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maklelan

Dittography in the Abraham Translation Manuscripts

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Your theory is simply rife with assumption. I see absolutely nothing in your theory which at all approximates a rational alternative to the parsimonious and rather obvious conclusion that the Book of Abraham narrative already existed in a textual form.

I see that neither of the download counters on the attachments I posted have incremented in the last several days, which tells me that you haven't bothered to look at them.

I'm not claiming to describe exactly what happened. What I posted is simply a plausible scenario that fits all the evidence, no more, no less.

I had to modify my views to fit the data in Brent's table of comparisons. Before we can have a meaningful conversation about the dittograph, you'll need to examine Brent's table yourself.

Here's a snippet of what I posted on the other board.

The textual evidence suggests that:

1. Williams' ms. 1a and Parrish's ms. 1b were entirely dictated.

2. The dictation was simultaneous through

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I see that neither of the download counters on the attachments I posted have incremented in the last several days, which tells me that you haven't bothered to look at them.

Because I don't care about the "God of Koash" discussion and because you've provided no argument for your particular view of directionality associated with Brent's table (which is on MDB right now, if I recall).

I'm not claiming to describe exactly what happened.

That's actually exactly what you're doing, down to the very wording that Williams used in speaking with the scribe that was putatively present.

What I posted is simply a plausible scenario that fits all the evidence, no more, no less.

The problem is your scenario is teetering upon far too many assumptions to be called plausible. Occam's Razor favors my theory over yours without question. Your theory is thus meaningless unless you can provide some concrete evidence that supports it. Also, you claimed in your response to me that the lengthy dittograph problem was "now moot." The most likely conclusion does not become moot with the limping in of a less plausible scenario. You claimed to be raising me, now you're equivocating and pretending you were just checking. Either way, you've got the small stack and are playing the low pair.

I had to modify my views to fit the data in Brent's table of comparisons. Before we can have a meaningful conversation about the dittograph, you'll need to examine Brent's table yourself.

I've done so, and I see no argument. I see a collection of data that point in no particular direction. You've attached an assertion to that data, but that assertion is supported by no evidence whatsoever, and I can assert the exact opposite from the exact same data.

Here's a snippet of what I posted on the other board.

The textual evidence is as follows:

1. Williams' ms. 1a and Parrish's ms. 1b were entirely dictated.

This isn't evidence, this is a conclusion. It's also a conclusion against which I've argued in the past, and to date no one has directly addressed my argument.

2. The dictation was simultaneous through

post-3610-093645100 1284967343_thumb.jpg

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post-3610-077734300 1284967355_thumb.jpg

post-3610-071243700 1284967360_thumb.jpg

post-3610-050797800 1284967856_thumb.jpg

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Once again, I would like to refer readers of this thread to the original thread (now found near the bottom of the second page of the School of the Pundits forum) where I detailed the evidence for the dittograph on page 4 of Ab2. At that time, Dan Vogel (acting, presumably, as a proxy and in concert with Metcalfe) argued that the second iteration of the repeated paragraph represented an intentional revision of the first instance. He cited the variants between the two paragraphs as evidence against dittography, to which I replied with this post.

All of the variants are rather easily explained within the context of visual copying, and none appear to have any capacity to support the notion that dictation was involved in the production of the manuscript.

From the post linked above:

Vogel appears to be suggesting that Williams is intentionally revising the previous paragraph. I would invite Mr. Vogel and our readers to review the list of the differences that I detailed in the thread in the other forum:

the ==> thee

brothers ==> bro

Sarai ==> Sarah

followed after me ==> followed me

flocks ==> flock

variations in punctuation

The first is a correction, the second a contraction, the third a variant spelling, the fourth an apparent haplography, the fifth an obvious misspelling in the "revised" copy. And punctuation in the "revised" copy is lacking compared with the first.

Are these

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Looking over all the examples of /ou/, /om/, /ome/, /us/, /use/, and /me/ on page 4 (the only page to which I have access to a hi-res photo), it's clear Williams is horribly inconsistent. It still seems to me that "home" is intended rather than "house," but the second example seems clearer than the first, given Williams' /m/ generally has the first downward stroke higher than the subsequent two. A word that mitigates my conclusion to some degree is "caused," in Abr 2:1, which is attached.

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The downward stroke of the /s/ does not close the letter, but the /us/ is still much more distinguishable than in the putative "fathers house." The downward strokes of the /u/ are different from the angle of the downward stroke of the /s/. The final downward stroke of my /m/ has an angle in it that may indicate it's intended to be an /s/, but so does the final downward stroke in the /m/ in "come" from Abr 1:31 and "came" from 2:2:

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In both cases, however, the first two crests on the /m/ are more rounded than in "home." That's not the case elsewhere, though:

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post-3610-080575900 1285020889_thumb.jpg

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Because I don't care about the "God of Koash" discussion

If you're going to argue for a missing archetype, you'll have to deal with Korash.

and because you've provided no argument for your particular view of directionality associated with Brent's table.

I

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If you're going to argue for a missing archetype, you'll have to deal with Korash.

We'll see.

I

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Under my theory, the characters were consistently employed until Parrish finished his second manuscript. Then they made a decision to quit using them before Williams transcribed the second instance of his repeated text. So my pattern is simply on-off.

But that simplification (which is no simplification at all) doesn't really overpower the multiplicity of irrational assumptions that you've stacked up elsewhere.

I can (and have) provided it. I can

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maklelan, maklelan, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

But one thing is needful: to realize that someone compared Parrish's two manuscripts and dictated the difference to Williams.

There are no "naked assertions" nor "grotesquely irrational" scenarios; no "multiplicity of irrational assumptions" nor vile things "stacked up elsewhere"; no "critical flaws" nor "impotent posturing"; no "teetering upon far too many assumptions" nor "limping in of a less plausible scenario"; no "equivocating" nor "pretending"; no "small stack" nor "low pair"; no "arguing backwards from an increasingly irrational presupposition" nor ignoring of your concerns.

1. We are apparently in agreement that Williams took a lengthy break after scribing the first instance of his dittograph.

2. We are apparently in agreement that Parrish copied the first instance of Williams' dittograph into his second manuscript.

3. The seam in Parrish's second manuscript strongly indicates that dictation resumed at the end of his copying.

4. It is therefore unlikely (given 1, 2, & 3) that the second instance of the dittograph was present on Williams' manuscript when Parrish did his copying.

5. What Williams wrote after returning from his break matches the difference between Parrish's two manuscripts.

6. Some people like to back up their data and/or copy their papers before giving them to someone else.

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But the reader must understand that under the Metcalfe theory, if this second paragraph is a copy, it must necessarily be a copy of the first paragraph.

There is no other previously written text from which Williams might have copied!

Have you been paying attention?

Why, if Williams is copying his own paragraph immediately above, does he introduce these variants into the copy?

Because (A) he's not copying his paragraph immediately above, and (B) he's taking dictation.

And what "intention" is manifest in so doing?

To create a copy (for backup or distribution) of Joseph's very latest translation, including any corrections he may have made to the text in Williams' absence.

And, most importantly, why does the text then continue AFTER the copy of the paragraph is complete?

Because the dictator continued reading from ms. 2.

Are we to infer that Williams raised his hand, said

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Mortal Man:

Have you been paying attention?

Yes.

But apparently you have not. You're replying to a quote of something I wrote four years ago!

My purpose was simply to underscore the fact that I addressed the majority of your arguments back then, and my responses are just as valid today as they were then.

On the other hand, in my 4+ years of dealing with Mormon critics, I have NEVER encountered a house of cards quite like the one you are busily erecting. And believe me, that is saying something. (Although I haven't gotten around to reading the whole thing yet myself, I can now well imagine how accurate the assessments [to date] of your scroll length article must truly be.)

Your unfettered flights of fancy on this question are simply STUNNING! Knowing how you can be at times, I've almost wondered if the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek; that you're just pulling our legs with these elaborate historical reconstructions. For you, it would seem that Occam's Razor has been replaced by a gnarly old tree limb crudely fashioned to administer blunt force trauma--presumably to produce in your readers a state of mind sufficiently well-adapted to believe anything you tell them.

In any event, you have not yet replied to what is one of the most relevant questions vis-a-vis your novel theory: If the repeated paragraph is being dictated from Ab4(Parrish) (what you call MS2), then why, pray tell, is not the appropriate hieratic character inserted and a new paragraph begun at "But I Abram ..."? You see, this is probably the biggest problem (among many) for what I think I shall formally dub "The Brent Lee Metcalfe/Andrew Cook Six-Deck Shoe House of Cards Explanation for a Simple Case of Dittography," or "TBLMACSDSHOCEFASCD" for short.

(Gotta be a cipher hidden in there somewhere!) :P

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maklelan, maklelan, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

But one thing is needful: to realize that someone compared Parrish's two manuscripts and dictated the difference to Williams.

But you've (1) not shown a single unique element of Parrish's second version, (2) not addressed the numerous differences between Williams' second iteration and Parrish's second version (including the house/home difference), (3) not addressed the fact that punctuation is utterly irrelevant, (4) not explained why Williams would do this in the first place, and (5) not explained why Williams would omit the character. You've really done nothing but make up a ludicrous theory and then assert it over and over again without responding to any criticisms. Like I said before, you're ignoring my concerns and just reasserting your thesis over and over again. Here's another perfectly good example of that tendentiousness:

There are no "naked assertions" nor "grotesquely irrational" scenarios; no "multiplicity of irrational assumptions" nor vile things "stacked up elsewhere"; no "critical flaws" nor "impotent posturing"; no "teetering upon far too many assumptions" nor "limping in of a less plausible scenario"; no "equivocating" nor "pretending"; no "small stack" nor "low pair"; no "arguing backwards from an increasingly irrational presupposition" nor ignoring of your concerns.

Notice that you don't respond to a single one of the concerns listed in my previous post. You're ignoring my concerns. The other criticisms are there as well, but just barking "Nu-uh!" is not really a sufficient enough response for me to have something to which I can actually respond. My criticism remains until you can actually respond to it.

1. We are apparently in agreement that Williams took a lengthy break after scribing the first instance of his dittograph.

2. We are apparently in agreement that Parrish copied the first instance of Williams' dittograph into his second manuscript.

3. The seam in Parrish's second manuscript strongly indicates that dictation resumed at the end of his copying.

You're presupposing dictation.

4. It is therefore unlikely (given 1, 2, & 3)

Those aren't givens.

that the second instance of the dittograph was present on Williams' manuscript when Parrish did his copying.

That doesn't follow at all. All Parrish had to do was recognize the dittography, and you still haven't supported your assertion of dictation.

5. What Williams wrote after returning from his break matches the difference between Parrish's two manuscripts.

No it doesn't. You've already commented that the house/home thing is important. Suddenly you forgot about that? Additionally, there's nothing in the text that is unique to Parrish's second version that is found in Williams' second version. You're just nakedly asserting he followed Parrish's version without a single shred of evidence to support that. I've already shown the punctuation is irrelevant.

6. Some people like to back up their data and/or copy their papers before giving them to someone else.

No, Brent's had these photos backed up for years. He already gave some to Chris for his recent paper. If you're going to make excuses for him, at least make rational ones.

A number of slack-jaws at MDB seem to think that decorum requires a scholar to continue participation in an online debate (ad infinitum) even if the opponent is committing nothing but fallacy after fallacy and is refusing to listen to reason or respond to evidence. I disagree. As this thread shows, there's absolutely nothing productive, professional, respectful, or decorous about perpetuating discussion with someone who is unable to think critically and unwilling to address criticism. If you cannot respond to each of the concerns I listed in my previous post, then you prove you are not here to consider the merits of your argument, but only to try to shove it down someone's throat in spite of its lack of merit. I have no doubt this is exactly what you will prove. I wish upon a star that you were able to prove me wrong, but, unfortunately, I never seem to be wrong when it comes to this.

PS - For those slack-jaws who are reading, please take careful note of the antecedent of "this" in my last comment. By way of a hint, it's not "the Book of Abraham."

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Mortal Man

6. Some people like to back up their data and/or copy their papers before giving them to someone else.

No, Brent's had these photos backed up for years. He already gave some to Chris for his recent paper. If you're going to make excuses for him, at least make rational ones.

