The Indo-European Background of Deseret

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_zeezrom
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _zeezrom »

Symmachus,

I'm still troubled by the chronology. If the migration is early Bronze Age, how can we rely on a late Bronze Age language such as Linear B?

One thought I had was that the beehive symbol on the phaistos disc resembles a structure or house. This fits well with your link to "des" or structure. At least the phaistos disc takes us back a bit further: middle Bronze Age.
Scroll down to see images of honey jars at Knossos: http://andrewgough.co.uk/articles_bee2/

Oh and you know what's fascinating? Aegean culture revered honeybee as the sacred insect bridging the natural world to the underworld. Could this belief have come from the Jaredites being "buried" in the many waters for nigh a year with the honeybee?
Last edited by Guest on Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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_Kishkumen
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _Kishkumen »

To provide a little further background on the Josephite roots of Moroni's esoteric linguistic game, we need to go back to the story of Joseph in the OT. When Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt, he lands in prison thanks to Potiphar's wife. The Egyptian term for the pharaoh's prison is hnrt wr, or "the great enclosure." Thanks to his miraculous ability to interpret pharaoh's dream, he then becomes pharaoh's grand vizier, or the overseer of the great enclosure/state bureau (imy-r hnrt wr). What we have here is a sophisticated Egyptian play on the two meanings of hnrt wr.

Now, we move forward to Moroni's Jaredite narrative. The honeybee is brought over in a submarine-like ship that we might characterize as an enclosure: hnrt. The combination of the bee and the enclosure form the hnrt dsrt, which, depending on one's choice of dsrt, could be sacred enclosure (temple) or red enclosure (human being). This interpretation is supported by the name of the brother of Jared, the hierophant of the mysteries, whose name, later revealed by Joseph Smith, is Mahonri, or, in Egyptian, m-hnri, meaning "of the one who belongs to the enclosure," or "belonging to the prisoner." In other words, the hnrt dsrt is the temple, and those who lead the practice of its mysteries bear the title m-hnri.

We might be tempted to think that all of this is really about ancient Jaredites, but it is really about the Josephite mysteries, which unfold in the Josephite temple hnrt dsrt, and are directed by a hierophant who identifies himself with Joseph, remembered as the man who was once a prisoner (hnri, i.e., mortal) but was later exalted as imy-r hnrt wr, a ruler over many things. And the priest, obedient to the first hierophant, Joseph, rejoices to belong to the Prisoner (metaphorically and mystically), as m-hnri, Mahonri. Another possible derivation of Mahonri would be mr hnrt, or "overseer of the enclosure"--an entirely fitting designation for the hierophant of the Josephite mysteries.
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_SteelHead
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _SteelHead »

The delicious irony; that our 2 esteemed Jaredite scholars have in a few brief paragraphs made better studies of the word Deseret, than 30 years of apologetic publications have made for Elkenah being a real god by looking for every non existent combination of the parts within 3000 miles of Egypt.
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _EAllusion »

This is the best thread I've seen since Bob Bobberson's.
_Kishkumen
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _Kishkumen »

I wonder whether our dear consul Symmachus would prefer to break off my posts on the Egyptian stuff to preserve the integrity of his superior offerings on the Indo-European origins of Deseret. If that is what he, or he and zeezrom would prefer, that is fine with me.
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _Symmachus »

My friends,

I am sorry to be able only now to get back to some of your comments, concerns, and critique. Following the time-honored tradition of Mormon apologetic discourse, let me say only that I could not reply sooner because my wife and I were at a foreign film festival that we learned about from a former official in the Turkish government—I can't say who, of course—whom I had met at a conference on a recent Romanian translation of the works of Mark Twain (which I highly recommend, by the way).

In any case, I thank all of you for taking my very dense posts seriously enough to read them. Despite the haughty dismissal by some apologists of this place as "a trailer park"—a phrase in which I detect a disturbing undertone of upper middle class snobbery—I have found it to be a collegial community, even as a rather infrequent poster. I find their disdain puzzling, because we are explicitly counseled by the Lord's anointed to shun contention. I fear that Jaredite Studies may have been set back a decade or more because of a passionately defended but ultimately irrational assertion that one cannot do valuable scholarship in Jaredite Studies ironically. I reject that premise, and I am saddened that, because of this pointless quarrel, we may have lost sight of our ultimate goal: the faith of an anonymous Relief Society sister in Parowan, Utah. I hope one day to find out who she is, but more than that, I hope that our humble contributions here to Jaredite Studies can be made to strengthen her faith.

