greek ancestry. It should not be surprising that the Romans and Nephites have similar experiences in their history, because they are kindred people. If you search even further you will find that the English are themselves Etruscan Greeks, the colonial rulers of Italy, prior to the rise of the Roman Republic. The Mormons are told to “ liken themselves to Nephites / Romans” because they are kindred to those people.They did not have to copy historical documents from Roman literature, to write the Book of Mormon, because they had similar experiences.

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11 hours ago, JarMan said:
21 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Gaeticulus / Gadianton

Cassi-us / Gad(d)i-anton

Cassius Chaerea is usually referred to as Chaerea, not Cassius. Catilina is still a better match phonetically and rhythmically. Also, it's Gaetulicus, which is also not as strong a match.

And Catilina is usually referred to as Cataline by English speakers. If you want to assume that the name is being produced by a primarily English speaking author, well versed in Roman history, then it hardly matters. He would know Chaerea's first name and Catiline's Latin version. In my opinion, "ina"/"anton" (or alternatively "lina"/"anton") are not similar at all, other than the fact that they both have two similarly accented syllables, which is hardly that noteworthy. So I see "Cassi"/"Gaddi" as being essentially the same strength or even better than "Cati" / "Gadi". 

Also, the source I have repeatedly spells the name as "Gaeticulus": 

https://books.google.com/books?id=bobhH2uXDyAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=snippet&q=caligula&f=false

This one is basically just as strong because even though it has a difference in vowel sound ("ae" vs. "a") it starts with the same letter instead of just a similar sounding letter "Gaeti" vs. "Gadi". And like I said above, I don't see the last two ending syllables as being valid in Catilina, so comparing those is a moot point.

The point is clearly that when you play loosey goosey with the phonetics, it is easy to find such correspondences. The connection between Catilina and Gadianton is a big stretch. 

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11 hours ago, JarMan said:
21 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Caligula referred to followers of the bandit Tetrinius as Tetriniuses, similar to how Gadianton’s name became almost synonymous with the robbers who followed him.

This has nothing at all to do with the story of Catiline, which is what you are supposed to be comparing it to. And you've completely skirted the issue anyway. The whole point in my comparison is the word latro. Now it's possible that Josephus used the word lestei (the Greek equivalent to latro) to refer to the assassins. I know he used it in other contexts. This would be an appropriate parallel. But it would be one that works in my favor for the exact same reason Cicero's and Tacitus' use works in my favor.

My point is that Caligula, like Cicero, implicated those who were against him as being in league with a well-known robber, even calling them by the robber's own name. Sure, this has to do with a different event. But such differences hardly seem to matter in your estimation. The narrator, which you seem to believe was well-read in Roman history, could have drawn from any material he was aware of concerning this narrative. The important thing is the similarity, remember. It doesn't need to be a rewrite. Isn't that essentially what you argue for every time I show that the similarities you bring up are substantively different than the Nephite counterparts they are being compared with. Or are you now arguing that differences do matter? 

If differences do matter, then the parallel isn't as strong as you seem to think. You make a big deal of Gadianton and Catiline both being robber archetypes. But there is a notable difference here. Catiline is an archetype for a strictly political robber--in other words, mostly a political tyrant, and not someone who is out on the highway or in infiltrating the city or on the sea robbing people and committing violence as part of an organized crime network. Gadianton, on the other hand, is part of an organized band that regularly commits "murder" and yes, actual "robbery." So one is strictly political and the other is an actual robber who also wants to obtain political power. This becomes a problem for the parallel because there are certainly robbers like Gadianton that predate Catiline. Catiline isn't the same persona as Gadianton, the parallel in archetype breaks down, and it becomes more of a general parallel. 

And if it is just a general parallel, that becomes a problem because robbers generally play an important and enduring role in ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean societies, and as you note they play a role in many Roman political narratives. For instance, Julius Ceasar is also referred to with this label, and so is Brutus who organizes his assassination, which occurs at a significant and symbolic government venue, with knives. Brutus later flees from the city. A civil war ensues. Sound familiar? Almost like what happens in the Catilinarian conspiracy? 

Which hopefully demonstrates that the the parallels you are highlighting are not unique enough to be that significant. 

11 hours ago, JarMan said:
21 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Story is used by Josephus as a moral lesson about the consequences of the breakdown of the Republican government.

Now come on. You can't just make things up out of whole cloth and claim a parallel. The assassination of Caligula, an emperor, had nothing to do with the destruction of republican government. If anything, it was about restoring republican government. And I highly doubt Josephus was moralizing about the assassination of one of the most universally loathed of all Roman Emperors.

Well if it is about restoring the republican government, then it is obviously also about the former breakdown of the government system. Some involved in the assassination wanted a return to the republic. In the end, the Nephite government was not the same as the Roman republic or empire, so the parallel breaks down to a general one anyway, whether it involves Cataline or Caligula.

Besides, Josephus (who was a Jew) has a natural outlook that will be more similar to Mormon's in some respects. Josephus writes:

"I wish to give an exact account of that man [Caligula], especially since it proves well the power of God; it provides encouragement for those (i.e. Jews) in misfortunte, and a lesson in self-control for those (i.e., Romans) who think good fortune is everlasting and do not know that it changes for the worse if virtue does not accompany it."

Sounds pretty similar to Mormon's moralizing. Whatever the political problem is, there is a lesson that can be learned from it. 

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11 hours ago, JarMan said:
21 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Near the turn of the century. Occurred relatively soon after a major change in government.

The time period is reasonably close, but still not as close.

But does it really matter? 14 years? approximately 80 years? They are both many hundreds of years away from the EModE period or 1829. If we were to look at the parallels with Ceasar's assassination (which there are quite a few) we would be at about the same time distance away.

