This just in from Jenkins. My comments preceed in blue. As I’ve said from the beginning, the question of the historicity of the Book of Mormon is a hermeneutical and epistemological problem. The problem is not “is there evidence?” but “what constitutes evidence and how should it be evaluated and interpreted?” Apparently Jenkins does not understand the difference between evidence and proof. When he says there’s no evidence, what he’s really saying is that there is no proof. I agree with him that the BOM has not been proven historical. But there is lots of evidence for its historicity.
It is quite clear that there can be evidence for false propositions. For example, imagine that my gun, with my fingerprints on it, was found at a murder scene and determined to be the murder weapon. That would constitute evidence that I was the murderer. But, when we also learn that my gun was stolen months ago, and I was in Europe on the day of the murder, that radically changes the probative value of the evidence against me. Thus, evidence is not proof. And there are many true things in the cosmos for which there is precisely no evidence that humans can perceive or comprehend. Most of what happened in ancient human history in fact has left precisely no discernable evidence that it ever happened.
There is clearly evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon. I’ve given a few examples. Jenkins says its not evidence. Why? Because he already knows the BOM is fiction. Jenkins refuses to read anything by any any LDS scholar. Why? Because they are all cranks and pseudo-scholars. How do we know they are cranks and psuedoscholars? Because they believe in the historicity of the BOM.
How does he know all this? Because he hasn’t read a damn thing on the topic. And I’m not going to rewrite the entire corpus of Book of Mormon scholarship on my blog for his convenience. He feels justified in steadfastly remaining ignorant of the scholarship on the historicity of the BOM because he already knows, a priori, that the BOM is fiction. And since it is fiction, it is a waste of time to read any evidence for it being history. Even if Jenkins is right, and the Book of Mormon is fiction, it is hard to imagine a more toxic combination of utter ignorance, arrogance and contempt in scholarship.
You [Hamblin] write this:
“[Jenkins] insists that we provide “credible and plausible” evidence. This is progress of a sort. At least tacitly, he seems to have agreed that there is evidence for the BOM of a sort. His problem now is that he doesn’t find it “credible and plausible.”
This is absolutely wrong and incorrect. At no point have I ever suggested that there is any evidence whatever in support for the historicity or historical value of the Book of Mormon. I have never suggested or stated that tacitly, or openly, and it is wrong to suggest that I have. Nor do I understand how you could draw that bizarre conclusion from anything I have written.