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Professor John Gee Leaves the Maxwell Institute?

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Posted (edited)
On 5/27/2019 at 7:17 AM, 6EQUJ5 said:

I think it is clear from Dan's blog post that Professor Gee was asked to step aside.

My sources indicate this has been brewing a long time.  They have been looking for a way to get him out since he embarrassed BYU at a major academic meeting a few years ago and proclaimed that the Exodus was a historic event.

ETA: The exodus happened, of course.  Proving it historicaly is virtually impossible.  Indeed, the evidence works against a large, grand exodus as described in the Bible.

My understanding is that while not the majority view the idea that an exodus out of Egypt happened is a rather significant view among historians.

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/exodus/exodus-fact-or-fiction/

The main text on the subject seems this one from Springer, a rather prominent press.

https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319047676

A good chapter from that book is "Egyptologists and the Israelite Exodus from Egypt." The author notes that Biblical scholars, who tend to adopt a minimalist approach to history (if there's no proof it didn't happen), differ from Egyptologists on the issue. 

"From the outset allow me to observe that I have not found the same level of skepticism among present-day Egyptologists towards the Egyptian origin traditions of the Bible as there is among Old Testament scholars and Syro-Palestinian/biblical archaeologists."

Of course the article also notes that most Egyptologists find the topic largely irrelevant and want to avoid what they see as primarily a religious (not scholarly) debate.

My experience is that those criticizing John often do so more from a Biblical consensus approach, which tends to frankly be pretty skeptical towards the Bible, rather than an Egyptologist perspective. For better or worse John is coming at it from that perspective which also accounts for his skepticism towards textual criticism. (There's simply far more Egyptian texts to work with and thus less need for what often approaches word mysticism in making historical claims about textual evolution from a late text) That's not to say of course John's claims or correct or his has good arguments for them. 

Edited by clarkgoble
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On 5/24/2019 at 5:45 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Dr Hauglid (who is an Arabist) cites Dan Vogel and Brent Metcalfe herewith.  None of these three know anything about ancient Egypt and have no training in Egyptology. So I am at a loss to understand why we should take their word on anything related to Dr Gee's work on the Book of Abraham.   As to Dr Muhlestein, he is a trained Egyptologist who conducts regular excavations in Egypt.   I await with interest any substantive critique of the Gee and Muhlestein scholarship.  If it is so "abhorrent," that should quickly become apparent.  Perhaps Dr Hauglid's forthcoming book will help clarify what he is complaining about.

Maybe you should view my videos and find out what I have said about their works. That would be a start. I have mostly commented on what Gee and Muhlestein have said about the Kirtland Egyptian papers as well as those produced in Nauvoo. Needless to say, none of their theories about those papers has anything to do with Egyptology. 

 

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3 hours ago, Dan Vogel said:

Maybe you should view my videos and find out what I have said about their works. That would be a start. I have mostly commented on what Gee and Muhlestein have said about the Kirtland Egyptian papers as well as those produced in Nauvoo. Needless to say, none of their theories about those papers has anything to do with Egyptology. 

Thanks for your comments, Dan.  I have no problem at all with a fact-based critique, with adequate documentation, and am glad that you are preparing a book on all that.  Should help everyone find their way through a complex and controversial subject.  And, of course, you are correct to suggest that there are plenty of non-Egyptological issues to be discussed in any consideration of the KEP.  In any case, partisanship has no place in a full-scale evaluation of the Book of Abraham issue.

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On 5/27/2019 at 9:05 AM, ALarson said:

...........................

- Some are questioning that an endowed chair can be transferred from one department to another, but wonder if BYU is more lenient regarding that taking place.  I guess there may be legal issues at times where this has been attempted?

The Bill Gay chair was designed for Gee, and is not a chair that anyone else has ever held.  Such chairs (as in the case of Prof Sterling McMurrin) can usually be moved to another dept.  That may be unusual at BYU, but is a known practice at other universities.

On 5/27/2019 at 9:05 AM, ALarson said:

- Gee does not have Continuing Faculty Status at BYU  (if I'm understanding what Peterson stated about this?)............................

Seems unlikely to me that Gee would have been at BYU so long without that decision already having been made.  However, Continuing status doesn't really mean that one has tenure.  BYU likes to be able to fire someone, if necessary, with a minimum of difficulty.

On 5/27/2019 at 9:05 AM, ALarson said:

- Gee is teaching Akkadian this fall in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages. ( search here: http://saasta.byu.edu/noauth/classSchedule/ )

-  He is teaching 100 minutes of class time per week.  (One poster called this "an enviably light teaching load", but I immediately thought that he most likely has many other responsibilities other than teaching)............................

His endowed chair is a research chair, and that is what he does.  Gee is qualified to teach Akkadian, and may now be the only professor at BYU so qualified since the retirement of Paul Hoskisson.

