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Wade Miller: Horses…


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53 minutes ago, pogi said:

I would give more credit to your approach if you simply acknowledged the imperfect translation process and acknowledged how easy it could be for readers to be mislead in understanding ...

This is almost always an issue in contact literature. Most of my PhD research was conducted in 16th-century Portuguese texts written in the East. If one reads them as written, s/he will conclude that the authors lived in areas filled with fig trees, the fruit of which they ate everyday along with grilled bread as their two staples. Also, for some reason, they were really scared of the lizards that lived near the rivers.

Of course, they were actually living on bananas and sago starch, and they had good reasons to mind the saltwater crocodiles!

Having published critical translations of some of these texts, it has always been a challenge for me to know if my goal is to capture the essence of the original document (and thereby preserve its authentic character as contact literature) or alter the text to focus on pure 'meaning'. There are major pros and cons on both sides. For example, using bananasago, and crocodile, whilst accurate, would actually be anachronistic. Thank heaven for the ability to use footnotes!

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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14 hours ago, pogi said:

Except that the loanshit hypothesis applies to Joseph Smith (not the Nephites) as the one applying the translation method to ancient scripture.   Why would he use the method for the Nephites but not the Book of Ether?  If "horse and chariot" is close enough, surely he could have come up with an equally poor alternative for curelom and cumom.    I will also note that Joseph used the loanshift method for other animals in the Book of Ether, such as "cattle', "cows" "oxen", etc. (in the very same verse, no less), so why not the curelom and cumom also?

I don't agree with you. The loanshift (although I prefer the term semantic expansion) would be attributed to the original text (the Gold Plates). If you go back to my post on 10-19 in this thread, you will see an example of such an expansion along with an explanation of why it creates such a complicated mess in translation. These issues are easy to explain in a naturalistic origins setting. They are very complicated under the model of the Book of Mormon as a translation of an ancient text. As I noted elsewhere, the biggest issues occur for those who insist that the translation in infallible in some way, and that Joseph Smith provided us with the best translation. This notion of perfect translation is, in my opinion, nonsensical. At least by modern standards, the Book of Mormon presents a lousy translation (and a deliberately lousy one at that). Consequently, I find these efforts to make the literal understanding possible (by trying to find appropriate archaeological evidence of horses and wheeled vehicles) as simply misguided. I wouldn't discount such evidence if it was unambiguous - I just think it's a waste of time and energy on the basis of a bunch of problematic assumptions.

Further, given all of the challenges with a particular set of assumptions about what the idea of "translation" means, I think that once again, we have a situation where believers and critics are reinforcing a shared set of assumptions - that horses and chariots must be understood a certain way, and the absence of evidence for that specific interpretation points to a lack of authenticity for the text.

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18 hours ago, morgan.deane said:

First, about the loss of wheel. The use of the chariot and hence the wheel, fell out of use in China not because the technology was lost, but because it was incredibly impractical. It couldn't go over rough terrain as well as horses, they were also much more expensive to man and maintain, so they simply stopped being used. When something isn't used it is often lost (or simply not used for such a long time that it is lost from the records.) That is what happened in the Middle East and central Asian highlands for a thousand years.

"The wheel had disappeared from  the Middle East since Roman times...wagons [and chariots] were not part of life...the camel was such an economically efficient means of transportation that it had replaced the wagon in its natural habitats." Kenneth Chase, A Global History of Firearms to 1700, Cambridge University Press, 2003, 206.  

According to the following link, the wheeled "chariot" was used throughout the middle east for several hundred years after Lehi left Jerusalem.  

https://www.historyonthenet.com/the-wheels-of-war-evolution-of-the-chariot

According to the next link, wheeled vehicles were commonly used by the Romans way beyond the time of Lehi and used by Julius Caesar.  They had many different forms of wheeled transportation and carts:

Quote

ANGARIA – a four-wheeled mail car, the etymology of the word comes from Persian to Latin entered through Greek;
ARCERA – cart with an open basket; according to the “Słownik łacińsko-polski” by Józef Korpanty, it is a kind of covered wagon;
BENNA – a large, shredded car for carrying many passengers;
BIROTA – two-wheeled cart;
CAPSUM – car open;
CARPENTUM – a four-wheel car (on four pilentum), used by wealthy Romans. The then limousine. It had a wooden roof, much comfortable than other cars. It also had a decorated interior;
CARRUS – a war car, a travelling car for a large family;
CARRUCA and CARRACUTUM – derivatives of carrusa (luxury car and high vehicle);
CISIUM – a two-wheeled convertible with chairs. Pulled by two mules or horses. Not as fast as essedum;
CLABULA/CLABULARIUM – heavy ox-drawn cart used as a military van;
ESSEDUM – a small car with two wheels, without an upper body; closed from the front. Two people could ride it. The vehicle was pulled by one or more horses/oxen. The car was considered fast;
PETORRITUM – four-wheeled car;
PLAUSTRUM – a farmhouse with full wooden wheels (two or four) covered with iron, which was most commonly used in ancient Rome. The car did not have sides or upper buildings. It was usually pulled by two oxen, which were valued for high tractive power and endurance. Construction materials or agricultural goods: grain, olive oil and wine were transported on carts. Today, the equivalent of such vehicles would simply be transport trucks;
RHEDA/RAEDA – a four-wheeled car that we would compare today to a bus. It had many benches and a place for luggage. According to Roman law, the weight of the transported items could not exceed 1000 Roman libra (approximately 330 kg). Usually, the car was a convertible, or it only had a cloth attached above the heads of the passengers. The cart was pulled by many mules, oxen or horses (even more than four animals);
SARRACUM – a cart on low, full wheels, used for transporting timber;
TENSA – a sumptuous car.

https://imperiumromanum.pl/en/roman-geography/transport-and-travel-in-ancient-rome/

Wheeled transportation and handcarts where used in the Middle East beyond the time of Christ:

Quote

 

Carts, wagons, and chariots were the earliest and most common means of moving people and cargo for hundreds of years in countries in the Middle East, but camels began to replace all types of wheeled vehicles beginning at the time of Christ.

Most of the Middle East had converted to camel transportation by the end of the fifth century, A.D. Eventually, with the spread of the Islamic religion, camels became the chief source of transport as far away as Spain.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1973/12/discovery/no-wheels-get-a-camel?lang=eng

 

This loss of the use of the wheel in the middle east after the time of Christ, in favor of the use of pack animals like camels, does not coincide with Lehi's departure when wheels were still commonly used, nor is it explanatory why the they would have ditched the technology in favor of the litter, especially considering that they didn't have the more efficient pack animals, etc. 

Litters were also used by Romans and others, but they were much more inefficient, slow, and only used for very short distances.   

