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Robert Ritner - Book of Abraham Interview


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16 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I'm 2 episodes into this podcast. I want to be fair, but at least to me, it is becoming very obvious that the Book of Abraham, as I had been taught to believe, is not what the church has claimed it is.  It is not a translation, in any known understanding of that word, of an ancient Egyptian papyri written by the hand of Abraham. Joseph could not translate the Egyptian language and from what he did produced from his so called translations of facsimiles 1,2 & 3 it is beyond doubt that he was just making stuff up and calling it a translation.  None of the facsimile translations are what Smith claimed they were...it's just complete fiction,  entirely made up gibberish.  One does not have to even go to the verses in the Book of Abraham to see beyond doubt that Joseph was just making things up and passing it off as revelation.

I'm sorry for venting, but this is hard and difficult to accept.   How are we as a people to accept that Smith was who he claimed to be and then reconcile that with his claimed translation of those 3 facsimiles?  Dr Rittner did give Smith some credit for a few (if you tilt your head sideways and look crossed eyed) hits, but other than those, it's compelte made up gibberish with zero connection to what is on the papyri.

So what options are there?  The Catalyst Theory or a cleaver attempt by Smith to fool his followers into believing that he was what he claimed to be.  I think the later is what one would call a fraud.  Are there other options?  If there is I would personally like to know what they are.

If we ignore what Smith claimed he was doing and ignore what his scribes claimed he was doing and try to explain away the troubling realities that have surrounded the Book of Abraham what other options have I missed?  I'm more than willing to consider other logical options for what the Book of Abraham is, but I must also be true to myself and accept what it is not.

Anyone?

PS: Before I make any dire decisions I will wait to see what others here might suggest. How do believing members of the church explain away the translations of the facsimiles?   I am also going to read Robert Smith's essay on the Book of Abraham.  I'll return and report.

Here's a possible thought exercise.  Actually, it involves quite a bit more than just "thought."  Hear me out...

1. The legal system in America has a number of mechanisms to allow parties to examine and sort out legal disputes.  The plaintiff files a lawsuit (a "complaint") that must present a factual narrative (a "Statement of Facts") relied upon by the plaintiff to seek relief from the court.  At the initial stages of the lawsuit, the factual narrative does not need to be supported by evidence.  The plaintiff only needs to present "allegations," or statements of *purported* fact.  It can include guesswork, assumptions, and so on.  Broadly speaking, the court then assumes, takes as a given, that the "Statement of Facts" is "true."  However, that assumption only applies during the early stages of the suit.

2. The next phase of the lawsuit is "discovery."  This is where the plaintiff and the defendant(s) exchange information, evidence, etc.  Each side can present written questions ("Interrogatories") to the other side, who then has a month or so to respond in writing.  Each side can also send over lists of documents and other evidence ("Requests for Production of Documents and Things"), and the other side has to produce such materials and send them over.  Each side can also send over "Requests for Admission," which is a list of statements that the other side must respond to by either admitting or denying them.  Each side can also issue subpoenas to other parties, conduct depositions (recorded testimony prior to trial), and otherwise research and investigate their own position and the opponent's.

3. At the end of the discovery phase (or even during it), each side has the option of filing a "Motion for Summary Judgment," which essentially is a request to the court saying "Hey, judge, we think there is no genuine factual dispute here.  We think the parties agree on the 'material' facts of this case, such that we won't need a trial.  You, the judge, can review this motion and, if you agree with us, conclude that no factual dispute exists, and that our side is entitled to judgment 'as a matter of law.'"  Due to the length, complexity, expense, etc. of going to trial, and for other reasons, the vast majority of lawsuits are resolved prior to going to trial, and many of them are resolved by the court granting a summary judgment motion.

