Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Iconographic Corroboration of Quichean Texts

Many significant inter textual dependencies exist between precontact Quichean texts such as Popol Vuh, Title of Totonicapan, Kaqchikel Chronicles, and Rabinal Achi. The parallels are so precise and extensive that common originating environments for the various documents are undisputed. Historical references to events after ca. AD 1,300 in this literature have been widely verified by archaeological work done at post-classic sites in the Guatemalan highlands. The keystone text in the group, Popol Vuh, is further corroborated by many artistic representations found across millenia throughout the Maya world.

A major conference entitled "In the Realm of the Vision Serpent, Decipherments and Discoveries in Mesoamerica: A Symposium in Homage to Linda Schele" was held on the campus of California State University Los Angeles CSULA on April 10-11, 2015. Julia Guernsey, a former student of Linda Schele now on the faculty at UT Austin, gave a presentation entitled "Preclassic Sculpture and its Relationship to the Popol Vuh." Guernsey finds a significant continuity of themes and motifs from ca. 300 BC to European contact. She sees Popol Vuh affinities with:
  • Izapa Stela 25
  • Izapa Stela 2
  • Izapa Stela 4
  • Izapa Altar 3
  • Blowgunner Vase, Justin Kerr's catalog number K1226
  • Itzamna Tribute Vase, Justin Kerr's catalog number K3413
  • Kaminaljuyu Stela 11
  • La Mojarra Stela 1
  • San Bartolo Murals
The Izapan monument - Popol Vuh connection has been discussed since at least 1976 when V. Garth Norman analyzed it extensively in his Izapa Sculpture, Part 2: Text (Provo, Utah: BYU NWAF, Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation, Number Thirty).

As the same CSULA conference, Gabrielle Vail (New College of Florida) and Allen Christenson (BYU) gave a presentation entitled "The Maize God and New World Renewal Rituals among the Postclassic to Contemporary Maya." They see Popol Vuh echoes in:
  • Dresden Codex (Yucatan)
  • Madrid Codex (Chichen Itza)
  • Paris Codex (Yucatan, perhaps Mayapan)
  • Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel
  • Palenque Tablet of the Foliated Cross
with particularly striking parallels in the Madrid Codex.

Mary Miller (Yale) co-authored The Blood of Kings with Linda Schele. In Los Angeles, Miller chaired a panel about Maya figurines. She finds many Popol Vuh allusions in Jaina-style figurines from a number of Maya sites such as Palenque, Jonuta, and Comalcalco in addition to Jaina Island itself.

Not mentioned at the conference, but widely-known among Mayanists, are recently-discovered bas relief stucco panels at El Mirador portraying the same Maya creation myth described in the Popol Vuh.

Justin Kerr illustrates dozens of artifacts that show very arbitrary and precise correlations with the Popol Vuh.

This proliferation of similar themes and motifs across time and space is the reason the Popol Vuh is now regarded as the most important precontact Mayan text extant, an idea that would have been unthinkable in years past.

This map shows some of the locations of iconographic or textual echoes from the Popol Vuh.
Sites with Popol Vuh Themes or Motifs
When we find significant correspondences between precontact Quichean texts and the Book of Mormon (as we do in the blog articles Kaqchikel Chronicles, Rabinal Achi, and Titulo de Totonicapan) we are comparing Mormon's Codex with mainstream, well-attested Mesoamerican counterparts.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Titulo de Totonicapan

Totonicapan is a K'iche' speaking town in the western highlands of Guatemala. The Yax clan is its leading lineage. The Title of Totonicapan, composed in K'iche' using Latin script in 1554, was copied over time as the original deteriorated. It was translated into Spanish by Father Dionisio Jose Chonay in 1834. A copy of Chonay's translation made its way to France and a dual French/Spanish edition was published in 1885 as Titulo de los Senores de Totonicapan. A widely-read edition was published by Adrian Recinos in Spanish in 1950 and English in 1953, bundled with the Annals of the Cakchiquels.

In a once-in-a-lifetime discovery, anthropologist Robert M. Carmack in 1973 found the K'iche' manuscript Chonay had used for his 1834 translation in a strong box maintained by the Yax family in Totonicapan. Carmack and James L. Mondloch authored a scholarly edition of the work in K'iche' and Spanish that was published by UNAM in 1983.
Titulo de Totonicapan 1983 Edition
Mayan decipherment really got underway at the first Palenque Roundtable convened in December, 1973. By the time El Titulo de Totonicapan appeared ten years later, the Maya studies discipline was still very young and fresh with important new discoveries appearing regularly. This volume by Carmack and Mondloch was a significant contribution to that progress. Scholarly versions of other Quichean texts soon followed. These are the editions of important precontact Quichean documents we are analyzing for Book of Mormon correspondences.
  • El Titulo de Totonicapan, translated by Robert M. Carmack & James L. Mondloch, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 1983
  • Popol Vuh, translated by Dennis Tedlock, Simon & Schuster, 1985, 1996
  • Rabinal Achi, translated by Dennis Tedlock, Oxford University Press, 2003
  • Kaqchikel Chronicles, translated by Judith M. Maxwell & Robert M. Hill II, University of Texas Press, 2006
  • Popol Vuh, translated by Allen J. Christenson, University of Oklahoma Press, 2007
These four post-classic Quichean documents share many names, places, ideas, and narrative motifs. Their content is corroborated by artwork from many Mesoamerican sites. They also have a great deal in common with the pre-classic and early classic Mesoamerican codex called the Book of Mormon. That should not surprise us since the best current Book of Mormon scholarship places the land of Nephi in what would later become Kaqchikel, Quiche, and Rabinal territory in highland Guatemala. Furthermore, the Book of Mormon explicitly says the Lamanites kept records Mosiah 24:6, Helaman 3:15.The blog article "Kaqchikel Chronicles" analyzes 117 correspondences between that text and the Book of Mormon. The blog article "Rabinal Achi" analyzes an additional 91 correspondences between that text and the Book of Mormon, in addition to corroborating 20 of the Kaqchikel parallels. One additional important correspondence (#209) is documented in the blog article entitled "Quichean Directionality." The blog article "Quichean Distance Measurement" expands on correspondences previously identified. A correspondence with the letter "k" means it is found in Kaqchikel Chronicles, while "r" means Rabinal Achi and "t" refers to Titulo de Totonicapan.

1 k r t. Titulo de Totonicapan was written in K'iche' using Latin script, then translated into Spanish (1834), French (1885) and English (1953) (pp.; 9-10).

3 k t. Titulo de Totonicapan focuses on the Cawek lineage (p. 12).

7 k t. Titulo mentions chic'wal abaj meaning precious stones that were part of Quiche regalia brought from the east (pp. 220, 236). They have been interpreted as crystals, diamonds, or emeralds.

23 k r t. The Title has many instances of semantic parallelism (p. 31).

28 k r t. The authors of Titulo enjoined their posterity to remember their linage history (p. 187).

39 k t. The post-contact Quiche self-identified as descendants of Israel (pp. 172-173. 176).

43 k r t. The Quiche surrounded their settlements with defensive walls (p. 187).

44 k t. The Quiche thought they had originally come from across the ocean (p. 173).

47 k t. The Quiche brought writings with them from Tulan (p. 213).

48 k r t. Titulo uses the term "elder and younger brothers" to refer to other peoples (p. 198).

63 k t. The K'iche' term for cotton body armor was Xak' pot (p. 216).

65 k r t. Titulo de Totonicapan mentions slavery (p. 187).

68 k r t. The Title begins many sentences with the words "In truth" or "Certainly" (pp. 176, 212).

92 k t. The Title mentions multiple thrones in the Quiche capital (p. 17).

100 k r t. Honey was a valued commodity among the Quiche (p. 191).

114 k, t. Among the Quiche, benches and chairs were symbols of power and authority (p. 197)

123 r t. The Quiche used the phrase "heaven, earth" to invoke deity (p. 190).

135 r t. Titulo de Totonicapan documents spying prior to military conquest (p. 188).

