The Strange Case of Disappearing Anachronisms
I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1950. Almost from the time I climbed out of the baptismal font of the Woodlands Street Chapel in Bradford Yorkshire, my ears and eyes were assailed by good meaning people that desired to shock me out of my newly discovered Faith. Most of their prods and pokes were in the form of anachronisms. I was, naturally, intrigued. That was more than 65 years ago and the 'anachronisms' like the ancient walls of Jericho have been falling, brick by brick, as further and better information has come to light.
Many so-called anachronisms have proved to be nothing more that efforts by the translator of the ancient documents to render them accessible to modern readers. He, therefore, will use words that are familiar and understood by the readership rather than fail to translate a word or to keep its original form that would be meaningless to us today. One such word is 'Christ," and another is 'Messiah,' used of Jesus Christ, but referring to him in the future centuries before his birth at Bethlehem in the Land of Jerusalem [see Alma 7:10].
However, Smith's use of the terms to make the Book of Mormon text accessible to its readers should not be seen as evidence that the young Prophet did not know what he was doing. The following explain in more detail.
Christ & Messiah
The words "Christ" and "Messiah" are used several hundred times throughout the Book of Mormon. The first instance of the word "Christ" dates to between 559 and 545 BC. The first instance of the word "Messiah" dates to about 600 BC.
"Christ" is the English transliteration of the Greek word Χριστός (transliterated precisely as Christós); it is relatively synonymous with the Hebrew word rendered "Messiah" (Hebrew: מָשִׁיחַ, Modern Mashiaẖ, Tiberian Māšîăḥ). Both words have the meaning of "anointed," and are used in the Bible to refer to "the Anointed One". In Greek translations of the Old Testament (including the Septuagint), the word "Christ" is used for the Hebrew "Messiah", and in Hebrew translations of the New Testament, the word "Messiah" is used for the Greek "Christ". If you take any passage in the Bible that uses the word "Christ", you can substitute for it the word "Messiah" or "the Messiah" with no change in meaning (e.g. Matthew 1:1, 16, 18).
The Book of Mormon uses both terms throughout the book. In the vast majority of cases, it uses the terms in an identical manner as the Bible, where it does not matter which word is used:
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is (Christ/the Messiah), the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" (Helaman 5:12).
"And after he had baptized (Christ/the Messiah) with water, he should behold and bear record that he had baptized the Lamb of God, who should take away the sins of the world." (1 Nephi 10:10).
The Book of Mormon occasionally uses the word "Christ" in a way that is not interchangeable with "Messiah". For example in 2 Nephi 10:3, the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob says an angel informed him that the name of the Messiah would be Christ:
"Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews" (2 Nephi 10:3)
The word "Messiah" was used frequently before this point, but from this point on the word "Christ" is used almost exclusively in the Book of Mormon.
Richard Packham argues that the Greek word "Christ" in the Book of Mormon challenges the authenticity of the work since Joseph Smith clearly stated that, "There was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from which I, through the grace of the Lord, translated the Book of Mormon."
The Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research states that the word 'Christ' is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word 'Messiah' and Smith simply chose the more familiar Greek word to translate the word that appeared in the language of the plates.
Hugh Nibley postulated that the word "Messiah" could have been derived from Arabic rather than Hebrew, although Arabic is not mentioned as one of the languages in which the golden plates were written.
Horses are mentioned fourteen times in the Book of Mormon, and are portrayed as an integral part of the cultures described. There is no evidence that horses existed on the American continent during the 2500–3000 year history of the Book of Mormon (2500 BC–400 AD). Horses evolved in North America, but are believed to have become extinct on the American continent at the end of the Pleistocene. Horses did not reappear in the Americas until the Spaniards brought them from Europe. They were brought to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus in 1493, and to the American continent by Cortés in 1519. See also: Quaternary extinction event
Apologists assert that there is fossil evidence that some New World horses may have survived the Pleistocene–Holocene transition.
Others believe that the word "horse" in the Book of Mormon does not refer to members of the genus Equus but instead to other animals such as deer or tapirs.
FARMS apologist Robert R. Bennett stated that as a comparison, the famed horses of the Huns did not leave an archaeological trace yet numbered in the thousands. Research shows that archaeological remains of horses have been found at the Huns site of Boroo Gol, Mankhan as well as at various grave sites directly preceding the Huns. Bennett also points out the limited evidence of lions in Palestine. [Source: Op Cit]
Anachronisms are not all one-sided in sacred literature - Book of Job I
"For example, a degree of dependence by Job upon Iranian and Indian folklore has been detected by some scholars in reference to a righteous man's being tested by rival deities against a dualistic background. Thus the Indian story of Harisandra which appeared in many variant forms, recorded the trying of a righteous man by the consent of the divine assembly and his subsequent restoration when his integrity and perfection had been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the gods." [CF Polz, Hiob und Weisheit (1921), pp. 8f.; P Bertie, Le Poèm de Job, (1929), p. 54.; EG Kraeling, The Book of the Ways of God, (1939), pp. 187f. See also, A Lods, Histoire de la littérature hébraïque et juive, pp. 691f. cited in Introduction to the Old Testament, RK Harrison, Professor of Old Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI, 1969]
The Samaritan Pentateuch.
