Friday, August 23, 2019

Nearly Surrounded by Water – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding the surrounding of the Land Southward by water, or the sea, as both Mormon and Jacob state, but to which Joe V. Anderson of BMAF in his article: “Nearly Surrounded by Water”: An Analysis of What Mormon Meant and What He Did Not Mean.”
    Anderson stated in his lengthy article, “Mormon clearly understood that the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were not completely surrounded by water, let alone by a sea.” Now, it might be of interest to know how he justifies this based on Jacob’s talk to the Nephites in the temple (2 Nephi 10:20), Mormon’s statement about the Land Southward nearly being surrounded by water except for a small neck (Alma 22:32), and his other statement that the Nephites had spread out over the land “insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8).
    First, Anderson attacks the meaning of “ilse” saying: “Mormon knew that the Nephites were not on an isle of the sea because, by definition, an isle needs to be completely surrounded by a designated, lake, river, or ocean/sea, as shown in the American Dictionary of the English Language: ‘Isle, noun: A tract of land surrounded by water, or a detached portion of land embosomed in the ocean, in a lake or river.”
So let’s take a look at the word in question: “isle.” First it has to be:
1. A tract of land detached from other land;
2. Surrounded by water;
3. Within a sea Ocean, lake or river.
    And since we are using the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language that was known to Joseph Smith, we might want to look further at “isle” instead of “island,” the latter the word we use today. However, in 1829, at the time of Joseph’s translation, the word “island” is define as: “Island, noun i'land. [This is an absurd compound of isle and land, that is, land-in-water land, or ieland-land. There is no such legitimate word in English, and it is found only in books. 1. A tract of land surrounded by water. 2. A large mass of floating ice, is called an island of ice.”
    Thus, Joseph in his translation would not have used the word “island,” though that is the correct word today, but the word “isle” which was the correct word in 1829.
    In addition, it should also be noted that in Europe, the word was “ieg “and “land,” or “iegland,” which is the Old English of the English word “isle,” which is the current word “island.” It should be noted that the and word for river or stream was “ea,” not “ei,” thus rendering the water surrounding the land the sea, not a lake or river.
    This, then led to the interpretation of “A contiguous area of land, smaller than a continent, totally surrounded by water. (Geoffrey Keynes, John Sparrow eds,Devotions upon Emergent Occasions,” University Press, Cambridge, 1923, p98). It is also stated as “Land surrounded by water.” 
No matter how much someone wants to try and alter the meaning that Nephi wrote of his brother’s speaking in the temple, the term isle is correct, and that is a piece of land surrounded by the sea, which is how Jacob said it, “we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20).
    However, this does not persuade Anderson fro continuing with his thesis about the word “isle” and its meaning. Returning to his opinion that Mormon did not mean what he said, Anderson stated: “Nephi, son of Lehi, is the only writer of the Book of Mormon who mentions an “isle.” Surely Mormon and Moroni had a much better understanding of the lay of the land and its geography than did Nephi.
    Anderson might think this, however, Nephi’s words suggest otherwise because he had a visionary view of the entire Land of Promise before ever reaching there. As Nephi stated: “I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters. And…I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten” (1 Nephi 13:13-14). And also: “And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them. And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle. And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. And…that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them” (1 Nephi 13:7-20, emphasis added).
    Now, the meaning of “beheld” is the same as “behold,” which in 1829 meant “to fix the eyes upon; to see with attention; to observe with care,” “to look upon, to see,” “to fix attention upon,” “to look, to direct the eyes to an object.” Thus, we see that Nephi actually saw the events he was writing about, including the Land of Promise, his posterity upon it, the other nations of the earth, their movement across the ocean, and the land. While it is obvious that Mormon would have had a greater knowledge of the specifics of the land than Nephi, because he fought and led his armies across the length and breadth of it, the latter certainly had an overview of the entire land and saw it upon the sea as the gentiles first attacked, then settled the land.
    Despite all this information to the contrary of Anderson’s view, he continues as though his is the only accurate view available. He stated: “Because Mormon and Moroni understood that they were not on an isle of the sea, then this term should have no bearing on our understanding the geography of the Book of Mormon.”

In this way, theorists lay claim to information contrary to their theory, view and opinions as being inaccurate. Which, in this case, makes Jacob, Nephi, Helaman, Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the Spirit of Translation all wrong and Joe V. Anderson the only one right.
    Still showing his misunderstanding of the scriptural record, Anderson adds, “then there must have been some kind of water barrier to the south. This water barrier need not have gone from the west sea to the east sea because of Mormon’s basic requirement that the land southward was not “completely surrounded by water.”
    The statement by Mormon which Anderson wants to claim meant one thing, obviously meant something else entirely. Mormon’s full statement was: “And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” (Alma 22:32).
    What is important in this statement is:
1. The Lands of Nephi and Zarahemla
2. Nearly surrounded by water
3. Except for a small neck of land
4. Situated between the Land Northward and the Land Southward.
    That is, the Land Southward was nearly surrounded by water except for the small neck of load that connected the Land Southward to the Land Northward—both lands being the Land of Promise. In other words, Mormon tells us why the Land Southward was not completely surrounded by water and that was because there was a small or narrow neck of between these two lands in the Land of Promise. Thus one cannot just claim that the reason why the water did not completely surround the land was because there was other land anywhere else by between the Land Northward and the land Southward.
(See the next post, “Nearly Surrounded by Water – Part III,” regarding the surrounding of the Land Southward by water, or the sea, as Jacob and Mormon describes)

1 comment:

  1. Wow. So according to the thinking of Anderson, maybe the Book of Mormon does not mean what it says when it says not to lie and steal and or do other evil things. Surely the prophets did not REALLY mean those things either.