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 Post subject: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:49 pm 
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For the past year or so, I've mentioned that information regarding Book of Mormon authorship would be forthcoming. I offer you the following information for your consideration. This project is the result of painstaking effort on the part of Matt Jockers, Daniela M. Witten and Craig S. Criddle who some of us know as "Craig C." from 2think.org and RFM, all from Stanford University. The project was submitted for and passed peer review in the Oxford Journal of Literary and Linguistic Computing. It can be accessed via the links provided and subcription to the journal.

Follow this project, the resulting discussions which are sure to be stimulating and decide for yourself. Was the Book of Mormon delivered by divine intervention or by man himself?

http://llc.oxfordjournals.org/papbyrecent.dtl

From the Abstract:

Quote:
Reassessing authorship of the Book of Mormon using delta and nearest shrunken centroid classification
Matthew L. Jockers

Department of English, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA

Daniela M. Witten

Department of Statistics, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA

Craig S. Criddle

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA

Correspondence: Matthew L. Jockers, Department of English, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA E-mail: mjockers@stanford.edu

Abstract

Mormon prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) claimed that more than two-dozen ancient individuals (Nephi, Mormon, Alma, etc.) living from around 2200 BC to 421 AD authored the Book of Mormon (1830), and that he translated their inscriptions into English. Later researchers who analyzed selections from the Book of Mormon concluded that differences between selections supported Smith's claim of multiple authorship and ancient origins. We offer a new approach that employs two classification techniques: ‘delta’ commonly used to determine probable authorship and ‘nearest shrunken centroid’ (NSC), a more generally applicable classifier. We use both methods to determine, on a chapter-by-chapter basis, the probability that each of seven potential authors wrote or contributed to the Book of Mormon. Five of the seven have known or alleged connections to the Book of Mormon, two do not, and were added as controls based on their thematic, linguistic, and historical similarity to the Book of Mormon. Our results indicate that likely nineteenth century contributors were Solomon Spalding, a writer of historical fantasies; Sidney Rigdon, an eloquent but perhaps unstable preacher; and Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher with editing experience. Our findings support the hypothesis that Rigdon was the main architect of the Book of Mormon and are consistent with historical evidence suggesting that he fabricated the book by adding theology to the unpublished writings of Spalding (then deceased).


http://llc.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/fqn040v1

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:22 pm 
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This is easy.

If it is determined that it was multiple authors, then it was because it was written by multiple Book of Mormon prophets.

If it is determined that it was a single author, it was because Mormon abridged the plates.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:25 pm 
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Sounds fascinating, Jersey! I'm not going to pay for access, and it unfortunately won't be available for interlibrary loan before I graduate, but hopefully once it's actually out in the journal I will be able to find a copy.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:26 pm 
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thanks for the info.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:30 pm 
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Scottie wrote:
This is easy.

If it is determined that it was multiple authors, then it was because it was written by multiple Book of Mormon prophets.

If it is determined that it was a single author, it was because Mormon abridged the plates.


Scottie,

I don't plan to participate on this thread as my only intent was to provide the information for consideration. In your post above you say,

Quote:
f it is determined that it was multiple authors, then it was because it was written by multiple Book of Mormon prophets.


On the surface, that statement would appear to make sense if only one of the authors identified wasn't deceased.

I encourage you to read the article and draw your own conclusions.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:37 pm 
Scottie wrote:
This is easy.

If it is determined that it was multiple authors, then it was because it was written by multiple Book of Mormon prophets.

If it is determined that it was a single author, it was because Mormon abridged the plates.



Well Scottie their findings are :

Our results indicate that likely nineteenth century contributors were Solomon Spalding, a writer of historical fantasies; Sidney Rigdon, an eloquent but perhaps unstable preacher; and Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher with editing experience. Our findings support the hypothesis that Rigdon was the main architect of the Book of Mormon and are consistent with historical evidence suggesting that he fabricated the book by adding theology to the unpublished writings of Spalding (then deceased).


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:48 pm 
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I'm wanting to drive this point home, marg.

marg wrote:
Well Scottie their findings are :

"Our results indicate that likely nineteenth century contributors were Solomon Spalding, a writer of historical fantasies; Sidney Rigdon, an eloquent but perhaps unstable preacher; and Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher with editing experience. Our findings support the hypothesis that Rigdon was the main architect of the Book of Mormon and are consistent with historical evidence suggesting that he fabricated the book by adding theology to the unpublished writings of Spalding (then deceased)."


They have identified the contributions of Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery and Solomon Spalding **IN** the Book of Mormon.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:54 pm 
I went to access the article and it was $28. I wonder if Craig minds the article being shared or downloaded to the Net. I would imagine he's not supposed to encourage that. And it's probably illegal.


