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Emode as Proof Js Did Not Write Bom


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51 minutes ago, PacMan said:

Really?  Is that what what you say every time you lose an argument?  "Sorry I've offended you?"

Generally, introducing made-from-whole-cloth straw man arguments to distract from the merits is not intellectually honest.  But then to couch it as a response to "offense?"  Welcome to Looneyville, folks.

Don't worry.  I'm not offended.  I'm having fun.  #bobcrockettexposed

Just calling it like I see it.  Can't remember where I last heard that....

Good for you.   I admire that. 

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

Whatever you want to call it (it is ad hominem), you are engaging in the same type of fallacious argument by attacking the source rather than the substance of their argument.  

In my profession we are entitled to discredit anonymous sources.  Anybody who is anonymous and insults another who is not anonymous, particular on such sensitive matters as religion, has some psychological issues at stake.  Otherwise they'd use their own name.   And I am rather surprised that a scholar like Dr. Carmack would stoop to anonymity, particular on matters concerning the Book of Mormon.  

Don't get me wrong.  I defend the right to be anonymous on the internet.  Free speech is paramount of all virtues in my mind, and anonymous speech is part of that.   Anonymous speech may be important to criticize the government without fear of retribution.

But there are laws to protect against particular insult and libel and extortion, but they are ineffective against anonymous speakers.  So, whereas I think it important to permit anonymity, I also believe that free speech should permit pornography and erotic speech.   But I would not, personally, want to be associated with erotic speech, pornography or anonymous libelous insults of another person.   I believe that some day God will call me to account for anything like that, traducing someone's good name (#bobcrockettexposed) while anonymous.   

I've heard many times that anonymity protects the poster.  I get that.  I had posters threaten me over the board, privately in messages, contact my prior employer (actually, as a partner, I employed myself), file a complaint against me with the State Bar for a post I made, threaten my children and show up at my house.   Perhaps I am too foolish to post provocative statements in my own name in the name of religion.  I know that Dr. Peterson suffers similar abuses.  

That's my rant.  I've had this position for years.  Unchanged. 

Edited by Bob Crockett
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2 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

Perhaps I am too foolish to post provocative statements in my own name in the name of religion.

There is healthy/helpful provocation (one which stimulates thought, discussion, and ideally the Spirit), and there is unhealthy/hurtful provocation (one which agitates against the spirit through insult and arousal of anger, etc. in a battle of pride).

I would not call the first foolish. 

Edited by pogi
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Should we limit Joseph's potential exposure of EmodE to the Bible? 

Joseph was "fond of quoting the Founding Fathers... ( https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/03/30/how-joseph-smith-and-the-early-mormons-challenged-american-democracy )"    Did not they speak in Early Modern English?  Is it completely unreasonable to assume that he learned some of these phrases and styling from other sources?

Another difficulty I find with this whole theory is that if this language truly was not Joseph's but was inspired by God...why?  The language in the BoM is not pure Early Modern English.  There are mistakes left and right.  Would it be improper to call it entirely eclectic in language?  Why would God be so careful and consistent with only some Early Modern English, while completely missing the boat elsewhere?  It doesn't make much sense to me.  It reads like a fallible and inconsistent human wrote it in hodge-podge English.

I am of the position that it is Joseph's language used to interpret the Spirit. 

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Would it be improper to call it entirely eclectic in language?

No, not improper, because it is eclectic to a degree.

It's also a scriptural text, of course, so it doesn't read like most early modern texts. It reads like a biblical text.

In the final analysis, it doesn't really matter what we call the language.

What's quite interesting is noting the various unexpected correspondences with earlier and contemporary language.

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32 minutes ago, champatsch said:

No, not improper, because it is eclectic to a degree.

It's also a scriptural text, of course, so it doesn't read like most early modern texts. It reads like a biblical text.

In the final analysis, it doesn't really matter what we call the language.

What's quite interesting is noting the various unexpected correspondences with earlier and contemporary language.

