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Ryan Dahle

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About Ryan Dahle

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  1. Ryan Dahle

    No record of "scribes" in the Book of Mormon.

    I suspect it is simply a matter of omission. There are plenty of clues that Nephite society utilized various scribes and record keepers. I thought this recent blog post from Kirk Magleby was interesting: http://bookofmormonresources.blogspot.com/2019/01/why-only-male-authors-in-book-of-mormon.html These sources also discuss the scribal tradition among the Nephites: https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/nephi-scribe https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/nephite-daykeepers-ritual-specialists-mesoamerica-and-book-mormon Mormon's Codex, pp. 184-232
  2. Book of Mormon Central is offering supplemental study guides for anyone interested. They will be coming out before each lesson: https://bookofmormoncentral.org/node/62823 https://bookofmormoncentral.org/sunday-school/new-testament/come-follow-me-2019-luke-2-mathew-2
  3. Ryan Dahle

    Evidence for the Book of Abraham

    I wasn't accusing you of being "guilty" of simply having a platform. Read the rest of the sentence for context. I think you are misrepresenting the scholarly view. I don't think there is any consensus about whether or not Abraham was a real person. There simply isn't enough secular evidence to make a responsible decision one way or another. Having a base assumption that one leans toward is different than being able to proclaim what is truly likely, based on actual evidence. Can you provide even one solid piece of evidence (not merely assumption) that Abraham didn't exist? (Simply pointing to alleged anachronisms in extant texts really does nothing to argue against the reality of the person himself, simply because of the uncertainties involved in textual origins and transmission.)
  4. Ryan Dahle

    Evidence for the Book of Abraham

    Actually I have called it out on previous occasions. For instance, in our most recent exchange you ended up calling me "uncharitable" and "arrogant" simply for stating a proposition you disagreed with: Hope for Things: The problem I have with this characterization is it seems awfully judgmental and uncharitable. To think that everyone who has problems with church doctrines is just lacking information and unable to make a good decision is quite arrogant. And then I responded:
  5. Ryan Dahle

    Evidence for the Book of Abraham

    Seriously? This again? You have a notorious habit of responding to critiques and disagreements by casting doubt on others' core motives/character? I'm not sure why you can't see the blatant hypocrisy in such behavior. I would invite you to stop it. It isn't conducive to mature and healthy discourse. As for "platform," see the bullet point under the second definition in a quick google search of the term: "an opportunity to voice one's views or initiate action." I know, very uncharitable of me to go about using a word like "platform" in such a context as this. Your response evades the substance of my critique. You did leave room for the possibility of Abraham's existence. Yet you clearly went beyond arguing for a mere lack of evidence and entered into an argument that Abraham was likely not a real person. That was the only aspect of your argument I was critiquing.
  6. Ryan Dahle

