Monday, November 18, 2013

Comments Received from Readers – Part II

Continuing with comments and questions received from readers of the blog.    
    Comment #1: “Recently you used the word inarguable, but it should be unarguable” Leah H.
    Response: Actually, they mean the same thing, and both have dictionary entries. The use of the prefix is based on the origin of the word following “in” or “un,” that is, “in-“ is preferred for words of Latin origin and “un-“ for those of Germanic origin. The word Argue comes from Latin so it would be proper to us inarguable.
    Comment #2: There are many passages in the Book of Mormon which indicate that Lehi's camp was "down" or north and that Jerusalem was "up" or south, including: 1 Nephi 3:22-23; 4:1, 4, 33-35; 5:1, 5-6; and 7:2-5. So how can we reconcile the directions given in the text with the fact that the Red Sea is south of Jerusalem? First, we should note that the Dead Sea was not always known by that name; originally it was called the Salt Sea (Gen. 14:3; Num. 34:3, 12; Josh. 15:5). This suggests that it might have been known by other names. An incident in 2 Kings might have provided a basis for referring to the Dead Sea as the Red Sea” Fletcher.
Much of the shore of the hypersaline Dead Sea is covered with the deposits of white salt brines. There is nothing around this lake to suggest the color red 
    Response: The names of the Dead Sea anciently were 1) Dead Sea, 2) Salt Sea, 3) Sea of the Arabah (meaning a desolate and dry area—a section of the Jordan Rift Valley), 4) Sea of Sodom (a city along its banks), 5) Sea of Lot (who lived near there in Abraham’s time), 6) Sea of Asphalt, and 7) Stinking Sea. In the time of the Crusades, it was sometimes called “Devil’s Sea.” The Dead Sea, unlike the Sea of Galilee to the north, does not figure prominently in the biblical narratives.  Its most important role was as a barrier, blocking traffic to Judah from the east.  Ezekiel has prophesied that one day the Dead Sea will be fresh water and fishermen will spread their nets along the shore. Nearly ten times as salty as the world's oceans and twice as saline as the Great Salt Lake in Utah, the Dead Sea is rich with minerals, with 1600 people employed around the southwest side 24/7 to harvest minerals from the water, where potash is the most valuable of those extracted today and used in the manufacture of fertilizer. The unique concentration of the Dead Sea waters has long been known to have medicinal value, with Aristotle, the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon and Cleopatra all being familiar with its health properties. However, nowhere in the long history of the Dead Sea has it ever been connected with anything “red” and not called or referred to by that name.
    Comment #3: “You wrote in a previous article regarding the Nephites building out of stone and not wood, “Civilizations, even in B.C. times, did not use wood like that.” Perhaps you have not seen or heard of the places the Russians built, all out of wood” Mason T.
    Response: The next sentence of the statement you quoted was “Babylon, Assur, Nineveh, Hattusha, Thebes, Edfu, Memphis, Jerusalem and other great cities of the past were built out of stone, not wood.” The point of the article was that Nephi, Sam, Zoram and their wives all came from the Jerusalem area and were familiar with the stone buildings the Jews constructed in and around Jerusalem, even their private residences. The article had to do with the fact that in the Middle East, people did not build out of wood, which is an accurate statement. As for the Russian wood buildings, they also built out of brick and introduced the tent-like roof construction (in northern Russia), since it prevented snow from piling up on wooden buildings during the long winters. One of the things that many do not know, is that the Russians first built out of stone in their urban areas, but the Mongols invaded Kievan Rus’ in the 12th-13th centuries, destroying numerous cities including Ryazan, Kolomna, Moscow, Vladimir, and Kiev, and looted the country so thoroughly that even capitals such as Moscow and Tver could not afford new stone churches for over a century, as the division of the East Slavic people was broken up into three separate nations (Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), facilitating the rise of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Before that time, much of Russia, other than the remote villages, especially in the north, built the major structures out of stone, and their primary building materials were fieldstone and undressed limestone blocks, with the doors made of bronze.
Left: Russian Maikop kurgans, 3000 B.C., Center: Tarxien Temples, Malta, 3100 B.C.; Right: The Knap of Howar, Scotlant, 3700 B.C. All of these are built of stone
    The earliest construction during B.C. times in the Russian area was the Maikop kurgans, during the Maikop culture in the northern Caucasus (a full 500 years after the first building in Peru), and it was built out of stone. As stated earlier, wood buildings were popular in the northern rural areas of Russia since they took less money and the people there were poor and without combined resources such as in the cities. In the urban areas, the favorite building materials were wood, because it could be molded into the unique architecture styles of northeastern Europe, brick and stone.
Left: 15th Century Tolchkovo Church built of brick; Center: 16th Century stone Church of the Ascention; Right: 17th Century wooden building
    Obviously, new development in new areas by a rural people with no other experience would center around whatever building material was available to them, and that would typically be wood. However, in cases like the Land of Promise, the people were not newly developed, nor were they inexperienced in knowledge, and were far more likely to duplicate the type of buildings to which they had previously known.
    Comment #4 “Enoch, the son of Jared, was born in the land of Cainan and became a seer. It is not clear where the land of Cainan was, but it was near a body of water, for Enoch says, "I journeyed from the land of Cainan, by the sea east" (Moses 6:42). If Cainan was bounded by a sea on the east, it may be that this body of water was the Red Sea, which at that time may have connected with what is now the Dead Sea” Hunter H.
    Response: Granted that most of the world believes the Garden of Eden was in the area of Mesopotamia because of the two rivers there and it was the area where Noah settled after the Flood receded, but still it is interesting someone would try to equate the period before the flood with the principal characters being in the land or area of Israel with the Book of Moses as a reference. Enoch was the 4th great grandson of Adam, and the great grandfather of Noah, thus he lived during the last years of Adam’s life, and was translated about 69 years before Noah’s birth. Since the Garden of Eden was in North America, and the place where Adam said farewell to his family was nearby at Adam-ondi-Ahman in northern Missouri, the major personalities of the pre-Flood period lived in and around eastern North America. There was no Red Sea in that area mentioned, though the Missouri area had four rivers, which were named Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates. As for the Land of Cainan, it was the same as the land of his fathers, and a land of righteousness, thus we might assume that it was near the area of the Garden of Eden where Adam dwelt after leaving the garden, which would place Cainan in or very near central to northern Missouri.
    Comment #5: “I have been reading that because Egyptus found the land of Egypt underwater, that the Red Sea was much larger, connected to the Dead Sea and that the configuration of that area of Egypt and Arabia was much different in the past. Wouldn’t this make Lehi’s journey down by the Red Sea in a different area than we think today?” Amanda S.
    Response: Egyptus was the daughter of Ham, the son of Noah, and Egyptus, Ham’s wife, which, from this word, comes Egypt, signifying that which is forbidden in the Chaldean language (Abraham 1:23), because she was of the blood of the Canaanites (Abraham 1:21-22). Noah’s granddaughter, Egyptus traveled southward after the ark landed and the waters rescinded from the mountain tops. At that time Egypt was still slightly under water, but the waters rescinded further, or otherwise no city could have been built or a people live there.
The green and red arrows of the above map suggest the area of settlement of Egyptus in the area of Egypt. The area of the green arrow has been flooded many times and the delta created by the river split (between Alexandria and Fort Fuad) is the most fertile area of Egypt today. This flooding would be from the Nile River (mouth) as waters from the Great Flood flowed down the Nile to the Great Sea (Mediterranean) and in no way would have any impact on the Red Sea, let alone the eastern coastal area (blue arrow) where Lehi traveled. So in answer to the question, no it would not place Lehi’s journey in a different area.

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