Kevin Christensen addresses the charge that the Book of Mormon contains anachronisms.

Jun 29, 2001
Kevin Christensen

Kevin Christensen, "Does the Book of Mormon Contain Anachronistic Language," FAIR, June 29, 2001, accessed January 18, 2023

Kevin Christensen
Internet Public

Another thing to keep in mind is the problem of assessing the significance of an apparent anachronism in an inspired translation. For example, to argue that the Book of Mormon could not be authentic because it contains English words that did not exist in the 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. time period of the main text would be absurd. This is not because the English would not be anachronistic in the ancient setting, but because the Book of Mormon is a translation from one language and culture into another. Joseph Smith’s own cultural background is necessarily part of the translation. Just how big a part is open to discussion, but such discussion requires adequate consideration of both the translator’s context and the ancient context. Furthermore, if we apply Joseph Smith’s own definitions of the “translation” process in connection with other revelations, we must consider the potentials for prophetic commentary and interpretation in the text. Just as the Bible text shows evidence of the efforts and motives of the authors, editors, transmitters, and translators, so the Book of Mormon text contains evidence of Mormon and Moroni working as editors and abridgers of Nephite and Jaredite records, and evidence of Joseph Smith as the translator. Critics often overlook the potential in the text for editorial or translator anachronism that do not impair the inspiration of the text. On the other hand, we don’t need to assume that suggestions for alleged “translator anachronisms” won’t fall to the same kinds of reversals that many of the more cynical allegations have met

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