Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hebrew Book of Mormon






I came across an interesting site for those who love all things Jewish like I do.

Here is the first part of a transalation of the Book of Mormon in Hebrew: Download PDF

Here is the Web Site

And more on the topic here at Common Consent.

14 comments:

Michael Towns said...

Wow...at first blush it looks to be at the very least a decent, whole-hearted, honest effort to translate into Hebrew.

This is good stuff! I'm an Arabic linguist myself and Hebrew is a personal interest of mine as well.

David Littlefield said...

Michael:

I am studying Hebrew too, I can make an approximation of the sound of a word, but I have a very limited vocabulary. And, I am still trying to put a sentence together correctly. A few more years.

I thought this was a good find.

-David

David Littlefield said...

I first became interested in what I call Jewish Mysticism, really the oral traditions of the Jews, from trying to understand some Book of Mormon items that were the “learning of the Jews.”

I really believe a good study of the Book of Mormon in light of the Hebrew language and the learning of the Jews would be fantastic (to understate my enthusiasm).

-David

Tom Irvine said...

Thank you for the publicity.

I am not an expert in Hebrew, but I have a strong yearning to convey the Book of Mormon to the Jewish people in the Hebrew language.

-Tom

David Littlefield said...

Thank you Tom!

I am sure a lot of people are going to enjoy this.

I'll be watching for updates.

-David

Michael said...

David,

I too am interested in studying the Book of Mormon in Hebrew. Have a copy of it that I bought from the RLDS bookstore. I don’t know enough Hebrew to get anything out of it yet. I usually try to cross-reference BOM English words with the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and I have found many very interesting things.

(Just as a side note, I used the Strong’s to translate Genesis chapter 1 back into Hebrew from the KJV. It is amazingly closer to the Book of Abraham, the concept of Heavenly parents who procreate, and intelligence being eternal in nature but still involved in impregnating and gestating spirit children than any English translation I have ever seen. Very detailed in the spiritual creation process. I can send you a copy if you want.)

Anyway, back to the BOM. I love the Hebrew language and culture because I can study the BOM in Hebrew without even knowing Hebrew. The Jewish exegesis method called PaRDeS breaks down scripture in a way to be able to accomplish this through 4 interconnected methods.

“Each type of Pardes interpretation examines the extended meaning of a text. As a general rule, the extended meaning never contradicts the base meaning. The Peshat means the plain or contextual meaning of the text. Remez is the allegorical meaning. Derash includes the metaphorical meaning, and Sod represents the hidden meaning. There is often considerable overlap, for example when legal understandings of a verse are influenced by mystical interpretations or when a "hint" is determined by comparing a word with other instances of the same word” (Wikipedia, Pardes (Jewish Exegesis).

Michael said...

This being said, the study does not contradict any LDS theology/theosophy, but in fact supports it all very strongly. Applying this method to the BOM mutually reinforces the Restored Gospel as well as authenticates the BOM as an ancient text of Jewish origin. Particularly, I study the BOM in the Hebrew method called the Language of Branches, which is probably more akin to Derash and Sod, but also enhances the Remez and Peshat aspects of the text too. Because of its nature, PaRDeS and the Language of Branches involve intense personal revelation, so the study is not at all secular. It is designed in a way to have the student discover their pre-mortal roots, learn to continue the progression process they started there, and come to know God intimately while becoming one with Him ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Throughout my studies with these methods, I have come to see the BOM in a new light.

(The remainder of my comments about this study are taken from previous comments that I submitted to another post. I will try to fix them for this post. My original audience was attempting to use esoteric and mystical study methods to bully LDS people into losing faith in the authenticity of Joseph Smith and his contributions. They were using their superficial understanding of such practices to intimidate LDS who were completely unfamiliar with them. So sorry if any of it seems straightforward. I ALSO APOLOGIZE, AS ALL OF MY COMMENTS ON YOUR SITE HAVE BEEN RATHER LENGTHY LATELY. I HOPE YOU WILL ENJOY IT NONETHELESS).

Michael said...

