The following was a message from soc.religion.mormon.


I was reading the "Is the Book of Mormon Really an Ancient Book?" essay, and I wish to bring something up. From your writing, you cited Hugh Nibley:

Ancient Book of Enoch text quoted in Book of Mormon.

(From the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.2, Ch.1, Pg.8)

A quotation from an Enoch text occurs in the thirteenth chapter of Helaman. "Ye have trusted in your riches," Enoch tells the people. "Ye have not remembered the Lord in the day he gave you your riches." (Cf. Helaman 13:33.) This is also Samuel the Lamanite speaking, an expert in the scriptures; he knew all about these things. He had access to the plates of brass and other records. And here Enoch speaks in a writing not discovered until 1888: "Ye have not remembered the Lord in the days he gave you your riches; ye have gone astray that your riches shall not remain, because you have done evil in everything. Cursed are you and cursed are your riches."

I'm putting my own collection of Book of Mormon evidence together, and as I read this, it occurred to me that Nibley is horribly stretching the truth. In fact, I'd say he's lying. First of all, he said:

A quotation from an Enoch text occurs in the thirteenth chapter of Helaman. "Ye have trusted in your riches," Enoch tells the people. "Ye have not remembered the Lord in the day he gave you your riches." (Cf. Helaman 13:33.)

"Enoch" does not "tell the people" anything. The Book of Mormon doesn't say that; the man's name isn't even mentioned. Second, the quotations "Ye have trusted in your riches" and "Ye have not remembered the Lord in the day he gave you your riches" do not appear in Helaman 13:33. That verse reads:

O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out. Yea, in that day ye shall say: O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day that he gave us our riches, and then they would not have become slippery that we should lose them; for behold, our riches are gone from us.

So in other words, Nibley changes:
"O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day that he gave us our riches"
to
"Ye have not remembered the Lord in the day he gave you your riches."

But he doesn't say so. He says "cited from Helaman 13:33." And what about:?
"Ye have trusted in your riches"

The word trust is not even in Helaman 13:33. In fact, the phrase trusted in is not found anywhere in the entire book of Helaman. Where is he getting this stuff? Nibley continues:

This is also Samuel the Lamanite speaking, an expert in the scriptures; he knew all about these things. He had access to the plates of brass and other records.

And from this, he assumes it must be Enoch that Samuel is quoting? Sounds like rather dubious scholarship to me.

And here Enoch speaks in a writing not discovered until 1888: "Ye have not remembered the Lord in the days he gave you your riches; ye have gone astray that your riches shall not remain, because you have done evil in everything. Cursed are you and cursed are your riches."

See, because of everything else he incorrectly stated, I can't bring myself to believe that he's quoting the 1888 Enoch text accurately, or if he's translating it himself, manipulating the words to fit what he believes.

Sorry, I'm Mormon, and I do respect Nibley's great efforts, but I draw the line at dishonest scholarship, which is what this appears to be.


Curt van den Heuvel adds:

Another point that Nibley seems to miss (at least in the extracts from the article that I have read) is that internal and external evidence fixes the origin of the Book of Enoch in the late Hellenistic or early Roman period. This would be sometime between 200 and 100 BC. It is thus extremely unlikely that the Brass plates would contain anything from the Book of Enoch, and even more unlikely that Samuel would have known about him.

I mention this because if Nibley had done any work at all on the subject, he should have been aware of this little point. (In my opinion, it makes his entire argument invalid). It thus seems a little strange that he fails to mention it.

As for Nibley lying, I think this may be a little harsh. In my opinion, he is guilty of nothing more than wishful thinking, a condition that seems to affect believers of all stripes when faced with a lack of objective proof for their particular view of the world.


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