Edited by pogi
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4 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

I don't agree with you. The loanshift (although I prefer the term semantic expansion) would be attributed to the original text (the Gold Plates).

I am happy to consider other explanations.  I am only repeating the one that I have commonly heard.   You sound pretty confident in your conclusions, but isn't this just an assumption also?  What evidence do you have to make such a conclusion?

The example you gave from the Book of Mormon:

Quote

 Even if the Nephites used the written term translated in the Book of Mormon as "horse" for something other than a "horse", the term continues to mean "horse" in other contexts in the Book of Mormon - particularly when it quotes Old Testament passages that use the term to mean "horse".

I don't see this as evidence of what you suggest.   There is no evidence that the word "horse" as quoted from the brass plates in 2 Nephi is the same word that was used for "horse" in other places in the Book of Mormon.  There is no evidence that "the term" was the same in both locations. 

While there is some historical evidence of what you describe, such as the native American's calling the Spanish horse a "deer", I don't think one can be so confident that such is always the case throughout history.  

Either way, my point about the curelom and cumom is not affected either way.  Whether it was Joseph Smith applying loanshifts or it was the Jaredites/Nephites practicing semantic expansion, the question remains, why wasn't the same practice applied to the curelom and cumom, when it was applied to other animals in the very same verse?

4 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

As I noted elsewhere, the biggest issues occur for those who insist that the translation in infallible in some way, and that Joseph Smith provided us with the best translation. This notion of perfect translation is, in my opinion, nonsensical. At least by modern standards, the Book of Mormon presents a lousy translation (and a deliberately lousy one at that). Consequently, I find these efforts to make the literal understanding possible (by trying to find appropriate archaeological evidence of horses and wheeled vehicles) as simply misguided. I wouldn't discount such evidence if it was unambiguous - I just think it's a waste of time and energy on the basis of a bunch of problematic assumptions.

I agree, but it seems that if one is arguing from a narrative and position of historicity, it seems that every explanation is built upon "assumptions".  It is all painting targets around arrows (as you used in a previous analogy).  If we conclude that all animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon must be an example of Nephite semantic expansion, as you suggest, then I see that as problematic too.  It still doesn't explain why "horses" are only mentioned in conjunction with "chariots" in the context of travel, and perhaps more problematic - it doesn't explain why the word "chariots" (a wheeled vehicle) was used when the litter/palanquin was not uncommon technology that was used and known in the time of Lehi.  They are mentioned in the bible and were used through ought the area.  It seems more likely that the Nephites wouldn't have replaced the term "chariot" for a technology that there was already a good term for. 

 

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17 hours ago, morgan.deane said:

Shrug, if the shoe fits. You have to use the phrase, "if I recall correctly," which you wouldn't need to if you took five minutes before posting to check the verses for yourself. I'm sorry, you can try to claim this is an apologetic tactic or moving the goal post (which fills out my anti mormon bingo card very well), but I just lose so much respect for you when you come to the conversation with critical and demanding questions but in return can't even cite specific verses of which you are critical. Sorry again, truly, but that tends to reinforce my perception that you haven't taken the time to understand the text.

You also said that "we have ample resources to 'fix' words that are confusing on our times...yet refuse to [update the BoM in a similar way]" apparently unaware that the MI study edition of the Book of Mormon directly addresses anachronisms. (To be honest, not as much as I would like but its a start.) Moreover, I'm a translator too, and find no issues with the Book of Mormon's use of chariot. In fact, my knowledge of various anachronisms and hard to translate terms, particularly those that have no English equivalent, and in texts whose provenance is contested, makes "chariot" even less of an issue for me.

I wasn't interested much before, and even less so now. So good luck. 

haha. Very well, call me what you will. I was unaware that the MI study addition is required reading? I don't recall passing that out on my mission to people. 

 

I am not looking for your respect. If you are a translator like you claim and you chose to use the word "chariot" in a translation today, and it does not mean a horse drawn cart ( I don't even care if it is 2 or four wheels), then that is a poor translation. Period. Hard stop. Th translator should know that the word in the original text has more than one meaning beyond chariot and use one of the alternate meanings when needed. 

And sorry for not sourcing the 3 references of Chariots in question, here you go:

Alma 18

9 And they said unto him: Behold, he is feeding thy horses. Now the king had commanded his servants, previous to the time of the watering of their flocks, that they should prepare his horses and chariots, and conduct him forth to the land of Nephi; for there had been a great feast appointed at the land of Nephi, by the father of Lamoni, who was king over all the land.

10 Now when king Lamoni heard that Ammon was preparing his horses and his chariots he was more astonished, because of the faithfulness of Ammon, saying: Surely there has not been any servant among all my servants that has been so faithful as this man; for even he doth remember all my commandments to execute them.

 

Alma 20
6 Now when Lamoni had heard this he caused that his servants should make ready his horses and his chariots.

 

3 Nephi 3

22 And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which chad been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies.

 

Once again, is the Book of Mormon a loose translation or a tight translation? Chariot is used as wheeled cart in the references from Isaiah, so why should I assume that it has a different meaning later on in the book? How is that "muddying the waters"?

The Bible has been translated by multiple people, over many centuries, I would expect some inconsistencies when "Bob" translated Genesis and "Martha" translated Leviticus. But when you have a single translator, especially a translator that does not know how to read the original language of the text, and they are translating by via the power of God, should we expect these inconsistencies? 

Call me anti, a critic, whatever you want. I could care less. Those are empty words that distract from useful dialogue. 

My take away is a chariot is a chariot in Isaiah, but it is some type of seat/saddle that may or may not be for a horse or horse like animal. If the chariot and the horse do go together, it is most likely not for war purposes, cause the text doesn't say that. 

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1 minute ago, Snodgrassian said:

haha. Very well, call me what you will. I was unaware that the MI study addition is required reading? I don't recall passing that out on my mission to people. 

 

I am not looking for your respect. If you are a translator like you claim and you chose to use the word "chariot" in a translation today, and it does not mean a horse drawn cart ( I don't even care if it is 2 or four wheels), then that is a poor translation. Period. Hard stop. Th translator should know that the word in the original text has more than one meaning beyond chariot and use one of the alternate meanings when needed. 

And sorry for not sourcing the 3 references of Chariots in question, here you go:

Alma 18

9 And they said unto him: Behold, he is feeding thy horses. Now the king had commanded his servants, previous to the time of the watering of their flocks, that they should prepare his horses and chariots, and conduct him forth to the land of Nephi; for there had been a great feast appointed at the land of Nephi, by the father of Lamoni, who was king over all the land.

