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Emode as Proof Js Did Not Write Bom


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5 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

I've seen the stylometry analysis used by Roper et al in support of John Sorensen's theory about Times and Seasons articles.  Lunacy.  I've talked about that in one of my papers.  I'm not sure about stylometry anymore.  

Computer programs are used to detect plagiarism on the internet.  They seem to work well.  Those ought to be used to compare the Book of Mormon to Olde English.  

I was talking about Hilton and the Berkeley Group. 

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53 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Demonstrate it's possible.  I mean possible in the realm of what we can test and observe, in a scientific sense.  

Testing and observation can only demonstrate which potentialities are realized and available for observation, not the whole extent of the field of possibilities. Science does not have the tools to perform the maneuver you request. 

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5 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Testing and observation can only demonstrate which potentialities are realized and available for observation, not the whole extent of the field of possibilities. Science does not have the tools to perform the maneuver you request. 

That's not true. Theoretical physics is one example among a few where the math used is decidedly solid yet the potential of many theories remain outside being realized and observed. There are tools for testing hypothesis beyond observation.

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57 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

I was talking about Hilton and the Berkeley Group. 

The problem with the Hilton study is that he is not a linguist nor is he a literary expert.   

Stylometry has come down to a particular discipline which blends linguistic and literary study with statistics.   

I have long been a critic of LDS scholars pretending in the area.  See here.  In particular, i have been critical of word pattern studies which use eyeballing and calling it statistics.  Hilton seems to make a serious attempt at  the statistical method but it requires a lot of subjective doctorate-level work in literature.  In particular, the subjective expertise tells the analyst what words are important and what are not.  Statistical programs, such as SMSS, do that kind of work in social science disciplines.  

His paper does not even mention linguistic expertise.  

I use experts all the time in my line of work.  Statisticians alone never qualify as experts in the court system unless all that is wanted in expertise in statistics.  

I still would like to see statistical word pattern analysis applied to "Olde English", but that would required a literary expert to select the texts for comparison.

Isn't it the more rational analysis that Joseph Smith, or somebody of his era, came up with a text to make it sound like stiffly formal Biblical language? Brent Gardner's recent three-volume study seems to so conclude. 

Edited by Bob Crockett
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16 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Testing and observation can only demonstrate which potentialities are realized and available for observation, not the whole extent of the field of possibilities. Science does not have the tools to perform the maneuver you request. 

Seems to be a bit of a conflict here. Science can demonstrate that EMoD is in the BoM but not test why it is there. Just a bit convenient.

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4 minutes ago, Honorentheos said:

That's not true. Theoretical physics is one example among a few where the math used is decidedly solid yet the potential of many theories remain outside being realized and observed. There are tools for testing hypothesis beyond observation.

Conclusions derived from mathematics are still observations, the knowledge is just derived via inferential means and is therefore a degree removed. 

 

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5 hours ago, 2BizE said:

I’m not following well some of the comments by the OP.  First, the language.  Whatever language you want to call what was written on the plates is irrelevant.  There was no “translation” of any kind with the plates. The plates were not used in the process to write the BoM.

JS places a magic stone in a white top hat and the words magically appeared on the stone.  No translation needed. 

Actually, when Joseph first obtained the Plates, he sat down and copied off characters, apparently creating at least two transcripts of characters.  One of those transcripts was taken by Martin Harris to several learned scholars.  We no longer have that transcript.  However, we do have the so-called "Caractors Transcript," which a couple of non-Mormon Egyptologists declared to be authentic Egyptian cursive writing.  In addition, Joseph first used the Nephite Interpreters (large spectacles) to read the Plates.  That was apparently too ungainly, and Joseph translated most of the BofM with the stone-in-the-hat method.  I detail much of that in my 1980 paper on Translation online at https://www.scribd.com/doc/46307834/Translation-of-Languages .

5 hours ago, 2BizE said:

 We know from faithful LDS scholars, such as Richard Bushman, that the words used are very much 19th century and the understanding of the Jews by the people in the BoM is very much a  19th century Protestant understanding.

