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cinepro

Friendly Fire from BYU: Opening Old Book of Abraham Wounds Without the First Aid

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Jeff Lindsay blogs a story about a doubting member who was put over the edge by the recent Hauglid presentation on the Book of Mormon, sponsored by the Maxwell Institute:

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I was pained to receive a message from an LDS member who once had successfully overcome many challenges to his testimony. His testimony was now challenged  by serious new wounds inflicted by "friendly fire" from the Maxwell Institute and two professors at BYU. I respect the Maxwell Institute (even donating to them occasionally) and also the professors who spoke (both outstanding men and scholars), but feel a need to respond in light of the unintentional harm that may have been caused by this event.

Lindsay takes exception that the traditional apologetic responses weren't included in the presentation to balance it and provide plausible believability for the theory of divine origin.

Assuming that Jensen and Hauglid didn't include these apologetic theories and evidences because they are familiar with them but find them unconvincing, do they still have a duty to give them time?  Or would that render them unfit to speak on The Book of Abraham in BYU/church circles?

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2 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Assuming that Jensen and Hauglid didn't include these apologetic theories and evidences because they are familiar with them but find them unconvincing, do they still have a duty to give them time?  Or would that render them unfit to speak on The Book of Abraham in BYU/church circles?

Has the church expressed a preference between the missing scroll theory and the catalyst theory?  

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Has the church expressed a preference between the missing scroll theory and the catalyst theory?  

I believe the Church's official position is that you can believe whatever it takes.

Edited by cinepro
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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Or would that render them unfit to speak on The Book of Abraham in BYU/church circles?

Why would it render them unfit to mention other theories and then state they see another one as matching the data better?  Scholars do that all the time.

Now if they were uncivil about other possibilities....basically calling people idiots or liars for holding those views....

Your link, I don't see anything wrong with the first way Hauglid puts his disagreement.

However, in his FB post, the use of the word "abhorrent" seems to pack a lot of unnecessary baggage and nastiness.  If that is the style used to criticize other believers' positions, I do see that as "unfit" and arrogant.

Edited by Calm
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46 minutes ago, Calm said:

However, in his FB post, the use of the word "abhorrent" seems to pack a lot of unnecessary baggage and nastiness.  If that is the style used to criticize other believers' positions, I do see that as "unfit" and arrogant.

It is a strong word that I wasn't expecting when I first read that post.  I think it shows that he values honesty over allegiance to an ideology, which I find very admirable.  If he has knowledge from personally working with these guys, that they are intentionally being dishonest in a lying for the Lord kind of way, I too would find that abhorrent based on my personal ethics.  I'm proud of him for what he said.     

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59 minutes ago, cinepro said:

I believe the Church's official position is that you can believe whatever it takes.

Well then it sounds a bit like Lindsay is upset because apologetic work he favors is not being represented.

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2 hours ago, cinepro said:

Jeff Lindsay blogs a story about a doubting member who was put over the edge by the recent Hauglid presentation on the Book of Mormon, sponsored by the Maxwell Institute:

Lindsay takes exception that the traditional apologetic responses weren't included in the presentation to balance it and provide plausible believability for the theory of divine origin.

Assuming that Jensen and Hauglid didn't include these apologetic theories and evidences because they are familiar with them but find them unconvincing, do they still have a duty to give them time?  Or would that render them unfit to speak on The Book of Abraham in BYU/church circles?

Don't see the significance of translating from fragments vs. entire scrolls, but if a scholar is pursuing a particular thread, I can see some of his presentations being very narrow in scope.

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

Why would it render them unfit to mention other theories and then state they see another one as matching the data better?  Scholars do that all the time.

Now if they were uncivil about other possibilities....basically calling people idiots or liars for holding those views....

Your link, I don't see anything wrong with the first way Hauglid puts his disagreement.

However, in his FB post, the use of the word "abhorrent" seems to pack a lot of unnecessary baggage and nastiness.  If that is the style used to criticize other believers' positions, I do see that as "unfit" and arrogant.