4. A Motion for Summary Judgment ("MSJ") is structured in a very regimented, very specific way.  This is largely due to the significant impact an MSJ can have.  It can end the case by preventing it from going to trial (or it can eliminate large sections of a lawsuit).  A vital section of an MSJ is the "Statement of Facts for Which No Genuine Issue of Material Fact Exists."  The lawyer writing the MSJ will spend considerable amounts of time on this part since he will need to present all facts that are relevant to the court's consideration of the legal dispute.  He will need to present each discrete fact in a separate numbered paragraph, and each paragraph will need to be substantiated/supported by specific citation(s) to relevant, probative, admissible evidence.

5. Once the attorney has completed the above section about the "facts," he then needs to present a separate section as to why his client wins the case on "the law."  For example, a claim for "breach of contract" requires the plaintiff to show A) the existence of a valid contract, B) the defendant's breach of the contract, C) a causal link between the defendant's breach and D) damage or injury suffered by the plaintiff.  If, and only if, the attorney can present a set of material facts about which no genuine dispute exists, *and also* establish that the plaintiff wins on "the law," then the court can grant the MSJ and the legal dispute is over.  However, if the attorney fails in any of the above, then the MSJ is denied and the case goes to trial.

6. I wonder if some of the foregoing efforts might be utilized in examining your perspective on the Book of Abraham.  My impression is that folks often approach this topic with a mish-mash of 

  • A) some familiarity with some pieces of "evidence" (of varying degrees of quality);
  • B) a considerable number of unstated assumptions about the "evidences";
  • C) a number of unstated assumptions about the religious aspects of BOA-related issues (i.e., assumptions about how God *should* communicate through and work with prophets);
  • D) a number of conclusions that are entirely or partially based on insufficient data, guesswork, etc.;
  • E) an insufficient amount of attention and consideration given to the gaps and limitations in the evidentiary record; and
  • F) feelings of doubt, fear, shame and anger sufficient to overcome reliance on faith, study, patience, etc. (to be candid, I think Dehlin and Consig are working *really* hard to evoke doubt/fear/shame/anger in members of the Church).

7. I propose that you take a good amount of time to actually sit down and write out a "Statement of Facts for Which No Genuine Issue of Material Fact Exists" about the Book of Abraham, and see if you can formulate such a complete and cohesive statement without running into the above-stated problems (i.e., your statement should accounts for and addresses all the evidence, all the gaps in the evidence, all the limitations and ambiguities in the extant evidence, all the unstated assumptions, etc.).  Lay out each relevant and necessary fact, and then provide citations to relevant, probative evidence substantiating that fact (I assume you would be relying rather heavily on commentary from Dr. Ritner for this).  I think if you were to write and post this statement on this board, there are a number of well-informed and well-intentioned people here who could provide feedback from a perspective that is informed by both study and also by faith.  I also think a number of the above-listed assumptions, gaps in the evidence, etc. would come to the surface and become more apparent.

8. If you were to undertake the proposition in the preceding paragraph, I would also invite you to first prepare yourself.  Take some time away from the contention, from the crowds clamoring at the gates of your mind.  Read the Book of Mormon every day for, say, 1-2 weeks, and conclude each reading session with a sincere and quiet prayer requesting guidance and inspiration from God.  Toward the end of this period, give particular attention to Alma 32 and Moroni 10:3-5, and also John 6 in the New Testament.  

During this period do what you can to distance yourself from feelings of anger, fear, doubt, shame, etc.  Conduct an inventory to see if there are things going on in your life that are impairing the influence of the Spirit, and try to mitigate those things.  Seek counsel (and perhaps a blessing) about this endeavor from your bishop or a trusted friend or family member (or even a few).  Peruse your journals or your memories for past instances in which you have felt what you understood at the time to be the Spirit.  Consider those experiences and keep them in mind.  Perhaps conclude this preparation time with a fast.  Then, at that point, proceed to sit down and write down a "Statement of Facts for Which No Genuine Issue of Material Fact Exists" about the Book of Abraham.  Then, if you feel so inclined, post it here and let's see what you've got.

