Friday, November 22, 2019

Does the Book of Mormon Actually Say This? – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding what theorists claim the scriptures say, and what is really in the scriptures and what is meant.
It should be understood that the houses of Jerusalem, as well as most Hebrew homes, from at least the 10th century AD, were made of stone with flat roofs that were used for various task and relaxation. As we’ve written, the story of David walking on his roof without any explanation, shows that this kind of home was relevant in Israel.  Obviously, it was very common for Hebrews to spend some of the night, if not all, in the summer months on the roof, since there was limited ventilation in the rooms and they were generally quite hot during the evening. This is important because it would be highly unlikely that anyone would be walking on a regular flat roof of a house made of wood in the period mentioned, or at any time.
Comment: “The account mentions temples, synagogues, sanctuaries, palaces and towers. It is also likely that these were built of wood.”
Noah’s Palace

Response: First of all, the only palace we know of is the one king Noah built in the city of Nephi (Mosiah 11:9). Second, we only know of permanent towers that were built near the temple in the city of Nephi (Mosiah 11:12).
    But the main topic here is that it is claimed they were made of wood. We do not know of what material the temples, sanctuaries, palaces and towers were made, nor can we suggest such. However, we know what these were made of in 600 BC Jerusalem at which Lehi lived and where Nephi and Sam grew, and it is quite likely they were also made of stone in the Land of Promise. It would be highly unlikely that Nephi would have chosen wood in which to build a temple for the Lord.
Comment: “The people were skilled in building construction, wood working, metal working, and gold smithing.”      
Response: When we consider that the people were taught by Nephi how to build, we get the understanding that they were accomplished in the work of construction.
Comment: “It is logical to assume that Nephite architecture would be similar to that of the Hebrews of the 6th century BC.”
Response: While this is a legitimate point, it is only important unless you know how the Hebrews built and what construction they used. This is the point this and most theorists miss, especially Heartland and Great Lakes theorists. Their view is based upon how the Europeans built when they came to America with wood houses and palisade walls.
King David’s Tower in Jerusalem. Note all is made of stone blocks cut and dressed

However, the Hebrews did not build wood houses. They built stone buildings. Their temple was built with cut and dressed stone, cut from nearby stone quarries as we have shown in this blog for the past many years. First of all, stone lasts for a very long time, and requires less skill than wood framing, is cheaper and requires little upkeep from one generation to another; secondly, temples, synagogues, as well as palaces, are meant to last a long time, and temples were the epitome of skill and cost as the house of the Lord.
    In fact, the temple walls were made of stone, they were covered with cedar wood or paneling, which was covered with gold; the floor of the temple was made of fir and overlaid with gold. The stone came from Solomon’s quarry or Zedekiah’s Cave, beneath the temple area, which Josephus Flavius refers to as the “Royal Caverns,” and is accessed a short distance north of the Damascus Gate (Gate of the Grotto) along the wall of Jerusalem. This maze of caves is the quarry where stone was cut and used for the building of the temple and other parts of Jerusalem. The caves are about 750-feet from the northwest corner of the temple mount, about 330-feet at its widest point, and 50-feet at its highest point.
    The point is, the Hebrews built out of stone, though wood was used for such things as stairs, beams, roofs, and floors. Using this theorists initial comment “It is logical to assume that Nephite architecture would be similar to that of the Hebrews of the 6th century BC,” we should be able to determine that the Hebrews built out of stone when they reached the Land of Promise.
Comment: “People in ancient Israel used two types of housing: 1) tents for nomadic or semi-nomadic herders who traveled with their flocks; and 2) houses, either large or small, in villages or cities.
Response: As for the 600 BC Hebrew houses (bet or beth), they were made of stone, or on occasion of mud and straw for mud bricks. Different than from Europe and northwest America, stone was plentiful in most of Palestine, and stone was almost always used in the foundations of houses.
Typical Hebrew House in 600 BC Jerusalem. All were about the same size, however, more wealthy people had elaborate frescoes on the walls

At first, the basic floor plan followed the layout of the tents: one long room at the front, and another one immediately behind it. However, as villages became the predominant pattern of life, the basic floor plan of a modest house changed. Now it had a central courtyard with a number of rooms opening off it. These rooms were small by our standards—the length of a tree for a floor or ceiling beam limited the size of the rooms. There were a minimum of windows that were generally small, with lattice work and shutters to cover them.
    In fact, these lattice window looked very much like a fisherman's net, and was used in warm middle eastern countries, like Palestine. It was formed of reticulated work, and highly ornamental with hinges that allowed them to be open or shut. On very hot days the sun was kept out while the air was let in through the trellis openings (Judges 5:28; 2 Kings 1:2). 
    As time passed, the typical Hebrew house added a second story with a flat roof where they could sleep on hot summer nights, cook and eat, and even grow small gardens. Stone stairs or a wooden ladder led up onto the roof, which was frequently in use since the inside of rooms were generally dark. The living quarters were often on the second floor with the courtyard and ground floor used for animals and work stations, such as carpentry, metallurgy, spinning and weaving.
Comment: “Also, "Adobe is a borrowing into English from Spanish, though ultimately from Arabic, Coptic, and Egyptian probably; nevertheless, its first occurrence in print in English is 1834, after the Book of Mormon's publication, and it did not become a commonly used word in English until several decades after Joseph Smith's time."
Stacked adobe blocks reading for constructing a wall

Response: On the contrary, to be accurate, the word was used anywhere from the 15th century to the mid-eighteenth century, depending on where you check it out. As an example, the word Adobe was first used in 1739 in American English, from Spanish adobe "unburnt brick dried in the sun," which is said by Dutch Arabist Reinhart Dozy to be from oral form of Arabic al-tob "the brick," from Coptic tube "brick," a word found in hieroglyphics. Other sources point to a Spanish adobar "daub, plaster," from the source of English daub. A second source claims: “The origin of adobe is a 1750-1760 Americanism; from Spanish, from Arabic al-ṭub the brick. Also Coptic to:o:be brick, and Egyptian Demotic tb as well as Egyptian Hieroglyphic ḏbt; and still another source states:Attested since the 15th century. From Spanish adobe, from Arabic اَلطُّوب(aṭ-ṭūb), from Sahidic Coptic (tōbe, brick), from Demoltic tb (brick), and from Egyptian dbt (brick, block, ingot); Another source states it was first known in 1748; Another source claims it was first used 1739.
    It might be noted that all these sources show the word was in use prior to the printing of the Book of Mormon, the latest discovered was 1750-1760, a full 70 to 80 years before the printing.

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