A Recovered Resource The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation

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A Recovered Resource The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation

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Producing Ancient Scripture -- Chapter 11
by Wayment & Wilson-Lemmon

Here the authors properly call it the “new translation” which for all intents and purposes has achieved near canonical status except for whole sections that were adopted into the Book of Moses of the Pearl of Great Price -- those translations are 100% canonical in their entirety.

Church scholars have tried to answer “the fundamental question of what Joseph Smith meant by the term “translation” and this chapter comes to terms that it was an effort to rework the biblical text through the instrumentality of Smith’s “academic interest in improving the English text of the Bible.” The very word translation has different meaning and connotation to various applications but the authors admit that Smith melded his “own prophetic inspiration into the resulting text.” Thus, revelation is the key.

The authors enquire about how the Adam Clarke Commentary played a role in assisting Smith with his translations. They agree that Smith did not have certain aids that scholars generally depend on such as dictionaries, Lexica, and training in Hebrew and Greek. Smith depended on revelation more than anything to produce his biblical revision. The authors describe how Smith’s translation effort entailed “rewording, rearranging, and otherwise altering the KJV text.” I find the following statement to be rather startling because it showcases the translation process as being entirely revelatory in nature and not just changing words or rearranging subject matter to add clarity as some may suppose but is the introduction of all NEW material:

Smith began the revision by dictating a substantially altered version of Genesis that generally followed the text of the Bible but expanded the story in dramatic ways.

Notice the big “but” and the introduction to something far broader and wider than just altering text for clarification or meaning. It is wholesale production of new material on the same level and scope of new material provided by the Book of Mormon. Raw textual material could be produced out of whole cloth by the arm of flesh but in this case it had to be through prophetic means: REVELATION THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT! Hence, whole sections or chapters were produced in the new translation and were subsequently published as extracts in the Evening and Morning Star in 1832 and later in the Times and Seasons in 1843. Those works of the new translation were later arranged into the Book of Moses and canonized in 1880.

Revelation was involved in order to effect a new translation whether he was simply altering a word or phrase or when he expanded the story in dramatic ways by adding pages of new content never conceived before by the arm of flesh. Thus the new translation was conceived by revelation -- lock, stock, and barrel, every single word.
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Re: A Recovered Resource The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation

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Interesting Paul. What did you think of Wayment's evidence that Smith used the commentary to make changes to the KJV?
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Re: A Recovered Resource The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation

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Fence Sitter wrote:
Thu May 11, 2023 5:49 pm
Interesting Paul. What did you think of Wayment's evidence that Smith used the commentary to make changes to the KJV?

Fence,

I will be working on that soon enough. In the interim, I refer readers to another thread down in the Archives (Terrestrial/Telestial :shock: content) entitled:

Radio Free Mormon: “Borrowed Robes” – The JST’s Reliance on the Adam Clarke Bible Commentary

PS. It’s interesting to note that the “new translation” was a work performed by Smith based on a revelation that he should do just that. Another revelation was given to suspend his work on the Old Testament and begin translating the New Testament and then go back to the Old Testament and finish up in 1833. The authors explain how the whole process of revelation leaves a “historical puzzle for historians and scholars to attempt to understand” but it’s clear from the onset that the whole project was performed because of revelation instructing him to do so and we can only conclude that revelation was used to accomplish the entire work.
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Re: A Recovered Resource The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation

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Mormon scholars have a long-drawn-out history of being biased and one-sided because they close their eyes to things that threaten their testimony or demonstrate how Joseph Smith was a false prophet or show how the church was a religious scam, even today. LDS scholars should have long ago figured out that Smith borrowed from Adam Clark’s Commentary in order to perform his “new translation” of the Bible. I’m afraid that church scholars have been asleep at the wheel for 190 years, but the authors of this chapter seem to have come to a realization that Clarke was used by Smith to do his dirty work. They even cite a reference to Emma’s uncle who confirmed that Smith had use of the Clarke Commentary and how Emma’s family were devout Methodists in which they would have embraced Clarke’s work, first published in London and later brought to America by 1824; moreover, Adam Clarke was a Methodist deacon. It is said that Emma’s uncle Lewis challenged Joseph Smith to see if he could translate “some of the strange languages” in Clarke’s Commentary but “Joe” refused and apparently nothing ever came of it. Uncle Lewis told Joe that if he could translate strange languages in the Commentary then he would believe that he translated the gold plates. But Joe was offended and made no further use in trying to convert him to Mormonism.