9. I realize that the foregoing proposal is a big ask.  Nevertheless, I present it with sincerity and seriousness.  As a Latter-day Saint, I have come to appreciate how study and faith and revelation are designed to help us discern truth (albeit not necessarily a perfect and complete understanding thereof).  As a lawyer, I have come to appreciate how the legal system is designed to sort out and sift through evidence to reach the truth, or some approximation of truth.  It's far from perfect, but its emphasis on the collection and analysis of evidence is helpful.  The legal system is not situated to adjudicate claims that necessarily turn on questions of faith, the Spirit, etc., but I often find myself adapting some portions of that system to address controversies and difficulties pertaining to the Restored Gospel.  Part of that adaptation involves utilizing the resources available to the Saints that are beyond the legal realm (faith, prayer, revelation) in the truth-seeking process.

10. I wish you well.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Interesting that even Dr Ritner recognizes that Joseph got some facsimile explanations right.  How is that possible?

Hi Robert.

If Joseph Smith knew how to translate Egyptian (I know you are not claiming that), the question isn't how did he get a few of the fac explanations right (or close as I see it), the question is why did he get so many of them wrong? facsimile #3 is especially troubling due to the actual text explanations right over the characters.

The simple explanations for the ones he got right is he got information from 19th century sources and maybe a lucky guess or two. For example, we know that Chandler toured with the artifacts for a couple of years in the east before bringing the remaining 4 mummies, 2 scrolls and a few random pieces of paypri to Kirtland.  What did Chandler learn from showing the collection to educated observers in the East and how much of that did he share with Smith? 

Also in the Ritner podcast we learn where Joseph got the crocodile god explanation in figure 9 from facsimile #1.  Now that we know from Dr Wayment's work about Joseph's familiarity with Clarke's commentary it is easy to see where that came from.

 

Quote

In the book of Genesis, and in this book, the word Pharaoh frequently occurs, which, though many suppose it to be a proper name peculiar to one person, and by this supposition confound the acts of several Egyptian kings, yet is to be understood only as a name of office.

It may be necessary to observe that all the Egyptian kings, whatever their own name was, took the surname of Pharaoh when they came to the throne; a name which, in its general acceptation, signified the same as king or monarch, but in its literal meaning, as Bochart has amply proved, it signifies a crocodile, which being a sacred animal among the Egyptians, the word might be added to their kings in order to procure them the greater reverence and respect

Clarke Commentary on Exodus 1:11

Additionally there was  nearly 7 years between the time Joseph received the artifacts in 1835 and when he translated the facsimiles in Nauvoo in 1842. What was he able to learn about them in that period?

The question is, what correct explanations did Joseph provide that were not already understood by 1842? Because you have to eliminate possible 19th century sources before moving on to other possibilities.

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13 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Hi Robert.

If Joseph Smith knew how to translate Egyptian (I know you are not claiming that), the question isn't how did he get a few of the fac explanations right (or close as I see it), the question is why did he get so many of them wrong? facsimile #3 is especially troubling due to the actual text explanations right over the characters.

The simple explanations for the ones he got right is he got information from 19th century sources and maybe a lucky guess or two. For example, we know that Chandler toured with the artifacts for a couple of years in the east before bringing the remaining 4 mummies, 2 scrolls and a few random pieces of paypri to Kirtland.  What did Chandler learn from showing the collection to educated observers in the East and how much of that did he share with Smith? 

Also in the Ritner podcast we learn where Joseph got the crocodile god explanation in figure 9 from facsimile #1.  Now that we know from Dr Wayment's work about Joseph's familiarity with Clarke's commentary it is easy to see where that came from.

 

Clarke Commentary on Exodus 1:11

Additionally there was  nearly 7 years between the time Joseph received the artifacts in 1835 and when he translated the facsimiles in Nauvoo in 1842. What was he able to learn about them in that period?

The question is, what correct explanations did Joseph provide that were not already understood by 1842? Because you have to eliminate possible 19th century sources before moving on to other possibilities.