10 Now when king Lamoni heard that Ammon was preparing his horses and his chariots he was more astonished, because of the faithfulness of Ammon, saying: Surely there has not been any servant among all my servants that has been so faithful as this man; for even he doth remember all my commandments to execute them.

 

Alma 20
6 Now when Lamoni had heard this he caused that his servants should make ready his horses and his chariots.

 

3 Nephi 3

22 And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which chad been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies.

 

Once again, is the Book of Mormon a loose translation or a tight translation? Chariot is used as wheeled cart in the references from Isaiah, so why should I assume that it has a different meaning later on in the book? How is that "muddying the waters"?

The Bible has been translated by multiple people, over many centuries, I would expect some inconsistencies when "Bob" translated Genesis and "Martha" translated Leviticus. But when you have a single translator, especially a translator that does not know how to read the original language of the text, and they are translating by via the power of God, should we expect these inconsistencies? 

Call me anti, a critic, whatever you want. I could care less. Those are empty words that distract from useful dialogue. 

My take away is a chariot is a chariot in Isaiah, but it is some type of seat/saddle that may or may not be for a horse or horse like animal. If the chariot and the horse do go together, it is most likely not for war purposes, cause the text doesn't say that. 

Brant Gardner's "battle beasts" theory relies on the "horses and chariots" being used in a war setting, but as you rightly point out, such is not the case in the above-cited scriptures. 

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22 hours ago, Danzo said:

Mixing up animal names is such a normal thing that we often don't notice it. 

a hippopotamus isn't a horse (even though its name means river horse)

There are no buffalo that make their "Home on the Range" in the US (its a bison)

A diamondback rattlesnake doesn't have precious stones on its back

There are such things as male ladybugs.

We use the same word for a male cow, a male elephant and a male elk.

Rocky Mountain oysters aren't mollusks

A horned toad isn't an amphibian

a red panda isn't a panda.

A jack rabbit isn't a rabbit.

we us the same word for a female pig and a female bear.

 

 

 

A koala “bear” is not a bear.

A honey badger is not a badger.

A prairie dog is not a dog.

A killer whale is not a whale. 

A pole cat is not a cat.

The horned toad is not a toad.

A mountain lion is not a lion.

Neither the starfish, nor the jellyfish, nor the cuttlefish are fishes.

A seahorse is not a horse.

An electric eel is not an eel.

A bearcat is neither a bear nor a cat.

Pluto is not a planet.

Dan Quayle is no Jack Kennedy.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, 
And no one can talk to a horse of course 
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed. 

Go right to the source and ask the horse 
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse. 
He's always on a steady course. 
Talk to Mr. Ed. 

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, 
And no one can talk to a horse of course 
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed. 
Go right to the source and ask the horse 
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse. 
He's always on a steady course. 
Talk to Mr. Ed. 
People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day 
But Mister Ed will never speak unless he has something to say. 
A horse is a horse, of course, of course, 
And this one'll talk 'til his voice is hoarse. 
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well listen to this. 
I am Mister Ed.
 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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50 minutes ago, pogi said:

I don't see this as evidence of what you suggest.   There is no evidence that the word "horse" as quoted from the brass plates in 2 Nephi is the same word that was used for "horse" in other places in the Book of Mormon.  There is no evidence that "the term" was the same in both locations. 

I don't disagree with you. Why? Because we have absolutely no evidence of any language from the gold plates. So you are just blowing smoke here. It seems much more reasonable to make the assumption that if the Book of Mormon is an authentic translation, that the term 'horse' in that translation consistently translates the same term in the source language in every occurrence. What is the basis for your challenge that it shouldn't be understood that way?

50 minutes ago, pogi said:

While there is some historical evidence of what you describe, such as the native American's calling the Spanish horse a "deer", I don't think one can be so confident that such is always the case throughout history.  

This isn't what I am referring to at all. The example that I provided was the use of the term 'unicorn' by Marco Polo to describe the rhinoceros. The specific challenge here is that in this semantic expansion, it is impossible to separate the two in way that would allow a translator to translate it as 'unicorn' in one context and 'rhinoceros' in another. And so translators simply translate it as 'unicorn' - consistently and universally (you are welcome to prove me wrong of course). Umberto Eco uses this text in some of his published material on semiotics because it makes such a good example.

I am not advocating one way or the other on this in terms of the anachronism in the Book of Mormon - I am simply pointing out that the idea of a semantic expansion explaining some features in the text is not unreasonable. And I agree that it has no impact on Cureloms or Cumoms. But there, according the text's narratives, there isn't the experiential overlap necessary to make semantic expansion happen. I think that the most interesting argument for the idea of semantic expansion of the term horse is the one place in the text I would expect to read about horses (if they were there) where I don't. I think that the strongest argument against semantic expansion is the fact that there is no difficulty reading the text if we assume that we are dealing with the traditional image of a horse and chariot (and lots of people here have pointed this out).

But, we have extra information (just as we have extra information when reading Marco Polo's text). And so, depending on our assumptions about the text, there is also nothing wrong with applying these kinds of assumptions. We don't read Marco Polo and believe that he has found the mythical unicorn.

It should be clear (after the last couple of weeks of my discussion) that I am not arguing about the historicity of the text. I don't believe that these kinds of discussions can provide evidence of historicity. But I can point out some additional issues in terms of the reason why I think that there could have been a large amount of lexical expansion for the Nephite population. Most of the references to animals in the Book of Mormon come in connection with the idea of their use. There is a lot of discussion of animals in the Old Testament - especially involving appropriate use. The discussions involve determining how animals eat, how their feet are formed, and so on. We could (and I am not a proponent of this) argue that a tapir is one of a few species that share a specific feature with a horse - they are both odd-toed ungulates. This feature is a feature we still use for taxonomic identification - they are all a part of the order Perissodactyla which comprises only 17 species split among three different families: Equidae, Rhinocerotidae, and Tapiridae. Would they have cared? Who really knows.

But I do know that your assertions involve at least a set of assumptions about the texts and their translation - and I am reasonably confident that you and I won't agree on those assumptions. And this means that we should have a much lower level discussion about those assumptions before we apply them to a relatively high level issue like this one.

Finally, you note:

50 minutes ago, pogi said:

It seems more likely that the Nephites wouldn't have replaced the term "chariot" for a technology that there was already a good term for. 

My question here is this - what makes you think that the language of the Gold Plates (whatever it was) has some sort of complete equivalence to the used and spoken language of the Nephites at the time the gold plates were composed? See, here we are again with these assumptions that may or may not be really representative of the text. This is the problem with only have a modern translation to work with. We cannot even tell what in the Book of Mormon represents a direct translation and what might contain interpolations from that text to make it more understandable to its audience (we know that this has to be happening though - assuming it is an authentic translation - because of the engagement with the King James text).

