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clarkgoble

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  1. Unfortunately that doesn't do quite the sorting and limiting to type that the old lds.org used to do. The dates Google comes up with are conjecture although to be fair for conference talks they're often pretty accurate. You can also sort by date using Google's tools. The other tip for using Google's tools is that you can do some limiting by not just putting the dns name (lds.org) but also paths. So you can do site:lds.org/general-conference or site:lds.org/ensign or even site:lds.org/ensign/1994.
  2. Sorry, that was a typo on my part. My apologies. I wasn't trying to equate you in the least with science doubters. I meant to say vaccine skeptics and accidentally wrote scientists and didn't catch it. The point I was trying to get at is that these structures work only to the degree they focus on honest inquiry (or avoiding it) and empirical data. So I'm raising the same point I raise with the Fowler point. How does one deal with "objective" facts. (Here again meaning by objective the accounts that persist through continued inquiry -- long term successful paradigms if one wants to use a more Kuhnian language) My problem with these schemes arises when one switches from "ethical" to "scientific" claims. So relative to science rather than ethics or religion how does this sound? "The person feels everything is contradictory and he just can't make sense out of life's dilemmas. But he begins to develop sense of irony and sees he must embrace viewpoints in conflict with his own, not in the old multiplistic way of "separate but equal" or "live and let live" but truly embrace them with what might as well be called "love"." We'd see it as silly to embrace such viewpoints in conflict with our established scientific ones. Relativism of this sort just doesn't make sense for things we have lots of evidence for. But if it doesn't there, why should we assume that somehow it works within an ethical system without first making a fundamental ontological or epistemological claim about ethics? Put an other way, as you noted of the vaccine deniers, we can't help but consider them wrong.
  3. I suspect we are talking past one an other slightly here. The hypothetical audience is the author's creation in a certain sense. However it is supposed to represent actual audiences the author is writing to. Further the very notion of a single unitary hypothetical audience is problematic for multiple authored works. (Which hypothetical audience - how do the authors communicate this audience to each other, etc.) Even beyond that in a very real sense any text worked on over time is a multiple authored work since the author isn't the same person at two times and may have different hypothetical audiences. The whole point of writing as communication is to do something in the reader/hearer. The only way to do that successfully is to manipulate shared symbols to produce the desired response. While it's fine to talk about a hypothetical audience the problem is much more about the attempts of the author to do something to the real audience. The hypothetical audience (to the degree we should say there is one) is an intermediary means to an end. The inescapable problem though is that no hypothesis will accurately represent the real audience the author is attempting to reach. Partially due to diversity but partially also due to the limits of the author's knowledge, skill and fallibilism. The problems compound beyond that however I don't think we necessarily need to go into that. Anyway, I think on these points we're mostly in agreement although I suspect I see far more pitfalls here than you do. The reason I think that we can't escape the "debate over meaning and how texts acquire meaning, and who owns that meaning" is because to talk about meaning is to precisely take up those topics. We ridicule what I call naive hermeneutics (roughly what gets called literalism and fundamentalism) because they take the text at face value. Their commonsense interpretation from their everyday ways of reading dominates the text. We recognize how problematic that is. However to avoid the debate over how texts acquire meaning is to make the same mistake (IMO) just in a slightly more sophisticated fashion. We bring assumptions to the text that the author and likely even their immediate audience don't share. I recognize that Rabinowitz thinks the author writes only to the hypothetical audience and not the real audience. However I'd first deny that the hypothetical audience is fully within the author's control or that it's stable in any normal fashion. Further I'd again say that the audience the author is writing to can't be this hypothetical. The hypothetical is itself an idealization just as removed from the author as the real audience is. All of these are just idealizations which the author only has mediated access to. Further the mediation is itself not fully under the author's control. But there is no "text-as-it-is." To have a text is already to have interpreted the signs on the page, the sounds in the air, or so forth. What we have is a hermeneutic circle where we're constantly creating new texts that have their origins in some other text. Put an other way there never is a "text-as-it-is" only "texts-as-they-were" that are already separated from us. I know that sounds a bit complex. More or less what I'm trying to say is that there is no present text (text-as-it-is). All there are are "as-it-was" that we can only imperfectly approach. To approach a text is always to approach it in a historical past separated from our current context. Even for the author revising their work. They don't remember the original hypothetical audience when they return to their text. They don't remember all their aims with the text. Ultimately there is no text with full meaning. All we have are symbols that are constantly being interpreted with a hope that it represents these earlier texts. The case of Isaiah with it's complex history, missing contexts, mysterious authors, and transfigurations through time isn't unusual. That's the nature of all texts. Isaiah perhaps just illustrates the case better than say our words here on this forum. This is a philosophical point, but I think it a very important one with very practical implications in how we read. I understand that. I just don't understand why you assume that Nephi isn't using his prophecy to explain Isaiah rather than using Isaiah to prooftext his prophecy. That's the difference between interpretive expansion and prooftext I was getting at. Certainly I agree it can be read as a prooftext. I don't think it need necessarily be read that way and I'd argue it's not the most natural way of reading it. I'll write more on this and your other points tomorrow as I think this is a great example but it's almost midnight and I'm supposed to go climbing early in the morning.