Regarding the issue of dating that Zeezrom has raised and how this might affect my argument that the Jaredites spoke an Indo-European dialect closely related to Greek and Indo-Iranian, I have two points. The first is that, while the migration was likely early bronze age, it could as well have been middle bronze age, which witnessed its own series of large-scale migrations, one of which (the Hyksos) has already been referenced here. Moroni, like later Biblical scholars, has taken the Babel story too literally. What happened at Babel was a confounding of the languages, but linguistics make it impossible that this was the origins of all languages. In light of the rhetorical strategy of Genesis and Ether 1, what is at stake here are the languages of the descendants of Shem and those of Japheth. Obviously, Semitic existed before Babel and in my view the "confounding of languages" is the point at which Indo-European speakers came into the world. Without the ability to be understood any longer by Semitic speakers, the new Indo-European speakers had no choice but to migrate. It is at this point that the sons of Shem and the sons of Japeth separated (Hamites, of course, had already been cut off from that part of the human family descended from Noah). Many became and remained nomads, but for the most part that eternal wandering has ended only recently with the demise of European colonialism. Moroni's interest, as I think I have shown above, was in the Japhethites, and Babel is the point at which they became linguistically differentiated from their Semitic brethren.

The second point is a clarification: I don't think we have to assume that, even if linguistically related to Greeks, the Jaredites were Mycenaean (though they may have been). Linear B just happens to be the earliest written form of Greek that we have, and although the earliest attestation of Linear B is towards the end of the Middle Bronze Age, it was doubtlessly used earlier. The only earlier attested Indo-European language, Hittite, is also graphically represented in a syllabic script, and, like Linear B, that script also does not distinguish for the most part between several different kinds of phonological features that we know from other evidence must have been present in the language (voiced vs. unvoiced consonants, for instance, just as in Linear B). Hittite is also notable in showing the fluidity of liquid consonants in graphic representation: l vs. n in Hittite (cf. Hittite la-a-man, "name," vs. Latin n?men), which has a parallel in Linear B r vs. l (already discussed above). The point is that, in light of other graphic representations of early Indo-European languages the Jaredite script is most likely to have been a syllabic one. Most scripts of this and earlier periods are syllabic, and indeed one could easily make the argument that so-called consonantal scripts (e.g. all those descended from proto-Sinaitic) are basically syllabic. Even the devanagari used for Sanskrit is basically a syllabic. Syllabic scripts, especially when borrowed from other language families, face certain constraints depending on the phonological system they are intended to represent, and since the archaeology you've brought in seems to suggest an Aegean or Helladic setting for the Jaredites, it seemed to me a safe assumption that some of the constraints inherent to Linear B might also have been inherent to the Jareditish script, especially if the languages are related, and the archaeology seems to fit that narrative. So, even if it were an earlier script, it seems to me that it must have been something like what we have in Linear B, and that therefore Linear B can be useful in reconstructing Jareditish phonology.

Moreover, the stage of Greek represented by Linear B is extremely archaic in its phonology and morphology. As some Indo-European scholars have pointed out recently, it's practically identical with what has been reconstructed for Late Indo-European itself. So, while the tablets we do have may be 15th century BC, the language is clearly much older, and it is reasonable to assume that their were probably centuries' worth of Linear B tablets preceding what we do have. And of course, Linear B is descended from Linear A, the Minoan script that goes back at least to 2500 BC. Added to all of this, I think that what you have said about the Phaistos Disc is most illuminating—were the Minoans and the Jaredites perhaps related? We can only speculate, but I think the convergence of these various strands of evidence makes a strong case for an eastern Mediterranean setting for the Jaredites.

