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Prof. Clark - BOM Archaeology?


Joey

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Back in May, John Clark issued an article on the archaeological evidence supporting the BOM historocity.

Those on this board that knew him, and knew of his stature in the academic community, had indicated that Clark was really putting his reputation on the line.

While I had previoulsy asked/surmized that I did not see how one could be putting their reputation on the line, if the subject matter at hand was of no interest in the broader academic community, those in the know apparently felt different.

I have not been able to find any reaction from the academic community to Clark's published comments, but I really do not know for sure.

So did Clark's comments generate any reaction from the archaeology community or would it be safe to say that, outside of mormon circles, there was little interest in what Clark had to say?

I recognize that it has only been 4 months, but for something that those here felt could be so jeapordizing to Clark's reputation, I would think that if there was going to be any reaction at all, we would know of it by now.

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It's not the kind of thing that would result, most likely, in public statements or denunciations or anything of that sort. (Professor Clark's presentation itself -- which was a speech, not an article -- hasn't yet been published, for that matter, and probably very few non-Mormon archaeologists were sitting in the DeJong Concert Hall or watching it at 11 AM on KBYU-TV.) The repercussions will, if they come at all, come within the small community of Mesoamerican archaeologists, in terms of grant support, invitations to participate in academic symposia, relationships with government ministries of antiquity, dig permits, etc. And such repercussions will materialize over years.

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Evidently his "evidence" was weak at best otherwise the Church would have been touting it from the rooftops....

"The Church" doesn't do much "touting of evidence from the rooftops."

But here are two of the principal reasons for the fact that Professor Clark's remarks haven't yet been published even though the unspeakably lengthy eternity of four summer months [!] has already passed:

(1) Venues for publication are not infinite. The FARMS Review, for instance, rarely uses images and has never published an article that depended heavily upon photographs. The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies often uses images -- though perhaps it has never used so many as Dr. Clark's presentation employed -- but it only appears twice annually, and articles often wait in the queue for 6-12 months before they appear. Books usually come out on a unified theme, and there is seldom room to simply cram in an additional, extraneous paper. Moreover, books only come out every once in a while, and they've usually been in the works for at least a year or two before they do.

(2) The large number of images in Dr. Clark's presentation creates a great many problems for publication -- not the least of which is that they demand a very time-consuming and labor-intensive process of securing copyright permissions.

Leaping to foolish conclusions can leave you lying bloody and twisted on the rocks below.

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Guest Just Curious
Leaping to foolish conclusions can leave you lying bloody and twisted on the rocks below.

As I said before, having lived in the SLC valley for many years, anytime anything of significance comes about to support the LDS history, it is touted...quite clearly on KSL-5 (the church owned TV station), as well as in the Deseret news (church owned newspaper). Then the other stations pick it up and air it too. If this was so significant as to be of any historical proof that the BOM or LDS church is true then there is ample past history to support my conclusion that the church would be bringing it forward. You can try to use whatever excuse you want for it not coming out but normal people can have valid opinions too based on past facts, not just those that are apologists...again I will state my case, prove me wrong instead of trying to be sarcastic....if there was any significant proof that this person has it would have come out on KSL and other local stations, just as many other stories have...you have your opinion and I have mine, fortunately mine is based on past fact and evidence

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why would he want to publish it? I do presentations all the time that are related but not linked to my area of expertise and I have never sought to have them published. I do it out of interest. The only things I get published are materials that would benefit my career. (I'm not saying that I am an accomplished writer or researcher, but I write for industry magazines and for a local news paper-I don't get paid but it serves as free advertising).

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Evidently his "evidence" was weak at best otherwise the Church would have been touting it from the rooftops....

Oh, yeah....just like they tout the evidence from early Christian MSS. If I hadn't have searched then out myself after reading Nibley, I would still be ignorant. I've never seen the church interested in this sort of thing at all. It is actually annoying at times.

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if there was any significant proof that this person has it would have come out on KSL and other local stations, just as many other stories have...you have your opinion and I have mine, fortunately mine is based on past fact and evidence

The US government funds PBS. Does that mean the US Government determines what is presented on PBS? Is PBS the US governement's official news agency? (Please don't try to claim this or that PBS is even bipartisan or non-partisan, for that matter. It's pretty clear where their ideological politcal leanings are.)

Because KSL and Deseret News (DN) are owned by the LDS Church does not mean the LDS Church tells them what to do. Because KSL and DN are also likely run by LDS people, doesn't mean those LDS people speak for the Church. Unfortunately, your opinion and interpretation of "fact and evidence" is based heavily on your bias and likely disdain for things LDS.

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All "evidence" found thus far is beautiful only in the eyes of the LDS beholder. So far - it's all been pretty flimsy to anyone outside the happy valley.

I assure you all - if anyone finds a tombstone that says "Here lies Lehi - discoverer of this land" the church will get it into major publications. Have no doubt. A box in Peru with a sword in it that dates back 2000 years? Time WILL do an article.