137 r t. Military personnel underwent a nose piercing ceremony with an object inserted that granted them authority (pp. 17, 196).

139 r t. The Title issues the injunctive "Listen" to its readers (p. 171).

186 r t. Titulo de Totonicapan almost certainly originated as a glyphic text (p. 213).

201 r t. Titulo de Totonicapan documents burnt offerings as devotional acts among the Quiche (p. 191).
210 t. When Chonay translated Titulo de Totonicapan from K'iche' into Spanish in 1834, he omitted the first seven folios because they followed the Bible so closely. We now know the author(s) of the 1554 Totonicapan document were copying freely from Domingo de Vico's 1553 Theologia Indorum written in K'iche' as a Dominican missionary tract (p. 13). Vico's book included translations of biblical passages and Catholic traditions such as stories of Santa Ana and San Joaquin (parents of the Virgin Mary). The Book of Mormon also has many significant intertextual dependencies with both the Old and New Testaments. See the blog article entitled "English in the Book of Mormon" for notes from a March, 2015 conference at BYU that explored some of the quotations, allusions and echoes shared between the Book of Mormon and the Bible.

211 t. Titulo de Totonicapan is the most important of a group of at least seven works written in K'iche' using Latin script in the colonial era in and around Totonicapan. Others include:
  • Titulo de Tamub II written in 1567, dealing with the Tamub lineage
  • Titulo de Caciques written in 1544, published in 1925
  • Titulo de C'oyoi published in 1979, dealing with the Cawek lineage in the Quetzaltenango area
  • Titulo de Yax, dealing with the Yax lineage in the Totonicapan area
  • Titulo de Chuachituj published in 1973 dealing with the area northeast of Totonicapan
  • Titulo de Paxtoca published in 1973 dealing with the area southwest of Totonicapan
  • Titulo de Santa Clara published in 1957
The Book of Mormon is the most important result of a literary tradition that produced many works dealing with multiple lineages in several areas Helaman 3:13-15.

212 t. The last page of the Titulo de Totonicapan contains a number of signatures (p. 12). Mormon signed his name at the end of the small plates of Nephi Words of Mormon 1:1. Moronisigned his name at the end of the plates of Mormon Moroni 10:1.

213 t. Old Testament stories reproduced in the first seven folios of the Title end with the Babylonian captivity (p. 10). The brass plates of Laban included Old Testament writings up to the time immediately preceding the exile. The Babylonian captivity was a matter of prophecy among the Nephites 1 Nephi 7:132 Nephi 1:4, 2 Nephi 25:10 until Mosiahdiscovered the Mulekites and it became part of the historical record Omni 1:15, Helaman 8:21.

214 t. The Title is a compound document redacted from multiple sources (p. 13). Ditto the Book of Mormon Words of Mormon 1:3, Mormon 2:17-18, Ether  1:2.

215 t. In their use of the biblical materials from Theologia Indorum, the Quiche authors of Titulo de Totonicapan quoted some passages outright, paraphrased others, and changed others to conform to their native cultural traditions (p. 13). The Book of Mormon quotes many biblical passages outright such as the Isaiah chapters and paraphrases others such as Nephi's glosses on Isaiah in 1 Nephi 22 and 2 Nephi 25. The Book of Mormon also describes a process of interpreting biblical passages in light of readers' or hearers' cultural traditions. The Book of Mormon term for this cultural accommodation is "liken" 1 Nephi 19:23, 2 Nephi 11:2, 8.

216 t. The Title was written by multiple authors, one of whom was a Quiche prince baptized Diego Reynoso (p. 15). Book of Mormon authors included Nephi1 Nephi 1:1, Zeniff Mosiah 9:1, Mormon Words of Mormon 1:9, and MoroniMormon 8:1.

217 t. The authors of the Titulo de Totonicapan as well as the authors of almost all other Quiche titles placed particular importance on the biblical account of the exodus and Israel's 40 year sojourn in the desert (p. 20). The exodus motif is so important in the Book of Mormon that several monographs have been written describing it. See George S. Tate, "The Typology of the Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon" in Literature of Belief: Sacred Scripture and Religious Experience, Neal E. Lambert editor, (Provo: Religious Studies Center, BYU, 1981). See also S. Kent Brown, "The Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon" in BYU Studies 30:3 (Summer, 1990). See also Bruce J. Boehm, "Wanderers in the Promised Land: A Study of the Exodus Motif in the Book of Mormon and Holy Bible" in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3/1 (1994).

218 t. Another biblical theme very important to Quiche writers was the genealogical descent from Adam to Jacob (p. 20). Lehi, too, placed high importance on Adam, Jacob and genealogy 1 Nephi 

219 t. Achij, the Quiche military, participated in colonization programs in provinces of the kingdom (pp. 21, 198). We see this pattern in the Book of Mormon as well. The military and settlers worked together to colonize new territory Alma 27:22-24, Alma 50:7-9.

220 t. Tohil, patron god of the Quiche, was conceived as anthropomorphic with a body, hands and vital organs (p. 22). The God of the Book of Mormon is also a corporeal being 3 Nephi 11:14, Ether 3:6.

221 t. Quiche rituals described in Titulo de Totonicapan included (p. 22):
  • plant sacrifices
  • animal sacrifices
  • human sacrifices
  • burnt offerings of copal incense
  • fasting
  • self sacrifice
  • ordeals
  • prayers
  • dances
  • songs
  • investiture of authority
  • funeral rites
  • founding of new settlements
  • emissary journeys to exchange gifts
  • emissary journeys to pay tribute
All of these rituals are attested to some degree in the Book of Mormon:
222 t. Clan structures among the Quiche predate the Spanish invasion. Institutions of civil governance sit atop lineage-based organizations (p. 23). In the Book of Mormon, when institutions of civil government were destroyed, what remained in society were clan structures 3 Nephi 7:2.

223 t. Quiche lineage groups made inter-clan alliances (p. 24). Tribes in the Book of Mormon had alliances and agreements among themselves 3 Nephi 7:14.

224 t. C'amal be is the K'iche' term for clan leader (p. 24). The Book of Mormon term is "chief" or "leader" 3 Nephi 7:3.

225 t. Titulo de Totonicapan is heterogeneous consisting of five different kinds of prose (p. 28):
  • historical narration relating history and the  actions of gods and culture heroes
  • formal prayers petitioning deity
  • final counsel to loved ones prior to a prolonged absence
  • ordinary conversation between mortals
  • archaic historical language
These same five kinds of literature are found in the heterogeneous Book of Mormon:
226 t. The Quiche conceived of a nine-layered heaven (p. 168). The Book of Mormon speaks of multiple heavens 2 Nephi 29:7, Ether 8:14.
227 t. The Quiche conceived of nine levels of angels (p. 168). The  Book of Mormon speaks of numberless concourses of angels 1 Nephi 1:8.

228 t. The first seven folios of Titulo de Totonicapan copy passages freely from Domingo Vico's 1553 Theologia Indorum. See correspondence number 210 t above. Vico, a Dominican priest and gifted linguist, borrowed Quiche concepts, words, names, and phrases as he penned his theological treatise aimed at proselytizing the Maya to Catholicism. Theologia Indorum is clearly based on the Bible and Catholic tradition. It is also clearly influenced by Mayan religious terminology and Quichean mythical-historical narratives. The authors of the Titulo de Totonicapan quote from Vico's K'iche' text but they also paraphrase, embellish, and deviate from it just as the Book of Mormon paraphrases, embellishes and deviates from the Bible. Things get very interesting when Quiche deviations from the Bible are attested in the Book of Mormon text.

