So says a new computer-assisted authorship study out of Stanford:
Jockers, Matthew L., Daniela M. Witten, and Craig S. Criddle. 2008. â€œReassessing authorship of the Book of Mormon using delta and nearest shrunken centroid classification.â€ Literary and Linguistic Computing fqn040.
I caught this as part of my HighWire Press alerts (I don’t typically follow publications in this journal). A quick scan through the article is really pretty amazing. The authors basically conclude that about 25% of the Book of Mormon is copied from Isaiah-Malachi from the King James Version of the Bible. The balance, about 75%, was written by Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery (with a little help from Orson Pratt), but was based on the writing of Solomon Spaulding.
- The Book of Mormon is not an ancient document but a 19th century work of fiction.
- Joseph Smith didn’t even write the book, which is what most liberal Mormons assert when the historical claims are refuted via archaeological and other scientific evidence.
- Sidney Rigdon wrote the book with a little help from friends.
- The Book of Mormon is a collaborative work of fiction that is held up as scripture by millions of people.
- Sad, sad, sad.