Regarding the Egyptian connections adduced by the noble Kishkumen, I can only say that I am skeptical. I reject out of hand any appeal to Arabic sources, since they are notoriously unreliable and fanciful, and whatever the strengths of the Arabic linguistic tradition in synchronic linguistics, the tradition has very little useful to offer from the perspective of historical linguistic information. An apologist has recently reminded us, "linguistics evidence" is "hard" and "verifiable." In theory, it should be, and this is why I find Egyptian evidence so problematic from the linguistic perspective: there is rarely anything in Egyptian against which to verify a hunch. For me, this is the explanatory strength of an Indo-European hypothesis: I can find parallels in not one, not two, but three different traditions: Vedic Sanskrit, Old Avestan, and Greek (some of these I hope to show in the future are even stronger). And these parallels are not completely subjective; they operate on the level of both phonology and—the clincher for me—morpho-syntax, linguistic features which are less rooted in their interpreter's subjective impressions than cultural patterns. And given what Zeezrom has shown in terms of the archaeology (despite being "soft, nonverifiable evidence" according to some apologists), I simply find the weight of evidence too great to ignore for the sake of clinging to an apologetic tradition that gives centrality to Egypt. And then of course there is still the problem, in privileging Egypt, of how it is that the Jaredite beekeepers needed anything at all from Egypt for their discourse of bee-keeping. In short, the Egyptian connections are more than possible but remain only plausible for me, not probable.

So, it remains my contention that deseret is Moroni's realization of *de-se-re-ta, which is what was expressed in the syllabic script of the Jaredites on the plates from which he translated. I further maintain that *de-se-re-ta was the graphic representation of a spoken *deseletes, "that which wonders from the home." There are phonlogical, morpho-syntactic, and semantic correspondences for these in three independent languages attested in the archaeological milieu described by Zeezrom, and even the metaphor can be seen in Homer. I am looking at what the underlying Jareditish may have been, and I see no linguistic evidence that there is anything Egyptian about it, and I can't see why cultural evidence with little linguistic basis should be enough to ignore "hard, verifiable" linguistic evidence.

Nonetheless, the cultural connections that Kishkumen has brilliantly articulated here are extremely compelling. Can we reconcile these two strands of interpretation in order to a probable hypothesis ? I believe that we can.

I think, noble Kishkumen, that you have thoroughly shown how deeply enmeshed Moroni was in Egyptian scribal habits and lore. I think you are right, then, that we might be looking at two different phenomena: 1) Jareditish on the one hand and 2) the reception of Jareditish on the other. The Egyptian evidence you've brought in most certainly cannot be ignored, but where I diverge is in its applicability. As you have shown, rather than anything about the Jaredites or their language, the Egyptian evidence opens a window onto the intellectual world of Late Nephite scribes. This is a world of deep learning with a millennium-long tradition behind it, a world whose linguistic medium was largely Hebraic but whose intellectual foundations were Egyptian—and had been since the beginning (1 Ne 1:2). This was not the tradition of the Jaredites by any reading of Ether, but it was the tradition through which the Jaredite Res Gestae was filtered.

At the same time, though, we should not let the linguistic turn turn us too far away from the path of understanding. If so much of ancient historiography was filtered through the cultural lens of its authors, that does not mean that they have nothing truthful to say, nor should it imply that we can't recover from them any information about their historical subjects. It means only that the expression of that truth can be misleading if we don't understand both its presence and its nature, as well as recognize its limits. To take a more familiar tradition and one closer to home, Ammianus's characterization of the Huns is replete with tropes that had a long history in both Greek and Latin historiographic presentations of the Other, and so it would be a natural conclusion to say that he is merely rehearsing rhetoric, but we know from archaeological evidence (however soft it may be) and comparative anthropology that, in many respects, Ammianus is as accurate as he is rhetorical. Similarly, Moroni's pose may be rhetorical, but it would be too simplistic to say that it was merely or only rhetorical. One can be both rhetorical and truthful, so I see no reason to doubt Moroni's statement that deseret was a Jaredite expression for honeybee.

