Anyone familiar with the claims put forth in The Book of Mormon (from here on referred to as BoM) knows that they are indeed astounding. Within its pages, one takes a glimpse into an advanced ancient culture(s) that had once populated the New World (the Nephite and Lamanite cultures but particularly the Nephites). This lost culture looked very much like other ancient cultures such as the Babylonian, Roman, and Persian culture. Indeed, it would have existed around the same time as these cultures (approximately 600 B.C.E. to 421 A.C.E.). The BoM speaks of walls, cities, towers, etc. The image of a once great civilization(s) begins to appear. Given the size and scope of the empires mentioned in the narrative of the BoM, the BoM lends itself to being verified or discredited. Many attempts have been made to ascertain the authenticity of the BoM. Scholars and authors have used various methods to interact with the text of the BoM. These would include (but are not limited to) archeology, literary analysis, history, and anthropology. The purpose of this book is to challenge the claim that the BoM is of ancient origin, on the basis of its anachronisms.
[...] On pages 296-298 of Pressing Forward with the Book Of Mormon, John Sorenson and John Welch use the example of the coming forth of the Grolier Codex as an example of what not to do (the Grolier Codex is a codex of Mayan hieroglyphs found in southern Mexico, during the early 70's, once thought to be a hoax). Their criticism of Grolier critics and BoM critics is five fold: 1. Unconventional origins for the book cloud the issue Ruling out a book before giving it close examination Close-mindedness Picking on “little details” verses main characteristics of the book If all else fails, resort to name-calling. [...]
[...] This type of argument has already been covered in the previous chapter, but suffice it to say that silk does not mean “silk like”. Silk in the BoM is a noun not an adjective. This excuse is even harder to believe, when Lehi's party mentions silk in Nephi chapter 13:7-8. Lehi's party would have known of silk, being that they were from the Middle East, and they would have known of its differences with other materials. In Nephi's vision here in chapter 13 did he see silk, or just a silky material? [...]
[...] In the 1830 BoM, there is a long parallel with the book of Isaiah in the KJV. In 2 Nephi 16:2-6, the BoM parallels Isaiah chapter 6. Here the BoM (1830 edition not the 1981 reprints) mentions “seraphims” which are also mentioned in Isaiah 6. However, this is an erroneous translation. It is a double plural. This would be like rendering for the plural of cactus. The KJV and the BoM got it wrong when instead of putting “seraphim” or even “seraphs” it put “seraphims” for the plural of seraph. [...]
[...] Given this fact, as well as the details of the narrative contained in the BoM, the authenticity of the BoM can be evaluated using various methods, including historicity by focusing on anachronisms (or supposed anachronisms). However, the sword only cuts one way here. While certain anachronisms may be dispelled as being historically possible in light of emerging evidence, this does not the BoM to be correct. It only proves that a given instance in the BoM is possible. On the other hand, if a detail in the BoM is a genuine anachronism then it is that the BoM is not what Joseph Smith made it out to be. [...]
[...] The appearance of silk, chariots and certain types of alloys/metals (metallurgy) are among the weightier anachronisms in the BoM. Again, these are not anachronistic references used in metaphor, but rather they are stated in the text as existing somewhere in the Americas. Not only is the appearance of these items themselves anachronistic, but the processes, or systems, necessary to develop them are anachronistic as well. Therefore, these items represent several anachronisms rolled into one. The presence of silk in the BoM is a major anachronism. [...]
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