This blog post is worth checking out as it has some additional comments from the Hauglid facebook post by other Mormon scholars and the overall background is interesting.  

https://proveallthingsholdfasttogood.wordpress.com/book-of-abraham-apologist-brian-hauglids-transformative-journey/

 

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29 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

If he has knowledge from personally working with these guys, that they are intentionally being dishonest in a lying for the Lord kind of way....

Big "if".

 I find it just wrong to assume others are lying because one can't imagine how someone could believe something, which is how most accusations of lying occur, imo.

I don't have a clue how someone reasonable could believe the flat earth theory or that Australia or New Zealand has moved because they remember it being in a different position and yet it appears there are some reasonable people (judging from the coherentness of their writings) who do.  I am guessing for some reason they place a much higher value on their own personal senses/interpretations than others even when hardly anyone else agrees with them. 

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9 minutes ago, Calm said:

Big "if".

 I find it just wrong to assume others are lying because one can't imagine how someone could believe something, which is how most accusations of lying occur, imo.

I don't have a clue how someone reasonable could believe the flat earth theory or that Australia or New Zealand has moved because they remember it being in a different position and yet it appears there are some reasonable people (judging from the coherentness of their writings) who do.  I am guessing for some reason they place a much higher value on their own personal senses/interpretations than others even when hardly anyone else agrees with them. 

Hauglid was a colleague of Gee and Muhlestein at BYU, was he not?  I have no idea how intimately they were acquainted or what experiences he had that causes him to use the word abhorrent when describing their apologetic methods.  I personally don't accuse people of lying very often myself as it is a strong claim, and I agree with you that some people may have very different perspectives on things so calling something a lie is rarely a straightforward accusation.  I suspect that he's using that strong language for a reason, and I'm speculating that dishonesty may be a factor.  

 

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4 hours ago, cinepro said:

Jeff Lindsay blogs a story about a doubting member who was put over the edge by the recent Hauglid presentation on the Book of Mormon, sponsored by the Maxwell Institute:

Lindsay takes exception that the traditional apologetic responses weren't included in the presentation to balance it and provide plausible believability for the theory of divine origin.

Assuming that Jensen and Hauglid didn't include these apologetic theories and evidences because they are familiar with them but find them unconvincing, do they still have a duty to give them time?  Or would that render them unfit to speak on The Book of Abraham in BYU/church circles?

Jensen and Hauglid speak in secular scholarly tones, which has been the norm in recent years at the Maxwell Institute, and doubtless in the Joseph Smith Papers Project.  I think that they deliberately avoid putting their thumb on the scale pro or con.  In other words, they were not engaging in apologetics.  That always raises suspicions.  However, since neither of them knows anything about ancient Egypt, it may have been wise to leave it to others to do the heavy lifting.

People with a fragile faith, based mostly on borrowed light, will have a hard time dealing with that, but such is nothing new.

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6 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Has the church expressed a preference between the missing scroll theory and the catalyst theory?  

I did not  mention Tvedtnes' mnemonic theory?  What a shame.

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3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I don't know that Jensen and Hauglid have a duty - but perhaps the Maxwell Institute did. ..........................

NAMI jettisoned any balanced approach a long time ago, allowing people to comment who are not qualified.

3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

...................................I'll also repeat my complaint that all these arguments are just in video and not in print somewhere. I wish someone would summarize the arguments in a digestible form. ............................

Jeff Lindsay now has a good summary (which he suggests Hauglid should have provided):  https://mormanity.blogspot.com/2019/03/my-uninspired-translation-of-missing.html  (March 19, 2019).

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3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

 

Once again.  A magniloquent reply, and just gone with the wind of a 403 error . . .

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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Posted (edited)

Curse you, 403!!!

I think it exists so we can all bond together in shared pain over great loss.

Edited by Calm
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4 hours ago, cdowis said:

I did not  mention Tvedtnes' mnemonic theory?  What a shame.

John A. Tvedtnes, “The Use of Mnemonic Devices in Oral Traditions, As Exemplified by the Book of Abraham and the Hor Sensen Papyrus,” SEHA Newsletter, 120.4 (Apr 1970),2-10 , online at http://www.shields-research.org/General/SEHA/SEHA_Newsletter_120-2.PDF .