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

On the contrary, "a large, grand exodus" did in fact take place anciently -- of which all scholars are aware -- even if not "as described in the Bible."  Josephus was smart enough to make the connection, as I point out in my paper on the issue:   “Moses Our Teacher (Moshe Rabbenu),” 2010, version 4, online at https://www.scribd.com/doc/51104640/Moses-Our-Teacher-Moshe-Rabbenu .

That's a real interesting connection. But isn't it problematic that it's about the Hyksos ruler taking all his people back to Canaan while the Exodus account as it as an escape from the ruler by slaves? Are you saying Exodus is wrong about most things except the leaving Egypt and that Moses was actually a Hyksos ruler? Or are you saying it was just a general exodus of Canaanite tied groups, with Moses as one among many? I know you say the slavery tradition is actually a corruption of a suzerain relationship with Hyksos by Canaanites. But I confess that still seems confusing. It sounds like you still see most of the Exodus narrative as wrong.

BTW - why not submit this to The Interpreter?

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I'm not sure it is a bad thing for Dr. Gee to move to a traditional department and away from the Maxwell Institute.  

Who really knows what the Maxwell Institute does.  It isn't part of a traditional university department, is it? 

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1 hour ago, Bob Crockett said:

I'm not sure it is a bad thing for Dr. Gee to move to a traditional department and away from the Maxwell Institute.  

Who really knows what the Maxwell Institute does.  It isn't part of a traditional university department, is it? 

Well said, Bob.

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

That's a real interesting connection. But isn't it problematic that it's about the Hyksos ruler taking all his people back to Canaan while the Exodus account as it as an escape from the ruler by slaves? Are you saying Exodus is wrong about most things except the leaving Egypt and that Moses was actually a Hyksos ruler? Or are you saying it was just a general exodus of Canaanite tied groups, with Moses as one among many? I know you say the slavery tradition is actually a corruption of a suzerain relationship with Hyksos by Canaanites. But I confess that still seems confusing. It sounds like you still see most of the Exodus narrative as wrong......................

The Cecil B. deMille version certainly wasn't true to history. I have attempted to say instead that all elements of the story are true, in their own right, but that they have been telescoped and redacted through time to such an extent that we get a confused legendary account in place of a more nuanced truth.  There were Hebrew slaves and their circumstances were similar to those described in the biblical text.  They did leave Egypt under extraordinary conditions, which were later conflated with the huge Canaanite exodus (same culture, same language), ending up for a time in Midian and then Transjordan, before finally entering the Land of Promise.  The book of Judges covered a much longer period than we all imagine, and even fails to mention the attack by King Merneptah when they were still in Transjordan -- still semi-nomadic at that time.  The Amarna Letters even mention those troublesome, annoying Hebrews.  Later the Philistines have no difficulty controlling them, until they finally grow in numbers and sophistication to be able to dominate the Philistines.

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Aren't you then actually agreeing there's no evidence for the Exodus, just that the reason there's no evidence is because it was conflated with the broader Hyksos exodus? I guess what I'm asking is what's your view of who the Pharoah is (Hyksos or their successor?).

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Aren't you then actually agreeing there's no evidence for the Exodus, just that the reason there's no evidence is because it was conflated with the broader Hyksos exodus?

Not at all.  I tried to cover in my paper the litany of details which constitute the circumstantial evidence (which is the best evidence) for the Exodus as described in the book of Exodus.  One must not get caught up on the absurd, inflated demographics (typical hyperbole for the place and time), which are not germane anyhow.  Nor on the idiotic notion that the Israelites hung out in the Sinai desert -- they instead went to well-watered Midian.  The biblical text is backed very well by the general archeological and historical circumstances of that early period, and not the traditional later one.

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

I guess what I'm asking is what's your view of who the Pharoah is (Hyksos or their successor?).

There is no way to know at this remove who the Pharaoh of the Israelite Exodus may have been, nor whether a very small Hebrew Exodus was later expanded into a full-scale Israelite Exodus legend -- after linking up with Hebrews back in Syria-Palestine who were never in Egypt, but who end up celebrating the event as though they had actually been there (just as many Mormons celebrate Pioneer Day, even though they are not descended from the 1847 companies led by our American "Moses").  We need to bring a realistic perspective to the question.

Who was the Pharaoh who arose who did not know Joseph (did not favor the Israelites)?  Could they have been Hyksos, who adopted pharaonic regalia and norms?  Though also Canaanites, the Hyksos would have regarded themselves as nobles and lords over the unwashed masses of lower class workers.  In many respects, the Hyksos were more advanced and sophisticated than the native Egyptians in Upper Egypt, who deeply resented them.  Remember, their capital Avaris was the largest city in the Mediterranean world at that time, receiving wonderful trade-goods from the Aegean and from Syro-Palestine.  The frescoes and finery there were extraordinary. The excavator of Avaris, Manfred Bietak, has repeatedly been amazed.  Unfortunately, we know too little about the Hyksos.

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On 5/29/2019 at 7:39 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

On the contrary, "a large, grand exodus" did in fact take place anciently -- of which all scholars are aware -- even if not "as described in the Bible."  Josephus was smart enough to make the connection, as I point out in my paper on the issue:   “Moses Our Teacher (Moshe Rabbenu),” 2010, version 4, online at https://www.scribd.com/doc/51104640/Moses-Our-Teacher-Moshe-Rabbenu .

