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Showing posts from March, 2017

The Long Count and Nephite Folk Religion

In his book Did God Have a Wife, William Dever reminds us that there has always been a difference between "book religion" and "folk religion". The Bible is essentially a "revisionist history", with Deuteronomist historians projecting their own religious sensibilities unto the history of their forefathers. The Bible doesn't describe religion as it was, rather as how they thought it should have been. Real Israelite religion consisted of the things the Deuteronomist historians condemned.

The Book of Mormon is an ancient book, written by the Prophet Mormon in the early 400's AD. Mormon was writing about a culture and religion that existed hundreds of years in his past. I suspect that Mormon shared similar limitations and weaknesses with the writers of the Bible. He was part of what had usually been an ethnic and religious minority.

Like the Deuteronomists, he described the history and religion of his forefathers in very idealistic ways. What the Book…

The Mayan Long Count as Interpretive Lens

When looking for a theory to explain something, one of the most important things is that the theory answers more questions than it creates. In my last few posts, I have used the Mayan Long Count as an interpretive lens through which to read the Book of Mormon and explain the behavior and historical context of it's people. 
Here are some of the  tentative fruits of that experiment:
1)Using the Long Count as an interpretative lens puts the Jaredite chronology on more of a sure footing. We now have a reliable end date for the patrelineal lineage described in the book, 400BC. This gets us closer to possibly deciphering the rest of the Jaredite history as well.
Because the Jaredite kings were almost certainly polygamists, had children in their old age and practiced ultimogeniture, I have used the average age of death for ancient Mayan kings as a rough approximation for the average generation length for the old, libidinous, polygamous kings.
The resulting chronology, plus Sorenson…