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Would the Lds Church Be Interest in Researching the Masaya Nicaragua Area for Bom Related Antiques


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1 hour ago, strappinglad said:

Funding research in a particular area would suggest the Church was promoting a particular location/view . I doubt it would do it. 

Funding research wouldn’t necessarily mean you are taking a position on the matter, rather it could be seen as trying to arrive at a position by exploring plausible alternatives, let the end result speak for itself, be it yea or nea.

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

What would a Nephite pottery shard look like?

You would not be looking so much for pottery , but rather weapons of war, shields ,helmets, swords and breast plates that the Nephites  are said to posses. This general area is where they possibly made their final stand, something akin to Israel’s Masada.

Edited by Jracforr
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2 hours ago, Jracforr said:

Would the Lds Church Be Interest in Researching the Masaya Nicaragua Area for Bom Related Antiques

The LDS Church does not do Book of Mormon archeology.  Individual archeologists may, of course, pursue their own research objectives.  What sort of BofM related stuff do you know of from that area?  Anything interesting?

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1 hour ago, Jracforr said:

You would not be looking so much for pottery , but rather weapons of war, shields ,helmets, swords and breast plates that the Nephites  are said to posses. This general area is where they possibly made their final stand, something akin to Israel’s Masada.

Same question, though.  What would a Nephite helmet, sword, etc. look like?

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27 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Same question, though.  What would a Nephite helmet, sword, etc. look like?

According to one poster here you would know it because it would all be stamped "Made in Malaysia." 🙂

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The church dabbled in suspected Book of Mormon locations in previous years but I doubt they are interested in funding archaeology. It is not really part of the mission of the Church.

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I was serving in Managua in 1967.  There was a brief but intense excitement when a lady in Masaya claimed the Virgin Mary had appeared in her patio. It was announced in the newspapers. Lots of people, including some of us elders, went to see the shrine. She had a piece of palm bark that had flaked off a tree, and it did indeed have a feature on it that bore a resemblance to a woman in a hooded robe. She said the image was left on the palm after Mary appeared. 
 

As far as Masaya being a Book of Mormon locale, I don’t have any idea. Lake Nicaragua does have freshwater sharks. Lots of volcanoes in the area. Very hot and humid. I don’t believe there has been much in the way of archeological activity in Nicaragua, certainly not at the levels of other countries such as Honduras.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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4 hours ago, ksfisher said:

According to one poster here you would know it because it would all be stamped "Made in Malaysia." 🙂

Not possible, Malaysia is a modern name. 

The stamps would say "Made in Komoriyya", "Made in Ramah" and "Made in Zhenla" the names these lands were known by in the Book or Mormon time period. 🙂

 

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8 hours ago, smac97 said:

What would a Nephite pottery shard look like?

Since there is no mention of others in the land, we have a pretty good idea of what a Nephite pottery shard wouldn't look like. Unless the Nephites didn't know how to make their own pottery and instead learned such things from the Maya and just forgot to mention it.

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Same question, though.  What would a Nephite helmet, sword, etc. look like?

We do know what a Nephite sword would look like since Nephi "did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords"

A Nephite sword would then be made of "precious steel" with a hilt of "pure gold" or something after that manner. 

It would not look, as has been argued, a macuahuitl or a wooden club with several embedded obsidian blades.

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1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Since there is no mention of others in the land,

That's a mighty big "since."  See, e.g., here:

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I was just getting the link to Roper's Nephi's Neighbors.  There is also Brant's excellent "The Social History of the Early Nephites".

https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/social-history-early-nephites

If you read 2 Nephi 1 very carefully, and pay attention to context, the specific blessings and associated covenant curses, it should become very obvious that the notion that the Nephi's would have the land to themselves, secure from "other nations"  (not other "people"-- Villages are not nations) is only non-exclusive (it includes whoever the Lord leads there), and, conditional. 

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Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me Lehi, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries. (2 Nephi 1:5)

If you read the conditions in Lehi's blesssing and consider the history, it should become apparent that the conditions were broken from almost the start.