Sometimes there are names of a later date used, and such as were most familiarly known in those days. Such are Banias for Dan, Genesis 14:14, that is, Panias, the spring of Jordan: Gennesar for Chinnereth, Numbers 34:11; Deuteronomy 3:17: not to mention Bathnan and Apamia for Bashan and Shepham, which are so near akin with the Syriac pronunciation: and Gebalah, or Gablah, for Seir, according to the Arabic idiom. [Commentary by Lightfoot, cited by JP Holding, founder of Tektonics Ministry,]
However, it is not churlish to point out an area where Holding was not up to date. He offers as an example of an anachronism the following:
An article from Biblical Archaeological Review about the recovery of the oldest "book," a 14th century BC wooden folding tablet has a relevant tidbit. Note how this "anachronism" in Homer was handled up until the discovery of this book:
It was George Bass who first made the connection between the Uluburun diptych and the reference to a "folding tablet" made by Homer. In Book VI, line 169 of the Iliad, we learn that Bellerophon carried a "folding tablet" containing "baneful signs" to Lycia. This is the only reference to writing in Homer and, until the Uluburun discovery, scholars regarded this reference to a "folding tablet" as an anachronism, added to the text at a late date.
Mr Holding would be well advised to become acquainted with the following information:
It would lead him to a better understanding of ancient folding writing tablets, what we today would call books.
A recent, 1993, find pushes writing back several thousand more years than was previously known. It is true to say that we do not know all there is to know about the ancient worlds and those that believe they do have much, very much, to learn. That is why the best and most able scholars display healthy levels of doubt about what they know and what they do not know.
The Dispilio Tablet - the oldest known written text
According to conventional Archaeology, writing wasn't’t invented until 3000 to 4000 BC in Sumeria. However, an artifact was found over a decade ago which contradicts this belief – and perhaps this is the reason why few people know about the discovery.
The Dispilio tablet was discovered by a professor of prehistoric Archaeology, George Xourmouziadis, in 1993 in a Neolithic lake settlement in Northern Greece near the city of Kastoria. A group of people used to occupy the settlement 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. The Dispilio tablet was one of many artefacts that were found in the area, however the importance of the table lies in the fact that it has an unknown written text on it that goes back further than 5,000 BC. The wooden tablet was dated using the Carbon-12 dating method to have been made in 5260 BC, making it significantly older than the writing system used by the Sumerians.
The text on the tablet includes a type of engraved writing which probably consists of a form of writing that pre-existed Linear B writing used by the Mycenaean Greeks. As well as the tablet, many other ceramic pieces were found that also have the same type of writing on them. Professor Xourmouziadis has suggested that this type of writing, which has not yet been deciphered, could be any form of communication including symbols representing the counting of possessions.
More artefacts were discovered that show the economic and agricultural activities of the settlement, proof of animal breeding and their diet preferences as well as tools and pottery, figurines and other personal ornaments.
Decoding the writing is going to be difficult if not impossible, unless a new Rosetta stone is found. Unfortunately, by the moment the tablet was removed out of its original environment, contact with oxygen started the deterioration process and it is now under preservation. It is impressive to think that the wooden tablet had remained at the bottom of the lake for 7,500 years.
While this artifact predates the Sumerian writing system, I am sure in the future more will be found in other areas of the world that will go even further back in time, until the true history of humanity will be unravelled and completely change what we know about our history.
By John Black - http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-writings-ancient-places-europe/dispilio-tablet-oldest-known-written-text-00913
Bible Scholars Puzzled - Job II
"Apart from the fact that the book bears his name, and that there are isolated references elsewhere in the Bible to him [Ezekiel. 14:14, 20; James. 5:11], there is no reliable information about Job himself. The name first appeared in the form 'ybm in the Egyptian Execration Texts, ca. 2000 BC, in which certain Palestinian chieftains were listed, and once in an Armana letter as Ay(y)âb, as well as in second-millennium BC texts from Mari and Alakah [...] [I]t may well be that some ancient hero of this name passed through experiences similar to those described in the book, and subsequently became the model of the righteous sufferer." [Introduction to the Old Testament, RK Harrison, Professor of Old Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI, 1969, p. 1027]
Bible Scholars Find No Place Called Uz.
"As obscure as the meaning of the name Job was the land of Uz, where the story was set. It is nowhere described specifically, and has been place as far apart as Northern Mesopotamia and Edom. [Introduction to the Old Testament, RK Harrison, Professor of Old Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI, 1969, p. 1027]
No Archaeologist has discovered Uz. Does this mean the Holy Bible is fake?
The Land of Uz (ארץ עוץ) is a location mentioned in the Old Testament, most prominently in the Book of Job, which begins, "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job."
Scholars have not identified any actual country which corresponds to Uz. No Archeaeological evidence exists that Uz ever existed. Does that make the Holy Bible false?
Pre-Colombian Barley in the New World
The December, 1983 issue of Science 83, reported that Pre-Columbian Barley had been found in Phoenix, Arizona.