Genesis 3:1-6 says the serpent spoke with Eve. In Genesis 3:13 Eve says the serpent beguiled her. Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:3 says Eve was the one beguiled by the serpent. The K'iche' variant of this story says the serpent spoke with both Adam and Eve, both of whom were deceived by the devil who tempted Eve after transforming himself into an angel with the tail of a serpent (p. 170). Jacob's account in 2 Nephi 9:9 is similar to the Totonicapan version. In the Nephite text both Adam and Eve were beguiled by the devil who transformed himself almost but not quite into an angel of light. Abinadi repeated the Nephite tradition that both Adam and Eve were beguiled by the devil in his guise as a serpent Mosiah 16:3. Serpents who can transform are a very Mesoamerican idea. Helaman2 taught that Satan enticed both of our first parents Helaman 6:26. Moroniin his translation of Jaredite records repeated the Nephite tradition that the father of lies beguiled both Adam and Eve Ether 8:25. So, is there a common Urtext from which Jacob, Abinadi, Moroni2, and the Totonicapan authors all derive their story of Adam, Eve, and the serpent? Perhaps. If our geographic model is correct, Jacob and Abinadi were both preaching in or around Kaminaljuyu which is a mere 93 air kilometers ESE of Totonicapan.

The story of Moses parting the Red Sea in Exodus 14 is another example of Quichean biblical deviation showing up in the Book of Mormon. The Bible says God instructed Moses to lift up his rod and stretch forth his hand over the sea Exodus 14:16. Five verses later we learn that Moses lifted up his hand and a divine wind was the active agent that parted the waters Exodus 14:21. This imagery of Moses' hand over the sea is an allusion to the power of God described in Abraham 2:7. Every graphic one is likely to encounter of Moses parting the waters shows the prophet with his hands in the air. This is a promotional poster for Cecile B. DeMille's 1956 epic starring Charlton Heston.
Portrayal of Moses (Charlton Heston) Parting the Red Sea
The precontact Quichean peoples told a slightly different story. Kaqchikel Chronicles (p. 39) says an ancestral Kaqchikel hero used a kaq-a-che' qa-ch'ame'y red-tree staff to stab the sand in the sea which opened up a corridor through the water. Titulo de Totonicapan (pp. 176, 216-217) says culture hero Balam Q'uitse took his staff and struck the sea which opened up a pathway of smooth sand. This Quichean tradition of crossing the ocean on dry ground with divine aid was so well-established that Domingo Vico adopted it when he wrote his 1553 Theologia Indorum. Chapter 63 of Vico's collection of biblical stories in K'iche' says Moses opened the Red Sea by cosij strking it with his ch'ami staff. In the Book of Mormon Nephisaid Moses spoke and the waters divided 1 Nephi 4:2, 1 Nephi 17:26. Lehiemphasized Moses' rod as the prophet's instrument of power 2 Nephi 3:17 since he had a speech impediment. Nephisaid Moses was given power to "smite upon the waters of the Red Sea" Helaman 8:11. Presumably Moses smote the waters with his rod just as he later smote the rock in the desert with his rod to make water gush out 1 Nephi 17:29, 2 Nephi 25:20, Numbers 20:11. When mortals do the smiting in the Book of Mormon, there is almost always a rod 1 Nephi 3:29, sword Alma 19:22, club Alma 17:37, or other physical object Alma 1:22, Alma 27:29Alma 49:20 creating the percussion. Moses foreshadowed Jesus Christ who doesn't need a physical object because his mouth and rod are one and the same thing 2 Nephi 21:4 citing Isaiah 11:4, 2 Nephi 30:9. So what are we to make of this Quichean story of parting the waters by striking them with a rod that differs from the biblical account in precisely the same way the Book of Mormon differs from the Bible? Do the Quichean texts and Mormon's Codex derive from a common source? Possibly. We need more examples of this textual phenomenon before we can posit valid conclusions.

229 t. The K'iche' phrase kachuch, kakajaw meaning "our mother, our father" refers to the ancestral founders of a linage. The related term chuch, kajaw "mother, father" is a ritually androgynous spiritual leader of a linage responsible for mediating between the world of the living and the dead. Father Vico in his Theologia Indorum adopted the words kachuch, kakajaw to mean Adam and Eve, but the term also had additional ancestral referents among the Quiche (pp. 206-207). The Book of Mormon employs a similar term in the same way. Among the Nephites, "first parents" referred not only to Adam and Eve 1 Nephi 5:11, 2 Nephi 2:15,  2 Nephi 9:9, Helaman 6:26; but also to Nephiand his brother, Jacob, and their wives Jacob 4:3; Jared and his brother and their wives Omni 1:22; as well as Lehiand his son, Nephi1 Helaman 5:6.

230 t. Among the 12 sons of Jacob, the authors of Titulo de Totonicapan singled out Joseph for special mention (pp. 171, 173). Joseph was the tribal connection through whom both the Nephites and Lamanites in the Book of Mormon descended 1 Nephi 5:14, Jacob 2:25, 3 Nephi 15:12.

231 t. Domingo de Vico's 1553 Theologia Indorum consists of nearly 700 manuscript pages divided into two parts. The first part, containing 105 numbered chapters, describes God and narrates biblical histories, doctrines, stories and miracles from the creation through the birth of Christ. The second part, containing 110 numbered chapters, begins with the parents of Mary, mother of Jesus, and ends with the final judgment. The authors of Titulo de Totonicapan were highly selective in the citations they chose to include in their text. They were interested in the creation, genealogies, the exodus with its attendant Israelite peregrinations, and the diaspora at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians. The summary below of Theologia content in Titulo comes from Garry Sparks' article "Fill in the Middle Ground: Intertextuality and Inter-Religious Dialogue in 16th Century Guatemala" in Journal of Interreligious Dialogue, Issue 5, Part 2 (Winter, 2011). Sparks' 2011 University of Chicago Divinity School dissertation analyzed Vico's Theologia Indorum as an amalgam of Maya and Christian beliefs:
  • seven days of creation and the earthly paradise
  • nine levels of angels
  • creation of first humans
  • creation of Eve out of Adam and the two trees
  • Cain, Abel, Seth and their descendants
  • flood and the children of Noah
  • tower of Babel
  • Jacob and his sons
  • Joseph and the entrance into Egypt
  • Moses in Egypt
  • Moses and Aaron confront the pharaoh
  • crossing the river (Red Sea)
  • journey in the wilderness
  • defeat of Amalech (Amalek)
  • arrival of children of Jacob
  • death of Moses in Moab
  • Jericho defeated and Joseph (Joshua from the tribe of Ephraim) as ruler
  • Joseph's death
  • Samuel and Saul
  • David
  • Solomon
  • listing of prophets (Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Isaiah, Jonah)
  • arrival of Babylon and Assyria
  • diaspora by Babylon and Assyria
All 24 of these themes are attested in the Book of Mormon. Some are treated cursorily, but most are well attested:
The same things that impressed the Quiche when they read biblical stories in their native language in 1553 had impressed Nephite scribes over 1,000 years earlier.
232 t. The temporal sweep of the biblical themes the Totonicapan authors included in their Titulo extended from the creation of the world to the Babylonian exile. This is precisely the time period covered by the brass plates of Laban 1 Nephi 5:11-12 supplemented with the history of Mulek and his Jewish emigrants to the Americas Omni 1:15, Helaman 8:21.

233 t. The Quiche authors of Titulo were fascinated by Moses. They mention him 22 times between folios 5 recto and 6 recto. The only Old Testament prophet mentioned more frequently is Adam. The Nephite authors of the Book of Mormon were equally impressed with Moses. They mention him 27 times in their various writings and an additional 36 times in connection with the lesser law he brought down from Sinai. The only Old Testament prophet mentioned more frequently in Nephite scripture is Jacob who changed his name to Israel.

234 t. The Quiche believed that anciently, before they migrated to their present home, they spoke the same language (p. 175). The Book of Mormon describes a group of people who spoke a common tongue before they emigrated to the Americas Ether 1:35-37.

235 t. The Quiche believed that anciently they had unity among themselves (p. 175). The Book of Mormon describes a time when all peoples in Mesoamerica were united 4 Nephi 1:15-17.

