Jump to content

Could the Books of Jasher and Josephus Have Helped Joseph Fabricate the Book of Abraham?


Recommended Posts

On 4/11/2020 at 5:46 AM, Steve Thompson said:

If you are really interested in the topic, Muhlestein's dissertation on the subject was published and is available for free download here:

https://www.academia.edu/10132431/Violence_in_the_Service_of_Order_the_Religious_Framework_for_Sanctioned_Killing_in_Ancient_Egypt._British_Archaeological_Reports_International_Series_2299_Oxford_Archaeopress_2011_

After reading this, ask yourself if the events he describes really are analogous to the events described in Abraham 1.

Muhlstein (whom I have never met) was dealing with broadscale phenomena in his dissertation, not defending the Book of Abraham.  He has continued this effort in a number of publications, a few of which I list here:

Muhlestein, Kerry M., “Violence in the Service of Order: The Religious Framework for Sanctioned Killing in Ancient Egypt,” doctoral dissertation (UCLA, 2003), published as Violence in the Service of Order: the Religious Framework for Sanctioned Killing in Ancient Egypt, British Archaeological Reports International Series 2299 (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2011). See his summary at UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology.

Muhlestein, Kerry M., “Royal Executions: Evidence Bearing on the Subject of Sanctioned Killing in the Middle Kingdom,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 51/2 (2008):181–208, online at Royal Executions: Evidence Bearing on the Subject of Sanctioned Killing in the Middle Kingdom.

Muhlestein, Kerry M., “Execration Ritual,” in UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, ed. Willeke Wendrich and Jacco Dieleman, online at UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology.

Why would you fault him for this?

Edited by Robert F. Smith
Link to post
  • Replies 95
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I just discovered a previously unknown photo of one of the original interior walls in the Smith family log cabin in Palmyra, New York: That explains a lot.

Here are some more videos from Kwaku, and he is actually quite good and responsible (and funny):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd9rQ7AZ_xghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul62FNJ8tsA   (at UVU)

I've mentioned here previously how I appreciate the Book of Abraham... and am not too concerned how Joseph got it... I love Chapter 4 because to me it describes evolution (not Darwinism)  in the proce

Posted Images

On 4/10/2020 at 4:21 PM, Maureen said:

It's not much of a quote and Kwaku describing what he thinks happened doesn't make it true. I'd rather find articles and documentation from people who have studied Egyptian history.

M.

 

On 4/10/2020 at 8:24 PM, Maureen said:

In An Egyptian Context for the  Sacrifice of Abraham, John Gee and Kerry Muhlestein write:

"...archaelologists have discovered evidence of human sacrifice. Just outside the Middle Kingdom fortress at Mirgissa, which had been part of the Egyptian empire in Nubia, a deposit was found containing various ritual objects such as melted wax figurines, a flint knife, and the decapitated body of a foreigner slain during rites designed to ward off enemies. Almost universally, this discovery has been accepted as a case of human sacrifice.....The remains in the deposit are consistent with those of later ritual texts describing the daily execration rite, which was usually a wax figure substituting in effigy for a human sacrifice: "Blind with the sinew of a red cow...spit on him four times...trample on him with the left foot...smite him with a spear...decapitate him with a knife...place him on the fire...spit on him in the fire many times" Again we see that the use of a knife was followed by burning. The fact that the site of Mirgissa is not in Egypt proper but was part of the Egyptian empire in Nubia informs us that the Egyptians extended such practices beyond their borders."

But in an article/essay called: Did the Ancient Egyptians Practice Human Sacrifice? the author writes:

...On the other side of the coin is the argument that retainer sacrifice carried on well into the Middle Kingdom. The argument being based on the one discovery of a decapitated foreigner inside the Middle Kingdom tomb in Migrissa, which was part of the Egyptian empire in Nubia. While sacrifice disappeared in certain regions when Nubia was ruled by the Egyptians, there is evidence their practices of ritual sacrifice continued well into the 5th and 6th century AD. Van Dijk mentions evidence of cultic retainer sacrifice in smaller numbers occurring at Migrissa. This was Nubian sacrifice, not Egyptian. This was not a case of ‘Egyptians extending such practices’ beyond their borders’. It was a Nubian practice that trickled away during Egyptian rule only to be revived when Nubian rule over Egypt ended in 657 BC. When Nubia was an Egyptian colony, Van Dijk maintains that “Slaves were protected from grim Nubian customs such as retainer sacrifice.”

https://www.historyoftheancientworld.com/2014/08/did-the-ancient-egyptians-practice-human-sacrifice/

M.

