Thursday, January 20, 2011

Baja’s Isle of the Sea – Part III

Continuing from the last two posts, while Jacob tells the Nephites “we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea,” David Rosenvall in his Baja California theory disagrees with that scripture and claims when Moroni told Joseph Smith that the Book of Mormon was a record of the inhabitants of this continent, he was excluding everything but North America. However, as pointed out in the last post, the word “continent” in Joseph’s day meant the entire western continent (Western Hemisphere).

Still, Rosenvall tries to limit the term isle as Jacob used it to describe the land upon which they had been led—the Land of Promise. He writes: “Mormon provides more detail about the shape of their lands by indicating “the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water,” except “there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” (Alma 22:32). Mormon’s description matches the definition of a peninsula, such as Baja California, as “a piece of land almost surrounded by water or projecting out into a body of water.”

This is such a ridiculous statement it hardly deserves comment, however, it cannot be left unsaid that the land Mormon was describing was the entire Land of Promise. When you read Mormon’s entire description, it starts in the Land of Nephi and covers the separation of the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27), then extends northward to the land of Bountiful (Alma 22:29), to the Land of Desolation (Alma 22:30-31), to the narrow neck of land that separated Bountiful from Desolation (Alma 22:32).

Having described this entire Land of Promise, Mormon then comes back to the Land Southward, south of the narrow neck, and describes it as “nearly surrounded by water, there being a narrow neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” (Alma 22:32). Thus, the Land Northward, is not being described at this point, however, we know that there was an eastern seashore in this northern land (Ether 9:3;14:12,26), and that there was a very large body of water to the north (Ether 15:8), which is the most northern point described, for the armies in their battles traveled south from there (Ether 15:10) into the area called the Land of Many Waters where was found the Jaredite hill Ramah—the Nephite hill Cumorah—in the Land of Cumorah (Ether 15:11;Mormon 6:4).

Consequently, at least on the east and the north of the Land Northward, there was also seas. As a result, it cannot be said, as Rosenvall claims, that Mormon is describing a peninsula. When we combine this with Jacob’s statement, then we find that the land Northward was also surrounded by water.

As for the west, we do know that the Land Northward was adjacent to the sea, for the barges the Jaredites built were “set forth into the sea” (Ether 6:4) and were blown “toward the promised land” (Ether 6:5) and “the wind never did cease to blow toward the promised land” (Ether 6:8) until finally they “did land upon the shore of the promised land” (Ether 6:12). Most scholars claim the Jaredites crossed the Pacific Ocean, and if so, then the Land Northward opened to an ocean to the west. But whether this was the east sea or the west sea, the point is that the Land Northward was open to the ocean—something Rosenvall’s Baja model does not do.

However, Rosenvall does not accept Jacob’s description of an island. He states: “This peninsular shape also agrees with the definition of an isle.” He supports this by stating: “The term “isle” is defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as “an island or peninsula, esp. a small one.”

However, the word isle does not translate to peninsula. The word comes from the Middle English “ile,” from Old French “isle,” from Vulgar Latin “insula,” and from Latin “insula.” The Latin insula is translated as “island,” and is interpreted today by all dictionaries as “an island, especially a small one.” The word “isle” translates in Afrikans, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Icelandic, Slovak, Indonesian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese all to mean island. Such words as octpob, otok, ostrov, eiland, saar, saari, I’ile, insel, νήσος, eyja, pulau, isola, sala, kepulauan, wyspa, ilha, insula, otok, isla, adacik, octib, hòn đảo, in these languages all mean “isle” such as in the “isle of Man” or the “isle of Wight”--both separate islands surrounded by the ocean. Several other languages all translate the same, but their characters, from Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Thai, and Urdu, are not available on this computer.

The point is, in all languages checked, the word “isle” translates the same—into island in English. However, the main point is that in 1829, when Joseph was translating the plates, the word “isle” was defined as: “a tract of land surrounded by water, or a detached portion of land embossomed in the ocean.” And as for a small island or isle, the word “islet” was defined as “a small ieland.”

(See the next post, “Baja’s Isle of the Sea – Part III,” for the final installment on Rosenvall’s Baja peninsula not being an island, and not meeting other criteria associated with Mormon’s description)

No comments:

Post a Comment