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Book of Mormon and unique/restored LDS doctrines


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35 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

That's a far cry from a book of scripture on par with the Bible.

I see that you've moved the goalpost. Even so, John Dee and Edward Kelley produced a lot of material. I'm not sure how much, but I don't think it's a far cry from the length of the Book of Mormon.

38 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

Isn't that the definition of "restoration"?  To bring back things that were given previously?  

Only if they're lost. Nothing in the Book of Mormon restores something that was lost. It all existed in Joseph's day. In fact, it all existed since about 1650 or a little earlier.

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5 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

It depends I suppose on which version of Christianity one is using for comparison.  In support of your claim, I do often hear evangelicals claim that the BofM is standard Christian doctrine, and that they have no quarrel with it in that sense.  It is the other claims of Joseph Smith which they take issue with, including the supposed origin of the BofM.

However, I take issue with your claim in several ways, both theologically, and archeologically.  In that sense, the Restoration of All Things brings in an ancient world which even precedes the OT, not just the NT and primitive Christianity.

“Book of Mormon Theologies: A Thumbnail Sketch,” lecture delivered at the September 2012 annual meeting of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology (SMPT), at Utah State University, Logan, Utah, online at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WileB3WVoNm0DlVrLUBRMdwKsrlWLElj/view?usp=sharing (version 2).

“The Preposterous Book of Mormon: A Singular Advantage,” lecture, Aug 8, 2014, at the annual FAIRMORMON Conference, Provo, Utah, online at  http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/PREPOSTEROUS-BOOK-OF-MORMON.pdf .

I will read your papers when I have some more time. In the meantime, can you cite something specifically that the Book of Mormon restores?

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7 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I see that you've moved the goalpost. Even so, John Dee and Edward Kelley produced a lot of material. I'm not sure how much, but I don't think it's a far cry from the length of the Book of Mormon.

No, not at all. Producing "a lot of material" isn't the question.  Was what Dee and Kelley produced considered "scripture", on par with the Bible?  I don't think they made that claim.

12 minutes ago, JarMan said:
52 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

Isn't that the definition of "restoration"?  To bring back things that were given previously?  

Only if they're lost. Nothing in the Book of Mormon restores something that was lost. It all existed in Joseph's day. In fact, it all existed since about 1650 or a little earlier.

It's a restoration "only if they're lost"? Where did you get that definition of restoration? 

To "restore" something means to replicate a former state, in this case it was the church. The restoration brought all things back together in one.  The Book of Mormon itself isn't the restoration, but it is an artifact of the restoration.  It marks the opening of the heavens again.

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31 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I will read your papers when I have some more time. In the meantime, can you cite something specifically that the Book of Mormon restores?

Sure.  You may have noticed my reply to Spencer Macdonald, above:

Quote

 

Quote

The corporeality of God the Father doesn't seem to be found in the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon speaks of God with the same sort of flesh and blood anthropomorphisms (Ether 2:4-5,14, 3:4-19) found in the Bible.  Indeed, Nephi beholds the Holy Spirit ("the Spirit of the Lord") "in the form of a man" who could speak "as a man" (1 Nephi 11:11).

As you know, normative Judeo-Christian-Muslim theology rejects the corporeality of God, and would never agree to a Holy Spirit with a human-like body.  Those are theological points I deal with in one of my papers, but there are many others (you asked specifically for one, just one).

In my recent book, Egyptianisms in the Book of Mormon (2020), and in my paper on "The Preposterous Book of Mormon," I deal in detail with the heretofore unknown fact that Alma 11 reproduces the Egypto-Israelite measuring system known only from archeology (completely absent from the Bible), and specifically used when Lehi and Nephi were present in Jerusalem.

There are dozens of such examples of impossible correlations with the BofM -- "impossible" because they don't jibe with a modern pseudepigraphon.

It's like trying to explain away the 1st century BC Antikythera Mechanism -- another impossibility:  Tony Freeth, et al., “A Model of the Cosmos in the ancient Greek Antikythera Mechanism,” Scientific Reports, 11/5821 (Mar 12, 2021), online at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-84310-w .

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

No, not at all. Producing "a lot of material" isn't the question.  Was what Dee and Kelley produced considered "scripture", on par with the Bible?  I don't think they made that claim.

They claimed to have received material directly from angels that related to the lost book of Enoch. Dee describes his Liber Logaeth (Book of the Speech of God) as containing "The Mysterie of our Creation, The Age of many years, and the conclusion of the World." I don't know how this could be described as anything other than scripture.

And since "a lot of material" isn't the question, the Book of Enoch and other lost scripture are certainly on par with the bible. 

