"There is so much more in the Book of Mormon than we have yet discovered. The book's divine architecture and rich furnishings will increasingly unfold to our view, further qualifying it as 'a marvelous work and a wonder' ...The Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings. All the rooms in this mansion need to be explored..."
-Neal A Maxwell

Friday, November 23, 2012

Statutes, judgments, and commandments

In an earlier post, I proposed an example of how language used by both Old World Israelites and the Nephites appeared and disappeared (or evolved) within similar timeframes. Here's another example: 

The words 'statutes, judgments and commandments' (not necessarily in that order) appear together in a cluster fifteen times in the Old Testament, beginning with the book of Leviticus (keep that in mind), and seven times in the Book of Mormon. This cluster does not at appear all in the New Testament, Doctrine and Covenants (two out of three words do appear together in a few places) or Pearl of Great Price.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paul vs Alma the Younger

Those who find the Book of Mormon to be merely a pastiche of Biblical narratives and other literature may well cite as 'Exhibit A' the conversion story of Alma the Younger and its similarities with Paul's experience on the road to Damascus, as well as their subsequent journeys defending the faith they had persecuted earlier. Indeed, even Mormon academic Terry Givens notes, "Alma’s account reads more like the Book of Acts than Kings or Chronicles, detailing missionary journeys, the growth of the church, and miraculous conversion stories." [1] 

While there are many similarities between the two accounts, there are also some interesting—and sometimes very precisecontrasts as well. The following comparison is by no means comprehensive (expect an update or two to this chart). Contrasting elements are highlighted in gray: 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Chiasmus: Something I forgot to mention before...

To review, a chiasmus is a passage in (usually ancient) literature in which a series of ideas, expressions, or statements are given in a particular order, then again in reverse order, with the central component serving as its salient theme. The presence of chiasmus throughout the Book of Mormon is seen by many believers as compelling evidence of its authenticity as a work of antiquity.

There are two important characteristics of chiastic structure I failed to note in previous posts (one because I didn't know about it before): Elements in the second half of a chiasmus aren't always mere repetitions of their earlier counterparts, but may instead contrast, extend, or complete them. Second-half elements will also often be more intense, emphatic, or precise, with the passage as a whole often building to a sort of crescendo. As John Welch, the father of Book of Mormon chiastic analysis, explains: