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Richard Bushman - BOM “reshaped by inspiration”


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17 hours ago, Harry T. Clark said:

This sounds like a good theory to me.  Instantaneous translation would cover how wordy the book gets at times and how thoughts are changed seemingly midstream.  Sometimes, it seems as though Joseph was looking for the right way to express what he was feeling from the spirit at the time, especially in 3rd Nephi when he is recording some of the Savior's words.  I believe even the book of mormon itself explains how one can get so caught up in the spirit that words can't properly express or convey meaning.

And yet Moroni writes the following, so its possible this "wordy misplacement" existed on the plates.

 

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23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;

24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them. 

25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.

26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;

 

 

Edited by gav
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8 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The difference in this case is that the conclusion is inductively arrived at by scholars closely examining the grammar of the earliest text of the BofM and unexpectedly discovering the EModE features of it.  How does that have apologetic value?

I think you already know the answer to this. The apologetic value of Carmack's work is that it purports to demonstrate that Joseph Smith didn't author the Book of Mormon. Almost all of champatsch's posts hammer this point home, in case anyone has failed to grasp the implication. 

That said, I notice the theory continues to be ignored in books, articles, and conference papers coming out of BYU and other venues. I recently watched two Come, Follow Me videos on YouTube with BYU Religious Education faculty and they both seemed to take for granted that Joseph Smith shaped the contents of the Book of Mormon. As far as I can tell, Carmack's work has gained no traction at all among Book of Mormon scholars and Latter-day Saint historians. I realize that paradigm shifts take time, but really I'm not seeing any discussion at all outside of a couple message boards and blogs.

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Nevo said:

I think you already know the answer to this. The apologetic value of Carmack's work is that it purports to demonstrate that Joseph Smith didn't author the Book of Mormon. Almost all of champatsch's posts hammer this point home, in case anyone has failed to grasp the implication. 

That is Carmack's scholarly conclusion, but it has no apologetic value that I can see.  Unless you have a different definition of "apologetic" than I do.  It does present an intellectual quandary.  His data require explanation or interpretation.

41 minutes ago, Nevo said:

That said, I notice the theory continues to be ignored in books, articles, and conference papers coming out of BYU and other venues. I recently watched two Come, Follow Me videos on YouTube with BYU Religious Education faculty and they both seemed to take for granted that Joseph Smith shaped the contents of the Book of Mormon. As far as I can tell, Carmack's work has gained no traction at all among Book of Mormon scholars and Latter-day Saint historians. I realize that paradigm shifts take time, but really I'm not seeing any discussion at all outside of a couple message boards and blogs.

Correct.  The scholarly process is a slow and communal endeavor.  We can certainly see that in the sciences and technology.  I am almost 80 now, and I have seen vast changes in my lifetime.  However, those changes took place slowly.  In high school physics and chemistry classes, for example, I carried a slide rule in a sheath on my belt.  In college I used an electronic calculator.  In the USMC, I always had a compact Olivetti manual typewriter in my locker, then in college I shifted to an electric typewriter, and finally at FARMS I had my first PC with a WordPerfect word processing system, among others.  Now we even have the internet, along with vast memory banks filled with most printed books.  We did not get from there to here overnite.

I began the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project in the summer of 1974, after seeing Stan Larson's masters thesis.  I later edited and produced the largest Book of Mormon ever published, in three volumes (FARMS, 1984-1987; see volume 1 online at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8TEwe3svz4sZzV0bGh1QllWVmc/view?usp=sharing), in two editions, and will publish a third edition this year.  Similar Hebrew Bible critical text projects are taking place at a couple of universities (Oxford, Hebrew University in Jerusalem), which are so massive and complex that it has taken several generations of scholars to gain only partial completion (most of those working on them are in their graves, including one who taught me biblical Hebrew, Chaim Rabin).  They may both come to completion by 2040.  Hopefully.  In any case, I won't be there to see it.  Perhaps you will.  :pirate:

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1 hour ago, gav said:

Faith and skill must be built, line upon line. Having physical objects was initially necessary but in the end Joseph needed very little. Initially he referred to the plates and used the U&T and translation was slower and possibly more laborious, later only the seer stone with no reference to the plates was required and still later nothing was required for the dictations of revelations in the D&C etc.

This is exactly the way I see it.

And I think this view is especially relevant to the Book of Abraham.  I believe it was a direct revelation from God and Joseph may himself have thought it was a "translation".