The Book of Mormon is definitely a mystical book to be understood by those who are familiar with the practice of esoteric methodologies. This does not in any way take away from those who are not familiar with esoteric practices and wish to strengthen their testimony of the Restored Church by gaining a testimony of and reading the Book of Mormon for spiritual strength. However, where this does pose a problem is for those who are not familiar in esoteric practice and dabble with esoteric methods intellectually or as a hobby. My advice to those who wish to smear the name of the Lord’s true Church by ignorantly using mystical methods to confuse and bully those who have even less of an understanding of those things than you do, “…Trifle not with sacred things” (D&C 6:12). This being said, I hope that those enshrouded with darkness may be brought into the light and those who wish to gain greater light may benefit from any words I may share.

Anyone familiar with Kabbalah can see that most of Lehi’s spiritual experiences and discourses are reminiscent of other Kabbalistic accounts (vision of the throne of God, pillar of fire, tree of life, discoursing on the opposition of all things, things to act and things acted upon, etc.). There are many other tidbits of terminology and symbolism scattered throughout the Book of Mormon, but that isn’t even the half of it. While those things may appease one who is familiar intellectually with terms and symbols in Kabbalah and other mystic schools, to the true mystic the journey begins within the very title and carries forth in every utterance of the glorious record.

Michael said...

The mystic Nephi taught, “1 Now I, Nephi, do speak somewhat concerning the words which I have written, which have been spoken by the mouth of Isaiah. For behold, Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand; for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews. 5 Yea, and my soul delighteth in the words of Isaiah, for I came out from Jerusalem, and mine eyes hath beheld the things of the Jews, and I know that the Jews do understand the things of the prophets, and there is none other people that understand the things which were spoken unto the Jews like unto them, save it be that they are taught after the manner of the things of the Jews (2 Nephi 25:1, 5). What Nephi is referencing here is a people who were primarily raised in the American continent, who were ignorant of anything other than what Nephi taught them or what they gained by experience. Nephi is commenting on a realization he is coming to about a people who are unfamiliar with esoteric and mystical methodologies. He is commenting on how their understanding of the scriptures greatly differ from someone who was brought up among the Jews.

Now let’s see what Nephi says way back in 1 Nephi 19:23, when he is teaching his brothers who were brought up among the Jews. “And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.”

Michael said...

The key that mystics understand is called the language of branches. This means that sacred texts become an intricate diagnostic of who God is, how He acts, how He has acted with you, and how He will continue to act with you in order to make Himself known to you by degrees so that you can become like Him in equivalence of form. (Sorry for the run-on, but I could be here all day explaining it). Notice how Nephi says “I did liken all scriptures unto us.” Most people unfamiliar with mystical practice interpret this to mean that they injected their names in the place of those characters in the scripture or something. But to the true mystic, that is not what it says. Nephi says that all scriptures, the individual records themselves, are likened unto the reader. Notice as well that he says all scriptures and not all scripture. That in itself becomes key to a true mystic because they know that there is more than just one sacred text. To a true mystic, a history of the world or anything recorded by a true mystic (even oneself) is sacred text. But back to Nephi’s key. To liken a volume of scripture to oneself mean that you are that scripture and that scripture is you.

For the sake of time and space, I will touch a little upon the title of the book itself, sum up some of the mystic interpretation of the book, and then touch upon the Testimony of Joseph Smith contained in the book. Although I would like to touch on every utterance, time and space will not permit.

Michael said...

The Book of Mormon

What is a book?
How are you a book?

“Stored in our body and mind is a complete history of everything we have done. President John Taylor taught this truth: ‘[The individual] tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. … That record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind, that record that cannot lie will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who shall sit as judges’ (Deseret News, Mar. 8, 1865, 179)” (Gospel Principles, p. 271).

What does “Mormon” mean?

“…I may safely say that the word Mormon stands independent of the learning and wisdom of this generation.—Before I give a definition, however, to the word, let me say that the Bible in its widest sense, means good; for the Savior says according to the gospel of John, ‘I am the good shepherd;’ and it will not be beyond the common use of terms, to say that good is among the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to ‘bad.’ We say from the Saxon, ‘good’; the Dane, ‘god’; the Goth, ‘goda’; the German, ‘gut’; the Dutch, ‘goed’; the Latin, ‘bonus’; the Greek, ‘kalos’; the Hebrew, ‘tob’; and the Egyptian, ‘mon.’ Hence, with the addition of ‘more,’ or the contraction, ‘mor,’ we have the word ‘mormon’; which means, literally, ‘more good’” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 300).