Edited by Benjamin McGuire
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1 minute ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

I don't disagree with you. Why? Because we have absolutely no evidence of any language from the gold plates. So you are just blowing smoke here. It seems much more reasonable to make the assumption that if the Book of Mormon is an authentic translation, that the term 'horse' in that translation consistently translates the same term in the source language in every occurrence. What is the basis for your challenge that it shouldn't be understood that way?

That's really the issue. If one doesn't assume that the Book of Mormon is an authenticate translation of an ancient record, there's not much of a question as to why the author put those words in.

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5 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

That's really the issue. If one doesn't assume that the Book of Mormon is an authenticate translation of an ancient record, there's not much of a question as to why the author put those words in.

That's right. If it is an entirely modern text, it's in there because the general assumption by non-native Americans was that they had always had horses, and used them in the ways that people had historically used horses.

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20 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

But I do know that your assertions involve at least a set of assumptions about the texts and their translation - and I am reasonably confident that you and I won't agree on those assumptions. And this means that we should have a much lower level discussion about those assumptions before we apply them to a relatively high level issue like this one.

Bingo. And rather ironic. 

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55 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

I don't disagree with you. Why? Because we have absolutely no evidence of any language from the gold plates. So you are just blowing smoke here.

You used that example and I was just addressing it.  What was your point in sharing that example if I am missing your point?

57 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

It seems much more reasonable to make the assumption that if the Book of Mormon is an authentic translation, that the term 'horse' in that translation consistently translates the same term in the source language in every occurrence. What is the basis for your challenge that it shouldn't be understood that way?

I don't personally think that is a reasonable assumption.  There are many examples in the translation of the Bible, for example, where the same term is translated in many different ways and also where two different terms are translated using the same English word.  For example, Sheol and keh-ber have both been translated as "grave", while Sheol and Haedes have both been translated as "hell".   I don't think anyone would argue that those are not "authentic" translations.  Unless by "authentic" you mean "perfect". 

There is no reason/evidence you have provided against the idea that Joseph practiced loanshifting as a method of translation.  I am still unsure as to why you are opposed to that idea. 

57 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

This isn't what I am referring to at all. The example that I provided was the use of the term 'unicorn' by Marco Polo to describe the rhinoceros. The specific challenge here is that in this semantic expansion, it is impossible to separate the two in way that would allow a translator to translate it as 'unicorn' in one context and 'rhinoceros' in another. And so translators simply translate it as 'unicorn' - consistently and universally (you are welcome to prove me wrong of course). Umberto Eco uses this text in some of his published material on semiotics because it makes such a good example.

How does this demonstrate that the Nephites practiced semantic expansion, but that Joseph Smith never did use loanshifting?  It very well could be that that the word "horse" as translated in the Book of Mormon was derived from 2 different terms from the book of Mormon.  In 2 Nephi the term actually was "horse", I think this is undeniable.  There is no way you can demonstrate that the term translated as "horse" in other locations was the same term.  It very well could have been Joseph using loanshifting in the later examples while sticking to a more accurate translation in the first example.  I don't know how this example of Marco Polo helps your case at all...  As I have pointed out from the Bible, there are countless examples of various translations from the same root word, even within the same translation. 

57 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

I am not advocating one way or the other on this in terms of the anachronism in the Book of Mormon - I am simply pointing out that the idea of a semantic expansion explaining some features in the text is not unreasonable. And I agree that it has no impact on Cureloms or Cumoms.

 

57 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

But there, according the text's narratives, there isn't the experiential overlap necessary to make semantic expansion happen. I think that the most interesting argument for the idea of semantic expansion of the term horse is the one place in the text I would expect to read about horses (if they were there) where I don't. I think that the strongest argument against semantic expansion is the fact that there is no difficulty reading the text if we assume that we are dealing with the traditional image of a horse and chariot (and lots of people here have pointed this out).

But, we have extra information (just as we have extra information when reading Marco Polo's text). And so, depending on our assumptions about the text, there is also nothing wrong with applying these kinds of assumptions. We don't read Marco Polo and believe that he has found the mythical unicorn.

It should be clear (after the last couple of weeks of my discussion) that I am not arguing about the historicity of the text. I don't believe that these kinds of discussions can provide evidence of historicity. But I can point out some additional issues in terms of the reason why I think that there could have been a large amount of lexical expansion for the Nephite population. Most of the references to animals in the Book of Mormon come in connection with the idea of their use. There is a lot of discussion of animals in the Old Testament - especially involving appropriate use. The discussions involve determining how animals eat, how their feet are formed, and so on. We could (and I am not a proponent of this) argue that a tapir is one of a few species that share a specific feature with a horse - they are both odd-toed ungulates. This feature is a feature we still use for taxonomic identification - they are all a part of the order Perissodactyla which comprises only 17 species split among three different families: Equidae, Rhinocerotidae, and Tapiridae. Would they have cared? Who really knows.

But I do know that your assertions involve at least a set of assumptions about the texts and their translation - and I am reasonably confident that you and I won't agree on those assumptions. And this means that we should have a much lower level discussion about those assumptions before we apply them to a relatively high level issue like this one.

I suppose I am confused.  If you are not arguing for one or the other, why did you originally assert that I am wrong and you disagree with me?   Why do you rule out the possibility that Joseph used loanshifting in the translation?  That is the most common argument that I have personally heard (which is why I mentioned it).  I am guessing that you don't fully understand my position either.  I don't personally believe that the Book of Mormon is an example of a "translation" whatsoever.  I don't think it is a historical text.  I do believe it is inspired scripture however.   

57 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

My question here is this - what makes you think that the language of the Gold Plates (whatever it was) has some sort of complete equivalence to the used and spoken language of the Nephites at the time the gold plates were composed? See, here we are again with these assumptions that may or may not be really representative of the text. This is the problem with only have a modern translation to work with. We cannot even tell what in the Book of Mormon represents a direct translation and what might contain interpolations from that text to make it more understandable to its audience (we know that this has to be happening though - assuming it is an authentic translation - because of the engagement with the King James text).

"Complete equivalence" is not something I ever suggested.  I am following your line of reasoning of semantic expansion.  If semantic expansion was used as you describe, then I wouldn't expect to see "chariot" used in place of "litter/palanquin" based upon whatever Nephite term was used as a semantic expansion. 

 

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5 hours ago, pogi said:

How is it ironic?

Oh, just because I spent a good portion of a thread trying to talk to Ben on a very basic level of evidence, and all he wanted to do was jump into the thick of specific Book of Mormon claims. So I found it ironic that he is now telling you that you guys need to back up and discuss these issues at a more basic level. 

