Friday, December 8, 2017

The Meaning of Narrow Neck of Land – Part I

It is interesting that the term "Narrow Neck of Land," or "Small Neck of Land," as used by both Mormon and Moroni in their abridgements of the scriptural record, continues to be so misunderstood and erroneously defined by Land of Promise theorists. Take George Potter, who in his Nephi Project Newsletter of Winter 2017, under the article entitled “Would    Ancient Peruvians Have Used the Phrase, a 'Neck of Land?'“ gives several definitions of the phrase:
1. Claiming the Book of Mormon describes the narrow neck of land as a "line" between two lands (3 Nephi 3:23);
2. A fortified military line (3 Nephi 3:25);
3. A fortified border line road or defensive line with a length of no more than 30-40 miles;
4. Military defenses needed to protect the land northward from the Lamanites in the south;
5. Mountain barrier.
    Potter goes on to say: “The Peruvians would have understood that the west sea was the Pacific Ocean. The question remains. "What was on the east end of the line?" In the language of the native Peruvians, the word "anti" means "east." Anti also appears to mean "east" in Book of Mormon (see Alma 31:3; 27:21,22)."
The four quarters or regions of the Inca Empire, called Tawantinsuyu

First of all, the reason Potter raises the question is that in his model in South America, he has to place the east end of his so-called "narrow neck" in the mountains, since his neck has nothing at all to do with the seas around it. So let us look at his rationale. “Antisuyu” in Quechua does means “east region” or “eastern region,” that is, anti means “east” and suyu means “region.”  
    However, “anti” also anciently referred to a people who inhabited the Amazon region in the east. In fact, Antis is a collective term for the many varied ethnic groups living in the Antisuyu such as the Asháninka or the Tsimané. Nor should it be a surprise that the Inca referred to these tribes separartely, since they were savage and brutal tribes and superior warriors that the Inca never really conquered and brought into their Empire.
    The second smallest of the suyus, Antisuyu, was located northwest of Cusco in the high Andes. Indeed, it is the root of the word “Andes” (Terence N. D’Altroy, The Incas, Blackwell Publishing, Malden, Mass, 2005, pp86-87). Along with Chinchaysuyu, it was part of the Hanan Suyukuna or "upper quarters" of the empire (D’Altroy, The Incas, pp42-43; Julian H. Steward, and Louis C.  Faron, Native Peoples of South America, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1959, pp185-192); and like all the suyus, was divided into wamani, or provinces, with antisuyu made up of ten wamani.
    At the same time, most of the lowland jungle was not part of Tawantinsuyu (Quechua meaning “Realm of the Four Parts”). Only the jungle region that could not be dominated by the Incas, given they could not colonize the jungle region. Thus, they collectively referred to these tribes or people as the Antis.
    Arguably, the first organized and planned naval action of Peru, was in time of the Sapa Inca Tupac Inca Yupanqui, as he mobilized 10,000 men and their supplies on large rafts navigating the rivers, a task that took two years, After that campaign, Sapa Inca sent these men into the rupa rupa (a very hot, High Jungle, with narrow long valleys, fluvial mountain trails and canyons called pongos) of the fierce and savage Ch’unchu (Chunchus), a neighboring people of the Antis, which was a catastrophe for the Incas, since only 1,000 soldiers returned alive. After subjugating the Chunchus in the forests east of Cuzco in central Peru, very few arrived at Musu (present day Bolivia).
    The point of this is to show that the word “anti” in Quechua was an Inca word, and found in the Quechua language at the time of and after the Spanish invasion. There is no way of knowing if this word meant “east” in “the language of the ancient Peruvians,” if by that it is meant the Nephites. However, to make his case, Potter suggests that “anti also appears to mean “east” in Book of Mormon (see Alma 31:3; 27:21-22).”
    Again, let us take a look at his rationale: The first reference states: “Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla,” which may reference the direction of “east,” however, when adding the rest of the sentence, “which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites” (Alma 31:3), we find that both “east’ and “south” are reference, the latter direction twice.
    The second reference, “And it came to pass that the voice of the people came, saying: Behold, we will give up the land of Jershon, which is on the east by the sea, which joins the land Bountiful, which is on the south of the land Bountiful; and this land Jershon is the land which we will give unto our brethren for an inheritance” (Alma 27:21-22). This latter reference has nothing to do with “anti” meaning “east” in any way, since the name of these converted Lamanites is referred to as: “People who are,” or “they who are.”
    In light of the context of these converted Lamanites, it would not make sense for these recent converts to declare themselves to be against Nephi and Lehi. Alternatively, if the name element Anti- derives from the Egyptian relative adjective nty (Coptic ente), which means “the one who,” then the name would mean roughly, “that-which (-is-of-) Nephi-Lehi” or “the-one-who (-is-of-) Nephi-Lehi.” Or, according to Daniel H. Ludlow, it could also be taken from the Hebrew word neged (anti) that means “facing opposite, which could mean “those who imitate the teachings of the descendants of Nephi and Lehi, or face opposite their Lamanite  birth.
    In fact, it is far more likely that the converted Lamanite king so named his people this so the people with the new name “the–one-who-is-of-Nephi-Lehi” could recognize themselves as descendants of Lehi living in the land of Nephi, and they were no longer following the traditions of their more recent fathers, but sought to look back to the times and teachings of Father Lehi, who promised all of his posterity the blessings of peace and prosperity based on their united obedience to the laws of the coming Messiah.
    According to Richard Dilworth Rust, of the Maxwell Institute, the acceptance of Nephi and Lehi as fathers to the converted Lamanites is exemplified in King Lamoni's father, who has his people take upon themselves (and also gives to Lamoni's brother) the name of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, which could be interpreted to mean "in imitation of Nephi and Lehi." The prefix anti- means "against, facing, or opposite"—as is a reflection in a mirror. While it can have the negative meaning of a false imitation, anti- can also indicate a similarity or likeness. In this positive sense of being a reflection, Anti in Anti-Nephi-Lehi might well have signified the converted Lamanites' desire to be like the prophet-fathers Nephi and Lehi. In what must have been a similar intent, Helaman named his sons Nephi and Lehi so they would remember their "first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem" (Helaman
5:6). (“Their Fathers” – Letters and Autobiography, From Feasting on the Word: The Literary Testimony of the Book of Mormon, chapter 6).

    In addition, consider the many Book of Mormon names or words that involve Anti: Ani-Anti, Antiomno, antion, Antionah, Antiparah, Antipas, Antipus—in fact, a complete list of all Book of Mormon usage of “anti” in a name has at least 37—and not all are used the same, as an example: Antipus, name of a Nephite commander; Antiparah, name of a city; Antipas, name of a mountain; Antionum, names of a land; Manti, name of a hill; Antion, name of a Gold unit or coin. It could also be used as a title in some of these names.
    It would be difficult to suggest that all these referenced the term “east,” but far more likely held some significant meaning to the Nephites than a direction—while the name of a place could reference a direction, certainly the name of a person would not.  
(See the next post, “The Meaning of Narrow Neck of Land – Part II,” for more on how Quechuan words may not necessarily date back to the period of the Nephites and therefore, not be the interpretive word for a scriptural passage)

1 comment:

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