And Josepph had others surrounding him helping. It's mentioned in this wiki several were scribes. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Abraham#:~:text=The Book of Abraham is,from a traveling mummy exhibition.&text=Smith said the papyri described,the cosmos and its creation.

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23 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

There is ongoing debate and discussion, and has been ever since Joseph Smith started reporting experiences and publishing.  LDS scholars will continue to research and publish on the topic, and so will the critics, in the venues that they choose.  Anyone who is interested can sample whatever wares they choose.  So it's not like giving John Dehlin more product for his business (he draws a significant income from Mormon Stories, see the first essay here, https://dearjohndehlin.wordpress.com/2018/11/03/john-dehlin-dinosaurs-ndas-and-compensation/)  means that the discussion will not occur.  It has already, and will continue regardless.  The issue is, how much business can Dehlin drum up for his non-profit so as to pay his "revenue to podcasters from podcasts will be 75% of donations to that podcast and will be capped at $200,000". 

This simply is not true.  When you publish in non-peer reviewed publications, there is no checks and balances in place at all.  You can say whatever you want.  What is happening is they keep talking right past each other.  The specific points get glossed over to make some sort of gotcha point.  A big issue here is Ritner wants to point out that Gee and Muhlestein are misusing the discipline.  He doesn't care about Mormonism or one's faith, at least as he states it.  What he cares about is the tricky way that Muhlestein and Gee seem to be winking their way through an argument in order to leave room for the possibility that something that is wrong can be right, in terms of Egyptian and Egyptology.  Nothing on Facsimile 3 is translated correctly, for instance.  But there is some complicated effort by Gee and Muhlestein, it seems, to pretend that's not true.  The fixing of the Hypocephalus is nonsense.  But that simply can't be clearly stated, or so it seems.  If they can all sit and talk, they can take facsimile 3 and clearly point out that the translation attempts fail badly.  There can be room to acknowledge such things.  If they sit and talk they can clearly declare that the Hypocephalus fixing was nothing more than inserting info from other pieces of the papyri, and doing so doesn't make any sense at all.  I mean it'd be a start.  I mean that's for instance.  If Gee and Muhlestein have a point by declaring "well we don't really know, so it's possible" then a discussion can point that out.  

It's weird people want ot make this about their hate for Dehlin and RFM, when simply put a discussion can benefit us all.  What a weird distraction.  

23 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

For instance, I quoted Rhodes in my response to the CES Letter.  Dehlin says people deserve to have everything on the table before they make a decision.  Can you find this sort of thing on his table?

This isn't about Dehlin.  

23 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

https://rsc-legacy.byu.edu/sites/default/files/pubs/pdf/TRE4_2.pdf toward the end.  And there is much more on the Facsimile 2 and other hypocephali in One Eternal Round.  Very much worth a read, and difficult to convey via podcast.

Warren Parish, a scribe involved with Joseph in the translation in 1835 stated "I have set by his side and penned down the translation of the Egyptian Heiroglyphicks as he claimed to receive it by direct inspiration of Heaven." (Gee, quoting Parish to Painesville Republican, 15 February, 1838, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, 6).

Testing whether Joseph Smith ever received "direct inspiration from heaven" is different than testing whether Joseph Smith always received direct inspiration from heaven.  And one of the most dubious ways to conduct the test comes in the form, "It's not the way I would have arranged things if I were God," since it is always obvious that those making the claim fall substantially short of the Divine.

Me, I'm tasting this delicious fruit, and don't find the prospect of being pointed at and mocked from those perched in the Great and Spacious particularly bothersome in comparison. 

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

Its fine if you think you have something better than others.  If you think your faith is bestest.  No big deal.  No one's worried about that. 

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18 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I'm 2 episodes into this podcast. I want to be fair, but at least to me, it is becoming very obvious that the Book of Abraham, as I had been taught to believe, is not what the church has claimed it is. 