1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

It's a restoration "only if they're lost"? Where did you get that definition of restoration? 

To "restore" something means to replicate a former state, in this case it was the church. The restoration brought all things back together in one.  The Book of Mormon itself isn't the restoration, but it is an artifact of the restoration.  It marks the opening of the heavens again.

The whole idea of the "restoration" is that knowledge from early Christianity was lost to the world and then restored by modern prophets. Yet nothing in the Book of Mormon was lost. It's all right there in historical Christianity.

Edited by JarMan
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26 minutes ago, JarMan said:

They claimed to have received material directly from angels that related to the lost book of Enoch. Dee describes his Liber Logaeth (Book of the Speech of God) as containing "The Mysterie of our Creation, The Age of many years, and the conclusion of the World." I don't know how this could be described as anything other than scripture.

The question is, did they claim it to be scripture on par with the Bible?  I don't find that they did, or that they considered what they had to be anything like that Bible.

26 minutes ago, JarMan said:

And since "a lot of material" isn't the question, the Book of Enoch and other lost scripture are certainly on par with the bible. 

What does this have to do with what we were talking about?

27 minutes ago, JarMan said:

The whole idea of the "restoration" is that knowledge from early Christianity was lost to the world and then restored by modern prophets. Yet nothing in the Book of Mormon was lost. It's all right there in historical Christianity.

The whole idea of the "restoration" is that the church was recovered again, it has the original teachings and organization.  The only thing that might have been "lost" is that no single organization possessed all the true teachings, they all "lost their way" in some form or another.  Given that all the man made churches were trying to discover the original Bible teachings, it's no wonder that pieces of the original church were found here and there.  What was "new" in the restoration is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought all those things together in one, it is the restored church.  But again, the Book of Mormon is not the restoration.  It is only part of the restoration.

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10 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

The question is, did they claim it to be scripture on par with the Bible?  I don't find that they did, or that they considered what they had to be anything like that Bible.

You keep moving the goalposts. I'm responding to this: "The whole idea that God can give us more scripture than he did in the 66 books of the Bible is new." Well, no, it's not new. These men claimed to receive words from an angel relating to the creation and the end times and temples and gods. This certainly qualifies as "more scripture."

24 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

What does this have to do with what we were talking about?

The Book of Enoch is another example of "more scripture" which you claim was new with the Book of Mormon. The idea of "more scripture" is an old idea, not a new one.

28 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

The whole idea of the "restoration" is that the church was recovered again, it has the original teachings and organization.  The only thing that might have been "lost" is that no single organization possessed all the true teachings, they all "lost their way" in some form or another.  Given that all the man made churches were trying to discover the original Bible teachings, it's no wonder that pieces of the original church were found here and there.  What was "new" in the restoration is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought all those things together in one, it is the restored church.  But again, the Book of Mormon is not the restoration.  It is only part of the restoration.

You're losing sight of what this discussion is supposed to be about. The issue isn't whether there was a restoration, in general. The question is, what did the Book of Mormon restore? So far you haven't answered that.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As you know, normative Judeo-Christian-Muslim theology rejects the corporeality of God, and would never agree to a Holy Spirit with a human-like body.  Those are theological points I deal with in one of my papers, but there are many others (you asked specifically for one, just one).

I don't think 1 Nephi 11:11 teaches a Holy Spirit with a human-like body. I think it shows that the Holy Spirit can take the form of a human in order to converse with a human, but that this is not it's "normal" form.

I also agree there are places where the Book of Mormon doesn't support the traditional view of the trinity. This is most evident in Abinadi's words and in Ether, as you have pointed out. However, the Book of Mormon is remarkably consistent with the views of the martyr Michael Servetus who was burned at the stake for heresy in 1553. (I've discussed on here before the many similarities between the stories of Michael Servetus and Abinadi who were both accused of the exact same heresy.)

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17 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I don't think 1 Nephi 11:11 teaches a Holy Spirit with a human-like body. I think it shows that the Holy Spirit can take the form of a human in order to converse with a human, but that this is not it's "normal" form.

You can claim any number of theoretical exceptions, but the fact remains that the text is clearly heresy to normative Judeo-Christian doctrine, and coheres very well with Joseph Smith's claim that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are embodied spirits at base.  And as non-Mormon scholar Ernst Benz states:

Quote

"Regardless of how one feels about the doctrine of progressive deification, one thing is certain: Joseph Smith’s anthropology of man is closer to the concept of man in the primitive church than that of the proponents of the Augustinian doctrine of original sin, who considered the idea of such a fundamental and corporeal relationship between God and man as the quintessential heresy."   Benz, "Imago Dei: Man in the Image of God," in T. Madsen, ed., Reflections on Mormonism (Provo, 1978), 201-219.


