There are 6 thoughts on “Personal Relative Pronoun Usage in the Book of Mormon: An Important Authorship Diagnostic”.

  1. Whatever the reason for early modern English in the Book of Mormon, I love that this language creates a connection in time and space between the Book of Mormon and sixteenth century England – the England of William Tyndale, Protestant reformers, Queen Elizabeth, John Foxe, Marian martyrs, William Shakespeare, the Book of Common Prayer and the Great Bible. For me, this connection enhances the beauty and wonder of the Book of Mormon.

  2. Congratulations Stan on making as clear and as pointed an argument as I think can be made on this topic. It fills in what I felt to be the last missing piece of the puzzle–showing not just that BofM syntax could be found anecdotally within EModE texts, or that it differed materially from Biblical and pseudo-biblical ones, but that EModE is in fact a near-perfect match for the syntactic patterns we see in the Earliest Text. I’m honestly stunned by the how closely those patterns align. I would’ve guessed that they were close, but that’s as close to hand in glove as a person could ever dream.

    The only thing I wouldn’t have minded seeing was some error bars on the graphs, particularly for the EEBO and pseudo-biblical comparisons. It would be good to get a sense of just what variability there is within those groups (i.e., how tight the bullseye is that the BofM is having to hit to match EModE, and how big of a miss it is for the psuedo-biblical texts).

    From my interactions with critics, these results leave just one (rather desperate) possibility left to them in terms of maintaining a nineteen-century authored BofM: that somehow the oral production of pseudo-biblical syntax would produce reliable EModE syntax in ways that written text wouldn’t. I’m sure the critics would find some way to dodge the implications of EModE no matter what the circumstances, but it would still be nice to detail hard evidence that the fact of the dictation wasn’t in some way responsible for the syntax we see.

    Thanks for the excellent work!

    • Kyler makes a valid point about dictated vs written word choice. A valuable addition in this regard would be comparing other works Joseph created by dictation to your baseline, namely Pearl of Great Price documents and D&C usages.

      • See the appendix for a PRP comparison with early D&C usage. See also my treatment of PRP usage in the Book of Moses: https://interpreterfoundation.org/conferences/2021-book-of-moses-conference/.

        The Book of Mormon presents more as a written text than an oral text. One feature is sentence complexity. Complexity is greater in written texts, and the Book of Mormon is relatively complex. Another thing to consider is that “and” usage does not exceed “the” usage in the text, unlike the oral pseudo-archaic text “The Sorry Tale” (1917), which is 23.8:17.5 (and:the). Indeed, the Book of Mormon’s the:and:of ratio is similar to several written pseudo-archaic texts, and close to that of the King James Bible.

        • Any treatment of Joseph Smith History? This is the text that seems to have the most usages of which and might have a comparable pattern.

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