The Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham
The Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham are both canonized scripture in the LDS church. Both are purported to be translated by Joseph Smith. Critics of Mormonism will point out that both books were written and not translated by Joseph Smith. If that were the case, you would see a similarity in writing style between the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham and this writing style would differ from the Bible.
Writing Style of the Old Testament
I am not a linguist or an expert by any stretch of the imagination on literary writing styles. However, as you read the books in the Bible it is clear that it is for the most part a narrative.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.Even though the first 5 books of the old testament are called "the 5 books of Moses" it is clear that the books of Moses are not direct translations from writings of Moses. Moses is referred to in 3rd person by the narrator.
And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tentAnd of course I am sure that Moses did not write his own funerary text after he died.
And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.Now, THAT would certainly be an amazing feat if Moses was able to write the words "and Moses died". Obviously there was a narrator. This has led me to believe that the 5 books of Moses were probably not written by Moses himself, but the books were a recount written by someone else later on. At the very least, it is certainly not a literal translation of an original document penned by Moses. Either way, at some point there was a narrator.
Writing Style of the New Testament
The New Testament is the same. The writings from each book in the new testament refer to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John or Paul in third person.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant JohnEven the epistles open with a third person reference before reading off the actual epistle.
1 Corinthians 1:1-2
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth...This leads me to believe that the books in the Bible, both old and New Testament are not literal translations word for word of original writings from the original authors, but that whoever translated them injected narration. It does not say "I, Moses..."
Writing Style of the Book of Mormon
The writing style of the Book of Mormon is different than the Bible. Even though Mormon is a narrator, the actual books are written in 1st person. The book of Nephi is written in 1st person.
1 Nephi 1:1-3
I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.
Writing style of the Book of Abraham
If the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon both came from Joseph Smith, we would see a writing style similar in nature. Like the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham is written in 1st person.
In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence; And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers... But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me.
When I compared the opening verses between the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon, it is apparent to me that they are both of the same author.
Friday, May 9, 2008
The Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham