Jim’s first response — on page 16 of his very long PDF — was to Jeremy’s question about KJV quotes and “errors” in the Book of Mormon.LDS scholar Hugh Nibley wrote the following in response to a letter sent to the editor of the Church News section of the Deseret News. His response was printed in the Church News in 1961: These arguments still hold. “[One of the] most devastating argument[s] against the Book of Mormon was that it actually quoted the Bible. The early critics were simply staggered by the incredible stupidity of including large sections of the Bible in a book which they insisted was specifically designed to fool the Bible-reading public. They screamed blasphemy and plagiarism at the top of their lungs, but today any biblical scholar knows that it would be extremely suspicious if a book purporting to be the product of a society of pious emigrants from Jerusalem in ancient times did not quote the Bible. No lengthy religious writing of the Hebrews could conceivably be genuine if it was not full of scriptural quotations. …to quote another writer of Christianity Today [magazine], “passages lifted bodily from the King James Version,” and that it quotes, not only from the Old Testament, but also the New Testament as well. As to the “passages lifted bodily from the King James Version,” we first ask, “How else does one quote scripture if not bodily?” And why should anyone quoting the Bible to American readers of 1830 not follow the only version of the Bible known to them? Actually the Bible passages quoted in the Book of Mormon often differ from the King James Version, but where the latter is correct there is every reason why it should be followed. When Jesus and the Apostles and, for that matter, the Angel Gabriel quote the scriptures in the New Testament, do they recite from some mysterious Urtext? Do they quote the prophets of old in the ultimate original? Do they give their own inspired translations? No, they do not. They quote the Septuagint, a Greek version of the Old Testament prepared in the third century B.C. Why so? Because that happened to be the received standard version of the Bible accepted by the readers of the Greek New Testament. When “holy men of God” quote the scriptures it is always in the received standard version of the people they are addressing. We do not claim the King James Version of the Septuagint to be the original scriptures—in fact, nobody on earth today knows where the original scriptures are or what they say. Inspired men have in every age have been content to accept the received version of the people among whom they labored, with the Spirit giving correction where correction was necessary. Since the Book of Mormon is a translation, “with all its faults,” into English for English-speaking people whose fathers for generations had known no other scriptures but the standard English Bible, it would be both pointless and confusing to present the scriptures to them in any other form, so far as their teachings were correct.
- What is thought to be a very serious charge against the Book of Mormon today is that it, a book written down long before New Testament times and on the other side of the world, actually quotes the New Testament! True, it is the same Savior speaking in both, and the same Holy Ghost, and so we can expect the same doctrines in the same language.
- witnesses never reported Joseph used a Bible from a nearby shelf
- no evidence Joseph had access to the Bible, though the printer did
- Joseph spelled out the proper names when encountered for the first time in the Book of Mormon
- biblical names were often misspelled in the Book of Mormon manuscripts; these biblical names wouldn’t have been misspelled if Joseph and Oliver had checked the nearby King James version of the Bible
2 Nephi 12: 15 And upon every ahigh tower, and upon every fenced wall;The Book of Mormon Isaiah text matches with the KJV and Bishops’ Bibles, but not with the rest of the English translations. Most interesting is Royal’s review of the next verse — Isaiah 2:16 — with 2 Nephi 12:16 around 30:00. It’s worth looking at the slide at the 30:00 mark. In this instance, the Book of Mormon uses text from earlier Greek translations (not available to Joseph) with later Hebrew translations.
2 Nephi 12: 16 And upon all the ships of the asea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.2 Nephi 12:16, part 1: “upon all ships of the sea” is found in the earlier bibles, from the Coverdale Bible to the Great Bible (translated from Greek manuscripts) 2 Nephi 12:16, part 2: “upon all the ships of Tarshish” is found in the later bibles, from the Geneva Bible through KJV (translated from Hebrew manuscripts) How did Joseph get these two translations into a single verse? Where did he get access to the earlier translations from which come the words “upon all ships of the sea?” Around the 36:00 mark, Dr. Skousen creates this thought experiment: Did Joseph mark up his bible with a few changes, then pass the bible over to Oliver to copy? Evidence against copying the KJV by Joseph and Oliver is this: Oliver’s misspellings. Oliver isn’t influenced by the spelling he would have seen in the King James Version Bible in their Harmony, PA home.
