EModE Question

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moksha
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EModE Question

Post by moksha »

Could somebody state an accurate summary of the EModE theory in no more than two paragraphs? Apologists say the Ghost Committee description is inaccurate. What do they mean by that theory? A good explanation without added rebuttal within those two paragraphs would be greatly appreciated.
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Stem
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Re: EModE Question

Post by Stem »

I'm going to fail but I'll try for fun.

The Book of Mormon is largely written with syntax largely exclusive to EModE. Joseph Smith did not write in such syntax, and it would have been near impossible for Joseph to have replicated it. So, the logical conclusion is the book was written before Joseph Smith lived. And since Joseph claimed it was inspired and no one can find record of it existing before him, it must have been inspired by God.

There one paragraph. On the Ghost Committee thingy...it was a one time example explained by Skousen about how EModE ended up in the Book of Mormon--the actual translator had lived in the EModE era and was the one pushing the words to Joseph Smith, from the great beyond....or something like that.

I quote Stanford Carmack:
In summary, a scrutiny of command syntax in the 1829 BofM, the 1611 KJB, and Caxton’s 1483 translation of Legenda aurea (and in EModE generally) emphatically tells us that the
[Page 217]
BofM is an advanced EModE text in terms of this syntactic structure and that linguistic competence in earlier forms of English was necessary for its elaboration. Thus we have further evidence in favor of Skousen’s view that Joseph Smith received specific, revealed words from the Lord.
https://journal.interpreterfoundation.o ... uthorship/

So it appears since the syntax is so old, it means it could only come from the Lord, says our good apologetic friend. I think they ran from the Ghost committee theory as soon as it hit internet ears.

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Re: EModE Question

Post by Lemmie »

moksha wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:26 am
Could somebody state an accurate summary of the EModE theory in no more than two paragraphs? Apologists say the Ghost Committee description is inaccurate. What do they mean by that theory? A good explanation without added rebuttal within those two paragraphs would be greatly appreciated.
Here’s my best shot, without any rebuttal:

“A proportion of the Book of Mormon’s words, phrases and usage qualify as EModE language, as per Carmack’s research.

This proportion is large enough to conclude that Joseph Smith, who did not know EModE well enough to imitate it convincingly, did not translate the original plates, but rather read the words of a translation by someone else off the rock in his hat. This previous translation was presumably done by someone who naturally spoke or knew EModE.”


Hopefully the linguists here can weigh in, as this is just my best estimate based on my readings.

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Kishkumen
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Re: EModE Question

Post by Kishkumen »

The Ghost Committee made Book of Mormon apologetics interesting again. Long live the Ghost Committee!
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Dr Exiled
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Re: EModE Question

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H're is a valorous translat'r programeth f'r those who is't wanteth to writeth exclusively in emode:

https://lingojam.com/EnglishtoShakespearean

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Re: EModE Question

Post by Doctor Scratch »

moksha wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:26 am
Could somebody state an accurate summary of the EModE theory in no more than two paragraphs? Apologists say the Ghost Committee description is inaccurate. What do they mean by that theory? A good explanation without added rebuttal within those two paragraphs would be greatly appreciated.
The EModE Theory is simply this: Skouen and others claim that they have found features of Early Modern English in the Book of Mormon. Of course, if you were to ask them, the Mopologists will insist that the Book of Mormon is an ancient text that was written well before the Early Modern period. Nonetheless, because they care (allegedly) about things like science and evidence, they are willing to acknowledge that those EModE features are there. So, *why* are they there?

The most obvious explanation is that they're there because Joseph Smith put them there, but that undercuts the Mopologists belief that the Book of Mormon is an authentic history. Apparently as an aside, Skousen told DCP that he thought that the ghost of somebody (I forget who: the Reverend can tell you) from the EModE period was dictating the text to Joseph Smith. Hence: there was a committee of ghosts from the EModE period who influenced Joseph Smith to put that content into the Book of Mormon text.

Even though the Mopologists claim that we are mischaracterizing this theory, the truth is that they are reacting to the fact that we are making fun of them. It's not that we don't understand what the claims are; it's that we totally understand them and think that they're bonkers and deserving of ridicule.
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Re: EModE Question

Post by Dr Exiled »

I think the EmodE theory can be summed up with one word:

Desperation.