I just don't think the proximity in time is significant. If it was the same year or something, then I would definitely count it as an interesting and relevant parallel.  But 14 years apart doesn't cut it for me. 

11 hours ago, JarMan said:
21 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Allegedly formed by Lepidus and Gaetulicus. Lepidus’s father was marked by Caligula to succeed him as emperor.

This is not a parallel at all. What happened with Autronius and Sulla is that they were elected consuls. Then they were convicted of bribery. Another election was held and the two men that prosecuted them were elected. So we have two men with a severe gripe about how the the leaders were chosen, with potential reason to believe they were unfairly excluded from power. One chose to conform the other to rebel. This is a direct parallel to Helaman 1 where 1 brother was selected above the other two brothers. One brother chose to conform, the other to rebel.

Were Paanchi or Pacumeni or Pahoran elected as consuls? Were they convicted of bribery? Were Autronius and Sulla brothers? Was there anyone else involved who could have been consul? I mentioned lots of differences about this before, but those differences don't seem to matter much. 

11 hours ago, JarMan said:
21 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

First and second assassination attempts were unsuccessful. The third attempt was successful.

These were attempts against the same man. In the Catiline conspiracies (and Helaman), there were two different targets.

And in the Roman narratives, things get switched around. In the Book of Mormon, the first assassination attempt is successful, whereas the second one isn't. Paanchi can't be implicated in the first attempt, even though you say he is analogous to Autronius, who supposedly was part of the failed assassination attempt. Gadianton is never mentioned to be involved in the first assassination attempt, even though his counterpart, Catiline, was allegedly involved in the first conspiracy. And so on and so forth. Do differences matter, or do they not? 

11 hours ago, JarMan said:
21 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Caligula is eventually killed at the palace.

Well, under the palace. There's also Caesar's assassination at the senate and Domitian's at the palace, both inflicted by knives. The fact this happened more than once is actually a good parallel to the Book of Mormon where it also happens more than once.

At the palace, under the palace. Hardly matters. It wasn't on a judgement seat. And the fact that this happens in multiple Nephite and Roman narratives broadens it from a specific to a general parallel, which is what I have been saying all along is part of the problem. If it isn't that unique, if it is the type of thing that happens in multiple narratives about the same topic, then it becomes less valuable as an indicator that the story in the Book of Mormon was derived from this specific Roman narrative. 

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14 hours ago, JarMan said:
On 8/13/2020 at 1:42 PM, Ryan Dahle said:

First and Second assassination attempts thwarted. The father of one of the conspirators (Betiliniius Capito) claimed to be involved and gave out names of others who were involved. Several of them were killed.

But not thwarted by a spy or informant.

Remember, differences don't matter. Only similarities matter. Multiple assassination attempts are involved. In one of them, a man claims to be a conspirator and those he names are killed, which arguably could have prevented other assassination attempts (depending on one's assumptions about the history). And its likely that some sort of informant was involved in thwarting both failed attempts (that's how many conspiracies are thwarted), even though the details aren't given in the source I read from. 

Or, alternatively, if differences do matter, I could point to important differences about your proposed parallel. The spy in the Book of Mormon was a male, but the informant in the Catilinarian conspiracy was a woman (typical of Roman conspiracy narratives) who conveyed the information to her husband. And neither the woman nor her husband personally killed a major participant in the conspiracy while that person was en route to commit the assassination, as did the spy in the Book of Mormon.  

14 hours ago, JarMan said:
On 8/13/2020 at 1:42 PM, Ryan Dahle said:

Cassius recruited a number of men to join the conspiracy. One of the three main conspirators (Lucius Annius Vinicianus) was “considered as a possible successor to Caligula.”

This is pretty vague. Notice, not just the conceptual, but also the written similarities between Sallust's and Mormon's account:

Sallust: Then Catiline guaranteed fresh accounts and the proscription of the wealthy; magistracies and priesthoods;

Helaman 2:5: ...he would grant unto those who belonged to his band that they should be placed in power and authority

You don't have to stretch to try and make a connection because it's right there.

But is stretching really that much of a problem, though? I mean, isn't this about the same as your idea that Gadianton might have been involved with Paanchi or the first assassination (in connection to Catiline being allegedly involved in the first Catilinarian conspiracy). Nothing in the text says that Gadianton was involved. You just make a leap of faith and assume it. Isn't what I'm proposing above essentially the same type of thing? At least one person in the conspiracy was likely promised to receive a position of power and authority, assuming all went well in the aftermath, and it makes sense to assume that others probably were too. 

14 hours ago, JarMan said:
On 8/13/2020 at 1:42 PM, Ryan Dahle said:

Claudius, Caligula’s uncle, soon fled the city after the assassination.

Claudius wasn't one of the conspirators, so this doesn't match. And he was more or less hustled out of the city, rather than taking the initiative.

But Mormon or whoever the narrator is doesn't have to follow the narrative exactly, remember. I think when it comes to this detail it probably worked better for the narrator to have Gadianton escape and leave the city, rather than Claudius.

This is similar to saying that it just worked better for Mormon to have Paanchi die and then to invent a new character called Kishkumen to carry out what Autronius and Catiline failed to accomplish in the Roman account. How is swapping out the person who is fleeing different than swapping out the failed attempt of the first Roman conspiracy with the successful assassination attempt of Kishkumen, and the death of Paanchi with the prolonged life of Autronius? If you can just swap things out and make stuff up (about Mormon's motivations) in one context, why not the other?

14 hours ago, JarMan said:
On 8/13/2020 at 1:42 PM, Ryan Dahle said:

Cassius, the ring leader of the conspirators (like Kishkumen), is killed by Claudius.