Actually, Bushman does not say that.  In fact he says that the BofM doesn't fit into the 19th century.  As Royal Skousen, Jared Manning (JarMan), and Rajah Manchou have repeatedly pointed out, the language and the content of the BofM fits like a glove into the era of Early Modern English.

5 hours ago, 2BizE said:

Throw in the fact from BYU researchers that the JS translation of the Bible is not original work from JS, but rather copied from Adam Clark’s Bible Commentary,

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon both made the revisions to that 1828 Phinney Bible as a team, and Adam Clarke was referred to on occasion.  They didn't simply copy everything from Adam Clarke.  The JST is not canonical Scripture, and it is ridiculous to make it out to be more than it in fact is.

5 hours ago, 2BizE said:

the whole Book of Abraham fiasco,

What "fiasco"?  My analysis shows that Joseph did an excellent job.  How he did it, as with the BofM, we do not know.  But the work-product is astonishingly accurate, as I detail in my paper at https://www.scribd.com/document/118810727/A-Brief-Assessment-of-the-LDS-Book-of-Abraham .

5 hours ago, 2BizE said:

and that the BoM plot and vocabulary are very similar to the View of the Hebrews makes one wonder if the BoM is really what it claims to be. 

No scholar believes "that the BofM plot and vocabulary are very similar to the View of the Hebrews."  That's like saying that "Beowulf" is basically the same as "Game of Thrones," or that "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" use the same plot and vocab.  No literary analyst makes such absurd comparisons.

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11 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Seems to be a bit of a conflict here. Science can demonstrate that EMoD is in the BoM but not test why it is there. Just a bit convenient.

Where's the conflict? Linguistic analysis can speak to whether or not EModE is in the BoM but the reasons why have to be left to the theorists. Is there something wrong with this?

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21 hours ago, bdouglas said:

That and the fact that there are no naturalistic BOM origin theories that make any sense.

Putting on my Elder Arnold Cunningham Hat: But an Ancient White American Angel delivering Golden Plates? "Now that makes perfect sense"

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11 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As Royal Skousen, Jared Manning (JarMan), and Rajah Manchou have repeatedly pointed out, the language and the content of the BofM fits like a glove into the era of Early Modern English..

Skousen may be qualified to reach this conclusion but I don't see it.

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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

How do we know that Joseph hadn't been working on it for years?

Good point, Tacenda.  The complex nature of the BofM would require many years to compose.  Lots of editing.  All of it done while Joseph was quite young.

George R. R. Martin worked for many years on his "Game of Thrones," creating a geography loosely based on the British Isles, and a plot loosely based on the actual War of the Roses.  Tolkien did something far more original with his Hobbit and Middle Earth stories.

The problem for Joseph Smith is that the BofM was created from a stone in a hat.  No one ever saw that manuscript from which he cribbed the whole thing.  In addition, the language of the BofM is the Early Modern English of the 1500s and 1600s.  A dead language in Joseph's own time.

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12 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Where's the conflict? Linguistic analysis can speak to whether or not EModE is in the BoM but the reasons why have to be left to the theorists. Is there something wrong with this?

Seems to me that you and "Richard" are in the same boat when it comes to evidence.

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4 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Putting on my Elder Arnold Cunningham Hat: But an Ancient White American Angel delivering Golden Plates? "Now that makes perfect sense"

Yes, and the late Prof Sterling McMurrin repeatedly made that same point: Angels just don't deliver gold plates.  Which of course begs the question.  Children of the Enlightenment cannot be expected to believe in gods, angels, and magic.  McMurrin made a career of avoiding the hard questions.  Much easier to just engage in an arrogant put-down.

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18 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

Skousen may be qualified to reach this conclusion but I don't see it.

In his volumes on the Nature of the Original Language (NOL) of the BofM, Skousen shows that

Quote

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

 

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23 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Seems to me that you and "Richard" are in the same boat when it comes to evidence.

Perhaps so. I don't think EModE proves divine provenance but I think it substantially weakens the case for Smithian authorship. That's the long and the short of it. 

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3 hours ago, cacheman said:

Does anyone know if there are comparable published studies of other texts of unknown provenance?  If so, could you provide links?  I'm just curious if the methodology being used in this instance was developed specifically for the Book of Mormon study, or if it follows methodology standard in the discipline (if there is any).

