Saturday, January 5, 2013

Nephi the Scribe and Using The Book of Mormon

RT writes that Nephi dictating his record is historically unlikely because literacy was rare and even fewer possessed the skills to write an extended narrative. Unfortunately,  the writer missed Brant Gardner's article which rebuts both points. I hope that people commenting on the historicity of The Book of Mormon would account for all of current research. 

RT's piece also seems to follow a trend that ignores how the book might change perception of history.  The Book of Mormon is often judged by historical knowledge, but as a rare primary source it can also inform our knowledge of history. My still forthcoming book has a chapter on battle in Mesoamerica which takes this dual approach. It shows how The Book of Mormon conforms to the current knowledge of battle by looking at the Mayan glyphs for war and the most recent scholarship on items such as ceremonial dramas, divine battle standards, and ritual desecration; but it also looks at intricate details that inform us of practices as well such as the covenants of Nephites, the use of the Title of Liberty in battle, and specific tactics before and during an engagement.    

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