But are they going to care that a river in Arabia matches, maybe, a river in the BOM? No. Why should they? It's too questionable to matter unless you already believe.

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You can try to use whatever excuse you want for it not coming out but normal people can have valid opinions too based on past facts, not just those that are apologists...again I will state my case, prove me wrong instead of trying to be sarcastic....if there was any significant proof that this person has it would have come out on KSL and other local stations, just as many other stories have...you have your opinion and I have mine, fortunately mine is based on past fact and evidence

Just Curious, what I said about why Professor Clark's paper hasn't been published yet despite the passage of four whole summer months is based on the fact that I'm one of the four people at FARMS in charge of its publications. I'm not just speculating or making this up. You're free to dismiss it as merely my "opinion" if you care to, though. Whatever.

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I listened to the presentation a while back, and it was never really made clear what Brother Clarke's claim specifically was. Did he ever make a single testable or falsifiable claim?

I certainly can't speak for any archaeologists, but if he doesn't want to discuss a specific interpretation of evidence, and why the theory of Jaredite or Lehite colonization is more likely than any other explanation, then there might not be too much to discuss.

I'm not in a position to listen to it again for a while, so perhaps people could mention points that they found especially convincing, or unconvincing.

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mormon fool: "It would be nice if there was some video made available over the net."

Copyrighted images. Permissions as yet unsecured.

I thought as much. I just got through listening to the audio and was very impressed. I look forward to hearing more from John E. Clark. It will be worth any wait.

But then, what do I know?

Well, I for one don't know anyone that is more informed about what is in the works as far as Mormon studies are concerned. I appreciate your tireless efforts to keep us posted.

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Just Curious, what I said about why Professor Clark's paper hasn't been published yet despite the passage of four whole summer months is based on the fact that I'm one of the four people at FARMS in charge of its publications.

Daniel,

I agree that four months would not be a long time for written responses to Clark's comments to appear. But since you are a personal colleague of his, and he shared with you his concerns of his initial remarks, has he indicated to you whether or not anyone from his peer group (non-lds) in the archaeology academic community have said anything with regards to his statements?

Also, is FARMS in charge of whatever publication Clark is seeking? Will it be issued as a piece of "scholarly archaeology" or from more of a "faith promoting" lds church piece? I ask because, it would appear that from an "archaeology scholarship" perspective, there would be far more "credibility generating" organizations than FARMS to publish such work if it has anything to do with archaeology. If Clark was not fearful of rejection from his academic peer group, it would add so much more credibility to his work than FARMS could ever do. It would obviously dismiss any "claims of bias" people might present if you know what I mean. Do you know if Clark has sought out, or, if there are any other credible professional groups that would be willing to publishing such work? Do you personally think that anyone other than FARMS would step up to publishing it?

Finally, as I have not seen whatever images Clark has used, what kinds of copyrighted pictures/images does he use to base his claims upon?

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Leaping to foolish conclusions can leave you lying bloody and twisted on the rocks below.

As I said before, having lived in the SLC valley for many years, anytime anything of significance comes about to support the LDS history, it is touted...quite clearly on KSL-5 (the church owned TV station), as well as in the Deseret news (church owned newspaper). Then the other stations pick it up and air it too. If this was so significant as to be of any historical proof that the BOM or LDS church is true then there is ample past history to support my conclusion that the church would be bringing it forward. You can try to use whatever excuse you want for it not coming out but normal people can have valid opinions too based on past facts, not just those that are apologists...again I will state my case, prove me wrong instead of trying to be sarcastic....if there was any significant proof that this person has it would have come out on KSL and other local stations, just as many other stories have...you have your opinion and I have mine, fortunately mine is based on past fact and evidence

That's funny. I've lived here for over twenty years and I can't recall a single new item, not even on KSL, that would have been even remoted connect to Book of Mormon historicity.

In fact, the only story I can recall seeing in any venue was in the BYU campus newspaper which reported on the story of the NHM altars discovered by the German archeology team.

Can you provide any example that might support your inanely exaggerated claim?

C.I.

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World's 'oldest university' unearthed in Egypt

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 Posted: 2004 GMT (0404 HKT)

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/0...y.ap/index.html

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Polish archaeologists have unearthed 13 lecture halls believed to be the first traces ever found of ancient Egypt's University of Alexandria, the head of the project said Wednesday...

Here we have a university that has been spoken of for thousands of years yet we only just found it last winter. And all we have is buildings, no books, no signs that read "Alexander lived here". There is significant evidence that this is the place but no proof but I don't see people lining up as anti-alexandrians. In the real world, people realize what constitutes reasonable evidence for an ancient civilization so these same standards need to apply to the book of mormon peoples.

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Here we have a university that has been spoken of for thousands of years yet we only just found it last winter. And all we have is buildings, no books, no signs that read "Alexander lived here". There is significant evidence that this is the place but no proof but I don't see people lining up as anti-alexandrians.