N. Belvisi, et al., “Forensic Authorship Analysis of MicrobloggingTexts Using N-Grams and Stylometric Features,” Mar 24, 2020, online at https://arxiv.org/pdf/2003.11545.pdf .

Dave Davies, “FBI Profiler Says Linguistic Work Was Pivotal In Capture Of Unabomber,” NPR, Aug 22, 2017, online at  https://www.npr.org/2017/08/22/545122205/fbi-profiler-says-linguistic-work-was-pivotal-in-capture-of-unabomber .

Patrick Milano, “Stylometry and the Pauline Epistles,” July 5, 2019, online at  https://patrickmilano.com/2019/07/05/stylometry-and-the-pauline-epistles/ .

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1 hour ago, Bob Crockett said:

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

Isn't it the more rational analysis that Joseph Smith, or somebody of his era, came up with a text to make it sound like stiffly formal Biblical language? Brent Gardner's recent three-volume study seems to so conclude. 

The problem with that is that the EModE characteristics of the BofM are so often not biblical.  Yet they are statistically systematic.  Those which are biblical often appear with nearly opposite statistical significance.  For example, Carmack calls attention to the Affirmative Past-Tense Syntax (1829 Book of Mormon contains nearly 2,000 instances of this particular syntax, using it 27% of the time in past-tense contexts. The 1611 King James Bible —which borrowed heavily from Tyndale’s biblical translations of the 1520s and ’30s — employs this syntax less than 2% of the time)[1]  Overall, both BofM positive and periphrastic "did" usage is much more common than the low rates in the KJV or pseudo-biblical texts.  The same is true for the perfect tense.


[1] S. Carmack, “ The Implications of Past-Tense Syntax in the Book of Mormon,” Interpreter, 14 (2015):119-186, http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-implications-of-past-tense-syntax-in-the-book-of-mormon/  .

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53 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The problem with that is that the EModE characteristics of the BofM are so often not biblical.  Yet they are statistically systematic.  Those which are biblical often appear with nearly opposite statistical significance.  For example, Carmack calls attention to the Affirmative Past-Tense Syntax (1829 Book of Mormon contains nearly 2,000 instances of this particular syntax, using it 27% of the time in past-tense contexts. The 1611 King James Bible —which borrowed heavily from Tyndale’s biblical translations of the 1520s and ’30s — employs this syntax less than 2% of the time)[1]  Overall, both BofM positive and periphrastic "did" usage is much more common than the low rates in the KJV or pseudo-biblical texts.  The same is true for the perfect tense.


[1] S. Carmack, “ The Implications of Past-Tense Syntax in the Book of Mormon,” Interpreter, 14 (2015):119-186, http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-implications-of-past-tense-syntax-in-the-book-of-mormon/  .

 

I am just uncomfortable with stylometics because two thirds of the analysis must depend upon linguistics and literary knowledge and theory, which is too subjective to me to be scientific.  

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13 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

I am just uncomfortable with stylometics because two thirds of the analysis must depend upon linguistics and literary knowledge and theory, which is too subjective to me to be scientific.  

The syntax doesn't depend on literary or lexical knowledge, but only on basic English grammar.  The types of phrases in question simply appear or do not appear in various texts, and are easily quantified.  Moreover, these phrase are not important to the narrative at all.  Thus, one's personal feelings or literary value play no role in the analysis.  They can be quantified and graphed via computer.

Stylometrics are used regularly by non-Mormon experts.  There is nothing odd, subjective, or speculative about it.  The authors themselves are not even aware that they have any sort of style which can be analyzed in this way.  Certainly Joseph and his contemporaries could not have been thus aware.  Same applies to Saint Paul.

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I remember when I was in seminary, we had this three day "Put the Book of Mormon on trial" event.  It was all scripted with pro and con "lawyers" played by the seminary teachers presenting proof of the Book of Mormon.  To a high school student, it seemed like a sure proof of the claims made by Joseph Smith. Decades later, most of those "proofs" presented at that trial have now been disproven and abandoned by most apologists. But now, there are a whole new batch of "proofs" that the Book of Mormon is true.  For those that want to believe the Book of Mormon to be true, these new current proofs can replace the now discarded ones from the past.  

