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David Bokovoy

Internal Evidences For The BofA

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Again, a little exercise in inductive logic never hurt anyone; well, maybe to some with already made up minds. I simply proposed that everyone take the Pepsi challenge and drop the paranoia of it being poisonous testimony-threatening Kool-Aid.

I hope you don't think you're responding to me with the rather weird comment above.

Does this teaching demonstrate divine revelation?

If anybody around here thinks that he or she is capable of definitively proving a case of divine revelation, I'll be interested in reading what that person has to say. I've encountered no such claim, and have never made such a claim. I'm not sure who it is with whom you're sparring on that issue.

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My heavens! The citation derives from Josephâ??s famous sermon concerning the plurality of Gods (see Teachings 369-376). It provides Josephâ??s report of a "discussion" that he had with â??a learned Jewâ? (presumably his Hebrew professor Joshua Sexias).

Yes, Josephâ??s sermon concerned this, but was the prior discussion he had with the Jew about the divine council? Was he his theology teacher or Hebrew teacher? The small excerpt you provided doesnâ??t provide enough to determine conclusively that this was a â??discussionâ? specifically about the divine council. I would expect there to be more to it than this, if that were the case.

In any event, as I have already stated, the Kabbalism question is rather moot point given the fact that your main thesis has been already shattered by Joseph Smith himself. Again, the question is whether or not this feature of the Book of Abraham is evidence that Joseph Smith received divine revelation as a prophet. He clearly indicated that he received it through natural means. He read a book written by humans and used grammar tools provided him by his teacher who was also a human. There is no indication of any divine intervention. He never claimed it, so why are the apologists?

And Josephâ??s view of the divine council is not dependent upon Kabbalah.

It is dependant on his reading of the Bible in conjunction with his learning with a Jew. The Kabbalah is just a possibility I threw out there to make a point: divine revelation is not the only possibility.

Remember you were going to prove that it was.

I remember no such thing. I merely pointed out an alternative, natural means by which he could have; a means that is far more credible than the scenario you proposed.

On the one hand you state that Joseph Smith simply took the concept of a divine council of Gods from the Zohar and on the other you suggest that Joseph received this knowledge from the Bible itself

I have always maintained that this teaching is biblical. The fact is we have Joseph Smith confirming what I said. I never spoke definitively about the Kabbalah connection. Please, take better care is reading what I write.

I have no problem suggesting that Joseph learned a great deal concerning the divine council through his study of the Bible.

Then you concede the point that he did not receive this via divine revelation?

Again, Iâ??m sorry. But this site does not prove that Josephâ??s view of the divine council derives from Jewish mysticism.

I never said it did. You seem to be moving away from your original claim and are now focusing on a negligible point that I have already moved away from. I am perfectly content with the fact that Joseph Smith learned of the divine council from himself, and not from divine inspiration.

Are you?

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Before this discussion goes too far off track, I'd like to remind everyone that a Kabbalah connection is not necessary for JS to have arrived at a connection between the organization of the cosmos and the organization of the priesthood.

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If anybody around here thinks that he or she is capable of definitively proving a case of divine revelation, I'll be interested in reading what that person has to say.

I didnâ??t say anyone felt they had definitively proved it. If I did I misspoke, but I donâ??t believe I did. But the purpose of this thread, it seems, is to strongly suggest this works as some kind of evidence in its favor.

But the simple fact that Joseph Smith admits having obtained this belief through the Bible, precludes any subsequent apologetic hope that its insertion into the Book of Abraham somehow indicates divine authorship.

David said, â??This is the type of evidence that I'm afraid critics both big and small unfortunately fail to consider.â? CI started gloating and said critics, â??don't want to go anywhere near the content of the text itself.â?

Why does he think they â??fail to considerâ? it unless he thinks it somehow works against their premise that Joseph Smith created the BoA through natural means? Perhaps I misread these comments and they can elucidate further.

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Leonidas,

In any event, as I have already stated, the Kabbalism question is rather moot point

It certainly is!

