Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Jaredite Scriptures and Tsohar

A Pre-Mosaic Bible

The Bible, as we have it, begins with the Pentateuch (or the Torah to the Jews), which is the five books of Moses. Similarly, the Brass Plates referenced in the Book of Mormon also seems to begin with the Pentateuch (1 Nephi 5:10-11). Assuming traditional Mosaic authorship of these books,1 our Bible potentially dates as far back as some time between the 17th and 13th centuries B.C. (depending on standard Christian and Jewish chronologies). Since Genesis includes history long before Moses' day, one may wonder whether he drew upon extant writings or possibly oral traditions to document the Book of Genesis. Fortunately for Latter-day Saints, the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 1:1 through 6:13 brought about the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price.2 From this book of scripture we learn that Moses was on an exceedingly high mountain where he spoke with the Lord face to face, and while conversing with the Lord, was given a vision of the creation, the garden of Eden, the fall of man, and ultimately "beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created..." (Moses 1:8). Accordingly, it seems reasonable that Genesis could have been documented by Moses based on his vision.  On the other hand, it is possible that Moses had access to ancient texts that he relied on, in part, to formulate Genesis.