View of the Hebrews Book

Discussions toward a better understanding of LDS doctrine, history, and culture. Discussion of Christianity, religion, and faith in general is welcome.
Post Reply
User avatar
2bizE
Posts: 1359
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:33 pm

View of the Hebrews Book

Post by 2bizE » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:16 am

I started reading the book View of the Hebrews. Many believe this was the source material for the BoM. Chapter 1, page 1 key words/phrases that jump out at me:
Only church of god on earth
Patriarchs
Prophets
apostatized
Canaan
Restored
Ten tribes of Israel
Dispensation
Atoned
Zion

So, basically in two paragraphs, many key Mormon words are presented to the reader. You would think the author was Mormon from the first few sentences...
Ok...now I can start reading paragraph 3...
~2bizE

User avatar
FiveFingerMnemonic
Posts: 1251
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:50 pm
Contact:

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:14 pm

I think one thing to realize is this language and the themes were not isolated to the book only. There was a whole new popular theology brewing in that time period in New England among the Congregationalists with theologians Johnathan Edwards and Samuel Hopkins. Some of it popped up during the Wood Scrape incident with the New Israelites as well. So many unique phrases of protestant theology in the sermons of the time appear as words from supposed ancient prophets.

The one thing view of the hebrews has is a provenance close to the Smiths and more closely to the Cowdery family in that area.

User avatar
fetchface
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:45 pm

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by fetchface » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:51 pm

Wait 'till you get to the parts where he copies long passages from Isaiah. That's gonna feel pretty familiar too.
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas
My blog: http://untanglingmybrain.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Emower
Posts: 949
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:35 pm
Location: Carson City

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by Emower » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:51 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:14 pm
Some of it popped up during the Wood Scrape incident with the New Israelites as well.
I did not know about this group.

The rabbit hole just keeps on going.... :shock:

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 3257
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by Hagoth » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:56 pm

View of the Hebrews is often employed as a staw man by apologists. Critics say Joseph used it to write the BoM. Apologists say he didn't copy and paste anything from it. I think the best way to look at is that both Smiths were writing their version of the same story that everyone around them was talking about.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
fetchface
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:45 pm

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by fetchface » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:23 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:56 pm
View of the Hebrews is often employed as a staw man by apologists. Critics say Joseph used it to write the BoM. Apologists say he didn't copy and paste anything from it. I think the best way to look at is that both Smiths were writing their version of the same story that everyone around them was talking about.
When other people were talking about it, were they quoting long passages of Isaiah? I'm inclined to think that Joseph was aware of View of the Hebrews, unless quoting long passages of Isaiah was just a thing that everyone did back then. That would take away from my idea that this is a pretty big statistical hit in favor of a View of the Hebrews - Book of Mormon connection.
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas
My blog: http://untanglingmybrain.blogspot.com/

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 2532
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by moksha » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:53 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:14 pm
Some of it popped up during the Wood Scrape incident with the New Israelites as well. So many unique phrases of protestant theology in the sermons of the time appear as words from supposed ancient prophets.

The one thing view of the Hebrews has is a provenance close to the Smiths and more closely to the Cowdery family in that area.
https://www.exmormon.org/phorum/read.ph ... 042,483194
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 3257
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by Hagoth » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:24 am

fetchface wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:23 pm
When other people were talking about it, were they quoting long passages of Isaiah? I'm inclined to think that Joseph was aware of View of the Hebrews, unless quoting long passages of Isaiah was just a thing that everyone did back then. That would take away from my idea that this is a pretty big statistical hit in favor of a View of the Hebrews - Book of Mormon connection.
Yeah, I think he was aware of it, especially considering that Oliver Cowdery would have certainly have known Ethan Smith, having lived in the same small town, and that he was probably one of Smith's congregants. What I'm saying is that apologists jump immediately to plagiarism of VotH and easily debunk it because there is not direct textual overlap, different chapters of Isaiah are quoted, etc. That's why I say both Smiths were doing the same thing in their own way, but I would be very surprised if Joseph was ignorant of Ethan's writings.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
FiveFingerMnemonic
Posts: 1251
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:50 pm
Contact:

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:33 am

Hagoth wrote:
fetchface wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:23 pm
When other people were talking about it, were they quoting long passages of Isaiah? I'm inclined to think that Joseph was aware of View of the Hebrews, unless quoting long passages of Isaiah was just a thing that everyone did back then. That would take away from my idea that this is a pretty big statistical hit in favor of a View of the Hebrews - Book of Mormon connection.
Yeah, I think he was aware of it, especially considering that Oliver Cowdery would have certainly have known Ethan Smith, having lived in the same small town, and that he was probably one of Smith's congregants. What I'm saying is that apologists jump immediately to plagiarism of VotH and easily debunk it because there is not direct textual overlap, different chapters of Isaiah are quoted, etc. That's why I say both Smiths were doing the same thing in their own way, but I would be very surprised if Joseph was ignorant of Ethan's writings.
In the FAIR article the apologists use Joseph Smith quoting VotH to say "why would JS quote from something he plagarized?