Or perhaps it can be summed thusly:

When the church of how could Joseph have known jumps the shark?
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Re: EModE Question

Post by Finn the human »

The EModE theory is a monument to the creativity and ingenuity of modern Mormon apologists. I really don’t understand the ridicule this theory generates. Joseph said he translated by the gift and power of God. Surely ghost committees lie within the boundaries of what God is capable of. I’m glad Joseph kept the translation process vague and I look forward to newer and more creative explanations for all the head scratching stuff we find in the Book of Mormon.
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Gadianton
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Re: EModE Question

Post by Gadianton »

To close a gap: Skousen's theory requires a "tight translation". But a tight translation really isn't a translation. Does the sentence "Joseph Smith translated the Gold Plates" really line up with "Joseph Smith read an eBook from a stone" ?

Nevertheless, here is a stack of Gold Plates with mysterious symbols, and here is an English text. If Joseph didn't do the translation, then who did?

You might suggest "God". But if God did the translation, then why did he translate into 15th century English, rather than 19th Century English, or rather than King James English if we're assuming King James English is more holy than regular English, as Chapel Mormons think?
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moksha
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Re: EModE Question

Post by moksha »

Gadianton wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:48 pm
You might suggest "God". But if God did the translation, then why did he translate into 15th century English, rather than 19th Century English, or rather than King James English if we're assuming King James English is more holy than regular English, as Chapel Mormons think?
Perhaps God is a Shakespeare fan as well as the other plays and poetry of that Early Modern English era? It was a time when people prayed for moisture rather than rain, I think. Could be due to frilly collars and codpieces.
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Doctor CamNC4Me
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Re: EModE Question

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Here's my attempt riffing off Gad's hot take:

Joseph Smith got the Kindle version of the Book of Mormon off his iStone. Reception was spotty at best. That's why sometimes the Book of Mormon has a tight translation, and sometimes Joseph Smith had to go off memory producing a loose translation.

Best not to give it much thought.

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Dr Exiled
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Re: EModE Question

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I don't know how anyone, other than desperate cheerleaders looking for a spark for their team, would consider EmodE anything but Joseph Smith trying to sound biblical mixed with his backwoods mode of speaking. Carmack continually deflects from questions about EmodE perhaps being part of how people from upstate N.Y. may have spoken at the time. (Please refer to discussions on MD&D with Physics Guy, Carmack [champatsch], and Clark Goble). {I tried to find the relevant discussion over there but their search function won't allow finding conversations over a month ago}

Remember the bofm was dictated and not written. Carmack instead refers to what was written at the time instead of looking at what was spoken, which is quite different. Combine that with the fraudster wanting to sound otherworldly and biblical for his dupes and voila. Another key to this is that Carmack admits that the EmodE finds its way into the D&C and the supposed temple lot revelation. So, Carmack has to take the position that he recently did on the interpreter radio show a little while back that EmodE is supposedly a holy language. https://interpreterfoundation.org/inter ... y-31-2020/

The right answer of course is that finding EmodE in the D&C and Temple Lot "revelations" shows that Joseph was playing to an audience.
Last edited by Dr Exiled on Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EModE Question

Post by Lemmie »

Another issue for me is Carmack’s argument that a portion-not all- is in EModE. And not a continuous portion, but words here, phrases there, syntax sometimes used but not always, etc. Then he concludes Smith couldn’t have written it because he didn’t naturally use these EModE parts. But Smith did dictate it word for word off the rock, so my question is this: how did the natural EModE speaker know any FUTURE words, usage and syntax?

Which is more likely, an EModE speaker translating reformed Egyptian AND mixing a future language into his work, or Smith trying to imitate the past?

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Re: EModE Question

Post by Dr Exiled »

Lemmie wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:25 am
Another issue for me is Carmack’s argument that a portion-not all- is in EModE. And not a continuous portion, but words here, phrases there, syntax sometimes used but not always, etc. Then he concludes Smith couldn’t have written it because he didn’t naturally use these EModE parts. But Smith did dictate it word for word off the rock, so my question is this: how did the natural EModE speaker know any FUTURE words, usage and syntax?

