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PacMan

The Kep, Etc., Etc.

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One of my continuing beefs with critics (which has turned me a bit cynical of late), is the fact that I generally don't get their point. So for you critics out there - starting with the BoA - what is it? If the facts are as you say they are, why do they matter? Please connect the dots as best you can. Thanx.

Mods: If possible, please capitalize "KEP" in the title in it's entirety [pet-peeve].

Edited by PacMan

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One of my continuing beefs with critics (which has turned me a bit cynical of late), is the fact that I generally don't get their point. So for you critics out there - starting with the BoA - what is it? If the facts are as you say they are, why do they matter? Please connect the dots as best you can. Thanx.

Mods: If possible, please capitalize "KEP" in the title in it's entirety [pet-peeve].

Are you asking about the BoA or the KEP? What is your specific question?

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Are you asking about the BoA or the KEP? What is your specific question?

I think it is both. I, like you, am unable to understand what Pacman is asking for.

How was the BoA produced? Perhaps that is the first basic question that should be asked.

Edited by Mola Ram Suda Ram

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If all things relating to the BoA are as the critics factually believe them to be, what'sthe point? If one is critical of the BoA due to the translation issues surrounding the papyri, then start there. If you reject it because there's simply poor grammar, start there. But connect the dots to show that your ultimate conclusion is actually relevant, if ot persuasive.

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What critics don't realize is that when they say that the Joseph Smith Papyri is just a funerary text, the Church actually agrees with them. The Church announced that the moment the texts were rediscovered. And as for critics not getting to the point, Bill McKeever is an example of that. So many of the articles he writes on Mormonism Research Ministry (and what a stupid website it is to begin with), I'm left at the end thinking, "You could have said that in about 20 words or less, Bill. And even then it would have been something that had no real substance to it at all." It's almost funny.

Almost.

Edited by altersteve

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If all things relating to the BoA are as the critics factually believe them to be, what'sthe point?

What's the point of what? Studying the evidence? Believing the church? Continuing to live?

If one is critical of the BoA due to the translation issues surrounding the papyri, then start there.

Is it critical to point out that Isis, "whose name is given in the characters above [her] head," is not Pharaoh?

If you reject it because there's simply poor grammar, start there.

I don't know anyone who's rejected it because of poor grammar.

But connect the dots to show that your ultimate conclusion is actually relevant, if ot persuasive.

Why not study the evidence for yourself and draw your own conclusions?

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Is it critical to point out that Isis, "whose name is given in the characters above [her] head," is not Pharaoh?

Why would we suppose that a vignette-with-text from the Ptolemaic period would present the same vignette-with-text as originally used by Abraham himself? A document in transmission over such a long period could hardly be expected to survive completely unchanged, and we know for a fact that syncretic use of this very type of vignette is well-known, as in this one featuring Canaanite Astarte, Reshef, and Anat,

pdf.gif Doc2.pdf (192.67K)

Number of downloads: 8

Why not study the evidence for yourself and draw your own conclusions?

That would be nice if one could expect that untrained eyes would automatically register correct conclusions -- that is, without bothering to master the associated disciplines. We are, after all, mere mortal men.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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That would be nice if one could expect that untrained eyes would automatically register correct conclusions -- that is, without bothering to master the associated disciplines. We are, after all, mere mortal men.

Some of us more so than others.

Lehi

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One of my continuing beefs with critics (which has turned me a bit cynical of late), is the fact that I generally don't get their point. So for you critics out there - starting with the BoA - what is it? If the facts are as you say they are, why do they matter? Please connect the dots as best you can. Thanx.

Mods: If possible, please capitalize "KEP" in the title in it's entirety [pet-peeve].

I don't follow the BoA topic to much.

That being said, from what little I have read I think it is a fairly straightforward critical argument.

1. JS translated Egyptian documents through mystical means and his translation was the Book of Abraham.

2. Later it was possible to translate what was available of these Egyptian documents by normal means.

3. The translations did not correlate.

Since a translation by normal means is testable, it holds primacy in regards to truth value. If a thing is either true of false, then it is more reasonable to conclude the BoA is false rather than testable scholarly claims.

This seems to be a general summary of things. I think it is a fairly good argument. It seems more reasonable to me to think that JS translation should have been consistent with other modes of translation if his claims were true. I don't see the issue ever not being a good criticism. The LDS are left to explain why it is inconsistent, but the notion that it is inconsistent in the first place, is the criticism. I don't think it's going to go away.

