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Guest Yukon

Abraham in an Egyptian funeral text?

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Guest Yukon

I've been going through some of the excellent articles on the FAIR website today and came across this one .

I don't mean to offend anyone, but I am a bit skeptical of the claim that Abraham's name appears in the ancient Egyptian texts had by Joseph Smith. Since I am by no means any sort of scholar on Egyptology, I guess I have to leave it up to the professionals. I understand that Dr. Gee is a reputable Egyptologist and knows what he is talking about, but still the thought lingers in my head that he might be using his credentials to defend his church and it's founder by leading the unaware reader astray on irrelevant tangents and paralells and deviating from accepted modern Egyptology to make the shoe fit a hand.

Has this article been reviewed by any non-LDS Egyptologists, and what do they have to say about it?

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The claim is not, I think, that Abraham appears in the Joseph Smith Papyri, but that the name does indeed appear in another papyrus text unrelated to Joseph Smith. This counters the assertion of some critics that Abraham would never appear in an Egyptian hieroglyphic text. And, yes, other scholars (such as the University of Chicago's Hans-Dieter Betz) do indeed recognize the name Abraham in the document under discussion. It's not really a controversial claim.

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Guest Yukon

Hello Daniel, thank you for responding and let me make sure I have this straight.

Abraham is mentioned in Egyptian texts, but not the ones that Joseph Smith had that he said were written about Abraham, by Abraham.

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Hello Daniel, thank you for responding and let me make sure I have this straight. 

Abraham is mentioned in Egyptian texts, but not the ones that Joseph Smith had that he said were written about Abraham, by Abraham.

No, you don't have it right.

Critics said that the name Abraham would never appear in an Egyptian hieroglyphic text. They were wrong.

Critics also typically maintain that we have all of the papyri that Joseph Smith once possessed. Professor Gee contends that they are incorrect. On the basis of at least two distinct but converging lines of evidence, he argues that we now possess roughly 13% of the Joseph Smith Papyri -- which means, obviously, if he is correct, that 87% of the Joseph Smith Papyri are missing. Hence it would be wildly premature to conclude that the name Abraham did not appear in the papyri once possessed by Joseph Smith.

I recommend Professor Gee's brief Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri as a primer on the essential issues. You can purchase it in many Latter-day Saint bookstores, or you can call FARMS for it (at 1-800-FARMS-15), or you can go to the "Bookstore" section of the FARMS Website, at

http://farms.byu.edu/index.php

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Guest Yukon
No, you don't have it right. 

Critics said that the name Abraham would never appear in an Egyptian hieroglyphic text.  They were wrong.

I wasn't aware that that claim had been made. Although I wonder why mention of him would be made with such a large time gap between periods.

Critics also typically maintain that we have all of the papyri that Joseph Smith once possessed.  Professor Gee contends that they are incorrect.  On the basis of at least two distinct but converging lines of evidence, he argues that we now possess roughly 13% of the Joseph Smith Papyri -- which means, obviously, if he is correct, that 87% of the Joseph Smith Papyri are missing.  Hence it would be wildly premature to conclude that the name Abraham did not appear in the papyri once possessed by Joseph Smith.

The missing papyri could have said something about superman too, but I'm not seeing the connection here.

I recommend Professor Gee's brief Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri as a primer on the essential issues.  You can purchase it in many Latter-day Saint bookstores, or you can call FARMS for it (at 1-800-FARMS-15), or you can go to the "Bookstore" section of the FARMS Website, at

http://farms.byu.edu/index.php

That sounds like a good place to start, I might just have to purchase that book this week to get to the bottom of this. What have Dr. Gee's fellow Egyptologists to say about the book? I would also be interested in reviewing professional critiques on his book. Thank you once again for the information and the link.

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I've been going through some of the excellent articles on the FAIR website today and came across this one .

I don't mean to offend anyone, but I am a bit skeptical of the claim that Abraham's name appears in the ancient Egyptian texts had by Joseph Smith.  Since I am by no means any sort of scholar on Egyptology, I guess I have to leave it up to the professionals.  I understand that Dr. Gee is a reputable Egyptologist and knows what he is talking about, but still the thought lingers in my head that he might be using his credentials to defend his church and it's founder by leading the unaware reader astray on irrelevant tangents and paralells and deviating from accepted modern Egyptology to make the shoe fit a hand.

Has this article been reviewed by any non-LDS Egyptologists, and what do they have to say about it?