Given the fact that your main thesis has been already shattered by Joseph Smith himself. Again, the question is whether or not this feature of the Book of Abraham is evidence that Joseph Smith received divine revelation as a prophet. He clearly indicated that he received it through natural means. He read a book written by humans and used grammar tools provided him by his teacher who was also a human. There is no indication of any divine intervention. He never claimed it, so why are the apologists?

You canâ??t be serious! If you do not know enough about Mormonism to recognize that Joseph Smith claimed to have learned the truth about a plurality of God through revelation then you really need to do some basic reading.

From the same sermon:

â??I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage and a spirit: and these three constitute there distinct personages and three Gods!â? (Teachings, 370).

It is dependant on his reading of the Bible in conjunction with his learning with a Jew. The Kabbalah is just a possibility I threw out there to make a point: divine revelation is not the only possibility.

Please go back and read my post to CK on this thread concerning my views regarding the revelatory process. According to LDS thought, true revelation cannot be extracted from serious study. Joseph, for example, obtained revelation through his work in the Bible, his study of Hebrew, and his study of the Egyptian papyri (just to name a few sources).

I remember no such thing. I merely pointed out an alternative, natural means by which he could have; a means that is far more credible than the scenario you proposed.

Your scenario is not all credible until you provide: 1. At least a single example of the Zohar describing a view of the divine council of Gods comparable to the one featured in the Book of Abraham, and 2. Evidence that Joseph Smith studied the passage.

I am perfectly content with the fact that Joseph Smith learned of the divine council from himself, and not from divine inspiration. Are you?
.

No. Iâ??m not at all content with the fact that you do not understand that Joseph received revelation through his studies. I would really like to help you.

Please go back and read through the thread.

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If you take a step back from specific correspondences between Joseph Smith scriptures and acknowledged ancient texts that form the meat and potatoes of Mormon apology, you can't help but be surprised at the idea of prophethood that comes out of it all. David B says:

I believe that Joseph Smith did not create a real translation at all. I also believe that Joseph most likely believed that he had created a real translation of the papyri.
This is a kind of Rain-man, calendar-idiot take on the nature of a prophet: God works through him without bothering to tell him what he is doing, without heightening his self-awarness in any way--the prophet is delusional, but these are sacred delusions. The apostle Paul and Erasmus have mooted the saint-as-fool angle, and it seems that Mormon apologists have adopted it without reservations, without noticing the irony in these earlier treatments.

There is another, widespread view of religion, though, that takes self-awareness and the defeat of delusion on behalf of this self-awareness as the main point of it all. This view is reflected in Eastern notions of Enlightenment, but also in specifically Christian ideas of self-scrutiny--also seen in Paul, and in Augustine's Confessions, say, and their many spiritual descendants.

It seems to me that Joseph Smith is an extremely poor model for anyone who admires this second view of the religious self-consciousness. Whereas the Old Testament prophets were doing their best to enlarge the critical self-awareness of overly complacent Jews, JS's prophethood seems to rest upon his congenital lack of precisely this critical self-awareness. Why did he never say what it was he was trying to do with all his "translations"? What that is useful or admirable can we learn of religious self-consciousness from this kind of prophet?

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This is a kind of Rain-man, calendar-idiot take on the nature of a prophet: God works through him without bothering to tell him what he is doing, without heightening his self-awarness in any way--the prophet is delusional, but these are sacred delusions.

Yes, you are right. I'm sure Ezekiel knew exactly what he was headed into when he went into his prophetic ecstasies... how silly of us. On second thought, he probably didn't even need to have them; I mean, as a prophet, he was clearly also omniscient.

The apostle Paul and Erasmus have mooted the saint-as-fool angle,

What? How?

and it seems that Mormon apologists have adopted it without reservations, without noticing the irony in these earlier treatments.

Considering this term has shown up nowhere in LDS apologetics, I sincerely doubt anyone "adopted" anything that you are claiming they did.

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Yes, I'd like to hear David's response to that.

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the prophet is delusional

Even assuming the accuracy of the hypothesis for purposes of discussion, "mistaken" still doesn't equal "delusional."