Thus, it becomes entirely plausible, perhaps even probable, that the Egyptian associations of dšrt are being activated by Moroni as he transcribes *de-se-re-ta from the original Jareditish plates—this may even be the reason why he introduces deseret as an artifact of Jaredite culture and language rather than simply translating it, since in doing so gives himself the opportunity to display his linguistic prowess and thus implicitly his social standing as a scribe highly educated in the Egyptianizing traditions of that culture. Such wordplay among translators is not at all unusual, especially translators keen to advertise their talents, as Moroni no doubt was, and punning of that sort was endemic to Egyptian scribal practice. For him, establishing his learned status no doubt was a tactic in establishing authority among his peers in the present (assuming he was sensitive of the need for peer-review), which in turn serves the larger strategy of confirming to the gentiles—which, for all he knew, reverenced Egyptian scribal culture in the same way that the Nephites had—that his work had divine sanction and that his message had divine origin. How could such elaborate word-play that is still truthful be the work of merely a human mind? Surely, this is a sign and a token of the Lord's handiwork.

Even Nibley's theory about the Red Crown of Lower Egypt could salvaged by redefining its applicability to Late Nephite intellectual history rather than early Jaredite linguistics. This reconciliation has one other added advantage: it parallels quite well with what we now know of authorial strategies in the Book of Mormon, as Grant Hardy has now elucidated. We should expect Moroni both to tell the truth and to do so in a way that would make sense within his own cultural setting. Yet, the attempt to reconcile the two approaches is motivated not only by the weight of evidence and the explanatory power that each has, great as each may be. I feel it imperative for those engaged in Jaredite Studies to follow inspired counsel to shun contention (cf. Hel. 16:22). After all, if we are going to strengthen the belief of that (as of yet) anonymous lady in Parowan, we can hardly do so contentiously, as the apologists so shamefully do.
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_Kishkumen
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _Kishkumen »

Bravissimo, consul! I am speechless with delight. You have won me over in most every respect. My only remaining point of difference is on the question of Moroni's language.

1 Nephi 1:2 wrote:Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.


I contend that what Nephi is saying here is that his father's mode of expression is the use of the Egyptian language to convey largely "Jewish" ideas. The Josephite tradition involved keeping records in Egyptian. This applied not only to the Book of Mormon, but also to the earlier plates of brass:

Mosiah 1:3-4 wrote:3 And [king Benjamin] also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.

4 For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.


In other words, the learning of the Hebrews and language of the Egyptians is simply another way of saying the plates of brass, which contained a Josephite "Jewish" record recorded in the Egyptian language.

All of this talk about Book of Mormon Hebraisms and the like is unfortunate business to say the least. It is an utter distraction. The Josephite dynasty used Egyptian as the language of its sacred records, following in the tradition of the plates of brass. This is also the reason Joseph rejoiced when he saw the records of Abraham and Joseph on papyri with the mummies in Kirtland. He knew he would never see the plates of brass (it is, however, true that God let him include some of Joseph's account when he retranslated the Bible), but he could now translate the records that formed the foundation of the plates of brass. Copies of these records were retrieved by Moses when he recovered the body of Joseph from the Nile before he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses then took these records and made them the basis of his own account of the p/matriarchs going back to Adam and Eve and the creation.

But, enough of that. And you are correct regarding the premium that should be put on avoiding contention. Sometimes I get carried away when I think about these tenacious old misinterpretations from the FARMS crew. The issue of the Book of Mormon's language is perhaps the touchiest for me.

As for your discussion of Jaredites, well, I tip my hat to you. I am hesitant to accept the idea that the Jaredites were in fact Indo-European speakers, but your argument is very persuasive. The way you have reconciled our different perspectives works quite well with some of my old scholarship on the Nephite misprision or reception of Jaredite civilization. Yes, I still firmly believe that Moroni and other Nephites before him distorted the truth about the Jaredites. But past that I think we start to get into trouble, and I look forward to working with you to iron out the details.

My view has long been that one of the biggest Nephite lies about the Jaredites was the extinction of the Jaredite people. We should rather see the Jaredites as the others whom the Lamanites joined when they left the nascent Nephite kingdom. The Nephites, so my theory goes, used the derogatory term Lamanite to deprecate all others whom they encountered, while simultaneously appropriating and reinterpreting their esoteric knowledge. Thus it is the case that the Nephites are besotted with Mahonri's temple mysteries while they run down the rest of the history of the esoteric Jaredite tradition as fundamentally Cainite. Therefore Gadianton robbers have Jaredite names, but they belong to an evil secret combination, which, although ultimately originating with Cain, is transmitted to them by the Jaredites through forbidden records. I think you see the issue.