Thanks for the link to your article.  Comes across as an excellent overview and explication of this topic.  Any changes to your views since you wrote it?

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5 hours ago, blarsen said:

Thanks for the link to your article.  Comes across as an excellent overview and explication of this topic.  Any changes to your views since you wrote it?

Not really, and I have updated it to version 4.

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On 5/29/2019 at 6:39 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

 

On the contrary, "a large, grand exodus" did in fact take place anciently

No, it didn't.

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3 hours ago, 6EQUJ5 said:

No, it didn't.

So the Hyksos didn't leave Egypt en masse, and Josephus is wrong.  Explain that to me, please.

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"The comprehensive conquest saga in the Book of Joshua is a fictive literary composition aimed at presenting the occupation of the entire Land of Israel, initiated and guided by the Lord a nd carried out by the twelve tribes under Joshua. Military events that took place in the course of the later history of Israel were used by the author as models for his narratives. These military episodes were entirely adapted to the new environment so that in no case can we trace a direct.literary relationship between the original story/tradition and its literary reflection. When were the conquest narratives of the Book of Joshua composed? The unified character of the text, in which J oshua and the twelve tribes play the major role, points to a relatively late da te. I have suggested above that Sennacherib's campaign to Judah in 70 I BCE possibly served as a model for the description of Joshua's campaign to the Shephelah and the hill country of Juda h (Jos 10:28-39), and that the mentions of hanging on O'llll (Jos 8:29; 10:26) possibly reflect the Assyria n way of punishing rebel leaders by impalement on posts. The composition of the conquest saga is certainly no earlier than the seventh century BCE.243 One cannot rule out the possibility that isolated episodes, in particular r the short anecdotes and notes, had been written sometime before the penning of the unified literary work. But the main block of material was composed at a late date as part of the Deuteronomistic history of Israel. Thus, hundreds of years separate the historical work from the time to which it is attributed . This enormous gap explain ins the minor contribution of the conquest stories to the early history of Israel

https://www.academia.edu/13459417/The_Conquest_of_Canaan_in_the_Book_of_Joshua_and_in_History_in_I._Finkelstein_and_N._Na_aman_eds._From_Nomadism_to_Monarchy._Archaeological_and_Historical_Aspects_of_Early_Israel_Jerusalem_1994_pp._218-281

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On 6/29/2019 at 3:51 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

So the Hyksos didn't leave Egypt en masse, and Josephus is wrong.  Explain that to me, please.

Hyksos != Hebrew

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3 hours ago, 6EQUJ5 said:

Hyksos != Hebrew

"So the Hyksos didn't leave Egypt en masse, and Josephus is wrong.  Explain that to me, please."

Are you really afraid to explain that to me?  You denied that the Hyksos left Egypt en masse.  No historian would agree with you.  Fess up that you are simply in denial, or else provide a coherent explanation.  That is what rational people do.

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6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Are you really afraid to explain that to me?  You denied that the Hyksos left Egypt en masse.  No historian would agree with you.  Fess up that you are simply in denial, or else provide a coherent explanation.  That is what rational people do.

Keep moving those goalposts, Bob.

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1 hour ago, 6EQUJ5 said:

Keep moving those goalposts, Bob.

You will no doubt also be afraid to explain which goalposts, since I did not move them.  Why afraid?  Because you have been caught in a falsehood and don't know how to extricate yourself.  Rational discussion is not an option for you, since it will only get you more deeply into an embarrassing mistake.

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44 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Why afraid? 

lulz.  Project much?

Quote

Because you have been caught in a falsehood and don't know how to extricate yourself. 

Huh?

Quote

Rational discussion is not an option for you, since it will only get you more deeply into an embarrassing mistake.

More projection. You are the one claiming that the Exodus was a historical event.  I can see why that claim embarrasses you.

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25 minutes ago, 6EQUJ5 said:

lulz.  Project much?

Huh?

More projection. You are the one claiming that the Exodus was a historical event.  I can see why that claim embarrasses you.

Again, instead of quoting me and dealing with what I actually said, you deliberately make a false claim.  The only way for you to escape now is to ignore rational discussion and to bear false witness.

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Posted (edited)

Are the two of you talking about the same thing?  6EQ refers to “The Exodus”, a specific event involving Hebrew slaves moving into Canaan, right?  Robert’s “an exodus” seems to me to be thinking that story may be an adaption of another exodus of Hyksos.

These appears to me to be different, though related.

Edited by Calm

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Calm said:

Are the two of you talking about the same thing?  6EQ refers to “The Exodus”, a specific event involving Hebrew slaves moving into Canaan, right?  Robert’s “an exodus” seems to me to be thinking that story may be an adaption of another exodus of Hyksos.

He's too embarrassed now to own up to that and other distinctions.  For shame.  We could have had a nice discussion.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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