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Book of Mormon Criticism of Calvin


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The Book of Mormon isn't shy about criticizing Calvinism. But it takes this a step further and blasts Calvin, himself, by representing him allegorically as King Noah. Meanwhile, Abinadi is  used allegorically to represent a real-life martyr Calvin burned at the stake. I'm creating a series of videos to explore this topic. Here is the first one.

 

 

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2 hours ago, JarMan said:

The Book of Mormon isn't shy about criticizing Calvinism. But it takes this a step further and blasts Calvin, himself, by representing him allegorically as King Noah. Meanwhile, Abinadi is  used allegorically to represent a real-life martyr Calvin burned at the stake. I'm creating a series of videos to explore this topic. Here is the first one.

 

 

Very nice effort, but I don't think you need the sarcastic humorous little boxes.

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7 hours ago, JarMan said:

The Book of Mormon isn't shy about criticizing Calvinism. But it takes this a step further and blasts Calvin, himself, by representing him allegorically as King Noah. Meanwhile, Abinadi is  used allegorically to represent a real-life martyr Calvin burned at the stake. I'm creating a series of videos to explore this topic. Here is the first one.

 

Calvin is both Noah and Abinadi?  Seems paradoxical and therefore unlikely. 

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1 hour ago, blackstrap said:

SSTTTRRREEEEETTTTTCCCCCHHHH

You really need to learn more about English spelling.

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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Very nice effort, but I don't think you need the sarcastic humorous little boxes.

They were supposed to be humorous and offensive.

2 hours ago, Calm said:

Calvin is both Noah and Abinadi?  Seems paradoxical and therefore unlikely. 

That's not what I said at all. You might try actually watching the video.

3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

I think the idea is demonstrably wrong ... but I'll wait to pass judgment.

The thing about parallelomania is, to put it simply, the use of parallels without considering the differences. Noah's sins, for example, are described in the Book of Mormon in terms of the Deuteronomic kingship code - something that could never be applied to Calvin. I am curious how you explain the differences rather than simply focusing on the similarities that you create.

I disagree with your fundamental idea that differences are compelling--of course there are differences. There are differences between Westside Story and Romeo and Juliet, too. This isn't a simple retelling of a story. It's an adaptation of a story set in what is supposed to be a completely different milieu.

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3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

I think the idea is demonstrably wrong ... but I'll wait to pass judgment.

The thing about parallelomania is, to put it simply, the use of parallels without considering the differences. Noah's sins, for example, are described in the Book of Mormon in terms of the Deuteronomic kingship code - something that could never be applied to Calvin. I am curious how you explain the differences rather than simply focusing on the similarities that you create.

One skeptic regarding Book of Mormon historicity to another?  [Ken breaks out popcorn and ... wordlessly (hereafter), with 'bated breath, on the edge of his seat ... awaits further proceedings.]

This should be good.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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So far, according to you, none of those who commented "get" what you are doing.

That should be useful.  :)

 

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4 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

One skeptic regarding Book of Mormon historicity to another?  [Ken breaks out popcorn and ... wordlessly (hereafter), with 'bated breath, on the edge of his seat ... awaits further proceedings.]

This should be good.

Bated breath is not good for your health. Keep that oxygen bottle close by.

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7 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

So far, according to you, none of those who commented "get" what you are doing.

That should be useful.  :)

 

I appreciate that you expressed I gave a "very nice effort."👍And that you recognized the inline text was an attempt at humor. So I'm curious what you thought was objectionable. Was it the immature joking about serious subjects? Am I less funny to others than I am in my own mind?

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13 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I disagree with your fundamental idea that differences are compelling--of course there are differences. There are differences between Westside Story and Romeo and Juliet, too. This isn't a simple retelling of a story. It's an adaptation of a story set in what is supposed to be a completely different milieu.

The challenge you have is that you can take practically any two stories and make this claim about them - that the one story is merely an adaption of the other story. And, as long as you only look at the similarities, the case can look quite good. This is why we call these kinds of claims based only on similarities parallelomania. What makes one set of comparisons better than another?