As you might know my working hypothesis is that the Book of Mormon was created without an underlying Nephite text by one or more early modern authors. A lot of your comparisons have looked very broadly at EmodE and you've come up with a range of dates that has seemed to put most emphasis on the late 1500s. Given that the Book of Mormon is probably written by a small handful of people, maybe as small as a single person, would we expect the text to correspond with the general pattern of a specific time? Or could a single person or small group have created an idiosyncratic text that doesn't neatly fit into the general pattern. For example, let's pretend the author (or English translator of, say, a Latin text) was a 70 year-old Scot who did the work in 1650. Wouldn't we expect his writing would differ from, say, a thirty year old Londoner at the same period? The issue I'm trying to think through is how different a single author's work might be from the "average" author that your work seems to describe given that it's based on a large number of texts over a significant time period. In hydrology we might construct a hydrograph for a river that shows an "average" year, but in reality, no single year is like the average year. Could authors be the same way?

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21 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I've got no horse in the "which century?" race, but we discussed this a while back. I'm still not certain that the Arminianism in the Book of Mormon didn't come from Nathanael Emmons, Oliver's great uncle, who was a friend of Ethan Smith and also one of the leading figures in the New Divinity movement that swept New England in the decades previous to the Book of Mormon. Dr. John Smith, a cousin of Asael Smith was also an Arminian and taught both Ethan Smith and Solomon Spaulding at Dartmouth. 

Curiously, a narrative about a golden book containing the spiritual history of "lost Israelites" also pops up in a small village in Burma, one year before the Book of Mormon was published. The American missionaries who first told of this account in 1829 were Baptists out of the New Divinity, Hopkinsian movements. They were self-proclaimed followers of Nathanael Emmons, Oliver Cowdery's great uncle.

This says to me that the Dartmouth Arminianism in the late 18th century was the most probable source of the Book of Mormon narrative. Although the toponyms and geography come from 16th and 17th century Utopian texts about Rechabites (Rahmans as they were known) in the isles of the sea. 

Whichever century it's from, it's not a hodge podge of Protestant doctrines. It's a known religious system Joseph was unlikely to have known.

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13 hours ago, JarMan said:

As you might know my working hypothesis is that the Book of Mormon was created without an underlying Nephite text by one or more early modern authors. A lot of your comparisons have looked very broadly at EmodE and you've come up with a range of dates that has seemed to put most emphasis on the late 1500s. Given that the Book of Mormon is probably written by a small handful of people, maybe as small as a single person, would we expect the text to correspond with the general pattern of a specific time? Or could a single person or small group have created an idiosyncratic text that doesn't neatly fit into the general pattern. For example, let's pretend the author (or English translator of, say, a Latin text) was a 70 year-old Scot who did the work in 1650. Wouldn't we expect his writing would differ from, say, a thirty year old Londoner at the same period? The issue I'm trying to think through is how different a single author's work might be from the "average" author that your work seems to describe given that it's based on a large number of texts over a significant time period. In hydrology we might construct a hydrograph for a river that shows an "average" year, but in reality, no single year is like the average year. Could authors be the same way?

The varied (mostly archaic) nature of the text suggests multiple inputs, does it not? So a small group would work better, I think. There are northern aspects to the language, so you'd want at least one northern representative.

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12 hours ago, champatsch said:

The varied (mostly archaic) nature of the text suggests multiple inputs, does it not? So a small group would work better, I think. There are northern aspects to the language, so you'd want at least one northern representative.


oronce_fine_s_1531_map__re_projected_by_ashtagon_dc4p897-pre.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOiIsImlzcyI6InVybjphcHA6Iiwib2JqIjpbW3siaGVpZ2h0IjoiPD0yODk0IiwicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvMjQ1YjUzOGYtYmRmNi00OTIyLTg1M2UtY2MxMDk0YTUxNjE1XC9kYzRwODk3LTMzZTE1NzA1LTViMTQtNDY4YS1iZmVhLWRhNmMyN2Q2NmU2Yi5wbmciLCJ3aWR0aCI6Ijw9NTAwOCJ9XV0sImF1ZCI6WyJ1cm46c2VydmljZTppbWFnZS5vcGVyYXRpb25zIl19.1eXfOon4vKJxTo3f2CEcfabQ-03P8KTnm-8VS4ho1jUThe painfully obvious anachronisms in the Book of Mormon are the reason I don't quickly dismiss a 16th-17th century origin. A 19th century author wouldn't have been so careless, and so ignorant of geography. Have you put any thought into the geographical understanding this small group in the 1500s might have had?