And here is where I run into the swamp. If the Jaredites are the numerous others, then what happened to the Indo-European influence on all of those Native American languages? Hmmm. You seem to be ten times the linguist I am, so you may have anticipated the question and have a ready answer.

All that said, I reiterate my joy at finding, at long last, a quality of Jaredite scholarship that surpasses anything previously achieved. My hat's off to you. I think we may have found our new chair of Jaredite Studies at Cassius University.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist
_Dr. Shades
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _Dr. Shades »

zeezrom wrote:Aegean culture revered honeybee as the sacred insect bridging the natural world to the underworld. Could this belief have come from the Jaredites being "buried" in the many waters for nigh a year with the honeybee?

Yes, of course. Because the first thing the Jaredites did after arriving in the Americas was send an envoy back to Greece describing the conditions of their journey.
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_Chap
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _Chap »

Kishkumen wrote:My view has long been that one of the biggest Nephite lies about the Jaredites was the extinction of the Jaredite people.


I am a complete amateur in this field, but I think I may be able to set your mind at rest on that point.

As you may have noticed, I have engaged in a long and enlightening dialogue with our colleague hagoth7 on the subject of possible seaborne Nephite migrations to Europe under the leadership of his namesake, and the consequent likelihood of the partial Nephite descent of later European populations, including some of the membership of this board. Now we know of one great Jaredite voyage- but what if there were others? What if Hagoth was only following in the wake of another Jaredite ocean crossing? But where did the jaredites go?

Now if the Jaredites were Indo-European speakers (and no doubt speakers of a particularly pure form thereof, given the divine preservation of their language from confusion), should we not look elsewhere for populations whose speech is particularly close to early Indo-European? Now, as is well known, such a population is to be found in Lithuania.

http://www.lituanus.org/1969/69_3_02.htm

Lithuanian... is the most archaic among all the Indo-European languages spoken today, and as a result it is very useful, indeed, indispensable in the study of Indo-European linguistics.


So ought one not to find some evidence in Lithuanian culture of the folk memory of two great Jaredite voyages - one from Babel to the New World, and then to Europe - which made their people the most ocean-going of all ancient peoples? And that evidence is there. I quote from the Lithuanian-English dictionary of Anthony Lalis (3rd edn., Chicago 1915):

Jur?s, i?, sf. pl. sea; ocean


Could anything be clearer than this identification of the Jaredites (or 'Juredites', a form which allows for some obvious vowel-shifts since antiquity) as 'the people of the ocean'? Or more accurately, given that the name Jared existed before the voyages, the identification of the ocean itself as 'The place of the Jaredites/Juredites'?

We had a Lithuanian visitor the other evening, and to my delight she received a call on her mobile phone from a Lithuanian friend and spoke for about a minute in what I already knew was something close to proto-Indo-European. But at the time I had not yet thought of the obvious hypothesis outlined here. Otherwise I might have tried decapitating her to see if she was still capable of 'struggling for breath' afterwards, or at least locking her in a cupboard full of bees to see if she had any remnants of the ancestral skills of coexistence with swarms of alarmed social insects in confined spaces.

Well, perhaps another time.
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_zeezrom
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Re: The Indo-European Background of Deseret

Post by _zeezrom »

Dr. Shades wrote:
zeezrom wrote:Aegean culture revered honeybee as the sacred insect bridging the natural world to the underworld. Could this belief have come from the Jaredites being "buried" in the many waters for nigh a year with the honeybee?

Yes, of course. Because the first thing the Jaredites did after arriving in the Americas was send an envoy back to Greece describing the conditions of their journey.

I don't know about that because I find it very doubtful that the Book of Mormon has anything to do with the Americas at all. But you do bring up a good point. The Jaredites may have fostered a relationship with another culture across the sea. A likely group is the Phoenicians in Tyre and Sidon. Perhaps the Jaredites learned the art of oar power from them.
Oh for shame, how the mortals put the blame on us gods, for they say evils come from us, but it is they, rather, who by their own recklessness win sorrow beyond what is given... Zeus (1178 BC)

The Holy Sacrament.
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