But, since you mention it, let's discuss the one major difference between your proposal and the comparison between West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet. The original script was written with the intention of creating an updated version of the story - we know this because we have a fairly large documentary history of the process - including, for example, a copy of Romeo and Juliet annotated by Leonard Bernstein as he prepared his part of the musical. For your comparison of the narrative in the Book of Mormon to historical details about Calvin and his torture of Christian martyrs, we don't have anything of the sort - and in fact, we don't have any recognition of this similarity among any of the earliest (or even the not so earliest) readers of the text. This is a real problem for the theory - and part of the reason why I feel confident in labeling it parallelomania.

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4 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I appreciate that you expressed I gave a "very nice effort."👍And that you recognized the inline text was an attempt at humor. So I'm curious what you thought was objectionable. Was it the immature joking about serious subjects? Am I less funny to others than I am in my own mind?

Well the idea that the BOM is arguably anachronistic is not news.

Imo, that argument has left the station.  That either you find that irrelevant, as I do, or not, is no longer a big deal.  I suppose it is still worth arguing about for some, but it is nothing new.

Yet it is/was, I thought, a relatively serious academic-ish presentation, which now you were making for youtube. Good idea.  It's tough to make academic subjects accessible for actual non-geek humans!  I liked the art.  I liked the Credo which used to be my favorite chant, but I didn't want it to stop, but obviously it had to, since it was not the major topic.

The text boxes just didn't fit imo. They were not part of a serious presentation, and yet it was not a parody or goof-ball funny video.

I found them Jar-ing. ;)

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

The challenge you have is that you can take practically any two stories and make this claim about them - that the one story is merely an adaption of the other story. And, as long as you only look at the similarities, the case can look quite good. This is why we call these kinds of claims based only on similarities parallelomania. What makes one set of comparisons better than another?

Wow, this is an overgeneralization. Practically any two stories are as similar as the two I'm putting forth? With parallelomania, people tend to grasp at superficial similarities that aren't that relevant to the main themes. That is not at all what is going on here. The critical elements of the stories are the parallels. Particularly once you realize that part of the purpose of the story is to criticize Calvin, himself. I have much more information to support that theory that I'll share at a later time. But even without that discussion, it's easy to see that Calvinism, the doctrine, is under attack in the Book of Mormon.

20 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

But, since you mention it, let's discuss the one major difference between your proposal and the comparison between West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet. The original script was written with the intention of creating an updated version of the story - we know this because we have a fairly large documentary history of the process - including, for example, a copy of Romeo and Juliet annotated by Leonard Bernstein as he prepared his part of the musical. For your comparison of the narrative in the Book of Mormon to historical details about Calvin and his torture of Christian martyrs, we don't have anything of the sort - and in fact, we don't have any recognition of this similarity among any of the earliest (or even the not so earliest) readers of the text. This is a real problem for the theory - and part of the reason why I feel confident in labeling it parallelomania.

It's convenient in literary comparisons when we have documentary evidence directly relating the two works. But of course there are many works known to be related even without that sort of direct evidence. Be careful not to make generalizations that would disqualify a lot of accepted scholarship.

As far as what the earliest readers of the text think, it's irrelevant. What we want to know is what the author of the text was thinking. I propose an author who had a major axe to grind with Calvin. I have much more information to support this theory, but that's for a different discussion.

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22 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Well the idea that the BOM is arguably anachronistic is not news.

Imo, that argument has left the station.  That either you find that irrelevant, as I do, or not, is no longer a big deal.  I suppose it is still worth arguing about for some, but it is nothing new.

Yet it is/was, I thought, a relatively serious academic-ish presentation, which now you were making for youtube. Good idea.  It's tough to make academic subjects accessible for actual non-geek humans!  I liked the art.  I liked the Credo which used to be my favorite chant, but I didn't want it to stop, but obviously it had to, since it was not the major topic.

The text boxes just didn't fit imo. They were not part of a serious presentation, and yet it was not a parody or goof-ball funny video.

I found them Jar-ing. ;)

 

 

Kudos to you, sir, for recognizing the Credo in the opening slide. I wasn't sure if that would be recognized.

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56 minutes ago, JarMan said:

What we want to know is what the author of the text was thinking. I propose an author who had a major axe to grind with Calvin. I have much more information to support this theory, but that's for a different discussion.