236 t. The Quiche believed that anciently they migrated to their present home from the place where the sun rises (p. 175). An azimuth plotted from Utatlan, Quiche, Guatemala to Jerusalem, point of departure for both Mulekites and Lehites, falls at 46.92 degrees or ENE, clearly within the eastern quadrant on the Quiche horizon.
46.92 Degree Eastward Vector from Utatlan to Jerusalem
237 t. The Quiche believed their ancestors brought tree and shrub cuttings with them on their migration to their new home (p. 176). The Book of Mormon describes two groups who brought botanical material with them to plant in their new homes 1 Nephi 8:1, 1 Nephi 18:24, Ether 2:3.

238 t. The Quiche remembered a time, during their migrations, when they had neither food nor drink (p. 176). Hunger and thirst while traveling are mentioned several times in the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 16:35, Mosiah 7:16, Alma 17:5, Alma 37:42.

239 t. The Quiche had a custom of publicly announcing the future date of a battle (p. 178). A similar custom existed among the Nephites and Lamanites Mormon 3:4, Mormon 6:2-3.

240 t. Titulo de Totonicapan documents an instance where foreigners were bound and carried before the king (p. 193). The Book of Mormon records this custom among the Nephites Mosiah 7:7-8, and the Lamanites Alma 17:20. See Jack Welch's excellent book The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormoin for a discussion of the practice of suspects being bound and carried before a civil authority.

241 t. Offensive and defensive armaments used by Quiche warriors included slings, spears, arrows and shields (p. 193). All are attested in the Book of Mormon Alma 17:7, Alma 49:24.

242 t. The Quiche used metal shields (p. 196). King Limhi's explorers found breastplates of copper and brass Mosiah 8:10.

243 t. The Quiche built structures using stones joined with mortar (p. 204). The Nephites built with stone Alma 48:8.

244 t. Titulo de Totonicapan talks of a place called Panpaxil (p. 212). Carmack thinks it was a place of many waters and rivers along the Gulf Coast. Most serious Book of Mormon geographers place the land of Cumorah along the Gulf Coast. Cumorah was explicitly a land of many waters, rivers and fountains Mormon 6:4.
Likely Cumorah on Well-Watered Gulf Coast
245 t. Titulo de Totonicapan talks of writing from a cave (p. 213). The prophet Ether engraved his record while hiding in the cavity of a rock Ether 13:13-14. Mormon retrieved the Nephite archives hidden in Hill Shim Mormon 4:23.

246 t. Titulo de Totonicapan originated as a glyphic codex which is no longer extant (p, 213). The Book of Mormon originated as Mormon's glyphic codex Mormon 9:32, which is no longer extant.

247 t. The post-contact Quiche called their previous religious beliefs "lies" (p. 213). Almaprophesied ca. 82 BC that the Lamanites at some future time would be brought to believe in the word of God and would know of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers Alma 9:17.

248 t. Titulo de Totonicapan mentions a small lake in Nimsoy Carchaq (p. 217). Carchaq is the modern town of San Pedro Carcha, Alta Verapaz, that figures prominently in Quichean literature. Carmack suggests the small lake may be Lake Peten Itza in northern Peten. This seems highly unlikely for two reasons: a) Lake Peten Itza is 168 air kilometers from San Pedro Carcha while San Pedro Carcha is only 105 air kilometers from Utatlan and 128 air kilometers from Totonicapan; and b) Lake Peten Itza is not small in a Guatemalan context. With a surface area of 99 square kilometers, it is the third largest lake in the country next to Izabal (589 square kilometers) and Atitlan (130 square kilometers). A better fit to the text is Laguneta Chichoj on the outskirts of San Cristobal Verapaz, Alta Verapaz. Laguneta Chichoj has a surface area of 500,000 square meters or .5 square kilometers. It is 21 air kilometers SW of San Pedro Carcha.
Laguneta Chichoj in Proposed Book of Mormon Context
If Laguneta Chichoj is indeed the small lake in Nimsoy Carchaq, it is right in the travel corridor we propose between the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla.

249 t. Titulo describes an office called ajq' uix, ajcaj which means sacrificer. This was a person who was simultaneously a political leader and a priest (p. 219). Almaserved as both chief judge and high priest of the Nephite nation for nine years Mosiah 29:42. Alma 4:17-18.

250 t. The Quiche erected statues or idols they called uc'abawil to represent their gods (p. 220). Idols among the Lamanites are attested in the Book of Mormon Alma 17:15, Mormon 4:14.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quichean Distance Measurement

The Nephites in the New World employed a unit of distance measure they called one day's journey. Examples of this usage include:
  • Mosiah 23:3 Almaand his converts left the city of Nephi and environs, entered the wilderness, then traveled eight days' journey in the wilderness to the land of Helam.
  • Mosiah 24:20 Almaand his people traveled all one day from the land of Helam to the valley of Alma. This verse implies a longer than normal travel day.
  • Mosiah 24:25 Almaand his people traveled twelve days in the wilderness from the valley of Alma to the southern border of the lesser land of Zarahemla.
  • Alma 8:6 Almatravelled three days' journey north from the land of Melek to the city of Ammonihah.
  • Alma 22:32 An east-west boundary between the land Desolation on the north and the land Bountiful on the south was one and a half day's journey long. Mormon's use of the diminutive "only" implies this was a modest distance in Nephite affairs. See the blog article "A Nephite" for analysis showing this term meant an ordinary member of the Nephite polity rather than an elite individual with exceptional prowess.
  • Helaman 4:7 A shorter east-west fortification line entirely contained within land Bountiful was one day's journey long.
The text describes a similar unit of measure in the Old World, although camel caravans treading the sands of the Levant or Arabia probably traveled a longer distance in one day than pedestrians in Mesoamerica 1 Nephi 2:6.

In an attempt to deduce a likely straight-line distance for the Nephite New World "one day's journey," we looked at many known pre-industrial journeys in southern Mesoamerica. See the blog article "Land Southward Travel Times." Our conclusion: 15 air or straight-line kilometers is a reasonable distance for a cultural construct measuring one day's journey. The Book of Mormon map that has evolved through this blog since 2011 assumes a Nephite unit of distance measure equal to 15 air kilometers per day. The blog article "Test #6 Relative Distances" shows how precisely this derived metric correlates with the text.

John L. Sorenson's model is much more problematic. Kaminaljuyu, Sorenson's correlate for the city of Nephi, sits on the continental divide at an elevation of 1,540 meters. A terrain plane set at 1,700 meters roughly defines the western edge of urban Guatemala City today. This provides a reasonable point where Almaand his converts could have entered the wilderness on their way to Helam.
1,700 Meter Line 6 Kilometers West of Kaminaljuyu
Sorenson has two potential locations for the land of Helam: Aguacatan or Malacatancito, both in Huehuetenango. Aguacatan, home to the scenic "nacimiento del rio San Juan"  is 107 air kilometers from the wilderness west of Nephi. Malacatancito is 116 air kilometers distant.
Alma's 8 Day Journey per the Sorenson Model
If Aguacatan is Helam, a Nephite day's journey is 107/8 days = 13.38 air kilometers/day. If Malacatancito is Helam, the number is 116/8 = 14.5 air kilometers per day. These numbers are slightly short, but still in the ballpark of reasonableness compared with the 15 air kilometers/day metric described above. They point out a stark contradiction, though, in Sorenson's map logic. He correlates the waters of Mormon with beautiful Lake Atitlan. Mosiah 18 describes Alma1's converts traveling to the waters of Mormon for Sabbath observances, then returning to their homes in the lands of Nephi and Shilom during the work week. The shortest possible distance between Kaminaljuyu and Lake Atitlan is 61 air kilometers, a four day journey given the Nephi to Helam distance plotted above. Round trip would be an eight or nine day journey.
61 Air Kilometers Kaminaljuyu to Lake Atitlan
If the city of Nephi is in the valley of Guatemala, Lake Atitlan is much too far away to be the waters of Mormon.

Sorenson identifies Huehuetenango as the valley of Alma. It is 19 air kilometers distant from Aguacatan which fits the sense of Mosiah 24:20 nicely.
19 Air Kilometers Aguacatan to Huehuetenango
Malacatancito, on the other hand, is only 5 air kilometers from Huehuetenango. This distance is so short it directly contradicts the text.