I wrote about this in 1995:

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Lehi's promise that his children would possess the land unmolested was conditional on their keeping the commandments (2 Nephi 1 :9). The next verses say that "when . . they shall dwindle in unbelief' (not "long afterwards," but "when"), the Lord "will bring other nations ... and he will take away from the m the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten. Yea, as one generation passeth to another, there shall be bloodsheds" (2 Nephi 1: 10-12). Second Nephi 5:2- 5 reports that soon after the death of Lehi-the passing of a generation-Nephi's brothers plotted against his own life. Nephi and those he called "his people" fled the land. Despite the report that those who initially left "were those who believed" in God (2 Nephi 5:6), such passages as 2 Nephi 32:7 and 2 Nephi 33:1- 3 suggest strongly that Nephi's people had problems of their own. For example. Jacob reports on the necessity for "diligent" labor among them on the part of the prophets (Jacob I :7) even before Jacob 2: 15 describes the beginning of extreme tendencies. Prior to the departure of Nephi's people, the Lamanites had already acted in a role as "a scourge to [Nephi's people], to stir them up in remembrance of me" (2 Nephi 5:25), Although neither Nephi nor Jacob provides details, Jacob 1: I 0 describes Nephi as having "wielded the sword of Laban" in defense of his people. Thus we have no record of the conditions for blessing being fully kept, and significant information suggesting that the covenant curse was in effect almost from the time of the death of Lehi. That is, immediately after the death of Lehi (the passing of that generation), we see the loss of lands and scattering (2 Nephi 5:5), and smiting and blood-sheds (2 Nephi 5:25, 34 , Jacob I : 10). What about the "other nations"? Alerted by the work of Sorenson and others, we have only to look with eyes that see.

And there is this:

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Why does Lchi make this point about others being led to the land? He very likely knew about them. Nephi's vision of the promised land, granted before the ocean voyage, may refer to these others: And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Look, and behold thy seed, and also the seed of thy bret hren. And I looked and beheld the land of pro mise; and I beheld multitudes of people, even as it were in number as many as the sands of the sea. ( 1 Nephi 12: I)

John Tvedtnes and others have pointed out that in Hebrew "the land" is typically quite localized.  Think about how Benjamin sends out messengers to have all the people of the land gather on "the morrow."   That does not mean a continental gathering, but time for messengers to go and people to come the next day.

And Jacob, a first generation writer, says that in his record "Lamanite" means not friendly to Nephi.  It is political in the text from Jacob on.

It is easy to point to LDS leaders and texts that supposed otherwise, but the real question is not whether they said such things, or believed such things, but whether they were correct, and whether we should be bound to what they say on grounds that "surely a prophet or GA or CES teacher would know!"   Those who make such assertions or assumptions, never quote or account for D&C 1:

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Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

25 And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;

26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;

27 And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;

28 And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.

And there is also the issue of tracing lineages in Iceland, where the DNA tests cannot account for most lines just 200 years back, where Iceland offered a far more isolated population and far more extensive geneologies than we have for the New World, where the time depth and population problem is far more complex.  There is an excellent FARMS Review essay on this, but it is harder to find since the Maxwell overhaul.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

And here:

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Per FAIR:

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Many articles have discussed the DNA issue from this perspective, including the following:

  • Kevin Barney, "A Brief Review of Murphy and Southerton's 'Galileo Event' (Review of Thomas W. Murphy and Simon G. Southerton, "Genetic Research a 'Galileo Event' for Mormons," Anthropology News 44/2 (February 2003): 20)," FAIR. FairMormon link
  • David A. McClellan, "Detecting Lehi's Genetic Signature: Possible, Probable, or Not?," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 35–90. off-site
  • D. Jeffrey Meldrum and Trent D. Stephens, "Who Are the Children of Lehi?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 38–51. off-site wiki
  • Matthew Roper, "Nephi's Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 91–128. off-site
  • Matthew Roper, "Swimming the Gene Pool: Israelite Kinship Relations, Genes, and Genealogy," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 129–164. off-site
  • John L. Sorenson and Matthew Roper, "Before DNA," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 6–23. off-site wiki  (Key source)
  • John A. Tvedtnes, "Reinventing the Book of Mormon (Review of: “Reinventing Lamanite Identity,” Sunstone, March 2004, 20–25)," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004): 91–106. off-site
  • Michael F. Whiting, "DNA and the Book of Mormon: A Phylogenetic Perspective," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 24–35. off-site wiki  (Key source)

Of these, I think Matthew Roper's "Nephi's Neighbors" may be the most on-point.  Rather than start the discussion from scratch, may I suggest you review at least some of these materials and then come back and present your questions/concerns about them.