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Book ... he_Hebrews

Joseph Smith quoted View of the Hebrews as supporting the Book of Mormon

There was, however, a reference to View of the Hebrews within Joseph Smith's lifetime, but it came from the prophet himself. In an article published in the Times and Seasons on June 1, 1842, Joseph quoted View of the Hebrews in support of the Book of Mormon:
If such may have been the fact, that a part of the Ten Tribes came over to America, in the way we have supposed, leaving the cold regions of Assareth behind them in quest of a milder climate, it would be natural to look for tokens of the presence of Jews of some sort, along countries adjacent to the Atlantic. In order to this, we shall here make an extract from an able work: written exclusively on the subject of the Ten Tribes having come from Asia by the way of Bherings Strait, by the Rev. Ethan Smith, Pultney, Vt., who relates as follows: "Joseph Merrick, Esq., a highly respectable character in the church at Pittsfield, gave the following account: That in 1815, he was leveling some ground under and near an old wood shed, standing on a place of his, situated on (Indian Hill)... [Joseph then discusses the supposed phylacteries found among Amerindians, citing View of the Hebrews p. 220, 223.][3]

User avatar
fetchface
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:45 pm

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by fetchface » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:27 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:24 am
Yeah, I think he was aware of it, especially considering that Oliver Cowdery would have certainly have known Ethan Smith, having lived in the same small town, and that he was probably one of Smith's congregants. What I'm saying is that apologists jump immediately to plagiarism of VotH and easily debunk it because there is not direct textual overlap, different chapters of Isaiah are quoted, etc. That's why I say both Smiths were doing the same thing in their own way, but I would be very surprised if Joseph was ignorant of Ethan's writings.
Yes, apologists misuse the word plagiarism. Plagiarism is taking someone else's idea and passing it off as one's own. In this case, Joseph got the idea to write a book about Native Americans being Jews who crossed the ocean in boats and quote long passages from Isaiah in that book from Ethan Smith. In that sense, it is plagiarism. He didn't cite the source for the idea.

Joseph didn't engage in the kind of plagiarism where you directly copy another's words with or without some rework. Apologists set up a straw man where plagiarism only has this more narrow definition, which is easy to knock down. I agree, Joseph didn't do this second thing, but he almost certainly did the first thing. The likelihood of a historical Book of Mormon having these two elements and Ethan Smith's speculations having them would be very small (even if we ignore all of the other unlikely elements of the Book of Mormon for argument's sake).
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas
My blog: http://untanglingmybrain.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 3257
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by Hagoth » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:01 am

fetchface wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:27 pm
Apologists set up a straw man where plagiarism only has this more narrow definition, which is easy to knock down. I agree, Joseph didn't do this second thing, but he almost certainly did the first thing. The likelihood of a historical Book of Mormon having these two elements and Ethan Smith's speculations having them would be very small (even if we ignore all of the other unlikely elements of the Book of Mormon for argument's sake).
Excellent point. I can imagine Joseph falling back on Ethan's Isaiah quoting when he had to buy some time after the loss of the 116 pages (116 pages might be a good name for a post-mormon rock band!). The Spaulding manuscript may enter the picture in a similar way, and is also trampled over by apologists in a similar way. I remember an Ensign article that I read while I was on my mission. It compared Spaulding's handwriting to Cowdery's to prove that Joseph didn't just hand over Spaulding's manuscript to the printer. Again, that's a strawman and a nonsense argument, but it worked for me at the time to put any thought of plagiarism out of my mind. It is easy to show that Joseph didn't steal the BoM from Spaulding, but that doesn't mean he wasn't aware of Spaulding's story and that he might have borrowed some fundamental ideas, even if they were just ideas that Joseph picked up from discussions around the campfire. But the bigger picture tells us that all of these guys were talking about the general shared misunderstandings of the ancient Americas that were floating around in their cultural environment.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
fetchface
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:45 pm

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by fetchface » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:21 am

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:01 am
Excellent point. I can imagine Joseph falling back on Ethan's Isaiah quoting when he had to buy some time after the loss of the 116 pages (116 pages might be a good name for a post-mormon rock band!). The Spaulding manuscript may enter the picture in a similar way, and is also trampled over by apologists in a similar way. I remember an Ensign article that I read while I was on my mission. It compared Spaulding's handwriting to Cowdery's to prove that Joseph didn't just hand over Spaulding's manuscript to the printer. Again, that's a strawman and a nonsense argument, but it worked for me at the time to put any thought of plagiarism out of my mind. It is easy to show that Joseph didn't steal the BoM from Spaulding, but that doesn't mean he wasn't aware of Spaulding's story and that he might have borrowed some fundamental ideas, even if they were just ideas that Joseph picked up from discussions around the campfire. But the bigger picture tells us that all of these guys were talking about the general shared misunderstandings of the ancient Americas that were floating around in their cultural environment.
Yeah, the problem for the Book of Mormon is that a lot of its contents are sitting around Joseph Smith before it is "translated"; you also have Joseph Smith Sr's dream of the tree/iron rod. I think there was something else major that I'm forgetting here...

Additionally, you only have it dealing with all of the "difficult" theological questions of the 1830s. Infant baptism? Check. Gay relationships? Nope. It does not appear to address the concerns of the "last days" (entire period of time between 1830 and the end of the world). It was clearly written for 1830.
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas
My blog: http://untanglingmybrain.blogspot.com/

User avatar
2bizE
Posts: 1359
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:33 pm

Re: View of the Hebrews Book

Post by 2bizE » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:42 pm

On the concept of plagiarism, knowing now that JS clearly plagiarized from Adam Clarke’s Bible commentary to create his own translation of the Bible, leads me to believe even more that he stole ideas from VoH to create the BoM.
~2bizE

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest