jeudi 10 novembre 2011

Plagiarism charge

Miracles and the Book of Mormon (there is the word demon in the url, wonder why?):

Ruth Tucker is an evangelical Christian. In her excellent book, 'Another Gospel', (Zondervan,1989), she examines the beliefs of Mormons, Moonies, Jehovah's Witnesses etc. Here is what she says about the Book of Mormon.

"Many of the stories in the Book of Mormon were, as Fawn Brodie and many others have shown, borrowed from the Bible. The daughter of Jared, like Salome, danced before a king and decapitation followed. Aminadi, like Daniel, deciphered handwriting on a wall, and Alma was converted after the exact fashion of St. Paul. The daughters of the Lamanites were abducted like the dancing daughters of Shiloh; and Ammon, the American counterpart of David, for want of a Goliath slew six sheep-rustlers with his sling".

What could be more obvious and clear-cut?

Note here, the book of Mormon is supposed to be about other people than the ones in the Old Testament. A bit suspicious if all that ever happens to them has its exactest very prosaic parallels in the Old Testament.

Or take Chapter 2 Verse 249 of the Koran, which is about the first king of Israel, called Talut in the Koran.

So when Talut departed with the forces, he said: Surely Allah will try you with a river; whoever then drinks from it, he is not of me, and whoever does not taste of it, he is surely of me, except he who takes with his hand as much of it as fills the hand; but with the exception of a few of them they drank from it. So when he had crossed it, he and those who believed with him, they said: We have today no power against Jalut and his forces.

Christians will at once recognise this strange story about how God tested the army of the Israelites by making them drink from a river. It is found in Judges 7:4-7. Perhaps the details of other Biblical stories were also weaved together into this one story.

Here, please note, that if the Quraan is supposed to be about the same people as for instance Old and New Testaments, it is very fishy how many details differ - precisely as it is fishy when Miryam/Maryam sister of Moses is identified with Mary/Maryam, Mother of Jesus - or when Jesus has a name which corresponds closer to Esau than to Jesus. And Quraan is the younger testimony, the one very much further away in time from the events, meaning that the Old Testament account trumps the one of the Quraan. As does the Testimony of the New Testament.

Quraan is nearly six hundred years younger than Gospels - which were contemporary evidence or at least within a century. Quraan is also younger than Exodus etc. - which was also a contemporary evidence. There the factor is about two thousand years younger.

Here are two cases that are pretty different, but where the page does not go into details of that difference at all. Only the common denominator or "plagiarism" comes into account, and then, by parallel reasoning - the parallel does break down on a certain point, if we remember my analysis of the given items - they go on to:

Take the feeding of the 5,000.

In 2 Kings 4:42-44, Elisha has a great many people to feed with only a few loaves of bread and a little other food. He delegates the task of feeding. There is a complaint that the quantity is too small. The feeding continues and everyone is fed. There is surplus bread left over. This older story from Kings has exactly the same plot as the feeding of the 5,000 - only the numbers are different.

The feeding of the 5,000 is such an obvious rewrite of the story from Kings that if I remind you that Jesus used barley bread, you can guess what type of bread Elisha used.

On page 176 of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, written by a raft of Catholic scholars, it says that 2 Kings 4:42-44 is 'obviously the inspiration for the NT multiplication miracles'. I like the word 'obviously'.

Difference from Quraan? Elisha and Jesus are supposed to be two different persons. They are two different pesons. The story about Jesus is not a garbled version of the story about Elisha, for every one of those Christians knew that Elisha had multiplied loaves before Our Lord.

Difference from Book of Mormon? That book only - with pretty few exceptions and those crucial to Mormonism, like a people of God in the Americas and Christ going there to peach (crucial as replacement of the Catholic Church, as inheritor of Christ's promise at end of Gospel of St Matthew), everything is a remake (often in prosaic detail) of an Old Testament story, but it is improbable - I have not read it - that Mormon's Book exhausts the riches of the Old testament. In Jesus' case, everything in the Old Testament is indeed somehow or other related to Jesus, but not only that, lots of Pagan mythologies and some philosophies too are so.

Elisha multiplied loaves of bread once and Christ did so twice. Elijah raised a widow's boy child from the dead and so did Jesus (from the same region, I seem to recall too). Now, multiplying loaves and raising dead are pretty exact parallels, but there is nothing prosaic about them.

Joseph and Daniel were thrown into miserable prisons and raised out of them - the one mainly to save from starvation, the other to witness to truth. But Christ was not only down in a pit, he was down in Sheôl - and he raised himself as opposed to being let out by his judges. And Pilate and Kaiphas were both far more evil than either Potiphar or Nebuchadnessar. Indeed, Potiphar's wife was Potiphar's excuse, since he listened to her. Pilate's wife could have been Pilate's rescue from evil-doing - if he had dared listen to her. Here there is indeed a parallel, even exactitude in the parallel, but not prosaic sameness, rather opposition: Christ was up against far greater odds than ever Daniel or Joseph. And it was the Holy Land that became by that Deicide a land parallel to the exile lands of Egypt and Babylon.

That there are Pagan parallels is commonplace. I would say that every Pagan myth in some sense touches either the mystery of Christ or the mystery of Antichrist - except when it is as garbled a version of Old Testament story as the Quraan. Deucalion and Pyrrha - as I have noted elsewhere - is a myth telescoping the Flood, the destruction of Sodom, the visit of the angels to Lot and to Abraham and Sarah before Lot. Plus a sentence or two from Creation account and account of the fall. Much as the Quraan is quite capable of telescoping Our Lord's family with Moses' family. Just a few thousand years between them. But there are Pagan myths that are not like that. And some show us Antichrist, some show us Christ. And these are history from the Pagan countries - though sometimes garbled history.

Osiris has been taken a model for resurrection. Sadly enough a resurrection incomplete and magically made by his wife Isis. St Mary, unlike Isis, had no divine powers to raise her Son with, it was the Son who was divine and raised himself.

Krishna has been taken as model for Ascension, by none less than Acharya Sanning. Yeah, right: his soul ascends to Heaven, as shown to a poet, in a dream ... yawn (literally, but that is lack of sleep too, I sleep in places where I am woken up too early). Nothing like Our Lord Resurrecting first and then showing himself as resurrected, not just to close family like Horus, but to 11 and some women and two and five hundred and ... then Rising up to Heaven before their very eyes.

No, the Plagiarism charge will not stick. Plagiarise one source, it is Plagiarism. Plagiarise two, it is Compilation. Plagiarise three or more, it is Original Work. Especially as the supposed Plagiarism is witness accounts.

Now, if 607 verses in St Mark are identical to 607 verses in St Matthew, then maybe St Matthew plagiarised St Mark, as this page says, but then again, maybe St Mark based his one on two eyewitness accounts: St Matthew whom he could read and St Peter whom he could listen to. And some are coincidence, because saying the same things in different words is not easy if both stick to simple words as much as possible. This is of course what we Christians believe to be the case.

Hans-Georg Lundahl

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