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On 10/27/2022 at 4:01 PM, pogi said:

So the wheel was replaced with more efficient forms of transportation, like the camel (which was ridden).  So, what's the Nephites' excuse?  Neither did they use the wheel or domesticate any form of animal for transportation.  Yet travel is ALWAYS the context that horses fall in in the Book of Mormon.  Given our understanding of "horse" and the context of the passages, how can you blame the reader for misunderstanding?  Seriously?  I would give more credit to your approach if you simply acknowledged the imperfect translation process and acknowledged how easy it could be for readers to be mislead in understanding - as pretty much all Mormons were up until recent times. 

Humans make pretty efficient draft animals...just ask the pioneers!  There were sufficient roads for wheeled handcarts.  Seems way more efficient than lifting a person on whatever you think the "chariot" was.  China and other cultures replaced the wheel for more efficient options, so why not the Nephites?   A point of curiosity for me. 

Moving all of their provisions from place to place without the use of packhorses or camels or any other animal that other cultures used, it sure would have been nice and efficient to have a wheeled wagon!

I never said they were used in battle.  I said that they were mentioned in the context of travel or battle (3 Nephi 3).  Perhaps you are the one guilty of casual reading.

More to say but have to go. 

 

 

  

What's the Nephites excuse? I already mentioned this. JK williams is making a big deal about loan shifting not being able to shift to anything in a Mesoamerican context. But I acknowledged there were no suitable draft animals from the area for the Nephites to use. (There are some possibilities and always a chance for new discoveries so I'm not dying on that hill.) Moreover, I also mentioned the terrain of Mesoamerica that would make it seriously unsuitable to wheeled vehicles. 

Ross Hassig is one of the leading military historian for Mesoamerica, and he's made a persuasive case that...people were the best beasts of burden. He suggests the use of porters, which I explored in relation to the BoM in my first book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1456622862/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=legsavnin-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=DFU3R5J6R56UAF4L&creativeASIN=1456622862

Based on the fruitfulness of this discussion I doubt you'll get my book, but interested parties can see this post that touches upon it: https://mormonwar.blogspot.com/search?q=camp+followers

This argument shouldn't surprise you since you said yourself that "human make the best draft animals." You seem to think that means they should look like Short Round pulling a rickshaw...but that is only one factor in using wheeled vehicles (as I already said). Pulling a wheeled vehicle through dry river beds, flooded marshes (https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/seasonality-warfare-book-mormon-and-mesoamerica), river fords (Alma 2, 43-44), narrow strips of wilderness, unfair grounds (Alma 52:21) and so much more rough terrain is ridiculous. I mean, even today cars have trouble traversing large parts of what BoM scholars consider the land of the Nephites. The presence of wheeled toys suggest the technology wasn't lost, but simply not used. I'm just applying what I know of other societies and Mesoamerica to understand why. 

(If you think handcarts are very effective you might look into the mortality rates of pioneers and consider how hard it was for them to move their carts through the American West.) 

The chariot in China was replaced by the horse, the cart in the Middle East by the camel. They did this because they found things that were better at navigating rough terrain and made economic sense. In contrast, the effectiveness of the only draft animals you admit in the area, people, combined with something closer to Brant Gardner's interpretation makes it sound more logical that armies used porters to supply themselves, and elites used human labor to carry their palanquins. (Only two mentions of this transportation are in the BoM. The ones in Alma say a king used it. The other doesn't mention a ruler, but given the labor needed it makes sense that only elites would have the manpower for it.) You think that travel is just about the easiest way to do it. In the macro sense that is true. But elites trying to assert power and solidify their station would like to travel in style, so it makes perfect sense that they would use the trapping of power in moving. 

As a reminder, here are the exact words, I quoted from your post regarding chariots and warfare:

On 10/27/2022 at 3:27 PM, morgan.deane said:

used for more than war in the Book of Mormon

On 10/27/2022 at 3:27 PM, morgan.deane said:

and not just to battle

The problem is that in 3rd Nephi 3:22, the chariots are used for travel as you said, but the nearest battle is possibly 3rd Nephi 4:1, which is at the "latter end" of the year, when the robbers "began to possess the land." But they didn't battle the retrenched group of Nephites until 4th Nephi 4:7, which was in the "sixth month" of the next year. At least six months passing between the movement and the battle is not travelling "to battle." 

Nephite battles were 100% infantry based. Consider the complex pre battle maneuvers in Alma 43 or 52, the extensive march in Alma 2, and the lack of battle of the Lamanite King that used a chariot,(he was going to the feast of his father), and the many months before any of these "chariots" in 3rd Nephi 3 were even near a battle. During the battle, and when it came time for the army to chase down the robbers, there is again no mention of "chariots" (3rd Nephi 4:13.) There is no indication there were used for war at all, let alone, "more than war" or "not just to battle" as you said. Your emphasis is primarily on their use in and to battle, which isn't supported by the text  but is supported by Gardner's research into the King, litter, and battle beast. Yet he suggests there are other contexts as well, which seem to better match the Book of Mormon.  Critics will think that is straining, mental gymnastics or whatever, but the approach to learning and forming opinions is a debate for another day. 

Anyways, I always appreciate the chance to dive into the Book of Mormon. Best wishes.  

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11 hours ago, morgan.deane said:

What's the Nephites excuse? I already mentioned this. JK williams is making a big deal about loan shifting not being able to shift to anything in a Mesoamerican context. But I acknowledged there were no suitable draft animals from the area for the Nephites to use. (There are some possibilities and always a chance for new discoveries so I'm not dying on that hill.) Moreover, I also mentioned the terrain of Mesoamerica that would make it seriously unsuitable to wheeled vehicles. 

Ross Hassig is one of the leading military historian for Mesoamerica, and he's made a persuasive case that...people were the best beasts of burden. He suggests the use of porters, which I explored in relation to the BoM in my first book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1456622862/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=legsavnin-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=DFU3R5J6R56UAF4L&creativeASIN=1456622862

Based on the fruitfulness of this discussion I doubt you'll get my book, but interested parties can see this post that touches upon it: https://mormonwar.blogspot.com/search?q=camp+followers

This argument shouldn't surprise you since you said yourself that "human make the best draft animals." You seem to think that means they should look like Short Round pulling a rickshaw...but that is only one factor in using wheeled vehicles (as I already said). Pulling a wheeled vehicle through dry river beds, flooded marshes (https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/seasonality-warfare-book-mormon-and-mesoamerica), river fords (Alma 2, 43-44), narrow strips of wilderness, unfair grounds (Alma 52:21) and so much more rough terrain is ridiculous. I mean, even today cars have trouble traversing large parts of what BoM scholars consider the land of the Nephites. The presence of wheeled toys suggest the technology wasn't lost, but simply not used. I'm just applying what I know of other societies and Mesoamerica to understand why. 