  4. Who is "them" - the Perry proponents or the scientists? I think the reason I raised the science question is more how other people view scientific claims. Relativism can be deeply problematic there. You can see them as doing different langauge games, but eventually you have to apply it to experience and lots of claims fall there. The problem is that it's rather easy to avoid that engagement which is why pseudoscientific claims are so popular yet the people engaged in them so rarely wish to test them.
  5. What do you mean? Again we need to be careful in asking what type of hermeneutics are acceptable in reading the text. Beyond that though it's hard to see Smoot not having the necessary background here. At minimum he's a Hebrew reader familiar with the text. Even if he might not be familiar with the particular passages and their debate, he has the background to be able to look them up and critique Callister in terms of that. For the rest I'd assume they don't have the skill, although they may well have been critiquing other aspects of the text. Again I've not read Callister, but I assume he's doing more than just Isaiah exegesis.
  6. I agree, although it is also frequently heavily neglected - particularly the type of typological reading Nephi and Jacob engage in. The nature of Moses' religion is a mystery. The place of the bronze snake is something scholars simply don't agree upon with a wide range of interpretations given. It seems clear the underlying texts and narratives have been heavily redacted and edited to fit what post-exilic priests wanted to defend. My guess is that Moses' type of Judaism was radically different in many ways from what we have in the Hellenistic period. Given that, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out the symbols of Mosaic religion were fairly different and perhaps more full. Certainly that's what the Book of Mormon portrays. Is Moses' rod more akin to the Rod of Asclepius? Or the Sumerian Ningishzida? Or is it tied more to Apophis or some localized syncretic form of Egyptian-Canaanite religion? Hard to know. It's hard to make the type/anti-type type of analysis without having that knowledge (IMO). I rather like the idea that it was tied to Apophis with evil's origin being tied to Ra's birth. That in turn seems to have a bit of an echo of our own cosmology of the war in heaven. We know that at least some rites involved creating an effigy of Apophis to ward him off. It could be that the raising of the serpent was symbolic more akin to a scape goat originally and that the serpent, rather than being a type of Christ directly represented Christ's conquest of the scape goat. It's a repetition in a way of the battle of chaos or YHWH over the Leviathan. Later, as the texts get redacted the origins get lost so the symbols get transfigured. But who knows. This to me points directly at the problem of the semiotics. We don't even know what the pre-exilic texts were and we know the texts were being transformed by the Deuteronomist and Priestly traditions. Exactly! I also fully agree. Jesus is in a tricky spot. Of course we don't know how much the veil of forgetfulness had thinned for him. (One can make compelling arguments either way) If there actually were prophecies of him that had been distorted, how should he react? Is he doing illegitimate proof text? Or is he more using texts in a legalistic fashion that's completely acceptable within his tradition. This gets at the point of the open text I raised with Ben. It's not even clear the scholars are asking the same questions or engaging in the same types of hermeneutics here as Jesus is.
  7. Right and one of my objections comes down to saying the above is unavoidable. While assumptions about audience shape what an author writes, the author has at best imperfect knowledge of their audience. Throw in the composite author issue and things get unavoidably complex. Well there's a lot of Isaiah in there particularly in 2 Nephi. There we have expansions in the Isaiah texts quoted. We can interpret those as a variant underlying text Nephi has access to, a pesher by Nephi, or even pesher or midrash like changes during the translation to English. (And since I think the English text is typically a paraphrase of the underlying text I think that unavoidable) There's certainly an element of prooftexting (broadly construed) in Nephi. Whether that supporting function means extensive divorcing of the text from its meaning in the text Nephi has seems much more complicated a question. I think the pesher passages along with Nephi's stated comments about hermeneutics as well as that typological aspect to the text suggests it's more complicated. If you're interested I'd love to get into the nitty gritty, although I'll also fully admit my limits here. I'm not even a Hebrew speaker. My points are less about particular exegesis than more general semiotic problems to the text. But it does seem to me that many of these elements are high level enough in the text that exegetical nuance won't come into play in too problematic a fashion. Well one can accept that claim without accepting the basis for why you are making that claim. I think Nephi's audience is ignorant for sure. They're largely unable to read Isaiah and get anything out of it. I don't think that entails Nephi cannibalize the text for a deeply acontextual use. (Again here going by Nephi's own purported hermeneutic training and not making a claim of whether that entails Isaiah(s) held to the same hermeneutic processes) Again just to be clear, I've not read Callister so I'm just not commenting on that. I don't know his argument here at all. I'm more referring to Bokovoy's later broad claim: "In reality, biblical prophetic texts are not predictions of the LDS movement. The biblical prophets were not fortune-tellers. Instead, they were highly perceptive political and social critics concerned with everyday problems that affected their own time and community. " That just seems unsupportable although I fully agree it is a typical assumption of contemporary scholars in the field - particularly more secular ones. At best one could argue that there's no unambiguous prophecy in the Old Testament suggesting that any portrayal of such is a result of textual modification. They would then make an argument from silence after saying that.
