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Semites and/or Egyptians in the Pre-Columbian New World?

Semites and/or Egyptians in the Pre-Columbian New World? September 3, 2021

 

Tenochtitlan falls to Hernan Cortes
A late sixteenth century painting of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan in 1521, by an unknown artist
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

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Here are links to a few articles that might interest you from a prior volume of Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:

 

L. Michael Morales, “The Tabernacle: Mountain of God in the Cultus of Israel”

Abstract: In this article, Michael Morales considers how the building of the Tabernacle had been pre-figured from the earliest narratives of Genesis onward. It describes some of the parallels between the creation, deluge, and Sinai narratives and the tabernacle account; examines how the high priest’s office functions as something of a new Adam; and considers how the completed tabernacle resolves the storyline of Genesis and Exodus, via the biblical theme of “to dwell in the divine Presence.”

[Editor’s Note: Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article is reprinted here as a service to the LDS community. Original pagination and page numbers have necessarily changed, otherwise the reprint has the same content as the original.

See L. Michael Morales, “The Tabernacle: Mountain of God in the Cultus of Israel,” in Ancient Temple Worship: Proceedings of The Expound Symposium 14 May 2011, ed. Matthew B. Brown, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Stephen D. Ricks, and John S. Thompson (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation; Salt Lake City: Eborn Books, 2014), 27–70. Further information at https://interpreterfoundation.org/books/ancient-temple-worship/.]

 

Ryan Atwood, “Lehi’s Dream and the Plan of Salvation”

Abstract: Lehi’s dream symbolically teaches us about many aspects of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. The central message of Lehi’s dream is that all must come unto Jesus Christ in order to be saved. Each of us has the choice to pursue the path that leads to eternal joy and salvation or to choose a different way and experience undesirable outcomes. In this paper, elements of Lehi’s dream and supporting scriptures are analyzed to see how they relate to key aspects of the plan of salvation and our journey through life.

 

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, “Standing in the Holy Place: Ancient and Modern Reverberations of an Enigmatic New Testament Prophecy”

Abstract: On the Mount of Olives, just prior to the culminating events of the Passion week, Jesus gave one of the most controversial prophecies of the New Testament, saying, among other things, that the “abomination of desolation” will “stand in the holy place.” In Joseph Smith-Matthew the Prophet renders this passage in a way that radically changes its meaning. Rather than describing how the “abomination of desolation” will “stand in the holy place,” the JST version enjoins the apostles to “stand in the holy place” when the “abomination of desolation” appears. Though several Latter-day Saint scholars have offered interpretations and personal applications of these words as given in modern scripture, it appears that no one has heretofore seriously explored how this change in meaning might be explained and defended. This article will show that other passages in the Bible, in connection with the light shed by Jewish midrash and contemporary scholarship, demonstrate that the idea behind Joseph Smith’s revision of the passage, far from being a modern invention, reverberates throughout the religious thought of earlier times. The article concludes with an appendix that tries to draw out a possibility for a specific interpretation of the prophecy about the “abomination of desolation” at the time of Christ and in the latter days.

[Editor’s Note: Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article is reprinted here as a service to the LDS community. Original pagination and page numbers have necessarily changed, otherwise the reprint has the same content as the original.

See Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, “Standing in the Holy Place: Ancient and Modern Reverberations of an Enigmatic New Testament Prophecy,” in [Page 164]Ancient Temple Worship: Proceedings of The Expound Symposium 14 May 2011, ed. Matthew B. Brown, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Stephen D. Ricks, and John S. Thompson (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation; Salt Lake City: Eborn Books, 2014), 71–142. Further information at https://interpreterfoundation.org/books/ancient-temple-worship/.]

 

Brian D. Stubbs, “Answering the Critics in 44 Rebuttal Points”

Abstract: After publishing several articles in peer-reviewed journals, the author published Uto-Aztecan: A Comparative Vocabulary (2011), the new standard in comparative Uto-Aztecan, favorably reviewed and heartily welcomed by specialists in the field. Four years later, another large reference work, Exploring the Explanatory Power of Semitic and Egyptian in Uto-Aztecan (2015), was also favorably reviewed but not as joyfully welcomed among specialists as its predecessor. While some saw it as sound, more were silent. Some disliked the topic, but no one produced substantive refutations of it. In August 2019, Chris Rogers published a review, but John S. Robertson’s response to Rogers’s review and my response in the first 24 items rebutted below shed new light on his criticisms. Following on the heels of Rogers’s review, Magnus Pharao Hansen, specializing in Nahuatl, blogged objections to 14 Nahuatl items among the 1,528 sets. Rogers’s and Hansen’s articles gave rise to some critical commentary as well as to a few valid questions. What follows clarifies the misconceptions in Rogers’s review, responds to Hansen’s Nahuatl issues, and answers some reasonable questions raised by others.

Editor’s Note:  Critics of the Book of Mormon often argue that no evidence exists for contact between the ancient Near East and the Americas. Accordingly, proof of such contact would demolish a principal objection to Joseph Smith’s prophetic claims. If the thesis of Brian Stubbs’s works is correct, he has furnished precisely that proof.

As might be expected, Stubbs’s efforts have drawn criticism from some, but not all, of his linguistic peers. This article represents a response by Stubbs to those criticisms. Stubbs’s works are admittedly complex and highly technical. They are, therefore, difficult, and it can take quite a bit of work for a reader to assimilate and understand the implications of his arguments. That very complexity and difficulty, though, precludes dismissal of Stubbs’s works out of hand.

Has Stubbs proved the Book of Mormon true? No, but his data suggest that speakers of both Egyptian and a Semitic language came into contact with Uto-Aztecan speakers at roughly the same time as Book of Mormon events purportedly occurred and that a distinct Semitic infusion occurred at a different point.

Stubbs’s work is important and it deserves careful, reasoned consideration by scholars and lay readers alike.

 

 


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