I can't quite get on board with your assumption.

1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

we have a pretty good idea of what a Nephite pottery shard wouldn't look like.

I don't understand what you are saying here.

1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Unless the Nephites didn't know how to make their own pottery and instead learned such things from the Maya and just forgot to mention it.

We don't have an entire history of the Nephites.  Just a record kept by prophets.  And we only a tiny selection of those records.  And prophetic records could understandably not include details about Nephite pottery.

1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

We do know what a Nephite sword would look like since Nephi "did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords"

We do?  What does "after the manner of it" mean?

And how many swords did Nephi make?  How many is "many swords?"

1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

A Nephite sword would then be made of "precious steel" with a hilt of "pure gold" or something after that manner. 

"A Nephite sword" made by Nephi?  How many of those were ever in existence?  

1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

It would not look, as has been argued, a macuahuitl or a wooden club with several embedded obsidian blades.

It wouldn't?  Why not?

From FAIR:

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After separating from the Lamanites, Nephi states, "And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us" (2 Nephi 5:15). Nephi also indicates that he taught his people various skills which included, among other things, working in various metals and some form of steel working (2 Nephi 5:15). One way to read this is that Nephi made other steel swords.

It should be remembered, however, that steel working is a difficult and multifaceted process. Nephi's knowledge of steel may have meant he was skilled enough to make long steel sword blades, or it could simply refer to steel ornamentation. It is interesting to note that Nephi, writing decades after these events, still considered Laban's steel blade to be "most precious" (1 Nephi 4:9). What made Laban's blade "most precious" decades after Nephi made swords for his people? Is this an indication that Nephi's skills with steel, whatever they consisted of fell short of making long steel blades?

Another way to read this is that Nephi made swords after the general pattern of Laban's sword—that is, as a straight shaft with sharp blades along both edges, rather than a one-sided sickle sword which was also common in the ancient near East.[1]

As William J. Hamblin observed:

The minimalist and tightest reading of this evidence is that Nephi had a steel weapon from the Near East. He attempted to imitate this weapon-whether in function, form, or material is unclear. His descendants apparently abandoned this technology by no later than 400 B.C. Based on a careful reading of the text of the Book of Mormon, there are no grounds for claiming-as anti-Mormons repeatedly do-that the Book of Mormon describes a massive steel industry with thousands of soldiers carrying steel swords in the New World.[2]

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Based on a careful reading of the text of the Book of Mormon, there are no grounds for claiming-as anti-Mormons repeatedly do-that the Book of Mormon describes a massive steel industry with thousands of soldiers carrying steel swords in the New World

But..but...But...What about Captain Romni?post-1143-0-14792600-1344886010_thumb.jpg

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

If you read the conditions in Lehi's blesssing and consider the history, it should become apparent that the conditions were broken from almost the start.

Screen%20shot%202011-01-12%20at%204_13_02%20PM.pngIf you are proposing Mesoamerica as the promised land set apart for the Lehites then apparently they broke the conditions on the boat on the way there. 

<------- The Land of Nephi was full of Maya before Nephi set foot on shore. 

What location do you propose as the City of Nephi?

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4 hours ago, smac97 said:

We do?  What does "after the manner of it" mean?

We do know what a Nephite sword looked like. Nephi constructed additional swords using the Sword of Laban as a model. We can assume it looked like the Sword of Laban. Otherwise the text would say something like, Nephi didn't have the materials to make swords that looked like the Sword of Laban so he instead used wood and obsidian flakes.