  8. There's lots of great non-Mormon resources. I just wish there was an LDS oriented site designed for people studying rather than what lds.org has become. (It had problems before but it's gotten much, much worse)
  9. When encountering these categories it's always helpful to ask how they approach scientific inquiry and the processes and types of knowledge found within the hard sciences. How does one approach the beliefs of non-scientists who reject scientific claims? (Say the germ and viral theory of disease for instance or the role of vaccines)
  10. Well I think my points were central to that latter question. At minimum the question of how open a text is entails certain aspects to envisioning the readings. Even if this conception is perhaps exceedingly vague. But more to the point, it suggests a problem with the tendency of many scholars to want to read a text only in its own time. Now of course there are often reasons for this. Say with Daniel where it seems the historic allusions are pretty direction up until the time of Greek imperialism and then thereafter diverge. I think with Isaiah things are a bit more complicated, even if one points to particular forms of texts as say post-exilic. The problem becomes what texts did Isaiah produce? What proto-texts did he produce (if any) that were then significantly reworked? It's there that I think things are a bit of a mess. The other big problem is that even if you index your interpretation to a culture (say contemporary with Isaiah) you have the problem that what a particular individual believes isn't determined by what the typical reading in that culture would take a text as implying. Put an other way, as a practical matter we can say very little about Isaiah's beliefs or how he read his own texts. (And in many cases even what his own texts were) While one might say that means any claim of Isaiah's intents are wrong (whether by a scholar or a relatively uneducated popularizer) the other approach is to raise the possibilities of what Isaiah thought and simply recognize we should treat them with some skepticism. That, effectively, is what scholars giving exegesis of Isaiah are doing. I'm not entirely convinced it's wrong to allow for the possibility of Isaiah having more insight than the typical scholar is apt to give him. (Again here noting the differences in interpretation between more secular and more conservative scholars here even within academics) I think that's a bit more complicated than you make out. (At least in this thread and in the linked to Interpreter article - I'll confess I don't remember all your positions from other threads) Going to the Interpreter paper you're primarily focused on narrative theory. As you note with your discussion of 2 Nephi 25:6–7, Nephi is familiar with a semiotic code for reading the texts of Isaiah. It's not necessarily the case that this code was known and used by Isaiah, although it's certainly a possibility. It definitely appears to have been a code used for exegesis in the community in Jerusalem that Nephi (and presumably Lehi) were a part. You suggest that Nephi is doing something novel here in his reading. However a quite reasonable, and I'd argue more likely, take is that Nephi is engaging in a pesher (interpretive translation) to explain Isaiah to his actual audience (in the sense of Rabinowitz in your discussion). Now things are a bit more complicated since whatever process produced the English text is itself partially a pesher but also a very loose translation parasitic on the KJV text and possibly 19th century theological phrases. That is the text in the English translation was undoubtedly significantly transformed. But to keep things simple we'll bracket that issue. Getting back to the main issue, you assume that when Nephi "did liken all scriptures unto us" that this is a novel interpretive strategy. A kind of pure utility reading. I'm not at all convinced that's what Nephi means although it's certainly a possibility. An other possibility you didn't address in your paper is that the interpretive code Nephi was familiar with entailed a typological reading that of necessity included applying the types to the individual. That's what Nephi does applying the prophecies of salvation from Assyria and Babylon to the individuals' spiritual salvation. The Kings of these nations typologically become the devil and his armies acting on an individual level both in terms of ones immediate spirituality as well as ones cosmological travel from birth to judgment. One can read this as Nephi doing a creative interpretive dance with the text - an extreme deconstruction. Or one can read this as Nephi merely applying the "learning of the Jews" and applying some hermeneutic rules he'd been raised with. When you say, "Nephi is quite clear that his reading is foreign to the original audience" I just find myself quite skeptical. Now there are some obvious counter-arguments here particularly for the relatively complex cosmology of the devil. Many see that as primarily due to Persian influence upon Judaism and anachronistic of the Book of Mormon. Some apologists defend this by suggesting this is a novel theology by Nephi. I'm more skeptical. First off there are some elements we can find in Canaanite pantheons and myths. (Mot, Leviathan, etc.) However the closer parallels are Egyptian. Again speculative I admit, but we know Nephi's religion is somewhat at odds with Josiah's reforms and there are many indications of contact with Egypt. Of course if this is a reading of Isaiah that arises from whatever variant of Judaism