Working on some biblical scholarship overviews and did a Tower of Babel one - looking for feedback

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jfro18
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Working on some biblical scholarship overviews and did a Tower of Babel one - looking for feedback

Post by jfro18 » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:15 am

Hey!

I did a quick draft of a page that is meant to be a part of a larger project... this would be a part of the section on summarizing key biblical scholarship problems with the Book of Mormon and I think will include Adam and Eve, global flood, Tower of Babel, Deutero-Isaiah, and the long ending of Mark... probably some more once I get going and things pop up.

The first one is on the Tower of Babel and is @ https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/babel

The goal is to create a larger document from these for those who want to download them all together eventually, so what I'm trying to accomplish are pages on each topic that are brief but cover the topic, the problems, the apologetic responses, and a conclusion.

Just wondering what you all think about this format... if you want to reply with comments, here are some areas I'm trying to work on as I get ready to expand into other topics

1. Is the length too long or too short to give a decent overview of the problems and apologetics? Does it have enough info to make the point effectively, or is it too short to make sense given the complexities?

2. Is the tone as neutral as possible given that I'm coming at this from a position of someone who no longer believes?

3. Is the flow helpful in the context of a larger document going through these topics (think of something like CES Letter/Letter For My Wife) once I have everything done

4. Any other thoughts you have on this page - I realize you have to take some jumps since there are biblical scholars who do believe the Tower of Babel is a literal event, even though I think the overall evidence makes clear it can't be a literal event.

Thanks in advance for any advice - hoping to really get going here soon and get a lot of these "smaller" posts out on some topics I think are massive problems for the Book of Mormon that aren't covered nearly as much as the more discussed issues with Mormonism/truth claims... and I was asked to put together a document so might as well do it.

Thanks :)

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Corsair
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Re: Working on some biblical scholarship overviews and did a Tower of Babel one - looking for feedback

Post by Corsair » Mon Aug 24, 2020 2:56 pm

That's a good article. My favorite family apologist has stated a few beliefs he has about The Tower of Babel which were apparently gleaned when taking BYU classes from an elderly Hugh Nibley in the 1990s. His contention is that the Tower was also in place to for the wicked to survive another Biblical Flood of Noah if that were to happen again. I don't pretend to have documentation on this idea, but Brother Apologist didn't either. Having it arise as a cultural condemnation of ziggurat worship makes perfect sense.

One of the big ideas that shattered my literalist world view was reading about actual history around the same time. With the Flood and the Tower of Babel showing up in a time frame from 2400-2200 BCE, you did point out the languages that predate that time. It might also be useful to mention the full civilizations that were around at that time, yet did not mention any flood or language issues. This includes:
  • Sumerians (4500 - 2000 BC)
  • Egyptian Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC with the Great Pyramid at Giza built 2560)
  • Minoans on Crete (2600 - 1100 BC)
  • Norte Chico in Peru (3500 - 1800 BC)
It's not our fault that the LDS church insists on a painfully long list of historical events for being the One True Church.

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jfro18
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Re: Working on some biblical scholarship overviews and did a Tower of Babel one - looking for feedback

Post by jfro18 » Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:38 am

Corsair wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 2:56 pm
It might also be useful to mention the full civilizations that were around at that time, yet did not mention any flood or language issues. This includes:
  • Sumerians (4500 - 2000 BC)
  • Egyptian Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC with the Great Pyramid at Giza built 2560)
  • Minoans on Crete (2600 - 1100 BC)
  • Norte Chico in Peru (3500 - 1800 BC)
It's not our fault that the LDS church insists on a painfully long list of historical events for being the One True Church.
Yeah that's a good point - it's not even just the language problem, but that civilizations continued on without any problem at all.

I do want to do an Adam and Eve and global flood page that would lead into this one, so I need to cover this in the global flood page so I can reference back to it in the Tower of Babel page... I should've started with A&E but for I was thinking about the Tower of Babel because of a conversation I had recently about how the line from the ToB to the Nephite interpreters is quite literal and a problem if the ToB never happened.

Hopefully later in the week I can get Adam and Eve done and then tackle the global flood this weekend...hoping to get a good group of pages going on biblical scholarship and Mormonism. My list so far is:

-Adam and Eve
-Global Flood
-Tower of Babel
-Deutero-Isaiah
-Sermon at the Temple vs Sermon on the Mount (Sayings gospel)
-Long ending of Mark in the BoM
-Evolution of Christology historically vs the BoM knowing all if it before Jesus even lived

Any other suggestions there?

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deacon blues
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Re: Working on some biblical scholarship overviews and did a Tower of Babel one - looking for feedback

Post by deacon blues » Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:50 pm

This is an excellent and timely post. I'm not a scholar but as I read it these two paragraphs seemed to need some material between them to connect them or distinguish them:

While Genesis was long believed to have been written by Moses himself during his lifetime, estimated to be 1391-1271 BCE, most biblical scholars now agree that the Pentateuch was not compiled until much later. Many scholars now believe that Genesis was not compiled until the 6th and, more likely, 5th century BCE. (Davies, G.I, "Introduction to the Pentateuch")


The belief was that the global flood wiped out all human life on Earth about 100 years earlier, and that all life descended from Noah’s family with one single, Adamic language. Using the Bible’s accounting of the children that came from Noah since the flood (Genesis 10), by the time of the Tower of Babel there were about 70 men born from the lines of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japeth. Even assuming that about half of their offspring were women, you would still have about 150 people on the entire Earth to create the Tower of Babel.