I'm pretty sure Andrew is referring to the motivation for which the dittograph ... er ... copied paragraph was produced. You know, the whole "cut and paste" aspect of TBLMACSDSHOCEFASCD.

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Mortal Man:

3. The seam in Parrish's second manuscript strongly indicates that dictation resumed at the end of his copying.

Having just taken some time to examine the relevant page of the document in question, I am befuddled by what this sentence you wrote above means. Would you please elaborate?

What "seam" are you talking about?

What do you think "strongly indicates that dictation resumed at the end of his copying"?

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Although I haven't gotten around to reading the whole thing yet myself, I can now well imagine how accurate the assessments [to date] of your scroll length article must truly be.

What "assessments" are you talking about?

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What "assessments" are you talking about?

Those of certain individuals, more qualified than I to make such an assessment.

As to their identities, all will reveal itself in good time. Notwithstanding your having consigned the scroll length question to the depths of Mt. Doom, and your enthusiastic confidence in the methodology you employed to predict the measurement points for the winding lengths (a methodology, as I have indicated previously, I had [completely independently] considered myself and judged to be inherently incapable of producing reliable results), you certainly couldn't have thought your arguments would go unchallenged, could you?

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If the repeated paragraph is being dictated from Ab4(Parrish) (what you call MS2), then why, pray tell, is not the appropriate hieratic character inserted and a new paragraph begun at "But I Abram ..."?

It was likely for the same reason that Richards didn't bother with the hieratic characters; i.e., Joseph didn't specifically instruct him to include them. Williams only included them when Joseph was orally translating character-by-character; i.e., Joseph probably paused after translating each (set of) margin character(s), pointed to the papyrus (or EAG if in the lacuna) and said, "Now write down this/(these) character(s)."1 During the simultaneous dictation session, JSP XI was probably situated where all three of them had easy access to it.2 With all three of them poking at the papyrus and passing it around, the bond between the recto and verso layers became weakened at the right-edge of the lacuna, causing the first few characters on both the first and second lines to eventually separate from the papyrus.3 This, no doubt, caused great concern and led Joseph to place restrictions on the handling of the papyrus in his absence.4 Without access to the papyrus, Williams was unable to transcribe the hieratic characters when Cowdery or Parrish read to him from ms. 2.5

-------------------------------------------------

1. Three more grotesquely irrational assertions for maklelan to freak out about.

2. Two more slack-jawed assumptions for makelan's scorecard.

3. If you'd bothered to read our paper you would know this.

4. "Unprofessional" gratuitous speculation, just cause I feel like it.

5. One final stone before I "run and hide."

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Mortal Man:

It was likely for the same reason that Richards didn't bother with the hieratic characters ...

Bingo!

Too bad the rest of your reply drove right off the cliff after that one brief burst of insight.

I continue to marvel at your capacity to erect one house of cards after another and, with a perfectly straight face, refer to it as though it were reinforced steel and concrete.

In any event, we can agree on this one point: Williams did not include the character between his dittograph and the text that followed for precisely the same reason there are no characters on the Richards manuscript.

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Those of certain individuals, more qualified than I to make such an assessment.

As to their identities, all will reveal itself in good time. Notwithstanding your having consigned the scroll length question to the depths of Mt. Doom, and your enthusiastic confidence in the methodology you employed to predict the measurement points for the winding lengths (a methodology, as I have indicated previously, I had [completely independently] considered myself and judged to be inherently incapable of producing reliable results), you certainly couldn't have thought your arguments would go unchallenged, could you?

I replied to this over here, so as not to derail maklelan's thread.

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But you've (1) not shown a single unique element of Parrish's second version,

Why should we expect "unique elements" in a copied transcript?

(2) not addressed the numerous differences between Williams' second iteration and Parrish's second version (including the house/home difference),

Stay tuned.

(3) not addressed the fact that punctuation is utterly irrelevant,

It's true that punctuation was utterly irrelevant to most of the biblical scribes; in fact, you might say they were illiterate in that respect. However, from the ninth century onward, it grew in popularity and by the nineteenth century virtually everybody was using it. Today, punctuation forms an essential element of punctilious textual criticism.