Which is more likely, an EModE speaker translating reformed Egyptian AND mixing a future language into his work, or Smith trying to imitate the past?
That is a great question and I am sure Carmack won't have a satisfactory answer for that one other than ..... God.
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Re: EModE Question

Post by Gadianton »

Right, I don't recall that one getting brought up. I concur with Dr. E. it's a great question.

My guess is they would say they don't know why and that they've rescinded the ghost committee theory. They would say it doesn't matter, because all that's required to exclaim, "how could he have known!" is that the 15th century stuff be there at all.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: EModE Question

Post by Dr Exiled »

Gadianton wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:05 pm
Right, I don't recall that one getting brought up. I concur with Dr. E. it's a great question.

My guess is they would say they don't know why and that they've rescinded the ghost committee theory. They would say it doesn't matter, because all that's required to exclaim, "how could he have known!" is that the 15th century stuff be there at all.
It's so transparently faulty, though. Lemmie rightly points out that the ghost committee could not have known about later english when they were doing their strange work. I remember Lemmie first pointing that out some time ago and I asked Carmack the question over at MD&D prior to being banned and he never responded. What a crazy theory. Do Carmack and Skousen have daddy issues? If I were in charge of the fund, I would be running the other direction from this theory. How could he have known? How could rational people believe such? The ridicule level is increased with this theory. It makes even former Mormons cringe. However, those in charge of the fund have to deal with many strange and silly theories. As long as the fund keeps getting donations, who cares if there are sightings of the three Nephites or if a ghost committee may have brought forth the bofm? Money buys respectability I guess.
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Re: EModE Question

Post by churchistrue »

My summary (not my belief about the Book of Mormon but my perception of the EModE Theory:

A defining characteristic of the Book of Mormon is that it largely written in Early Modern English. EModE grammar, phrases, and vocabulary are used pervasively in the Book of Mormon that are far outside the frequency and patterns of other pseudo-biblical 19th century text mimicking the EModE in the King James Bible. The Book of Mormon is clearly a cultural and creative translation, since it includes a heavily modern and humanistic element that best correlates to a 16c Protestant Reformation perspective. However, in addition to a 16c humanistic translator or translation committee's influence, there also are words, phrases, and ideas that must have been contributed later. So the Book of Mormon text should best be seen as a 16c loose translation of an ancient record, that has been updated and massaged to keep it understandable and relatable for its 19c audience. Joseph Smith has no influence on the text and his role in its production is limited to dictating the text to his scribe off the seerstone by the power of God.

Some of you guys might enjoy the podcast I've been doing, especially episodes 4 and 5 on Book of Mormon Content and Translation. https://www.churchistrue.com/blog/mormo ... isode-one/
Sharing a view of non-historical/metaphorical "New Mormonism" on my blog http://www.churchistrue.com/

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Re: EModE Question

Post by Physics Guy »

Carmack may well, for all I know, have shown that the Book of Mormon includes a bunch of grammatical constructions which would have been common in the 16th century but would not have been considered correct in later periods. I can't judge how good his case for this is, but I note that he hasn't yet published it in any mainstream linguistics, history, or religious studies journal. That's a red flag, because if his case were solid there would be no reason why any journal would refuse to publish it just because of its Mormon connections. From a non-Mormon point of view the only conclusion from Book of Mormon EModE would be that Smith or his confederates had access to a previously unknown EModE text. That would be surprising but hardly unthinkable. On the contrary I think scholars would love to think about it, if the solid evidence of EModE grammar in the Book of Mormon were really there.

The problem that even I see with Carmack's claims is that there an obvious alternative hypothesis: Smith tried to imitate King James English but failed through incompetence. Exaggerating what he thought were KJB archaisms, he overshot the mark and produced a bunch of even more archaic archaisms. This is not an easy hypothesis to test, because there are no other cases of an uneducated guy in Smith's time and place dictating a fake ancient scripture. It's nevertheless an immediately plausible hypothesis, to non-Mormons.

It might be possible to test the overshooting hypothesis experimentally, by just asking random people today to try to speak Bible-ese. Or maybe theoretical linguistics would suggest some likely patterns of hypercorrection, which could be checked.

