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The amazing achievements of the last hundred years in technology and science are paralleled by significant strides in Book of Mormon studies. Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon takes inventory of some of the most fascinating ancient elements of the Book of Mormon. Professor Hugh Nibley once asked: "Does the Book of Mormon have authentic historical backgrounds? Is its local color correct?" As ha and others have shown, the Book of Mormon contains numerous "hits" or "bull's-eyes," significant parallels with the ancient world that were often unknowable in the world of Joseph Smith. The sheer number alone is impressive. In this volume, scholars trained in biblical studies, archaeology, classics, history, law, linguistics, anthropology, political science,philosophy, Near East studies, literature, and other relevant fields present some of their favorite evidences that support the Book of Mormon's claim to ancient origins. The cumulative effect is weighty. The book features an article by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and a convenient method for locating specific hits. The contributors have successfully mined the Book of Mormon for * points clearly present in ancient sources * details that are not obvious or commonplace * Patterns that are complex or intricate * features that are unusual or distinctive * information that was little known in the 1820s * insights that are require training to detect even today. These uncovered echoes from the past are resounding evidences that the Book of Mormon is an ancient book.
In the Introduction to this 2002 book, the editors wrote, "(this book) takes inventory of many of the most striking of those discoveries that support the claim that the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith from bona fide ancient records... the editors of the present volume set out to identify, collect, catalog, and publish as many such hits and other Book of Mormon parallels to the ancient world as possible... Not all the points presented in this volume carry equal weight. Some are obvious bull's-eyes, and others simply hit the outer edges of the target."
Here are some additional quotations from the book:
"There is actually a fifth consideration that Joseph Smith could not have known. It concerns the custom of a newcomer's naming a place and its geographical features. That is exactly what Lehi did when he camped next to a desert stream in an impressive valley... It was Hugh Nibley who first drew attention to this aspect of the narrative and also pointed out what was obvious, that the names conferred by Lehi did not stick." (Pg. 61-62) "Such a scene of desperate difficulties... resonates with the situtations that one would certainly encounter in south Arabia. What is the likelihood that Joseph Smith knew such details of life there? The answer is zero." (Pg. 92) "There is much yet to be learned about wordprinting and its limits... we should not be too surprised to see the English-language edition of the Book of Mormon preserving differences between different Book of Mormon authors, even when many of the actual terms being counted in the English translation do not have specific parallels in the hypothesized original languages." (Pg. 135) "Melvin J.Read more ›
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This volume consists of 13 essays by LDS scholars, providing an excellent survey of current research. Essays by Apostle Neal Maxwell, and convert Alison Coutts emphasis the spiritual values of the book. John W. Welch provides a thoughtful discussion of "The Power of Evidence in Nurturing Faith." Other essays discuss the Old World context of the Book of Mormon, the New World context, and Joseph Smith's information environment. For example, including S. Kent Brown provides "New Light From Arabia on Lehi's Trail" including mention of the 1998 finds of three 6th century altars that"secure the general location of Nahom." Various essays compare the Book of Mormon with ancient Hebrew language and literary forms, rituals, newly discovered documents, legal practices, and doctrines. John Sorenson survey's the Mesoamerican setting. John Gee's "The Wrong Type of Book" compares the Book of Mormon with the Dogberry's "Book of Pukei" satire, Spaulding's Manuscript Found, and Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews. John Tvedtnes surveys "Ancient Texts in Support of the Book of Mormon." The volume includes a 29 page Appendix of quotes from Hugh Nibley, an "Alphabetical Listing of Hits" meaning aspects of the Book of Mormon that accurately hit the ancient world, and a scripture citation index. All essays include extensive footnoted documentation. It becomes an essential volume for any serious student of the Book of Mormon. Very readable, very timely.
This is a great collection of evidence, backed up by science and reason. I've heard the author speak and was extremely impressed with his research and knowledge.
I bought this for my son who wanted to see some actual proof of the veracity of the Book of Mormon. Presented with a critical eye, this book offers MANY facts to consider, as well as a challenge to think logically for oneself and then receive spiritual confirmation.
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Note: Your "helpful" votes are appreciated. Thanks, and if you are a Mormon, I respect your open-mindedness in reading this review. I like Mormons, and even love some Mormons, whom I consider some of the finest people who ever walked in shoe leather, as my grandmother used to say.
So now for the folly of this book:
I'll limit myself to some comments on two of the articles in this book. First, John L. Sorenson's "How Could Joseph Smith Write So Accurately about Ancient American Civilization?"
Sorenson has one picture of a Maya figurine of a drunken man (this is "evidence"?). Sorenson fails the mention that Maya writing has been deciphered and says nothing about the themes or subject matter of the Book of Mormon. A scholar who talks about the Maya must in fairness mention this fact. Sorenson does not.
Further, the very title of Sorenson's article is an illusion--an assumption not supported by the facts.
Robert J. Sharer is Professor of Anthropology and Curator of the American Section of the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. In "The Ancient Maya," Sharer analyzes the Maya from every angle. Although Sharer does not mention the Book of Mormon, he does give a devastating answer to those who would link Meso-American civilization with the ancient Hebrews, placing such theories squarely in the 19th century.
For example, Sharer writes: "After more than a century of gathering and analyzing archaeological evidence, we have discovered nothing to support the idea of intervention by people from the Old World." "This is not to say that accidental contacts between the Old and New World peoples could not have occurred before the age of European exploration" (p. 6).Read more ›