Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Was part of the Book of Mormon stolen from Halmet?

In a post I made several years ago about problems with the To be or not to be speech in Hamlet also sharing the same problem in the Book of Mormon which cribs the line "from whence no traveler returns" in an attempt to sound Bibley. In Hamlet we are met with the odd problem that Hamlet talked to his father ghost and king specter earlier and so the line seems out of place, whereas within theology the line in the Book of Mormon seems odd considering the supposed resurrection of Jesus. Well it turns out several months ago I got a comment about the post from Brandon:

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.

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.

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