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[aymara] possible orogin of book of moromon peoples to Alex


just got this in my emial from another newsgroup and vagely relates to the
history of the peoples
of south America we have been discussing.

if interesting enjoy or just pitch it... just thought I would pass it on


Revisiting the Land of Jerusalem

(Research by Gordon C. Thomasson, originally published as a FARMS Update in
_Insights_ (March 1994): 2.)

[This series of insights about the Book of Mormon is distributed weekly
by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS)
at BYU.  For additional information, see http://www.farmsresearch.com
Read previous columns at http://www.ldsworld.com/gems/farms ]

For more than 160 years, beginning at least with the 1833 publication of
Alexander Campbell's _Delusions_, countless critics have claimed that the
Book of Mormon's use of the phrase "land of Jerusalem" was a major error
and proof that the book was false. They have especially criticized the use
of this phrase in reference to the place where Christ would be born. That
phrase was not used in the Bible nor in the Apocrypha. Therefore, the
critics have concluded, it was an example of Joseph Smith's ignorance and
evidence that he had tried to perpetrate a fraud.(1) For anyone honestly
concerned with the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, there was little to
argue about after Hugh Nibley showed in 1957 that one of the Amarna
letters, written in the thirteenth century B.C. and discovered in 1887,
recounted the capture of "a city of the land of Jerusalem, Bet-Ninib."(2)
Predictably, this evidence, along with further evidence of the general
usage of this type of terminology in the Old World(3) has been ignored by
critics of the Book of Mormon.

Now from the Dead Sea Scrolls comes an even more specific occurrence of the
phrase "land of Jerusalem" that gives insight into its usage and
meaning--in a text that indirectly links the phrase to the Jerusalem of
Lehi's time.

Robert Eisenmann and Michael Wise, in _The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered_,
discuss one document that they have provisionally named "Pseudo-Jeremiah"
(4Q385). The beginning of the damaged text reads as follows: ". . .
Jeremiah the Prophet before the Lord [. . . wh]o were taken captive from
the land of Jerusalem" (fragment 1, lines 1-2).(4 )

In their discussion of this text, Eisenmann and Wise elaborate on the
significance of the phrase "land of Jerusalem," which they see as an
equivalent for Judah (Yehud): "Another interesting reference is to the
'land of Jerusalem' in Line 2 of Fragment 1. This greatly enhances the
sense of historicity of the whole, since Judah or 'Yehud' (the name of the
area on coins from the Persian period) by this time consisted of little
more than Jerusalem and its immediate environs."(5)

Based on the evidence from Qumran, and in the words of Eisenmann and Wise,
we can conclude that consistent usage of such language among a people of
Israel who fled Jerusalem at the time of Jeremiah also "greatly enhances
the sense of historicity" of the Book of Mormon.

Critics of the Book of Mormon will not likely give up this argument,
despite the evidence. This is not surprising, after all, because the part
of their argument that the phrase was not known in Joseph Smith's day was
correct. Virtually all opponents of the Book of Mormon have to assume, a
priori, that the text is a purely human nineteenth-century document in
order to justify their rejection of the text. In the case of "land of
Jerusalem," since the phrase could not be explained as being part of
Joseph's information environment and since it was not known in biblical
literature, they incorrectly concluded that Joseph must have been wrong.
Trying to prove a negative, they argued from silence and puffed this
supposed error into what they believed was one of their highest polemical
mountains of evidence against the Book of Mormon.

The phrase was _not_ current in Joseph's day, but, unknown to him, it was
an accurate usage for the day in which he claimed the book was written.
Thus, despite the critics' best efforts, Joseph's supposed "error" becomes
one more evidence of the Book of Mormon's authenticity.


1. For a thorough overview of this argument, see Daniel C. Peterson,
"Chattanooga Cheapshot, or The Gall of Bitterness," review of _Everything
You Ever Wanted to Know about Mormonism_, by John Ankerberg and John
Weldon, _Review of Books on the Book of Mormon_ 5 (1993): 62-78.

2. Hugh W. Nibley, _An Approach to the Book of Mormon_, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake
City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 101.

3. See Robert F. Smith, "The Land of Jerusalem: The Place of Jesus' Birth,"
in _Reexploring the Book of Mormon_, ed. John W. Welch (Salt Lake City:
Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992),170-72.

4. Robert H. Eisenmann and Michael Wise, _The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered_
(Shaftesbury, Eng.: Element, 1992), 58.

5. _Ibid._, 57.

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