Albright presented some interesting notes on the acrophonic principle in the development of writing and the alphabet as well as on the use of the “Egyptian enigmatic or cryptographic system”* – a cryptographic system which goes back to at least the 11th Dynasty, and continued intermittently in use through at least the Ptolemaic period.**  An excellent example of this system – in which a single “glyph could stand for an entire word, phrase, or concept” – was found in the remains of a Ramesses II temple underneath the Haggag Mosque in Luxor.#  It is certainly possible that such methods were used by the Jewish community in late Egyptian times to pass on a document such as the LDS Book of Abraham – particularly in view of the use of some similar principles in later Jewish Qabbala.

*  Albright, Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions and Their Decipherment, HTR 22 (Harvard/Oxford, 1966 /1969), 7 n. 27; S. Sauneron, “L’écriture ptolémaïque,” in Textes et langages de l’Egypte pharaonique: Hommages à Jean-François Champollion, Bibliothèque d’Etude LXIV/1 (Cairo: IFAO, 1972), 45-56; H. W. Fairman, “Notes on the Alphabetic Signs Employed in the Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of the Temple of Edfu,” Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Egypte, 43 (1943), 301.

**  É. Drioton, “Recueil de cryptographie monumentale,” Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte, 40 (1940), 305-308, with a complete bibliography; Drioton, “Les principes de la cryptographie égyptienne,” Comptes-rendus des séances de l’Akadémie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres (Paris, 1953), 355-364; H. G. Fischer, “Hieroglyphen,” in LÄ, II:1196; W. Schenkel, “Schrift,” in LÄ, V:716-717; “Ein Siegelring mit kryptographischer Inschrift in Bonn,” in Manfred Bietak, ed., Ägypten und Levante – Egypt and the Levant XX, Internationale Zeitschrift für ägyptische Archäologie und deren Nachbargebiete/International Journal for Egyptian Archaeology and Related Disciplines (Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2011), ?? ; see E. Iversen on the importance of acrophony in interpreting Egyptian cryptographic writing in Papyrus Carlsberg Nr. VII: Fragments of a Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Danish Academy of Sciences: Hist-fil. Skrifter, vol. 2 (Copenhagen, 1958), 8; O. Neugebauer mentions some of the same points in his The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, 2nd ed. (Brown Univ., 1957), 144, ad. 59.  Cf. G. Lefebvre, Grammaire de l’Égyptien classique, 2nd ed., §56; A. Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian, 23-24; John C. Darnell, The Enigmatic Netherworld Books of the Solar-Osirian Unity: Cryptographic Compositions in the Tombs of Tutankhamun, Ramesses VI and Ramesses IX, Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 198 (Fribourg: Academic Press/Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004) – includes an appendix of cryptographic values.

#  Steven Stanek, “Ancient Pharaoh Temple Discovered Inside Egypt Mosque,” National Geographic News, Sept 27, 2007, online at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/070927-egypt-temple.html. 

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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14 hours ago, cinepro said:

Assuming that Jensen and Hauglid didn't include these apologetic theories and evidences because they are familiar with them but find them unconvincing, do they still have a duty to give them time?  Or would that render them unfit to speak on The Book of Abraham in BYU/church circles?

Since the presentation was to a group of students I do believe they should have mentioned that there are other viewpoints held by other scholars. If they had been presenting to a group of academics already familiar with the Book of Abraham discussions and scholarship. I believe that scholars when teaching students should present their viewpoints as logically and coherently as possible, but to also acknowledge scholarship and scholars that have differing opinions on any one subject so the students at least know there is not a consensus.

I can remember taking a Book of Mormon course under Daniel Ludlow some time back where he brought up the subject of Stela 5 at Izapa, Mexico. Some LDS scholars believed that it it is a depiction of Lehi's recitation of his tree of life vision in the Book of Mormon and was direct evidence of the Book of Mormon. Ludlow was intrigued himself, but cautioned his students that there were dissenting opinions just within the LDS scholarly community and there were hardly any non-LDS scholars that would concur with that theory. As it has turned out, his caution was well justified.