There is another, widespread view of religion, though, that takes self-awareness and the defeat of delusion on behalf of this self-awareness as the main point of it all.

I doubt that many religious thinkers or believers, historically, would agree with this quintessentially intellectualizing elitist notion. For the vast majority, throughout history, in Christianity and well beyond Christianity, the point of religion has been to answer the "terrible questions" about human origin, purpose, and destiny, to comfort and console and inspire, and to provide life-orientational guidance for ethics and behavior, not merely to provide psychological insight for academic theories of religion.

You mention Augustine's Confessions. But they're a post-biblical novelty. There is no indication whatever that Abraham or Isaiah or Amos or Ezekiel or Peter or John or Paul or Matthew engaged in much navel-gazing of that type.

It seems to me that Joseph Smith is an extremely poor model for anyone who admires this second view of the religious self-consciousness.

Whatever.

For many hundreds of thousands who've wanted information about the purpose of this life and about how to prepare for and what to expect in the life to come, Joseph Smith has provided rich nourishment.

Whereas the Old Testament prophets were doing their best to enlarge the critical self-awareness of overly complacent Jews, JS's prophethood seems to rest upon his congenital lack of precisely this critical self-awareness.

It is sloppy in the extreme to conflate the social criticisms of the Hebrew prophets with purported Buddhist self-psychologizing.

Why did he never say what it was he was trying to do with all his "translations"?

He did. ("A man will get closer to God by abiding by its teachings than by any other book," "You have got to learn to be gods yourselves," etc.) You just don't seem to value what he said.

What that is useful or admirable can we learn of religious self-consciousness from this kind of prophet?

Quite a bit, actually, if we're prepared to understand him on something like his own terms. And such varied scholars of religion as Max Weber, Geo Widengren, William Graham, Harold Bloom, Eduard Meyer, Johannes Pedersen, and others have found value in considering him.

Of course, if one acts the part of an intellectual imperialist, devaluing all one surveys because one finds it useless for one's own very foreign purposes, one will find everything that one surveys useless and without value.

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I don't know what is taught in your institute classes. I know what is taught in my institute classes and it does not violate what the Church teaches.

Honestly, I was taught some fairly bizarre stuff in my institute classes including a B-17 connection with Ezekials wheel. I was young and fairly stupid then so I hope it was tongue in cheek.

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David B says: This is a kind of Rain-man, calendar-idiot take on the nature of a prophet: God works through him without bothering to tell him what he is doing, without heightening his self-awarness in any way--the prophet is delusional, but these are sacred delusions.

If David Bokovoy would actually say that, I'd put it in my signature line.

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So much is made over the fact that Joseph Smith, admittedly, did not produce a literal transltion of the Egyptian papyri in his possession.

We could go on and on for pages, but this is the type of evidence that I'm afraid critics both "big and small" unfortunately fail to consider.

David, do you have a real job? Which depends on your performance commensurate with your salary?

What if you were a translator? If they asked you to translate English to German and you delivered someting in Portuguese? Or some other gibberish?

How long you would be employed?

What would you want us sceptics do, who think BoA is the pigment of JS' imagination?

You have no recourse but speculation and it is not enough.

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Well for starters, you would expect there to be some indisputable evidence that cannot more easily be explained by natural means. Some people choose to believe Smith's "hits" can only be explained by divine intervention, but that is only because they so choose.

Some would, but others seem something truly metaphysical in JS's abilities including his transmittal of ancient sources without benefit of a normal education. I have been tempted to disbelieve the BofM etc., but every time I am tempted to do so there are too many parallels with ancient texts that dispel Joseph's lack of metaphysical ability. I guess what I am arguing for here is that JS be compared ability for ability with those of the ancient nabib (ecstatic prophet) and reformists. To me there is no difference.

Leonidas continues...

So far there has been nothing that cannot be explained by natural means. There is no absolute mystery that compells one to insist he must have been receiving data from on High.