WELCOME TO THE RABBIT HOLE.... IT GOES FOREVER

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I agree that nothing will happen, but John Dehlin already knew that.  His open letter is just for show, and his rank dishonesty is the most important feature of his anti-Mormon efforts.  His allies should be deeply embarrassed.

Only because Gee won't engage.  If Gee were willing to debate his scholarship, those three are sincere and ready.  Its Gee who holds up the process.  And who can blame him.... he's not a very good egyptologist. 

 

Edited by The Unclean Deacon
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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

 

Interesting that even Dr Ritner recognizes that Joseph got some facsimile explanations right.  How is that possible?.

That was your take away?  You seem to distort how Ritner framed two half hits against 300 errors.  You may want to take a deep look at your extreme confirmation bias

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8 minutes ago, The Unclean Deacon said:

Only because Gee won't engage.  If Gee were willing to debate his scholarship, those three are sincere and ready.  Its Gee who holds up the process.  And who can blame him.... he's not a very good egyptologist.

Why would Dr Gee, who is a brilliant scholar and Egyptologist, want to engage with anyone who is fundamentally dishonest?  Not sure why you think any but the dishonest people are holding up anything.  Why do you classify dishonest people as "sincere"?  On what basis?  Do you know anything at all about Egyptology or the ancient world?  Have you ever met Gee and Ritner?  I have met both.

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4 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Why would Dr Gee, who is a brilliant scholar and Egyptologist, want to engage with anyone who is fundamentally dishonest?  Not sure why you think any but the dishonest people are holding up anything.  Why do you classify dishonest people as "sincere"?  On what basis?  Do you know anything at all about Egyptology or the ancient world?  Have you ever met Gee and Ritner?  I have met both.

Gee is not a great scholar.  All his accolades are within non-peer reviewed Mormon apologetics.  Can you show me standing within Egyptology outside Mormonism?

 

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10 minutes ago, The Unclean Deacon said:

And who can blame him.... he's not a very good egyptologist. 

 

Credibility shot. Not his. Yours.

Tell me, what does a good Egyptologist look like to you? Someone who toes every line of the scholastic orthodoxy perhaps? Or perhaps someone who publishes a lot of peer-reviewed material? Perhaps you ought to tread a little more carefully: if I am not mistaken, Gee has published more than Dr. Ritner, and his publications are in good standing. The same goes with Dr. Muhlestein, who is one of the most highly rated Egyptology professors in the country. 

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15 minutes ago, The Unclean Deacon said:

That was your take away?  You seem to distort how Ritner framed two half hits against 300 errors.  You may want to take a deep look at your extreme confirmation bias

I was only responding to Fair Dinkum's lame comment as follows: "Dr Rittner did give Smith some credit for a few (if you tilt your head sideways and look crossed eyed) hits,"

That was Fair Dinkum's distortion, not mine.  However, since neither you nor Fair Dinkum know anything about Egyptology or the ancient world, how would you know whether Ritner had given you the straight scoop or a con job?  Doesn't "extreme confirmation bias" describe all too well the nature of anti-Mormon assumptions?

I think that a learned conversation about such matters by those who know something about the subject is all to the good, and I don't care which position is taken by the participants.  All of us can learn from a meaningful conversation.  Unfortunately, that is not the nature of Radio Free Mormon, nor of Mormon Stories.

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8 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Credibility shot. Not his. Yours.

Tell me, what does a good Egyptologist look like to you? Someone who toes every line of the scholastic orthodoxy perhaps? Or perhaps someone who publishes a lot of peer-reviewed material? Perhaps you ought to tread a little more carefully: if I am not mistaken, Gee has published more than Dr. Ritner, and his publications are in good standing. The same goes with Dr. Muhlestein, who is one of the most highly rated Egyptology professors in the country. 

a good egyptologists would need to have some credibility in his own arena, John Doesn't.  Can you name one non-mormon egytologist who holds Gee up in his field as credible.  Only believing Mormons who are interested in religious apologetics take such a view.  By this standard, David Misagviage is brilliant.  Ken Ham is brilliant.  By this standard Kirby Heybourne is a brilliant actor.   To create labels in such a vacuum is illogical and deeply flawed and misses the mark way more than it hits.