Later, Claudius faces assassination attempts on his own life. In one instance he executes a man without giving him a trial. From Wikipedia: "Valerius Asiaticus was executed without public trial for unknown reasons. The ancient sources say the charge was adultery, and that Claudius was tricked into issuing the punishment. However, Claudius singles out Asiaticus for special damnation in his speech on the Gauls, which dates over a year later, suggesting that the charge must have been much more serious. Asiaticus had been a claimant to the throne in the chaos following Caligula's death and a co-consul with the Titus Statilius Taurus Corvinus mentioned above. 

I don't know where you're going with this. Most emperors killed people indiscriminately. And most Roman historians were critical of this, not sympathetic. 

Well, you bring up the point about the conspirators being executed without a trial. In this instance, the ring leader is indeed executed. And if the author of the Book of Mormon looked just a little ahead in Roman history he would have found that Claudius executed someone without a trial, and so used that detail instead because it fit his narrative goals better. 

That is about the same thing as comparing Cicero's order to execute multiple conspirators after their preliminary senate hearing with the story of the unnamed Nephite spy who kills Kishkumen on the spot while he is on the way to perform the assassination. They are completely different events, with different characters, and different narrative significance. The only real similarity is that people were killed without a trial. 

14 hours ago, JarMan said:
On 8/13/2020 at 1:42 PM, Ryan Dahle said:

Can we convincingly argue that the story about Caligula is itself dependent on the story of Catiline? I think clearly not. They are separate historical events based on historical details and not mere literary creation (even though the Roman accounts of conspiracies may constitute a type of historiographical genre that tends towards certain conventions and details being reported). And yet almost every detail you mention has some sort of correspondence in the account of Caligula. And I'm sure there are other parallels that could be mustered if I had the time and interest to look for them.

This is just not true, as I showed above. There were a few similarities. But about what we would expect. If anything you've showed the strength of my case by demonstrating just how different the Caligula conspiracies were from those I presented. The Helaman 1 and 2 accounts match Catiline's conspiracies but not those against Caligula.

I don't appreciate the insinuation that I've manipulated the facts of the stories to try and make them look similar. That was your m.o. not mine. I'm confident I've rehearsed the stories correctly, but if someone can show me where I'm wrong, I'll gladly make the correction.

I'm not saying you've manipulated the facts of the stories themselves (I have no idea where you get that from). I'm saying that you are playing fast and loose with lots of your proposed "parallels," and that most others are too general to be significant. And then, at times, you account for what I see as important or key differences by resorting to speculation about Mormon's narrative intent or by saying that differences don't matter that much. But when I show a bunch of narrative parallels with Caligula, you are quick to pounce on what we surely both agree are important differences.

So, obviously, key differences do matter. A point which you are making for me very well.

I'm not saying that a derived story needs to be exactly the same. It doesn't. But somehow we need to be more precise about why some differences matter a lot and other differences don't matter as much. I think the differences I've highlighted between the Book of Mormon story and the parallels you are suggesting have direct bearing on their significance, just like the differences you have highlighted between these two stories and the assassination of Caligula have significance. In my opinion, none of these stories are likely derived from another or connected in any real way. 

Clearly, there is a lot more that needs to be unpacked here than just "Clusters" and "Specifics." I think the analysis is much more complicated than that, which is why critics and apologists have argued so long over this matter. There is no single rubric that I know of that helps in all cases to determine when a series of parallels approach a strong argument for derivation and when they don't. There are so many different types of parallels that can arise in so many different types of contexts, that it is hard to have general principles that can account for every situation. 

All I can say at the moment is that in my opinion, the parallels you have highlighted between the Catilinarian conspiracies and the events in Healman 1 and 2 are significantly undercut by their key differences. Too many parallels are of a general nature and too many instances have to stretch too far to seem like a good fit. 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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11 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

And Catilina is usually referred to as Cataline by English speakers. If you want to assume that the name is being produced by a primarily English speaking author, well versed in Roman history, then it hardly matters. He would know Chaerea's first name and Catiline's Latin version. In my opinion, "ina"/"anton" (or alternatively "lina"/"anton") are not similar at all, other than the fact that they both have two similarly accented syllables, which is hardly that noteworthy. So I see "Cassi"/"Gaddi" as being essentially the same strength or even better than "Cati" / "Gadi". 

Also, the source I have repeatedly spells the name as "Gaeticulus": 

https://books.google.com/books?id=bobhH2uXDyAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=snippet&q=caligula&f=false

This one is basically just as strong because even though it has a difference in vowel sound ("ae" vs. "a") it starts with the same letter instead of just a similar sounding letter "Gaeti" vs. "Gadi". And like I said above, I don't see the last two ending syllables as being valid in Catilina, so comparing those is a moot point.

The point is clearly that when you play loosey goosey with the phonetics, it is easy to find such correspondences. The connection between Catilina and Gadianton is a big stretch. 

When comparing Latin names to Latin names you're bound to find similarities. But this wouldn't be expected when comparing Latin names to Nephite names.

It's Gaetulicus. The earliest I can find Gaeticulus is 1757. The early modern Latin is Gaetulicus.

In English it's not Cataline, it's Catiline. I'm not assuming the text is produced by an English speaker anyway. I'm assuming it was produced in Latin and then translated into English by a different person.

Romans are typically referred to by a single name by historians. And Cassius Chaerea was referred to as Chaerea. Anyway, an s is nothing like a d. A double-s is doubly not like a double-d. And again, Latin names are bound to be similar to each other.