Have you read the BofM? I cannot make up the parallels that JS "stumbled" on. David B. as well as other serious minded scholars have put together well reasoned parallels with ancient texts that JS would have had no way of knowing. One is luck, but tens of similiarities? I doubt it.

This is why LDS missionaries ask their students to rely on a testimony. They do not try to convince them that Joseph Smith was a prophet because "such and such" evidence cannot be explained any other way.

The "God told me so" testimony has to come first, and then after that all subsequent evidence, whether or pro or con, is filtered and processed through that testimony.

First, I resent the implication of a Borg mentality among LDS. :P When I investigated the church I had the BofM in one hand and Will Durant's book in another. It was reason that brought me to the church not testimony. My testimony came as a result of scholarship not ambiguous "good feeling".

Secondly, the touchy feely concept we discuss at times is a result of faith working within us as a result of our faith. While many disagree with the supernatural process involved there are others who embrace such a process, including me. Not a science based on faith, but faith based on science.

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1.

It seems unreasonable to me to suggest that, unless one is able to demonstrate conclusively that concept X could not possibly have been derived from a non-revelatory source, it is intellectually indefensible to believe that concept X was received by revelation. Such negative proof is rarely if ever available for any significant question of provenance in any field of intellectual history.

2.

Another quote from Don. Peterson;

In "Editorâ??s Introduction: Doubting the Doubters"

"Critics have not always, of course, been known primarily for

their zeal to harvest and display good work. They have often been

somewhat morose, even dyspeptic."

That is just describing us critics, sceptics...

I just love to to read this degradation. Coming from DP, it is soo special.

I can bet my house that you never will be able to put a single, verifiable evidence on any substance you are talking about.

Other than that, I do enjoy your speculations, (not to mention your gentleness & politness which those rough RFM'rs blatantly lack).

Best regards....

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David, do you have a real job? Which depends on your performance commensurate with your salary?

What if you were a translator? If they asked you to translate English to German and you delivered someting in Portuguese? Or some other gibberish?

How long you would be employed?

What would you want us sceptics do, who think BoA is the pigment of JS' imagination?

You have no recourse but speculation and it is not enough.

What a condescending attitude! Edward Seidensticker who has translated many very difficult materials from archaic Japanese to modern English has stated the great role of translator is to not convey a literal translation but a translation that reflects the original intent of the author. (WARNING!!Dead horse time :P) Beyond that JS never claimed to have actually assumed the role of literal translator, but one that the Bible illustrates time and time again as in the case the "prophet" Balaam. In Balaamâ??s situation in Number 24 we see a small way in which God gives man the ability to prophesy. Balaam sees something in a natural way. In this case, he saw the Israelites in their tents. A natural view. He then obtains a second sight or vision from God when he says

"He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling [into a trance], but having his eyes open:". He then gives the oracle according to what he saw, "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, [and] thy tabernacles, O Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, [and] as cedar trees beside the waters. He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed [shall be] in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce [them] through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed [is] he that blesseth thee, and cursed [is] he that curseth thee."

What is remarkable about this is that it is not only prophetic but it has the same poetic qualities that Isaiah had. For example, tents in Hebrew is "ohalim" while aloes or palms is "halim".

Amos also had a similar vision where he sees a basket of fruit in chapter 8. First he sees the fruit in a natural way and then he sees it with second sight and then he delivers an oracle. He does the same when he sees locust. In a description of a 9th century Bedouin oracle giver it says, "He glanced at the first object on which his eyes fell and he extracted from thence a notion which he applied to the matter about which he was to give a decision."

(Nishwir al Muhadarah, Tabletalk of a Mesopotamian Judge, D.S. Marzolionth, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1922, 274-279.)

There is nothing to indicate otherwise that JS issued such a projected oracle. Instead of a oral prophesy he issued a written one.

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What would you want us sceptics do, who think BoA is the pigment of JS' imagination?

One of the greatest lines I've ever seen on this board. Maybe it's this sort of thing that keeps me coming back!