    Evidence for the Book of Abraham

    I think you have no idea what Clark is talking about and that you are simply co-opting his post because it provides a convenient platform for your own talking points, which, as usual, conflate an absence for evidence in the deep past with persuasive evidence for absence. For instance, what evidence do you have that Abraham "likely didn't exist as a real human"? I'm guessing absolutely none. All you can responsibly say is that there isn't enough evidence yet to convince you that he did exist.
  7. I'm not Robert or Clark, but I would like to present a possibility. God may respect the efforts taken by honorable men to preserve ancient sacred writings and will use those efforts to promulgate his divine message to future generations. In other words, rather than delivering the pristine original, he might favor using a fairly well-preserved copy and then touching up its inaccuracies/omissions via revelation, plus perhaps adapting the text in some ways for a modern audience. I'm not saying that is necessarily what I think happened. I'm not sure. I just think that is a good possibility and that it makes sense with what Latter-day Saints believe about the character and disposition of God and his willingness to work with his children's best efforts.
  8. I would just add to the above that because of the difficulty of proving a negative when working with ancient data, positive evidence counts far more than a lack of positive evidence. This is why I am personally far more impressed by the strongest correlations between the facsimiles and modern Egyptology than I am by the supposedly glaring disjunctions.
  9. I'm certainly no Egyptologist either. I approach the arguments like I do most technical information outside of my expertise (which is really in nothing). I just do the best I can to make good judgments using a variety of supplementary evaluative criteria (assessing the author's credentials, experience, reputation, the cogency of their arguments as I understand them, etc) . For me, I'm personally not really that worried about the contextual use of the vignettes/hypocephalus. The validity of the argument (which discounts the authenticity of the BofA based on this lack of contextual congruence) relies on an absence of evidence, and there is no way to know how representative the extant data about the contextual use of these vignettes is. Without being able to gauge the representative nature of our sample, there is no way to reliably determine how atypical the supposedly outlying data may be. Moreover, there is good reason to suppose, based on the nature of the text itself, that it's ancient contextualization might be in a category of outlying data anyway. The Lord's people in most times and ages have been a peculiar minority. In any case, trying to disprove or argue against the authenticity of the BofA using this line of evidence is really a pretty weak approach. So, in my view, it is a fairly neutral piece of data and there is no compelling need for it to "be accounted for." (It should be noted that there is certainly some evidence that the facsimiles can be contextually linked to the content of the BofA). I think my response is pretty much the same as above. There is no need for a "compelling argument" showing that these specific vignettes were re-purposed in Thebes. The argument for their adaptation (whether by Joseph or by ancient priest/scribes/etc.) just needs to be in the realm of plausible, which I definitely think it is. Again, the problem is sample size. In my understanding, the evidence for this isn't that fool proof. But maybe I'm missing something. Why are you convinced Joseph mistook the scroll for the Hor book of breathings? I'm certainly open to the possibility, but I'm not certain yet that this is a proven assumption.
  10. Ryan Dahle

