Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Gifts of the Spirit in Moroni 10, 1 Corinthians 12, and D&C 46

The most common apologetic explanation of anachronistic intertextuality of the Book of Mormon with the Bible is that they are artifacts of translation. In other words, due to similar wording and due to the translator's familiarity or deference to the KJV, they chose to use the KJV wording. I do agree that many of the intertextualities in the BOM could be explained as artifacts of translation. However, there are many intertextualities that I think are suggestive of 19th century or post-KJV creation, and these are anachronistic structural/narrative intertextualities, especially when these large-scale intertextualities are supported with phrasal allusions to the same text. Moroni 10, though it's in the quotation/allusion category (which intertextualties are more easily seen as a possible artifact of a translation process), can be seen as a dependent expansion of 1 Corinthians 12's gift of the spirit list.

Each item of Paul's exposition is treated in order, and many items are expanded. Moroni's gifts-of-the-spirit list appears to be a doctrinal commentary of Paul's list with some expansions and clarifications.
  • Element 1: Holy Ghost's witness of Jesus Christ
    • "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." (1 Cor 12:3)
    • "And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is. And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever." (Moro 10:6-7)
    • Both elements of denial of Christ and testament of Christ are present in both texts with expansion in Moroni.
  • Element 2: Diversities of gifts
    • "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." (1 Cor 12:4-7)
    • "And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them." (Moro 10:8)
    • Several phrases in Corinthians are present in Moroni, just with varied wording. In other words, same meaning, but different wording. This is antithetical to the  reasoning which justifies KJV quotation/allusion because of similar meaning of an original text. Also, it should be noted that key words, like administration/administered and manifestation, are preserved.
      • "diversities of gifts" = "they are many;"
      • "but the same Lord" = "and they come from the same God"
      • "diversities in administrations" = "different ways that these gifts are administered"
      • "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal" = "and they are given by the manifestation of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them"
    • Lastly, the phrase "but it is the same God which worketh all in all" comes following the "diversities of operations" phrase in Corinthians, and appears following the "different ways that these gifts are administered" phrase in Moroni, creating a kind of paraphrase. It's interesting to see how the BOM text jumps from expansion to paraphrase and from variation to quotation here. I'm not sure this particular feature is suggestive of anything, just worth noting.
  • Element 3: Wisdom
    • "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;" (1 Cor 12:8)
    • "For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom;" (Moro 10:9)
    • simple expansions "of God" and "that he may teach"
  • Element 4: Knowledge
    • "to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;" (1 Cor 12:8)
    • "And to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;" (Moro 10:10)
    • expansion "he may teach"
  • Element 4: Faith
    • "To another faith by the same Spirit;" (1 Cor 12:9)
    •   "And to another, exceedingly great faith;" (Moro 10:11)
    • expansion "exceedingly great"
  • Element 5: Healing
    • "to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;" (1 Cor 12:9)
    • "and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;" (Moro 10:11)
  • Element 6: Miracles
    • "To another the working of miracles;" (1 Cor 12:10)
    • "And again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles;" (Moro 10:12)
    • expansion "mighty"
  • Element 7: Prophecy
    • "to another prophecy;" (1 Cor 12:10)
    • " And again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things;" (Moro 10:13)
    • expansion "concerning all things"
  • Element 8: Discerning of spirits
    • "to another discerning of spirits;" (1 Cor 12:10)
    •  "And again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits;" (Moro 10:14)
    • expansion "beholding of angels" and "ministering"
  • Element 9: Tongues
    • "to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:" (1 Cor 12:10)
    • "And again, to another, all kinds of tongues; And again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues." (Moro 10:15-16)
    • expansion without clear purpose(?)
  • Element 10: selfsame Spirit
    • But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." (1 Cor 12:11)
    • "And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will." (Moro 10:17)
    • expansion "Spirit of Christ"
The case for the above being artifact of translation is also weakened by the fact that D&C section 46 has a very similar commentary-style version of 1 Cor. 12. Following is the section that covers the above items. Notice how it covers the same core elements with it's own unique expansions and variations.

"To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful. And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men. And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal. And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom. To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge. And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed; And to others it is given to have faith to heal. And again, to some is given the working of miracles; And to others it is given to prophesy; And to others the discerning of spirits. And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues; And to another is given the interpretation of tongues. And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God."

I'm not outlining this and other examples to destroy faith in the BOM, but instead to recognize that it is an artifact of the 19th century. By understanding Joseph Smith's revelations in this light, we realize the independence that Mormonism has to continue learning and growing in the present!