Discussion about the Multiple-Isaiah HypothesisL. LaMar Adams writes the following in BYU Religious Studies: A Scientific Analysis of Isaiah Authorship. Summary and Conclusions: The statistical results in this study do not support the divisionists’ claim that little or no evidence exists for unity of the book of Isaiah. To the contrary, the results strongly support single authorship of the book. The divisions of the book most often claimed to have been written by different authors were found to be more similar to each other in authorship style than to any of the control group of eleven other Old Testament books. The book of Isaiah also exhibited greater internal consistency than any of the other books when authorship style was analyzed. These results do not exclude the possibility that minor changes in the text have been made by scribes and editors since the time of its origin. However, the evidence indicates that in spite of such possible changes, an overall style has been retained as measured by the literary variables examined. The results of this research bear witness that the book of Isaiah has a literary unity characteristic of a single author. These results, therefore, confirm the claims made in the Book of Mormon and the New Testament by later prophets and by the Savior that Isaiah was the author of the book bearing his name. Another major problem found by this author: those who insist on multiple authors do this because they don’t believe in prophets. That is, they don’t believe prophets can forecast the future, and therefore, someone after Isaiah’s death must have written parts Isaiah himself couldn’t have known would occur. Hmmmmmmmm. More from Adams about past research concluding 2+ authors were involved:
“The results of this research bear witness that the book of Isaiah has a literary unity characteristic of a single author. These results, therefore, confirm the claims made in the Book of Mormon and the New Testament by later prophets and by the Savior that Isaiah was the author of the book bearing his name.”In addition, Paul Fields shared his insight at a recent conference on this topic: Stylometry and the Book of Isaiah. “There have been a few stylometric studies over the years starting with the earliest that I am aware of in 1970. To interpret the results, it is important to realize that none of the studies can establish that there was more than one writer of the text. Although there is evidence of more than one writing style in the text, factors other than the identity of the author must be considered. “More than one style does not necessarily indicate multiple ‘hands hold the pen.’ The same author can express himself or herself differently when writing at different times, to different audiences, on different topics, or for different purposes. So, the presence of multiple writing styles cannot be asserted as indicating multiple people as authors of a text. “Also, unlike the Book of Mormon which had one translator (Joseph Smith) who had one scribe (Oliver Cowdery), the Bible has gone through innumerable hands over the last 2000 years. It has been translated and retranslated by translators after translators, and written and rewritten by scribes after scribes. While we can show that the modest changes to the text of the Book of Mormon have not made a meaningful difference in the writing styles in the Book of Mormon, we cannot show that to be the case for the Bible. In fact, it should actually be surprising if only one writing style was found in a Biblical text. “There have been studies showing that the original author’s ‘wordprint’ comes through the translation process to a certain extent, the original author’s style as evident in the translated text is still affected by the translator’s style. Further, we have shown that the “scribe effect” — the extent to which a scribe’s wordprint can be detected in a dictated text — can range from a trivial amount (10-15%) to a large amount (70-80%). Consequently, the accumulated effect of a sequence of translators and a sequence of multiple scribes (copyists) will result in substantial changes to the writing styles in a text, even if the translator effect and the scribe effect are small for each step in the sequence. “Finally, stylometric studies must be conducted in the context of established historical facts that set the framework for the analyses and their interpretation. The results of stylometric studies can provide evidence for our against a research conjecture that is founded on historical and biographical information external to the stylometric analyses. Proceeding in the opposite direction by just ‘fishing around’ for different writing styles in a text and then trying to assert historicity or identity based on the results is an excellent way to arrive at nonsense conclusions or at least non-scientific conclusions. “In sum, whatever someone wants to assert about the number of people who were ‘Isaiah,’ that assertion must be based on evidence other than stylometric evidence.” Darryl Alder reports on the presentation by Fields and Roper, “Multiple Isaiah Theory