Yet subjectively when words are given to our minds how would we know for sure if they were "translated" or simply given to us?   All we know is that we are receiving a stream of concepts/ intelligence from the Lord and writing the words as they come to us.   What is "really happening" is subject only to subjective perception.  

So of course this is the "catalyst" theory for the BOA, but I think it applies to all of Joseph's early revelations.  He was fascinated by folk magic and seeking buried treasure etc- and there is nothing wrong with that- he was a sort of "archaeologist" in a sense.  ;)

But the Lord could use that to communicate with him.

Then as Joseph matured he realized he did not need the "crutch" of the props in front of his eyes- he was receiving it directly from the Lord, and finally KNEW it.

So discussions of translations and the details of how they are received and all of that, for me, are misdirected because of the LDS obsession with history.

Perhaps that is a good thing indirectly.  If we really understood what an incredible gift Joseph had, perhaps he would be deified more than he is.  ("Mingling with gods he can plan for his brethren")  Yet of course we all have that gift -perhaps to lesser or greater degrees- if we simply open ourselves up to it with faith.  None of us would have testimonies without that same kind of gift Joseph had- yet of course he had such a tremendous gift and calling it is hard- at least for me- to imagine what that would be like.

Edited by mfbukowski
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12 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

That is Carmack's scholarly conclusion, but it has no apologetic value that I can see.  Unless you have a different definition of "apologetic" than I do.  It does present an intellectual quandary.  His data require explanation or interpretation.

Correct.  The scholarly process is a slow and communal endeavor.  We can certainly see that in the sciences and technology.  I am almost 80 now, and I have seen vast changes in my lifetime.  However, those changes took place slowly.  In high school physics and chemistry classes, for example, I carried a slide rule in a sheath on my belt.  In college I used an electronic calculator.  In the USMC, I always had a compact Olivetti manual typewriter in my locker, then in college I shifted to an electric typewriter, and finally at FARMS I had my first PC with a WordPerfect word processing system, among others.  Now we even have the internet, along with vast memory banks filled with most printed books.  We did not get from there to here overnite.

I began the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project in the summer of 1974, after seeing Stan Larson's masters thesis.  I later edited and produced the largest Book of Mormon ever published, in three volumes (FARMS, 1984-1987; see volume 1 online at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8TEwe3svz4sZzV0bGh1QllWVmc/view?usp=sharing), in two editions, and will publish a third edition this year.  Similar Hebrew Bible critical text projects are taking place at a couple of universities (Oxford, Hebrew University in Jerusalem), which are so massive and complex that it has taken several generations of scholars to gain only partial completion (most of those working on them are in their graves, including one who taught me biblical Hebrew, Chaim Rabin).  They may both come to completion by 2040.  Hopefully.  In any case, I won't be there to see it.  Perhaps you will.  :pirate:

You are amazing!

I have not yet had a chance to read your new article on the poetry of scripture in INTERPRETER but I am looking forward to it!

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21 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

On paper or vellum one can of course erase a mistake, or at least insert a correction in the margin or above the line.  If the BofM plates were made of tumbaga, however, that might obviate any sort of erasure,

Again, this is the standard suggestion, that somehow the engraving on metal made a strikeout difficult. I submit it is a nice idea, but incorrect. There is no reason that a strikeout would be more difficult on plates than on paper. 

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and we actually have evidence of such a glaring error, as discovered by Grant Hardy[1] -- made when Mormon was engraving, not when Joseph's scribe was copying:
 

This is the proper order restored.  Alma 13:16, which clearly should have been inserted immediately following 13:12, was instead dropped during ancient dictation due to a Nephite scribal failure to maintain the proper verse sequence due to verses 12 and 16 having the same final line (homoeoteleuton), i.e., the Nephite scribe (Mormon?) was unable to maintain sequence while moving his eyes back and forth from one text to the other, although he finally noticed his error and picked up the lost verse three verses later.

There is no reason that we would expect the original to be without error. However, this type of error is qualitatively different from the "or" clauses. In this case, there was a significant amount of text to be repaired, and the solution was similar to other cases of interjection--the repetitive resumption we see after those insertions. That is different from the problem of the "or" clause which could be fixed much more quickly with the crossout of a single word and a replacement. 

