Further Arguments Against View of the Hebrews as Source Material for the Book of Mormon

Most of what is used as evidence in “View of the Hebrews” (VOTH) is not new material. Ethan Smith bases almost all of his assertions off of previously published materials. A list of cited authors can be found just after the table of contents on page 6. There are at least 48 authors who are cited thoughout VOTH, and many more not included in the table of contents. The point of listing all of these outside sources cited by Ethan Smith is to show that it is extremely difficult to suggest that Joseph Smith used VOTH as a source of inspiration for writing the Book of Mormon (BOM). If VOTH never existed, it could still be argued that Joseph Smith borrowed ideas from any of the other 40+ sources cited in VOTH. Once multiple source materials show that the same ideas and information have been circulated for decades, then the argument that any one document served as inspiration for another work of literature falls apart. I will be referring to the VOTH found in http://www.thechristianidentityforum.net/downloads/View-America.pdf

Below is a list of authors cited in VOTH. This list is found after the table of contents. Many of these authors argue that the Native Americans are the lost ten tribes of Israel, and many of these authors provide evidence of Hebrew origins found in Native American traditions:

“Adair, 80,84,88,89,92,95,98.

Archaelogia Americana, page

Bartram, 113,123-125.

Beatty, 96,98,116,119.

Boudinot, 87,91,93,96,98,100.

Buttrick , 130.

Carver, 123,154.

Casas, 176.

Chapman, 123,157.

Charlevoix, 85,174.

Clavigero, 116.

Colden, 94,109.

Columbus, 132.

Commissioners, 137.

Cushman, 105,174.

Dodge & Blight, 104. 174, 175.

Don Alonzo de Erici lla, 158.

Edwards, 86,89,162.

Esdras, 74.

Frey , 118.

Giddings, 88,102.

Gook in, 107.

Hebard, 101. 154.

Heckewelder, 107. Some of his

arguments, 147-

Herman, 140. 112,116,121,123.

Humboldt, 177.

Hunter, 162 188.

Hutchinson, 93,174.

Immanuel de M oraez, 97.

Jarvis, 79,116,120,123-125,133,134.

Lewis & Clark, 106,124.

Long, 141,160.

M’ Kenzie, 97,114,115, 138.

Mather, 127.

Melverda & Acasta, 162.

Morse, 91,126,142.

Occum, 106.

Pedro de Cicca, 88.

Penn, 107,174.

Pixley, 111,113,130.

Pratz, 87,175.

Robertson, 153.

Sauard, 92.

Schoolcraft, 145.

Smith, (C ol.) 117,126,134,136.

Ulloa, 83.

Williams, (Roger) 107

Williams, 88,101,110,114”

To gain a better understanding of just how heavily Ethan Smith relies on previously published works, here are just a few examples of how he cites other works in VOTH:

“Manasses Ben Israel, in a work entitled “The Hope of Israel,” has written to show that the American Indians are the ten tribes of Israel.” (p. 33) [p. 81]

“The main pillar of his evidence is James Adair, Esq. Mr. Adair was a man of established character, as appears from good authority. He lived a trader among the Indians, in the south of North America, for forty years. He left them and returned to England in 1774, and there published his “History of the American Indians;” and his reason for being persuaded that they are the ten tribes of Israel.” (p. 33)

“Mr. Adair gives his opinion that the ten tribes, soon after their banishment from the land of Israel, left Media, and reached this continent from the north-west, probably before the carrying away of the Jews of Babylon.” (p. 33) [p. 81]

“In the “Star in the West,” published by the Hon. Elias Boudinot, LL. D. upon this subject, that venerable man says; “The writer of these sheets has made a free use of Mr. Adair’s history of the Indians; which renders it necessary that something further should be said of him. Sometime about the year 1774, Mr. Adair came to Elizabethtown, (where the writer lived,) with his manuscript…” (P. 34) [p. 84]

“Mr. Adair expresses the same opinion; and the Indians have their tradition, that in the nation from which they originally came, all were one colour” (p. 36) [p. 88]

“Du Pratz says, in his history of Louisiania [sic], “The nations of North America derived their origin from the same country, since at bottom they all have the same manners and usages, and the same manner of speaking and thinking.” (p. 36) [p. 88]

“In the course of their remarks they add; ‘To the testimonies here adduced by Doctor Jarvis, (i.e. that the Indians are the ten tribes of Israel,) might have been added several of our New England historians, from the first settlement of the country.’ Some they proceed to mention; and then add, that the Rev. Messrs. Samuel Sewall, fellow of Harvard College, and Samuel Willard, vice president of the same, were of opinion, that “the Indians are the descendants of Israel.” Doct. Jarvis notes this as an hypothesis, which has been a favorite topic with European writers; and as a subject, to which it is hoped the Americans may be said to be waking up at last.” (p. 32) [p. 80-81]

“Doctor Williams, in his history of Vermont says; ‘In whatever manner this part of the earth was peopled, the Indians appear to have been the most ancient, or the original men of America. They had spread over the whole continent, from the fiftieth degree of north latitude, to the southern extremity of Cape Horn. And these men every w here appeared to be the same race or kind of people. In every part of the continent, the Indians marked with a similarity of colour, features, and every circumstance of external appearance. Pedro de Cicca de Leon, one of the conquerors of Peru, and who had travelled [sic] through many provinces of America, says of the Indians; ‘The people, men and women, although there are such a multitude of tribes or nations, in such diversities of climates, appear nevertheless like the children of one father and mother.’” (p. 36) [p. 88-89]

“Their language appears clearly to be Hebrew. In this, Doctor Edwards, Mr. Adair, and others were agreed. Doctor Edwards, after having a good acquaintance with their language, gave his reasons for believing it to have been originally Hebrew. Both, he remarks, are found without prepositions, and are formed with prefixes and suffixes; a thing probably known to no other language” (p. 36) [p. 89]

“Mr. Faber remarks; “They (the Indians) call the lightning and thunder, Eloha; and its rumbling, Rowah, which may not improperly be deduced from the Hebrew word Ruach, a name of the third person of the Holy Trinity, originally signifying, the air in motion , or a rushing wind.” Who can doubt but their name of thunder, Eloha, is derived from a Hebrew name of God, Elohim?” (p. 38) [p. 93]

“Bartram informs; ‘We arrived at the Apalachnela town, in the Creek nation. This is esteemed the mother town sacred to peace. No captives are put to death, nor human blood spilt here.’” (p. 46) [p. 113]

“In the Archaeologia Americana, containing Transaction s and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society,’ published at Worcester, Mass. in 1820; are found antiquities of the people who formerly inhabited the western part of the United States.’ Of some of these I shall give a concise view, as additional arguments in favour of my theory…” (p. 76) [p. 188-189]

“The celebrated William Penn gives accounts of the natives of Pennsylvania, which go to corroborate the same point. Mr. Penn saw the Indians of Pennsylvania, before they had been affected with the rude treatment of the white people. And in a letter to a friend in England he thus writes of those natives; ‘I found them with like countenances with the Hebrew race; and their children of so lively a resemblance to them, that a man would think himself in Duke’s place, or Barry street in London, when he sees them.’” (p. 44) [p. 108]

There are many more authors and citations that I could list, but a brief perusal of VOTH by the reader would provide evidence enough that VOTH is hardly the first nor the last publication to provide information that is vaguely similar to the BOM. This is important information for believers of the Book of Mormon because it shows that broad parallels can be drawn between many different works of literature, and yet two works with somewhat similar (and contradictory) assertions can exist together coincidentally.

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