I dealt with just such a question last week on Quorahttps://qr.ae/pNrrSW

  • Like 1
Link to post
6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Muhlstein (whom I have never met) was dealing with broadscale phenomena in his dissertation, not defending the Book of Abraham.  He has continued this effort in a number of publications, a few of which I list here:

Why would you fault him for this?

It isn't Muhlestein who is being held at fault here, it is the use the church essay made of his dissertation in an attempt to defend the Book of Abraham that is being examined. As Dr Ritner pointed out:

Quote

The LDS reaction to these issues is confined to a few citations in the section on “The Book of Abraham and the Ancient World.” A brief response to some of these is in order. The posting cites the work of Kerry Muhlestein (in n. 36)5 in an attempt to prove that the religion-based human sacrifice at the order of Pharaoh “as described in Abraham 1:11-12, is an example of punishment now known to have been meted out during the Abrahamic era.” Whether or not Muhlestein expected to find such proof when he began his doctoral study, the title of the published volume intentionally avoids the term “human sacrifice” in favor of “sanctioned killing,” and the thesis forthrightly concludes “that rebellion was the chief motive” for such executions (pp. 80 and 82). Muhlestein also rightly notes the complexity in distinguishing the civil terms “execution” or “capital punishment” from the more overtly religious term “human sacrifice” (pp. 5-8), particularly in a society where political and religious issues are not sharply distinguished. That ambiguity could be argued for the modern United States as well, since civil execution for murder is often linked to condemnation for killing in the Ten Commandments, a distinctly religious text. More to the point, however, while Muhlestein notes capital punishment for political rebellion and crimes against individuals and the state, including theft of temple property or resources, there is no parallel to the Book of Abraham’s intended “martyrdom” for refusing to worship the images of Egyptian gods. That would happen under Roman prosecution of Christians, but personal worship (or its refusal) was not a basic concern of the ancient Egyptian state. The LDS citation of Muhlestein’s work does not support the narrative of the Book of Abraham.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

It isn't Muhlestein who is being held at fault here, it is the use the church essay made of his dissertation in an attempt to defend the Book of Abraham that is being examined. As Dr Ritner pointed out:

Ritner misses the point, and that is not at all uncommon for offhand comments on the Book of Abraham.  Ritner claims, for example, that "there is no parallel to the Book of Abraham’s intended 'martyrdom' for refusing to worship the images of Egyptian gods."  However, execution of the virgins and the attempted execution of Abe is described as taking place in North Syria, not in Egypt.  The named gods or idols include Elkanah and Libnah, which are clearly not Egyptian.  There is syncretism, of course, as Ritner must surely know, such that Asiatic gods are normally equated with Egyptian gods and vice versa.  Cyrus Gordon, W. F. Albright, Jaroslav Cerny, and many others have made that point repeatedly, and I cite specific examples in my own analysis (which Fair Dinkum fears to read).  More importantly, based on the actual description in the text of the BofA, facsimile 1 from the Book of Breathings cannot have been the original illustration accompanying the text, but is rather a late substitute used by the Jewish scribe or redactor who was passing on the text at least two thousand years after any possible original Abraham (there is no secular evidence that Abe ever existed).  It might be more reasonable to analyze the document as a Graeco-Roman period pseudepigraphon.

Muhlestein is being faulted by proxy for writing a dissertation at UCLA, under the supervision of non-Mormon professors.  Why?  Because someone cited his dissertation in an LDS Gospel Topics Essay.  Wouldn't it be more professional to address the actual issue at hand, rather than trying to win debate points?

  • Like 3
Link to post
On 4/10/2020 at 4:38 PM, Calm said:

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

Not that we actually know when Abraham lived, so I am not sure that could disqualify anything. 

If Abraham actually existed (and we have no secular evidence that he did), it must have been at around the Middle Kingdom period in Egypt (dynasty 12).

  • Like 1
Link to post
On 4/10/2020 at 4:47 PM, Calm said:

Old Kingdom was 2686–2181 BC.  We don’t have a definite time period for Abraham as far as I know. 

Most scholars estimate such time periods based on the complete mise en scene, from the chronology internal to the Bible, to the laws governing Abe's adoption of his servant (Gen 24:34), the popularity of Abe's name, the activities of Abe, etc.  Those all fit a particular period, and not another.  The late Frank Cross claimed that the indication was that the epic narrative in Genesis is very archaic, and that it was passed on in oral fashion for a long period.  The notion that it took final form after the Babylonian Exile is very likely true, but the actual content belies any claim that it was made out of whole cloth at that time.