Phonetically, the syllables Cat-i and Gad-i are almost indistinguishable. Based on this you can't call it a stretch to make a connection here. It's true the last two syllable are different, but you'd expect this. And they're not totally different. The third syllable is stressed and ends in n. So this is still pretty good. The last syllables "a" vs "ton" are just functions of the language. Latin words sometimes end in a. Nephite names sometimes end in "ton." The last syllable is the least important anyway. As I pointed out earlier Catilina to Catiline does basically the same thing. This is not loosey goosey with the phonetics.

Look at Jacob vs Jacque (French) or James vs Giacomo (Italian) or Steven vs Esteban (Spanish). Do these pass your name similarity test?

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9 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I just don't think the proximity in time is significant. If it was the same year or something, then I would definitely count it as an interesting and relevant parallel.  But 14 years apart doesn't cut it for me.

You need to see my second video, then. We have a war between the latro Tacfarinas and Rome that lasts from 17 AD to 24 AD. We have a war between the Gadianton Robbers and Nephites that lasts for about 7 years, also. A legitimate argument can be made that it also lasts from 17 AD to 24 AD. (There are other reasonable interpretations, as well, that might shift these dates a few years.)

7 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

So, obviously, key differences do matter. A point which you are making for me very well.

No. You've misconstrued what I was showing and I knew you were going to try to do this. Differences are largely irrelevant. I stand by that. I was criticizing your supposed parallels for not  being as specific as mine. For instance, this idea that Claudius left the city after the assassination. The data point you need to compare this to is the Gadianton story vs the Catiline story. In both Gadianton and Catiline 1) it was a failed assassination attempt, 2) it was the conspirator who fled, and 3) he fled on his own volition. This is where specificity comes into play. The Claudius/Catiline comparison clearly lacks the specificity of the Gadianton/Catiline comparisons in the ways I mentioned. You made this same mistake every time you accused me of pointing out differences.

10 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

And if it is just a general parallel, that becomes a problem because robbers generally play an important and enduring role in ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean societies, and as you note they play a role in many Roman political narratives. For instance, Julius Ceasar is also referred to with this label, and so is Brutus who organizes his assassination, which occurs at a significant and symbolic government venue, with knives. Brutus later flees from the city. A civil war ensues. Sound familiar? Almost like what happens in the Catilinarian conspiracy? 

Which hopefully demonstrates that the the parallels you are highlighting are not unique enough to be that significant. 

When you point out additional similarities between Roman history and the Book of Mormon it strengthens my case. My case is that an author very familiar with Roman history wrote the Book of Mormon. So, yes, he drew on things that occurred on multiple occasions like assassinations of political leaders at their place of power using knives. Hopefully you can see how this plays into my hypothesis.

10 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Besides, Josephus (who was a Jew) has a natural outlook that will be more similar to Mormon's in some respects. Josephus writes:

"I wish to give an exact account of that man [Caligula], especially since it proves well the power of God; it provides encouragement for those (i.e. Jews) in misfortunte, and a lesson in self-control for those (i.e., Romans) who think good fortune is everlasting and do not know that it changes for the worse if virtue does not accompany it."

Sounds pretty similar to Mormon's moralizing. Whatever the political problem is, there is a lesson that can be learned from it.

Again, this supports my point. I am well aware that both Sallust and Tacitus both took a moralizing approach to their histories. If others did as well, it would just confirm this was a historiographical convention of the time. My early modern author, well-versed in classical historiography, may have imitated this convention like he did many others. I shared this quote from a paper earlier:

Quote

In imitation of the classics, early modern writers of narrative history divided their works into books, followed a chronological order, and incerted their texts with invented speeches. The topics they dealt with were ‘political’: the affaires of kings and queens; the doings of popes, emperors, and independent city-states; revolts and wars, negotiations and battles.

To these similarities I'll add another: the moralizing tone of their histories. Actually I'll add a further one: the insertion of invented letters. This is the topic of Part 3 which shows a Nephite letter and a Roman letter that are very similar.

7 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I'm not saying you've manipulated the facts of the stories themselves (I have no idea where you get that from). I'm saying that you are playing fast and loose with lots of your proposed "parallels," and that most others are too general to be significant.

I get that idea from the second sentence. You keep saying my parallels are general. Except when you bring up a supposed corresponding parallel, in every single case it turns out my parallel is more specific than yours. Don't you see how that's a problem for your case?

7 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Clearly, there is a lot more that needs to be unpacked here than just "Clusters" and "Specifics." I think the analysis is much more complicated than that, which is why critics and apologists have argued so long over this matter.

You would probably like to avoid talking about clusters and specifics because it doesn't do anything for the case of most apologists. The reason critics and apologists have argued over this isn't because it's complicated. It's because people (on both sides) have, for the most part, not made a good faith effort to evaluate the other side's claims. I don't think you've made a good faith effort, either. I appreciate your input, I really do. But you've mis-characterized things I've said, offered up red-herrings, made things up out of whole cloth, and given vague dismissals to my strongest points while largely concentrating your attacks on peripheral issues. These are the things the apologist rightly criticizes the critic for doing.

I'm not sure there's more to be gained by continuing to discuss Part 1. If you would like to engage about Part 2 or Part 3 I would be happy to do that.

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3 hours ago, JarMan said:

Phonetically, the syllables Cat-i and Gad-i are almost indistinguishable. Based on this you can't call it a stretch to make a connection here. It's true the last two syllable are different, but you'd expect this. And they're not totally different. The third syllable is stressed and ends in n. So this is still pretty good. The last syllables "a" vs "ton" are just functions of the language. Latin words sometimes end in a. Nephite names sometimes end in "ton." The last syllable is the least important anyway. As I pointed out earlier Catilina to Catiline does basically the same thing. This is not loosey goosey with the phonetics.

