Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fruit of the Tree of Life - D&C 88:24

I received for Christmas (Thanks Ryan, Jamie, and Sterling) a “Revelations and Translations” version of the new Joseph Smith Papers (JSP). I feel as though I should apologize because as soon as I opened the book, within five minutes I am correcting the Doctrine and Covenants.

Now there may be back-story that I don’t know about, and perhaps Joseph Smith corrected it, and it is correct as it currently reads in the scriptures. But, from the information I currently have, it appears a correction is in order for Section 88:24.

From page 294 of the JSP which is a copy of the handwritten original text written by John Whitmer we read:

“...Therefore he is not fruit [and then a little arrow pointing up] for a kingdom of glory...”

[Click on Graphic Above To Inlarge]

But above and a little to the left of the word “fruit” there is a “revision” by John Whitmer in Parenthesis. The “translation” provided by the JSP says the words are “(or meet)” By it look much more like “(or meat)” to me.

Again from the information I currently have, it looks to me as the “meat” is a better translation, both by direct observation, of context.

First, the entire section uses the Tree of Life as a backdrop, it is the imagery used for the ascension doctrine being conveyed. In the section heading it announces itself as the “olive leaf...plucked from the Tree of Paradise.” So the fact that “fruit” was written in the original text seems to be more at home than most alternatives. 
"Fruit” is at home in a tree motif.

At some point it was decided to drop the word “fruit” completely and use the words in the parentheses. The word “fruit” does not appear in our current scriptures.

Now if you go down the road of dropping the word fruit, then the whole tree-fruit motif is gone, and no longer a factor in understanding the words in the parentheses.

Again, the JSP translates the words as “or meet.” But if you use the context of the tree-fruit motif the word “meat” fits better. Plus as I observe the word, and the letters “e” and “a” as used here, compared to the rest of the text, I am convinced the word is “meat.”

Also, the text is discussing the Telestial glory of kingdom, which is a definition of salvation, each kingdom above that is sanctification, not salvation. The fruit of the Tree of Life is salvation. However, from a cabalistic point of view we each eat from the tree at one of the three levels that correspond to resurrections of glory.


In The Doghouse said...

Great observation! I love the original "fruit" too.

David Littlefield said...

Hey In The Doghouse!

Thanks! And thanks for dropping in!

It just seems to flow better to me. And again there may be factors I don't know of, but for now, I have "fruit" penciled in on my D&C with a note "(or meat)."


Anonymous said...

"I feel as though I should apologize because as soon as I opened the book, within five minutes I am correcting the Doctrine and Covenants."

Okay now spank yourself and don't let it happen again!!!!

How ever please keep us informed about YOUR New World Translation of the Standard Works

Unknown said...

Great find. and I completely agree that the original script appears as "meat". i recall having wondered about the usage of this word in others scriptures as well. For instance:

Ezek. 15: 4-5 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work? Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned?

D&C 41: 6 For it is not meet that the things which belong to the children of the kingdom should be given to them that are not worthy, or to dogs, or the pearls to be cast before swine.

Abr. 5: 14 And the Gods said: Let us make an help meet for the man, for it is not good that the man should be alone, therefore we will form an help meet for him.

The last one doesn't work as well if "meat" or "fruit" is used in place of "meet" but the others seem to flow well with it and aid in understanding... yes? Then again Adam says that Eve is "bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh" (Moses 3:23) which fits nicely in that context.

Unknown said...

i should clarify that i don't think that the above scriptures should be substituted in this way. Since i don't read hebrew or greek or latin, i'm speculating whether the substitution makes sense in english and curious if the original texts of these scriptures would justify the use of the words "fruit" or "meat" as a more correct translation. :)

i really need to just start learning to read in another language to satisfy my curiosity.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting how scripture speaks to each of us individually. The revelations as they stand in the Doctrine and Covenants are correct and were approved by the prophet before they went to press.

As I have studied the life of the prophet and his process of receiving revelation and then putting that revelation into the English language of his day, I have seen a common theme. What we have in the JSP R&T is not a revision of what he received, but evidence of his process of finding the best words to fit the revelation.

Take the several version of the first vision where he has crossed out some words and added others. However, a complete compilation of his descriptions of the first vision is not contained in Joseph Smith - History in the Pearl of Great Price. Does this mean that the "official" account is inaccurate? No, because the prophet penned it himself.

I would be leery of thinking that I understand the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants better than the prophet who received them, penned them, and then gave final approval of the wording before they were printed.

Anonymous said...

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Bradpetehoops said...

Have a great day!

Bored in Vernal said...

I am just now reading this. And the word looks like "meat" to me, just looking at the images on your post. But have you thought about the possibility of "...he is not fruit meet for a kingdom of glory"? This preserves both the Tree of Life imagery and the sense of the passage. Anyway, I agree with you that "fruit" should not have been removed, it seems vital here. (Just penciled it in my D&C as well!)

David Littlefield said...

Hey Bored in Vernal!

Thanks for the comment. Yes I have considered if Meet and Fruit should be used together, but that still does not change the fact that what is in the D&C as "meet" looks more like "meat." However, I would leave room for poor handwriting, and just writing the wrong spelling of the word and correcting it in the final writing (like "there" and "their").



Anonymous said...

Alma 12: 15 has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit MEET for repentance.

D&C 58: 26,
26 For behold, it is not MEET that I should command in all things

Moses 3:18I will make an help MEET for him.
Judges 5:30
MEET for the necks of them that take the spoil?

Jer. 27: 5
unto whom it seemed MEET unto me.

Matt. 3: 8
8 Bring forth therefore fruits MEET for repentance:

Matt. 15: 26
It is not MEET to take the children’s bread

KJV Dictionary Definition: meet


MEET, a. L. convenio. Fit; suitable; proper; qualified; convenient; adapted, as to a use or purpose.

Ye shall pass over armed before your brethren, the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war. Deut.3.

It was meet that we should make merry--Luke 15.

Bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Matt.3.

MEET, v.t. pret. and pp. met. Gr. with.

Anonymous said...

it appears a correction is in order for Section 88:24.??

it appears a correction is in order, Yes you could say That!!!!!!!!!!!