Another quote from Don. Peterson;

In "Editorâ??s Introduction: Doubting the Doubters"

"Critics have not always, of course, been known primarily for

their zeal to harvest and display good work. They have often been

somewhat morose, even dyspeptic."

That is just describing us critics, sceptics...

Actually, I wrote that. I don't know who "Don Peterson" is.

I just love to to read this degradation. Coming from DP, it is soo special.

Thanks. I'll try to keep the "degradation" coming, since you like to read it and I like to write it.

I can bet my house that you never will be able to put a single, verifiable evidence on any substance you are talking about.

I'm going to prove you wrong right here and now, so you'd better get out the deed to your house and put it in the mail. (You can send it to me at my BYU office.)

Here's my proposition: solomarineris confused pigment with figment and got my name wrong. See above. QED. Now fork over your house.

I could, of course, make some other comments. But I'm a nice guy. I'll just say this, regarding solomarineris: Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice ["Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you"].

Other than that, I do enjoy your speculations, (not to mention your gentleness & politness which those rough RFM'rs blatantly lack).

Naah. You're right: My vicious brutality and cruelty makes them look like fleecy little lambs.

P.S. -- In case you don't know, David Bokovoy is a doctoral candidate at one of the finest graduate schools in the United States. (I saw you "wondering" about his job.)

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We are taught that it is the real translation, word for word

Not what I teach in MY Institute classes.

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Hi David,

You canâ??t be serious! If you do not know enough about Mormonism to recognize that Joseph Smith claimed to have learned the truth about a plurality of God through revelation then you really need to do some basic reading.

Are we talking about divine revelation in the sense that would set a man apart as a genuine prophet of God, or are we talking about basic inspiration that any common Joe can and does receive on a daily basis? People read the Bible all the time with the spirit and are enlightened to numerous truths they otherwise would not have known. But they are not prophets.

Joseph Smithâ??s sermon on the plurality of Gods was given on June 16, 1844, many years after his Jewish teacher taught him about the plural of Eloheim and two years after the Book of Abraham was published. Joseph Smith was responding to criticism about his teaching the plurality of Gods, and he justified it with the Bible: â??My object was to preach the scriptures, and preach the doctrine they contain, there being a God above, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.â? Joseph Smith claimed to know his interpretation was true because the â??Holy Spiritâ? testified to this, but this phenomenon is something all too common among LDS for it to be considered an indication of prophet status.

According to LDS thought, true revelation cannot be extracted from serious study. Joseph, for example, obtained revelation through his work in the Bible, his study of Hebrew, and his study of the Egyptian papyri (just to name a few sources).

I thought all was needed was faith unwavering. Now I am to understand that study is a precondition to divine revelation? I thought he was just an ignorant 14 year old when God decided to drop a revelatory bomb on him in the grove.

No. Iâ??m not at all content with the fact that you do not understand that Joseph received revelation through his studies. I would really like to help you.

Thank you, but that isnâ??t what I asked. Again, I am perfectly content with the fact that Joseph Smith learned of the divine council through his own studies. If you want to now say that it is a mixture of both study and prayer, then OK. But that isnâ??t what you were leading us to believe from the start. The fact that he gained a basic knowledge of the divine council through his own readings gravely undermines any attempt to use his knowledge about this as evidence that he was a genuine prophet. Again, the level of inspiration Joseph speaks of in this instance is the kind of granted to the millions of non-prophets who read the Bible spiritually.

Confidential Informant,

I'm curious, just what "theological" misses do you perceive?

Theological? I am speaking of the Book of Abraham in general. Considering the number of issues relating to the BoA which Joseph Smith claimed to be â??revealing,â? he got far more wrong than he did right. And what he got right is debatable whereas what he got wrong is pretty much indisputable. It boggles the mind that anyone could try to extract some sense of superficial or symbolic accuracy in something he said about a particular figure on the papyrus, all the while acknowledging he already botched the rest of it. What exactly is an acceptable margin of error for a genuine prophet anyway? Is it good enough to get 90% wrong while â??plausiblyâ? getting a â??hitâ? on 10%?

I'm not talking about archeology or anthropology

I wouldnâ??t either if I were you.