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13 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Stemmelbow said:

Peer review is not contrained to peer-reviewed publication.  Rather, it continues in ongoing discussion and publication far beyond any particular publication or beyond any single peer reviewer, including Ritner.  So, he gets his say.  Fine.  But the discussion goes on regardless.  Science and scholarship are ongoing discussions. The whole point of Bishop Spaulding's 1912 publication of a bunch of notable scholars attacking the Book of Abraham was to end the discussion once and for all.  But here we are, over a century later, still discussing, skeptics again trying to close the book once and for all, and the faithful, some of whom have Ph.D.s and many professional publications themselves, continue to explore.  

I've been through the peer review process many times, in nine or so different journals and books and editors.  I even got published by Oxford University Press in an essay in 2008, which is clearly not an LDS press.  Different journals have different peer reviewers.  Wikipedia has peer reviewers, and if you pull back the curtain on what goes on there, the politics, especially on LDS topics, is abundantly obvious.  

Side note on how Peer Review works at Wikipedia:

https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2011/something_wiki_this_way_comes

I'm a reviewer for Interpreter, one of a group.   Interpreter has web publication, and comments, so anyone can come along and comment even after peer review.   We don't consider ourselves as producing final words, but participating in and by publishing, actively encouraging ongoing discussion, even when we don't fully agree with somethings said by authors and commentors we publish.

And there is the little exchange in John 7:47-48.

And Nibley's observation:

According to Wikipedia (peer reviewed!) essay on Gee "Ritner has concluded that "the specific source of the Book of Abraham is the 'Breathing Permit of Hôr,' misunderstood and mistranslated by Joseph Smith."

Side note on how Peer Review works at Wikipedia:

https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2011/something_wiki_this_way_comes

Fine.  That opinion closes the door and settles the case on Joseph Smith.  It explains away the Book of Abraham because it is not the Breathing Permit of Hor.  I knew the Book of Abraham is not the Breathing Permit of Hor.  I have read An Egyptian Endowment, Nibley's translation made it clear that the Book of Abraham is not that.  But that, I think, for what it's worth, does not go far to explain the Book of Abraham.   Calling it a mistranslation, scoffing, and such, does not address what we have.  We know in in translating the plates Joseph had, he was not looking at the plates he had.  We know that in producing the Book of Moses, Joseph did not have any physical source.  We know that in producing D&C 93, he wasn't claiming to have parchement from the Apostle John.

If Ritner really has taken the measure of Joseph Smith, let's test him.  Have him produce something of the size and scope of the Book of Mormon, dictating one unpunctuated draft with his face in a hat in two months,  and let him produce three witnesses who claim for the rest or their lives to have seen an angel in his presence, and eight others who will testify that that held and viewed golden plates, and examined the engravings, and most of them be alientated from Ritner, and let Ritner hold to his claims of divine inspiration through a few months in Liberty Jail while his followers endure violent expulsion.  And let his book contradict many popular opions, and have the next 200 years of science and discovery demonstrate a general trend of convergence.   Now that would constitute a true peer review, demonstrating that he was Joseph Smith's equal, a true peer, rather than just a critic.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

always the same old games....  Mormonism as the true and living church is indiscernible from a fraud.

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3 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Professor Gee has given papers at Egyotological conferences in Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Bonn, Boston, Brussels, Budapest, Cambridge (Massachusetts), Copenhagen, Giza, Grenoble, Jersey City, Laie, Leuven, London, New Haven, Paris, Philadelphia, Prague, Providence, Reading, Rhodes, San Diego, Seattle, Stevenage, Toledo, Toronto, Tucson, Vancouver, Warsaw, and Washington D.C.