The distance from Sorenson's valley of Alma to his lesser land of Zarahemla is another serious contradiction. It is only 101 air kilometers from Huehuetenango to the head of the Mezcalapa-Grijalva at the confluence of the Cuilco with the Selegua.
101 Air Kilometers Huehuetenango to Head of the Grijalva
101/12 days = a mere 8.4 air kilometers per day. This small distance begs credulity. It is completely out of proportion with the Nephi to Helam and Helam to valley of Alma legs of the journey. No historical journey in southern Mesoamerica of which I am aware moved that slowly (see the blog article "Land Southward Travel Times." Even counting all the days they huddled freezing and dying in the snow, the Martin Handcart Company averaged 13.94 air kilometers per day. Even fighting battles along the way from Waka (El Peru) to Tikal, Fire is Born and his shock troops from Teotihuacan averaged 9.75 air kilometers per day in their AD 378 conquest of the Peten. Sorenson's valley of Alma to Zarahemla distance is unreasonably short and therefore a poor fit to the text.

Sorenson offers two possible lands of Melek, one on Rio Pando and the other that he calls "mountain protected" west southwest of Santa Rosa on the Jaltenango. His Ammonihah is Mirador on the La Venta. The text explicitly says Ammonihah was three days' journey north of Melek Alma 8:6. Mirador is 55 air kilometers north northwest of the Rio Pando site. 55/3 days = 18.33 air kilometers/day which is on the high side but possible in southern Mesoamerica.
55 Air Kilometers Rio Pando to Mirador
On the other hand, Mirador is 123 air kilometers west northwest of the Jaltenango site, 123/3 days = 41 air kilometers/day which is ludicrous. Even that untenable number, though, pales in comparison with Sorenson's idea that the day and a half's journey in Alma 22:32 was across the entire Isthmus of Tehuantepec from the Gulf of Campeche to the Pacific, a distance of 216 air kilometers.
216 Air Kilometers Across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
216/1.5 days = 144 air kilometers/day. This number is so large it is a whole order of magnitude beyond reasonableness. This is a summary of Sorenson's proposed distance metrics.
  • Malacatancito to Huehuetenango one long day = 5 air kilometers
  • Huehuetenango to head of the Grijalva one day = 8.4 air kilometers
  • Kaminaljuyu to Aguacatan one day = 13.38 air kilometers
  • Kaminaljuyu to Malacatancito one day = 14.50 air kilometers
  • Rio Pando to Mirador on the La Venta one day = 18.33 air kilometers
  • Aguacatan to Huehuetenango one long day = 19 air kilometers
  • Jaltenango to Mirador on the La Venta one day = 41 air kilometers
  • Gulf of Campeche to the Pacific one day = 144 air kilometers
These glaring inconsistencies are a mass of confusion.

Like the Nephites, the precontact Quichean nations of western highland Guatemala had a standard unit of distance measure they called "one day's journey." Plotted on modern maps, the distance works out to be very close to 15 air kilometers per day. Like the Book of Mormon peoples, Quiches & Rabinals were consistent in their usage of this metric. Our sources for the following examples are the same two works by Dennis Tedlock referenced in the blog article entitled "Quichean Directionality."

In Cawek's fifth speech, he refers to the Rabinal domain in parallel verse as pa jun warab'al pa kay warab'al "one day's journey, two days' journey" (Rabinal p. 50). Movement references in Rabinal Achi are typically west to east. Rabinal territory after the conquests by Quicab in the early 15th century was about 30 kilometers from west to east.
Rabinal Lands ca AD 1430
A good metric for this reference is 30/2 days = 15 air kilometers per day. When precontact Rabinals spoke of "one day's journey" they had in mind a distance of about 15 air kilometers. The Rabinal also had a smaller unit of distance measure they called k'a'm "cord" which is about 18 meters in length. It was primarily used for demarcating land areas such as homesteads and cornfields, but it could also be used for measuring distances from point A to point B (Rabinal pp. 55-56).

The distance from Chicabracan (Earthquake) to Utatlan (Quiche Mountain Quiche Valley) was considered very short (Rabinal p. 59). It was less than a day's journey (Rabinal p. 184). In fact, it was half a day's journey (Rabinal p. 258).
8 Air Kilometers from Chicabracan to Utatlan
A good metric for this reference is 8/.5 days = 16 air kilometers per day.

The distance from Xol Chaqaj (Between the Wasp's Nests) to Chi K'otom / Chi Tikiram / chuch'a'xik (the place called Pitted and Planted) was less than a day's journey (Rabinal p. 254).
The actual distance is slightly less than 10 air kilometers.
Approximate Locations of Wasp's Nests, Pitted & Planted
From Nim Xol (Great Hollow) on the Cahabon east of San Pedro Carcha to the mountain sacred to the Quiche deity Tohil was several days' journey (Breath p. 20). The actual distance turns out to be about 95 air kilometers.
Distance from Great Hollow to Patohil
95/15 - 16 air kilometers/day = a 6 days' journey which fits the description "several days."

From Great Hollow on the Cahabon to the head of K'ulk'u Siwan (Rumbling Intestine Canyon) was a strenuous, long day's journey (Breath p. 21). The actual distance is about 28 air kilometers.
Distance Great Hollow to Rumbling Intestine
The distance from Xe Laju Kej (Quetzaltenango which is locally called "Xelaju" or simply "Xela") to Utatlan was more than two but less than three days' journey (Breath p. 103). The actual distance is about 43 air kilometers.
Distance from Quetzaltenango to Utatlan
From the eastern shore of Lake Atitlan to the modern city of Antigua was a three days' journey (Breath p. 223).
Lake Atitlan to Antigua Guatemala
The distance is about 45 air kilometers. 45/3 days = 15 air kilometers per day.

All of these data points taken together tell a consistent story. In the Quichean area of  highland Guatemala a normal day's pedestrian journey was and is a distance on the order of 15 - 16 air or straight-line kilometers. This corroboration of our deduced Nephite metric could hardly be more striking.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Quichean Directionality

Accurate correlation of the Book of Mormon with the Mesoamerican map requires interpretation of the words "north, south, east and west." In order to justify his geography, John L.Sorenson had to skew the cardinal directions so his east coast cities are actually north northwest of his Zarahemla. The map below shows the Mezcalapa - Grijalva River in blue as it ran in early Book of Mormon times. As with all images on this blog, click to enlarge.
Five Book of Mormon Geonyms in the Sorenson Model
I find Sorenson's rhetoric on this point absurd. The blog articles "Water Fight on the River - Round Ten" and "Test #5 North South East and West" detail why I believe the ancient Jewish "east," Mesoamerican "east," Book of Mormon "east," Early Modern English "east," Jacksonian American English "east," and contemporary English "east" all orient to sunrise.

This article will explore directional cardinality as understood by the precontact Quiche of western highland Guatemala. My primary sources are two books by Dennis Tedlock, best known for his acclaimed translation of Popol Vuh.

The first is Rabinal Achi published by Oxford University Press in 2003.
2003 Tedlock Source
The second is Breath on the Mirror, paperback edition, published by University of New Mexico Press in 1997. The original hardcover edition was published by Harper in 1993.
1997 Tedlock Source
Tedlock distinguished himself as a Quichean specialist while serving on the English and Anthropology Faculties at SUNY Buffalo and as a visiting professor at other institutions including Harvard and UT Austin. He received his PhD in 1968 from Tulane. From 1994-98 he was coeditor of American Anthropologist.

Rabinal Achi is the only precontact Mayan theater extant. It is still performed in Rabinal, Baja Verapaz today. UNESCO recognized the dance drama in 2005 as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Breath on the Mirror, subtitled Mythic Voices and Visions of the Living Maya, is an ethnographic collection of stories gathered from priest-shamans and daykeepers in the K'iche' speaking Guatemalan highlands. Tedlock draws on his training in both anthropology and linguistics for erudite notes and commentary that relate the drama and stories to the ancient Quichean literary tradition, Maya archaeology, and highland Guatemalan geography.