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Another indicator of lack of erasures can be found in the brief phrase "or rather," to correct the wrong choice of words, as in Mosiah 7:8, Alma 39:16.[2]

The "or rather" is very similar to the regular "or." Think about how slowly one has to go when engraving on metal. How soon after writing the word that headed in the wrong direction would you notice it? I know that on a computer keyboard, there are times when I know my fingers have made a mistake and I am backspacing almost without even looking. If not, I can check what I have written very quickly. My fingers are significantly faster on a keyboard than engraving would be--and most of the time I am catching my error in the very word that is a mistake. This is an issue of the difference between writing and oral speech. 

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14 hours ago, champatsch said:

Another why/translation issue, another distraction. This is apparently important to you, but not to the question of Book of Mormon authorship. 

We clearly see understanding the translation very differently. The problem of multiple previous translators is precisely a question of Book of Mormon authorship. We have managed to clarify that the original translation (by whomever) was, in Skousen's terms, "cultural and conceptual." That finally moves away from the problematic word for word translation that cannot explain the text at all. So that does answer one question about the translation. Now we have to understand how that "cultural and conceptual" translation came to be dictated to Oliver. We know Joseph played a part, and since he claimed to be the translator, it seems that we ought to at least attempt to take him seriously. If we look at his revisions to the Book of Mormon, if we look at the way he handled issues of italics in large quotations of biblical material, if we look at the process by which the revelations were received, I submit it begins to be clear that Joseph was an active participant in the process.  The entire book Producing Ancient Scripture documents the ways in which Joseph is best seen as an active participant.

 

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49 minutes ago, Brant Gardner said:

Again, this is the standard suggestion, that somehow the engraving on metal made a strikeout difficult. I submit it is a nice idea, but incorrect. There is no reason that a strikeout would be more difficult on plates than on paper. 

Strikeouts could be made anywhere, if the scribal tradition found the marring of Holy Scripture acceptable.  Yet the engraved scarab seals we find are unmarred, and Jewish scribal tradition pushes for error-free Holy text.  Nephite texts were undoubtedly prepared on bark paper and then transferred to metal.  With tumbaga, the alloy surface would have the copper surface removed with acid (citric?), leaving a thin layer of gold on the hard surface so that both sides of a plate could be engraved.  The leaves would have been as thick as parchment.  Jewish scribes of Lehi's time used an iron stylus with diamond point to engrave (Jer 17:1, Job 19:24), and could write the Egyptian hieratic quickly in the soft gold surface.

49 minutes ago, Brant Gardner said:

There is no reason that we would expect the original to be without error. However, this type of error is qualitatively different from the "or" clauses. In this case, there was a significant amount of text to be repaired, and the solution was similar to other cases of interjection--the repetitive resumption we see after those insertions. That is different from the problem of the "or" clause which could be fixed much more quickly with the crossout of a single word and a replacement. 

The "or rather" is very similar to the regular "or." Think about how slowly one has to go when engraving on metal. How soon after writing the word that headed in the wrong direction would you notice it? I know that on a computer keyboard, there are times when I know my fingers have made a mistake and I am backspacing almost without even looking. If not, I can check what I have written very quickly. My fingers are significantly faster on a keyboard than engraving would be--and most of the time I am catching my error in the very word that is a mistake. This is an issue of the difference between writing and oral speech. 

We do need to look for evidence that the  BofM text was created on the fly, as an oral product -- like automatic writing -- or instead the product of careful, complex literary composition.  In any case, I see no reason to assume that the engraving was slow.  We need to assemble examples of orality, and non-orality, and see where that takes us.  Joseph Smith may only be reading an already extant text (transmitting it), rather than creating midrashic verbiage on the fly -- perhaps with a feedback loop through his brain.  Carmack's data seem to disallow that.

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On 1/24/2021 at 11:01 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

In any case, I see no reason to assume that the engraving was slow.  We need to assemble examples of orality, and non-orality, and see where that takes us. 

My point is that physically writing is a different process than oral presentation of information. The nature of the "or" changes fit oral much better than writing (based on Walter Ong--but I'm too lazy to dig for the citation). The next question is whether the plate text is copied from a less permanent medium. Perhaps, but there is also evidence that many things are triggered asides based on what was just written. If this is posited for the les permanent medium, we have to wonder about the editorial process which didn't create a more coherent text on the plates. It appears to me that the plates were being written on, and that these asides were unplanned additions as the writing occurred. Positing a two-phase writing opens the door to even more editorial changes which are even more surprising to not see in the plate text.