Lehi was a part, that doesn't entail that Isaiah was. However it at minimum shapes how to view the pre-exilic hermeneutics of Isaiah. (Again acknowledging the problem of the nature of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon translation and its transfiguration due to the influence of the KJV text that likely changed the text Nephi was dealing with) We of course can't escape our starting from our own experiences. Even contemporary scholars publishing in peer reviewed journals are ultimately doing that. The question is always what experiences? To assume we read only from our regular day to day life experiences is of course false. Scholars are reading from a set of experiences that include study of history and a certain hermeneutic approach to history and more particularly texts. It's certainly the case that what gets called "fundamentalism" or "literalism" assumes the author reads the text the way their naive historical engagement with the text does. But that seems a bit of a tangent. No one here is defending that view. (I've no idea how often Callister falls prey to that having not read his book - but I'd certainly acknowledge it as a problem) Assuming that this is what Nephi is doing seems deeply problematic to me. Certainly he's interpreting out of his experience - but without knowing what that experience is I'm not sure we can say too much. I rather doubt he is engaging with a naive hermeneutic of the type characteristic of most naive readings. If only because he espouses knowledge of this learning of the Jews suggesting he'd been educated in a particular class of exegetical rules. The semiotic code with which he reads Isaiah. More or less all I mean is that what a text means brings with it a lot of presuppositions. When someone says what Isaiah means that in turns carries with it certain assumptions about what the question even means. Assumptions a scribe in Roman Palestine or Egypt would undoubtedly not share with contemporary scholars. Fundamentally they are asking different questions.
  11. I don't know how the Heartland model deals with other indigenous peoples but for the Mesoamerica model key to the model is a small group (30-50 people at tops) coming into a population of millions. So I don't see how this is a problem for it. For the hemisphere model I'll grant you but not the Mesoamerica model. Not quite sure what you mean by your last sentence. If the Thai model has Hebrews mixing in with a large Asian populace, isn't it exactly the same in this regard as the Mesoamerica model except for the problem of explaining the tie between Lamanites and American natives? I must be missing something. Why would he want that? I recognize why people publish anonymously, although typically their friends know about it unless the text is very controversial. I guess this depends upon what you see his aims as. But again, the big problem here is that lack of really even ambiguous circumstantial evidence that could be taken as pointing to this as his production.
  12. It's worth noting again that we're missing the 116 pages (which Don Bradley suggests might be of significant length in terms of percentage of the whole - perhaps as much as half). We're also missing the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. So there's a lot left to be revealed.
  13. There are some basic functionality we've lost. Not just in scripture but also in sorting search results. That used to be part of all the variants but they removed it a few years ago. It makes finding a particular conference talk much, much more difficult. I sometimes think that if I had time I'd write a custom portal that just indexes the various conference talks. At minimum have a "pro" search portal the way many sites do. The scripture page is also problematic. I think that's something people could do better. Again, if I had any free time I'd probably write an iOS/Mac app to do it. Maybe after I finish getting HomeKit working in my house lights and garden...
  14. Why on earth would he spend so much time and effort on a fictitious book and not want anyone to know about it? I confess that's where this whole model falls apart for me. I think the issue for the believer (here ignoring inspirational fiction models) is latterday scripture in the D&C such as section 28 or 57. This seems incongruitous with the Thailand model. Now one can argue the "fuzziness" of revelation and how ones assumptions color it as God speaks to us in our weakness. And of course the heartland model proponents point to these same scriptures to argue for a northeast location for the Book of Mormon given the New Jerusalem and references to Lamanites. However I think that can be reconciled with mesoamerica due to groups moving around the Americas via well known trade routes. Thailand involves far more problems than merely getting Moroni from there to America. It requires rejecting straightforward readings of many D&C prophecies. I know trade routes and how it affects genetics is still controversial. There are rather heated archaeological debates just over mayan influences on Florida. At minimum though we know the Aztec Pochteca were traveling long distances. While Mayan or Aztec contact with the Hopewell or subsequent groups is still quite controversial, it's at least reasonably plausible. The Hopewell proper (ending around 400 AD) certainly had wide trade routes. So there's a rather plausible explanation for D&C references to native Americas in New York through Ohio as Lamanites. I'm not sure there is for Thailand.
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