Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, April 21

Critique 2 of John Tvedtnes Comment in Meridian Magazine–Glass in Book of Ether

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 3:07 pm
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From the same article dated April 21, 2008, found at: http://www.meridianmagazine.com/bookofmormon/080227misunderstanding.html

Heavenly Light
Some have criticized the Book of Mormon because “the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces? (Ether 2:23). Glass is said to have been accidentally discovered by Phoenician sailors ca. 800 B.C., and glass windows did not exist anciently. This kind of reasoning again reflects how readers often try to impose modern ideas onto ancient texts.
The term “window” is frequently found in the Bible, but it does not denote panes of glass. As its very name indicates, it was an opening in the wall through which the “wind” could pass. Even medieval castles had open windows without glass and sometimes without shutters. If the Ether passage is saying that the windows would be “dashed in pieces” because they were made of glass, it would be an anachronism. But I believe that the antecedent to “they” is “your vessels,” i.e., the vessels would be dashed in pieces of windows were cut into the sides.
Each hole made in the hull would weaken the structure, and since the Lord told the brother of Jared that “the mountain waves shall dash upon you” (Ether 2:24), they would need some rather substantial barges. To be sure, there were holes for air that were plugged up when water entered therein (Ether 2:20), but Noah, too, had a window in his ark that he opened only after the forty days of rain had ceased (Genesis 8:6). [12] ”

Though the antecedent problem might cast a solution on the problem right there, there’s this verse, in Ether 3:1:
“1 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as *TRANSPARENT GLASS*; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:”

It seems they either had glass, or something similar that Ether/ Mormon/ JS (take your pick) used “transparent glass” to describe it.

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