Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Time of the Jaredites – Part I

Many Book of Mormon scholars and Mesoamerican Theorists, when describing the time frame of the Jaredite people, typically ignore the scriptural chronology in favor of historical data, which has been handed down through various means over the centuries. While the same might be said of the Bible, in the case of the Jaredites, we also have in the Pearl of Great Price, a second and supportive writing in the Book of Moses concerning the time frame of the Great Tower.

1. John L. Sorenson states in his book, “The beginning date for the Jaredites depends upon historical data from the Old World.”

Historical data from the old world is mostly fragmented inscriptions on broken tablets and walls or monoliths. Sometimes the inscription is in one piece, but mostly they are fragments, often with much key information missing, causing the archaeologist to “fill in the blanks.” The actual oldest non-Egyptian writing was of the Minoan Protopalatial period (1900-1800 B.C.) and are still undeciphered; however, the oldest historical records go back less than 6000 years, and are about the Biblical patriarchs. There are undeciphered scripts claimed to be within this range: Vica, 6000 to 4500 B.C.; Harappa, 3500 to 2000 B.C.; Proto-Elamite, 2900 B.C.; Old Elamite, 2250 to 2220 B.C (partially deciphered); Linear A, 1800 to 1450 B.C., Phaistos Disk, 17th century B.C., and Rongo Rongo (undeciphered). Many others fall into the A.D. period, with the Voynich Manuscript, and Rohonic Codex.

In addition, many ancient scripts are claimed to have been deciphered, but “Some researchers have made claims of being able to decipher certain writing systems, such as those of Epi-Olmec, Phaistos and Indus texts; but to date, these claims have not been widely accepted within the scientific community, or confirmed by independent researchers.”

Compare these problems of deciphering and determination with the translation of the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, which lists the ages of the Earth in specific terms and dates that can be easily understood.

2. Sorenson also adds: “Fundamentalist Christians and some Latter-day Saints have accepted a date of around 2200 B.C. for the tower event, actually there is no adequate basis in the Bible for such a date.”

There is a definite reason that “Fundamentalist Christians and some Latter-day Saints” have accepted the date of 2200 B.C. See the dates Moses wrote and Joseph Smith used as listed below.

3. Hunter and Ferguson use the dates of a 16th-century native Mesoamerican historian, Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl for the dates, claiming 5229 B.C. for the Creation date, 3513 B.C. for the Flood, 3097 B.C. for the departure date from the tower, and 2993 B.C. for the arrival (of the Jaredites), concluding with the comment, “Thus, we may have help from the New World historian, Ixtlilxochitl, in arriving at the true date for the Tower of Babel.”

It is always interesting when men of letters consider that they know more than the revealed word, and that historical information is more accurate than biblical information. First of all, the time of the Flood is recorded factually in three places by two separate authors, and that is in Genesis, Moses and Abraham; the chronology of the patriarchs is clearly defined, with birth year, age, and years lived. In fact, no better chronology can be found anywhere. And as if Genesis and Moses are not enough, we have a third witness to these dates delivered by Joseph Smith in the School of the Prophets.

(See the next post,” The Time of the Jaredites – Part II,” for how the prophet Joseph Smith listed these dates in his School of the Prophets)

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