(4) not explained why Williams would do this in the first place,

He did it in the second place; that's why it's called a dittograph.

(5) not explained why Williams would omit the character.

See my response to Will.

You've really done nothing but make up a ludicrous theory

On the Board That Shall Not Be Named, you complained over and over again that no one could come up with an alternate explanation for the dittograph:

Unless you can produce a logical explanation for the presence of the dittograph in a dictated manuscript, your theory simply cannot hold.

...

I'm interested what data your can produce to show simultaneous dictation and account for the dittograph in Ab2 as well. The latter has yet to be done.

...

That's the only way that accounts for the dittography and the evidence of dictation,

...

Nor can you account yourself for the dittography. You've explicitly stated twice that you simply don't know how to explain it.

...

You can't forge ahead with your theory while a critical anomaly is just ignored.

...

you cannot provide a single one that is at all rational.

...

No other theory can account for the dittograph in any way that approximates rational.

...

etc. etc. etc.

You wailed and moaned about a parent text:

There is evidence that points directly at a parent text. The best theory is the one that reasonably accounts for all of the evidence. Mine is the only one that does that. You can't pretend that a theory is good enough because it makes enough sense even if it doesn't explain why certain sections indicate there was a parent text. There's also absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there was no parent text. That's a naked assumption. Your claim that I have to multiply sources is simply false. I'm not multiplying a thing, I'm just trying to identify the single source.

So I provided you with the parent text and explained how it fits the dittograph.

You repeatedly complained that I was "ignoring your concerns;" so I went back and addressed them all again, in detail, only to be accused, over and over again, of "reasserting [my] thesis over and over again."

Please make up your mind.

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Link me to your concrete evidence that substantiates your assumptions, and it better be thorough.

A "concrete" link for your "thorough" viewing pleasure.

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Why should we expect "unique elements" in a copied transcript?

Because you cannot say text X was copied from text Y and not from text Z unless you can show some manner of textual relationship shared by X and Y that is not shared by Z and Y. These are the grounds for asserting one text was the Vorlage and not another.

Stay tuned.

Ok.

It's true that punctuation was utterly irrelevant to most of the biblical scribes; in fact, you might say they were illiterate in that respect.

Actually punctuation simply wasn't used by anyone throughout the initial phases of the transmission of the biblical texts.

However, from the ninth century onward, it grew in popularity and by the nineteenth century virtually everybody was using it. Today, punctuation forms an essential element of punctilious textual criticism.

But this means nothing vis-a-vis Williams' sporadic use of it.

He did it in the second place; that's why it's called a dittograph.

You're dodging the very clear point of my concern.

See my response to Will.

I see nothing in it that at all assuages my concern.

On the Board That Shall Not Be Named, you complained over and over again that no one could come up with an alternate explanation for the dittograph:

I complained over and over again that no one could come up with a rational alternate explanation. That fact is still in full force.

You wailed and moaned about a parent text:

I did not wail and moan. I explained the methodological support for that position to an audience that was hard of comprehension.

So I provided you with the parent text and explained how it fits the dittograph.

And I explained why your attempt to argue from your conclusion failed.

You repeatedly complained that I was "ignoring your concerns;" so I went back and addressed them all again, in detail, only to be accused, over and over again, of "reasserting [my] thesis over and over again."

No, you've still not addressed all of them, and in this post you don't respond in detail to any of them. You dodge and misunderstand, but you don't respond.

Please make up your mind.

My mind's made up. You're not willing or able to speak intelligently, objectively, respectfully, or responsibly about this topic. You still refuse to comment on your ludicrous assertions about NT scribes, and you've dodged the majority of the concerns I've pointed out. Good day.

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A "concrete" link for your "thorough" viewing pleasure.

See there my thorough response to your thorough misunderstanding of data which thoroughly undermines your conclusion.

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We can be confident, then, that house is not only a sound reading for all three usages in BA1a, it is also the sole preferred reading. Put simply, home is an inferior, misguided reading.

Best wishes,

</brent>

Thanks for sharing those examples. It's clear "house" was meant and not "home." I asked a bit ago about access to some of your photos of the EAG and the translation manuscripts for research I intend to publish next year. Have you had the opportunity to consider my request?

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