Look at Jacob vs Jacque (French) or James vs Giacomo (Italian) or Steven vs Esteban (Spanish). Do these pass your name similarity test?

You say things like "Phonetically, the syllables Cat-i and Gad-i are almost indistinguishable." Except they are distinguishable, and pretty much any 1st grader can tell you the difference. Half the letters aren't the same! Whoever said that differences in consonants doesn't count or isn't important when assessing possible name derivation? It seems pretty relevant to me, especially since it gets worse at the end of the name ("lina" and "anton"). Let's see here: 

  • There are differences in the number of letters (5 vs. 4).
  • There  is no "l" or "i" in "anton.
  • There is no "o" or "n" or "t" in "lina."
  • The "i" and "a"  that share the same sequence are different vowels with different sounds.
  • And even though the ending "a" and "o" make the same sound, they are different letters. 

By my count, that is at least seven differences in the endings alone. When you add the first part of the name it gets it up to 9 differences (depending on how you want to count). 

What I'm saying overall is that the best your phonetic parallel can do (at least for me) is make a case for general plausibility. I'm not saying it can't be a related name. Of course it could. I'm just saying it isn't a strong or compelling parallel. It has too many dissimilarities. Maybe someone else will think it is just an absolutely fabulous fit, and that coupled with the two character's similar status as "robbers" it is almost indisputable.

But I see it as a weak to medium name parallel at best. I would give it something like a 3 or 4 out of ten. If it was Gaditon or Adiantan or Hadiantun or Gadianthum or something else like that, it would bump it up a few notches on its significance as a parallel. But, I'm sorry, Catilina just is doing it for me. I'm willing to bet that most people who don't share you assumptions will probably agree. Maybe try to get some feedback from others on its strength as a name parallel. 

And, yes, I assume you are correct that James is Giacomo (I personally have no idea but I'll take your word for it), but without intimate linguistic knowledge of the two languages involved, nothing like that could be used in a strong argument for derivation in the situation with Catilina and Gad(d)ianton. And since the Book of Mormon's original language and origins are disputed, you can't really make that type of argument. 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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12 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

If differences do matter, then the parallel isn't as strong as you seem to think. You make a big deal of Gadianton and Catiline both being robber archetypes. But there is a notable difference here. Catiline is an archetype for a strictly political robber--in other words, mostly a political tyrant, and not someone who is out on the highway or in infiltrating the city or on the sea robbing people and committing violence as part of an organized crime network. Gadianton, on the other hand, is part of an organized band that regularly commits "murder" and yes, actual "robbery." So one is strictly political and the other is an actual robber who also wants to obtain political power. This becomes a problem for the parallel because there are certainly robbers like Gadianton that predate Catiline. Catiline isn't the same persona as Gadianton, the parallel in archetype breaks down, and it becomes more of a general parallel

Now hold on. I've gone over this before, but it bears repeating. There are two types of robbers in the Book of Mormon. The first is described in Helaman 1,2,6, and the first part of 11. This is a political insider looking to get the reins of government. He is involved in secret assassinations. He promises his supporters power and authority and a share of the plunder. He binds his co-conspirators with evil secret oaths. He murders his own people and plunders their possessions. He wages civil war against his own people. This is the Catiline-type of robber.

The second type of robber appears at the end of Helaman 11 after Type 1 has been exterminated. These robbers don't work from within the city to take over the government. They are hills-men comprised of Nephite and Lamanite dissenters. They swoop down from their strongholds in the mountains to plunder cities and take slaves. They war against the Nephites, but it's not civil war per se. They are successful with guerrilla tactics but not in siege warfare or conventional battles. They avoid pitched battles by fleeing to the mountains. They believe they have been deprived of their rights and try to negotiate with the chief judge to gain lands. They promise large-scale destruction if their demands are not met. They meet their demise in a seven year long war lasting from about 17 AD to 24 AD. All of these details (and more) match the story of Tacfarinas, who is our robber Type 2.

Since Type 1 comes first, it's Gadianton's name that sticks to all later groups Mormon calls robbers. And, yes, Catiline also comes first...another corresponding detail.

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11 hours ago, JarMan said:

You need to see my second video, then. We have a war between the latro Tacfarinas and Rome that lasts from 17 AD to 24 AD. We have a war between the Gadianton Robbers and Nephites that lasts for about 7 years, also. A legitimate argument can be made that it also lasts from 17 AD to 24 AD. (There are other reasonable interpretations, as well, that might shift these dates a few years.)

Looks like a much closer fit, at least at first glance. 

11 hours ago, JarMan said:
19 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

So, obviously, key differences do matter. A point which you are making for me very well.

No. You've misconstrued what I was showing and I knew you were going to try to do this. Differences are largely irrelevant. I stand by that. I was criticizing your supposed parallels for not  being as specific as mine.

That seems like just another way of saying that differences in specificity matter. 

11 hours ago, JarMan said:

For instance, this idea that Claudius left the city after the assassination. The data point you need to compare this to is the Gadianton story vs the Catiline story. In both Gadianton and Catiline 1) it was a failed assassination attempt, 2) it was the conspirator who fled, and 3) he fled on his own volition. This is where specificity comes into play. The Claudius/Catiline comparison clearly lacks the specificity of the Gadianton/Catiline comparisons in the ways I mentioned. You made this same mistake every time you accused me of pointing out differences.

But your parallels make the same types of mistakes on several levels, just in different ways. And I've repeatedly pointed that out with specific analogous examples, which you aren't responding to. For some reason, it doesn't seem to matter as much when your own parallels suffer from the same types of problems in specificity. 