This is the map that I consider to be the closest to the author(s) worldview. Mexico (Meffigo) is contiguous with Burma and Siam. Elephants, horses, cimiters, steel silk etc. would not be anachronistic to this geography. In the 16th and 17th centuries these nations were thought to be inhabited by pre-exilic Israelites called Nephtalites.

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12 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:


oronce_fine_s_1531_map__re_projected_by_ashtagon_dc4p897-pre.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOiIsImlzcyI6InVybjphcHA6Iiwib2JqIjpbW3siaGVpZ2h0IjoiPD0yODk0IiwicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvMjQ1YjUzOGYtYmRmNi00OTIyLTg1M2UtY2MxMDk0YTUxNjE1XC9kYzRwODk3LTMzZTE1NzA1LTViMTQtNDY4YS1iZmVhLWRhNmMyN2Q2NmU2Yi5wbmciLCJ3aWR0aCI6Ijw9NTAwOCJ9XV0sImF1ZCI6WyJ1cm46c2VydmljZTppbWFnZS5vcGVyYXRpb25zIl19.1eXfOon4vKJxTo3f2CEcfabQ-03P8KTnm-8VS4ho1jUThe painfully obvious anachronisms in the Book of Mormon are the reason I don't quickly dismiss a 16th-17th century origin. A 19th century author wouldn't have been so careless, and so ignorant of geography. Have you put any thought into the geographical understanding this small group in the 1500s might have had?

This is the map that I consider to be the closest to the author(s) worldview. Mexico (Meffigo) is contiguous with Burma and Siam. Elephants, horses, cimiters, steel silk etc. would not be anachronistic to this geography. In the 16th and 17th centuries these nations were thought to be inhabited by pre-exilic Israelites called Nephtalites.

Interesting. Compelling features. I'd like to know the geographical realities, but it looks to me like we won't know them till we've passed on, which for some of us won't be too far in the future.

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On 8/7/2020 at 8:03 AM, champatsch said:

The varied (mostly archaic) nature of the text suggests multiple inputs, does it not? So a small group would work better, I think. There are northern aspects to the language, so you'd want at least one northern representative.

This makes a lot of sense to me: a "creative and cultural translation" (Skousen’s words) circa 1600 by more than one person ("multiple inputs"). The goal was not necessarily strict fidelity to what was on the plates, rather the goal was to "testify of Christ."

Some might say this just creates more problems, but to me it makes understandable the retrospective Christology and the 16th and 17th century cultural bits.

Edited by bdouglas
Clarity.
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On 8/7/2020 at 8:03 AM, champatsch said:

The varied (mostly archaic) nature of the text suggests multiple inputs, does it not? So a small group would work better, I think. There are northern aspects to the language, so you'd want at least one northern representative.

I'm thinking of one of those online regional dialect tests that guesses where you're from based on which words you use for certain things. I remember taking one several times and changing my answers a little each time because there was more than one legitimate answer. The results told me I was from Seattle, Salt Lake City, or Los Angeles depending on how I answered. As it turns out I grew up in Western Washington, lived most of my adult life along the Wasatch Front, and my parents grew up in Southern California. Somebody analyzing a large enough sample of my writing might conclude there were actually 3 different writers rather than one writer with different influences.

You've looked how English has varied over time, but it varies by region, too, right? What if someone grew up in Scotland in the late 1500s, was educated at Oxford in the early 1600s, and spent his adult life in different places throughout England and Europe interacting with both rural and urban English speaking peoples with different dialects? Then in 1650 he writes a book. Isn't it possible he would have an idiosyncratic style that might seem eclectic as if there were multiple authors? We can't expect a single author to look like an "average" author. What may look like limited elements from the late 1400s, strong elements from the mid-to-late 1500s, along with some elements from the 1600s may just be a single author's various geographical and temporal influences manifesting themselves.

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  • 1 month later...

The following were put forward, a while back, in order to show that "had (been) spake" was routine 19c language. Now that I've had time to go over them, it turns out that the examples were all non-examples.

"Had spake" does occasionally occur in the early 19c, but it was very uncommon or rare, and "been spake" is quite rare, virtually nonexistent in the early 19c textual record (verified examples anyone?). The orig. text has 12 instances of "had spake" and one of "had been spake". Only one book is currently known with more of this language, published in 1646.

Here's a summary of the bad information that was given:

Quote

"Hath been spake" found in an 1876 poem by John Greeleaf Whittier:  "And , knowing how my life hath been Spake the simple tradesman then . . . ."

"Spake" used in Deuteronomy.  "Been spake" in the AV bible in Jeremiah, 1816. 

"Have been spake" in an 1860 prayer book by Henry John Gauntlett:  An 1874 prayer book by Joseph Barnby, in an 1881 article on page 150 in Homiletic Review, a periodical, on page 207 of "The Covenantor: Devoted the Principles of the Reformed Church" in 1858, and much much more.

For the record, all of the above have been found to be false positives of "been spake" (rare usage) or "had spake" (occasionally found in the early 19c).

First, the AV (King James Bible) doesn't have spake used as a past participle. I didn't find "been spake" in an 1816 Bible in Google Books, but did find this common false positive, the frequent result of a two-column OCR error:

hadSpake1.png.897a3e0bd1b173f57e2dcd45dc5753db.png

Next, here's the Whittier excerpt, clearly wrong, again an OCR error:

hadSpake2.png.394b1fafde55014ac006abb13c0a4b41.png

The Gauntlett prayer book false positive:

hadSpake3.png.37e3ab97bcaef2eae8bccffaf8e874f5.pnghadSpake4.png.8ae8345b3b02a3337b9ed75e4822739d.png

 

The 1874 Barnby false positive is from the same hymn:  hadSpake5.png.cf178cfc12e01a6cc4a16e8cbf4d3056.png

 

The Homiletic Review (1881: 150):hadSpake6.png.6632f9272d97db56477e7245b639a684.png

 

The Covenanter (1858: 207) [title misspelled]:hadSpake7.png.a06cb48517ab8b9ce4676e0bd63519b4.pnghadSpake8.png.46e7726fec60d87aa1c078c00f85b0c9.png

 

The last 30 years of ECCO have one false positive of "been spake": hadSpake9.png.df89227ee87b0ecdde572765419674f6.png

 

Another typical OCR misreading: hadSpake10.png.8cc536435063767c9852b87a1d3b64d2.png

 

An irrelevant 21st-century Google Books instance, from an independent publisher:hadSpake11.png.70e41af59ffeda5b4c1085ffff1e2b70.png

A somewhat more relevant instance from Google, but Scottish English dialect and more than 75 years after the Book of Mormon:

1907, wL8OAAAAIAAJ        “A ha’ ben fufty year, com’ Chrismas, i’ th’ laird’s sairvice an’ a ne’er ha’ been spake to laike thus.”

 

Known instances of "been spake" before the Book of Mormon (other verified instances, not false positives, welcome):

a1594, 5lUoAQAAIAAJ (2002)  to frustrate and confute what hath been spake or wryt by prophets

a1646, A30566  Now the spiritual afflictions have been spake of much in the handling of the former burden,

1646, A26759  This had not been spake of at all . . if some idle men to gull the world had not given the honor of the day to those who had but little or no share in it.

1699, A48010  when he tells him that all had approved of it but One, and that One had been spake to about it.

 

Edited by champatsch
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5 hours ago, champatsch said:

The following were put forward, a while back, in order to show that "had (been) spake" was routine 19c language. Now that I've had time to go over them, it turns out that the examples were all non-examples.

It seems like this same scenario plays out over and over, where someone isolates one example that they think significantly thwarts the preponderance of the evidence for EModE, and then it turns out that the usage's purported persistence in later texts is either completely erroneous or very much inflated in frequency and significance.

For me, watching these conversations repeat themselves in the same fashion over a long period of time has done nothing but strengthen the case for the prevalence of EModE in the text. The more textual evidence and data we have, the stronger the theory becomes. And the less and less able someone will be to simply wave the N-gram wand over a few examples and debunk the whole thing. It just doesn't work that way. 

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In another thread where we had veered off topic, we were going over some more part phraseology. @Benjamin McGuire provided us with examples from the second half of the 19c here. He gave examples from 1856, 1867, and 1875, as well as a reference to the archaic phrase in a 1914 grammar by Poutsma. (I don't think we want to say that the OED missed 19c examples, they just picked one of many as a quote.) Balancing Poutsma, we have Rider in a 1759 dictionary saying "the more part(s)" was obsolete. So what's going on here?