  • Like 1
Link to post
On 4/11/2020 at 2:38 AM, Scott Lloyd said:

Thus, the account in the Book of Abraham harmonizes with other ancient writings that have Abraham being sacrificed by fire. 

Other ancient accounts like Genesis, wherein Abraham builds an altar to sacrifice Issac by fire.

What is unique about the account of sacrifice by fire in the Book of Abraham? 

Link to post

@Scott Lloyd I've been watching a bunch of Kwaku's videos, I do like some of them. He has a friend name Jaxon Washburn that is on a few with him. Jaxon recently was on a panel of people on a Sunstone Podcast analyzing the recent general conference. He was the only true believing one on the panel. But he also posted in a Mormon Stories FB group and posted some things. I like the guy, he appears to want to meet everyone in the middle and have members and non believing members get along and work out some differences. I guess he could be trying to get some to come back to believing, not sure, but sure do like the guy. Here he is below in the red plaid shirt.

 

Edited by Tacenda
Link to post
10 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

@Scott Lloyd I've been watching a bunch of Kwaku's videos, I do like some of them. He has a friend name Jaxon Washburn that is on a few with him. Jaxon recently was on a panel of people on a Sunstone Podcast analyzing the recent general conference. He was the only true believing one on the panel. But he also posted in a Mormon Stories FB group and posted some things. I like the guy, he appears to want to meet everyone in the middle and have members and non believing members get along and work out some differences. I guess he could be trying to get some to come back to believing, not sure, but sure do like the guy. Here he is below in the red plaid shirt.

 

Daniel Tate looks really familiar, but I'm not sure the timing of his association with Jeff Durbin and James White lines up right with when I am thinking that I may have met him.  I've spoken with Jeff and James a few times through the years at the Mesa Arizona Temple Easter Pageant, and a guy that looks a lot like Daniel was either associated with Apologia or Jeff Durbin's group the last time or two that I saw them there.  But the Mesa Arizona temple has been closed since May of 2018, and so it would have been Easter of 2018 that I would have seen them last.  I haven't watched the entire video yet.  I'll check it out.

  • Like 1
Link to post
  • 2 months later...

Interesting to me, the viewpoint of Brian Hauglid on the matter. Which side to take, is what I'm wondering of those on this board. https://mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2020/07/radio-free-mormon-184-the-brian-hauglid-interview/

Something mentioned is that it's clear that there isn't a missing scroll. And things Joseph learned from a Hebrew teacher were added in later on.

Link to post
4 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

Randomly, I released my Book of Abraham podcast episode at the same time as this controversy. I also rely heavily on Brian Hauglid quotes in this episode. https://www.churchistrue.com/blog/podcast-episode-8-book-of-abraham-and-jst/

 

 

 

First Joseph's borrowing of Adam Clarke's commentary for the JST and then the BoA. Will this lead to the BoM now, I wonder. I do appreciate you having a place for members to land after finding these things out. Like your one comment on the link, they mention that it doesn't have to be all black and white now, and how they can just trust the good feelings they get for it, and your help in understanding this. I'm looking forward to listening to your take. 

Link to post
46 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Interesting to me, the viewpoint of Brian Hauglid on the matter. Which side to take, is what I'm wondering of those on this board. https://mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2020/07/radio-free-mormon-184-the-brian-hauglid-interview/

Something mentioned is that it's clear that there isn't a missing scroll. And things Joseph learned from a Hebrew teacher were added in later on.

Is there a transcript of Hauglid's remarks available anywhere?

  • Like 1
Link to post
On 4/9/2020 at 2:05 PM, Fair Dinkum said:

Your are correct Bro. Lloyd, This matter is several months old.   And because of this, my memory could be wrong.  But I'm almost certain that the anonymous pod caster RFM exposed Kwaku's initial and counter arguments as lacking any substance after which Kwaku abandoned the battlefield.   The timeline that Kwahu based his argument on was shown to be wrong.  At least that's what I remember.  https://radiofreemormon.org/2019/07/radio-free-mormon-80-going-down-to-kwaku-town/ In fact, I thought RFM so thoroughly thrashed and embarrassed Kwaku, that I'm surprised that you actually wanted to resurrect this subject again.  Some failed arguments are best left alone and forgotten.

I think the only way that the Book of Abraham makes any sense is to do exactly what you have done and just ignore all of the apologetic arguments, theories and conflicting evidence and instead just declare your belief that... "...the Book of Abraham is not a fraudulent invention at all, but an authentic scriptural record that Joseph brought forth by the gift and power of God" So there.

curious Mr. Lloyd how you deal with the rebuttal?  Radio Free Mormon and Mr. Reel seemed to have satisfied why Jasher is a strawman and that Joseph had access to to the same material.  Do you concede Joseph had the material needed in his milieu? and that there is even evidence he had it in his awareness? 