For instance in the BofM it was

(1) a successful assassination attempt followed by a failed one, but not so with Catiline which has two failed attempts,

(2) it was the Nephite spy who killed a single assassin in the BofM, but not so with Catiline, which has Cicero execute five conspirators after a hearing with senators, 

(3) and yes, both Catiline and Gadianton flee of their own volition, but the circumstances certainly have lots of specific differences.

To put your own words to it, the Catiline/Gadianton parallel clearly lacks specificity in important details. Which, of course, is just another way of saying it has important differences. Whatever you want to call it, it is essentially the same problem, just on different issues. 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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3 hours ago, JarMan said:

When you point out additional similarities between Roman history and the Book of Mormon it strengthens my case. My case is that an author very familiar with Roman history wrote the Book of Mormon. So, yes, he drew on things that occurred on multiple occasions like assassinations of political leaders at their place of power using knives. Hopefully you can see how this plays into my hypothesis.

No, it strengthens a different type of argument, which is only general plausibility with an ancient milieu. This is because many of the features you talk about (such as robbers) aren't exclusive to Roman society. 

For example, if a narrative in the Book of Mormon contains a fairly generic detail about a highway leading to a market, that doesn't really provide a compelling case for that specific story. Sure, ancient America had lots of highways and lots of markets. But those elements aren't specific enough to argue for derivation because many other ancient societies (like Rome) had highways and markets. 

Similarly, the fact that these Roman narratives contain details about robbers, assassinations, knives, civil wars, moral historical commentary, and so on doesn't help very much to prove that these two specific stories have some sort of derivative relationship. Every time the specific details of the narrative don't work and you have to back up to a general parallel, your case for specific dependence is lessened, even if your case for general plausibility within a milieu is somewhat strengthened. 

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3 hours ago, JarMan said:
11 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I'm not saying you've manipulated the facts of the stories themselves (I have no idea where you get that from). I'm saying that you are playing fast and loose with lots of your proposed "parallels," and that most others are too general to be significant.

I get that idea from the second sentence. You keep saying my parallels are general. Except when you bring up a supposed corresponding parallel, in every single case it turns out my parallel is more specific than yours. Don't you see how that's a problem for your case?

Your facts are essentially correct. I'm not disputing that. It is your interpretation of the significance of the parallels that I dispute. That is a pretty important difference, in my mind.

And I disagree that every single parallel is more specific. It isn't. There is give and take with some better and some worse. I would say overall, your set of parallels is certainly better. But mine isn't that far behind with the type of leeway you allow for just ignoring important and specific dissimilarities. You seem to see the folly in my approach, which is good, but you avoid applying those same scrupulous standards to many of your own parallels. In your list, differences in specificity just don't matter as much, apparently. 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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4 hours ago, JarMan said:
12 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Clearly, there is a lot more that needs to be unpacked here than just "Clusters" and "Specifics." I think the analysis is much more complicated than that, which is why critics and apologists have argued so long over this matter.

You would probably like to avoid talking about clusters and specifics because it doesn't do anything for the case of most apologists. The reason critics and apologists have argued over this isn't because it's complicated. It's because people (on both sides) have, for the most part, not made a good faith effort to evaluate the other side's claims. I don't think you've made a good faith effort, either. I appreciate your input, I really do. But you've mis-characterized things I've said, offered up red-herrings, made things up out of whole cloth, and given vague dismissals to my strongest points while largely concentrating your attacks on peripheral issues. These are the things the apologist rightly criticizes the critic for doing.

Hmm... I guess that is an interesting window into your thinking patterns. It seems to explain a lot. And is probably is a pretty good indication that its time for me to disengage. 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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1 hour ago, JarMan said:

Now hold on. I've gone over this before, but it bears repeating. There are two types of robbers in the Book of Mormon. The first is described in Helaman 1,2,6, and the first part of 11. This is a political insider looking to get the reins of government. He is involved in secret assassinations. He promises his supporters power and authority and a share of the plunder. He binds his co-conspirators with evil secret oaths. He murders his own people and plunders their possessions. He wages civil war against his own people. This is the Catiline-type of robber.

The second type of robber appears at the end of Helaman 11 after Type 1 has been exterminated. These robbers don't work from within the city to take over the government. They are hills-men comprised of Nephite and Lamanite dissenters. They swoop down from their strongholds in the mountains to plunder cities and take slaves. They war against the Nephites, but it's not civil war per se. They are successful with guerrilla tactics but not in siege warfare or conventional battles. They avoid pitched battles by fleeing to the mountains. They believe they have been deprived of their rights and try to negotiate with the chief judge to gain lands. They promise large-scale destruction if their demands are not met. They meet their demise in a seven year long war lasting from about 17 AD to 24 AD. All of these details (and more) match the story of Tacfarinas, who is our robber Type 2.

Since Type 1 comes first, it's Gadianton's name that sticks to all later groups Mormon calls robbers. And, yes, Catiline also comes first...another corresponding detail.

I just disagree with the nuances of your classifications for robbers in both the BofM and in Roman history. So naturally we will disagree about how Gadianton and Catilina fit into the narrative. But I'm signing out. Good luck with the research. 

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22 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I just disagree with the nuances of your classifications for robbers in both the BofM and in Roman history. So naturally we will disagree about how Gadianton and Catilina fit into the narrative. But I'm signing out. Good luck with the research. 

Seems like you're nervous to explore Part 2.

Edited by JarMan
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I haven't shared any of Part 3 yet, so I'll touch on the first four minute segment. Here I compare a letter written by Roman General Pompey to a letter written by Captain Moroni in Alma 60. Pompey is fighting a war in Spain and things have been tough. He's fought battle after battle and he needs help because his dwindling troops are starving. He sends an angry letter to the Senate and consuls and blasts them for not sending food or reinforcements. He threatens to march on Rome if they do not send help. The letter is from about 75 BC.