I think the best counterargument is to assume these papyri were incomplete or distorted and JS was able to utilize them to stimulate an inspired restoration of the original. This sort of argumentation gives primacy to the mystical translation. It creates a bit of a stalemate, but fits well with the general impetus of the CoJCoLDS as a restorative agent of sorts.

Now if a person is prepared to make the jump and say that the hard facts are irrelevant and that the mystical claims are better claims, they may certainly preserve their own faith, but I don't think they will do much in the way of gaining ground against the criticism.

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Why would we suppose that a vignette-with-text from the Ptolemaic period would present the same vignette-with-text as originally used by Abraham himself?

Because Osiris iconography predates Abraham. A couple of years ago they dug up a tomb, dating to 2000 BC, with a life-size stele of Osiris-on-his-seat virtually identical to Fig.1 on Facsimile 3. It was on the Fox News web page. (I wish I would have saved the picture.) Abraham may have laid his very own eyes upon this carving of Osiris. He certainly would not have identified it as himself. Everyone in Egypt, from Abraham to Hor, recognized this ubiquitous image of Osiris. A Ptolemaic priest trying to pass it off as Abraham would be like me telling you this is Groucho Marx, with his buddies: Larry, Moe and Curly.

iwo_jima.jpg

That would be nice if one could expect that untrained eyes would automatically register correct conclusions -- that is, without bothering to master the associated disciplines.

I reject any notion that "untrained eyes" should leave BoA studies (or any other studies for that matter) to the "experts" (presumably at FARMS). This is nothing more than an apologetic smokescreen designed to frighten the curious back into their cave. There is nothing too difficult about this subject for any reasonable person to understand. Yes, you need to learn some basic Egyptological facts, but you don't need to "master the associated disciplines" to "register correct conclusions". That's like Catholic priests forbidding the commoners from reading the Bible.

We are, after all, mere mortal men.

Is it not written in your law, Ye are gods?

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I think the best counterargument is to assume these papyri were incomplete

You can assume that if you don't want to look at the evidence but if you match up the extant papyri with the numerous contemporary-witness descriptions, museum catalogs etc., it becomes quite clear that we have most of the papyri JS had (including everything he matched up with the BoA main text) and we know what's missing. Chris Smith has written an excellent paper on this. John Gee's claim that 85% (or whatever his ever-climbing number is) of the papyri are missing is based on nothing whatsoever. Unfortunately, the wildly exaggerated and wholly unsubstantiated claims of Nibley, Gee et al. have been mindlessly repeated over and over and over until they have become facts in people's minds.

The frustration of critics arises from the apologists' stubborn refusal to accept, or even look at, the plain evidence before them. This

is an excellent depiction of BoA apologetics. See if you can guess which one is the critic and which one is the apologist. Edited by Mortal Man

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You can assume that if you don't want to look at the evidence but if you match up the extant papyri with the numerous contemporary-witness descriptions, museum catalogs etc., it becomes quite clear that we have most of the papyri JS had (including everything he matched up with the BoA main text) and we know what's missing.

Sorry MM, apparently I wasn't very clear.

What I meant by incomplete was that part of the narrative itself had been lost or distorted over time, rather than the documents were missing. Sorry for the confusion.

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I don't follow the BoA topic to much.

Neither do I, BUT I would adjust your list a bit.

1. JS translated a portion of the Egyptian documents he had in his possession through mystical means and his translation was the Book of Abraham.

1a. All but a small portion of the Egyptian documents were lost. That small portion was rediscovered in the mid 1960s

2. Later it was possible to translate what was available of these Egyptian documents by normal means.

2a. Critics assert that the portion rediscovered is the direct source for the BoA

3. The translations did not correlate.

4. Critics scream "fraud".

Edited by Vance

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The frustration of critics arises from the apologists' stubborn refusal to accept, or even look at, the plain evidence before them.

What did you have in mind by saying, "plain evidence before them"?

Chris sent me a paper of his a couple of months ago that I had skimmed through, set aside, and have it somewhere that I'll dig up for a refresher. But until then...

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Getting back to the topic of the thread (the KEP as a BoA issue), it is my understanding that in terms of key issues, the critics may reasonably be divided into two somewhat overlapping camps.

First, there are those critics who contend that the KEP was the "modus operandi" for "translating" the BoA in whole or in part, or in other words they believe the KEP was the means for progressively developing the BoA text.