Four important precontact Quichean texts have survived. All four are now available in excellent academic editions that take advantage of the knowledge explosion preipitated by Mayan decipherment. The four are:
Because its motifs were rendered on hundreds of stone, ceramic, wood and stucco surfaces from Yucatan to the Soconusco, the earliest dating to ca. 300 BC (Izapa stela 25), Popol Vuh is now generally recognized as the most important precontact Mesoamerican text extant. It shares a great deal of intertextual commonality with the other three Quichean works listed above.

This corpus of precontact Quichean literature is significant to Book of Mormon studies because all credible Mesoamerican geographical correlations (Sorenson 1985, 2013; Hauck 1988; Allen 1989, 2008; Turner 2004; Norman 2006; Magleby 2011) place the city and land of Nephi in highland Guatemala. 208 correspondences between these Quichean texts and the Book of Mormon have been identified to date. See the blog articles "Kaqchikel Chronicles," and "Rabinal Achi." This article about cardinal directionality in the Quiche worldview constitutes correspondence #209 r.

Rabinal Achi, aka Dance of the Trumpets, is performed on a square stage oriented to the four cardinal directions. Circular dances are performed at each of the four corners of the square. The play refers often to "four edges and four corners" (Rabinal pp. 106, 111) This is Tedlock's stage diagram (Rabinal p. 25).
Rabinal Achi Stage Oriented to the Four Cardinal Directions
When Cawek is executed at the end of the play, he faces west because the Maya associated sunset with death and descent into the underworld.

In Cawek's seventh speech he describes the Quiche lords assembled at Utatlan as "Gathered Cane Plants, Gathered Lakes, Gathered Canyons, Gathered Birds" (Rabinal p. 65). In Man of Rabinal's ninth speech he calls the same assemblage "Gathered Cane Plants, Gathered Canyons, Gathered Lakes, Gathered Honey, Gathered Birds" (Rabinal p. 76). Tedlock explains that these names are various symbols of the length and breadth of Quiche territory. In particular, he describes Kuchuma Cho "Gathered Lakes" as referring to the five sacred Quiche lakes, one at each of the four cardinal directions with a fifth at the center near Utatlan. Kuchuma Tz'ikin "Gathered Birds" refers to fowl that flock together at lakes and wetlands. Kuchuma Aj refers to cane plants that grow in bodies of water (Rabinal p. 260). For more information about the five sacred lakes located at the four sides and center of the Quiche world, Tedlock refers his readers to Breath on the Mirror (Rabinal p. 340).

Tedlock's diagram of the Quiche lake geography is a classic compass rose (Breath p. 88).
Layout of Quiche Sacred Lakes at Each of the Four Cardinal Directions
Tedlock then goes on to explain where each of these lakes is located on the modern map (Breath pp. 243,244). Chi'ul Landslide Place is between Nebaj and Cunen in Quiche. Tz'ujil Dripping Place is east of Joyabaj in Quiche. Panajachel Puppet Trees is on the north shore of Lake Atitlan in Solola. Socob Water Jar is due west of Momostenango in Totonicapan. The center lake, Lemoa' Mirror Water, is southeast of Santa Cruz del Quiche in Quiche. This map shows the five sacred lakes of the Quiche in context.
Five Sacred Quiche Lakes
In the precontact Quiche world, the four cardinal directions were the same ones we use today and their azimuths were plotted from the capital Utatlan at the center or heart of Quiche lands. In the Book of Mormon world we believe the four cardinal directions were the same ones we use today and their azimuths were plotted from the capital Zarahemla in the Sidon corridor at the center or heart of Nephite lands.

In  the western Quiche town of Momostenango, Maya daykeepers continue to perform rituals at mountaintop shrines as their ancestors did before the Spanish invasion. Momostenango, which Tedlock calls "Altar Town," is surrounded by four sacred mountains oriented to each of the four cardinal directions. Quilaha is east, Socob west, Pipil north, and Tamancu south of Altar Town (Breath pp. 69, 84-85). This map shows the geography.
Four Sacred Mountains Surrounding Momostenango
Socob on the map above is the very same mountain as Water Jar on the map of Quiche lakes. Socob has some small pools near its summit. In K'iche' Socob means "water jar." Daykeepers break fired clay water jars and use the shards as holders to burn copal incense at shrines on certain propitious calendar days.

The ancient Quiche conceived of the four cardinal directions in the same way most civilizations on earth have done because their sun, moon, and morning star (Venus) all rose in the east and set in the west. As the sun came up over the eastern horizon, north was on its right hand and south on its left. The concept of four sides with four corners was foundational to the Quichean view of earth and sky (Breath p. 3).

The list of correspondences between precontact Quichean literature and the Book of Mormon continues in the blog article "Titulo de Totonicapan."

Monday, March 23, 2015

English in the Book of Mormon

On Saturday, March 14, 2015 I attended the conference "Exploring the Complexities in the English Language of the Book of Mormon" at BYU. Co-sponsored by Interpreter Foundation and BYU Studies, the presenters were Stanford Carmack, Jan J. Martin, Nick Frederick and Royal Skousen. Daniel C. Peterson introduced the conference and John W. Welch concluded it. Following are my notes.

Stanford Carmack is an independent scholar who lives on Cape Cod. He holds degrees in Linguistics and Law from Stanford and a PhD in Hispanic languages and literature from UC Riverside. He has written three very important articles published in 2014 and 2015 in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:
His presentation was entitled "Exploding the  Myth of Unruly Book of Mormon Grammar: A Look at the Excellent Match with Early Modern English."

Robert F. Smith published the first Book of Mormon critical text with FARMS in the 1980's. Since 1988 Royal Skousen has been working on his critical text which reached a milestone in 2009 with the Yale University Press publication of The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text. A Kindle edition appeared in 2013. Carmack is a contributor to Volume 3 of Skousen's critical text (in preparation).

Carmack makes extensive use of the 54,000 and counting volumes in Early English Books Online EEBO. Literature Online (LION) is another of his fundamental resources, as is the OED. He not only finds examples of Book of Mormon words and phrases, but also plots their usage frequencies by time period. He has demonstrated, conclusively in my opinion, that the original English text of the Book of Mormon revealed to Joseph Smith has strong affinities with Early Modern English (EModE 1470 - 1700). This era in the evolution of the English language includes Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) and the King James Bible ( KJV 1611). See the blog article "Early Modern English."

Carmack pointed out many examples of Book of Mormon vocabulary and syntax that are not in the KJV but are attested in EModE, thus dispelling the myth that Joseph simply plagiarized the Bible.

Some of the interesting language constructs Carmack discussed:
  • "mights" KJV always uses the singular "might"
  • "nor no manner of"
  • "if it so be that"
  • "it supposeth me"
  • "him supposeth"
  • "did" as an affirmative past-tense marker. The Book of Mormon uses did + a verb to express past-tense 27% of the time - over 1,800 instances. The Bible uses this syntax less than 2% of the time. This usage was common in EModE, peaking about 1560 and then tapering off sharply. The Book of Mormon is a good 16th century match at a deep syntactic level.
  • "didst" & "did" in the same sentence
  • command syntax using "that" or "to" with an embedded verb
  • causative syntax "cause us that we should"
  • "adieu" which was very common in EModE
  • "wearied him with their teasings"
  • "have went," "have became"
  • "had ought," "had came," "had gave" 
  • "people which was"
  • "hath" & "hath" or even "hath," "hast," & "hath" in the same sentence
  • "have" & "hath" in the same sentence
  • "engraven" & "molten" as verb stems
  • "even to that" meaning until
  • "th" versus "est" word endings
  • "ye" versus "thou"
  • "done" as a simple past-tense of "do."
  • "much provisions"
  • "should not do none" double negation
The question on everyone's' lips after Carmack's rapid-fire delivery was why? Why would the Lord have revealed a text in 1829 in a language that had not been spoken anywhere on earth for several generations? Carmack gave four cogent answers:
  1. KJV affinity. This language has an old-fashioned biblical feel.
  2. Witness of the gift and power of God. This makes the Book of Mormon miracle even that much more astonishing. No other 19th century work uses EModE syntax, not even those that are consciously mimicking KJV style. This is simply beyond human capability.
  3. Translation facility. The Book of Mormon is translation literature. The Lord knew this text would be widely translated (113 languages currently). Shakespeare and the Bible are the most translated bodies of literature in history, so EModE provides a good base text to support translations.
  4. Plainness. Even though EModE syntax sounds odd, even erroneous to modern ears, the meaning is seldom in doubt. Some of modern English's ambiguities were not yet in the language in the EModE era.
Jan J. Martin, whose advanced degree is from University of York, is delightful to listen to. I found myself wondering if she was a Brit who has spent a lot of time in the States, or a Yank who has spent a lot of time in the UK. She is an American who has spent enough time in the UK that her speech is peppered with charming British English. She is a specialist in biblical translations, currently an Assistant Visiting Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU. Her presentation was entitled "Charity, Priest, and Church versus Love, Elder, and Congregation: The Book of Mormon's Connection to the Debate between William Tyndale and Thomas More."