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:30 pm 
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marg wrote:
I went to access the article and it was $28. I wonder if Craig minds the article being shared or downloaded to the Net. I would imagine he's not supposed to encourage that. And it's probably illegal.


I should think one would need to request permission from Oxford Journals to share or download, marg. It presents a link to request permission. I provided Craig with a link to this post. If he has advice to share publicly, I'll post it here. People could also check RFM for updates or further information.

Beyond that, I think that 28$ would be well worth the cost to one who was interested in the project and certainly to provide resource for those who wish to discuss it openly and online.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:47 pm 
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Because I know that discussion of this project will be on-going for many several months if not years, I wanted to repost a post made by Craig Criddle on RFM back on 4-29-08 of this year, that I had transferred to this board. I cannot provide a link because RFM purges the board on a regular basis. I hope it will give the reader insight to Craig's intent regarding the project. Here it is:

Quote:
"The term anti Mormon"

How many times have we heard the terms "Anti-Mormon" or "Pro-Mormon" on this or other web sites?

Some who consider themselves "pro-Mormon" (perhaps even some leaders of the Church) believe that Mormon myths must be preserved at all cost. They reason that even if the myth is false, it nevertheless provides the moral and economic foundation for Mormon society. The myth is needed for social cohesion.

Of course, underlying this argument is a profound lack of confidence in the people - it basically assumes that in the absence of myth, civil society will collapse into a vacuum of dog-eat-dog selfishness and despair.

Perpetuating the myth can thus be justified as a morally correct act. And those who reject the myth become a threat. They must be labeled as "Anti-Mormons", so that members know to avoid them, or at least to close their ears to them.

But who is the real "Anti-Mormon"? Is it the myth maker who has found ways to justify a perpetuation of lies? Or is it the myth breaker who has confidence in the inherent capacity of the people to make good decisions without a myth?

There is another way to think about this.

Who do we consider to be our "friends"? Most of us would answer that question with a list of attributes that define friendship. One attribute that would likely appear on the list is the idea that a real friend does not deceive us.

I refuse to be labeled Anti-Mormon. I am Pro-Mormon. Those who would deceive my Mormon loved ones and associates are the Anti's.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 6:36 pm 
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LifeOnaPlate wrote:
thanks for the info.


You're welcome, LoaP, and thank you for placing it on MAD. I'm sure that those who are interested in Book of Mormon authorship will find it of interest.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 6:57 pm 
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Jersey Girl wrote:
LifeOnaPlate wrote:
thanks for the info.


You're welcome, LoaP, and thank you for placing it on MAD. I'm sure that those who are interested in Book of Mormon authorship will find it of interest.



np

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:33 pm 
High Goddess of Atlantis
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I have the article and found it powerful, the research robust; well worth the $28.00. :cool:

The techniques (Delta and Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification) used for the study were IMO, far superior to those used in other Book of Mormon WP studies of which I am aware. (Previous studies were reviewed and analyzed).

I think this research will be difficult to criticize and am interested in reading an apologetic review.

Thanks Jersey Girl for the info!

I will be glad to share any info for those who are interested but don't have access to the study.

~td~

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:44 pm 
God

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Jersey Girl wrote:
Because I know that discussion of this project will be on-going for many several months if not years, I wanted to repost a post made by Craig Criddle on RFM back on 4-29-08 of this year, that I had transferred to this board. I cannot provide a link because RFM purges the board on a regular basis. I hope it will give the reader insight to Craig's intent regarding the project. Here it is:

Quote:
"The term anti Mormon"

How many times have we heard the terms "Anti-Mormon" or "Pro-Mormon" on this or other web sites?

Some who consider themselves "pro-Mormon" (perhaps even some leaders of the Church) believe that Mormon myths must be preserved at all cost. They reason that even if the myth is false, it nevertheless provides the moral and economic foundation for Mormon society. The myth is needed for social cohesion.

Of course, underlying this argument is a profound lack of confidence in the people - it basically assumes that in the absence of myth, civil society will collapse into a vacuum of dog-eat-dog selfishness and despair.

Perpetuating the myth can thus be justified as a morally correct act. And those who reject the myth become a threat. They must be labeled as "Anti-Mormons", so that members know to avoid them, or at least to close their ears to them.

But who is the real "Anti-Mormon"? Is it the myth maker who has found ways to justify a perpetuation of lies? Or is it the myth breaker who has confidence in the inherent capacity of the people to make good decisions without a myth?

There is another way to think about this.

Who do we consider to be our "friends"? Most of us would answer that question with a list of attributes that define friendship. One attribute that would likely appear on the list is the idea that a real friend does not deceive us.

I refuse to be labeled Anti-Mormon. I am Pro-Mormon. Those who would deceive my Mormon loved ones and associates are the Anti's.