Glenn

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2 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

Since the presentation was to a group of students I do believe they should have mentioned that there are other viewpoints held by other scholars.

Should that obligation extend to presenting the views of scholars like Ritner, Thompson, Vogel, Marquardt, Smith, Cook, Wilson, Bell, Spalding et al, and others?

Or, if they are just obligated to mention the work of those mentioned by Lindsay, are they also obligated to explain why they think they wrong?

If I went to a BYU presentation on Sorenson's work, should I be disappointed if they didn't present evidence for the heartland model?

Also given the enormous amount of readily available material about the Book of Abraham to anyone who is interested, especially a student, shouldn't the response to someone at BYU finding out something new be, "aren't you here to learn"?

 

 

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9 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

NAMI jettisoned any balanced approach a long time ago, allowing people to comment who are not qualified.

Jeff Lindsay now has a good summary (which he suggests Hauglid should have provided):  https://mormanity.blogspot.com/2019/03/my-uninspired-translation-of-missing.html  (March 19, 2019).

I should spend some time and get up to speed on these. Anyone have a good link to the critic's arguments? To be clear this is for the order in the Kirtland papers of whether the Egyptian characters or BoA text came first. No YouTube

16 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Should that obligation extend to presenting the views of scholars like Ritner, Thompson, Vogel, Marquardt, Smith, Cook, Wilson, Bell, Spalding et al, and others?

Speaking only for myself I think it should for any academic presentation or engagement. However I think here the question is whether there was some ethical responsibility given unprepared students at BYU should have had some explanation of how to fit this faithfully into their testimony. That is there's an assumption that if the presentation isn't a purely dry academic presentation that such things be discussed. Given the nature of the Maxwell Institute I think that a fair worry.

16 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

If I went to a BYU presentation on Sorenson's work, should I be disappointed if they didn't present evidence for the heartland model?

The issue isn't so much presenting alternatives, although I think alternatives shouldn't be dismissed, but rather the issue of shaken faith syndrome for those not prepared. Whether or not one addresses the Great Lakes model doesn't matter as much as say a presentation saying it's fiction.

Now as I've often said I'm of two minds on this. I think trying to make BYU a "safe space" for people with weak testimonies is ultimately counterproductive. Yet at the same time spiritual maturity doesn't magically appear. You have to develop it and BYU ought be trying to do that. I think Jeff's concern (and again not being there I don't know how valid it is) was that the presentation made it seem like Joseph made it up and wasn't inspired. That can shake the faith of people weak in faith. Especially when it is BYU professors rather than some antagonistic critic arguing it.

Edited by clarkgoble
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Why is Jeff having a hard time, when the Gospel Topic Essays mention the BoA being more a revelation translation of the papyri.

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Posted (edited)

That's weird that Jeff didn't seem to know that Hauglid publically decried both Muhlstein's and Gee's scholarship as it pertains to the BoA as abhorrent.  He complains that Jensen and Hauglid aren't being balanced, but in truth, they refuse to mention M and G not because they refuse to be balanced.  They refuse to mention them because abhorrent suggests their works is so awful it should never be referenced nor considered.  

I don't know if Jeff is being deceptive by pretending he didn't know Hauglid's position regarding M and G's scholarship, if he's just being particularly obtuse to drive the wedge deeper, or if he was unaware of Hauglid's position recently explained.  

Edited by stemelbow

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16 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Hauglid was a colleague of Gee and Muhlestein at BYU, was he not?  I have no idea how intimately they were acquainted or what experiences he had that causes him to use the word abhorrent when describing their apologetic methods.  I personally don't accuse people of lying very often myself as it is a strong claim, and I agree with you that some people may have very different perspectives on things so calling something a lie is rarely a straightforward accusation.  I suspect that he's using that strong language for a reason, and I'm speculating that dishonesty may be a factor.  

 

I wonder if abhorrent is a more charitable sounding description than deception.  I don't know.  Maybe in terms of scholarship as it relates to a religion it may sound a little better.  Of course, I should note, it doesn't have to be deception to accomplish abhorrent.  

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