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2 hours ago, Brant Gardner said:

My point is that physically writing is a different process than oral presentation of information. The nature of the "or" changes fit oral much better than writing (based on Walter Ong--but I'm too lazy to dig for the citation). The next question is whether the plate text is copied from a less permanent medium. Perhaps, but there is also evidence that many things are triggered asides based on what was just written. If this is posited for the les permanent medium, we have to wonder about the editorial process which didn't create a more coherent text on the plates. It appears to me that the plates were being written on, and that these asides were unplanned additions as the writing occurred. Positing a two-phase writing opens the door to even more editorial changes which are even more surprising to not see in the plate text.

That's why I say "We need to assemble examples of orality, and non-orality, and see where that takes us."  We are, of course, differentiating ancient as opposed to recent scribal activity.  Can we tell the difference?  If so, how does that account for the complex nature of the book?  I take a look at the various editorial markers in chapter 2 of my recent Egyptianisms in the Book of Mormon and Other Studies, online at  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1S5SdK8wwFDoODIGbXu-E0a5qTWQa1XP8/view?usp=sharing .

Is it an insuperable barrier to have the text in an English "translation"?  And we cannot even agree as to what version of English we are dealing with?  Or whether midrashic activity in that text renders any connection with the original fraught with awkward dead ends -- or leaves us skating on a Möbius strip.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

That's why I say "We need to assemble examples of orality, and non-orality, and see where that takes us."  We are, of course, differentiating ancient as opposed to recent scribal activity.  Can we tell the difference?  If so, how does that account for the complex nature of the book?  I take a look at the various editorial markers in chapter 2 of my recent Egyptianisms in the Book of Mormon and Other Studies, online at  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1S5SdK8wwFDoODIGbXu-E0a5qTWQa1XP8/view?usp=sharing .

Is it an insuperable barrier to have the text in an English "translation"?  And we cannot even agree as to what version of English we are dealing with?  Or whether midrashic activity in that text renders any connection with the original fraught with awkward dead ends -- or leaves us skating on a Möbius strip.

Indeed. I have seen what I think are elements of a primarily oral culture even in writing. It becomes obviously difficult to separate that type of orality from dictation orality. I doubt we will soon have anything that reaches strong consensus. 

I think the first important barrier created by the English text to fall is the assumption of literal translation. I think there is a reasonable consensus that our English text cannot be a precisely accurate rendition of the Nephite text. I think we can find obvious cases where the modern (even if Early Modern) translation is the cause of certain passages. I have argued for some passages that I think were prophetic expansions on the text, and I am seeing more of those. So far, I'm not sure that there are any that can be dated sufficiently to argue exclusively either for Joseph of the putative earlier translator(s).

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On 1/25/2021 at 12:12 AM, Brant Gardner said:

We know Joseph played a part, and since he claimed to be the translator, it seems that we ought to at least attempt to take him seriously.

You suggest that those who take the Book of Mormon to be the product of revealed words do not take JS seriously. Let's consider the matter.

If JS received mental impressions as a fundamental part of the Book of Mormon translation, then he wasn't a translator in the usual sense. Under a revelation of ideas, he didn't turn a foreign language into his own native language. He worded the text from received ideas that he didn't even come up with.

Translate in AoF 8 is best read as meaning retransmit. That's basically what JS meant when he said he translated the Book of Mormon. This meaning is found in various dictionaries.

So you wrongly suppose, like many others do, that the terms translation and translate fit a revealed ideas approach better than a revealed words approach. This is an assertion that doesn't strengthen your position.

Edited by champatsch
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On 1/25/2021 at 12:12 AM, Brant Gardner said:

if we look at the way he handled issues of italics in large quotations of biblical material,

KJQ lays it all out, including the textual fact that changes involving italics in the biblical quotes are only one part of a much larger issue of biblical changes. Not even one-fourth of the changes were italics. The exact percentage is only 22.9. In the 36 quote blocks, five-eighths of the italics were unchanged. Furthermore, there are more than 500 non-italics changes. Eidetic imagery doesn't work. JS would have needed a carefully redacted and prepared Bible to produce what is found in the Book of Mormon. And of course there's no evidence that he used a Bible in the dictation, let alone a marked up Bible. And there's no evidence that he spent many hours preparing a Bible for the dictation.