My sentiment as well. Literature such as Shakespearian, Moslem or Mormon, does NOT have to be historical or authentic in any other way but characteristic of life as lived in reality. Well writen, scripted and portrayed by believable (to some) characters, a useful, as well as entertaining, purpose may be served.

However when fiction is presented as fact, deception prevails and readers are prone to believe and act upon lies that could have serious repercussions, that are not the fault of the believers.

Will be interesting to see LDS Apologism at work...

Roger

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:58 pm 
Bummer, I can't get it through the university library in advance access form. Will have to wait till it is published.

But very interesting, I have been partial to the Spaulding theory since reading 'Who Wrote the Book of Mormon'. Then reading the Book of Mormon I kept getting sidetracked with looking up odd words and combinations. Like 'Glut' - which doesn't appear in any other scripture, but does appear in Spaulding's writings (Google site search is a fantastic tool/timewaster). I will be interested to see the discussion around the difference between 1Nephi to Words of Mormon, and all thereafter. The first portion of the Book of Mormon is downright sloppy - it should be largely Spaulding-free, who got the task of re-constructing the 116 pages?

Has anyone read the paper yet?


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:03 pm 
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This is huge. As much as I dislike Jersey Girl, she deserves credit for posting this. I have not read the article yet, but will try to procure a copy. I cannot wait to see the Mopologetic response to this.


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:15 pm 
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Hi Danna,

I have read the paper...

Regarding your questions, there was a very small "Spalding signal in sections of the Book of Mormon that were likely added to replace the 116 pages (the first quarter the book - first Nephi through Words of Mormon)".

The chapters with a dominant Spalding signal are primarily narrative and non-theological.

Basically there is a chapter-by-chapter probability of five possible authors and two control authors.

For examples, the NSC (Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification)assigned first Nephi ten and Moroni eight to Rigdon with a >93% probability, Mormon five, and seven to Rigdon with an 89 and 92 % probability, respectively, and chapter six to Spalding with a 72% probability.

It is quite fascinating, IMO.

~td~

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:18 pm 
A frequently successful means of obtaining a PDF reference I am after involves checking out the home sites of the authors.

No such luck this time, but I'll post the links in case anyone is interested -

take a quick dip into 'digital humanities' following the links of Matthew Jocker's site. One smart smart guy. And he plays rugby too.

Daniela Witten is doing a PhD in Statistics, but already has a respectable list of publications. She is not only clearly way more brainy than me and a polymath in the making, but stunning as well. I won't say any more since I am as jealous as hell.

Everyone will know Prof Criddle by reputation at least, I am guessing the more unscrupulous variety of mopologist will start on about his being a biotech rather than a literary analyst. Which is irrelevant given his co-authors and the peer review process. I have enjoyed reading his online analyses in the past. Jersey Girl is it possible he could drive through shady acres?


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:28 pm 
High Goddess of Atlantis
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Also if anyone is interested, you may want to check out info on NSC... it is really fascinating how Criddle & Co. used this method of classification, originally developed for cancer research for their word print study.

:wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:33 pm 
truth dancer wrote:
Hi Danna,

I have read the paper...

Regarding your questions, there was a very small "Spalding signal in sections of the Book of Mormon that were likely added to replace the 116 pages (the first quarter the book - first Nephi through Words of Mormon)".

The chapters with a dominant Spalding signal are primarily narrative and non-theological.

Basically there is a chapter-by-chapter probability of five possible authors and two control authors.

For examples, the NSC (Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification)assigned first Nephi ten and Moroni eight to Rigdon with a >93% probability, Mormon five, and seven to Rigdon with an 89 and 92 % probability, respectively, and chapter six to Spalding with a 72% probability.

It is quite fascinating, IMO.

~td~


Aha, So Sidney Rigdon must not have trusted Joseph and Oliver to do the repairs.

Was Joseph involved to any great extent? I have often though his comments in HoC sort of indicate someone who was unsure of exactly where his story took place - which would fit with him being a conduit rather than author. His adoption of the Urim and Thummim as explanations for the interpreters is another example (Spaulding mention the U&T by name in Manuscript Story, maybe he intended his interpreters to be 'interpreted' that way), as well as some of the comments he made retrofitting Book of Mormon cities on recently discovered mesoamerican locations. I must trot off and find the references I am thinking of.

Do you know the eventual publication date? it isn't noted on the advance access abstract. Santa may haved to get me an advance print for Newtonmas.


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Mormon authorship project is online
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:36 pm 
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For those who are unfamiliar with Professor Criddle's online essay regarding Book of Mormon authorship. This link is a starting point in understanding the theory.

http://www.mormonstudies.com/criddle/rigdon.htm

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