At 09:25 PM 11/06/2002 -0700, you wrote:
I Nephi 13 says that the brass plates were *not* the same as what we would call
the OT, actually. Furthermore, it says that the G&BC in the days following Christ
removed plain and precious parts from the *Gospel*, not the Pentateuch. By the
time we get to verse 29 it does also include the OT, but it merely says that the
G&BC would take away plain and precious parts, it doesn't say that what they had
up to that point was pristine, or the brass plates would not have been a superset
of the OT (see verse 23). I Nephi 14 further explains that Nephi was forbidden to
write certain things -- including, e.g., the Apocalypse of John (Revelation). I
would point to things like the Johannine Comma as an example of verse 28. That
doesn't preclude earlier changes.
Did Moses also write the part about his own burial? Did he also contradict
himself on the number of animals taken aboard the ark?
I realize that some brethren have assumed that Moses was the literal author of
the Pentateuch, but that is not necessarily doctrine. For instance, in this last
January's Ensign, in an article called "Enjoying the Old Testament," we read, "1.
The books of Genesis through Deuteronomy are historical books, sometimes called
“the law.” They are also called the “five books of Moses” because Moses wrote or
spoke much of what is in them. These books tell us of the history of the earth as
the Lord revealed it to Moses. Genesis begins with the Creation of the world and
Adam and Eve. Deuteronomy finishes at the end of Moses’ life."
Note that it leaves the door open by saying "Moses wrote OR spoke MUCH OF WHAT IS
Also, the Josian Reform occurred 20 years *before* Lehi left Jerusalem.
Here, for those who have interest in exploring the topic further, is what the EoM
says under "Biblical Scholarship":
Latter-day Saints recognize Bible scholarship and intellectual study of the
biblical text. Joseph Smith and his associates studied Greek and Hebrew and
taught that religious knowledge is to be obtained by study as well as by faith
(D&C 88:118). However, Latter-day Saints prefer to use Bible scholarship rather
than be driven or controlled by it.
The Prophet Joseph Smith suggested certain broad parameters for any LDS critical
study of the Bible: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is
translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God"
(A of F 8). Because Latter-day Saints prefer prophets to scholars as spiritual
guides, and the inspiration of scripture and the Holy Ghost to the reasoning of
secondary texts, Bible scholarship plays a smaller role in LDS spirituality than
it does in some denominations.
A fundamental operating principle of "revealed" religions is that all truth
cannot be completely discovered through human reason alone. Without God's aid, no
one can obtain the vital data, proper perspectives, and interpretive keys for
knowing him (see -->Reason and Revelation). Because Latter-day Saints believe
that their religion is revealed through living prophets of God, they subordinate
human reason to revealed truth.In this latter connection, Latter-day Saints show
some affinities with contemporary conservative Roman Catholic and evangelical
They accept and use most objective results of Bible scholarship, such as
linguistics, history, and archaeology, while rejecting many of the discipline's
naturalistic assumptions and its more subjective methods and theories. In those
instances where Bible scholarship and revealed religion conflict, Latter-day
Saints hold to interpretations of the Bible that appear in the other LDS
scriptures and in the teachings of latter-day prophets.
These observations suggest three basic operating principles for Bible scholarship
among Latter-day Saints:
1. Approaches to the Bible must accept divine inspiration and revelation in the
original biblical text: it presents the word of God and is not a merely human
production. Therefore, any critical methodology that implicitly or explicitly
ignores or denies the significant involvement of God in the biblical text is
rejected. With minor exceptions, such as the Song of Solomon, which Joseph Smith
judged not to be inspired (cf. IE 18 [Mar. 1915]:389), the text is not to be
treated in an ultimately naturalistic manner. God's participation is seen to be
significant both in the events themselves and in the process of their being
recorded. His activity is thus one of the effects to be reckoned with in
interpreting the events and in understanding the texts that record them.