From quite a few scans I've done over the past several years, it looks like the usage went through a fallow period from the late 17c to sometime in the 19c, after the Book of Mormon. The language was very frequently being reprinted as old legal / formulaic language, and the adverbial phrase persisted to a greater degree ("for the more part" — found in 1 Nephi 9:4 twice) than the non-adverbial, which predominates in the Book of Mormon.

Still, the archaic adverbial phrase was only appearing in print around 1829 about two out of a thousand times (versus its more persistent counterpart "for the most part"):

1003805793_2020-09-2410_51_33-GoogleNgramViewer.thumb.jpg.fac6b58e97042eb820856f1be7e06c26.jpg

The non-adverbial with a following of was appearing in print about one out of a thousand times (versus "most of"):

1604154364_2020-09-2410_58_42-GoogleNgramViewer.thumb.jpg.26c92f64a91d5a4e9398e7b50d8347e6.jpg

In this case, most instances of the "the more part of" are reprints of earlier language. However, I did find yesterday, searching 1800 to 1830 in Google Books, one original instance by the Quaker Ezra Sampson: "the more part of the families" (1821). Early 19c examples like this one are the most relevant to Book of Mormon usage. Any other original, verified instances from this time period can be posted here. (I also recently scanned through the last 30 years of ECCO for "the more part of" without for, and I thought I'd found an original instance, but it was a false positive: "the more part of their fleet" was actually "the most part" [1776, CB0126758821, 34]; there is at least one poetic instance, quoted now in the OED.)

What seems to set the Book of Mormon apart most of all are its two rare, early modern variants "a more part" and "the more parts", three of them total. So far, all I've found in the early 19c are false positives. If we can find a roughly contemporaneous author who employed all three variants, then we will have some evidence of producibility for JS. It would be more convincing if the author were to use at least half dozen of them. (The Book of Mormon has 24 of the non-adverbial type, with clumping in Helaman.) For now, these variants clearly anchor the usage to the early modern period, leading us to call all of the Book of Mormon's more part phraseology early modern (mostly because of the variants, also because of the large amount of supporting syntax as well as the relatively high usage rate — yet another instance of the Book of Mormon's sustained archaism).

Also, there are, as yet, no pseudobiblical examples of more part phraseology, unless we want to call some of William Morris's writings pseudobiblical, which I'm pretty sure he would've been opposed to. So for now we don't have pseudobiblical support. This observation will of course change if we can find lesser-known pseudobiblical texts with the usage (probably shorter ones).

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On 8/2/2020 at 10:34 PM, longview said:

Is it our understanding that Shakespeare was on the committee that put together the KJV Bible?  This language was the high quality King's English that was not normally spoken by the public at large.  The publication of the KJV raised the level of everyday dialogue and caused greater unity in the English nation.

There is no proof whatsoever that Shakespeare worked on the KJV. And considering the low opinion many cultural elites had of actors and playwrights at the time, it's EXTREMELY unlikely that anyone on the translation committee would have wanted someone like Shakespeare to work with them. Sure, monarchs like Elizabeth and James found Shakespeare's work entertaining, and they may have had an appreciation for the quality of his poetry, but leaders in the English Church would not have found him remotely competent when it came to handling God's Word. It's only our modern perspective on Shakespeare as one of the greatest poets/writers in the English language that makes the idea of Shakespeare having a hand in the other greatest English literary monument so attractive.

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39 minutes ago, caspianrex said:

There is no proof whatsoever that Shakespeare worked on the KJV. And considering the low opinion many cultural elites had of actors and playwrights at the time, it's EXTREMELY unlikely that anyone on the translation committee would have wanted someone like Shakespeare to work with them. Sure, monarchs like Elizabeth and James found Shakespeare's work entertaining, and they may have had an appreciation for the quality of his poetry, but leaders in the English Church would not have found him remotely competent when it came to handling God's Word. It's only our modern perspective on Shakespeare as one of the greatest poets/writers in the English language that makes the idea of Shakespeare having a hand in the other greatest English literary monument so attractive.