Freedom,

Big difference here as compared to the claims within the BOM. While we may have only found something that has, in fact, been spoken of for thousands of years, none of the sites, peoples or events contained with in the BOM have even been spoken of for hundreds of years, let alone "thousands of years".

Also, the article you provided tells of the Mediterrenean Sea, Cairo, and Alexandria; all locations which have been proven in existence for thousands of years. Finding a particular building within this location, while remarkable, is only capable of happening when one knows of the braoder location first. How can one ever expect to find the remains of the Zarahemla post office when there is no evidence of Zarahemla itself?

In the real world, people realize what constitutes reasonable evidence for an ancient civilization so these same standards need to apply to the book of mormon peoples.

Exactly. Lets apply the same standards of reasonableness. Anyone know the location of Zarahemla? Rivers? Mountains? Bodies of water?

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I agree that four months would not be a long time for written responses to Clark's comments to appear.  But since you are a personal colleague of his, and he shared with you his concerns of his initial remarks, has he indicated to you whether or not anyone from his peer group (non-lds) in the archaeology academic community have said anything with regards to his statements?

Professor Clark and I didn't talk about any personal concerns of his prior to his address, though I responded to a few questions from him, and I've hardly seen him since he delivered it. It's been summer vacation in these parts (which I spent mostly on three separate trips to Europe and the Mediterranean and during which he was frequently in Mexico). Now the new semester is finally under way, and we'll begin running into each other again -- including a meeting the week after next. If I get a chance to, and remember, I'll ask him. I doubt that he's encountered too much response at all, at this early stage. And I think that one of the reasons he went forward now is that he feels that he has sufficient stature in the field that he can't be seriously threatened.

Everybody even on the periphery of Mesoamerican archaeology around here understands the risks of being branded, within that field, as a "Mormon apologist" rather than a mainstream archaeologist. (I don't see the two as mutually exclusive, though they're obviously distinct, and, plainly, neither does Dr. Clark. But those who do would very likely shoot first and ask questions later, if, in fact, they ever asked them at all. And the consequences would almost certainly be hard to demonstrate in detail and beyond question. Merely accumulating ostracism, inability to gain grants, failure to obtain archaeological concessions from Central American government ministries, etc. -- none of which would be indisputably attributable to prejudice against Mormon "apologetics.")

Also, is FARMS in charge of whatever publication Clark is seeking?

It will almost certainly be published by FARMS.

Will it be issued as a piece of "scholarly archaeology" or from more of a "faith promoting" lds church piece?

Almost certainly the latter.

I ask because, it would appear that from an "archaeology scholarship" perspective, there would be far more "credibility generating" organizations than FARMS to publish such work if it has anything to do with archaeology.  If Clark was not fearful of rejection from his academic peer group, it would  add so much more credibility to his work than FARMS could ever do.  It would obviously dismiss any "claims of bias" people might present if you know what I mean.  Do you know if Clark has sought out, or, if there are any other credible professional groups that would be willing to publishing such work?  Do you personally think that anyone other than FARMS would step up to publishing it?

I can't see why they would be very interested. He's not announcing any new Mesoamerican discoveries. Everything he discusses is available in mainstream journals, or soon will be. Professor Clark himself publishes extensively in such venues.

What he does in this speech is to show the consistency between the Book of Mormon and the picture of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica that is emerging from the most recent archaeological discoveries, which goes well beyond what might have been anticipated if the Book of Mormon were merely a bit of nineteenth century Yankee yarn-spinning. That is of interest to those who are interested in the Book of Mormon, but I'm not sure that it would interest anybody else. Mainstream journals like Archaeology, Katunob, Antiquity, the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenl

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Guest Just Curious
What he does in this speech is to show the consistency between the Book of Mormon and the picture of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica that is emerging from the most recent archaeological discoveries, which goes well beyond what might have been anticipated if the Book of Mormon were merely a bit of nineteenth century Yankee yarn-spinning.

Great...hopefully he can clear up those pesky little things like horses, cattle, oxen, steel, cureloms, cumoms, silk, etc etc etc...maybe he will let us know why no indigenous crops to the americas are mentioned in the BOM too...and how you can take a feathered serpent and turn it into a story about it being Jesus when he visited the America's...

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Big difference here as compared to the claims within the BOM. While we may have only found something that has, in fact, been spoken of for thousands of years, none of the sites, peoples or events contained with in the BOM have even been spoken of for hundreds of years, let alone "thousands of years".

well, exactly. None of the cities have been spoken of because we do not have any records and no research has been done to find them. We know that there was a civilization there that was rather complex yet we have no records. In Alexandria we have 2 thousand years of people talking about it and we have only just now found concrete evidence that the library existed, if in fact it really is the library. We have no descriptions in any ancient texts of buildings or anything else in mezo America so no matter what we find it won

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Guest Just Curious
All we have in the Book of Mormon is talk about the people and their religious life.

I suggest you go read the BOM again then, less than 1/2 is devoted to things religious in nature, over 1/2 is devoted to things not pertaining specifically to their religious rituals or beliefs..

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