Another important finding of Skousen's is that Oliver Cowdery’s manuscript misspellings indicate that the biblical quotations weren’t produced by Oliver copying from a King James Bible, that Joseph dictated the biblical quotations to him. And the more than 700 differences indicate that JS didn't just read off a Bible to OC. Nor are the quotes paraphrastic, so they aren't the result of revealed ideas.

The first biblical section of the dictation, in Mosiah, quoting Exodus material, starts right off with changes that JS was unlikely to have made.

Moreover, in O, the transition between 1 Nephi 20 and 21 reads plainly, with no hint of a chapter break at the ampersand: “the wicked & a[g]ain hearken”. In P, at the beginning of the long Isaiah block, the manuscript reads unbrokenly “unto all men the word that Isaiah”, with no markings to suggest that Isaiah 2 is beginning. Nor is there any indication between Isaiah chapters 2 and 3: the text reads “of for behold”. Anyone can go through P and verify that this is the case for many of the biblical chapter divisions; they are simply ignored.

So the biblical passages, whether long or short, provide further evidence of revealed words.

Edited by champatsch
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On 2/1/2021 at 1:55 AM, champatsch said:

Not even one-fourth of the changes were italics. The exact percentage is only 22.9. In the 36 quote blocks, five-eighths of the italics were unchanged. Furthermore, there are more than 500 non-italics changes.

I continue to be fascinated by this interesting "defense" of the changes at italics. It doesn't say that it didn't happen. It doesn't say that the problems introduced didn't happen. It simply says it wasn't consistent. Yes, they were wrong but not consistently wrong is a strange defense. What the statistics show is that attention was paid to italics. That all of them were not changed does not change the problem for the 22.9% of them that were changed--especially in cases where the change left an incomplete sentence, or required circumlocution to repair the damage of the change. There might be some that were seen as improvements, but I don't remember any. Say it is only 90% of the 22.9% of changes at italics. That still is important information about a process that occurred at a specific location that is definable, and related to the visual inspection of the text. I agree that there is no evidence that a Bible was present, so we still have to figure out how this happened. Presumably the person/persons who did the translation that Joseph read were less than competent translators?

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I once did a stint at a company that translated/localized stuff into other languages.  One of the wise crusty old employees at that company often grouched and winged about how nobody knew a single thing about translation.  He penned this short primer as a way of crowbarring some basic understanding into us:

On the Beach, or Why You Can't Just Translate the Words

When they make me emperor of the mormons, my first decree will be for every member of the church to read this short essay before they opine about translation.  I'd absolutely recommend it to all the smart people too.  

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The subtleties of translation compound the subtleties of language. There's a popular song from the sixties called, I think, "Ramblin' Man" (The refrain is, "Ramblin' man, why don't you settle down? LA ain't your kind of town"). I heard it yesterday for the first time in years and noticed, for the first time, that the refrain parodies an equally fuzzy remembrance of a Protestant hymn that contains the phrase "the man from Galilee," substituting "Tennessee." Is the musical 'pun' deliberate? Does it mean anything? Is there a way to 'translate' it into, say, Russian or French? Chinese? These are questions that 'creative translators' thrive on.

 

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9 hours ago, Brant Gardner said:

I continue to be fascinated by this interesting "defense" of the changes at italics. It doesn't say that it didn't happen. It doesn't say that the problems introduced didn't happen. It simply says it wasn't consistent. Yes, they were wrong but not consistently wrong is a strange defense. What the statistics show is that attention was paid to italics. That all of them were not changed does not change the problem for the 22.9% of them that were changed--especially in cases where the change left an incomplete sentence, or required circumlocution to repair the damage of the change. There might be some that were seen as improvements, but I don't remember any. Say it is only 90% of the 22.9% of changes at italics. That still is important information about a process that occurred at a specific location that is definable, and related to the visual inspection of the text. I agree that there is no evidence that a Bible was present, so we still have to figure out how this happened. Presumably the person/persons who did the translation that Joseph read were less than competent translators?

Where do you get that italics changes were, generally speaking, wrong? A small percentage of them are clearly wrong. I disagree with you on this point. When an italicized word is simply left out, very rarely is it clearly wrong. In general, ellipsis is often not wrong – it's often literary or poetic. And replacing, for example, is with shall be isn't wrong. Nor is changing that to which. Take 3 Nephi 13:5. The italics deletion of are is perfectly acceptable, and the immediately preceding non-italics change to the verb do sets up what is arguably a superior reading, for the rest of the passage explains what hypocrites do, not what they are. 