2. Despite divine inspiration, the biblical text is not uninfluenced by human
language and not immune to negative influences from its human environment, and
there is no guarantee that the revelations given to ancient prophets have been
perfectly preserved (cf. 1 Ne. 13:20-27). Thus, critical study of the Bible is
warranted to help allow for, and suggest corrections of, human errors of
formulation, transmission, translation, and interpretation of the ancient
3. Such critical scholarship, in addition to recognizing the divine origins of
the Bible, must in its conclusions take account of the teachings of the Book of
Mormon and the other revelations to modern prophets included in the Doctrine and
Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, since for Latter-day Saints such sources
not only have priority over revelations recorded in antiquity (cf. D&C 5:10) but
also aid in interpreting the biblical text.Latter-day Saints insist on objective
hermeneutics, that is, they maintain that the biblical text has a specific,
objective meaning and that the intent of the original author is both important
and largely recoverable. For this reason, LDS scholars, like other conservatives,
have tended toward the more objective tools of Bible scholarship, such as
linguistics, history, and archaeology-recognizing that these tools themselves
have to be evaluated critically-and have generally avoided the more subjective
methods of literary criticism.
The most influential LDS Bible commentators include James E. Talmage, Bruce R.
McConkie, Sidney B. Sperry, and Hugh W. Nibley, though Talmage's work was
completed prior to many important discoveries, and McConkie's work is concerned
less with critical exegesis than with understanding the New Testament within the
overall body of LDS doctrine.
BibliographyAnderson, Richard L. Understanding Paul. Salt Lake City,
1983.McConkie, Bruce R. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. Salt Lake
City, 1965-1973.Nibley, Hugh W. Collected Works of Hugh Nibley. Salt Lake City,
1986-.Sperry, Sidney B. Paul's Life and Letters. Salt Lake City, 1955.Sperry,
Sidney B. The Voice of Israel's Prophets. Salt Lake City, 1961.Sperry, Sidney B.
The Spirit of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City, 1970.Talmage, James E. Jesus the
Christ. Salt Lake City, 1915.STEPHEN E. ROBINSON
The EoM is also careful not to identify the brass plates with the Pentateuch or
the OT as we know them:
The Old Testament is one of the standard works, or scriptures, accepted by The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which values it for its prophetic,
historical, doctrinal, and moral teachings. The Old Testament recounts an epochal
series of ancient dispensations during which people received periodic guidance
through divine covenants and commandments, many of which remain basic and
In addition, from the Book of Mormon it is clear that before 600 B.C. the prophet
Lehi and his colony carried to the Western Hemisphere from Jerusalem a record on
the plates of brass that included many Old Testament texts (1 Ne. 5:10-15),
leading Lehi and his descendants to look forward to a redeemer (1 Ne. 19:22-23)
and giving them a guide for their moral and spiritual development (Mosiah 1:3,
"John W. Redelfs" wrote:
> After much pondering, Marc A. Schindler favored us with:
> >...one sees echoes of that ancient emnity in the NT). For us LDS this is a
> >step backwards and in a way represents an excising of a "plain and
> >precious truth." After all, as we'll
> >all soon be learning about in GD....
> The 13th chapter of 1 Nephi makes it clear that the "plain and precious
> parts" that were removed from the scriptures were removed after the record
> of the Jews went to the Gentiles thought the hands of the great and
> abominable church of the devil. This would not include the various
> corruptions that had already occurred in the Old Testament record. After
> all, Moses wrote the whole Pentateuch himself. Not much room for
> corruption in that part of the record any way.
> John W. Redelfs [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> "Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine,
> which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis."
> --Jack Handy
> All my opinions are tentative pending further data. --JWR
> /// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at ///
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Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
“The first duty of a university is to teach wisdom, not a trade; character, not
technicalities. We want a lot of engineers in the modern world, but we don’t want
a world of engineers.” Sir Winston Churchill (1950)
Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.
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