Thursday, September 13, 2007

Book of Mormon suffers the same problem as Hamlet.

2 Nephi 1:14 Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth.


"No traveler returns"... is from Hamlet's "to be, or not to be" soliloquy.

It is problematic in Hamlet as the play opens with Hamlet speaking to his ghost of a father and being told in no uncertain terms, 'avenge me'. Well apparently there's a traveler returning. Though Amanda Mabillard opinion (which was the first I saw of the theory) seems pretty good in that the speech is suppose to be before the rest of the play.

However, Joseph's Smiths use of Shakespeare is more problematic than even Shakespeare's use of Shakespeare. First, Smith is, in effect, saying that Jesus isn't going to rise from the dead as predicted. Nobody can return from "whence" -- and secondly he closes the door Shakespeare left open. Smith's version reads "from whence no traveler can return" -- he is outright denying the resurrection is even possible.

5 comments:

Brandon said...

Not really...

You see, in a long speech like the one in Hamlet, the one part that is said to be plagiarized from Shakespeare has 3 words in common, "no", "traveler" and "return". True that the ideas are similar, but the speeches are very different.

Shakespeare said: "To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?"

Lehi Said: "O that ye would awake; awake from a deep asleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal dgulf of misery and woe.
14 Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more ddays and I go the eway of all the earth.
15 But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the carms of his love.
16 And I desire that ye should remember to observe the statutes and the judgments of the Lord; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning."

The messages are different. Shakespeare speaks of the uncertainty of death. Lehi knows where he is going, but knows where his 2 elder sons may be headed as well, therefore he drives it into them that he will be gone soon, and not return within their lifetime. Read the rest of the Book of Mormon and try to prove that Joseph Smith didn't believe in the resurrection.

Also, before we start playing the plagiarism card, take a look at the epic of Gilgamesh, and the story of Noah, then look at Hammurabbi's Code then read the law of Moses.

It is not my personal opinion that bible was stolen from these sources, but there is a better case for that than what you are claiming here, and a lot more people pushing that concept.

Tatarize said...

Yes really. The turn of phrase "whence no traveler returns" is Shakespeare and well known Shakespeare and as people really did travel around like Duke and King in Huckleberry Finn and give terrible renditions of Shakespeare.

It really isn't far fetched that Joseph Smith when writing the Book of Mormon would try and sound fancy and include that. After all he wrote the whole damned thing in 16th century English (which fades in places) while "translating" from Egyptian plates to what should have been modern English. If nobody returns from the grave, that's problem for Hamlet and for Mormonism. And more generally yes he stole it.

As for your latter claim, I freely concede that there are more obvious copying in parts of the Bible proper. It is quite clear that the Epic of Gilgamesh is very much the story from which Noah's story was copied. There are a lot of similarities between the Jewish law code and the code of Hammerapi (nothing word for word but the two are cut from the same cloth). And yeah, the legend of Sargon birth is pretty much exactly the legend of Moses' birth. And let's not forget that Luke and Matthew are pretty clearly copied from Mark.

Just because other things are copied too and the cases for those things may be better that doesn't mean other copying doesn't exist. And so it came to pass... Smith borrowed from Shakespeare while trying to sound all Bibley.

JTurn said...

It's not from Hamlet, It's from View of the Hebrews

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22whence+no+traveler+can+return%22&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1#hl=en&tbs=cdr:1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F1600%2Ccd_max%3A12%2F31%2F1830&tbm=bks&sclient=psy-ab&q=%22from+whence+no+traveler+can+return%22&oq=%22from+whence+no+traveler+can+return%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=serp.3...0l0l3l133556l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0.frgbld.&pbx=1&fp=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&cad=b

JTurn said...

It's not from Hamlet, It's from View of the Hebrews

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22whence+no+traveler+can+return%22&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1#hl=en&tbs=cdr:1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F1600%2Ccd_max%3A12%2F31%2F1830&tbm=bks&sclient=psy-ab&q=%22from+whence+no+traveler+can+return%22&oq=%22from+whence+no+traveler+can+return%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=serp.3...0l0l3l133556l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0.frgbld.&pbx=1&fp=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&cad=b

Tatarize said...

Hamlet was written significantly before that. While I certainly can agree that he might well have taken it from somewhere else, just using the phraseology to sound 16th century for some reason. It could perhaps just be a fluke. Somehow it seems quite likely that Smith just heard it and wrote it while writing the book. Considering his character that seems like the most obvious answer.

My point however isn't that it's copied. But that it says nobody can return from the grave. Considering in Hamlet the Ghost from Act 1 or Jesus this is a somewhat problematic problem.