|Olive tree and vineyard|
Many of the ancient practices are still used today and wouldn't have been common knowledge in Joseph Smith's day especially in the upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont area. As pointed out by Jeff Lindsay in his blog mormanity.blogspot.com there is an amazing comparison in Brant Gardners Multidimensional Commentary for Jacob 5 and Romans 11 which is commonly referred to when compared by those who do not accept the Book of Mormon but anyone who has taken the time to read them both will not only realize that Paul's comparison is the inferior of the two but should also realize that Paul may actually be getting his information from the same source as Jacob...the one and only Zenos.
Jeff also quotes from John Gee and Daniel C. Peterson,'s "Graft and Corruption: On Olives and Olive Culture in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean," in The Allegory of the Olive Tree. Peterson and Gee state that it is almost inconceivable to state that Joseph Smith would have had access to the information needed to put together Jacob 5. The knowledge of olive horticulture was basically un-had in upstate New York. They point out that in order for Smith to have obtained that knowledge in 1829 he would have needed to have had access to the writings of four classical authors and would have need to have read all four works because individually they do not cover all the knowledge needed to have composed such a work. These authors and there works were
1.Cato, De Agri Cultura 2. Varro, Rerum Rusticarum 3. heophrastus, Historia Plantarum 4. Columella, Rei Rusticae. This is what Peterson and Gee stated about the likely hood of Joseph having access to these writings:
|Josesph Smith jr.|
Gee and Peterson then go on to point out the proper Hebrew narrative which I highly recommend reading. In my eyes the wonderful readings of Jacob chapter 5 stand as one of the most powerful testimonies for the future of Israel and "gentile" nations as well but also as some of the most compelling evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and for the prophet Joseph Smith.