Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Analysis of the Jaredite Civil War, Part I

This is a sneak peak at an article I've been working on. Its still in the rough draft phase, so both grammar and citations are incomplete. I also would have worked on it more but I was about half way through when my wife left me, so please forgive its current condition. As always I look forward to your comments.


January 1, 2010

Students and critics of The Book of Mormon often cite the lack of detailed narratives within the text as a barrier to its study. For critics, this lack of verifiable detail helps prove it’s a work of fiction as worthy of serious study as The Lord of the Rings. For those that believe in its historicity the lack of details often prove frustrating to correlate with a relatively slim amount of material concerning Ancient America. In particular, the Civil War that ends the Book of Ether covers a sanguine conflict that ended a nation and killed millions in a little over three chapters. And a significant chunk of these chapters are concerned with detailing prophecies of the recording historians (Ether and Moroni). But there are detailed and largely verified accounts of destructive civil wars from other ancient societies. One of these, The War of the Eight Princes (Bawang zhi Zhan), details the end of the Western Jin Dynasty of early Medieval China. The historicity of the events recorded in the last chapters of Ether increase when compared with The War of the Eight Princes and we can use the latter conflict to compensate for the lack of detailed narrative and help us better understand the political and military decisions and social climate that accompanied the end of the Jaredite nation.

I will advance thematically in rough chronological order through the account found in the Book of Ether and illuminate the text with examples from The War of the Eight Princes. This is rather easy since the accounts are similar in the larger details. This does not mean to imply any cultural dependence between the two texts. But instead I will simply use an example with greater historicity to support a text with less. While I acknowledge a vast amount of difference between Ancient American and Medieval Chinese society, there still exist a great deal of agreement between the two accounts. In the political and economic structure leading to the war, the duration of the conflict, its intensity, its causalities, the specific prosecution of the hostilities, and the historian’s vivid language describing the war both the Jaredite dénouement and The War of the Eight Princes contain striking and compelling similarities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to it, Morgan.