Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Meaning of Narrow Neck of Land – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding the various erroneous opinions about the narrow neck of land, what it was, how it was configured, and the meaning of the term as Mormon and Moroni used it and Joseph Smith, through the Spirit, interpreted it. 
    In the last post, we were discussing the meaning of “anti” as being a term for “east” in the Quechua language, and that the word "anti" as used in the Book of Mormon is claimed to also mean east. However, the fact that the Book of Mormon lists at least 37 names that include the term “anti” within them and that all those could not possibly refer to “east,” if in fact any did.
    Gordon C. Thomasson, in Old World Languages in the New World, suggests that the use of “anti” in a name is a root word or name of some sort in the Nephite language with which neither Joseph Smith nor anyone since really understands, or of which possibly has even the slightest notion. Whether this is true or not, one can see that the idea of "anti" meaning "east" in the Book of Mormon is quite suspect.
    The point is, and should be well understood, when Potter tries to make a point of a word meaning something, we might want to carefully investigate such suggestions and references, because such quotes often do not bear support at all to the claim being referenced. While “anti” in Quechua means “east,” it does not have any reference to the Nephite language (Hebrew and Egyptian) and cannot be used as a suggestive foundation for a move in that direction.
As Potter goes on to write: “The question remains, would the ancient Peruvians have called this geographic feature a neck of land? As noted, the "west sea" certainly meant the Pacific Ocean, and "east" to the ancient Peruvians meant the Andes Mountains.”
    There are four problems with this rationale regarding the Andes Mountains claim: 
1) the term “Andes” relating to the mountains is considered to have come from the Quechua word, “ande,” meaning “high crest,” or “high mountains.” The claim that it came from the Quechua word “anti,” meaning “east,” is unlikely before the time of the Inca, who used the term to specifically relate to “east” in their four quadrants of their growing Empire. Originally, the Quechua word “anti” referenced a people living to the east of Cuzco. Which meaning came first, tribal or directional, is unknown.
2) the indigenous populations used exclusively local terms for the mountains in their region and never used a uniform term for the cordilleras. In 1572, the Spanish chronicler Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa introduced the term “cordillera de los andenes” as a human landscape modeled by many terraces. In 1609, the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega used the term Antis for the people living in the eastern cordillera, but did not call the mountains by this name, nor use the term to signify east.
3) the Andes mountains are made up of three cordilleras, of which only one is presently called "East," and that is the Cordillera Oriental. The other two cordilleras are called Cordillera Occidental (meaning West) and Cordillera Central, because it lies in between the Occidental and Oriental.
4) the term during the Nephite period would probably not have been needed prior to the time of the crucifixion when the Andes Mountains rose to their present, significant height. What they were before, if anything, is unknown.
    Continuing with Potter: So what about the Book of Mormon terms "line" and "neck" being associated with a narrow mountain pass? Perhaps the most important mountain pass in the Andes is the La Raya pass that in ancient times connected the capital city of Cusco with the empires of the Altiplano and Lake Titicaca. The La Raya pass was the "line" between the Inca's East and South quarter; it was an important trade corridor, and an even more important military asset. Today, the narrow mountain pass has become famous by passenger trains and tour buses stopping at the summit so passengers can take photographs. The height of the pass is 14,232 feet above sea level. The name La Raya Pass means "line pass" in English. The name of the mountain that stands directly above the La Raya pass is called Kunka, meaning the "neck" in English. I believe it is no coincidence that the Peruvians associate the terms "line" and "neck" with narrow mountain passes. Rather it is another tribute to the amazing accuracy of the Prophet Joseph Smith's translation of the golden plates!”
    Again, we need to take a look at Potter's claims. First of all, we need to keep in mind that the term “La Raya,” is Spanish, and basically means “the stripe,” as in a stripe like on a pattern, which is a straight, often broad line; but it also can be translated as “streak,” “scratch,” and “crease,” as well as “line,” and in such case, the mountain cordillera that passes this area is referred to as “La Raya Mountain Range,” of the Andes, or a “stripe of mountains across the land,” or “a crease” of the Andes, or a “line of the Andes.” Thus the “La Raya Pass” is a break in that crease or line of mountains that connects the upper area of Cuzco with the lower area of the Altiplano and Lake Titicaca. It should also be noted that in Spanish, línea, is line; and the definition “line” is the fourth given for “raya.”
    As for Kunka, it is a Quechua word and basically means “throat,” but can also mean gullet or voice as well as neck, since "throat" is part of the "neck." The Spanish spelled kunka as Cunca, which is translated as "basin" or "bowl" or "depression," and today spelled as "cuenca." Kunka is a mountain in the La Raya mountain range in the Andes of Peru. While Potter can claim Mount Kunka means “neck,” it actually means “Throat” in this case, and a nearby mountain, called Hatun Ichhuna Kunka is translated as “Big Sickle Throat.” A lower elevation ridge is called Huch’uy Ichhuna Kunka, translated as “Little Sickle Throat.”
    Thus we see that Potter’s claim that this area connects “line” and “neck” with narrow mountain pass is inaccurate and not at all what the Quechua naming intended. In addition, since throat can also mean “passage,” it stands as much a connection to the pass through the mountains at the base of the throat, or passage, of Kunka, as any other, and more accurate than neck and line.
In a simple drawing, the line through the narrow neck separating the Land Northward and the Land Southward, and more specifically, as a border between the Land of Desolation and the Land of Bountiful, as the scriptures proclaim

 On the other hand, as Mormon so clearly tells us, that this narrow neck of land was the only separation between the Land Northward and the Land Southward (Alma 22:32), and he also tells us that there was a mountain pass or passage that ran between the Land Northward and the Land Southward (Alma 50:34; 52:9; Mormon 2:29). Thus, it can only be concluded that since both the narrow neck of land and the narrow pass ran between the Land Southward and the Land Northward, and that there was only one such area (Alma 22:32), they were one of the same—that is, the narrow pass lay within the narrow neck, thus making Potter’s entire argument on the subject null and void. This is especially true when we consider that Mormon tells us that there was water on both sides of the narrow pass (Alma 50:34).
    As for “line,” which Potter suggests means the same as this narrow neck, and used a Webster definition of: “line" is '6 b - disposition made to cover extended military positions and presenting a front to the enemy'," it should be noted that this definition is not from Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary definition, but Merriam Webster’s much later work. In Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language , of which there are 30 definitions of the word “line,” which states it as “a trench or rampart; an extended work in fortification,” which is not the same as the much later definition used by Potter; but also lists it as a “border,” and “a straight or parallel direction,” and “a straight extended mark,” which makes far more sense than Potter’s since this “line” was between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, or in other words, between the Land of Desolation and the Land of Bountiful (Alma 22:32), which describes a simple border, a straight or parallel line or extended mark separating these two lands.
The border between the Land of Desolation and the Land of Bountiful, called a "line"  between these lands by Mormon
In fact, Mormon’s wordage is “on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation,” which suggests on the line of Bountiful and Desolation, or the line in between, or the border between these two lands. In fact, this is the usage of this “line” in 3 Nephi 3:23, which states: “And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation.” That is, the land in which the Nephites occupied (against the attack of the Gadianton Robbers) ran from the Land of Zarahemla northward to the line (or border) between the land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation.

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