The overall evidence found in the biblical quotations shows that JS didn't construct these passages, whatever you might say about them and italics. If you have considered all the instances and determined an exact percentage that are "wrong", then at least you will have done your due diligence. But you haven't ever shown me that you're interested in data more than argumentation and theories based on less-than-complete evidence.

All I've seen from you so far is that you will take a small amount of linguistic evidence to defend your 2011 thesis. Yet you ignore a large amount of hard linguistic evidence — as strong or stronger than what you study — evidence that leads to a different conclusion, one you disfavor. This is why I have said you have an ideological position. It is not based sufficiently on evidence. It is based on earlier unstudied views, and it is apparently one you are unwilling to shift according to the preponderance of the evidence, and even clear and convincing evidence. I first thought that the Book of Mormon was a pseudobiblical creation, but then opposing linguistic evidence I continually saw changed my mind.

The same thing is generally true with biblical passages. I have no reason to believe you've ever made a thorough analysis of them. Yet you're willing to take a small amount of evidence to draw a desired conclusion. In contrast, Skousen has made and published a thorough analysis, with my collaboration. The facts I've stated above lead to a conclusion that opposes what you believe.

Edited by champatsch
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22 hours ago, champatsch said:

Where do you get that italics changes were, generally speaking, wrong? A small percentage of them are clearly wrong. I disagree with you on this point. When an italicized word is simply left out, very rarely is it clearly wrong. In general, ellipsis is often not wrong – it's often literary or poetic. And replacing, for example, is with shall be isn't wrong. Nor is changing that to which.

Yes, some are simply unnecessary. As with the problem of suggesting that there isn't a problem because it is a 22.9% problem, the fact that one can make excuses for some of them doesn't alter the problem with the others. 

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All I've seen from you so far is that you will take a small amount of linguistic evidence to defend your 2011 thesis. Yet you ignore a large amount of hard linguistic evidence — as strong or stronger than what you study — evidence that leads to a different conclusion, one you disfavor.

And this continues to be the problem. You certainly have a lot of evidence for your thesis, but there are small but substantial problems that you are ignoring rather than either integrating into the thesis, or realizing that they can invalidate the thesis. The major one is the problem of latest date. There are two problems with your data. One is that some of the evidence is later than the Early Modern English hypothesis. The second is that there is an inherent problem with the way the exclusiveness of the data is asserted. It is asserted because it wasn't yet found. Then then you publish articles indicating that some of them have been found. That, of course, is precisely what a scholar should do--but for some reason you don't understand that it continues to undermine the proposal that "Joseph couldn't" when you find that perhaps he could have on some of them. Your hypothesis cannot explain all of the data, and when it falls short of explaining all of the data, it simply cannot be accepted as an explanation.

I suppose a third issue is the idea that a small, but significant percentage of variation from your hypothesis can be dismissed. A fourth would be your own evidence finding similar evidence in the early revelations, but not all revelations. None of those would be translations, and they related to Josephs current situations. There is no need for someone who hasn't learned to keep up with English for 200 years to have given them to him, not to mention the strong evidence that Joseph was very willing to alter them when he thought he needed to communicate the idea better. If your hypothesis only answers one possible question and ignores so many, it isn't very useful.

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Well, you misrepresent the hypothesis. It is not an early modern hypothesis, strictu sensu. The hypothesis is simply that the original dictation language has so much nonbiblical language that is strongly characteristic of Early Modern English usage — both lexical usage and syntactic patterns and syntactic usage, things which are unattested in pseudobiblical writings or barely attested — that Joseph Smith was not the author or 'translator' (your secondary meaning of translator, from revealed ideas). You're imposing a different hypothesis on our work, and from experience, I have no reason to believe you will stop.

Immediately above you write that italics is a 22.9% problem. That is an utterly misleading statement because the large majority of the italics changes are unproblematic. Some of them actually create better readings than the original, as I just mentioned. This is something anyone can verify by going through the final pages of KJQ. So italics is at most only a 2% problem. Your improbable position has no good explanation for an even higher percentage of 500+ non-italics changes. Our position, therefore, has a lower percentage problem than yours, which has a 10% or greater problem. Furthermore, your position on biblical quoting is so unlikely on its face, given what we know about the externals and internals of the dictation, that it is hard to read and take seriously. Anyone can go to your 2011 book and then compare what you wrote there with the manuscript evidence and with the evidence discussed in KJQ and see the serious flaws in your position.