(If you think handcarts are very effective you might look into the mortality rates of pioneers and consider how hard it was for them to move their carts through the American West.) 

If I am to believe the Book of Mormon... 

Quote

 

“And there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place.”

3 Nephi 6:8

 

...and bookofmormoncentral - then there were no shortage of roads that seemingly rivaled the Romans highways.  Miles and miles of roads within cities and longer highways which connected different cities.  Apologists for the historicity of the Book of Mormon seem to suggest that they were not as primitive and treacherous as you make them seems. 

There were no terrible obstacles, marshes, river beds, etc. to overcome within cities on roads that led to the "chief market".  Sure would have been nice to have a convenient cart to take to the chief market to sell goods, etc.   It is interesting to watch apologists who support a historical narrative argue for enormous, remarkable and advanced road infrastructures throughout Mesoamerica when defending 3 Nephi 6:8, but when explaining why they didn't use wheels on the roads, then the roads suddenly become more primitive, limited, and seemingly treacherously and ridiculous to consider.  This all just supports my belief that people are just painting targets around arrows and the evidence becomes whatever you want in different contexts of argument. 

There were several types of wheeled vehicles and carts that were in use in the Middle East and Rome at the time that were not pulled by draft animals, but by humans.  There were many pulled carts used in the markets and cities etc. No beast of burden needed, other than the human.   Your comment about mortality rates with the handcart companies is just not a good argument.   Those handcarts were essential assets for the more poor pioneers.   The only reason there was a high mortality rate is because the saints were pressured to cross in winter months, which I am sure you realize.  I am sure the mortality rates would have been even higher had they had to carry their food and gear on their backs over mountain ranges in the middle of the winter.  Keep in mind that there were no developed "roads" and "highways" for the pioneers (like the Book of Mormon people had).  They had to cross rivers, mountain ranges, etc. and yet, the handcarts were still more advantageous and efficient than the alternative. They would have been fine had they waited until spring, I think that is common knowledge.  They were incredibly useful - it was the weather that killed them, not the carts. 

11 hours ago, morgan.deane said:

As a reminder, here are the exact words, I quoted from your post regarding chariots and warfare:

The problem is that in 3rd Nephi 3:22, the chariots are used for travel as you said, but the nearest battle is possibly 3rd Nephi 4:1, which is at the "latter end" of the year, when the robbers "began to possess the land." But they didn't battle the retrenched group of Nephites until 4th Nephi 4:7, which was in the "sixth month" of the next year. At least six months passing between the movement and the battle is not travelling "to battle." 

Nephite battles were 100% infantry based. Consider the complex pre battle maneuvers in Alma 43 or 52, the extensive march in Alma 2, and the lack of battle of the Lamanite King that used a chariot,(he was going to the feast of his father), and the many months before any of these "chariots" in 3rd Nephi 3 were even near a battle. During the battle, and when it came time for the army to chase down the robbers, there is again no mention of "chariots" (3rd Nephi 4:13.) There is no indication there were used for war at all, let alone, "more than war" or "not just to battle" as you said. Your emphasis is primarily on their use in and to battle, which isn't supported by the text  but is supported by Gardner's research into the King, litter, and battle beast. Yet he suggests there are other contexts as well, which seem to better match the Book of Mormon.  Critics will think that is straining, mental gymnastics or whatever, but the approach to learning and forming opinions is a debate for another day. 

Anyways, I always appreciate the chance to dive into the Book of Mormon. Best wishes.  

You are taking my words out of context and missing my point.  You seem to favor Brant's take on the issue, so I was actually trying to highlight the opposite of what you suggest - that the chariots mentioned in the BoM were primarily not being used for battle, as Brant Gardner describes in his piece trying to make the connection between a litter and an animal with what has been termed a "battle litter".  

In fact your attempt to disassociate the 3 Nephi verse from warfare and battle is ironic, because that is exactly what fairmormon uses to strengthen Brant's argument by associating it with battle (which is what I was addressing):

Quote

Gardner's case may be strengthened by the mention of chariots being brought to the lengthy siege in 3 Nephi—suggesting again a possible ritual use associated with warfare.

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/answers/Gardner:_"a_correct_approach_to_a_Mesoamerican_battle_required_all_three_elements:_king,_litter,_and_battle_beast"

Here is what I said in context (in response to Brant Gardners take on the link between the horse and the chariot - aka battle litter) 

Quote

It is also a little too much to expect me to disregard the context of "horses and chariots" in the Book of Mormon, how they are only mentioned when preparing for long-distance travel (and not just to battle).  So, if these were not domesticated beasts of burden, why were they prepared only for travel in conjunction with the chariot?  Why was chariot never mentioned without the horse?  Brant Gardner makes a valiant effort, by trying to link these things with ceremonial ritual for war, but horses and chariots were used for more than war in the Book of Mormon.  Seems strange to prepare horses and bring horses for ceremonial purposes when they were just making a simple trip to another city.  But that is just an observation from my "casual" reading. 

If the horse was really just a little stone statue figure ("battle beast") used in ceremony in conjunction with a litter in battle, with very little evidence that it was used outside of battle, then doesn't it seem strange that Alma was feeding and tending little stone figures of horses before preparing these little stone "battle beasts" for a trip to grandpas house.   If that narrative works for you...ok. 

Edited by pogi
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8 hours ago, pogi said:

...and bookofmormoncentral - then there were no shortage of roads that seemingly rivaled the Romans highways.  Miles and miles of roads within cities and longer highways which connected different cities.  Apologists for the historicity of the Book of Mormon seem to suggest that they were not as primitive and treacherous as you make them seems. 

There were no terrible obstacles, marshes, river beds, etc. to overcome within cities on roads that led to the "chief market".  Sure would have been nice to have a convenient cart to take to the chief market to sell goods, etc.   It is interesting to watch apologists who support a historical narrative argue for enormous, remarkable and advanced road infrastructures throughout Mesoamerica when defending 3 Nephi 6:8, but when explaining why they didn't use wheels on the roads, then the roads suddenly become more primitive, limited, and seemingly treacherously and ridiculous to consider.  This all just supports my belief that people are just painting targets around arrows and the evidence becomes whatever you want in different contexts of argument. 

I'm not persuaded by the "rough terrain" argument, but I shall also take pains to point out that this question is not solely one of apologetics. Mainstream Mesoamericanism must also confront it, because it's very clear that the Mayans not only had good roads (the sacbeob roads) but they also knew what the wheel was, as we have recovered figurines with wheels and empty holes where it is likely wooden axles once were. You can read the following English translation of a 2017 article published in Arqueologia Mexicana: The Concept of the Wheel in Ancient Mesoamerica. It was written by Dr. Javier Urcid, Professor of Anthropology and Jane's Chair Professor of Latin American Studies at Brandeis University.