I'm talking theology. As near as I can see, Joseph has a pretty good track record of accurately reconstructing the past.

Restoration movements can hardly justify their existence unless they come up with stuff from the past, presumed to have been abandoned by the original practitioners of a given faith. But drudging up abandoned beliefs/rituals doesnâ??t prove they were abandoned unduly.

For example, it is fairly well proved that the ancient jew and the primative Christians believed in an anthropomorphic god.

Yes, which is probably something any child would read from the Bible. The Bible speaks of Godâ??s hands, feet, back, man created in his image, etc. The more important question is whether or not they were correct to believe God was embodied. Most people do not doubt that God appeared as a man, but most doubt that this proves he is a man by nature. Mormons tend to be alone on this point, but there is also plenty of biblical data to suggest God only appears as a man when he chooses to do so; not that he has to because it is his natural state.

It is fairly well established that a form of theosis was believed among the same groups.

But nothing quite as extreme as the LDS view. Greek Orthodoxy also teaches â??a formâ? of theosis. So does Catholicism for that matter. So did Thomas Diick.

Joseph's theological insights regarding First Temple judaism seem pretty well supported.

When did Joseph Smith claim to be giving insights regarding First Temple Judaism? Did Joseph Smith try to reinstitute child sacrifices and the worship of Asherah idols? The point here is simply this. Just because something was once believed by a group of Ancients, doesnâ??t mean it is true.

Baptism for the Dead as an ancient rite is also attested to.

It is an ancient rite that lost favor within the Christian Church. Without the presupposition of an apostasy, the idea that its restoration proves it was true, is completely without merit. Its unpopularity among the early Christians strongly suggests it was a superfluous rite that was misinterpreted by something Paul said.

His insights into Melchezidek & Enoch and their importance in Jewish history.

When does Joseph Smith speak on the importance of Melchezidek and Enoch? And this is theological?

It seems to me that you guys are really bending over backwards to find something, anything to add credence to the claim that Joseph Smith was a true prophet.

Enemy Ace,

Some would, but others seem something truly metaphysical in JS's abilities including his transmittal of ancient sources without benefit of a normal education

You seem to be operating under the assumption that Joseph Smith just spouted out all of these things when he was still an uneducated 14 year old. The fact, however, is that he gradually developed his theology through the years as he studied numerous works. Is it just a coincidence that when these new ideas appear in his sermons, so do books that relate a similar message?

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It is an ancient rite that lost favor within the Christian Church. Without the presupposition of an apostasy, the idea that its restoration proves it was true, is completely without merit. Its unpopularity among the early Christians strongly suggests it was a superfluous rite that was misinterpreted by something Paul said.

It was not only discussed by Paul but by others as well. At worst it was a misrepresentation of the need for baptism to enter heaven. At best it was considered a rite alongside of other 1st century rituals. Both Tertullian and the Shepherd of Hermas discuss this ritual as anything but superfluous.

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Hello Leonidas,

Since many of the issues you've raised relate directly to the following post made by one Kevin Graham on another board, I'm going to ask that you draw my answers out of the following reply.

David Bokovoy just pulled another one of his stunts that, for obvious reasons, have apologists excited over what they admittedly donâ??t understand.

Any misunderstanding on the part of readers is a direct result of my limited ability to communicate, not the ignorance of MAAD participants.

I guess in their state of confusion they find a sense of comfort knowing that someone studying to be a Bible scholar claims to understand the issues and feels confident enough to keep reasserting that the "evidence"supports Smith's prophethood.

I believe that the evidence does support Josephâ??s "prophethood." But I sincerely hope that anyone seriously interested in the legitimacy of Josephâ??s calling will take the issue to a much more authoritative source than a mere doctoral student in Hebrew Bible.

Bokovoy essentially informed the audience that the Book of Abraham mentions some stuff that is already found in the Bible; particularly the divine council

Parallelomania here we comeâ?¦

Good grief, the Bible refers to the divine council on numerous occasions. Smith was obviously familiar with all of these relevant verses since he frequently employed them to make his point. So why is this evidence that the Book of Abraham was produced by divine revelatory means?