Moroni's letter is similar in many ways. He, too, has been fighting brutal battles in distant lands. His dwindling troops are starving and he is angry at the government for not sending food or reinforcements. His letter to the chief judge and others in charge of the war fiercely criticizes them for their indifference in not sending reinforcements and food. If they do not send help he threatens to march back to Zarahemla with part of his army and take what he needs by force. The letter is from about 62 BC.

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Here's some more info on the syllable "cat" in the Latin. The difference between "t" and "d" is that "t" is voiceless and "d" is voiced. The mouth position is the same for both syllables and in both Latin and English, when "t" occurs in the middle of a word it is often voiced like a "d." Say the word "water" out loud. You probably said "wodder" instead of "wotter." For the name Catilina the "t" is often voiced so you get cadd-i-LEEN-a.

The letters "c" and "g" have the same relationship in that "c" is voiceless and "g" is voiced. However, the Latin "c" is pronounced a little differently than the English "c" in that the English "c" has a burst of air behind it while the Latin "c" does not. This makes the Latin "c" very similar to the English "g." It's interesting that some Latin names that begin with "G" are actually abbreviated with the letter "C" such as C. for Gaius (C. Iulius Caesar). This makes the syllable "Cat" in Catiline almost indistinguishable from "Gad" in Gadianton.

The second syllable in both words is "i." The pronunciation shifts from a short to a long sound in Gadianton since a short "i" wouldn't make sense here in English.

The last shift we see is "lina" to "anton." This simply serves to change a Latin name to a Nephite name. We see changes in the end of names all the time when going from one language to another: Albert to Albrecht, Christopher to Cristobal, Garret to Gerardo, Jeffrey to Goffredo, Joseph to Giuseppe, Lawrence to Lorenzo, Louis to Ludovicus, etc. (Source.)

The bottom line is that Catilina to Gadianton as a Latin to English (or Latin to "Nephite" to English) name makes a lot of sense.

Edited by JarMan
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2 hours ago, JarMan said:

The last shift we see is "lina" to "anton." This simply serves to change a Latin name to a Nephite name. We see changes in the end of names all the time when going from one language to another: Albert to Albrecht, Christopher to Cristobal, Garret to Gerardo, Jeffrey to Goffredo, Joseph to Giuseppe, Lawrence to Lorenzo, Louis to Ludovicus, etc.

Again, this covereth a multitude of sins. Based on this, if Gadianton had been named Gadionah, Gadoran, Gadidonah, Gadinihah, Gadorum, or with any other name ending common to the Book of Mormon, it wouldn't make a difference. You're eliding the whole back half of the name in order to make your point. 

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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Again, this covereth a multitude of sins. Based on this, if Gadianton had been named Gadionah, Gadoran, Gadidonah, Gadinihah, Gadorum, or with any other name ending common to the Book of Mormon, it wouldn't make a difference. You're eliding the whole back half of the name in order to make your point. 

Peter - Petrus, Pedro; Roderick - Rodrigo; Salvator - Sauveur; Stanley - Stanislaus; William - Guglielmo, Guilherme, Gudlielmus; Walter - Gauthier.

The third syllable in both is emphasized and ends in -n. The last syllable has the same vowel sound in both. So Gadionah and Gadidonah would work just as well.

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On 8/16/2020 at 12:08 AM, JarMan said:

Seems like you're nervous to explore Part 2.

Let's do a little recap.

In response to my first general critique, all you gave was a vague "differences don't matter" excuse. So I came up with a way to test your methodology and prove that some differences do indeed matter. I did this by finding another historical situation that had some general similarities to Helaman 1-2 and then creating an analogous list of parallels. Overall, my list was weaker than yours (we both agree on that), but it helped demonstrate that you were willing to flip flop on your original claim that differences don't matter. All of a sudden, certain types of differences seemed to matter greatly to you. But instead of admitting that, you concocted some arbitrary (and ironically non-specific) distinction between "differences" and "specificity." I think, however, that we both know that we are actually talking about the same thing: differences in specificity.

In example after example, I demonstrated that many of the problems in "specificity" in my list of parallels, are actually closely analogous to many of the "differences" that I highlighted in your list of parallels (comparing both lists to the narrative in Helaman 1-2). Yet, for some reason, you never addressed those specific concerns. 

Also, I presented the argument that many of your parallels are too general to make a case for specific derivation, and that this approach instead transforms your argument from specific derivation into an argument for general plausibility within an ancient milieu. You never addressed that either, and it is a big deal because it applies to lots of your parallels. 

So, by now it has become pretty clear that you have fundamental problems in your methodology that you aren't willing to acknowledge or address. Then, in what I find to be a surprising turn based on your otherwise tempered tone, you have resorted to attacking the person disagreeing with you (accusing me of not acting in good faith) and also to taunting (implying that I'm just too "nervous"--i.e. afraid--to deal with your full argument).

On the contrary, I just think you have bad methodological controls for evaluating the significance of your parallels, and I find it highly likely that we would just repeat the same scenario for Part 2 and Part 3 that played out in Part 1. So, rather than being "nervous," I'm just no longer very interested. But if it makes you feel better to assume that your parallels are just so good that they are striking fear into the hearts of your ideological opponents, by all means imagine away. 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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4 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

In response to my first general critique, all you gave was a vague "differences don't matter" excuse. So I came up with a way to test your methodology and prove that some differences do indeed matter. I did this by finding another historical situation that had some general similarities to Helaman 1-2 and then creating an analogous list of parallels. Overall, my list was weaker than yours (we both agree on that), but it helped demonstrate that you were willing to flip flop on your original claim that differences don't matter. All of a sudden, certain types of differences seemed to matter greatly to you. But instead of admitting that, you concocted some arbitrary (and ironically non-specific) distinction between "differences" and "specificity." I think, however, that we both know that we are actually talking about the same thing: differences in specificity.

