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Stanford Carmack has a linguistics and a law degree from Stanford University, as well as a doctorate in Hispanic Languages and Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, specializing in historical syntax. In the past he has had articles published on Georgian verb morphology and object–participle agreement in Old Spanish and Old Catalan. He currently researches Book of Mormon syntax as it relates to Early Modern English and contributes, by means of textual analysis, to volume 3 of Royal Skousen’s Book of Mormon critical text project.
Articles referenced in this interview:
The Implications of Past-Tense Syntax in the Book of Mormon
A Look at Some “Nonstandard” Book of Mormon Grammar
What Command Syntax Tells Us About Book of Mormon Authorship
Questions addressed in this interview:
The work that you do feels like forensic work, like something a coroner is doing to look back on the evidence that is before them and come to certain conclusions about what took place. Like a coroner would be able to tell the difference in the type of cut on a body and come to some conclusion about the type of blade that was used, or the skill with which the individual that made the cut demonstrated in the wound, etc. You seem to have the ability to look at an ancient text and see more than simply a group of letters that form a word, but the skill and education of the person that used it, the origins of the word, and from that you can come to certain conclusions. Is that an appropriate comparison?
You have written three articles in The Interpreter, to date, I am sure there will be more to come, but they all have to do with this rich analysis of the grammar and syntax of the Book of Mormon text. There are some criticisms of the Book of Mormon text that have been used by critics for years, what are some of those criticisms?
Did your effort in this regard come from wanting to give answers to the critics, or did you want to find answers for yourself to the critics questions and figured you would share your findings with others?
In your most recent article you make the statement that “Syntax resists manipulation” Meaning what with respect to its use in Book of Mormon authorship?
Let’s start with the first one that you did entitled A Look at Some “Nonstandard” Book of Mormon Grammar.” What were your findings with respect to what specific criticisms?
The next article was “What Command Syntax Tells Us About Book of Mormon Authorship.” This paper focuses on the use of one verb, COMMAND. It might seem a bit pf an overstatment to some, but how can the use of one word contribute to so as to either condemn or vindicate the claims to divine authorship of the Book of Mormon?
Your latest article is a bit of a heavy read, but it is quite impressive in that regard. The article is entitled, “The Implications of Past-Tense Syntax in the Book of Mormon.” Here again is an analysis of the text with respect to assumptions that the Book of Mormon simply copies or borrows from Biblical Texts.