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

And how many swords did Nephi make?  How many is "many swords?"

I don't know, I assume Nephi made at least two additional Nephite swords. But let's say they made at least one for each male over the age of 14, how many would that be? Around 10? 20?

If there where members of local villages, as Brant Gardner suggests, that joined Nephi on their journey to Kaminaljuyu, then we could assume around 25 to 50 adult males? I don't see a number much larger than that joining Nephi's party without Nephi saying, hey by the way there are these locals from some gentile New World tribe that we without question or comment accept into our Nephite family. That would be highly unlikely for an Israelite family and it would have made it nearly impossible for Mormon to claim 800 years later that he was a "pure descendant of Lehi through Nephi".

Also, the Sword of Laban was passed down with the plates. So it is odd to question what a Nephite sword looked like. Of course a Nephite sword looked like the Sword of Laban.

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5 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:
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We do?  What does "after the manner of it" mean?

We do know what a Nephite sword looked like.

But it doesn't necessarily follow that we know what Nephi's swords made "after the manner of it" look like.

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Nephi constructed additional swords using the Sword of Laban as a model.

Yes, but how many?  And how many of those realistically survived the ensuing 2,600 years?

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We can assume it looked like the Sword of Laban.

I'm not sure we can make that assumption.

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Otherwise the text would say something like, Nephi didn't have the materials to make swords that looked like the Sword of Laban so he instead used wood and obsidian flakes.

I'm not sure we can meaningfully declare what the text "would" say in this circumstance.

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I don't know, I assume Nephi made at least two additional Nephite swords. But let's say they made at least one for each male over the age of 14, how many would that be? Around 10? 20?

Okay.  I'm not sure it would be worthwhile to mount an archaeological endeavor to search for 10-20 swords that may have some form-more-than-function similarities with a sword comprised of a A) a steel blade and B) a gold hilt.  

For example, would we look for swords made with gold hilts?  That feature was surely more about opulence that utility, since gold is such a soft metal, and hence not as practical as other materials for use in a hand-to-hand combat weapon.  So if a sword with a steel blade but not a gold hilt were to be discovered in Central America, would you consider it a necessarily "Nephite" sword?  Or necessarily not a Nephite sword, since it lacks a gold hilt?  Or could it just possibly, rather than necessarily, be a Nephite sword?

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If there where members of local villages, as Brant Gardner suggests, that joined Nephi on their journey to Kaminaljuyu, then we could assume around 25 to 50 adult males? I don't see a number much larger than that joining Nephi's party without Nephi saying, hey by the way there are these locals from some gentile New World tribe that we without question or comment accept into our Nephite family. That would be highly unlikely for an Israelite family and it would have made it nearly impossible for Mormon to claim 800 years later that he was a "pure descendant of Lehi through Nephi".

Also, the Sword of Laban was passed down with the plates. So it is odd to question what a Nephite sword looked like. Of course a Nephite sword looked like the Sword of Laban.

"Of course?"  From Hamblin:

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Significantly, there are no references to Nephite steel after 400 B.C.

Putting all this together, we find the following:

  • The steel sword is a Near Eastern weapon. It is imitated by Nephi in the first generation-although we are not sure if this imitation is of function, form or material-or all three.
  • Steel swords are never again mentioned in the Book of Mormon after this first generation.
  • Steel is mentioned once more, in 400 B.C., in a literary topos list, which is notable also for its failure to mention swords, steel or otherwise.

The minimalist and tightest reading of this evidence is that Nephi had a steel weapon from the Near East. He attempted to imitate this weapon-whether in function, form, or material is unclear. His descendants apparently abandoned this technology by no later than 400 B.C. Based on a careful reading of the text of the Book of Mormon, there are no grounds for claiming-as anti-Mormons repeatedly do-that the Book of Mormon describes a massive steel industry with thousands of soldiers carrying steel swords in the New World.

Hamblin seems to think that Nephite swords patterned after Laban's sword may have been similar in "function, form or materal-or all three."  That creates a lot of ambiguity as to what a Nephite sword might look like.