This is one argument I believe is being made in bad faith. Differences don't matter much. I still stand by that. Look at the various Romeo and Juliet adaptations. Some are very closely related. Some are wildly different. But they are all borrowing from the same source. What I object to is the idea that a similarity between the Caligula story and the Catiline story is meaningful when it isn't more significant than the similarity between the Helaman story and the Catiline story. This is a different issue than saying differences don't matter between the parallel and the source. On one hand I am saying that since one set of proposed parallels is much better than another proposed set of parallels, the second set of parallels is not significant. On the other hand I am saying that finding a difference between the proposed parallel and the source material (the Book of Mormon, in this case) may not be significant. These two ideas are not contradictory. And, yes, I've gotten a little testy because you are conflating two different ideas causing a logical inconsistency in your argument. If you decide you can see that these are, indeed, two different non-contradictory ideas and quit pushing a falsehood, then I will retract my assertion of bad faith.

4 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

In example after example, I demonstrated that many of the problems in "specificity" in my list of parallels, are actually closely analogous to many of the "differences" that I highlighted in your list of parallels (comparing both lists to the narrative in Helaman 1-2). Yet, for some reason, you never addressed those specific concerns.

I went through your list item by item and found that each one (with the exception of one or two) was less specific than the corresponding item on my list (or just plain untrue). But again, this is a different thing than if I had criticized them for being different from Helaman. I have specifically not done that.

4 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Also, I presented the argument that many of your parallels are too general to make a case for specific derivation, and that this approach instead transforms your argument from specific derivation into an argument for general plausibility within an ancient milieu. You never addressed that either, and it is a big deal because it applies to lots of your parallels. 

This is a false dichotomy. It's not a matter of whether all similarities are specific or all are general. Some of my parallels are specific and some are general. I freely acknowledge that. The strength of my position lies mostly in sheer numbers and how well they are clustered.

4 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

So, by now it has become pretty clear that you have fundamental problems in your methodology that you aren't willing to acknowledge or address. Then, in what I find to be a surprising turn based on your otherwise tempered tone, you have resorted to attacking the person disagreeing with you (accusing me of not acting in good faith) and also to taunting (implying that I'm just too "nervous"--i.e. afraid--to deal with your full argument).

I'm waiting to hear what the fundamental problems are. I've heard a logically inconsistent argument and a false dichotomy. I mentioned red herrings and other problems earlier. I am genuinely interested in a logical critique. My frustration is not that you disagree with me. My frustration is that I can't follow the logic in your critique.

4 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

On the contrary, I just think you have bad methodological controls for evaluating the significance of your parallels, and I find it highly likely that we would just repeat the same scenario for Part 2 and Part 3 that played out in Part 1. So, rather than being "nervous," I'm just no longer very interested. But if it makes you feel better to assume that your parallels are just so good that they are striking fear into the hearts of your ideological opponents, by all means imagine away. 

 I didn't propose a methodological control for evaluating the significance. You did, when you introduced the Caligula story. I used that story and weighed its parallels against my proposed parallels. When I did that you argued that this was somehow contradictory to a completely separate idea, which is that differences between the proposed parallel story and the source story don't matter much.

It seems like the last topic we discussed ended the same way. You wound up a knotty ball of yarn of logical inconsistencies, became indignant when I started to lose patience, and then took your ball and went home. And we never did get to the meat of the matter. I'm happy to move on.

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1 hour ago, JarMan said:

This is one argument I believe is being made in bad faith. Differences don't matter much. I still stand by that. Look at the various Romeo and Juliet adaptations. Some are very closely related. Some are wildly different. But they are all borrowing from the same source. What I object to is the idea that a similarity between the Caligula story and the Catiline story is meaningful when it isn't more significant than the similarity between the Helaman story and the Catiline story. This is a different issue than saying differences don't matter between the parallel and the source. On one hand I am saying that since one set of proposed parallels is much better than another proposed set of parallels, the second set of parallels is not significant. On the other hand I am saying that finding a difference between the proposed parallel and the source material (the Book of Mormon, in this case) may not be significant. These two ideas are not contradictory. And, yes, I've gotten a little testy because you are conflating two different ideas causing a logical inconsistency in your argument. If you decide you can see that these are, indeed, two different non-contradictory ideas and quit pushing a falsehood, then I will retract my assertion of bad faith.

I assure you, I'm not acting "in bad faith." I'm genuinely trying to understand and fairly respond to your views, as I understand them. 

You still seem to be missing my main point. I see your list as being something like a 3-4 out of 10 (just choosing an arbitrary rating system). In contrast, I saw my list as being more like a 2 out of 10. So we both agree your parallels were collectively better. That hardly means they are good or compelling though. Put another way, just because one set of parallels isn't quite as bad as another set of parallels doesn't preclude the possibility that you can learn something from assessing similar weaknesses in both lists. 

You seem to think that just because my list as a whole is inferior, and that its weaknesses in several cases are more pronounced, that it can be discarded as irrelevant. I completely disagree. The point was to get you to recognize that even if some of your parallels aren't quite as bad as mine, they still suffer from similar problems to various degrees. I guess I thought that would be obvious and meaningful, but apparently it wasn't, even after I repeatedly highlighted how the problems were analogous to the inconsistencies in your own list.  

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