In the end, people believe what they want to believe.  Those that want the Book of Mormon to be true, will find ways to believe in new theories and stand behind these new arguments

Those that have lost faith in the truthfulness of the gospel can easily dismiss those arguments because ALL of them require a leap of faith and assumptions that must be made before the theory can be accepted.  For example, can anyone explain why God would inspire Joseph Smith to write in EModE in 1829?  Why not English spoken during the time of Joseph Smith?  Does one have to assume that God speaks in EModE?  If you can't answer that question, then whether it is possible for Joseph Smith to write such a book in EModE is really irrelevant.  

 

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I looked for more information on what, exactly, is being described as EmodE since it wasn't clear to me exactly what this evidence looked like. That led me to an article by Carmack that talked specifically about the phrase, "the more part" and it's use.

Ok, that's interesting. So what happens when you search for that phrase at the Joseph Smith papers?

 

You find it used in a letter written by Oliver Cowdery to Joseph. You find it in a letter to the church. It shows up in non-scriptural writings...written by Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

Edited by Honorentheos
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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The problem with that is that the EModE characteristics of the BofM are so often not biblical. Yet they are statistically systematic. Those which are biblical often appear with nearly opposite statistical significance. For example, Carmack calls attention to the Affirmative Past-Tense Syntax (1829 Book of Mormon contains nearly 2,000 instances of this particular syntax, using it 27% of the time in past-tense contexts. The 1611 King James Bible —which borrowed heavily from Tyndale’s biblical translations of the 1520s and ’30s — employs this syntax less than 2% of the time)[1]  Overall, both BofM positive and periphrastic "did" usage is much more common than the low rates in the KJV or pseudo-biblical texts. The same is true for the perfect tense.

As I've mentioned before, my Dutch immigrant stepfather overused periphrastic did at least as much as the Book of Mormon does, and he wasn't a time traveler from 1550; he learned English in the 1970s. I realize this is only anecdotal evidence, but it makes me wary of concluding that idiosyncratic usage must necessarily derive from a particular century.

I've also mentioned before Dallin D. Oaks's article in Book of Mormon Reference Companion on the language of the Book of Mormon, where he notes that "documents from the general time and area of Joseph Smith's boyhood attest to the presence in the local dialect(s) of some linguistic forms that would seem archaic to people today and that are similar to the language of the King James Bible." Oaks goes on to say: "It is common for rural communities to be conservative in preserving some older forms of speech. Furthermore, some religious groups often deliberately preserve older language forms. By these measures, Palmyra and its surrounding area thus represented a prime region for the presence of many older linguistic forms, because it was not only decidedly rural but contained a substantial number of members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) whose speech, even in normal everyday settings, was highly influenced by older forms of English" (119).

Also important is his observation that "Joseph's ability to use [archaic] forms would not have to have been exclusively determined by any direct contact with the Bible. . . . His speech, like that of everyone else, would have had multiple registers that probably varied, depending on whether he was addressing a church congregation, relating a story to small children, or telling a joke to a group of friends. But it seems that he likely had a religious register containing features associated with the language of the King James Bible." Oaks concludes: "The language of the Book of Mormon translation was likely influenced by Joseph's own language" (119). This, of course, has been the predominant view of Latter-day Saint scholars for many years.

You remember the Holmes stylometric study that looked at vocabulary richness? Matthew Roper and statisticians Paul Fields and Bruce Schaalje thought that Holmes overreached in his conclusions but allowed that his basic finding was correct: "The Holmes study shows only that the Book of Mormon texts, although consistently distinct in terms of noncontextual word usage and word-pattern ratios, display similar vocabulary richness. This might reflect simply that the Book of Mormon texts are the work of a single translator, as Joseph Smith claimed, and thus were limited by his vocabulary" ("Stylometric Analyses of the Book of Mormon: A Short History," JBMORS 21/1 [2012]: 36).

