Monday, December 04, 2006

Translation or Transliteration

In response to a great post at "urban mormonism," I had the following thoughts:

I think much of the Book of Mormon is a "wooden translation" or transaliteration which accounts for the many "biblicisms" and "hebraisms". In my opinion, because of the literal way it was translated, the Book of Mormon is more hebraic than the Bible. Also, when a certain concept was being communicated that was identical to one found in the Bible, Joseph Smith used the same KJV language to express it. In this way the Book of Mormon has a "familiar spirit."

"And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust" (Isa. 29: 4).

The translation of the Book of Abraham is also interesting. It is my opinion that if the original papyrus still existed, Joseph Smith's translation wouldn't match up exactly. Because, I think he wrote what should have been on the papyrus, and was not confined by what actually was on the papyrus. The papyrus got Joseph to ask the right questions. The Gold Plates came directly from Mormon and Mormoni, so Joseph Smith wouldn't have had to make corrections. With respect to the papyrus, we don't know where they came from or the quality of the writing on them. I look at the translation of Abraham to be more along the lines of his partial-translation of the KJV.

For more information of the hebraisms and hebrew poetic forms used in the Book of Mormon visit the Zarahemla Research Foundation.

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