He has published Egyptological work with E. J. Brill, Peeters, Praeger, Harrassowitz Verlag, Archaeopress, Styx, Sheffield Press, the Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, the American University of Cairo Press, the Association Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, the Musée Hongrois des Beaux-Arts, the MEBT-ÓEB Comité de l’Égypte Ancienne de l’Association Amicale Hongroise-Égyptienne, the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale du Caire, the Bulletin for the Egyptological Seminar, Göttinger Miszellen, the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, the Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, and the Journal of Egyptian History.

The Aigyptos Datenbank lists him as having published on Amasis, archives, art, British Museum EA 10416, Book of the Dead, Book of the Dead 31, Book of the Dead 69, Coffin Texts, Coptic language, Coptic studies, daily ritual, Demotic papyri, Demotic studies, Greek papyri, Greeks in Egypt, hypocephali, initiation, lamps, language, Late Period documents, Late Period hieratic papyri, Late Period iconography, Late Period tomb equipment, law, Louvre E 7846, love, marriage, marriage contracts, Mesopotamia, Middle Kingdom literature, Middle Kingdom titles, Near East, New Kingdom documents, New Kingdom hieratic papyri, oaths, oracles, philology, phraseology, priest, prosopography, Ptolemaic Period iconography, Ptolemaic period tomb equipment, religion, ritual, Roman period tomb equipment, Romans in Egypt, seals, Shipwrecked Sailor, social structure, society, society and culture, text, Thebes, title, verbal system, and wab-priest.

Robert Ritner goes into great detail about these very credentials and explains why they appear to add credibility but actually says very little.  Is it even possible you have been deceived?  Its in part three by the way.  Try listening.

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6 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

John Gee is not only well-regarded in Mormon circles. This opinion you hold is simply wrong. Let's look at his accomplishments, shall we?

From his bio on FairMormon:

He has since served as the editor of the Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities. He has also participated in the International Association for Coptic Studies,] the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Research Center in Egypt, and BYU's David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.

You could find this out with a simple Google Search, man. 

The only reason people think Gee is a bad Egyptologist is because Ritner has gone after him with frank rancor. Recall Gee's doctoral committee? The one Ritner was supposed to be on, but Gee asked for him to be removed? Well, the university granted that request, meaning that even the secular academics thought Ritner woudn't give Gee a fair shake. Ritner has been elevated practically to the status of Thoth redivivus by critics of the Book of Abraham, and I can't fathom why. 

not true.  You may want to listen to Ritner explain Gee's time as editor for a flailing canadian magazine.

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1 minute ago, The Unclean Deacon said:

not true.  You may want to listen to Ritner explain Gee's time as editor for a flailing canadian magazine.

What's not true? That he served in these positions? That Ritner was removed from the doctoral committee? Or that you slavishly accept everything Ritner says as falling from the mouth of God?

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6 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

What's not true? That he served in these positions? That Ritner was removed from the doctoral committee? Or that you slavishly accept everything Ritner says as falling from the mouth of God?

the second and the fact the that Gee's credentials are credible.  Gee thanks Ritner in his dissertation and personally states there the reason Ritner left the dissertation committee.  The idea he was removed has zero evidence.  The idea that he removed himself due to his move to Chicago has evidence.... namely Gee himself.

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12 minutes ago, The Unclean Deacon said:

Robert Ritner goes into great detail about these very credentials and explains why they appear to add credibility but actually says very little.  Is it even possible you have been deceived?  Its in part three by the way.  Try listening.

I don't recall Dr. Ritner talking about that in part 3.  Do you have timestamp?