More (1478 - 1535) was high church, clerical, Catholic. Tyndale (ca. 1494 - 1536) was low church, lay, Protestant. Theology is dependent on language. "God is but his word" was the way Tyndale phrased it. Alexander Campbell, one of Joseph Smith's most virulent critics, characterized the Book of Mormon as a crude compilation of the theological debates swirling on the American frontier in the 1820's. Martin showed the Nephite text is much more subtle, nuanced and sophisticated. It deftly navigates the waters between More and Tyndale just like every 16th century English Bible translation was forced to do. Major English Bible translations from Tyndale to the KJV:
  • Tyndale 1526
  • Coverdale 1535
  • Matthew's 1537
  • Great 1539
  • Geneva 1557
  • Bishops' 1568
  • Douay-Rheims 1582 (Catholic)
  • King James 1611
More argued Greek New Testament agape should be translated "charity," presbuteros "priest," and ekklesia "church." Tyndale passionately advocated for "love," "elder," and "congregation." Both men were executed in their prime and their debate was never resolved.

All 8 of the Bible translations shown above favor "love" over "charity." The KJV uses "charity" 29 of 252 times which is 11.5%, a higher usage rate than in any of the other versions. The Book of Mormon uses "charity" 27 times and "love" 66 times, for a usage rate of 29%. The Book of Mormon also uses several qualifying adjectives with the word "love" such as "pure," "everlasting," and "perfect" which bring it close to the caritas of the Vulgate: love imbued with god-like qualities. 4 Nephi 1:15 is one example of the high standard to which "love" is usually held in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is a wonderful blend of charity, high order love such as the love of God, and carnal or materialistic love.

All 8 of the Bible translations shown above favor "elder" over "priest" and the two terms are roughly synonymous with "high priest" being a separate office. Note that the 2013 LDS edition of the KJV does not follow the original 1611 text in many instances. The Book of Mormon, on the other hand, uses the word "priest" 105 times and the word "elder" in an ecclesiastical sense only 9 times. In this case, the Book of Mormon contradicts the KJV. In the Book of Mormon, "elder" and "priest" are separate offices with an elder superior to a priest. Elders ordain priests Moroni 3:1.

The Bible translations up to 1540 use "congregation" 100% of the time. Beginning with the Geneva Bible, the word "church" predominates. The Book of Mormon has 235 instances of "church" and only 2 of "congregation." Tyndale thought the word "church" should be reserved for the "elect." The Book of Mormon church is thoroughly egalitarian.

Far from being a clumsy parody of Jacksonian American theological polemics, the Book of Mormon beautifully synchronizes More's Catholicism with Tyndale's Protestantism. The Book of Mormon contribution to the More/Tyndale debate ends in a draw. Its refined treatment of theological and religious issues go much beyond Joseph Smith's innate capabilities. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Book of Mormon also deftly handles many other contentious issues that have riven Christianity for centuries such as favor earned versus grace freely given, authority through lineal descent versus the priesthood of all believers, culpability for original sin versus newborn innocence, essential sacraments versus confession of faith, etc.
Nick Frederick holds a PhD in the History of Christianity from Claremont. He is an Assistant Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU where his research interests focus on intertextuality between the Bible, particularly the New Testament NT, and LDS scripture. His presentation was entitled "'Full of Grace, Mercy, and Truth': Exploring the Complexities of the Presence of the New Testament within the Book of Mormon."

This was the presentation that caused me to re-examine my preconceptions. The Brass Plates of Laban are a plausible explanation for the presence of so much of Isaiah (about 1/3) in the Nephite text. I can easily understand why our risen Lord chose to quote Malachi 3 & 4 to the Nephites at the Temple in land Bountiful as recorded in 3 Nephi 24 & 25. The Savior's masterful recasting of Matthew 5-7 as the Sermon at the Temple in 3 Nephi 12-14 I find moving and persuasive. But Nephiquoting from the Acts of the Apostles ostensibly written by Luke ca. AD 70? That caused me to think more deeply than I ever have before about intertextual dependencies in the Book of Mormon.

Biblicists classify instances of intertextuality as quotations, allusions and echos. Frederick has identified about 1,800 potential shared phrases between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. Not counting 3 Nephi 12-14 reduces that number to 778. 333 are precise and therefore highly likely dependencies (quotations). 338 are very likely (allusions) and 107 are likely (echoes). New Testament phrases are quite evenly distributed throughout the entire Book of Mormon. The books of Matthew, John, Revelation, 1 Corinthians, Acts and Hebrews are the most referenced. Frederick wrote his dissertation on the many tight relationships between 3 Nephi 9 and John's prologue to his gospel.

After showing dozens of instances of New Testament intertextuality with the Book of Mormon, Frederick began to explore patterns in the data.
  • Grand visions have similarities. 1 Nephi 11-14 corresponds in many ways with the Revelation of John.
  • The Book of Mormon weaves NT phraseology into complex literary tapestries that go far beyond mere cut and paste plagiarism.
  • We tend to focus on the similarities between the Sermon at the Temple and Matthew 5-7, but 3 Nephi, including chapters 12-14, have remarkable affinities with the writings of John.
  • The life experiences of Almaand the sons of Mosiahclosely mirror those of the Apostle Paul. We should not be surprised to find intertextuality between them and we do.
  • The correlation between Mormon 9 and Mark 16 is lengthy and precise. Both Mark and Moronisummarize the life and ministry of the Savior with its implications for believers.
  • The resurrected Savior explicitly says he shared the same words in the Old World and the New 3 Nephi 15:1. Jesus' logia are a necessary and sufficient urtext behind many dependencies such as Moroni 7:45 and 1 Corinthians13:4-7.
  • In the spirit of Nephi's "plainness in the which I know that no man can err" 2 Nephi 25:7, the Book of Mormon often makes things explicit so as to be crystal clear. Deuteronomy 18:15, 19 is the source for both 1 Nephi 22:20 and Acts 3:22-23. The Lord Himself quoted Nephi in personally announcing the fulfillment of Moses' prophecy 3 Nephi 20:23.
  • The Book of Mormon is closer to the New Testament than it is to the Old Testament OT.
  • The Yale 2009 text is closer to the NT than is the LDS 1980-2013 text.
  • Context is often determinative. Passages about faith or priesthood have strong similarities.
So why do we find Luke showing up in First and Second Nephi? In the time of Joseph Smith, the KJV was considered the voice and language of God. Steven C. Harper's aritcle "Infallible Proofs, Both Human and Divine: The Persuasiveness of Mormonism for Early Converts" Religion and American Culture 10 (1) 99-118 (Winter, 2000) shows that the reciprocity of the Book of Mormon and Bible mutually corroborating each other powerfully influenced the saints in Joseph Smith's day. Mormon 7:9 prophesied this intertextual validation.