Maybe a heading to introduce the second paragraph? In my opinion. Great writing. :D
God is Love. God is Truth

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moksha
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Re: Working on some biblical scholarship overviews and did a Tower of Babel one - looking for feedback

Post by moksha » Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:06 am

Fantasy stories in the Bible, such as the flood story, the whale story, and the tower story do pose a challenge for Mormons. However, LDS apologists can always make something up.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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blazerb
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Re: Working on some biblical scholarship overviews and did a Tower of Babel one - looking for feedback

Post by blazerb » Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:29 am

Britain, for example, has been continuously occupied for about 12,000 years. https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/first-br ... gatherers.
moksha wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:06 am
Fantasy stories in the Bible, such as the flood story, the whale story, and the tower story do pose a challenge for Mormons. However, LDS apologists can always make something up.
The apologists have a different set of beliefs from the rest of the church. When I go to Sunday School, I still hear people who insist that a worldwide flood had to have happened in order to baptize the Earth and that the Adamic language was the only one spoken until the Tower. The Adamic language appears to me to be a clear teaching of the BoM. I am sure there are still people who believe Pangaea broke up in the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25).

It was funny. I was once in a Sunday School class that insisted the story of Jonah had to be taken literally, but the story of Hosea and Gomer was totally symbolic. I guess someone marrying an unfaithful spouse is just too much to believe. (I'm betting more than a few of the males in the OT were not as pure as they are presented.)

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Hagoth
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Re: Working on some biblical scholarship overviews and did a Tower of Babel one - looking for feedback

Post by Hagoth » Sat Aug 29, 2020 6:39 am

Good stuff jfro!

I love the apologetic that the Tower of Babel must be real because the Book of Mormon says so. That is so precious.

Statements like "many biblical scholars and almost every secular scholar agrees that the Tower of Babel story is an etiological myth" hold no water with Mormons because they have such disrespect for any kind of non-church-approved scholar.

I also remember reading the Nibley claim that the tower was a waterproof shelter to ride out the next global flood. That might be a reasonable interpretation if you supposed that they were trying to make it high enough that they could climb to the top and get above the flood waters, but as I recall, he claimed that it was hollow and they coated it with pitch to waterproof it, just as Noah did the ark. This is a little fact that isn't mentioned in the Bible or the BoM, so I wonder where Nibbles got it - whether he was riffing on an apocryphal writing or just pulling it out of the nether Nibley vortex. Whatever, this is right up there with Ben Carson claiming that the pyramids in Egypt must be hollow because they were Joseph's grain silos. The whole idea of a ziggurat is that it's an artificial mountain made by piling layer upon layer of mud bricks into a very dense (and never even remotely hollow) mound.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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jfro18
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Re: Working on some biblical scholarship overviews and did a Tower of Babel one - looking for feedback

Post by jfro18 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 7:01 am

deacon blues wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:50 pm
This is an excellent and timely post. I'm not a scholar but as I read it these two paragraphs seemed to need some material between them to connect them or distinguish them:

Maybe a heading to introduce the second paragraph? In my opinion. Great writing. :D
There was something there but it's gone so I must have accidentally deleted it when trying to format everything! :x

So, yes, that needs to get fixed - thanks for pointing it out because that is not a smooth transition otherwise!
blazerb wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:29 am
The apologists have a different set of beliefs from the rest of the church. When I go to Sunday School, I still hear people who insist that a worldwide flood had to have happened in order to baptize the Earth and that the Adamic language was the only one spoken until the Tower. The Adamic language appears to me to be a clear teaching of the BoM. I am sure there are still people who believe Pangaea broke up in the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25)
Apologetics are never really meant to be seen until someone is starting to doubt, so *most* apologists (not all, since some will retain complete literalism) would not reflect what the leaders believe.

The Adamic language within Mormonism is absolutely ridiculous. I never knew about Joseph's Adamic language until recently, but holy hell is it stupid:

Question: What is the name of God in pure Language
Answer: Awmen.
Q: The meaning of the pure word A[w]men
A: It is the being which made all things in all its parts.
Q: What is the name of the Son of God.
A: The Son Awmen.
Q: What is the Son Awmen.
A: It is the greatest of all the parts of Awmen which is the Godhead the first born.
Q: What is is man.
A: This signifies Sons Awmen. the human family the children of men the greatest parts of Awmen Sons the Son Awmen
Q: What are Angels called in pure language.
A: Awmen Angls-men
Q: What are the meaning of these words.
A: Awmen’s Ministerring servants Sanctified who are sent forth from heaven to minister for or to Sons Awmen the greatest part of Awmen Son. Sons Awmen Son Awmen Awmen
Hagoth wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 6:39 am
Statements like "many biblical scholars and almost every secular scholar agrees that the Tower of Babel story is an etiological myth" hold no water with Mormons because they have such disrespect for any kind of non-church-approved scholar.

I also remember reading the Nibley claim that the tower was a waterproof shelter to ride out the next global flood.
I think the Tower of Babel becomes difficult to explain once you look at the diversity of languages before, but what I'm going to try to do is have this as a section by section thing, so would be something like

1. Intro
2. Adam and Eve
3. Global flood
4. Tower of Babel
(and so on)

So the hope is when you get to the Tower of Babel, it starts to make sense how scholars see it and why the Book of Mormon's author did not realize they were not meant to be taken as literal history even by the original writers. We'll see.

I was talking to DW once and I mentioned Hugh Nibley and she said "Hugh Nibley was prolific." And my jaw dropped because my guess is that she's never read Nibley's works, but she's seen him referenced enough to have the 'apologetic on the shelf' assurance that it's been covered by people smarter than we are.

I'm working on Adam and Eve now and hopefully this will be more effective and make more sense starting at the beginning and working through it chronologically instead of starting with the Tower of Babel. :lol:

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