Besides that- isn't there still some question about who "Shakespeare" really was?  If Bacon wrote the plays who exactly would have then supposedly helped with the KJV?

Sounds like a pretty messy theory to me, but I have absolutely zero knowledge of the controversy. 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Besides that- isn't there still some question about who "Shakespeare" really was?  If Bacon wrote the plays who exactly would have then supposedly helped with the KJV?

Sounds like a pretty messy theory to me, but I have absolutely zero knowledge of the controversy. 

To my knowledge, no reputable Shakespeare scholars really take the "authorship controversy" seriously. So that probably has little impact on the idea of Shakespeare's theoretical involvement with the KJV.

The main thing, to my way of thinking, is that playwrights/poets were, in those days, considered to be distinctly lower-class citizens. The main reason women were not allowed to play women's parts in plays of the period is that it was considered a lewd, immoral act. Why, then, would anyone allow an actor/playwright like Shakespeare to participate in a task as sacred as translating God's Holy Word? It doesn't make any sense by the standards of the time.

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4 hours ago, champatsch said:

 

 

Champatsch

I have a question for you.  Have you ever looked at the phrase in 1 Nephi 8:20, 2 Nephi 31:18 and Helaman 3:29, "Strait and narrow path (or course)"?  The Bible never uses these words together to refer to the path.  The Bible uses "strait" to refer to the gate and narrow to refer to the path or way.  3 Nephi and Jacob use the words the same way as the Bible.  I am curious to know if the phrase, "Strait and narrow" shows up in your research.

 

Edited by T-Shirt
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2 hours ago, T-Shirt said:

I have a question for you.  Have you ever looked at the phrase in 1 Nephi 8:20, 2 Nephi 31:18 and Helaman 3:29, "Strait and narrow path (or course)"?  The Bible never uses these words together to refer to the path.  The Bible uses "strait" to refer to the gate and narrow to refer to the path or way.  3 Nephi and Jacob use the words the same way as the Bible.  I am curious to know if the phrase, "Strait and narrow" shows up in your research.

Skousen's got a good write up on this in ATV under 1n0820 (7 pages), freely available at Interpreter or Book of Mormon Central.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/3/2020 at 3:16 AM, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I went to a David Copperfield show that ended with a UFO being transported into the theater. I have no idea how he did that or any number of other things. I’ve searched online for explanations, and no one can provide the exact method of how he did the things he did. None the less I stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the straight forward “true” answer that it was magic. 

I'd like to know how Cyril does this:

 

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On 8/3/2020 at 4:12 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

Was that what Jesus and his companions did?  Was it just old fashioned legerdemain?  Or was it real  magic?

Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

To which famous skeptic Michael Shermer once said: "Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God."

God commanded, and was obeyed. God is the ultimate extraterrestrial intelligence.

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      Quoted liberally from his Amazon reviews: In a fascinating new book Dr. William L. Davis draws on performance studies, religious studies, literary culture and the history of early American education, Davis analyzes Smith's process of oral composition. Davis provides a plausible alternative explanation for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon from the official narrative.  He explains how Smith was able to produce a history spanning a period of a 1,000 years, filled with hundreds of distinct characters and episodes, all cohesively tied together in an overarching narrative.
      Eyewitnesses claimed that Smith never looked at notes, manuscripts or books, that he simply spoke words of this American religious epic into existence by looking at a Seer Stone.  Davis shows how this long held assumption is not true, that Smith had abundant time between looking at his seer stone to produce his story line and to think through his plot and narrative.
      If you approach this book without a preconceived axe to grind, you will find solid research explaining how the oral sermon culture of the 19th century either crept into the Book of Mormon as Joseph Smith translated it (from a believer's perspective) or explains how Joseph could have constructed the narrative himself (from a skeptic's). Davis does not take sides and leaves room for both believing and skeptical perspectives.
      Judging the truth of the books claims is not Davis's interest. Rather, he reveals a kaleidoscope of practices and styles that converged around Smith's creation with an emphasis on the evangelical preaching styles popularized by renowned preachers George Whitefield and John Wesley. He allows for the believer to maintain a faithful view of the book.
      In Visions in a Seer Stone, Davis adroitly restores for the modern reader aspects of the now-forgotten sermon culture of Joseph Smith’s 19th-century, burnt over district, world and the well-established rhetorical performance techniques of its preachers. Davis then demonstrates that this oratorical praxis—in which Joseph Smith himself was a participant—illuminates not only Smith’s production of the Book of Mormon as a dictated performance bearing the indicia of these sermon preparation and delivery techniques, but it also illuminates the very text of this LDS scripture itself, both its narrative events and sermon contents.

