Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Mystifying Rationale of Mesoamerican Directions – Part XVII

Continuing with Brant A. Gardner’s rationale of the Mesoamericanists’ skewed Land of Promise, and the various meanings of words that Joseph Smith used in the translation and their accuracy, and with Dee Stoddard’s quoted footnote)
    We concluded the last post with: “Secondly, Gardner ends his comment with a footnote. This Footnote #22 reads:”
Ted Dee Stoddard (left), Professor Emeritus of Management Communication in the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Management where he taught business writing throughout his academic career, states: From the East to the West Sea: An Analysis of John L. Sorenson’s Book of Mormon Directional Statements,” (2001), is adamant that Book of Mormon directions conform to something similar to our western cardinal directions: The directional system of the Nephites has six Nephite cardinal directions: north, northward, south, southward, east, and west…”
Response: This is not correct. Northward and Southward are not cardinal directions. In fact, they do not show up on the 32-point Compass Rose in any way. Northward means “in a northerly direction,” while Northwest and Northeast are compass points. Northward is a simple word or phrase meaning “in a general northerly direction,” while Northwest or Northeast give a specific direction, halfway between North and West, or North and East.
    Stoddard is trying to get you to think that Northward and Southward are basic and fundamental directions; however, they are statements that mean “toward the North,” and “toward the south,” which makes a big difference in his following argument.
The word “northward” has a specific meaning in connection to directions, for it is “more toward the north,” thus, it falls between “north-northwest” and “north-northeast,” and does not extend beyond. Neither does it lean more toward one side or the other, i.e., it is not more toward the west or more toward the east—the very words mean toward the north, being nor northwest nor northeast; However, Northwest and Northeast have much finer definition in distances and far more limited

Stoddard continues: “Northward” reflects the general direction of northwest rather than northeast.”
Response: Once again, as shown in the answer and image above, this is inaccurate. Northward means “toward the north.” Just because Mesoamerican is slanted at a northern point of being northwest, it is not what the word means at all. To be exact, in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, which is the closest thing to the language Joseph Smith would have known in New England America in 1829, the definition of Northward is: “Northward: Adjective: Being towards the north, or nearer to the north than to the east and west points. Adverb: Towards the north, or towards a point nearer to the north than the east and west points. As can clearly be seen, Stoddard is trying to alter meaning to agree with his Mesoamerican model, which is not unusual for the Mesoamericanists’ approach to this overall subject.
Continuing with Stoddard: “Northward” could be either a northwest or a northeast direction by its very nature, but northwest is the correct orientation from an Isthmus of Tehuantepec perspective.”
Response: We are determining word meaning here, not trying to orient Joseph’s language to a known location. In 1829 when translating, he had no idea there was any connection in anyone’s mind of Mesoamerica (not until 1844 did he receive a copy of the book Incidents in Central America)
Continuing with Stoddard: ”Or, as Noah Webster in his 1828 dictionary says about “northward” as an adjective, as in land northward: “Being towards the north, or nearer to the north than to the east and west points.
Response: So how do you get a meaning of Northwest? Nor does Webster translate “northward” to be Northeast or Northwest—merely “toward the north.”
Continuing with Stoddard: “Southward” reflects the general direction of southeast rather than southwest. “Southward” could be either a southeast or a southwest direction by its very nature, but southeast is the correct orientation from an Isthmus of Tehuantepec perspective. Interestingly, Noah Webster does not show an adjectival definition for “southward” in his 1828 dictionary.”
Response: Again, Stoddard very clearly, as all Mesoamericna theorists do, is self-serving in his discussion and using Mesoamerican as the defacto Land of Promise, which to BYU professors and other scholars who have studied there or bought into the Mesoamerican location—their comments are not scholarly, but self-serving. The point is, Southward means “toward the south, not southeast or southwest, but toward the south.”
Continuing with Stoddard: “North, south, east, and west are the directions that readers of the twenty-first century are accustomed to based on compass bearings.”
Response: That is because that is the meaning of the words. Perhaps in academia, like with Lewis Carroll, you can make words mean what you want, but in the real world, north is north. It was their meaning in centuries and millennia past, is their meaning now, and likely will be their meaning in the future. Of all the millions or billions of times north, east, south and west, have been used as cardinal directions, they have always held true to that meaning. Saying they do not is neither scholarly nor truthful.
Continuing with Stoddard: “When these cardinal directions are viewed from the perspective of a horizontally positioned hourglass that is placed over a map of Mesoamerica, they coincide with the same four cardinal directions employed by Book of Mormon readers of the twenty-first century.”
In Sorenson’s Book “An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” he uses four maps like this one, on a vertical north south direction. Later, he twists the map to the left, claiming he is just laying it flat; however, to lay it flat, you need to lay it vertically flat. By tilting it to the left, you move his map into an east-west orientation, and add a huge piece of land (Yucatan) to the Land Southward. Note the colored circles—all is seen vertically in the right positions, i.e., the Land Northward is north of the Land Southward, etc.; Right: However, when flat, it is turned about 90º to the left, so that north becomes west and south becomes east

Response: Flat or vertical, horizontal or arching through the sky, north, east, south and west have always held the same meaning. That Mesoamericanists must struggle to cloud the issue of simple directions merely shows how desperate they are to try and maintain their model despite it being almost 90º off kilter from Mormon's map. As for laying the map flat, try laying Sorenson’s Mesoamerica map flat in a vertical fashion rather than a horizontal fashion, i.e., take his first four vertical maps and lay it flat vertically. You will see that north is still north, south is still south, east is still east and west is still west. In order to make your above statement accurate, you have to alter the directions of the hourglass as Sorenson did, by taking it from a vertical position to a horizontal position when laying it flat.
Continuing with Stoddard: “The certainty of these declarations comes from dual assumptions. The first is that the translation must necessarily represent the precise plate meaning that is found in the English words.”
Response: This is a fallacious argument. Let’s instead use Hebrew words: tsaphan for north, darom for south, qidmah (qedem) for east, and maarab (maarabah) for west. These are neither western plate words and meanings, nor standard. It is not the words we use that are important here, it is their meaning.
    As an example, the English word “north,” from “nord,” means “northwards” from Proto-Germanic “nurtha,” all of which can be interpreted as “left” and “below,” as north is to the left when one faces the rising sun,” as also seen in Arabic “shamal” meaning “left hand,” or “north.” In addition, Greek “enerthen” which means “from beneath,” Oscan-Umbnrian “nertrak” meaning “left.” In fact, the usual word for “north” in the Romance languages ultimately is from English, with Spanish “norte” coming from Old French “north.”
    The point is, directional words can be found, dating to as early as 4th millennial B.C. However, words evolve, but directions are one of those points of view that has always existed. Adam would have known directions, Moses knew them when he wrote in directions throughout the first five books of the Old Testament, they might not be words we recognize today, or in some cases, even know or understand the etymology, but the fact is words for directions have always been known, and known as we know them today, that is as four cardinal points of a compass.
East: Genesis 2:8; 3:24; 4:16; 11:2-4
West: Dan 7:2, 3; Numbers 3:23; Psalms 104:19, 20)
North: Isaiah 14:13; Job 37:22; Ezekiel 1:4
South: Isaiah 30:6; Deuteronomy 33:2
(See the next post, “The Mystifying Rationale of Mesoamerican Directions – Part XVIII,” and the continuation of the above response to Stoddard’s comments)

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