Link to post
11 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Is there a transcript of Hauglid's remarks available anywhere?

Most likely no, the only person I know that provides transcription is on Gospel Tangents podcast with Rick Bennett. Knowing him he will interview Brian, since he interviewed Dan Vogel awhile back.

Link to post
3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Most likely no, the only person I know that provides transcription is on Gospel Tangents podcast with Rick Bennett. Knowing him he will interview Brian, since he interviewed Dan Vogel awhile back.

Hopefully soon. 

Link to post
On 4/9/2020 at 11:04 AM, Scott Lloyd said:

It’s several months old, but I just found this rebuttal video on YouTube that destroys an antagonistic criticism by Radio Free Mormon (consigliere) and Bill Reel. 
 

In the process, I was introduced to Kwaku (pronounced “kway-koo,” as RFM would learn to his embarrassment), a brilliant, young, Ghanaian apologist and hilarious YouTube comedian. I’ve since watched a couple of others of his videos, including one from last summer in which he confronted (in an amiable way) a couple of hardcore anti-Mormon protesters at the Manti Temple pageant. 
 

You should watch the above link to get the impact of the video. But in a nutshell, it shows that though Joseph in his lifetime had access to Jasher and Josephus, it would not have been soon enough — in the case of Jasher — to help him in fraudulently inventing the Book of Abraham — if indeed that were his intent. In the case of Josephus, the similarities are not close enough to conclude that Joseph plagiarized Josephus in creating the Book of Abraham. 

Of course, I hold to my conviction that the Book of Abraham is not a fraudulent invention at all, but an authentic scriptural record that Joseph brought forth by the gift and power of God. 

Question for Scott Lloyd. Anyone else who views things similarly, please weigh in.

Many faithful LDS view the BoA as a modern revelation, not tying to anything ancient. The church even endorses the catalyst theory now. Robin Jensen and Brian Hauglid (bad example now I guess) clearly view it that way. 

Terryl Givens said this when talking about potential BoA source material:

Quote

 

I think it's almost comical, the silliness of those people who say, Oh, I have found another plagiarism of Joseph Smith. Look at this. He got this from Charles Buck, or he got this from Adam Clarke. No, Joseph published in the church newspaper. Most of the sources when he found a good source for an idea that he reaffirmed. Whether that's baptism for the dead or progression through the kingdoms or Thomas ****.

He was excited to find another gem that he could incorporate into the restoration. We have to shift our model of understanding Joseph's conceiving of himself. He was an inspired syncretist.

 

My question is why would someone with apologist inclinations use the phrase "to fabricate the BoA" when talking about using potential source material. Is your view of Joseph Smith and the restoration truly so conservative and black-and-white that you would lose your testimony and go Exmo if you found that he was using source material and that it wasn't ancient? Or are you just trying to poison the well so to speak by framing the question ludicrously like that?

Are you aware of the Adam Clarke JST stuff or do you deny that source material also? It seems we're past the point of denying Joseph used any source material at all. Aren't we? I feel like arguments like this and especially framing arguments like this with the phrase "fabricate the BoA" are basically pushing people out the church. 

Wouldn't it be better to say something like: "I think BoA is ancient and Book of Jasher and Josephus were not used and only loosely correlate to the BoA. However, if you think he used the Book of Jasher and Josephus as source material, it still doesn't mean that it's a fabrication. Many faithful LDS believe he did exactly that, and that he was inspired to take the very best doctrines of available source material in an inspired syncretist way. That's not my personal belief, but it's a very valid belief. So either way it doesn't even matter."

Isn't that much more effective?

Is your desire or demand for the literal/traditional view becoming your own sacred cow? 

 

 

Link to post
On 7/7/2020 at 10:47 AM, Tacenda said:

Interesting to me, the viewpoint of Brian Hauglid on the matter. Which side to take, is what I'm wondering of those on this board. https://mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2020/07/radio-free-mormon-184-the-brian-hauglid-interview/

Something mentioned is that it's clear that there isn't a missing scroll. And things Joseph learned from a Hebrew teacher were added in later on.

Thank you @Tacenda, for providing the link to this very interesting podcast.

M.

Link to post
Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Maureen said:

Thank you @Tacenda, for providing the link to this very interesting podcast.

M.

You're welcome, you've probably seen the other thread about it that's getting more traffic. :)

Edited by Tacenda
Link to post
1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

You're welcome, you've probably seen the other thread about it that's getting more traffic. :)

Yes, I've read some of the other thread; but it moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. 😊

M.

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...