Hamblin also thinks that the swords patterned after Laban's sword were a "first generation" thing, which would substantially limit the number of such items.

And then there are the substantial geography problems.  And the passage of 2,600 years, and all the tumult occuring during them.  And the climate, which would not exactly be conducive to the preservation of a steel artifact for 2,600 years.

I think we need to be very careful to avoid the errors of Thomas Stuart Ferguson, who let his naive and ill-informed assumptions govern his expectations about what "archaeology" could provide, evidence-wise, for the Book of Mormon.  Perhaps you have heard of the "CSI Effect?"  See here:

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The CSI effect, also known as the CSI syndrome and the CSI infection, is any of several ways in which the exaggerated portrayal of forensic science on crime television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation influences public perception. The term was first reported in a 2004 USA Today article describing the effect being made on trial jurors by television programs featuring forensic science. It most often refers to the belief that jurors have come to demand more forensic evidence in criminal trials, thereby raising the effective standard of proof for prosecutors. While this belief is widely held among American legal professionals, some studies have suggested that crime shows are unlikely to cause such an effect, although frequent CSI viewers may place a lower value on circumstantial evidence. As technology improves and becomes more prevalent throughout society, people may also develop higher expectations for the capabilities of forensic technology.

Our approach to, assumptions about, and perceptions of "evidence" are as important a consideration as the evidence itself.  Hence the value I have found in William Hamblin's 1993 article, Basic Methodological Problems with the AntiMormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon.  Here's the abstract:

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Anti-Mormon criticisms of the Book of Mormon are frequently based on a questionable set of assumptions concerning the nature of historical and archaeological evidence, the role of governing presuppositions, and the nature of historical proof. Using arguments found in a recent anti-Mormon critique by Luke Wilson as a foundation, this article analyzes difficulties of reconstructing ancient geographies, problems with the discontinuity of Mesoamerican toponyms, the historical development of the idea of a limited geography model, and challenges of textual and artifactual interpretation when trying to relate the Book of Mormon to archaeological remains.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

But it doesn't necessarily follow that we know what Nephi's swords made "after the manner of it" look like.

It follows that the swords Nephi made in the New World within 20 years of his arrival looked like the sword he brought with him from the Old World.

What do you suppose the swords Nephi made looked like?

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Yes, but how many?  And how many of those realistically survived the ensuing 2,600 years?

At least one Nephite sword survived 2,600 years

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I'm not sure we can make that assumption.

If such swords aren't found in Mesoamerica then we can't make that assumption. But that's more a weakness of the Mesoamerican model than a weakness of the argument that Nephite swords looked like the sword of Laban.

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I'm not sure we can meaningfully declare what the text "would" say in this circumstance.

Nephi also built a structure after the manner of the temple in Jerusalem. The text informs us that he couldn't find all the materials needed.

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Okay.  I'm not sure it would be worthwhile to mount an archaeological endeavor to search for 10-20 swords that may have some form-more-than-function similarities with a sword comprised of a A) a steel blade and B) a gold hilt.  

It would be a waste of time and money. The odds are certainly against finding anything resembling the sword of Laban in the Americas.

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Hamblin seems to think that Nephite swords patterned after Laban's sword may have been similar in "function, form or materal-or all three."  That creates a lot of ambiguity as to what a Nephite sword might look like.

There's no ambiguity what a Nephite sword looked like. A Nephite sword looks like the Sword of Laban that was passed down through the Nephite generations, for 2600 years. 

If you're saying that the Nephites started using macuahuitls then let's be clear, they were no longer using "Nephite swords". They were using Maya swords.

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And then there are the substantial geography problems.  And the passage of 2,600 years, and all the tumult occuring during them.  And the climate, which would not exactly be conducive to the preservation of a steel artifact for 2,600 years.

Not as big a problem as it seems. The Sword of Laban survived for 2,600 years

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41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

It follows that the swords Nephi made in the New World within 20 years of his arrival looked like the sword he brought with him from the Old World.

What do you suppose the swords Nephi made looked like?