Carmack believes that the author of the English text of the Book of Mormon "was a first-rate, independent philologist — someone extremely knowledgeable in the linguistics and literature of earlier English" ("Is the Book of Mormon a Pseudo-Archaic Text?" Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 28 [2018]: 231). Someone a lot like himself, in other words. But the limited vocabulary richness would seem to argue against this view of the author/translator as littérateur. Weren't many of the earliest readers of the Book of Mormon, after all, struck by its "plainness"?

I view Carmack's analyses as interesting preliminary explorations, but I hesitate to join you and others in declaring the Book of Mormon an authentic Early Modern English text. Carmack's work has yet to be scrutinized by other specialists and, as far as I can tell, he has paid relatively little attention to nineteenth-century sources (although spoken dialects are probably going to be underrepresented in those sources anyway).   

Edited by Nevo
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Just checked out the paper in your post, Nevo. Following a similar exercise as before, it looked like the first example from his paper of EmodE in the BoM included the use of "of" where a modern written would have used "by". Since "of the" was almost guaranteed to overwhelm a search attempt I thought of phrases typical of LDS writings and decided to try "commanded of the".

Results?

Here's the first one:

I, Oliver [Cowdery], being commanded of the Lord God, to go forth unto the Lamanites, to proclaim glad tidings of great joy unto them, by presenting unto them the fulness of the Gospel, of the only begotten son of God; and also, to rear up a pillar as a witness where the Temple of God shall be built, in the glorious New-Jerusalem and having certain brothers with me, who are called of God to assist me, whose names are Parley [P. Pratt]Peter [Whitmer Jr.] and Ziba [Peterson], do therefore most solemnly covenant before God, that I will walk humbly before him, and do this business, and this glorious work according as he shall direct me by the Holy Ghost; ever praying for mine and their prosperity, and deliverance from bonds, and from imprisonments, and whatsoever may befal us, with all patience and faith.— Amen.
We, the undersigned, being called and commanded of the Lord God, to accompany our Brother  Oliver Cowdery, to go to the Lamanites, and to assist in the above mentioned glorious work and business. We do, therefore, most solemnly covenant before God, that we will assist him faithfully in this thing, by giving heed unto all his words and advice, which is, or shall be given him by the spirit of truth, ever praying with all prayer and supplication, for our and his prosperity, and our deliverance from bonds, and imprisonments, and whatsoever may come upon us, with all patience and faith.—Amen.
Signed in presence of
JOSEPH SMITH, Jun.
PETER WHITMER [Jr] . [p. [1]]
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11 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

B) I dispute "moving further away all the time". Some developments are negative, some supportive. But it's not a unified progression in one direction. 

It might be more correct to say that apologetics is dancing with science, and science is leading.

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1 hour ago, Honorentheos said:

I looked for more information on what, exactly, is being described as EmodE since it wasn't clear to me exactly what this evidence looked like. That led me to an article by Carmack that talked specifically about the phrase, "the more part" and it's use.

Ok, that's interesting. So what happens when you search for that phrase at the Joseph Smith papers?

 

You find it used in a letter written by Oliver Cowdery to Joseph. You find it in a letter to the church. It shows up in non-scriptural writings...written by Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

It’s really only significant if it occurs before 1828, though. 

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      I think we spend so much time looking for evidence, trying to find parallels, seeking to understand where the BoM came from, that we are missing the answer right in front of our faces and we should all be able to agree on.  The BoM came from Joseph Smith.  This is the clear and straightforward answer that both believers and nonbelievers should be able to agree on, and its the simple answer to a highly debated question.  
    • By Robert F. Smith
      Annalee Newitz, “Most scientists now reject the idea that the first Americans came by land,” Ars Technica, Nov 4, 2017, online at https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/majority-of-scientists-now-agree-that-humans-came-to-the-americas-by-boat/ , with map,
      Todd J. Braje, et al., “Finding the first Americans,” Science, 358/6363 (3 Nov 2017):592-594, online at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/358/6363/592 ,
      It now appears that coming to America by boat was normal even from earliest times.  There is no longer any reason to credit the Beringia Land Bridge hypothesis, except in a much later period.
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