Here Kevin, is where youâ??re clearly wrong. The King James Bible does not provide â??numerousâ? references to the divine council of deities. The word â??council,â? for example appears only one time in the entire Old Testament:

â??There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtaliâ? (Psalm 68:27).

There it is, Kevin, the only reference to a â??councilâ? in the entire King James Version of the Old Testament. Ironically, as you can see, the only attestation of â??councilâ? does not even refer to the heavenly council of deities, and yet still, the most recent scholarly treatment of the issue states:

â??The council of God in the Hebrew Bible is no novelty, the occurrences are well known;â? Martti Nissinen, â??Prophets and the Divine Council,â? Kein Land fur sich allein: Studien zum Kulturkontakt in Kanaan, Israel/Palastina und Ebirnari fur Manfred Weippert zum 65. Geburtstag (Vandenhoeck: Universitatsverlag Freiburg Schweiz, 2002): 4.

Well known to biblical scholars, but not to those who even today have studied only the King James Version of the Bible. Hence, those who dare venture out into the pages of the New Revised Standard Version of Psalm 82 will learn:

â??God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgmentâ? (Psalm 82:1; NRSV).

But those with access only to the King James Version are stuck with a much more difficult reading:

â??God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the godsâ? (Psalm 82:1; KJV).

I suppose that one could argue as you do that Joseph simply picked up on the fact that in the beginning â??the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people itâ? simply from the King James statement concerning God standing in the â??congregation of the mighty,â? but your theory presents quite a stretch.

Really, we canâ??t fault the King James translators for their failure to accurately portray the divine council imagery in the Hebrew Bible. After all, it is only the more recent discoveries connected with Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Phoenician that allow scholars like Martti Nissinen to now profess that the biblical attestations of the divine council of Gods are â??well known.â?

Still, notwithstanding the lack of clarity in the King James Version, this notion of a council of Gods forms a central part of Josephâ??s theology and it's perfectly reflected in the Book of Abraham.

Of course, this comes as an obvious no-brainer to most critics, but the amateurs at MAD who are still riding with their apologetic training wheels, are eating it up as if this is some kind of stroke of genius on his part.

Itâ??s hardly a stroke of genius, unless of course youâ??re correct and Joseph Smith simply picked up on this all consuming precept through his study of the Bible.

How did David manage to make this lemon look like a brand new Porsche? Simple. He does it with smoke and mirrors, by spending over 1200 words to make a simple point seem out of this world. The point itself is obvious, yet by obfuscating its simplicity with a bunch of irrelevant citations from Bible scholars who affirm the importance of the divine council in the Bible, people who donâ??t have the mental stamina to keep up with his mundane diatribes, simply abandon critical thought and recoil into gratuitous ovation.

We must be referring to another thread. Though I would assume that you intended to describe the BofA as a â??lemon.â? If you will actually read through my posts on this thread with an open mind, I suspect that you won't employ such a harsh assessment of the book.

This is what Bokovoy doesnâ??t do. He doesnâ??t demonstrate how these parallels couldnâ??t have come from non-revelatory means. Means that seem more probable and palpable â?? at least to those who arenâ??t operating from a testimony based perspective.

As one who believes in the authenticity of the BofA, I certainly do not see it as my job to demonstrate how these parallels could have come from a non-revelatory means. I would see that as your job.

He throws in a rhetorical device to make readers think that a belief in a divine council was completely anachronistic in the early 19th century. He reinforces this by saying that Smith â??shockedâ? Christians with this theology.

Surely youâ??re not suggesting that Joseph didnâ??t shock 19th century Christians with his views concerning the divine council of Gods!? Good grief, Joseph's views still shock Christians in todayâ??s world, notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of contemporary Biblicists have now unwittingly followed the Mormon prophetâ??s lead.

It should also be noted that Smith was probably familiar with Kabbalism which readily accepted the concept of the divine council; Smith cited some Kabbalistic works in a Times and Seasons issue in 1843.