One can expand such observations into a wide array of impressive correlations.
17 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I also agree there are places where the Book of Mormon doesn't support the traditional view of the trinity. This is most evident in Abinadi's words and in Ether, as you have pointed out. However, the Book of Mormon is remarkably consistent with the views of the martyr Michael Servetus who was burned at the stake for heresy in 1553. (I've discussed on here before the many similarities between the stories of Michael Servetus and Abinadi who were both accused of the exact same heresy.)

Indeed, Joseph Smith's views share a great deal in common with Hermetica.  Magus Giordano Bruno, for example, was burned at the stake for teaching such heresies as the plurality of inhabited worlds, the infinity of the universe, and heliocentrism.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You can claim any number of theoretical exceptions, but the fact remains that the text is clearly heresy to normative Judeo-Christian doctrine, and coheres very well with Joseph Smith's claim that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are embodied spirits at base.

Yes, it's heretical to traditional Christian doctrine but that's beside the point. The description of the godhead in the Book of Mormon has a clear fore-runner with Servetus. Consider this description of Servetus' teachings compared to what we find in Ether 3:

Quote

...for as the primeval Light or Word shone forth in the beginning from God, it inherently possessed and reflected the human form, for in it was already manifested the form of the future Christ, not ideally alone, but actually and visibly; and from this original type and modus of Divine Manifestation proceed all modifications of the deity. Nay, even before the Incarnation, the Logos actually was Christ, as to His Spirit and to His Soul, wanting only a body of flesh.

1 Nephi 11:11 fits with Servetus' view as well:

Quote

For even before the Incarnation, God on all occasions ever acted in a human manner, represented Himself to man in the form of a Man, spoke as a man, and was seen as a Man by the Patriarchs,-- but through the instrumentality of angels.

My view is that the early modern author of the Book of Mormon (who was familiar with Servetus' works, by the way) adopted Servetus' views on this matter and incorporated them into the Book of Mormon along with Servetus' basic biographical sketch in the character of Abinadi. Further similarities can be found in Sebastian Castellio's reaction to Servetus as compared to Alma's reaction to Abinadi.

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

They are not random, but rather a set of annals, mostly narrative in structure, which do not have an inclusive coverage of liturgy, poetry, legislation, and other genres, so that some kinds of information are naturally excluded.

Agreed.  I meant to say "not random."

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1 hour ago, Bob Crockett said:

Ludicrously false.  No evidence.  

There is extensive evidence the Book of Mormon has an early modern origin. Much of it has been discussed on this board. The Servetus/Abinadi connection is just one of many lines. 

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That isn't any kind of evidence. I am a copyright lawyer and I know evidence comparing texts. Requires statistical proofs and proper selection of data sets. To the extent the proofs are circulated in academic papers versus litigation files it requires true peer review. That hasn't been done. 

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30 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

That isn't any kind of evidence. I am a copyright lawyer and I know evidence comparing texts. Requires statistical proofs and proper selection of data sets. To the extent the proofs are circulated in academic papers versus litigation files it requires true peer review. That hasn't been done. 

I'm not making a legal argument. I'm using the historical-critical method to determine when the Book of Mormon was written and by whom. We start with a doctrine that is rare in Christianity--I'll call it modalism, though this is an oversimplification. In historical criticism we need to find where and when in history this doctrine was taught. Servetus is one instance and Swedenborg is another. There are others. But, for now, let's just consider Swedenbourg vs Servetus as the influence for modalism in the Book of Mormon. Servetus is clearly the better option as I'll explain. Servetus' ideas are expressed in the Book of Mormon by Abinadi. Abinadi, like Servetus, was burned at the stake for this heresy. In reality, Abinadi was killed because King Noah had a personal vendetta against him. The heresy charge was merely a convenient ploy to get rid of him. This is also the case with Servetus where Calvin had a personal vendetta against him and had vowed to kill him. When Servetus returned to Geneva in disguise, but was discovered, Calvin used the charge of heresy to kill him. There are many other similarities in these two stories. Swedenborg, on the other hand, wasn't burned at the stake for his ideas although there was a heresy trial against two men who promoted his writings. At the time of Swedenborg's death (at the age of 84) there was an ongoing investigation into his teachings that was eventually dropped without action. Similarities like the ones I've brought up are exactly the type of evidence considered in using the historical-critical method.

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10 hours ago, JarMan said:

You keep moving the goalposts. I'm responding to this: "The whole idea that God can give us more scripture than he did in the 66 books of the Bible is new." Well, no, it's not new. These men claimed to receive words from an angel relating to the creation and the end times and temples and gods. This certainly qualifies as "more scripture."

