In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lehi's Contemporaries

Father Lehi
So while reading a Hugh Nibley article entitled, "Lehi as a Representative Man" off of the Maxwell Institute I figured I would do a post on a couple of Lehi's possible contemporaries.  These are people that Lehi as a man of culture and travel would have more than likely rubbed shoulders with at some point in there travels and dealings.  Nibley and many other scholars have suggested that Lehi would have been a skilled trader and an educated man because he spoke the language of his fathers and Egyptian as well.  We know that he had riches due to the episode of his sons second attempt to obtain the plates of Laban in which they attempted to trade their family riches and inheritance that the left once the family fled into the wilderness.  As a prophet of God Lehi would likely have been preaching in places where many could hear his voice and this would include conversing ideals with the thinkers and bright minds of his day. So who were some of the bright minds of his day that would have been in or around the areas in Lehi's environment? 

The first name that Nibley threw out was Solon, he was born in 638 B.C. and died in 558 B.C. and was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker and poet.  He is credited mainly as the father of democracy.  Ancient authors such as Herodotus and Plutarch are the main sources of information on Solon although they wrote about him long after his death.  As a lawmaker Solon was a reformer or a voice of political reason or moderation in Athens.  After his reforms Solon travelled abroad for 10 years and visited places such as Egypt and Cyrus and could have easily rubbed shoulders with Lehi during this time. Solon was also among the "seven sages" a title given by ancient Greek tradition to seven early 6th century B.C. philosophers, statesmen and lawgivers that were renowned in the following centuries for their wisdom. 

The other name mentioned was that of Thales who was born in the city of Miletus a Greek Ionian city around the mid 620's B.C.  His mother was a Phoenician and he received most of his education in Egypt, which gives him a similar cultural background to that of Lehi.  He is considered by many the first philosopher in Greek tradition.  He was known for explaining natural phenomena without reference to mythology.  Because of the way that he did this he has been noted as the "Father of Science".  Thales also used mathmatics to solve many problems so he is credited for first applying geometry.  Thales was also considered one of the seven sages or wise men.  Although the list of sages sometimes varies, the ones usually included are the following:

-Cleobulus of Lindos
-Solon of Athens
-Chilon of Sparta
-Bias of Priene
-Thales of Miletus
-Pittacus of Mytilene
-Periander of Corinth

It is interesting to consider that Lehi was rubbing shoulders with some of the wisest men of all time who's influence is still felt today. But if the Book of Mormon is what it proclaims to be than Lehi himself could be considered to be the most influential of them all. Not just because he would be the father of the Nephite and Lamanite nations but because of the influence of the Book of Mormon today.  Lehi was of the Tribe of Manasseh, which of all the tribes retained the old desert ways and was most active in the caravan trade so it is very likely that he would have been associated with Solon and Thales at some point in his life or at least aware of their teachings and influence. 

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