Second, there are those critics who contend that the KEP was simply a prop constructed to fool people into believing that Joseph could translate Egyptian, and that the BoA was derived from other sources (like the Book of Genesis and other ancient text available to Joseph Smith).

Both of these contentions may be somewhat negated were apologists to persuasively give reason to believe that the content of the BoA predates the production of the related portions of the KEP.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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Both of these contentions may be somewhat negated were apologists to persuasively give reason to believe that the content of the BoA predates the production of the related portions of the KEP.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

So nothing doing? No one's been able to adequately argue that portions of the content of the BoA predate the production of the related portions of the KEP? I believe I've seen you make an argument on this before, but I can't remember.

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One of my continuing beefs with critics (which has turned me a bit cynical of late), is the fact that I generally don't get their point. So for you critics out there - starting with the BoA - what is it? If the facts are as you say they are, why do they matter? Please connect the dots as best you can. Thanx.

Mods: If possible, please capitalize "KEP" in the title in it's entirety [pet-peeve].

Perhaps it might be easier to understand if you were to imagine a similar scenario, only not involving Joseph Smith.

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So nothing doing? No one's been able to adequately argue that portions of the content of the BoA predate the production of the related portions of the KEP? I believe I've seen you make an argument on this before, but I can't remember.

The various arguments are either not yet fully developed (as in my case) or not as yet fully disclosed (as is the case of Will Schryver and perhaps others), and may not as yet be as persuasive as desired. The more I research the question the more my confidence has grown that "translation" of portions of the BoA predate the EA's and GAEL, though I am not as yet entirely convinced.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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What I meant by incomplete was that part of the narrative itself had been lost or distorted over time, rather than the documents were missing. Sorry for the confusion.

The trouble is that the meanings of the scenes in the facsimiles were never lost; i.e., there was never a time when Egyptians weren't very familiar with them. Hor would have recognized Osiris, Isis et al., just as readily as Abraham.

Suppose I were to claim that this "M" stands for Melchizedek,

golden-arches.jpg

with the color representing the Light of his Priesthood as understood by modern Americans. As a critic, you might complain that Americans understand this icon to represent McDonalds. However, as a savvy apologist, I could counter that it may have had that meaning in the 1940s but the knowledge was subsequently lost in the 1960s and then reinterpreted by a Mexican redactor living in Phoenix in the 1990s. To back up my argument, I could search all over the planet, through all periods of recorded history, to find anything at all resembling an "M" or possessing a yellow color, that could be associated in any way with Melchizedek or anyone like him. And I would get extra points for any connection I could draw between Melchizedek and McDonalds. For example, I might write a paper for the FARMS Review announcing my discovery that Melchizedek drank orange juice and that orange juice is served at McDonalds. This discovery would be made all the more remarkable if I used my stunning powers of logic to deduce that after drinking some orange juice, Melchizedek's urin stream would have been exactly this shade of yellow and, with the right angle of emission, would have closely resembled the arches seen in the image. Then I could go the the FAIR conference and blast the critics for failing to account for this "direct hit" and Greg Smith could wax eloquent about Mt. Doom and the continental plates.

Edited by Mortal Man

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Neither do I, BUT I would adjust your list a bit.

1. JS translated a portion of the Egyptian documents he had in his possession through mystical means and his translation was the Book of Abraham.

1a. All but a small portion of the Egyptian documents were lost. That small portion was rediscovered in the mid 1960s

2. Later it was possible to translate what was available of these Egyptian documents by normal means.

2a. Critics assert that the portion rediscovered is the direct source for the BoA

3. The translations did not correlate.

4. Critics scream "fraud".

I would adjust your list a bit.

1. JS mistranslated a portion of the Egyptian documents he had in his possession through various means and his translation was the Book of Abraham.

1a. All but the major portion of the Egyptian documents were lost. That major portion was turned over to the church on Nov. 27, 1967.

2. Later it was possible to translate what was available of these Egyptian documents by normal means.

2a. The documents attest that Joseph Smith linked the first four rows of the BoB instructions column, character by character, to Abr. 1-2:18.

3. The translations did not correlate.

4. Critics point out the facts. Apologists scramble and obfuscate.

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Chris sent me a paper of his a couple of months ago that I had skimmed through, set aside, and have it somewhere that I'll dig up for a refresher.

I'll have to scan it from the published journal and resend it to you. It's much more readable in that format.