      Davis details how numerous Book of Mormon narrative features—headings, outlines or summaries, some visible in italics and many others less visible in the text—are not mere textual devices for the reader, but were effective 19th-century sermon performance tools Smith could use to keep track of and produce the narrative as he dictated it. Davis produces an exhaustive list of ministers who wrote about sermon delivery techniques using such headings or outlines—“laying down heads”— with all of them substantially in agreement, having borrowed from each other and from bible dictionaries, such as Adam Clarke's bible commentaries and other sermon manuals, as well as from “Heathen Moralists” such as Plato, Aristotle and other philosophers, rhetoricians and writers from antiquity (see in particular on pp. 42 and 71 as to Bishop John Wilkins and the sources he used as well as his primary techniques to assist the preacher to speak from memory and which enable the congregation to understand “with greater ease and profit, when they are before-hand acquainted with the general heads of matters that are discoursed of”.) Smith incorporated these same rhetorical techniques into his Book of Mormon

      Davis shows that The Book of Mormon narrative contains many examples of its characters also using these oratorical techniques, the most visible formulation of which is found in Jacob 1:4 in which Nephi gives Jacob very explicit instructions on preaching that (other than his references to “plates”) could easily have been inserted into the pages of a 19th-century sermon composition manual: “if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I [Jacob] should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible” (see p. 91). The term Heads while not a familiar to the modern reader would have been quickly recognized by an early 19th century reader as familiar terminology used by the religious orator as topical notes highlighting important points to touch upon in the sermon.

      Although not an active Latter-day Saint himself, Davis writes generously for those still in the fold, providing room for Latter-day Saints to retain their faith in this book of LDS scripture while incorporating Davis’s new findings into a still orthodox understanding of inspired translation as described in LDS scripture, in Doctrine & Covenants 9:7-10. However, as shown by Avid Reader’s Amazon review of this book, apparently not all apologists will be satisfied with this option.

      One reviewer complained that— headings, outlines and summaries have been used for centuries by historians and other ancient writers, including Josephus and Aristotle, and that they would have been available somehow to the Book of Mormon’s ancient authors—is interesting since it actually supports Davis’s thesis. Take the preachers who wrote about the oratorical techniques described by Davis. They themselves, in formulating and promoting these 19th-century techniques, had access to and were informed by these very authors noted a reviewer. (see the note about Bishop Wilkins above, not to mention the pseudo-archaic book genre in 19th-century America that borrowed them as well)! Yet these ancient authors noted by siad reader (both living in Greco-Roman times) are not ancient enough to have informed the Book of Mormon’s purported ancient authors who themselves left Israel before the Babylonian exile, a time when outlines, headings and summaries are not known among ancient scribes and authors (and even LDS apologists now recognize that ancient scribal colophons are not the same thing—see Davis, p. 126).

       
      Davis has identified tell-tale signs within the Book of Mormon that give hints of Smith processes.  He also offers historical reference to Smith's becoming a trained Methodist orator.
      This sounds like a very interesting book and I'm wondering if anyone here has read it and would share your thoughts.
      <-------- Not King Benjamin

    • By Robert F. Smith
      A symposium on "EGYPT AND THE OLD TESTAMENT" will be held at the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, Gabelsbergerstr. 35, Munich/München, Germany, on 6-7 Dec 2019.
      The proceedings will be published as ÄAT (AEGYPTEN UND ALTES TESTAMENT) volume 100.
      More on the symposium can be found at https://www.freunde-abrahams.de/aegypten-und-altes-testament/  .
      ÄAT's spectrum covers the philological, art historical, and archaeological branches of Egyptology, as well as Old Testament exegesis, the archaeology, glyptics and epigraphy of Israel/Palestine and neighboring regions such as Sinai and Transjordan, literature and history of religions, from the Bronze Ages up to Greco-Roman and early Christian periods, as well as relevant aspects of research history.
       
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