Wednesday, August 22, 2018

In Search of Cumorah – Part II

Continuing with the book David A. Palmer in his In Search of Cumorah (“New Evidences for the Book of Mormon from Mexico”), he provides his readers with many erroneous views of the scriptural record. Continuing here with his comments regarding another odd suggestion (p146) about the Mulekite migration to the Land of Promise:
    Palmer: “It is likely that the migration would have been made with the assistance from the Phoenicians.” 
    Response: He goes on to quote Ross T. Cristensen (1972) who stated that the Phoenicians were allies of the Jews at that time, meaning around 600-590 B.C. However, the triple alliance between Israel, Egypt and Phoenicia was in the time of king Solomon (Steven M Collins, The origins and Empire of Ancient Israel, Bible Blessings, 2002, pp206-232), which was from 1010 B.C. to 931, B.C., 350 years before the time of Zedekiah and Mulek.
Top: The Assyrian Empire controlled the Fertile Crescent about the time Lehi was born; at the time of Lehi’s departure from Jerusalem (Bottom), the Babylonian Empire controlled the entire area

It should be noted that during Lehi’s lifetime, Jerusalem was controlled first by Assyria and then by Babylonia, to whom Jerusalem was a vassal state, paying tribute to the Babylonians. In fact, during the period leading up to and at the time of Lehi’s departure, Jerusalem was under strict control of Babylonia.
    It should also be noted that the alliance between Israel and Phoenicia, which was in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, not with Jerusalem or the Southern Kingdom of Judah, ended in the 800s BC, under the influence of the prophet Elijah and Jehu, the 10th king of Israel (who followed king Ahab, the one who introduced the influence of Phoenicia into the Northern Kingdom through his marriage to the Phoenician Jezebel). Certainly, it did not exist after 721 B.C. when Israel was carried off captive into the Assyrian empire.
    Also, contrary to popular belief among modern historians who love to rewrite history, there is no record of the Phoenicians sailing away from the Mediterranean or the coastal waters northward to Gaul or southward along the coast of Africa—one of the reasons is that their ships were not built for deep sea sailing, being thin wood frames and planks placed end to end which did not provide the kind of strength required to withstand the constant pounding of deep ocean wave action.
    It should be noted that Herodotus of Halicarnassus, the world’s first historian, wrote in 425 BC from information handed down to  him by oral tradition (M. J. Cary, The Ancient Explorers, Penguin Books, 1963 p114) that the Egyptian King Necho II (Wehimbre Nekao), between 610 and 595 BC, “after calling off the construction of the canal between the Nile and the Arabian Gulf, sent out a fleet manned by a Phoenician crew with orders to sail west about and return to Egypt and the Mediterranean by way of the Straits of Gibraltar,” however, this was not truly a deep ocean venture, in deep ocean going vessels. In fact, it was not generally known in Herodotus’ time that Africa was surrounded by an ocean—the southern part of Africa was believed to be connected to Asia (Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, Die umsegelung Asiens und Europas auf der Vega, (“The Voyage of the Vega around Asia and Europe”), Vol2, Leipzig, Germany, 1882, p148; Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York, Vol17, 1885, pp267-298). It might also be understood that the famed historians Strabo, Polybius and Ptolemy doubted this tale and its African descriptions (James Rennell, The Geographical system of Herodotus, W. Bulmer, London, 1800, p348). 
White line) The Necho-sponsored voyage around Africa by the Phoenicians in about 600 BC. This was strictly a coastal voyage, with the ships setting in each night for replenishment of supplies, minor repairs to the ships, and to wait out the night since they only sailed in the daytime

This journey took the Phoenicians from the Arabian Gulf into the southern ocean, and every autumn put in at some convenient spot on the Libyan coast, sowed a patch of ground, and waited for next year's harvest. Then, having taken in their grain, they put to sea again, and after two full years rounded the Pillars of Heracles in the course of the third, and returned to Egypt” (Herodotus, Histories 4:42, translated by Aubrey de Sé lincourt, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, Middlesex, England, revised edition, 1972; original 1954).
    While this exploring adventure was early written, it should be noted that the Phoenicians sailed close to the coast, set in each night before continuing the next day, and as Herodotus describes, stopped for several months each year over this three year period to plant and harvest grain for their food and where they also made necessary repairs on their vessels, before continuing their voyage.
    Thus, they did sail around Africa, starting from the Mediterranean and down the Red Sea into the Indian Ocean and north up the coast of Africa and back into the Mediterranean, this was not deep ocean sailing, but coastal all the way, which, obviously, was quite different from the voyage undertaken by Lehi. Yet, despite this well-known information, Palmer adds: 
    Palmer: “We do not have to prove a major Phoenician influence in America because the Book of Mormon does not require it.”

It is not appropriate nor scholarly to simply write in something within the scriptures and claim it is part of the storyline as theorists so often do

Response: If a theorist is going to introduce something into the storyline of the Land of Promise that is neither written, suggested, nor inferred in the scriptural record, he most certainly does have to prove his point—at least show where it is supported by Mormon’s writings.
    Palmer: “Indeed, the language of the Mulekites, or possibly multiple languages of the Mulekites if we include the Phoenicians, changed radically in the three or four hundred years preceding their encounter with the Nephites. This suggests significant influences by natives who spoke the ancient tongues and who may have superimposed native cultural tradition on the newcomers.”
    Response: It is always amazing how far theorists, and especially Mesoamerican theorists, will go to change the scriptural record in order to make room for their extra people, extra languages, and extra cultural influences on the Jewish Mulekites and the Hebrew-Jewish Nephites when there is not a single suggestive comment or innuendo to back it up in the entire scriptural record. As an example, there is no indication anywhere in the scriptural record that anyone existed in the Land of Promise during the 1000-yer history of the Nephites (or the 1500-year history of the Jaredites before them), yet theorists just love to add people at random in order to support their viewpoints and models.
    In addition, they all neglect the understanding that the Mulekites were illiterate and had no written language or records when they fled Jerusalem. Without such, they lost their heritage, and their language, which degraded over 350 to 400 years, and obviously changed as all languages do, even those whose records are intact.
Left: Geoffrey Chaucer (1325-1400); Right: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

This is seen in the extreme changes to English in just two centuries between Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare, since the Bard added 1700 words to the English language unknown to Chaucer or previous to the Bard, by changing nouns into verbs and verbs into nouns or into adjectives, connecting words never before used together and adding prefixes and suffixes, as well as devising 433 words that were wholly original to him, such as “addiction,” “champion,” and “gossip.”
    In addition, the English language has changed from Shakespearean times to modern times over the last 400 years, such as “bedroom” being the “room one had in a bed” and now means a “room in the house,” or “moonshine” once meant a month, and now means illicitly distilled or smuggled liquor, or foolish talk or ideas; and “housekeeper” once meant the nature of a certain breed of dog, and now means a person who takes care of a house.
(See the next post, In Search of Cumorah – Part III,” for more information on “In Search of Cumorah,” by David A. Palmer, and how theorists tend to change the scriptural record and its meaning in order to validate their beliefs and models)

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