For whatever reason, the Mayans knew what wheels were and had good roads but chose not to combine the two for what were probably atavistic reasons. Dr. Urcid approvingly cites an earlier author in this space:

Quote

In a perceptive way, Hernández emphasized the indigenous ethos towards sacrifice and the offering of physical effort to the deities. Today, in Western thought, the constant technological innovation that leads to consumerism is valued, but in other cultures - ancient and modern - greater value is given to conservatism. In ancient Mesoamerica there were multiple technological innovations through time (metallurgy is a good example), but in other domains such as in lithics and carved stone, traditionalism dominated. Regarding transport technologies, we can also mention the desire for the symbolic display of social rank. Thus, the privilege of the rulers, nobles, and even material and human personifications of deities, was emphasized in public contexts through their hauling in litters (pic 9). No wonder indigenous labor to carry American and European explorers who were unwilling to exert physical endurance typified the colonialist stage in the early history of Mesoamerican archaeology (pic 13).

Explaining why it was unnecessary to implement the concept of rotary movement in wheelbarrows, carts, or any other human-powered vehicle also requires considering the economic context of ancient Mesoamerican societies. On the one hand one has to take into account the type of resources and goods that needed to be transported, as well as the high costs of building and maintaining in the long term the necessary infrastructure for wheeled vehicles (leveled roads and bridges). On the other hand, there was the availability and cheapness of human labor institutionalized in slavery, tribute in work, and even prestations from personal labor. In turn, the three aforementioned factors led to the development of elaborate wooden frames that since ancient times and even as recent as the mid-twentieth century were used by carriers to transport large quantity of goods while skillfully maintaining their balance (pic 10).

The Ancient Mayans knew what the wheel was. The above reasons explain, as well as anything in my view, why they may not have chosen to use wheeled technology widely or memorialized it on their monumental architecture.  

Edited by OGHoosier
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18 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I'm not persuaded by the "rough terrain" argument, but I shall also take pains to point out that this question is not solely one of apologetics. Mainstream Mesoamericanism must also confront it, because it's very clear that the Mayans not only had good roads (the sacbeob roads) but they also knew what the wheel was, as we have recovered figurines with wheels and empty holes where it is likely wooden axles once were. You can read the following English translation of a 2017 article published in Arqueologia Mexicana: The Concept of the Wheel in Ancient Mesoamerica. It was written by Dr. Javier Urcid, Professor of Anthropology and Jane's Chair Professor of Latin American Studies at Brandeis University.

For whatever reason, the Mayans knew what wheels were and had good roads but chose not to combine the two for what were probably atavistic reasons. Dr. Urcid approvingly cites an earlier author in this space:

The Ancient Mayans knew what the wheel was. The above reasons explain, as well as anything in my view, why they may not have chosen to use wheeled technology widely or memorialized it on their monumental architecture.  

This sounds a lot more likely.  

But instead of highlighting the vast technological differences of the two groups (metallurgy is another one), instead it highlights the religio-cultural differences between the ancient Mayans and the middle eastern Israelites from whence they were transplanted.  The question I would have for non-biased scholars is which group do the Ancient Mayans most closely resemble in technology, culture, religion, art, etc. - Asian or Jewish?   Would we expect to almost instantaneously see such vast differences between the Jews and the Mayans (transplanted Jews) upon arrival from the Middle East?  Or does it look more like a culture that evolved over much time from an Asian background?  No doubt there will be apologists who argue for many likenesses, but how do they compare to the overall likenesses and likelihood of an Asian background?  It doesn't seem that apologists ever address that. 

I prefer to trust the overwhelming consensus on this issue from scholars, and just accept the Book as inspired.  

Edited by pogi
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35 minutes ago, pogi said:

The question I would have for non-biased scholars is which group do the Ancient Mayans most closely resemble in technology, culture, religion, art, etc. - Asian or Jewish?   Would we expect to almost instantaneously see such vast differences between the Jews and the Mayans (transplanted Jews) upon arrival from the Middle East?  Or does it look more like a culture that evolved over much time from an Asian background?  No doubt there will be apologists who argue for many likenesses, but how do they compare to the overall likenesses and likelihood of an Asian background?  It doesn't seem that apologists ever address that. 

An Asian background has nothing to do with it. Asian migrants would have moved over the Bering Strait millennia before the earliest parts of the Maya Formative Period, before anything we could trace as recognizably "Asian" would be in existence. The inhabitants of the Americas ceased being "Asian" in prehistory. 

Where is Asian coming from? And why do you say that the Mayans are "transplanted Jews?" You should know that apologists don't consider Nephite Judaism as the origin culture for Maya culture. Apologists don't address your questions because it seems that you operate on idiosyncratic assumptions.  

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3 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

An Asian background has nothing to do with it. Asian migrants would have moved over the Bering Strait millennia before the earliest parts of the Maya Formative Period, before anything we could trace as recognizably "Asian" would be in existence. The inhabitants of the Americas ceased being "Asian" in prehistory. 

Where is Asian coming from? And why do you say that the Mayans are "transplanted Jews?" You should know that apologists don't consider Nephite Judaism as the origin culture for Maya culture. Apologists don't address your questions because it seems that you operate on idiosyncratic assumptions.  

Why Asia?  Because that is the theoretical origins of all native Americans.  The line would be through Asia.  Please read carefully what I said - "Or, does it look more like a culture that evolved over much time from an Asian background".  By "much time, I mean millennia.  Does the culture/religious similarities better align with an evolution from the east (and thus native North Americans) over millennia, or from Jerusalem?  I recognize that after thousands of years, cultural similarities to Asia would be hard to find among the Mayans - but one would be able to trace religious and cultural similarities to ancestors up North.  I am asking, does the evidence point North and then East, or over the sea from Jerusalem?   What do the scholars say?  I think you know the answer to that.    Even over thousands of years, it appears some elements may have endured, such as the Mayan calendar which scholars say did not evolve independent of the Chinese calendar as there are far too many similarities.  So, either some element endured and made its way south, or the Chinese made landfall far earlier that anyone ever suspected. 

Please fill me in about Mesoamerican apologists views if I am confused - I have only heard the theory that the Book of Mormon (as in the entire Book of Mormon, including the Judeo/pre-Christian/Nephite religion) took place in Mesoamerica.  I have read apologists who try to link Mayan temples to the temples that the Nephites built.  So if Lehite Judaism was not the origin of religion/culture (which seems to have evolved very little throughout the Book of Mormon, at least among the Nephites) - color me confused, and please help me understand what I am missing. 