Michael said...

Who is “more good” (see Matthew 19:16-17)?

How are you a living record of He who is “more good”; or in other words, how are you a living record of God and His infinite goodness (from the time of pure intelligence until now)?

Another Testament of Jesus Christ

How are you another testament of Jesus Christ? Remember the foreknowledge of God and that He has always acted towards you knowing that He would use the Atonement of Jesus Christ to center His helping you become like Him around.

Every utterance follows this same pattern of eternal discovery, but now we must move forward now to sum some things up. Like the plates of gold, your intelligence can stand the test of time; unlike your spirit body and physical body. Your intelligence is immortal and is at the core of your personal record of cooperation and progression with God. Because you have never been perfect, are a combined record of disciple aspects (Nephite) and egoistic aspects (Lamanite). God’s efforts to you have been written to the Lamanites (your egoistic aspects) because it is His desire to convert and perfect all aspects of you under His tutelage; not just the naturally cooperate parts (He wants you to become whole). His actions are also to the Jew (your pre-mortal covenant aspects) and to the Gentile (your physical body which has never known God).

Michael said...

As you learn to put things into perspective through personal revelation (mystical experience), God will begin to help you know who you are through knowing who He is. As you grow in familiarity with Him you will discover who you are and that you are becoming like Him. Lehi represents your intelligence that was originally invited to cooperate with God because He offered you a way to become like Him. You were then coupled to a spirit body (Sariah) and began to have new experiences that brought forth both your disciple and egoistic aspects in more magnified ways (children of Lehi and Sariah). As spirit children in the holy city (Jerusalem), some were lead away captive with Satan (Babylon), while others were lead away to mortality (new promised land). As you made the transition from pre-mortality into mortality, and throughout different stages of mortality, your disciple and egoistic aspects continued to grow and develop vastly (nations of Nephite, Lamanite, dissenters, etc.). Eventually your egoistic aspects overcame your disciple aspects and then your physical aspects (Gentile) dominated all aspects that originated in pre-mortality. Although your physical body has never known God, it will be through the flesh (Gentiles) that salvation comes to the Jews (pre-mortal). The Book of Mormon is a detailed symbolic account of your journey from pre-mortality into mortality, past the age of accountability from a spiritual/intelligence perspective. As you begin to have spiritual experiences that get you back to your root of intelligence, then you can continue the progression process you began in pre-mortality.

Michael said...

The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith follows this same pattern but in reverse. It tells the story of Joseph (Gentile/physical body aspect) who wanted to know God’s truth and was visited by God (preliminary info). In time the angel Moroni (spiritual revelation given through the grace of Christ) appears and tells Joseph of the golden plates (intelligence) which contain a record of a fallen people who were of the house of Israel (pre-mortal covenant). Joseph discovers that the plates (intelligence) are buried in a stone box (stony heart/shell in mystical teachings), and must work with the angel for four years before finally obtaining full access to it. As soon as he does, other Gentiles (physical body aspects) stop at nothing to try to prevent the translation and publication of it (permanent establishment of the intelligence to freely be had and accepted among your physical aspects). The Book itself (or your pre-mortal revelations) foretells of what will happen when the book comes forth and how the world (your physical body aspects) will react to the Restoration). Thank God that Christ will eventually cleanse the world as the righteous few strive to prepare the earth for His Second Coming.

A final note of interest, mystics study the Upper Worlds to learn God from God by degrees. This correlates to progressing through the degrees of glory to prepare for the reception of the Upper Celestial glory before the Final Judgement. The belief is that if one is not prepared then one cannot receive the final stages of understanding the fullness of the glory of God. The Book of Mormon in the language of branches is chalked full of this degree style progression and regression. Please let me know if anyone is interested in learning more about how to implement esoteric Jewish methods into the study of all of the scriptures.