Sunday, October 20, 2019

What is meant by Small or Narrow?

Recently a theorist named Rian Nelson on the blog BOFM.BLOG: Annotated Book of Mormon, posted the comment on the annotated or explanation blog that read: “It may be surprising to realize that the term narrow neck of land is used only once in the entire Book of Mormon. The passage is in Ether 10:20: “And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land. That’s it. A single passage.”
    The first question to ask is: “Is that true?”
    For that exact language, it is used only once, and by Moroni in his translation and abridgement of the Jaredite record. On the other hand, Mormon uses that same language “narrow neck which led into the Land Northward” (Alma 63:5), that has the same meaning, and describes the same area of land. In the first instance “there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” and “narrow neck which led into the land northward,” and Moroni’s comment ”the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land,” all refer to land “leading into the Land Northward” or Southward.
    Thus the meaning of the term is used more than once, as Mormon claims the Land Northward (Jaredite lands) were connected to the Land Southward (Nephite, Lamanite and Mulekite lands) by a “small neck of land” (Alma 22:32) when he wrote his insert describing this neck of land.
It should be kept in mind that the term “small” and “narrow” are adjectives, where “neck of land” is a “noun” and means a “piece of land projecting into water from a larger land mass.” It is also described as a “narrowing” piece of land, and “isthmus.” Thus, the adjective used to describe the “neck of land,” can vary from one synonym to another, such as “small” or “Large,” “wide” or “narrow.” In this case, Mormon tells us the neck of land is “small” and later “narrow,” and Moroni uses the adjective “narrow.”
    It should also be kept in mind that the word “neck” is a constriction, a pinch point, a place where something becomes narrower, tightening.” As an example, vertebrates have necks. Bottles, flasks and jars have necks. To some degree, the words "neck" and "narrow" are redundant because most necks are longer than they are wide. Necks are usually associated with peninsulas that protrude like a head from a body.
    Isthmuses that connect two larger bodies are also called necks. The complex topography of the Crimean Peninsula, for instance, has several features that are called necks and/or isthmuses almost interchangeably (Alexander William Kinglake, The Invasion of Crimea, 1875. The narrowest part of a mountain pass can be called a neck. "Monsieur Medavi...was to advance towards the Neck of the Mountains at Ceurs." The London Gazette No. 4359/2, 1709).
    Finally, “A long narrow tract of land projecting from the main body, or a narrow tract connecting two larger tracts; as the neck of land between Boston and Roxbury” (Noah Webster, “Neck,” American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 issue).
    In 1829 when Joseph Smith was translating the plates, the term “small neck of land” as used by Mormon would be the same as saying “narrow neck of land,” used by Moroni, since a neck of land is a “long narrow tract of land projecting from the main body, or a narrow tract connecting two larger tracts,” as in Mormon’s description: “there being a small neck of land“ (Alma 22:32). Thus, Mormon described “a small or narrow neck of land between two larger land masses, the Land Northward and the Land Southward.”
    Unfortunately for theorists who try to adjust language to support their completely biased viewpoint, words have meaning. When Mormon and Moroni wrote the words they did, those words had specific meaning—and when Joseph Smith, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, translated those words, he gave us definitions that were common of those words in his day, and verified by the Spirit. We know this, because the Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language not only used the language of New England as its base, but that Joseph Smith knew of this dictionary, used it and listed it as the dictionary used for the School of the Prophets.
The theorist’s map of a Heartland/Great Lakes location for the Book of Mormon. White circle: the “Narrow Neck of Land.” Purple Circle: the location of the Land Northward

Note the location of the narrow neck of land is between two watersheds, and watersheds are lands that divided rivers, therefore, while a map can be divided to appear that a narrow space (for a narrow neck of land) exists, it is not necessarily the case like here. The point is, there is no narrow neck of land at this point as shown on the map. However, there is an isthmus here between the Niagara River and Hamilton.
Actual area being described by Heartland/Great Lakes theorist is 40 miles long and 22 miles wide that lies between the U.S. and Canada

The Niagara River flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, forming part of the border between the province of Ontario in Canada and the state of New York. Actually, the Niagara is not a river at all, but a strait, meandering 36 miles north from the eastern tip of Lake Erie to the west end of Lake Ontario, draining the overflow from four Great Lakes. On the other hand, a strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water—in this case, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Most commonly it is a channel of water that lies between two land masses—in this case between the U.S. and Canada.
    It should be noted that Straits are the converse or reverse of isthmuses. That is, while a strait, such as the Strait of Gibraltar, lies between two land masses and connects two larger bodies of water, an isthmus, like the Isthmus of Panama, lies between two bodies of water and connects two larger land masses.
The Niagara “River” or Strait is a long series of canyons making the water way unforable.Note the cliff faces at each site along the Niagara

It should also be kept in mind that the Niagara River has never been fordable, much of it flows through deep canyons. Getting across the river would have been a problem for the ancients unless they built boats. In addition, their South Sea and East Sea flank the isthmus, not the East and West Sea as indicated by Mormon. Also their narrow neck is north of their Land North occupied by the Nephites. In this placement their narrow neck is north of the Land Northward, which is contrary to Mormon’s description.As an example, the above theorist, one who promotes the Heartland/Great Lakes theory for the Book of Mormon, must have the term “narrow neck” describe a strip of water between two land forms since that is his basis for the Land of the Nephites. In addition, Mesoamerican Theorists had used the Tehuantepec Isthmus, as their “narrow neck of land” for nearly four decades.
    So what is an isthmus?
    According to several dictionaries, “An isthmus is a land bridge, a narrow strip of land that stretches across a body of water to connect two larger land masses.” The word comes to us from the Greek isthmus, which means "neck," so you can see how isthmus came to mean the connecting strip between land masses. If you look at an example, say the Isthmus of Panama, you can see how that neck-like bit of land separates the Caribbean Sea from the North Pacific Ocean as it connects North and South America. Think of an isthmus as kind of like almost any animal or bird, such as a turkey neck that connects the bird's body and head.
The Bruny Island Neck is an isthmus of land connecting north and south Bruny Island in southern Tasmania

Thus, in anatomy, an isthmus is a cord-like tissue connecting two larger parts of an anatomical structure, as a restriction between organs, such as the aortic arch, which is known as the isthmus of aorta. In geography an isthmus would be a small and narrow tract of land running between two larger tracts of land. As one source puts it, “An isthmus is a thin piece of land that links two larger land areas that are otherwise separated by large water bodies, such as the isthmus connecting North and South Bruny Island in Tasmania.
    An isthmus can be formed in several ways depending on the geography of the area. Some isthmuses, like the Isthmus of Panama, are believed to have resulted from volcanic activities which created chains of islands. Over time, the islands blocked a channel and collected sediment, leading to the formation of the isthmus.
    Other isthmuses may have resulted from the dislocation of tectonic plates, increasing water level along the fault line, and the action of waves and tides. The movement of tides and waves create a sandbar between the coastal island and the mainland. The sandbar is a unique isthmus known as a tombolo. An example of a tombolo is located at one of the entrances to the Mediterranean Sea.
    The point of all this is to show, that when Mormon writes “a small neck of land,” and later “a narrow neck,” he is talking about the same neck of land—in one case using the adjective of “small” and in another using “narrow.”

1 comment:

  1. Rian Nelson does a good job making the webpages on that blog. I wish he was working for Del though.