I'm right there with you, Yukon. Well, I've actually taken it farther, and I now find it all to be a bunch of hooey. It is incredible to me that people accept the Book of Abraham claims when we can't even align the content of the scrolls that the church currently possesses with what we know was "translated" by Joseph Smith. Further, we know that the church has the scroll fragments that Joseph Smith said constituted the Book of Joseph, but the church hasn't been able to translate it into anything having to do with Joseph (Abraham's great grandson). Laying all of this aside, how are we supposed to believe that Joseph Smith correctly translated the facsimiles? I

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Guest The Headless Laban
I've been going through some of the excellent articles on the FAIR website today and came across this one .

I don't mean to offend anyone, but I am a bit skeptical of the claim that Abraham's name appears in the ancient Egyptian texts had by Joseph Smith.

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No amount of digging or asking Daniel Peterson will erase what you will eventually discover if you continue searching: Joseph lied about the Book of Abraham.

Yes, you will come to the same conclusion...I suppose it is a foregone conclusion since all critics do think alike. I guess they think everyone else does, too.

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FARMS job is to defend the church at all costs. They are not paid to follow the evidence to its logical conclusion. They are paid to defend the church. Their job is to start with the conclusion (The church is true, the book of mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a true prophet) and then make the evidence fit that conclusion.

Every time I see this lie surface, I bat it down.

John Gee is a research professor in Egyptology, and he is paid to do research in Egyptology and to present papers at Egyptological conferences and to publish in Egyptological journals.

Bill Hamblin is paid to be a professor of history. Jack Welch is paid as a professor of law. Stephen Ricks is paid to be a professor of Hebrew. I am paid as a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic.

Unfortunately, the lie is like an undead zombie. It keeps coming, until it sucks the brains from those who succumb to it.

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I recommend Professor Gee's brief Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri as a primer on the essential issues.

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In this article, Robert Ritner calls Joseph's translation "nonsense" and he does a good job of explaining why he believes this. You might write him directly with questions that aren't answered by reviewing his article.

Oh, yes....be sure and bypass all of the other Egyptologists and go for the one with a chip on his shoulder. But...he does think like Jarrod! Ritner engaged in some rather astonishing ad hominem for a "scholarly" article. It was downright shocking. But hey...remember that the important thing is to think alike!

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Unfortunately, the lie is like an undead zombie. It keeps coming, until it sucks the brains from those who succumb to it.

Hmmm....headless Laban? Any connection....?

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Unfortunately, the lie is like an undead zombie. It keeps coming, until it sucks the brains from those who succumb to it.

Actually, Dr. Peterson, I think you should feel flattered.

When the opposition is reduced to inventing things about you to criticize, then you know you're doing well. :P

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If you want to know what a contemporary of John Gee's thinks about his work, you can write to a number of people at FARMS (I'm sure Daniel can hook you up offline) and you can try Robert K. Ritner at the University of Chicago.  Mr. Ritner wrote an article that was published in the Winter 2002 issue of Dialogue and in the July 2003 issue of the Journal of Near-Eastern Studies.  In this article, Robert Ritner calls Joseph's translation "nonsense" and he does a good job of explaining why he believes this.  You might write him directly with questions that aren't answered by reviewing his article.

You should know that several responses to Professor Ritner are in the works, both at FARMS and elsewhere. The only trouble is that they'll be trickling out over at least the next 1-3 years. Serious publishing is a slow process.

There is, by the way, another embarrassingly awful FARMS publication on the Book of Abraham due out by the end of the year, entitled Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant. I myself have an embarrassingly awful article in it, co-authored with Professors Hamblin and Gee.

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Guest Yukon
In this article, Robert Ritner calls Joseph's translation "nonsense" and he does a good job of explaining why he believes this.  You might write him directly with questions that aren't answered by reviewing his article.

Oh, yes....be sure and bypass all of the other Egyptologists and go for the one with a chip on his shoulder. But...he does think like Jarrod! Ritner engaged in some rather astonishing ad hominem for a "scholarly" article. It was downright shocking. But hey...remember that the important thing is to think alike!

Are you saying that Robert Ritner is lying about Egyptological translations in order to make the LDS church look bad?

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Are you saying that Robert Ritner is lying about Egyptological translations in order to make the LDS church look bad?

I wouldn't give too much credence to juliann's attacks. I asked a few simple questions and she basically attacked me without addressing the questions. While I think that some of her posts are substantive, she sometimes gets into the defensive/paranoid mode, which is unfortunate.