And yet you were unable to actually produce any examples of the concept of the divine council within Kabbalism that parallels the picture presented in the BofA.

But no. None of this matters for those desperate to find something, anything that could be described as a â??parallel.â? These amount to superficial parallels and its collection is just an attempt to stack the deck - with flimsy cards.

Not all of us believers, Kevin, are nearly as dim-witted as you seem to believe.

His other thread attacked Ritner.

It was hardly an â??attack.â? I expressed why I appreciated his views as an Egyptologist, while at the same time illustrating his anti-Mormon bias that was unbecoming of the JNES. It's not as if I said Ritner didn't "have the mental stamina" necessary to keep up.

Hey, if you can't beat his arguments, then whine about bias. Isn't that what all scholars do?

I donâ??t believe that he actually raised any arguments against the Book of Abraham. Hence, there really werenâ??t any arguments to beat. I suppose, therefore, under the circumstances, all I can do is whine.

Of course LDS apologists do not recognize any critic to be objective, so this complaint is really ridiculous.

How many purely objective human beings do you know?

And somehow I think the scholars in charge of the JNES publication are more in tuned with what passes for true scholarship, than David is.

No doubt. Since the editors of JNES must be some of those purely objective super humans that thus far Iâ??ve somehow failed to meet.

I mean if snarkiness and bias is what precludes true scholarship, then FARMS is doomed as an organization trying to appear scholarly.

Iâ??m afraid, Kevin, that there is someone that we both know whose views have been completely clouded as a direct result of his abundant "snarkiness" and "bias," but I can assure you that this individual is in no way affiliated with FARMS.

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If you take a step back from specific correspondences between Joseph Smith scriptures and acknowledged ancient texts that form the meat and potatoes of Mormon apology, you can't help but be surprised at the idea of prophethood that comes out of it all. David B says: This is a kind of Rain-man, calendar-idiot take on the nature of a prophet: God works through him without bothering to tell him what he is doing, without heightening his self-awarness in any way--the prophet is delusional, but these are sacred delusions. The apostle Paul and Erasmus have mooted the saint-as-fool angle, and it seems that Mormon apologists have adopted it without reservations, without noticing the irony in these earlier treatments.

There is another, widespread view of religion, though, that takes self-awareness and the defeat of delusion on behalf of this self-awareness as the main point of it all. This view is reflected in Eastern notions of Enlightenment, but also in specifically Christian ideas of self-scrutiny--also seen in Paul, and in Augustine's Confessions, say, and their many spiritual descendants.

It seems to me that Joseph Smith is an extremely poor model for anyone who admires this second view of the religious self-consciousness. Whereas the Old Testament prophets were doing their best to enlarge the critical self-awareness of overly complacent Jews, JS's prophethood seems to rest upon his congenital lack of precisely this critical self-awareness. Why did he never say what it was he was trying to do with all his "translations"? What that is useful or admirable can we learn of religious self-consciousness from this kind of prophet?

Well you just exposed your ignorance of Joseph Smith.

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People just love to "out" Kevin Graham. :P

Unfortunately, when they do so, threads almost always seem to descend into an abyss of "snarky" posts from both sides of the fence. <_<

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If David Bokovoy would actually say that, I'd put it in my signature line.

Just in case you weren't kidding, Drone said that in response to a quote by David Bokovoy. David's quote stopped before the Rain Man part starts.

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People just love to "out" Kevin Graham.

Forgive me for being slow, but are you suggesting that "Leonidas" is yet another sock puppet for "Dartagnan"/"Kevin Graham"/"X1X"/etc.etc.etc.? If so, I'm confused. I thought we idiots here were too silly, incompetent, dishonest, and ridiculous to be bothered with, too laughable for anything but contemptuous mockery, yet (if it's really true that "Leonidas" is still another pseudonym for the already pseudonymous "Kevin Graham") he plainly still wants to participate here.

Unfortunately, I'm told, I had him booted. (I must have issued the order while asleep or under anesthesia.) My motivation, sources tell me, was fear.

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