Lucy Mack Smith said Joseph Smith at age 18 had never read the entire Bible and was more inclined to meditation than to study. The fact that at age 24, from April 7 to July 1, 1829, he dictated almost the entire Book of Mormon in a revelatory marathon is nothing short of amazing. The Book of Mormon is precisely a "marvelous work and a wonder" as Nephiprophesied 2 Nephi 25:17 quoting Isaiah 2 Nephi 27:26, Isaiah 29:14 who alluded to King David Psalms 105:5 who echoed 1 Chronicles 16:2 or vice versa. So, finding intertextuality between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon should be a source of wonder for modern readers.

Divine timekeeping is superior to mortal reckoning Moses 1:6. So, what seems anachronistic to us may be the power of God at work in the world inspiring various people in various places at various times. That is the clear message of 2 Nephi 29. 2 Nephi9 29:2 in particular says the words of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon will come through God's own mouth and be His own words. So, when we see Moses Deuteronomy 32:35 quoted by Isaiah Isaiah 34:8, Isaiah 35:4 and Jeremiah Jeremiah 51:6, the question becomes who quoted whom when Paul used similar terminology writing to both the Romans Romans 12:19 and the Jews Hebrews 10:30? In what way did the voice of the Lord come to Mormon Mormon 3:14  as he included the same words in his own writings Mormon 3:15? To what scripture was Moronireferring when he engraved his own version of the famous passage Mormon 8:20? We know that content has flowed and will flow freely between different groups of people 2 Nephi 29:13. We also know there is an underlying unity to God's word 2 Nephi 29:14 analogous to the latter-day gathering of Israel. In the final analysis the historical transmission process underlying textual criticism does not adequately account for the divine hand of providence at work in sacred writ. The real question then becomes "Is text X the word of God yes or no?" In the case of the Book of Mormon the answer is unequivocally yes.
Royal Skousen holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Illinois. He is a Professor of Linguistics and English at BYU. He has been the editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text since 1988. His presentation was entitled "A theory! A theory! We have already got a theory, and there cannot be any more theories!"

Skousen has a wonderfully dry, understated wit. Audiences have to pay attention because, like Nibley, some of Skousens best comments are unscripted & off the cuff. This is what we know about the translation process from eyewitnesses:
  • The text of the Book of Mormon was revealed to Joseph Smith word for word
  • The Prophet was not at liberty to express ideas in his own words
  • Words appeared in the interpreters or the seer stone
  • Joseph's head was buried in a hat to exclude light so he could better read the words 
  • Joseph could see 20 - 30 words at a time
  • He read aloud about 10 words at a time to his scribe who wrote them down
  • The scribe then read the text back to Joseph who compared it with the revealed words
  • When Joseph and his scribe felt they had the right words recorded, the divine display changed
  • The translation team worked for about 6 hours per day
  • Proper names were spelled out the first time they appeared
  • The process was transparent, out in the open, seen by all
  • The plates themselves, nearby but not consulted, were wrapped up in a cloth of some kind
  • After breaks, Joseph Smith began where they had left off without notes or prompting
6 people left us eyewitness accounts of the translation methodology. One of the most important was Michael Morris, Emma Smith's brother-in-law. Morris never joined the Church.

The Book of Mormon text uses systematic phraseology. 131 expressions appear 100% of the time, without exception. This remarkable standardization was a big help in the process of re-constructing the original text. Skousen's first inkling that the text may be pre-modern came in 1998 when Renee Bangerter suggested the "ceremony" in Mosiah 19:24 may actually be "sermon."  The OED showed sermon meaning talk or conversation, but that usage died out after 1594. Then in 2003 Christian Gellinek suggested "pleading bar" for "pleasing bar" in Jacob 6:13. Pleading bars in judicial settings are attested in the 1600's.

Once he began looking for archaic vocabulary, EModE terms were evident throughout the text:
  • require meaning request
  • cast arrows meaning shoot arrows
  • wrap meaning roll
  • for the multitude meaning as many as could
  • but if meaning unless
  • counsel meaning to counsel with
  • depart meaning divide in parts
  • errand meaning message
  • extinct meaning dead
  • detect meaning expose
  • withstand meaning oppose
  • retain meaning take back
  • thou meaning plural
  • descendant meaning plural
  • view meaning vision
  • unwearingness meaning unweariness
  • to become for oneself meaning to become of age, to become independent
  • morrow month meaning next month
  • wist meaning know
Helaman 13:37 "in them days" (Yale Text) is boorish modern English. It was acceptable EModE usage. The word "and" in an interruptive or extended subordination clause takes you back to the main clause. EModE has multiple instances of "and" that we would consider run-on sentences in modern English. Examples are 1 Nephi 8:13, 3 Nephi 23:8 and Moroni 10:4. Book of Mormon vocabulary is filtered, massaged and carefully prepared. Every word was known to Joseph Smith and his scribes, although many meanings had changed since the EModE era.

The Book of Mormon fits well in the 1500's. It takes an expansive view of mankind in line with the renaissance, enlightenment and reformation. It deals with many of the issues that were debated in reformed Protestantism.

Abinadi was burned at the stake as a heretic. Mosiah 17:13 should read "scorched" not "scourged." During the 1500's, many people were burned at the stake along with their scriptures. "Secret combinations" describe Catholic and subversive political groups, not freemasons. The Book of Mormon refines the KJV resolutions of the Tyndale/More debate. The Book of Mormon is definitely low church in its practices, but high church in many of its doctrines. Mosiahand Alma1 had to wrestle with the same church/state issues that plagued the 1500's and 1600's. The Book of Mormon solution that excommunication was not a civil crime Mosiah 26:35-26 eventually became obvious to western society generally after the tumultuous EModE years.

The Book of Mormon shows the hand of the Lord. Joseph Smith was not really its translator. He was its transmitter through divine instrumentality.
John W. (Jack) Welch read Greek Philosophy at Oxford and holds a JD from Duke. He is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at BYU.

All the presenters deserve our thanks and praise. "Thank" and "praise" are the same word in both Greek and Hebrew. Jack began serving as General Editor of BYU Studies in 1991. Since that time many significant discoveries have helped us better understand the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is very complicated. We must take it seriously. Superficiality is quite offensive to the Lord. The presenters in this conference have taken a new tack and are examining the text through the lens of new disciplines. Practically every academic discipline has something important to contribute that will help elucidate the Book of Mormon. Welch then listed well over a dozen disciplines that have shed light on the Nephite text in our day. These include Arabic, the discovery of the Hittites in 1950, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebraisms, Statistics, Botany, Geography, Theology and now Historical Linguistics. Noting that March 14, 2015 was the 10th year anniversary of Hugh Nibley's funeral, Welch commented that Hugh would have enjoyed these conference proceedings.

In a sacred text, every word counts for something. For years we thought bad grammar was an embarrassing weakness in the Book of Mormon. Looking at it now through an EModE lens we know it is one of the text's greatest strengths. We will find Hebrew, Elizabethan English, 19th century, 20th century, and even 21st century phraseology in the Book of Mormon. It is simply a miraculous, marvelous translation.

Some of the research we take for granted today was not possible before the computer age. We now have the Yale text that we can compare quickly with many other databases. Jack has found over 3,000 possible New Testament phrases in the Book of Mormon. We know, for instance, that Alma 32 quotes from both the OT and NT. It includes wording from 22 discrete passages in many different books of the Bible. That level of synchronicity is beyond human capacity.

Church historians of an earlier era were embarrassed at the image of Joseph Smith with his head buried in his hat. The hat is our strongest evidence of a divine translation through the gift and power of God. Joseph Smith was not consulting reference materials. He was not collaborating with a team of experts. He was reading words that appeared on a stone in the bottom of a hat. The whole thing is simply astonishing and supernatural.

Joseph put his face in a hat to shut out light so the words appearing on his seer stone were easier to read. This is a direct fulfillment of Alma 37:23 interpreted in light of pre-1981 editions of D&C Sections 78, 82 & 104 where Joseph Smith is called "Gazelam."