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Book of Mormon Historicity


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Smart people more knowledgable in this subject than I am:  What evidence is there that the BOM is a historical record?  Is there any evidence?  And to clarify, I'm not asking for proof of anything.  Just evidence in support of.

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Smart people more knowledgable in this subject than I am:  What evidence is there that the BOM is a historical record?  Is there any evidence?  And to clarify, I'm not asking for proof of anything.  Just evidence in support of.

https://rsc.byu.edu/historicity-latter-day-saint-scriptures/historicity-book-mormon

 

from Elder Oaks! He gave another similar talk at BYU in 1993

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53 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Here is a video which deals with that.  One among many at Book of Mormon Central.

The BMC love for the inland Incense Trail has no justification whatsoever, but the general approach is otherwise pretty good.

Thanks!!  How are these videos received by other scientists or academics?  I'm really looking for 'good' evidence and not the weird stuff that is all over the internet.

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48 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Hold onto your butts, folks.

In my opinion, there is evidence for Book of Mormon historicity. I wouldn't say proof: proof is in fact not to be expected, per Dallin H. Oaks. That said, if God chooses to grant it, I won't complain. A great one-stop shop for Church scholarship on the Book of Mormon is Book of Mormon Central. Their archives have papers and research on all sorts of things Book of Mormon, from apologetics to theology. 

There's also a difference, as Ben McGuire mentions, between historicity and verisimilitude. One of my favorite parts about the Book of Mormon is the onomasticon, or names list. The names in the Book of Mormon, and associated literary features present at some parts in the text, have convinced me that the author of the Book of Mormon was someone with more than a passing knowledge of Hebrew. This militates against Joseph Smith as author of the text, but doesn't necessarily support the text as historical; a savvy author on the JarMan model could probably produce that in my opinion. That said, I have my evidentiary disagreements with any model that requires Joseph to be copying from a manuscript, thus I think the onomasticon is valid evidence for authenticity regardless. Lots of examples of wordplays, grammar, and other linguistic features of the Book of Mormon would fall into this category. 

There are, however, evidences that suggest historicity, full stop. Probably the most striking is the identification of Nahom, as mentioned in 1 Nephi 16:34. The correspondence is quite striking: the name of the place has changed in terms of vowels but retains the consonants which are the essentials of Hebrew script. Prominent burial grounds have been identified in the area, and the toponym does date back to the appropriate time. Most significantly, it is in the right place compared to other proposed locations along Lehi's Trail in the Old World. The site is generally referenced in a few maps available in 19th-century America, but for Joseph to have come across them or integrated them into a Hebrew wordplay on the word for "mourning" is unlikely. For more information see herehere, and here. In general, the plausible identifications of locations in Arabia along a plausible trail is a striking recommendation for the accuracy of the Book of Mormon. 

Another good one is the recovery of a seal of Malkiyahu, ben hamelek, or son of the king.. See here for a good summary. Long story short: according to known rules of Hebrew naming, we can confirm that there was a person in Zedekiah's Jerusalem who could fit the description of Mulek, son of Zedekiah. The significance of this find is summarized here. 

There are others, primarily in the form of correspondences between Book of Mormon texts and Mesoamerican cultural and geographic features. There's too many candidates to list here but anything by Brant Gardner or John Sorenson should provide plenty. 

Finally, @Robert F. Smith has a wonderful paper called "The Preposterous Book of Mormon" which he will likely link to if he hasn't already. 

That's awesome, thanks!

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I believe there is little historical evidence for the Book of Mormon. BoM scholars have indicated it is a 19th century Protestant understanding of the Jewish people.  There was a time in the past when many thought it was full of historical wonder. That seems to be fading.  And I’m fine with that.  I believe it is inspired and is important. 

Even Pres. Nelson discussed this a few years ago with mission presidents suggesting “It is not a textbook of history, although some history is found within its pages.”

https://www.ldsliving.com/President-Nelson-Shares-What-the-Book-of-Mormon-Is-Not/s/82550

 

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43 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Book of Mormon videos are basically the distilled-for-popular-consumption version of the papers available on the Book of Mormon Central archive. Those feature more detail, scholarly attribution, etc.

As you might expect, scholars outside the whole Mormon Studies debates don't take notice.

Are there any peer reviewed papers on the subject?

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The Nahom thing is the most impressive evidence of which I am aware.  But is it possible Joseph Smith saw it on a map somewhere?

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10 minutes ago, Rivers said:

The Nahom thing is the most impressive evidence of which I am aware.  But is it possible Joseph Smith saw it on a map somewhere?

The sources I gave to bluebell in my post are commentaries on that question. 

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29 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Are there any peer reviewed papers on the subject?

Depends on what you mean by this.

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1 hour ago, Rivers said:

The Nahom thing is the most impressive evidence of which I am aware.  But is it possible Joseph Smith saw it on a map somewhere?

Nahum, just slightly different in spelling, is a book in the Hebrew Bible.

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3 hours ago, bluebell said:

Smart people more knowledgable in this subject than I am:  What evidence is there that the BOM is a historical record?  Is there any evidence?  And to clarify, I'm not asking for proof of anything.  Just evidence in support of.

bluebell, you're one of the smartest posters, haha! And, I believe, you have credentials in history right? Forgive if I overstep, but why are you asking for evidence? You surely have read/discussed many threads on this subject haven't you? 

 

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40 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Nahum, just slightly different in spelling, is a book in the Hebrew Bible.

But a place with that name in the exact location where the Book of Mormon says it should be?

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4 hours ago, bluebell said:

Smart people more knowledgable in this subject than I am:  What evidence is there that the BOM is a historical record?  Is there any evidence?  And to clarify, I'm not asking for proof of anything.  Just evidence in support of.

Would you be willing to expand your target audience to people who may know only as much as you do, or must someone be more knowledgeable than you are in this subject?  And btw, you misspelled knowledgeable.

Anywho, as you may or may not already know, evidence of history lays in the fact that whatever happened actually happened as it happened, so anyone who knows what happened has that knowledge as evidence of what happened.

Everything else on top of that is just fluff or a derivative of what actually happened.  People in the past wrote the Book of Mormon, for example, and what they wrote is what they knew about what they knew had happened.

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

Are there any peer reviewed papers on the subject?

It would be a rare non-LDS scholar who would give Joseph Smith the time of day. Angels and stuff like that. Although there are a few who might give him a nod as they pass by. IMO. 

What do you think would be acceptable evidences of historicity? I think contemporaneous written records would be invaluable, but unfortunately they are quite scarce. Not knowing precise locations makes it even more difficult.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

bluebell, you're one of the smartest posters, haha! And, I believe, you have credentials in history right? Forgive if I overstep, but why are you asking for evidence? You surely have read/discussed many threads on this subject haven't you? 

 

Because I'm being lazy basically.  This is not a subject that I have spent much time on myself, as it's not one that holds a lot of interest for me, but if posters, who do find this stuff interesting and have spent time in the subject, had references on hand that they could share with me, getting those seemed like a much better use of my time and energy than spending the day (or longer) trying to track them down myself.  :) 

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