This is different in that the phrasing and content, in context, is so similar to Book of Mormon at points that it is a good potential candidate to establish direct narrative influence. I don't think we've realistically seen that before. It plainly is something deserving further study. To hand-wave it as nothing new, especially with some very weak references, seems desperate and beneath the usual quality of Nevo's comments.
Sorry to be a disappointment, EAllusion. I thought some of the references I gave were pretty strong. I think Eran Shalev's new book should be the starting point for any serious discussion of similarities and differences between the Book of Mormon and other pseudo-biblical writing in the post-Revolutionary period.
Huh. One would think that since the OP is so simplistic and obvious, it would be no trouble at all for you to refute all these similarities in language and themes everyone keeps finding in this thread with little trouble. Why don't we have that serious discussion right now, since you're here?
I can understand why the ex-Mormon crowd is salivating over this, particularly those whose knowledge of Joseph Smith's cultural context is next to nil, but I'll be very surprised if this "find" (Rick Grunder should be suing!) gets any traction among serious students of the period (I'm thinking here of folks like Jared Hickman
You know what's wonderful about the restored gospel? The LDS Church sends tens of thousands of untrained teenagers out to tell people to believe in the Book of Mormon on the basis of nothing but a subjective emotional experience, combined with the LDS Church's ipse dixit about the meaning of any such nice feelings a person might have. And it takes no particular education or informed perspective to spend one's life as a believing Mormon, telling anyone within the sound of your voice that you "know" the Book of Mormon is what it purports to be. And yet one needs all kinds of specialized training in any number of esoteric fields before being qualified to offer any criticism of the Book of Mormon's truth claims, and even then you just have an agenda and are closed-minded. Isn't it wonderful? Isn't it marvelous?
Nevo, how many PhD.'s does the average person need before he or she can reasonably suspect that the Book of Mormon might be fictitious? Six? Would six PhD.'s be enough? As opposed to being competent at around second grade (age 8) to "know" that it is true?
So far I haven't seen anything to persuade me that Hunt's book is the source, or even a source, for the Book of Mormon. The linguistic and thematic similarities I have seen pointed out so far do not rise to the level of establishing literary influence, much less dependence. Most strike me as superficial (e.g., "curious workmanship"). Perhaps a cumulative case can be made. Time will tell. But I'm not holding my breath.
Yes, it's not like this is a multi-page thread that has pointed out a great many exact similarities in language and literary themes. How does the saying go? Avoidance: it's not just a river in Egypt? Something like that.
Is there nineteenth-century influence in the Book of Mormon? I think there plainly is. Blake Ostler, Richard Bushman, Terryl Givens, Philip Barlow, Mark Thomas, Dan Vogel, and numerous other scholars have pointed this out. I myself have pointed out such things (see, for example, here
). Is this a problem for believers? Not really. If God wanted to tailor the Book of Mormon to a nineteenth-century readership (cf. 1 Nephi 19:24; Mormon 8:35), why should it be otherwise? As Terryl Givens has written, "nineteenth-century parallels . . . are part and parcel of the self-proclaimed prophetic texture of the work."
See, the thing is that nobody on Earth (except Chapel Mormons, whose knowledge of Joseph Smith's cultural context is next to nil) disputes a 19th-century influence on the Book of Mormon. It's that there is nothing other than
a 19th-century influence in the Book of Mormon. The issue you are stridently avoiding is that this find adds to the already overwhelming evidence why there is no reason to believe the Book of Mormon is the product of anything outside of Joseph Smith's time and place.
Or do you still want to talk about all these impressive Hebraisms that nobody in New York in the early 1800's could possibly have come up with?