The Mayan religion/culture/technology, etc. did not come from a vacuum, my question is where does the evidence point scholars as a most likely source?  

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, pogi said:

I recognize that after thousands of years, cultural similarities to Asia would be hard to find among the Mayans - but one would be able to trace religious and cultural similarities to ancestors up North.  I am asking, does the evidence point North and then East, or over the sea from Jerusalem?   What do the scholars say?  I think you know the answer to that.

I do know what the scholars say, and what they say is that your statement about culture/religion/technology not coming from a vacuum is mistaken. The general mass of scholars has abandoned diffusionism (the idea that civilization spread from a central point) in favor of a theory of multiple independent "cradles of civilization" of which Mesoamerica is one. It's sui generis. 

As for the apologetic argument, there's very little data about general cultural shifts among the Nephites, culture is mostly described in terms of degrees of adherence to the commandments, which can take many forms. I will note that the apologetic argument in general is that the Lehites, being one family finding themselves far more numerous peers, adopted stylistic and behavioral norms from the surrounding environment to varying degrees even as they established their own polity. The Book of Mormon generally paints Christians as being in the minority even among the Nephites for most of the book's history except for the 200 year period (corresponding chronologically with the Preclassic Collapse), so the idea that Mayan culture must be primarily Judaic in origin is not in keeping with mainstream apologetics. 

If you find the analysis of Chinese influence on the Mesoamerican calendar persuasive, I wonder what you'd think of Brian Stubbs' linguistic assessments of the impact of Egyptian and Semitic on Uto-Aztecan? Seems to be a similar base of data. 

Full disclosure, I ascribe to a loose historicity/glossalalic translation model which I've founded based on Sam Brown's analysis of "Smithian translation." Basically, the Book of Mormon was not translated according to any overriding systemic program. It's more of a dappled translation with varying rules and methods throughout, basically intended to frustrate reduction to grand unifying theories (think Nancy Cartwright's dappled science). It's more like an example of relatively restrained glossalalia in which the relationship of the English text and the plate text are subject to varying degrees of fluidity. The pull away from reductionism, on my view, is actually part of the message. 

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On 10/28/2022 at 3:06 PM, pogi said:

You used that example and I was just addressing it.  What was your point in sharing that example if I am missing your point?

My example was the use of the term unicorn by Marco Polo to describe a rhinoceros. It is a historically real example that describes what I was explaining which was:

Quote

Even if the Nephites used the written term translated in the Book of Mormon as "horse" for something other than a "horse", the term continues to mean "horse" in other contexts in the Book of Mormon - particularly when it quotes Old Testament passages that use the term to mean "horse".

This isn't the example - but it's the part you focused on, which made your comments hard for me to understand. It's not about underlying language, which is completely inaccessible. We can only draw our observations from the Book of Mormon itself.

I'll try to summarize this in a way that helps. In this document, there is a good summary of the kinds of loanwords we see actually occurring:

Quote

Haugen’s (1950) early taxonomy is perhaps the best point of departure. It distinguishes between loanwords (form and meaning are copied completely), loanblends (complex words consisting of at least one copied part and at least one native part), and loanshifts, where only the meaning is copied. The latter can be further divided into semantic extensions (when the meaning of a native word is extended on the model of its foreign equivalent) and loan translations (when two or more native morphemes are combined on the model of the combination of their foreign equivalents in a foreign model).

In the circumstance you describe, English would be the native language, and the language of the gold plates would be the foreign language. For Joseph Smith to engage in loanshifting in this circumstance, it would be the case where Joseph Smith was adding the definition of a foreign language word to the definition of the native word "horse". There are two problems (and one aside) here. The first problem is simply that there is nothing in the text which suggests that the word "horse" in different places in the Book of Mormon actually means different things from the default definition provided in English. The second problem is that this idea of loanshifting is foreign to the idea of translation. Translators don't, as a general rule, expand their native language in this way when translating a text in a foreign language into their native language. The aside is simple - LDS apologists have consistently placed the loanshifting on to the Nephite writers of the Gold Plates. That is, they are translating their working (spoken) language into the language the gold plates are written in, and in doing so, go through this process to make the word in the gold plates refer to multiple definitions.

My own take on this is that this argument (in either case) is necessitated only by the problem of anachronisms in the text. This is a problem that exists only because of assertions which are made about the translation process. There are definitely anachronisms in the King James bible, for example, that are created by bad translation. We don't then insist that the King James text isn't a translation of an ancient text. So only in certain models of translation does this become an issue. I don't accept many of the ideas fronted about the translation of the Book of Mormon. Because of this, I don't find theories of loanshifting to be necessary in preserving claims of authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

Does this clear up any of the confusion?

Now,

On 10/28/2022 at 3:06 PM, pogi said:

Complete equivalence" is not something I ever suggested.  I am following your line of reasoning of semantic expansion.  If semantic expansion was used as you describe, then I wouldn't expect to see "chariot" used in place of "litter/palanquin" based upon whatever Nephite term was used as a semantic expansion. 

This gets back to our fundamental assumptions about Nephite language. If the Nephites maintained their language because of the Brass Plates (written in reformed Egyptian), then it would stand to reason that we see the re-use of a lot of language from the Brass Plates to apply to things within the context of their new environment. One of the strongest examples of this is the use of animal lists from the Old Testament - an important fact because Mosaic law had clear markers for which animal types could be eaten and which couldn't. To see animals defined in this way fits much of what we see in these definitions of loanshifting while also allowing the Nephites to continue to use their sacred texts appropriately. So while we may not expect to see it here, it isn't unreasonable. I also wouldn't go so far as to suggest what is actually meant by the term - but part of that is because I am not convinced that loanshifting (or semantic expansion) is actually occurring. For us to know this, we would need to have some understanding of the original text of the gold plates, and here, any suggestion is pure speculation.

I hope this helped.

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On 10/29/2022 at 1:06 AM, morgan.deane said:

Ross Hassig is one of the leading military historian for Mesoamerica, and he's made a persuasive case that...people were the best beasts of burden.

I haven't read your book or Hassig's (I will say that I have enjoyed your conference presentations that I have seen). I want to add one thing which one or both of you may have mentioned. Wheat agriculture to support large populations almost certainly required the use horses. Maize agriculture didn't (it is more intensive) and using human porters to transport maize is relatively efficient.

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13 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

I haven't read your book or Hassig's (I will say that I have enjoyed your conference presentations that I have seen). I want to add one thing which one or both of you may have mentioned. Wheat agriculture to support large populations almost certainly required the use horses. Maize agriculture didn't (it is more intensive) and using human porters to transport maize is relatively efficient.

Of course humans were the "beasts of burdens" in Mesoamerica. I'm not sure what your point is.

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