and Stylometry.” Referring to La Mar Adams’ research: “As long ago as 1984, L. La Mar Adams in “A Scientific Analysis of Isaiah Authorship” which was one of the first scientific approaches to the multiple Isaiah theory wrote, “The disputed authorship of Isaiah is one of the most popular textual biblical issues and appears to be the father of all Old Testament authorship problems of the same nature.” “The majority of biblical scholars divide the book of Isaiah into multiple authorship. The problem of identifying authorship for the book and parts of the book is known as the “Isaiah problem,”3 or what we are calling the “Multiple Isaiah Theory Problem.” Adams explained, “A few years ago, our group of thirty-five specialists in Semitic languages, statistics, and computer science at Brigham Young University devised a literary style analysis to test the claims of these biblical scholars. This study, which spanned several years, in the end used more than 300 computer programs, analyzed several hundred stylistic variables, and obtained more than 4800 statistical comparisons. “…The results of the study were conclusive: there is a unique authorship style throughout the various sections of Isaiah. The rates of usage for the elements of this particular style are more consistent within the book of Isaiah, regardless of the section, than in any other book in the study. This statistical evidence led us to a single conclusion: based on style alone, the book of Isaiah definitely appears to be the work of one man. The two parts of Isaiah most often claimed to have been written by different authors, chapters 1–39 and 40–66, were found to be more similar to each other in style than to any of the other eleven Old Testament books examined.”4 Summary from FAIR Mormon. From BYU’s Religious Studies Center by John A. Tvedtnes: Isaiah Variants in the Book of Mormon. Another more recent article by John Tvedtnes with a focus on the italicized words in the KJV: ISAIAH IN THE BIBLE AND THE BOOK OF MORMON. Key paragraphs by Tvedtnes below. His first paragraph:
Of the 478 verses in the Book of Mormon quoted from the book of Isaiah, 201 agree with the King James reading while 207 show variations. Some 58 are paraphrased and 11 others are variants and/or paraphrases. It is to the variants that we will give our attention here…Tvedtnes compares many verses between the Book of Mormon and Isaiah. I’ll only share this (many others are found in the link above) one: Isaiah 2:16 compared with 2 Nephi 12:16:
KJV: “And upon all the ships of Tarshish” BM: “And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish” Here, BM adds a line not found in KJV. Interestingly, LXX reads “And upon every ship of the sea, and upon all views of pleasant ships,” with the last part paralleling KJV/BM “and upon all pleasant pictures.” The Greek talassa, “sea,” resembles the word Tarshish. But both the Targum and the Vulgate have “sea” with LXX instead of Tarshish. The matter is a very complex one, for which a complete discussion cannot be included here. BM appears to have included the versions of both MT and LXX/T/V. MT could have dropped the nearly identical second line by haplography…His conclusion:
“It has long been my contention that the best scientific evidence for the Book of Mormon is not archaeological or historical in nature, as important as these may be, but rather linguistic. This is because we have before us a printed text which can be subjected to linguistic analysis and comparison with the language spoken in the kingdom of Judah at the time of Lehi. One of the more remarkable linguistic evidences for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon as a translation from an ancient text lies in the Isaiah variants found in it. The examples given here, though sketchy, are presented to offer some of that evidence to all those who seriously inquire after the origins of the Book of Mormon.”This guy, Terry Sheets, (the Backyard Professor) starts to discuss the KJV around 6:49. Till then, he comments on the power of reasoning and study. Terry first explains the KJV relies more on the Bishops’ Bible (translated in 1568) much than on a direct translation from the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. The KJV translators were instructed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to modify the wording of the Bishops’s Bible only when its meaning varied from the meaning of the Greek NT and Hebrew OT texts. The Bishops’ Bible was itself a revision of the Great Bible (1539). A few versions of the Bible rest between the Great Bible and the William Tyndale’s first English Bible. Tyndale translated this version from 1526-1531 directly from Greek and Hebrew texts. Tyndale retained some of John Wycliffe’s wording from the late 14th Century. The KJV style set the standard from scriptural language of Joseph’s day. Others, not just Joseph, followed this practice of using King James type language. Why did Joseph use Early Modern English to translate the Book of Mormon? And why so many chapters that closely resemble KJV Isaiah? Nobody knows for sure, but we have a few examples that did the same: Below are two examples of translations that conveniently used the KJV Bible or similar language as a basis for their translations: 1. Nearly 100 years after the Book of Mormon was translated, Robert H Charles, the translator of biblical texts, “The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament”, made it a point to imitate the language and style of the KJV of the Bible in his magnum opus. He did so for several reasons, including this obvious one: The KJV was the most common version read in the English-speaking world. 