The authors are convinced that Smith used Clarke in translating the Bible:

However, Smith may have obtained it, it is evident that he did. The direct parallels between Adam Clarke’s commentary on the Bible and Joseph Smith’s revision of the Bible are simply too numerous and too close to explain as mere coincidence or happenstance. Parallels between the two texts number into the hundreds, an amount that is well beyond the limits of this chapter’s ability to analyze. Several, however, demonstrate quite clearly Smith’s reliance upon Clarke and show that he was inclined to depend on Clarke’s commentary for matters of history, textual questions, clarification of wording, and theological nuance.
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Example #1

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The authors of Producing Ancient Scripture are spot on in detailing their first observation in showing how Smith was following Clarke’s lead faithfully and dutifully. Thus, Clarke was the real source behind the revelation in which Smith translated the New Testament. Never mind the Holy Ghost! Smith had the Adam Clarke Commentary and borrowing from that made him feel safe and secure. Smith said he was commanded to translate the New testament beginning in March of 1831:

“And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the  New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known; Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come.” (D&C 45:60,61)

The following statements demonstrate how the authors thoroughly understood that Smith was indeed borrowing stealing from Clarke who was the real translator behind the scenes:
  • Smith rearranged the order of the words as they appear in the KJV
  • This change directly follows Adam Clarke’s statement regarding it
  • It seems beyond coincidence that Clarke and Smith both removed the same words from one verse and then both moved those words to the end of the same verse.

Shulem wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:47 pm
Example #1

Moving the parenthetical comment to the end of the verse


KJV Parenthetical Comment in BLUE
Col 2:20 KJV wrote:Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
Col 2:21 KJV wrote:(Touch not; taste not; handle not;
Col 2:22 KJV wrote:Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Adam Clarke explains that the practice of forbidden things causes one to perish so the parenthetical part belongs at the end rather than in the middle like it is in the muddled KJV:
Adam Clarke Commentary Verse 21 wrote:Touch not; taste not; handle not - These are forms of expression very frequent among the Jews. In Maccoth, fol. xxi. 1: "If they say to a Nazarite, Don't drink, don't drink; and he, notwithstanding, drinks; he is guilty. If they say, Don't shave, don't shave; and he shaves, notwithstanding; he is guilty. If they say, Don't put on these clothes, don't put on these clothes; and he, notwithstanding, puts on heterogeneous garments; he is guilty."

Here we see that Joseph Smith follows suit with Clarke's explanation that the parenthetical clause is out of place and belongs at the end; wherefore the JST puts it at the end where it belongs and the verse makes more sense.
JST wrote:Col 2:20 Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Col 2:21 Which are after the doctrines and commandments of men, who teach you to touch not, taste not, handle not--all those things which are to perish with the using,
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Example #2

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The authors of Producing Ancient Scripture then provide an example to show how whole text found in the KJV is omitted in Joseph Smith’s translation -- an entire verse of scripture is wiped out! Would the Holy Spirit have whispered into Joseph’s ear to omit an entire verse? Was the omniscient Spirit of God enlightening Smith’s mind with a knowledge of things that don’t belong in the record? Or could it be that Adam Clarke was the one responsible for enlightening the unlearned Smith with academic things in which he had no idea?

In effect, Smith robbed Peter to pay Paul or in other words stole from Clarke to bolster his claim that the New Translation was the inspired work of God. Smith depended on the arm of flesh and gleaned information from others without given them their proper due or citing reference to their work.

That is a form of stealing and is unethical!

Shulem wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:56 pm
Example #2

Omitting the parenthetical comment of an ENTIRE verse!