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First, there are those critics who contend that the KEP was the "modus operandi" for "translating" the BoA in whole or in part, or in other words they believe the KEP was the means for progressively developing the BoA text.

Second, there are those critics who contend that the KEP was simply a prop constructed to fool people into believing that Joseph could translate Egyptian, and that the BoA was derived from other sources (like the Book of Genesis and other ancient text available to Joseph Smith).

Another frustration of the critics is their never-ending experience of having their positions misstated.

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After MMs post, I can see I need to add more adjustment to the list.

1. JS translated a portion of the Egyptian documents he had in his possession through mystical means and his translation was the Book of Abraham.

1a. All but the smaller portion of the Egyptian documents were lost. That small portion was turned over to the church on Nov. 27, 1967.

1b. The Church, as soon as possible, made that small portion available to the public/critics

2. Later it was possible to translate what was available of these Egyptian documents by normal means.

2a. Critics ignore eyewitness accounts of the amount of Egyptian documents that were in Joseph's possession and claim that the small portion is the "major" portion.

2b. Critics assert that the small portion is the direct source for the BoA because some of the characters on that small portion are found in the margins of the BoA manuscript.

3. The translations did not correlate.

4. Critics fabricate "facts" and scream "fraud".

Edited by Vance

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The trouble is that the meanings of the scenes in the facsimiles were never lost; i.e., there was never a time when Egyptians weren't very familiar with them. Hor would have recognized Osiris, Isis et al., just as readily as Abraham.

I follow you MM and don't really have any disagreement as I am not arguing for an LDS position on the matter. But I think the point I was getting, isn't as clear as I would like it be.. given your response.

Let me try another angle for clarity's sake.

Take the flood myth. Lots of people had these notions in their culture.

Say a fellow claimed prophetic powers from on high and examined some Egyptian drawing that showed lots of things, also at the time no one could translate Egyptian. Say in this drawing, amongst the images there was a couple on a boat in choppy water. This couple on a boat might have meant something to the Egyptians that wasn't related to a flood myth, rather a storm god or something like that.. But the prophetic fellow claims to translate the actual history of a flood episode from the drawing.

Later we can translate it ourselves and find out it was just some story about a storm god, not about a flood at all.

Well say the prophetic fellow has passed on when all this comes up.

All the people who believe what this fellow says is accurate have to do to retain belief, is to say... The Egyptians borrowed the flood concept, adapted it to their own culture and over time the facts changed from a flood to a storm god.

It's simply just inserting a premise that is based on an argument from historic silence, but it isn't a defense that is without merit. Simply a defense without any proof.

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Mortal Man,

What's the point of what? Studying the evidence? Believing the church? Continuing to live?

If you cannot read and understand basic English, then I’m afraid you’re beyond my help.

Why not study the evidence for yourself and draw your own conclusions?

Because this is my thread, and I’ll cry if I want to. Now go away, and stop trolling.

Mudcat,

Thank you. Hopefully, Mortal Man can learn a thing or two by way of your example.

Since a translation by normal means is testable, it holds primacy in regards to truth value. If a thing is either true of false, then it is more reasonable to conclude the BoA is false rather than testable scholarly claims.

So Joseph’s translation method were, by today’s standards, wrong? Meaning…he was wrong in his attribution of the papyri to the Book of Abraham text? Meaning?

The critical criticism that Joseph was a fraud only holds water if we assign the same definitions to the terms of “translation” as Joseph did, which can’t be done. Even based on the facts as the critics have believed, we have a translation that Joseph thought/hoped/promulgated to be from the papyri. Thus, one could argue the process was flubbed. Considering Joseph's fluidity with the term "translation," there's very little with which to actually impugn his integrity - assuming that it's actually important.

Mortal Man,

John Gee's claim that 85% (or whatever his ever-climbing number is) of the papyri are missing is based on nothing whatsoever.

Gee had more to him than he thought, as I demonstrated to Brent Metcalfe about a year ago regarding the Joseph F. Smith account. Although it’s not dispositive, it has a lot more factual merit than the critics have claimed…albeit because they have often adopted some of Gee’s misunderstandings.

Cinepro,

Perhaps it might be easier to understand if you were to imagine a similar scenario, only not involving Joseph Smith.

Done. I still don’t get their point. And the reason is because the ultimate conclusion doesn’t derive from the evidence they’ve presented.

PacMan

Edited by PacMan

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