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Showing posts from August, 2018

Nephite History in Context 3: Vered Jericho Sword

Editor’s Note: This is the third contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here.
Vered Jericho Sword
Vered Jericho was a small ancient Israelite fortress first excavated in the winter of 1982 by archaeologist Avraham Eitan. It’s located roughly 3.7 miles (6 km) south of Jericho proper, on the northern side of Wadi es-Suweid. The walls still stand over 6 and half feet tall (2 m) and nearly 3 feet (0.9 m) wide, with two towers on each corner flanking the gate. Inside the fort is a courtyard and two dwelling structures. The fort may have also had cultic or ritual functions as a “high place” (beit bamah). It dates to the late seventh to early sixth century BC, and was destroyed by fire, quite likely in either the Babylonian siege of …

Getting to the Heart the Divide on Book of Mormon Geography

In recent weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the oft-times acrimonious debate between Heartlanders and Mesoamericanists, especially in the wake of my friend Stephen Smoot’s recent post about Letter 7. I am not sure I have anything particularly profound to offer on the subject; the reality is I and many others have long realized that both sides are talking past each other, and both sides likely blame the other for that impasse. But I would like to proffer a question that, I think, helps cut through all the noise and gets to the heart of the matter.
Imagine, for a second, archaeologists down in Veracruz, Mexico, made an absolutely astounding discovery: a stela, dated to the late-4th century (i.e., AD 350–400), written by a ruler in the area boasting of how he had utterly destroyed a people called the Nephites at a nearby place called Cumorah. There’s no question about the authenticity of this find, and there is no doubt about the translation.