Reformed Egyptian, or was it Hebrew, in the Book of Mormon
The following was a message from alt.religion.mormon.
Someone asked why the Book of Mormon was supposedly written in “reformed Egyptian” instead of Hebrew to which the following replies were received:
“And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.”
“And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew …”
— Book of Mormon : Mormon 9:32-33
Umm…did anyone bother to check on this at all? I think that you will find that Hebrew is a far more compact form of writing than hieratic, not to mention hieroglyphics.
I think this is a very good point. “Speech is concentrated, and all the emphasis is placed upon the important words. The Hebrew text of Psalm 23 contains only fifty-five words; our modern western translations employ twice that number.” — An Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament, 1952, pp. 63.
Add to this that ancient Hebrew dispensed with vowels and you have an extremely compact language. Of course, Joseph Smith was probably unaware of this aspect of Hebrew. This makes the position that a language that descended from Egyptian would somehow be more “compact” than Hebrew extremely unlikely.
On the other hand, had Smith said that the writing was in Hebrew, he could have been challenged to produce a facsimile of what he saw (as he did with “reformed Egyptian”).
someone else who hadn’t yet seen the above responses responded to the original post as follows:
Egyptian is more concise than Hebrew, and when inscribing plates made of precious metal conciseness is important.
Why the need to extensively quote from the KJV of the Bible then? If conciseness was important you’d think they wouldn’t duplicate what we already have. They supposedly had the brass plates too so why would they copy significant portions of that onto another set of plates?