Unfortunately, I frequently sense a lack of candor in our interactions. I see little value in interacting with someone who misrepresents our position, someone who either knows better or at least should know better. If you don't understand our hypothesis by now, then I have been overestimating your comprehension. If you do understand it, but write what you just did, then there is a problem of candor. That will be all for me here.

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1 hour ago, champatsch said:

Unfortunately, I frequently sense a lack of candor in our interactions. I see little value in interacting with someone who misrepresents our position, someone who either knows better or at least should know better. If you don't understand our hypothesis by now, then I have been overestimating your comprehension. If you do understand it, but write what you just did, then there is a problem of candor. That will be all for me here.

Brant knows what he is talking about and, in my limited opinion, is the most pragramatic Book of Mormon scholar out there.  He doesn't go out on a limb.  He doesn't accept the flavor of the month theories.

I just do not see the Ye Olde English theory as having any legs as there is inadequate statistical science behind it.  I'm not sure that statistics can be properly flogged to derive adequate conclusions.  One would need:

                 1.  The full text of the original Book of Mormon.  (We have.)

                 2   A representative sampling of pre-Book of Mormon text during the Ye Olde English here (Elizabeth?).  

                 3.   A representative sampling of pre-Book of Mormon text at about the time the Book of Mormon was published.

Then, one would some how have to rule out Ye Olde English syntax out from the Book of Mormon publication period.  I don't think that can be done.  Ever done.

Then, if the connection were established, one would have to ask -- why?  If there isn't anything in the historical record to explain why, one must assume there isn't a why.

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On 1/17/2021 at 2:06 AM, bdouglas said:

The only theory I have heard was advanced by Royal Skousen, that the BOM is a "creative and cultural translation" from 15th-16 century, but he does not say who did this translation. I assume he thinks it was a prophet, or prophets. I have heard Stanford Carmack (name correct?) say that, considering the mix of EModE and modern English, this translation was perhaps done by more than one person.

It seems to me that JS, looking into his seer-stone and producing BOM in 67 days, no pauses, no going back to rework anything, spelling out names, places—it seems clear to me that he was not working all this out in his head, rather he was transmitting an already existing text—a text which had already been rendered into English.

I assume, since this translation into English was "creative and cultural" (Skousen), that this translator was a prophet. Maybe he was a translated being. In the D & C JS is told that there are "holy men ye know not of" on the earth. Maybe it was one of these "holy men."

Many years ago I read a story, and I don't remember when or where, pertaining to genealogical research which I must assume is true (because I have no reason to doubt it). There was a man in Utah back in the late 1800s or early 1900s, if I remember correctly, and he was trying to assemble family information to take to the temple. Unfortunately there was one branch that he had been trying to research for years, and hadn't found anything. And back in those days getting to places to do genealogical research took a lot of effort -- although this could be short-circuited if you could communicate via mail with people living in one's target region. Well, one day he was home when two men showed up at his door, asked for him by name, and said they had been asked to give him a parcel, which they then handed to him. He invited them into his house, but they declined, and so off they went and he closed the door. Intrigued, he took the parcel to his desk and opened it, finding that it was a copy of a newspaper from a certain city back east. He was bemused by this, since he had never ordered any such thing, but then noticed the date of the paper. It was just a couple of days old.  Back then, there was no way for a newspaper to find its way over a thousand miles from its origin in just a few days -- this normally took a couple of weeks. He rushed to his front door to try to catch the men, but they were nowhere in sight -- but they should have been, as there was no concealment available to be reached in the time after he had closed the door.

He went back to his desk and went through the paper to see what was in there, and happened to find a full-page article written by a man who had been intrigued by a certain family cemetery he had happened upon. This man had taken it upon himself to record the names and dates and other information on all the tombstones in the cemetery and presented this information in the article.  And, as you might imagine, it happened that these people turned out to be from that branch of the man's family that he had despaired of finding anything about.  Accordingly, he added the information to his records and had their temple work done.

John the Revelator and the Three Nephites are out there. Perhaps these two unknown visitors were of that company.

