Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Origination of North•ward – Part III

Continued from the previous post, regarding ancient Hebrew directional words, and how the word Northward came about.
    As shown in the previous post, Sorenson’s comment to suggest that the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians did not know the direction of the rising sun and attributed it to a south southeast direction is totally misleading and inaccurate. In fact, another point Sorenson makes in summation (p39) is that “in fact, we don’t know what Laman, Lemuel Sam, and Nephi did call their directions, since the first terms for directions appear in the Book of Mormon only hundreds of years after the first landing (Mosiah 7:5; 9:14)
    This is another inaccurate statement, which leads to a completely erroneous thought. We do know what Nephi called directions, for when Lehi and his party were moving down by the Red Sea, according to Nephi, discussing an area where he had never before been, states: “we traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction” (1 Nephi 16:13) and again later, “we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth” (1 Nephi 17:1).
    Now the fact that Nephi, in an area he had never before been, moving along the Red Sea, where he had never before been, and then across what is now known as the Rub’ al Khali “The Empty Quarter,” where he had never before been, accurately states the directions in which he traveled. While we may not know the actual names of the Land of Promise he used, we can rest assured that he would have known the cardinal, intercardinal (or ordinal), and the principal winds directions, since he used them previously in these areas of which he had never before been. Chances are, he knew the Land North and the Land South, and knew of the land northward and the land southward, for those were the types of names the Hebrews gave areas overall.
    Now, let us return to northward and its use and meaning. “Northward” comes from the Old English norðweard, used around 1100 A.D.; that is, “north” (norð) and “ward” (-weard). Interestingly, the word “north” was not used as a noun until around 1200 A.D., and was first used in America as a noun in connection with North America in 1766 by Benjamin Franklin, and as an adjective in 1770.
    There seems to be an interesting point about “northward” that might be critically important about the use of Northward and Southward in the original Mormon script.
    First of all, it seems doubtful the Mormon would have used the actual words of Northward or Southward, for it is highly unlikely they would have appeared in the glyphs he used—few ancient languages had such differentiation in directions. As an example, in ancient Hebrew
צָפוֹן tsaphon (north) pronounced tash-FONE’ (with a near silent “t”) is used 138 times in the Old Testament and translated as: “the north” “on the north” “to the north” “for the north” “your north” “in the north” “of the north” “by the north”
צָפוֹנָה = (tzfoni) northern
צפוני = northernmost
צָפוֹנָה = northward
צָפוֹנָה = to the north
    Note that in the words “northern” “northward” and “to the north” the Hebrew has added Niqqud (vowel points) which is a way to indicate vowels, using a set of ancillary glyphs. They were neither used nor known anciently, and vowels were simply not indicated in written form. Thus, the words for “northern” and “southern” in Hebrew even today are the terms north and south with added symbols to indicate the further meaning.
    Perhaps by way of explanation:

Letters are in black—all that existed in the time of the writing of both Old and New Testaments and for some centuries afterward. Vowel points are in red, which did not exist ­anciently, with vertical ones meaning long or short vowels. Blue are cantillation marks to help in chanting

These additional marks for vowels are found beneath the letters, something that original Hebrew did not have until rabbis began adding them in around1000 B.C., or the time of king David. Initially, when added, these vowel additions were simply letters (H [heh] for “a”; Y [yud] for “i” and “e”; W [vav] for “o” and “u”). Thus, “ram” which would have been written before this time simply as RM, would now be RMH to distinguish it from “rom” “roam” “ream” etc., or RWMH for “rome.”
However, around 900 A.D., dots and dashes (niqqud ) in and around letters were added.
    Today, modern Hebrew has added several points, some called rafe (raphe), d’geshim or germination marks, and cantillation marks. Some show how to force sound through the lips, others are accent marks, and still others are how to chant, which complement the letters and vowel points. There are also gershayim marks which means double geresh or punctuation mark.
    While none of this is important, it shows that modern Hebrew allows for many changes in the language since its origination in ancient (Biblical) times and to what would have been known to the Nephites who spoke and wrote Old Testament Hebrew generally.
    A dagesh, which modifies the sound, with weak, light and strong dots (dagesh kal, dagesh qal and dagesh lene) and are placed within the consonants. 
Ancient                Present
In addition, in Egyptian, they would have had no use for northward or southward since they had a very narrow land occupied along the banks of the Nile River simply used a symbol for north and for south, represented by a ship without sail meaning north (the way the Nile flowed) and a ship with a sail going south (the way the wind blew).
    As mentioned earlier, these symbols were specific and had very generalized meaning of things to the north and things to the south when combined with other glyphs.
    Consequently, since the term “northward” and “southward” were not terms used anciently, for they would have said “to the south” or “to the north,” Mormon or Nephi, even though the latter’s writing in 1 Nephi 17:1 is so translated, simply would not have used “northward” or “southward.” More likely, the original Hebrew or Reformed Egyptian stated “toward the east” or “in the general direction of the east,” which would be more in line with the use of language in both ancient Hebrew and Egyptian.
    In Hebrew thinking, and Egyptian writing, the phrase “The Land to the North,” would be more accurate and typical than “The Land Northward.” While it is understandable that in English Land Northward is more common, the point is that Sorenson and other Mesoamerican theorists make a big deal out of the terminology “northward” and “southward” to justify their land arrangement, by claiming those words have a much wider meaning.
    As an example, Brant A. Gardner states in his “Problems of Directions in the Book of Mormon,” John L. Sorenson’s An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon presented the best argument for a New World location for the Book of Mormon. For all of its strengths, however, one aspect of the model has remained perplexing. It appeared that in order to accept that correlation one must accept that the Nephites rotated north to what we typically understand as northwest.”

Of course, northwest is not correct. Fudging by Mesoamericanists has become a common factor in their effort to make east-west oriented land seem an acceptable land base for their Land of Promise. While Central America overall can be considered northwest to southeast, the small area known as Mesoamerica is exactly east to west, not southeast to northwest as Gardner claims. But that is not the only thing Gardner claims. Consder his support of Sorenson’s “tiny little problem.” 
(See the next post, “Origination of North•ward – Part IV,” for more information regarding how the directional words were used in ancient Hebrew, and how and when the word Northward came about as well as understanding how to use Hebrew thought in defining words)

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