KJV Parenthetical Comment in BLUE
Luke 19:25 KJV wrote:(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
Admittedly, this is a pretty short verse but some verses are even shorter such as: "Jesus wept", so it must be there for a reason, right? Or maybe not! What did Adam Clarke have to say?
Adame Clarke Commentary wrote:And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds - This whole verse is omitted by the Codex Bezae, a few others, and some copies of the Itala. It is probably an observation that some person made while our Lord was delivering the parable, with a design to correct him in the distribution: as if he had said, "Why give the mina to that person? he has got ten already; give it to one of those who has fewer."
So, what did Joseph Smith do with verse 25 in his version of the Inspired Bible? If you guessed that he copied the KJV, you'd be wrong. He did exactly what Adame Clarke suggested -- and it was omitted forthright.

It appears (or I should say disappears) that Smith stole from Clarke's work without giving him any credit. Smith has been known to steal ideas from others and incorporate them for his own uses.
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Re: Kent P. Jackson, Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU in Denial

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Wikipedia wrote:Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible

In October 2020, Latter-day Saint JST scholar and then-former BYU professor Kent P. Jackson published a rebuttal to the findings of Wayment and Wilson-Lemmón in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. Jackson argues that “none of the examples [Wayment and Wilson-Lemmón] provide can be traced to Clarke’s commentary, and almost all of them can be explained easily by other means...The few overlaps that do exist are vague, superficial, and coincidental...I do not believe there is Adam Clarke-JST connection at all.”

Sour grapes! Professor Jackson is just mad that he wasn’t the one to figure it out and had spent his career gloating on how special Joseph Smith was to perform the New Translation with the mere aid of a Bible. So, he closes his eyes to the facts and buries his head in the sand while blindly defending his own poor scholarship. Jackson is in denial!

Here are clips from Jackson’s 2009 scholarly article:

Kent P. Jackson wrote: “New Discoveries in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible”

  • There is much evidence on the manuscripts that Joseph Smith went over sections already translated and made additional refinements and corrections—until he felt that the translation was as the Lord wanted it to be.
  • Before the translation began, Oliver Cowdery had purchased a Bible for Joseph Smith and himself. The Prophet used that Bible for the New Translation, apparently from the very beginning. Much of the work was done with Joseph Smith dictating the text in full. The evidence tells us that he had the Bible in front of him, likely in his lap or on a table, and that he read from it while his scribes wrote.
  • Joseph Smith dictated to his scribes the chapter and verse references and then only the new words or sentences. In his Bible, he marked the words to be replaced and the locations for insertions and changes. Thus the Prophet’s Bible contains the deletion and insertion points, and the manuscripts contain only the new words to be inserted.
  • Some JST changes probably edit the text to bring it into harmony with truth found in other revelations or elsewhere in the Bible. The Prophet taught: “[There are] many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelation of the Holy Ghost to me,” necessitating latter-day correction.
  • There are many instances in which the Prophet rearranged word order or added words to make the text easier to read and modernized the language to replace archaic King James features with current grammar and vocabulary.

So let the record show that this professor who spent years studying the New Translation denies the facts which prove Joseph Smith utilized the Adam Clarke Commentary whereby the evidence is absolutely overwhelming. Only a fool would deny it. I have no doubt that Joseph Smith and his scribes had access to the Adam Clarke Commentary and it was used during the process.
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Re: A Recovered Resource The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation

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What of the apologetic argument that "borrowing" has always been part of the revelatory experience? For instance, the market price for pork belly futures could not be predicted with information borrowed from the latest farm report.
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Re: A Recovered Resource The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation

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Moksha wrote:
Sat May 20, 2023 12:09 am
What of the apologetic argument that "borrowing" has always been part of the revelatory experience?

Professor Jackson denies that Smith had assistance from Clarke’s commentary and that any connections made between the two are mere coincidence. He comes to this conclusion in spite of the evidence to show otherwise and chalks it up as superficial comparisons. I showed in Example #1 how Smith swapped words within the clause of a sentence just as Adam Clarke suggests. Then Smith deletes a whole verse as explained in Example #2, however small it is, he strikes it from the canon just as Adam Clarke suggests. Professor Jackson is free to believe that Smith got revelation direct from God on both instances but here we see that Adam Clarke’s playbook is just as effective as God in showing the necessity of making exact changes to the text. And further examples stacked on top make for a mountain of evidence in favor of Adam Clarke’s influence being the overriding factor rather than the Spirit of an imaginary God.
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Re: A Recovered Resource The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation

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Moksha wrote:
Sat May 20, 2023 12:09 am
For instance, the market price for pork belly futures could not be predicted with information borrowed from the latest farm report.

