Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Narrow Neck of Land One More Time – Part VII—Mesoamericanists’ Achilles Heel

Continuing from the last posts showing the fallacy of the Mesoamerican Theorists’ view of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in being the narrow neck of land—it becomes clear that this isthmus is the real Achilles heel of every Mesoamerican model. In pursuing this, the following is from John E. Clark, himself a Mesoamericanist and follower of John L. Sorenson’s model, in which he defends the Mesoamerican Theory.
We need to keep in mind that in the English language, the word northward comes from north + -ward, and is defined as: Noun: in the direction or region to the north; Adverb: toward the north; Adjective: in a northerly direction. The synonyms of northward as an adjective are: northern, north, northerly, northwardly; and the synonyms of northward as an adverb: northwards, north, northerly northwardly. The noun northward can also be defined as “the direction or area lying to the north of a place”; The adverb  northward can also be defined as “Towards the north; in a northerly direction”; The adjective northward can also be defined as “Situated or directed towards the north; moving or facing towards the north.”
In fact, the word north can mean one of three things:
True North. The direction along the earth's surface toward one pole of the earth's rotation, namely the pole that is clearly on one's left when standing at the Equator while facing the rising sun;
Magnetic North. The direction of a compass, which is along the earth's surface in which horizontal magnetic field strength has its most positive value (though if there is a “flipping” of the magnetic poles as many claim, the north magnetic pole may at some point lie in the southern hemisphere);
A Specified Direction. This is usually within half a right angle of true north, and lies partway in between northwest and northeast. It is often called grid north or plan north.
Lastly, Clark’s comment “we can infer that Mormon and his ancestors used a somewhat different cultural scheme for directions than we do” is a comment without merit since there is absolutely not a single situation in the scriptural record to suggest such a thing. The only reason Clark or Sorenson or anyone else would come up with such an idea is that they have to try and find a way to make the north-south orientation of the Land of Promise fit their east-west orientation of Mesoamerica.
In the following the term southward and northward are used in this same sense: “and began to multiply and spread, even until they did cover the whole face of the land, both on the northward and on the southward, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 11:20, emphasis mine). All of this information (and there is more in the scriptural record) is used here to show that Clark’s idea that “But "northward" signals a different concept than does "north," something like "in a general northerly direction” is simply without merit and certainly not at all accurate according to the many scriptures that use both north and northward interchangeably.
It might also be interesting to note that the Hebrew word teman (tay-mawn’) means south—but it also means southward, south wind, south side, toward the south (literally, “what is on the right hand”). Thus, this one word is used and translated as both “south” land “southward” in the Bible. In fact, the word teman in Hebrew is considered locative (indicating place or direction), like “toward the south” and is used in topography description, often with other points of the compass. As an example, the word teman is often translated in the Bible as both south and southward in the same sentence, like in Exodus 26:18 “And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward,” and also Exodus 38:9, Ezekiel 47:19, Ezekiel 48:28. It is also translated as “southward” in Exodus 26:35, 27:9, Numbers 3:29 and Deuteronomy 3:27, and as “south” in Exodus 26:35, Numbers 10:6, Joshua 12:3, 13:4, 15:1, Job 9:9, 39:26, Isaiah 43:6, and Jechariah 6:6, 9:14.
This lengthy statement is meant to show the fallacy of the Mesoamericanists’ claim that directions in the Land of Promise are other than the simple basic directions of north, south, east and west as given in the scriptural record.
3. Continuing with Clark’s comments: Flanked by a west sea and an east sea. This criterion is also dependent on directional systems and naming, both of which make sense only from a particular vantage point. One's point of reference is critical. It is obvious to everyone that Mesoamerica around the Isthmus of Tehuantepec has oceans to the north and south rather than to the east and west. But from the point of view of the Lehites and the Mulekites leaving Jerusalem, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans were eastward and westward paths to the promised land. The designations of these seas appears to be tied to these original, arduous journeys across oceans and the receding direction of their forfeited homeland. That the directional name might not be an accurate descriptor for every inlet, bay, or stretch of beach is a different matter.”
Lehi's Journey from Jerusalem to Bountiful: 1-From Jerusalem to the Red Sea (no direction is stated), 2-Travel along the Red Sea (correct compass point is given as "south-southeast direction [1 Nephi 16:13]), 3-Turned east (correct compass point is given as "nearly eastward from that time forth [1 Nephi 17:1]) 
Response: The Nephites moved eastward from Jerusalem, away from the Mediterranean Sea. We don’t know if they had knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean or not and probably did not, since they were not a sea-going people until they reached Bountiful. And it took them eight years, crossing wilderness along the Red Sea, heading south-southeast, away from the Sea they knew, and then crossing a very long and arduous Empty Quarter sand desert, then reaching a sea which Lehi called Irreantum. Once upon that sea (Arabian Sea), and sailing to the New World, and then landing they would have had no idea they had come around the globe to the western side of Jerusalem, across the Atlantic Ocean, etc. In addition, the Mediterranean Sea, which covers 970,000 square miles, and was called “the Great Sea” by the Jews. Today they call it HaYam HaTichon, “the intermediate sea,” since they know, of course, its location to the eastern world, but in the time of Lehi, it was simply, HaYam HaGadol, “the Great Sea.” They were unaware of any sea beyond, knew nothing of the overall world geography, of continents, etc., and it would simply be incorrect to claim: “But from the point of view of the Lehites and the Mulekites leaving Jerusalem, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans were eastward and westward paths to the promised land. The designations of these seas appears to be tied to these original, arduous journeys across oceans and the receding direction of their forfeited homeland,” as Clark does. Jacob’s statement is as close as we can come to their understanding of their world at the time they were on the Land of Promise: “we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but 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” (2 Nephi 10:20).
(See the next post, “The Narrow Neck of Land One More Time – Part VIII—Mesoaermicanists’ Achilles Heel,” for more on this difficult area for the Mesoamerican Theorist model to reconcile with the scripture)

1 comment:

  1. Have you put on a map where they say NHM is? According to your map.. #3 would be where they go east from that time forward. Yet NHM is not near the borders of the Red Sea. Trying to figure out how they got to NHM without being off course in some way. Yet during this time.. they were following the Liahona.