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On 1/17/2021 at 2:27 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

In the economy of God, there is no need for special pleading, nor for special beings to do the Lord's work.  The Bible and BofM are replete with human prophets which did God's assigned tasks.

I'm trying to reconcile "no need for special pleading" with the "economy of God." Definition of "special pleading": Argument in which the speaker deliberately ignores aspects that are unfavourable to their point of view. What does this have to do with anything?

For a start, Mary and Zechariah were visited by angels (special beings), who declared to them that they were to be parents of the Messiah and the Forerunner, respectively. Peter the Apostle was released from prison by an angel. That's pretty darned special. 

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On 1/23/2021 at 8:17 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

(chapter 2 in my book, Egyptianisms in the Book of Mormon and Other Studies, online at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Eohnr9TsQJ7ATDusfDUB9H8SQ03yaaa6/view?usp=sharing).

I followed the link, and shows a window saying: "No preview available. File is in owner's trash."

???

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On 2/2/2021 at 3:19 PM, LoudmouthMormon said:

I once did a stint at a company that translated/localized stuff into other languages.  One of the wise crusty old employees at that company often grouched and winged about how nobody knew a single thing about translation.  He penned this short primer as a way of crowbarring some basic understanding into us:

On the Beach, or Why You Can't Just Translate the Words

When they make me emperor of the mormons, my first decree will be for every member of the church to read this short essay before they opine about translation.  I'd absolutely recommend it to all the smart people too.  

 

I (ghost)wrote a book from my late mother-in-law's story of her imprisonment as a forced laborer in the Soviet Union after WW2. The source text was a typed transcription, in German, of M.i.L. telling her story into a tape recorder for her daughter, my sister-in-law. My German-born wife helped, of course, but some of the words and phrasings in German were a bit difficult to follow, and we weren't sure if that was because of transcription errors, or mom misspoke, or something else. 

I endeavored to give it the flavor of a tale told in a foreign language (since that is what it was), but when it was done, a re-reading of it by me after a couple of months break yielded a strange result. To me it sounded almost like it had been translated from Russian, not German. I say Russian, because I had read a number of books translated into English from Russian, namely Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago vol. 1, and a series written during the Cold War by a Soviet GRU defector. And it bore some resemblance in tone or flavor to those books. I don't know how this came about, but I just let it go that way. She did use some Russian words in the story, and I had to do some research about the Soviet camps and the Russian language in order to make some things clear.

Sometimes what is said in one language is a supremely difficult thing to render in English or vice versa. I do speak German fairly fluently, and there are plenty of times when the English equivalent to something in German just doesn't cut it. And the reverse happens, too, of course.

Translating is by no means a simple task, if done right. Especially when one has a polyglottish background. I know quite a number of words in several languages. Just today, while studying Spanish speaking, the course asked me to say "but not today".  I know what "but" is in Spanish. Pero. But for some reason, the first word to come to mind was "aber", which is German, and then my brain made another stab at it and came out with "sed", which is Latin.  The day before I was asked for "goodbye", and instead of "adios" the first thing to come to mind was "auf wiedersehen", followed by "ĝis la revido". Which are German and Esperanto, respectively.  Sigh. Note that I don't speak either Latin or Esperanto, I've just studied both of them. Especially Latin in high school.

All of this makes me greatly respect the wonder and the beauty of the Book of Mormon. And the work that went into it by all parties involved.

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3 hours ago, Stargazer said:

I'm trying to reconcile "no need for special pleading" with the "economy of God." Definition of "special pleading": Argument in which the speaker deliberately ignores aspects that are unfavourable to their point of view. What does this have to do with anything?

For a start, Mary and Zechariah were visited by angels (special beings), who declared to them that they were to be parents of the Messiah and the Forerunner, respectively. Peter the Apostle was released from prison by an angel. That's pretty darned special. 

The Bible and Book of Mormon come to us at the hands of human authors and scribes.  A human Moroni writes his section of the BofM, just as his father edited the bulk of the whole book.,  Not an angelic committee of scribes or God Himself.  Jewish scribes copied and transmitted the Bible, as did Christian monks.  Not angelic monastics.  I just don't see why we need special pleading for an EModE BofM.  Why would we need an angelic committee to do that?  Why is Joseph Smith Jr even necessary.  Why not simply deliver the finished angelic product to Martin Harris and have it published by E. B. Grandin.  Why is there this need to eliminate the human element?  Is precedent meaningless?

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