So, the Prophet Mormon foresaw John Calvin and selected and framed the details of King Noah in order to comment on John Calvin? I can get behind that. Or do you mean it's all pure allegory only about John Calvin as some here are saying?

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6 minutes ago, Pyreaux said:

So, the Prophet Mormon foresaw John Calvin and selected and framed the details of King Noah in order to comment on John Calvin? I can get behind that. Or do you mean it's all pure allegory only about John Calvin as some here are saying?

I think he's saying that JS had an axe to grind against Calvinism and that's why the story of King Noah is in the BOM.  At least that's what I'm getting (but I could be wrong).

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16 minutes ago, Pyreaux said:

So, the Prophet Mormon foresaw John Calvin and selected and framed the details of King Noah in order to comment on John Calvin? I can get behind that. Or do you mean it's all pure allegory only about John Calvin as some here are saying?

9 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I think he's saying that JS had an axe to grind against Calvinism and that's why the story of King Noah is in the BOM.  At least that's what I'm getting (but I could be wrong).

I don't think JS or Mormon is the author of the Book of Mormon.

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12 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I don't think JS or Mormon is the author of the Book of Mormon.

You don’t believe there was a Mormon at all, do you?  No actual Nephites, etc and someone else quite well educated  in Europe/England, maybe 16th or 17th century wrote a story and the manuscript found its way to Joseph somehow.  A possibly inspired, but not historical text except where it borrows ideas from Roman history, Calvin, others?

Happy to be corrected if my memory is off.  Sorry if I have confused you with someone else.

Edited by Calm
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31 minutes ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

It's not an over-generalization. If we reduce texts to their similarities, then all texts can be made similar. This is a widely recognized issue (at least when we deal with comparative literature). If nothing else, then the idea that we can label all stories as one of a handful. I am sure you are aware of the arguments that forward the idea that there are only seven basic narratives (or six, or however many you make). Essentially these arguments are that there are only a few different archetypal stories. And those academics who favor these put all narratives into these different groups (based on a standard set of similarities).

So far all I've seen are your typical canned responses. I'm beginning to think you didn't watch the video very carefully.

And if what you say is true, there should be lots of stories that look like Noah and Abinadi. But there aren't. Many executions have occurred for many reasons. But I'm not talking about any execution. I'm talking about one where a man teaching true doctrine was burned at the stake by an evil autocrat. The motive was a perceived threat to his power and personal dislike for the "heretic" whose heresy was nothing more than a pretext to punish a critic. And the claimed heresy is the same in both cases. It's undeniable that the general stories are the same. The author could have easily stopped there and gotten his point across. But he didn't. Many of the details are similar, as well, including details about the characters, the trial proceedings and doctrinal issues at play. The author wanted to provide enough details to make sure we knew who he was criticizing. The historical events even have an "Alma" that emerges in the aftermath.

Burning heretics at the stake is really only detailed in medieval/early modern Christianity. Off the bat this makes the BOM story anachronistic. If you favor a naturalistic explanation for the BOM, as I do, you have to suspect the Noah/Abinadi story is influenced by historical events in Europe. Many executions occurred in Europe that contain many of the same elements as Abinadi's. And that's because most of the executions were similar to each other. But when you dig into the details, Calvin's execution of Servetus is an incredible match.

1 hour ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

But, your comments don't stop here, right? Who was the first reader to realize that part of the purpose of the story is to criticize Calvin?

Me, as far as I can tell.

1 hour ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

This is an important question for your theory. I haven't found any of the earliest readers - or even the second or third generation of readers who came to this conclusion. Part of this is that literary interpretation is always, at least in part, a reflection of the views of the reader. So how do you separate your own desires in reading the text from the potential meanings intended by its author? How would you determine that your interpretation couldn't possibly be the meaning intended by an author? And, how do you avoid the intentional fallacy?

Reader reception has very little to do with my theory because I don't believe 19th Century America was the intended audience. A Western European person of, say, 1640 may have recognized Calvin and Servetus in this story--particularly if that person had been persecuted by Calvinists. But even modern readers should be able to see the criticism of Calvinist doctrine in the BOM, particularly Calvinist soteriology. If you adjust your expectations of the text by about 200 years and an ocean, stories like this in the Book of Mormon start to make a lot of sense.

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