I demonstrated in the Archive thread that Adam Clarke was more consistent than God in giving so-called revelation to Smith because Clarke got both right whereby God only got one. The case in point is the ages of kings Ahaziah & Jehoiachin when they began their reigns. Clarke corrected both errors in the Chronicles account but Smith only corrected one. I’m going to paste and amend those examples in this post because I think it’s effective in showing how the Clarke Commentary is more correct than Smith’s new translation.

Shulem wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:48 pm
Some may think the example of the parenthetical switcheroo is somewhat weak in showing proof that Smith used Adam Clark’s commentary. But, I now provide more evidence that Joseph Smith did use the commentary to work out his early translation of the Old Testament -- also known as the Inspired Version. This is one of several bulls-eyes in showing that Smith stole from Clarke just like he stole from others.

2 Chr 22:2 KJV wrote:Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.
Adam Clarke Commentary wrote:Forty and two years old was Ahaziah - See the note on 2 Kings 8:26. Ahaziah might have been twenty-two years old, according to 2 Kings 8:26; (note), but he could not have been forty-two, as stated here, without being two years older than his own father! See the note there. The Syriac and Arabic have twenty-two, and the Septuagint, in some copies, twenty. And it is very probable that the Hebrew text read so originally; for when numbers were expressed by single letters, it was easy to mistake מ mem, Forty, for כ caph, Twenty. And if this book was written by a scribe who used the ancient Hebrew letters, now called the Samaritan, the mistake was still more easy and probable, as the difference between caph and mem is very small, and can in many instances be discerned only by an accustomed eye.

The reading in 2 Kings 8:26; is right, and any attempt to reconcile this in Chronicles with that is equally futile and absurd. Both readings cannot be true; is that therefore likely to be genuine that makes the son two years older than the father who begat him? Apage hae nugae!

Sure enough, Smith stole from Clarke as if it was his own inspiration:

2 Chr 22:2 JST wrote:Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri.
Shulem wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:49 pm
Apologists believe Smith was inspired to change the age from 42 to 22 because the Spirit revealed it. But I point out how Smith also incorporated numerous KJV errors into the Book of Mormon! Would the same corrective Spirit instruct him to do that? How hardly!

Apologists (Jackson etc.) must also take into consideration the discrepancy with the age of king Jehoiachin in the KJV wherein the Kings account says he was 18 when he began to reign but Chronicles records age 8 and is a typo. What’s interesting, however, is that Smith did not catch this particular error, whether by the Spirit of revelation or Adam Clarke’s commentary in which it is pointedly explained that that Chronicles is in error. Smith failed to correct the king’s age which is something he should not have missed when you consider other fine points he corrected in comparing Kings with Chronicles.

See here how Smith failed to catch the error:

2 Kings 24:8 KJV wrote:Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
2 Chr 36:9 KJV wrote:Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.

What did Adam Clarke have to say?

Adam Clarke Commentary wrote:Jehoiachin was eighteen years old — He is called Jeconiah, 1 Chronicles 3:16, and Coniah, Jeremiah 22:24. In 2 Chronicles 36:9, be is said to be only eight years of age, but this must be a mistake; for we find that, having reigned only three months, he was carried captive to Babylon, and there he had wives; and it is very improbable that a child between eight and nine years of age could have wives; and of such a tender age, it can scarcely be said that, as a king, he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. The place in Chronicles must be corrupted.

Did Joseph Smith steal from Adam Clarke and correct the account in the so-called Inspired Version of Chronicles?

2 Chr 36:9 JST wrote: Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

Nope, Smith skipped over that part of Clarke’s commentary and wasn’t inspired to fix it by the Spirit!
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