I don't know.  I think Hamblin is correct to surmise that we don't know if Nephi's swords were based on "imitation {of Laban's sword in terms of its} function, form or material-or all three."

41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:
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Yes, but how many?  And how many of those realistically survived the ensuing 2,600 years?

At least one Nephite sword survived 2,600 years

Nope.  Laban's sword was not created by Nephi.  And it was a kingly artifact, and thefore much more likely to be preserved as compared to the replicas made by Nephi.

41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

If such swords aren't found in Mesoamerica then we can't make that assumption. But that's more a weakness of the Mesoamerican model than a weakness of the argument that Nephite swords looked like the sword of Laban.

I quite disagree.  Whether or not a very small number of artifacts (Nephi's copies of Laban's sword) were preserved for 2,600 years has very little to do with the merits of the Mesoamerican model, and much more to do with your assumptions.

41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:
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I'm not sure we can meaningfully declare what the text "would" say in this circumstance.

Nephi also built a structure after the manner of the temple in Jerusalem. The text informs us that he couldn't find all the materials needed.

Which rather suggests that exact duplication is not a requirement in the text.

41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:
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Okay.  I'm not sure it would be worthwhile to mount an archaeological endeavor to search for 10-20 swords that may have some form-more-than-function similarities with a sword comprised of a A) a steel blade and B) a gold hilt.  

It would be a waste of time and money.

I agree.

41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

The odds are certainly against finding anything resembling the sword of Laban in the Americas.

I agree, though perhaps for different reasons.  The odds are against finding anything of specific note from 2,600 years ago.  That speaks more to the limits of the archaeological record, and also to our assumptions about the amount, provenance, and probative weight of such evidence.  Again, Hamblin's article is very much worth a read on this topic.

41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:
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Hamblin seems to think that Nephite swords patterned after Laban's sword may have been similar in "function, form or materal-or all three."  That creates a lot of ambiguity as to what a Nephite sword might look like.

There's no ambiguity what a Nephite sword looked like.

There's huge ambiguity about what a Nephite sword looked like. 

Would the blade be made of "precious steel" as Laban's was?  Maybe, maybe not.

Would the hilt be made of "pure gold?"  Maybe, maybe not.

What would be shape of the hilt?  We don't know.

What would be the shape of the blade?  

What would the length of the blade be?  

What would the width of the blade be?

What would the thickness of the blade be?

Would the blade be straight?  Curved? 

Would the bade be double-edged?  Single-edged?  

41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

A Nephite sword looks like the Sword of Laban that was passed down through the Nephite generations, for 2600 years. 

And that sword looked like...?

41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

If you're saying that the Nephites started using macuahuitls then let's be clear, they were no longer using "Nephite swords". They were using Maya swords.

I'm not sure you can draw that distinction.

41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Not as big a problem as it seems. The Sword of Laban survived for 2,600 years

The arid desert climate of the Old World helped preserve a steel sword from Jericho circa 600 B.C.:

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Thanks to archaeological discoveries in recent decades, however, we now have more information about what this sword might have looked like.4 In the 1980s, archaeologists discovered a sword that has many similarities to Laban’s sword.5 It was found in Jericho, a city near Jerusalem, where Laban was from, and it dates from around 620 BC, when Laban lived.6 Most surprising of all, it was made out of steel, just like Laban’s sword.7 Most surviving swords from this time period in the ancient Near East were made out of iron or bronze, so this sword, made out of steel, is a close match to the sword of Laban described in the Book of Mormon.8

The Jericho sword is three feet long and three inches wide, which is surprisingly long for the ancient Near East.9 However, it would have been much more difficult for Nephi to cut off Laban’s head if the sword were any shorter than this,10 so it is likely that Laban’s sword was roughly this size as well.11

jericho-sword_hor.jpg
This sword from Jericho dates to about 600 BC and is on display in the Israel Museum. Photograph by Jeffrey R. Chadwick

In contrast, the climate of Central America is not nearly as conducive to the preservation of ancient metal artifacts.

Also, the Sword of Laban was a kingly artifact, and hence given particular attention and protection.  I don't think we can say the same about the copies Nephi made.