2. Jewish scholar, Theodore Gaster, intermixed KJV and modern English in his translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSSs). The scrolls were originally written in ancient Hebrew. Gaster could have exclusively used modern English. That might have been easiest. Yet, Gaster translated this ancient language with a blend of KJ English. Just like Joseph did. Shon Hopkin discusses Abinadi in the Book of Mormon, including the KJV variants (variants discussed around 34:00 mark): Isaiah Problem” in the Book of Mormon. Abstract from the above paper: “Doubts as to the literary unity of the book of Isaiah are fairly recent. The late nineteenth century saw a division of Isaiah into three parts by critics, who categorized only 262 of the 1292 verses as the genuine product of Isaiah. These critics deny the prediction element of prophecy and highlight different literary forms and theological ideas. The Book of Mormon attributes two of these three sections to Isaiah by quotation; ancient scriptures as well give no hint of a division. Christ and the apostles themselves attribute the book to Isaiah. Internal evidences of the unity of the book include imagery, repetition, expressions peculiar to Isaiah, and song. Changes in style can be attributed to mood. The differences between the Book of Mormon and the King James Version support the authenticity and literary unity of Isaiah.” Great scholarship from the Interpreter: Their Imperfect Best: Isaianic Authorship from an LDS Perspective Conclusions: The Latter-day Saint response to the theory of multiple authorship of Isaiah that prevails in critical scholarly circles should not be to engage critical scholars in their old arguments over multiple authorship vs. unity, or to provide yet another voice in smaller scholarly disputes over authorship at the level of chapter and verse. The differences in assumptions that Latter-day Saints bring to questions of production of scripture — including our experiences in observing and analyzing the production of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants — effectively constitute a barrier to entry for a Latter-day Saint response to the critical position on critical terms. This is not, however, a “surrender” to the critical position. On the contrary, it is an opportunity and invitation to develop a uniquely Latter-day Saint theory of authorship for Isaiah (and other books) using a toolset of very different assumptions:
- The statement in our Articles of Faith that “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” is an expression of how the Bible can serve as the word of God in influencing the life of the believer, and not an assertion that the Bible was authored or even compiled by God. The discussion of the transmission of the Biblical text in 1 Nephi 13:23–29 asserts a great deal of human error in the transmission of the Bible, resulting in the loss of “plain and precious things.” The Book of Mormon can serve not only as a corrective to extreme assumptions of textual infallibility, but also as a corrective to the excesses of modern critical scholarly perspectives on the formation and transmission of the Biblical text.
- Prophets can and do develop significant changes in perspective over time, even on very consequential matters.
- A prophet’s tone, phraseology, and topical emphasis are likely to change to significant degrees depending upon the prophet’s audience, specific life experiences, observations of social or geopolitical trends, or even the prophet’s own stage of life.
- Prophetic writings influence the work of later prophets, who respond to previous prophetic writings by incorporating, [Page 24]restating, alluding to, or sometimes even reversing the teachings of their predecessors.
- Prophets can predict future events before they come to pass.
- In questions of dating of scripture, the repeated presence of textual “borrowing” across authors carries far more evidential weight than anachronisms or other textual features that are possible results of redaction or simple misplacement of passages in the process of compiling a prophet’s writings.
- JS’s 1832 History
- 12-15 years old JS extensive study of the KJV
- KJV numerous phrases in JS’s writings & dictation
- JS supplied KJV phrases for the BM
- Hebrew, Greek, and Hierglyphics
- King James Version compared with the Book of Mormon
- 2 Nephi 22:2 vs KJV Isaiah 12:2 vs Hebrew
- JS statements “translated by the gift and power of God”
- KJV Isaiah 7:14 contrasted with Hebrew & LXX (Septuagint) & Book of Mormon