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8 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

What's not true? That he served in these positions? That Ritner was removed from the doctoral committee? Or that you slavishly accept everything Ritner says as falling from the mouth of God?

you may want to read the intro to Gee's dissertation

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27 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Stemmelbow said:

Peer review is not contrained to peer-reviewed publication.  Rather, it continues in ongoing discussion and publication far beyond any particular publication or beyond any single peer reviewer, including Ritner.  So, he gets his say.  Fine.  But the discussion goes on regardless.  Science and scholarship are ongoing discussions. The whole point of Bishop Spaulding's 1912 publication of a bunch of notable scholars attacking the Book of Abraham was to end the discussion once and for all.  But here we are, over a century later, still discussing, skeptics again trying to close the book once and for all, and the faithful, some of whom have Ph.D.s and many professional publications themselves, continue to explore.  

So you think the extant papyri can be translated to be the BoA?  I thought that discussion ended over 100 years ago.  What discussion is ongoing?  

27 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I've been through the peer review process many times, in nine or so different journals and books and editors.  I even got published by Oxford University Press in an essay in 2008, which is clearly not an LDS press.  Different journals have different peer reviewers.  Wikipedia has peer reviewers, and if you pull back the curtain on what goes on there, the politics, especially on LDS topics, is abundantly obvious.  

Side note on how Peer Review works at Wikipedia:

https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2011/something_wiki_this_way_comes

I'm a reviewer for Interpreter, one of a group.   Interpreter has web publication, and comments, so anyone can come along and comment even after peer review.   We don't consider ourselves as producing final words, but participating in and by publishing, actively encouraging ongoing discussion, even when we don't fully agree with somethings said by authors and commentors we publish.

And there is the little exchange in John 7:47-48.

And Nibley's observation:

According to Wikipedia (peer reviewed!) essay on Gee "Ritner has concluded that "the specific source of the Book of Abraham is the 'Breathing Permit of Hôr,' misunderstood and mistranslated by Joseph Smith."

Side note on how Peer Review works at Wikipedia:

https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2011/something_wiki_this_way_comes

Fine.  That opinion closes the door and settles the case on Joseph Smith.  It explains away the Book of Abraham because it is not the Breathing Permit of Hor.  I knew the Book of Abraham is not the Breathing Permit of Hor.  I have read An Egyptian Endowment, Nibley's translation made it clear that the Book of Abraham is not that.  But that, I think, for what it's worth, does not go far to explain the Book of Abraham.   Calling it a mistranslation, scoffing, and such, does not address what we have.  We know in in translating the plates Joseph had, he was not looking at the plates he had.  We know that in producing the Book of Moses, Joseph did not have any physical source.  We know that in producing D&C 93, he wasn't claiming to have parchement from the Apostle John.

If Ritner really has taken the measure of Joseph Smith, let's test him.  Have him produce something of the size and scope of the Book of Mormon, dictating one unpunctuated draft with his face in a hat in two months,  and let him produce three witnesses who claim for the rest or their lives to have seen an angel in his presence, and eight others who will testify that that held and viewed golden plates, and examined the engravings, and most of them be alientated from Ritner, and let Ritner hold to his claims of divine inspiration through a few months in Liberty Jail while his followers endure violent expulsion.  And let his book contradict many popular opions, and have the next 200 years of science and discovery demonstrate a general trend of convergence.   Now that would constitute a true peer review, demonstrating that he was Joseph Smith's equal, a true peer, rather than just a critic.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

What?  Why would we demand Ritner do what Joseph Smith did?  That seems silly.  Why not just promote the two divergent sides get together?  As I see it, there's too much talking past each other.  I don't know that a podcast with them all discussing will resolve anything...but it could.  

Link to post

If Gee started the demonstrably false telling that Ritner was removed from his dissertation committee and then what does that say about Gee the brilliant Scholar?
https://www.worldcat.org/title/requirements-of-ritual-purity-in-ancient-egypt/oclc/187475892

John Gee in the dissertation thanks Robert Ritner heavily and then explains himself, that Ritner had to step away due to his move to Chicago.  Gee thanks Ritner for his criticism of the early chapter of his dissertation and says he could not have gotten on track without him.

What is one to do when they invest in a narrative only to find it was a lie?

 

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