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Nope.  Laban's sword was not created by Nephi.  And it was a kingly artifact, and thefore much more likely to be preserved as compared to the replicas made by Nephi.

Nephi "wielded the sword of Laban" in "defence". He used the sword as a sword. We therefore know that a Nephite sword looks like ... a sword.

Maybe I am misunderstanding your comments. Are you saying that Nephi made swords that resembled the sword of Laban but those were lost to time, so then the Nephites began using Maya macuahuitls that were related in function to the swords that Nephi made? 

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Whether or not a very small number of artifacts (Nephi's copies of Laban's sword) were preserved for 2,600 years has very little to do with the merits of the Mesoamerican model, and much more to do with your assumptions.

This is not a simple matter of history losing a couple dozen Nephite swords. The problem is that three civilizations carry the knowledge of iron-smelting and sword-making to the New World and subsequently lose that knowledge along with the kilns, slag and tuyeres required to make swords and other metal artifacts.

Whether Nephi made 3 swords or 300,000. There's no evidence that anybody in the Americas between 600 BC and 400 AD knew anything about swords, iron and steel.

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I agree, though perhaps for different reasons.  The odds are against finding anything of specific note from 2,600 years ago.  That speaks more to the limits of the archaeological record, and also to our assumptions about the amount, provenance, and probative weight of such evidence. 

The odds are not against finding proof of iron technologies in an iron-age civilization. The Nephites survived until 400 AD, that was only 1600 years ago. Even in corrosive tropical soils, slag and iron artifacts would surely be present.

If you are arguing that the Nephites lost their ability to work with iron after 200 years in the New World, then I suppose it is possible that we'll never find a Nephite sword. 

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There's huge ambiguity about what a Nephite sword looked like. Would the blade be made of "precious steel" as Laban's was?  Maybe, maybe not. Would the hilt be made of "pure gold?"  Maybe, maybe not. What would be shape of the hilt? We don't know. What would be the shape of the blade? What would the length of the blade be? What would the width of the blade be? What would the thickness of the blade be? Would the blade be straight?  Curved?  Would the bade be double-edged? Single-edged?  

So many questions about the characteristics of ... a sword.

Maybe the easier question is, has anything that an expert in swords would identify as a sword ever been found in North, Central or South America?

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In contrast, the climate of Central America is not nearly as conducive to the preservation of ancient metal artifacts.

Again, even if the knowledge of sword making was lost and then the swords disintegrated, the slag, furnaces and tuyeres would still be there, somewhere. 

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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Give one item that we can call evidence that the BoM is some form of a true history, locate that item somewhere in Nicaragua and the Church might actually donate part of its vast resources to it.  Until something we call evidence can be found, though, I don't think the Church is going to waste its money on finding nothing.  As someone pointed out earlier the Church learned its lesson on thinking something that can be said to fall in the realm of evidence for the BoM can be found.  

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On 9/7/2020 at 10:34 AM, Jracforr said:

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The members of the Church are the Church, as I understand what the Church is, and I am not usually very interested in visiting even our local antique stores.  Maybe someday I might go to Nicaragua, though. If I do I'll look around a little.

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Sometimes, when I see a long and unwieldy thread title, as a personal challenge I make a game of re-writing it for conciseness. I suppose it comes from years of writing headlines for tight spaces on a page layout. 
 

Here’s my effort for the title of this thread:

Does Nicaragua site hold potential for Book of Mormon evidence?

There. I have cut 16 words down to 10. And I spelled out “Book of Mormon” to boot. 

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19 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Sometimes, when I see a long and unwieldy thread title, as a personal challenge I make a game of re-writing it for conciseness. I suppose it comes from years of writing headlines for tight spaces on a page layout. 
 

Here’s my effort for the title of this thread:

Does Nicaragua site hold potential for Book of Mormon evidence?

There. I have cut 16 words down to 10. And I spelled out “Book of Mormon” to boot. 

Eh, not much pull power there. Better to try to grab someone's attention, such as to say: Book of Mormon evidence in Nicaragua (with or without the question mark)

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