To his credit Carmack has tried to do an easy test of the overshooting hypothesis, by looking at the grammar in a handful of published texts that were written in pseudo-Biblical English by educated authors as a sales gimmick. Unfortunately Carmack seems to be willfully blind to the inadequacy of this control group.

Excessively archaic English just comes across as bad English—people have always mocked the Book of Mormon for its awful grammar—and no authors writing for profit want that kind of reaction to their books. So people writing for sale are motivated to keep the archaism down to an amusing but not disturbing mild level; educated people revising written drafts before publication are also able to keep their archaism mild. An author who is trying to put over a hoax, in contrast, can't afford to downplay his archaism too much, and an uneducated author who is dictating a single draft will not be able to do accurate archaism precisely.

So the fact that Carmack's other pseudo-Biblical texts are much less archaic than the Book of Mormon doesn't prove that Smith wasn't trying to do pseudo-Biblical English, any more than the fact that my free-throw percentage is much lower than LeBron's proves that I'm not trying to sink baskets.
Last edited by Physics Guy on Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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moksha
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Re: EModE Question

Post by moksha »

Dr Exiled wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:18 pm
What a crazy theory. How could rational people believe such? It makes even former Mormons cringe.
If it is so crazy, then why is it consistently one of the top-funded projects in Mormon research? Are you trying to insinuate that LDS financial donors are daft? Perhaps they too sense emanations from the 15th Century. Es possible, si?
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Re: EModE Question

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moksha wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:53 pm
Dr Exiled wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:18 pm
What a crazy theory. How could rational people believe such? It makes even former Mormons cringe.
If it is so crazy, then why is it consistently one of the top-funded projects in Mormon research? Are you trying to insinuate that LDS financial donors are daft? Perhaps they too sense emanations from the 15th Century. Es possible, si?
I recently conducted a seance, trying to summon the Ghost Committee, a la the 70's Shazam series and/or the Isis series (I am partial to Isis). Someone completely different appeared to me, saying that the EmodE theory was the craziest thing those on the other side had ever heard. Entonces, no es posible. Lo que es posible son problemas de estomago.
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Re: EModE Question

Post by Chap »

Physics Guy wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:32 pm
The problem that even I see with Carmack's claims is that there an obvious alternative hypothesis: Smith tried to imitate King James English but failed through incompetence. Exaggerating what he thought were KJB archaisms, he overshot the mark and produced a bunch of even more archaic archaisms.
Physics Guy wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:32 pm
Excessively archaic English just comes across as bad English; people have always mocked the Book of Mormon for its awful grammar—and no authors writing for profit want that kind of reaction to their books. So people writing for sale are motivated to keep the archaism down to an amusing but not disturbing mild level; educated people revising written drafts before publication are also able to keep their archaism mild. An author who is trying to put over a hoax, in contrast, can't afford to downplay his archaism too much, and an uneducated author who is dictating a single draft will not be able to do accurate archaism precisely.
These and other remarks by Physics Guy seem to me to hit the mark.

May I intervene here from a Nevermo perspective? Through no merit but the accident of upbringing, I have equipment that (with all due respect) most ex-Mormons will lack: a close familiarity with 'biblical' (i.e. King James version) English gained in my youth and continued thereafter, uncontaminated with experience of the English of the Book of Mormon. Like a number of my teenage peers, I could produce parodies of the biblical style for satirical purposes, such as texts in which the 'commandments' of the authorities of my school were pompously set out, and so on.

When I first met the Book of Mormon and other Mormon sacred writing, I experienced an immediate strong sense of difference - this was not 'the real thing', but a not very competent imitation of King James English, with mistakes that even teenage Chap would not have made. As PG says, it was clearly the work of 'an uneducated author who is dictating a single draft [and is] not be able to do accurate archaism precisely'. To me there was never any question about the obvious 'fakeness' of the language.

But if one has been brought up to regard Mormon texts as on equal terms with the KJV bible, I suspect that the difference between the two is likely to seem much less glaring: it all just melds into 'sacred stuff'. Hence the fakeness of the Book of Mormon diction simply does not stand out as it does to an outsider, and my initial attitude of 'how can they take this obviously fake stuff seriously?' was unfair, since it failed to take account of the specificities of a Mormon cultural background.
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