    Evidence for the Book of Abraham

    It should probably be added that the swelling Nephite/Lamanite populations were likely due, at least in part, to mixture with indigenous peoples. It especially seems that the Lamanites experienced this phenomenon. So even their reported population growth within the limited scope of their region was probably not representative of their unique DNA dispersion. But as Clark noted, this DNA discussion is really neither here nor there.
  11. Part of the problem, IMO, is that a number of the explanations that accompany the facsimiles are surprisingly in line with what modern Egyptology can say about them. If you read what Bob Smith has published, as well as what is in One Eternal Round and what Rhodes/Gee/Muhlestein have to say about them, there emerges a pretty good set of correspondences. So we are left with some things that don't seem to jibe with what secular Egyptology has to say and a number of other things that seem too accurate and appropriate to be lucky guesswork. So from my working assumptions, I don't feel a need to assume that the facsimiles are purely reinterpreted in a way that departs from what an ancient (Jewish/Egyptian???) person might think about them. Moreover, because facsimiles are ideogrammatic, they are far more open to varying interpretations than a phonetic script would be. So it is sort of comparing apples to oranges. The historical evidence suggests Joseph and others believed the translation was from an actual scroll in Joseph's possession. Thus, a pure catalyst theory may seem too far removed from the historical understanding (held by Joseph and his associates) concerning the relationship between the papyri and the BofA for some people to accept. A loose/adapted translation from a scroll that is far closer in content to the BofA would be far more palatable for those who value this historical evidence. That supposition is obviously still being debated. There is currently no agreement about what the KEP represent or how involved Joseph was in the endeavor. In one sentence you say the suppositions about the content of the missing scrolls can't be supported by anything, and in the next you make an evaluation about how unlikely it is that they are anything other than ordinary funerary inscriptions. That seems to be self-contradictory. Moreover, I think you are missing the point. The desire to connect the BofA more strongly to a missing scroll than we can connect it to the extant fragments isn't based on some inherent need to "support a catalyst theory." Rather, I'm saying that those who have this desire are often willing to accommodate some degree of looseness/adaptation (and even some catalyst-type additions/revisions) in the translation.
  12. Oh, makes sense. I don't know the answer to that. Robert F. Smith might, or perhaps Clark Gobel. Of what use is a missing scroll theory that seeks to defend Joseph Smith that purposes there are missing sections of the scroll without also specifying that those missing sections contain the Book of Abraham in one form or another? [My Edit: compare the above question with its first iteration given previously: "You believe that the missing scroll theory proposes that on a section or sections of the papyri that Joseph Smith obtained from Chandler in 1835, was a section of hieratic text which when translated was the Book of Abraham we now have, further any modern day Egyptologist would produce a similar translation from the same text? Do I have that right?] As noted in my edit above, your second iteration of the question seems to allow for more disparity than the first (i.e. "one form or another" vs. "similar translation"). But I get what you are saying, I think. I guess it gets back to assumptions about the nature of the text on the scroll and the nature of the translation. I personally think that [if the text was on a missing scroll and if] Egyptologists today were to look at it, they would recognize it as a viable source text for Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Abraham, depending on how loose/literal the translation was. However, others might assume that the text on the missing scroll worked more like the catalyst theory. Perhaps it really did contain authentic info about Abraham, but Joseph had to use revelation to amend/restore/decipher it. The more such amendment/restoration/decipherment was needed, the less modern Egyptologists would see it as a viable translation of the source text. In other words, there is probably some middle ground where both the catalyst theory and the missing scroll theory could potentially meet. [Late edits are in brackets above. Basically, I said that I think the text was on the missing scroll, but I am pretty much equally open to the text still being on the Hor scroll. And yes, I know the final exchange between Gee and Cook is currently not pointing in that direction (Cook currently has the last word), but I have reason to believe that the debate about the length of the scroll isn't over. I'm less inclined to adopt a pure catalyst theory that assumes the BofA doesn't correlate to any of the scrolls in Joseph's possession.]
  13. I'm guessing you are asking whether or not anything in the Book of Abraham corresponds to Abraham's time period. I would say the following is a good place start: 1. According to John Gee, the Book of Abraham "begins much like other autobiographies from Abraham's time and place."[1] 2. There is a fairly decent connection between the text’s mention of “Olishem” and an ancient location in Syria.[2] 3. The Book of Abraham mentions ritual human sacrifice, which is now attested in ancient Egypt.[3] 4. “Three of the four deities mentioned, Elkenah, Libnah, and Korash, are attested for the approximate time and place of Abraham.”[4] 5. The name “Shulem” is attested in Abraham’s day (although it is also dates from the time of the JSP).[5] [1] John Gee, An Introduction to the Book of Abraham (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and Religious Studies Center, BYU, 2017), 97. See also, John Gee "Abraham and Idrimi," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 22, no. 1 (2013). [2] See Gee, An Introduction, 100–101. [3] See Gee, An Introduction, 101. [4] Gee, An Introduction, 101. [5] See John Gee, “Shulem, One of the King’s Principal Waiters,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 19 (2016): 383–395.
  14. I don't think the missing scroll theory necessarily specifies the language of the script on the scroll. As for the idea that any modern day Egyptologist would produce a similar translation, I think that goes well beyond the assumptions of the theory. I'm not disputing that is what David meant. I just think he is wrong. Part of the problem is that his chapter basically ignores competing perspectives and alternative possibilities. It treats his reading, informed by his perspective in biblical studies and higher criticism, as the definitive answer to the text's nature and origin. It is just a narrow way to approach a fairly open-ended textual puzzle. It seems he has closed certain doors or avenues of investigation without really seriously engaging with the evidence that might disrupt some of the assumptions that support his thesis. At least that is my take.
  15. I think you are confused. As I understand it, the missing scroll theory doesn't posit that the Book of Abraham is from Abraham's original autographic account or even that it is a copy which precisely preserved that autographic account without any ancient redaction or inspired modern adaptation. The only thing the missing scroll theory posits is that the Book of Abraham was translated from a scroll that is currently lost or possibly destroyed. In other words, the missing scroll theory is a broad thesis and doesn't have built in assertions about the textual transmission of the Book of Abraham. For a fuller explanation I suggest reading the entirety of chapter 8 in David's book. As for the Bokovoy quote, it seems too vague. It technically isn't impossible to make connections between the text and the ancient patriarch. There may be things in the text that seem to genuinely be from Abraham's own time period and which do not reflect late Judean sources. So it would probably be more accurate to simply say that it is highly improbable that the text in its entirety is directly from Abraham's time period.
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