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In this article, Robert Ritner calls Joseph's translation "nonsense" and he does a good job of explaining why he believes this.  You might write him directly with questions that aren't answered by reviewing his article.

Oh, yes....be sure and bypass all of the other Egyptologists and go for the one with a chip on his shoulder. But...he does think like Jarrod! Ritner engaged in some rather astonishing ad hominem for a "scholarly" article. It was downright shocking. But hey...remember that the important thing is to think alike!

Well, if you have other Egyptologists in mind, by all means name them. Did you miss the fact that my first suggestion was that Yukon write the scholars at FARMS? Did you miss the fact that I only offered the name of one alternative view in Ritner? I seriously think Yukon ought to pursue every FARMS lead available and study the facts. If doing so strengthens his position, as it seems to have for Brother Peterson and many others, then good for him and good for the church.

By the way, not knowing Professor Ritner personally, I do not know if he does have a chip on his shoulder. From what I read, he makes a plain and simple case for his position, and he didn't convey malice; just disbelief. I assume that because you assert that he does have a chip on his shoulder, you have some knowledge about his motives, experiences, or some other concrete reason for making your assertion. Saying that he has a chip on his shoulder indicates that you don't believe he is a reliable or objective source. Is that correct? On what information do you assert that Professor Ritner has a chip on his shoulder?

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Great. More non-experts quoting their favored "expert".

And there is good ol' Jarrod, so much smarter than the rest of us deceived "believers". Another Exmo who's convinced that leaving the church bumped his IQ 20 points.

It's just the condescending attitudes that kill me, especially when it's applied to the Book of Abraham. How a bunch of non-eqyptologist who don't speak the languages, can't read the languages, have never spent a day in a post-graduate class room, but someone you are suddenly smarter than the folks who have actually spent time studying the issues.

It's almost comical.

C.I.

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I would love to have a non-LDS, third party, Egyptoligist look at the scrolls and come up with a good translation, that would certainly settle the issue.

I'm curious as to what the RLDS/Churhc of Christ say about this issue. I'll have to scan their website during my lunch.

MU Eagle

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I would love to have a non-LDS, third party, Egyptoligist look at the scrolls and come up with a good translation, that would certainly settle the issue.

How, please, would it "settle the issue" if, as John Gee (Ph.D, Yale, Egyptology) maintains, 87% of the Joseph Smith papyri are missing?

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Sure, Ritner has a chip on his shoulder. A preliminary article appeared online, and he was deluged with people attacking him for his religious bigotry and questioning his agenda but failing to reference what the heiroglyphs say, and it left a bad taste in his mouth. And yes, the tone of the article is pretty unusual for a mainstream, academic publication, but so are the circumstances. Imagine if you were in his shoes? "You call yourself an Egyptologist? You're totally incompetent and write only to further your bigoted agenda without regards to the facts! Obviously, this single character that you've ignorantly translated "pool" really means "(150 words in Elizabethan English)!" Why do you hate Jesus?"

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Sure, Ritner has a chip on his shoulder.  A preliminary article appeared online, and he was deluged with people attacking him for his religious bigotry and questioning his agenda but failing to reference what the heiroglyphs say, and it left a bad taste in his mouth.  And yes, the tone of the article is pretty unusual for a mainstream, academic publication, but so are the circumstances.  Imagine if you were in his shoes?  "You call yourself an Egyptologist?  You're totally incompetent and write only to further your bigoted agenda without regards to the facts!  Obviously, this single character that you've ignorantly translated "pool" really means "(150 words in Elizabethan English)-!"  Why do you hate Jesus?"

RC, there is a "chip." There are personal issues, interpersonal issues, and a history here. It didn't begin with Professor Ritner's "preliminary article online."

I really don't want to get into this. (I don't know all of it myself, but I've been privy to some of it for quite a few years now, John Gee being a former student of mine with whom I kept in contact over the years before he returned from Berkeley and Yale to BYU, and I know rather more than I wish I did.) Perhaps it will all come out some day. Perhaps it won't. But don't presume that you know the whole story.

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Guest The Headless Laban
Sure, Ritner has a chip on his shoulder.

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So it sounds like Professor Ritner isn't acting in an ethical manner, at least not what you would expect from a college professor of his stature.

I didn't say that, and I'm not going to be drawn into supplying further details.

As I've said, various substantive responses are in the works. Whether the personal side of this will ever come out is unknown to me. I wish it would, but I don't think that's my decision to make.

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