Recent Comments

  • Ardis E. Parshall on My Lord, He Calls Me: “Thanks so much for highlighting this book, Chad. These members and their stories are worth getting to know.Feb 1, 12:17
  • REC911 on The Ordeal of Dr. John Milton Bernhisel: “So this sounds very much like Thomas Kane to me. Kane I know about and have studied but somehow I completely missed this Bernhisel person. Great….more to read.Feb 1, 07:12
  • Jonathan Green on IX. Joseph the Seer: “Hoosier, now that you put it like that, that makes a lot of sense. And this is a conversation between Sam Brown and me, only I’m 2-15 years late in responding. I like Sam’s work, agreeing with some parts and disagreeing with other parts.Jan 31, 20:00
  • Hoosier on IX. Joseph the Seer: “@Jonathan Green Fair enough. I would love to see a conversation between you and Sam Brown on this. I was spitballing more along the lines that the Pure Language is this sort of mentalese, a sort of symbolic language which existed more or less between Joseph and God, which Joseph at times tried to figure out grammatically and which was the medium of a lot of his revelation.Jan 31, 18:25
  • Jonathan Green on IX. Joseph the Seer: “Jack, yes, I think a huge amount of creative interpolation is required, and that’s a useful feature, as it creates lots of space for revelation. If we’re trying to describe it in purely academic terms we talk about “creativity,” but at this point we’ve moved on to talking about divinely inspired revelation.Jan 31, 17:40
  • Jack on IX. Joseph the Seer: “Jonathan: “I’d propose a situation like if you sat in front on a Chinese text and, after long study, decided that some characters were E’s, and others were T’s, and so on. You could eventually determine rules that allowed you to come up with an English rendition of the Chinese characters, which would have little to do with the underlying Chinese text, even as the characters played a key role in your translation.” Even so, it seems like there’d have to be a huge amount of creative interpolation so that you don’t end up with gibberish. I guess this is the part that my small mind is not understanding very well. Where does that “creative” element come in during the process?Jan 31, 17:31
  • Jonathan Green on IX. Joseph the Seer: “Sute: I wouldn’t say Joseph Smith’s method was incorrect. It is rather unfalsifiable. His claim is that the Book of Abraham is the equivalent of a revelation that was linguistically mediated by the papyri and a system of rules described in the GAEL. But his source text wasn’t identical to the visible characters on the papyri, the rules of the GAEL are incomplete and still obscure, and we have no access at all to his experience of inspiration. So who are we to say his method was incorrect? It doesn’t tell us what the Egyptian text says, but I don’t think that information is particularly relevant. And if the mundane, non-revelatory textual equivalent of the hieratic characters was what Joseph Smith was after, there were several things he could have done even in 1835 to get closer to it than he did. It’s true, as you say, that this can seem weird. I think we have to be prepared for both history and revelation to be weird sometimes.Jan 31, 15:54
  • Jonathan Green on IX. Joseph the Seer: “Hoosier: Others have also connected the GAEL to a search for the pure or original language. See David Golding, “‘Eternal Wisdom Engraven upon the Heavens’: Joseph Smith’s Pure Language Project,” in Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith’s Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity, ed. Brian M. Hauglid, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Michael Hubbard MacKay (University of Utah Press, 2020), 331–62. I’m not certain find the “pure language” was Joseph Smith’s goal, and I doubt he thought he had found it – I think he continued to develop his revelatory method over time, and his work on the Egyptian alphabet documents suggests to me that he was working to expand the system to incorporate Egyptian, rather than simply applying a complete method to new records.Jan 31, 15:40
  • Jonathan Green on IX. Joseph the Seer: “Bert, two different issues. One question is what makes a good translation, for which there is no single answer that everyone agrees on. Schleiermacher argued for moving readers towards the foreignness of the writer. Other people argue for achieving the same effect, no matter what you have to do to the text. And there are many other definitions. The other question is what’s the best analogy for what Joseph Smith was doing. I’d propose a situation like if you sat in front on a Chinese text and, after long study, decided that some characters were E’s, and others were T’s, and so on. You could eventually determine rules that allowed you to come up with an English rendition of the Chinese characters, which would have little to do with the underlying Chinese text, even as the characters played a key role in your translation.Jan 31, 15:33
  • Jack on IX. Joseph the Seer: “Hoosier, I’m still trying to rap my mind around all of this–but it seems to me that perhaps the symbols themselves aren’t as important as the process they were trying to map out. Of course, it’s quite possible that the pure language as its own symbols–but even so, the fact that they were working with many symbols from various languages seems to indicate (to me) that it’s really more about how meaning and understanding are augmented when the “higher math” of the pure language is applied in the translation process of mortal languages.Jan 31, 15:04