There are 7 thoughts on “Finding Parallels: Some Cautions and Criticisms, Part One”.

  1. Pingback: Prospering in the Land: A Comparison of Covenant Promises in Leviticus and First Nephi 2 | Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship

  2. Thank you for putting this in perspective. I am relatively new to the studies of parallelism and recently read Grunder’s Bibliography, but I am glad you were able to put it in perspective for me

  3. For me the notion of “uniqueness” is a red herring, and was the Achilles heel of the Jesus Seminar. Joseph Smith was not unique. He was an archetypal prophet of God and part of a very long stream of tradition (so Eduard Meyer). He was joined by and surrounded by people of like mind, who were likewise part of that same culture of expectation. Grunder entirely misses the meaning of Zeitgeist.

    Grunder’s obsession with recent parallels blinds him to those from a more distant past, causing him to see disjuncture where there is none. The true obstacle to a coherent understanding of the Mormon phenomenon is Grunder’s presentism: He has no sense of perspective.

  4. Thanks for a very thoughtful paper. Here is an additional thought to supplement it. In regard to proper names, and specifically to the name Cumorah, according to David Whitmer Joseph Smith upon encountering unfamiliar names and words in the translation/dictation process would spell them out. Apparently he made no attempt to pronounce them. Thus it is very likely that he never pronounced “Cumorah” in his dictation, except with his companions on the basis of the spelled term. That required them to make assumptions in the pronunciation that might or might not have been correct. The initial syllable of Cumorah they rendered as “kuhmorah.” but in the word “cumom” “most readers” say the same cum- syllable to read “kyewmom” (and “Pakyumeni). What we are faced with then is ad hoc pronunciations of all three terms, and we have no way to know how any of them were originally pronounced since Joseph never pronounced them in dictating the text. The same type of comparison in other cases shows that the oral readings of the names are simply 19th century folk pronunciations of lexemes for which neither they or we have direct knowledge. “Comoro,” let alone “gammorrah,” is at best a sort-of-parallel, or more likely, in my eyes, a sort-of-non-parallel.

  5. Thoughtful stuff. You might also find intersting the work of Ben Park, who is also exploring the methodological frameworks in which parallels to Mormonism can be analyzed. He wrote on the issue of Thomas Dick in this JMH issue, and spoke more about the issue of parallels in this video (at the 24 minute mark).

  6. Well written, organized and of value to the literary community. I suppose this statement is a comparison, unoriginal, and not unique, but I have not seen the others who have yet written the same, even if they have. I enjoyed the reading, analysis and look forward to the next part–thank you!

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