By God giving "more scripture" my intent was to say it is canonized scripture, which is against the common complaint made against us for "adding to the Bible".  Perhaps I wasn't clear.  But if that moves the goal posts for you, then I'm fine with that.  

10 hours ago, JarMan said:

You're losing sight of what this discussion is supposed to be about. The issue isn't whether there was a restoration, in general. The question is, what did the Book of Mormon restore? So far you haven't answered that.

I believe I already gave my response to what this discussion is about earlier in the thread.  In summary I said that I don't think it was the purpose of the Book of Mormon to restore anything unique, other than to provide another record, another witness of God's dealings with men alongside the Bible.  

Edited by InCognitus
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2 hours ago, JarMan said:

I'm not making a legal argument. I'm using the historical-critical method to determine when the Book of Mormon was written and by whom. We start with a doctrine that is rare in Christianity--I'll call it modalism, though this is an oversimplification. In historical criticism we need to find where and when in history this doctrine was taught. Servetus is one instance and Swedenborg is another. There are others. But, for now, let's just consider Swedenbourg vs Servetus as the influence for modalism in the Book of Mormon. Servetus is clearly the better option as I'll explain. Servetus' ideas are expressed in the Book of Mormon by Abinadi. Abinadi, like Servetus, was burned at the stake for this heresy. In reality, Abinadi was killed because King Noah had a personal vendetta against him. The heresy charge was merely a convenient ploy to get rid of him. This is also the case with Servetus where Calvin had a personal vendetta against him and had vowed to kill him. When Servetus returned to Geneva in disguise, but was discovered, Calvin used the charge of heresy to kill him. There are many other similarities in these two stories. Swedenborg, on the other hand, wasn't burned at the stake for his ideas although there was a heresy trial against two men who promoted his writings. At the time of Swedenborg's death (at the age of 84) there was an ongoing investigation into his teachings that was eventually dropped without action. Similarities like the ones I've brought up are exactly the type of evidence considered in using the historical-critical method.

Not evidence.

As the question is not one for religious analysis, but instead of a comparison of texts, the examination looks to sociological tools.  That hasn't been done. 

Burning at the stake was practiced by Pre-columbian native nations.  Why must you state that the Book of Mormon relied on Servetus?

Edited by Bob Crockett
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12 hours ago, JarMan said:

Yes, it's heretical to traditional Christian doctrine but that's beside the point. The description of the godhead in the Book of Mormon has a clear fore-runner with Servetus. Consider this description of Servetus' teachings compared to what we find in Ether 3:

1 Nephi 11:11 fits with Servetus' view as well:

My view is that the early modern author of the Book of Mormon (who was familiar with Servetus' works, by the way) adopted Servetus' views on this matter and incorporated them into the Book of Mormon along with Servetus' basic biographical sketch in the character of Abinadi. Further similarities can be found in Sebastian Castellio's reaction to Servetus as compared to Alma's reaction to Abinadi.

Yes, of course, there are many such parallels to be drawn, if we go along with the Skousen-Carmack case for an EModE text of the BofM.  I myself have a huge list of such parallels generated by me long before we had an inkling of the case for EModE.

However, it is not "beside the point" to point out such heresies from normative Judeo-Christian theology simply because the secular consensus remains that Joseph Smith himself created the BofM as a 19th century pseudepigraphon -- without any reference to the Hermetica.  Indeed, most LDS scholars do not even accept the EModE theory.

At the same time, if we ignore (for the moment) such theological niceties, we still have a plethora of archeological correlations which cannot be explained through reference to the Hermetica available in the Renaissance.  That leads us to the conclusion that the Hermetica actually do dredge up some very ancient knowledge -- which is what the Corpus Hermeticum has claimed all along, and for which there is a sound basis.

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16 hours ago, JarMan said:

They claimed to have received material directly from angels that related to the lost book of Enoch. Dee describes his Liber Logaeth (Book of the Speech of God) as containing "The Mysterie of our Creation, The Age of many years, and the conclusion of the World." I don't know how this could be described as anything other than scripture.

And since "a lot of material" isn't the question, the Book of Enoch and other lost scripture are certainly on par with the bible.

Dee's "Book of Enoch" is the 1583 Sloane MS 3189 in the British Library.  See F. Yates, Giordano Bruno, 149, note 3.

16 hours ago, JarMan said:

The whole idea of the "restoration" is that knowledge from early Christianity was lost to the world and then restored by modern prophets. Yet nothing in the Book of Mormon was lost. It's all right there in historical Christianity.

