Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Look at Welch’s Approach to City Placement, Directions & Distances – Part IV

Continuing with John W. Welch’s comments in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, in which he discusses Nephite placement of cities, the directions in the Land of Promise, and the distance across the narrow neck of land, and continuing with Chapter 52: “Directions in Hebrew, Egyptian, and Nephite Language,” with “Alma 22:27 on the east and on the west” as a sub-heading, he states:
6. If Nephi used the Egyptian terms with Hebrew meanings in mind, and if Joseph Smith then translated those terms literally, a remarkable coincidence occurs…”
Response: If, if , if. Here is the basis of all this clouding of the normal directions that the vast majority of people on earth know and understand in order to justify their model.
“In the Hebrew (and modern) concept of directions, land westward (Hebrew rear) would have been written in Egypto-Nephite characters as land northward (Egyptian behind), and land eastward (Hebrew front) would have been written in Egypto-Nephite as land southward (Egyptian front).”
Response: There you have it. In this convoluted manner, Mesoamericanists try to tell us that the Nephites used an Egyptian term with Hebrew thought, thus reversing the directions they meant, and when Joseph Smith translated their work, both he and the Spirit had no idea that they were making a mistake. Evidently, in Welch’s and Mesoemricanists’ minds, the Lord, after all, is a God of confusion.
“In other words, the conceptual geography of the Hebrew universe must be "distorted" in relation to the Egyptian vocabulary in precisely the way that Nephite geography seems "distorted" in relation to Mesoamerica.”
Response: I wonder how Nephi would feel regarding this convoluted thinking about what he and his descendants wrote, for it was he who said, “For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (2 Nephi 31:3). Somehow, the word “distorted” does not fit my idea of the Book of Mormon, or the writings of the prophets who created it, or Joseph Smith's translation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that took place. But Welch is not finished yet:
7. Such Nephite behavior would parallel the way the Egyptians dealt with the problem of fitting their conceptual scheme to strange landscapes encountered when they traveled outside Egypt. They did not change their world view to fit the new geographical facts but simply kept the same terminology. This is shown in their handling of the direction of flow of the Euphrates River. As we have seen, "The Egyptian word 'to go north' is also the Egyptian word 'to go downstream,' and the word 'to go south' is also the word 'to go upstream,' against the current [of the Nile].”
Response: Perhaps a little geography needs to be included here. The Egyptian world for at least two thousand years was caught up in a country unlike any other. They lived in a sand desert—an area the size of Texas and New Mexico combined, four times bigger than the United Kingdom, and twice as large as  France. It is 636 miles north to south, and 770 miles east to west, and though it has coast lines on two sides (Mediterranean to the North, Red Sea to the east), its land area is two-thirds desert.
Große Sandmeer, Egypt’s Sand Sea, part of the Great Sand Sea of Africa’s Libyan Desert, which is part of the western desert, with no rivers or streams draining into or out of the area
They had one source of water that enabled them to live in that desert—the Nile River—and that one source of water ran the full length of their country (and far beyond) and their civilization did not stray far away from that one source of water, with the majority of the cities were on the east side of the Nile (east, sunrise, life), and the majority of tombs on the west side (west, sunset, death). Unlike most of the world’s rivers, that source of water ran to the north and emptied into the Mediterranean Sea.
The Nile River in Egypt flows south  far into Africa, with tributaries of the White Nile, which flows from Lake Victoria in central Africa, and also the Blue Nile which flows from Lake Tana in Ethiopia. Note that almost all the cities are adjacent to the river
Thus, in Egypt, their world and survival surrounded the river. The area high up toward the source of the river was upward to them, i.e., up toward the headwaters from which their lives emanated, thus it was called Upper Egypt; conversely, the mouth of the Nile was referred to as Lower Egypt. There was no east or west running rivers or water sources, no trails led east or west, and in their land, only north and south was designated—in fact, there were two Egypts, one in the north (Ta-mehu, the land of papyrus), ruled by the god Horus, and one in the south, (Ta-schema, the land of the reed), ruled by the god Seth. The only fertile land in Egypt, other than the Delta where the Nile emptied into the Mediterranean, was when the Nile River, depositing silt and water to the surrounding desert along its banks for crop growth—in fact, the Egyptians actually had gods, Ehnemu, Anqet, and Satet who were not only the guardians of the Nile but their specific duty was to make sure the right amount of silt was deposited during these annual inundations; the god Hapi was in charge of the waters hat flowed during the floods, and the annual flood was known as the “arrival of Hapi.” Thus, to the Egyptians, going north was to “go downstream,” and to go south, was to “go upstream,” since that was their only method of travel.
The Eyptian transportation system included boats that traveled north and south along the river. The current flowed northward, so traveling “down” the Nile was easy, since you simply went with the current. But travel south “up” the Nile was also easy, since the winds blow southward along the river. Consequently, the boat could sail up river by raising sails and sailing with the wind. Thus, the hieroglyphic symbol for north, up, or upriver, was a boat with a sail; the symbol for south, down or downriver, was a boat without a sail.
In fact, the early Egyptians referred to their enemies as those of the north and those of the south, that is, their enemies outside the Nile Valley. To the Egyptians, north represented immortality, since the imperishable stars that circulated in the north never fell below the horizon, or did not “die.” In this sense, your “ka will not perish, you are ka.”
As can be seen, the Egyptians had a different view of their land than other peoples would have had of their own. It was a unique land along a very narrow line from north to south. They knew one river and that river flowed to the north, thus they thought in terms of rivers flowing northward. There is no correlation between this concept and that of the Jews in Israel or of the Nephites in their Land of Promise, since the Nephites had an east-west direction numerous times, and since they traveled in all four directions in their land.
8. “When the Egyptians met another river, the Euphrates, for example, that flowed south instead of north, they had to express the contrast by calling it 'that circling water which goes downstream in going upstream,' " which could also be translated as "the river which flows 'north' [Egyptian downstream] by flowing 'south' [Mesopotamian downstream]." In other words, they kept their own cosmographic mind-set unchanged while they adjusted the "real-world" geography to fit it—which seems to be what the Nephites did.”
Response: Actually, we don’t know what the Egyptians as a people called the Euphrates, or what “their mindset” might have been, to other rivers, or if “they carried their own cosmographic mindset unchanged while they adjusted to the real-world geography to fit in”—that is Welch’s comment. What is known is that Egyptians traveling to other lands are said to comment about the “wrong” flow of other rivers, as shown in a 1500 B.C. era text of Tuthmosis I (left) in Nubia—a land far to the south in Lower Nubia, between Aswan and Khartoum, where the Nile River passes through formations of hard igneous rock resulting in a series of white water rapids, called cataracts, which form a natural boundary to the south—called the Euphrates river the "inverted water that goes downstream in going upstream." However, this was not a confusing problem, it merely shows that the Egyptians realized that other rivers flowed in a different direction than their own Iteru or “Great River,” the Nile.
(See the next post, “A Look at Welch’s Approach to City Placement, Direction & Distance – Part V,” for more of this type of problem facing Mesoamericanists and how it is ignored in order to sustain and support their Mesoamerican model)

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