The Corpus Hermeticum is not "historical Christianity."  in fact, it's origins precede Christianity by more than a millennium.

The Restoration movement of Puritans, Campbellites, and Mormons was never based on the Corpus Hermeticum.  All of them claimed to restore primitive Christianity, and none of them cited Renaissance magi as the basis of their cliams.  Only modern scholarship discloses any of that implicit connection.

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5 hours ago, InCognitus said:

By God giving "more scripture" my intent was to say it is canonized scripture, which is against the common complaint made against us for "adding to the Bible".  Perhaps I wasn't clear.  But if that moves the goal posts for you, then I'm fine with that.  

Canonization is more or less a formal indication something has been accepted as divinely inspired. There are people who accept the book of Enoch and the Dee/Kelley work as divinely inspired. I don't know if these people think of these works as "canon" or not, but I'm not sure it matters for the purposes of this discussion.

5 hours ago, InCognitus said:

I believe I already gave my response to what this discussion is about earlier in the thread.  In summary I said that I don't think it was the purpose of the Book of Mormon to restore anything unique, other than to provide another record, another witness of God's dealings with men alongside the Bible.  

We are partially in agreement, then.

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5 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

Not evidence.

As the question is not one for religious analysis, but instead of a comparison of texts, the examination looks to sociological tools.  That hasn't been done. 

Burning at the stake was practiced by Pre-columbian native nations.  Why must you state that the Book of Mormon relied on Servetus?

If you mean nothing's been published on this yet, stay tuned. Much of the work has been done. Some of it has been discussed on this forum.

Historical criticism can't tell us a lot about whether the Book of Mormon has roots in pre-Columbian America because there is so little written record. For instance, we can't know if the Maya or their contemporaries burned people at the stake for heresy. This seems to be a peculiarly Christian practice with roots in medieval Eurasia, so it unlikely. But we can't be sure. We certainly can't know what specific heresies people may have been burned for, as we do in early modern Europe from extensive written records. Nor can we know the backstories, biographical information and details surrounding the trials.

Both Servetus and Abinadi cited the entirety of Isaiah 53 in their heresy trials. We know this because we have Servetus' letter to Calvin while he was in prison. This is the type of historical-critical evidence we have that makes a Servetus connection much more likely than any connection to the ancient western hemisphere. Anyone can verify this evidence and much of the other evidence I've presented with a little digging online.

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23 hours ago, InCognitus said:

The Book of Mormon is new.  The whole idea that God can give us more scripture than he did in the 66 books of the Bible is new.  It's earth shattering new, so much so that long held tradition has a really hard time accepting it.

Not at all new. Even the added detail of more scriptures being discovered in an isolated Land of Promise across the great waters was not new.

Swedenborg talked about a land of isolated Israelites with ancient scriptures that would soon be revealed. A British diplomat rocked Christianity in the 18th century when he claimed to have discovered and translated lost Indian scriptures that described the mission of Jesus Christ and what appears to be the Mormon Plan of Salvation.

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Yes, of course, there are many such parallels to be drawn, if we go along with the Skousen-Carmack case for an EModE text of the BofM.  I myself have a huge list of such parallels generated by me long before we had an inkling of the case for EModE.

However, it is not "beside the point" to point out such heresies from normative Judeo-Christian theology simply because the secular consensus remains that Joseph Smith himself created the BofM as a 19th century pseudepigraphon -- without any reference to the Hermetica.  Indeed, most LDS scholars do not even accept the EModE theory.

What I'm getting at is that we don't need to accept something in the Book of Mormon as new solely because it's unorthodox or heretical to mainstream Christianity--as long as there are clear pre-cursors that could have been drawn upon.

2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

At the same time, if we ignore (for the moment) such theological niceties, we still have a plethora of archeological correlations which cannot be explained through reference to the Hermetica available in the Renaissance.  That leads us to the conclusion that the Hermetica actually do dredge up some very ancient knowledge -- which is what the Corpus Hermeticum has claimed all along, and for which there is a sound basis.

 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Dee's "Book of Enoch" is the 1583 Sloane MS 3189 in the British Library.  See F. Yates, Giordano Bruno, 149, note 3.

The Corpus Hermeticum is not "historical Christianity."  in fact, it's origins precede Christianity by more than a millennium.

The Restoration movement of Puritans, Campbellites, and Mormons was never based on the Corpus Hermeticum.  All of them claimed to restore primitive Christianity, and none of them cited Renaissance magi as the basis of their cliams.  Only modern scholarship discloses any of that implicit connection.

I'm not familiar with the argument regarding the Corpus Hermeticum and the Book of Mormon. Could you point me to some information?

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