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Robert Ritner - Book of Abraham Interview


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5 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Daniel Person points out that Kerry Muhlestein has just commented on the recent podcasts.

https://interpreterfoundation.org/raising-the-abrahamic-discourse-an-essay-on-the-nature-of-dialogues-about-the-book-of-abraham/

And he observes that there are resources like this for those who prefer not to jump to conclusions, but rather, seek wisdom out of the best books.

https://interpreterfoundation.org/scholarly-support-for-the-book-of-abraham/

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Good grief.  Talk about a false dichotomy.

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On 8/26/2020 at 12:54 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

Daniel Person points out that Kerry Muhlestein has just commented on the recent podcasts.

https://interpreterfoundation.org/raising-the-abrahamic-discourse-an-essay-on-the-nature-of-dialogues-about-the-book-of-abraham/

And he observes that there are resources like this for those who prefer not to jump to conclusions, but rather, seek wisdom out of the best books.

https://interpreterfoundation.org/scholarly-support-for-the-book-of-abraham/

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

RFM did a podcast responding to Kerry Muhlestein's reponse.  I found Muhlestein's reponse embarrassing when I first read it, and now after having listened to the RFM podcast I find Muhlestein's reponse even worse.  I'm sad Muhlestein has no desire whatsoever to engage the matters, but instead seems intent to talk past the issues brought up by others.  It's really all an unfortunate situation we find ourselves in regarding the BoA.  I'm curious how long this smoke and mirrors game can be maintained before something like the BoA gets de-canonized or something.  

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:
  • "Embarrassing."
  • "I find Muhlestein's response even worse."
  • "I'm sad Muhlestein has no desire whatsover to engage the matters."
  • "{Muhlestein} seems intent to talk past the issues brought up by others."
  • "Really all an unfortunate situation."
  • "Smoke and mirrors game."

Here are some excerpts from Muhlestein's article (emphases added) :

  • "{O}nline communications have a downside, it is ensuring the accuracy of the information they convey. Many are accurate, many are not, and it is difficult to tell which is which. Like news sound bites, such media often seem to lend themselves to simplistic and over-reduced explanations that frequently misrepresent complex matters."
  • "{S}omehow they {online communications} often easily fall into a low level of discourse."
  • "Some who engage in these electronic venues work very hard to try to provide accurate information at an honorable level of rhetoric, but the forum does not require it and thus many are extremely poor at ensuring a high academic quality of information and sometimes make little to no effort at maintaining the kind of respectful and noble level of discourse that is supposed to be the hallmark of the academic world. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in some podcasts that have recently been released in various venues about the Book of Abraham."
  • "I {} have a great desire to come to greater clarity and understanding of the Book of Abraham. There is much to learn, and I believe that if we do it the right way, we can make real advances."
  • "A lot of good scholarship has been exhibited when discussing the Egyptological interpretations of those drawings, and I find that discussion to be fruitful. Yet the valid data is then applied to the topic at hand based on a misunderstanding of what Latter-day Saint scholars believe or have said. In such a case we end up with good data and problematic application of it. This must be at least partially the fault of Latter-day Saint scholars. Apparently we need to do a better job of communicating what we think about these things. Hopefully a dialogue can be struck where we learn from one another rather than talk past one another."
  • "I will {} put my efforts into creating the kind of careful, systematic writing that can advance the field. I will just push forward in good research. For those who are patient, such good research will carry us through."
  • "Many of the arguments in these online forums can sound very convincing. Guests and hosts can create an online echo chamber in which they self-reinforce circular arguments, unnoticed assumptions, and mischaracterization of others’ arguments, and then self-congratulate one another on their conclusions in a way that seems so very convincing. To the trained and informed observer, many of the arguments that the involved parties paint as being so convincing, are instead immediately obviously deeply problematic. To be fair, some reasonable and important points have also been raised, and if we were to change the discourse so that we conduct the discussion according to high academic standards in an academic venue, I believe that together we could make true scholarly progress. Yet most points raised online have been overly full of intellectual fallacies, mischaracterization of the issues, bad underlying assumptions, and circular arguments."
  • "I anticipate that as time goes on these will be discussed in an appropriate and reasonable fashion. This will happen over the course of time..."
  • "Further, a sad aspect of these online communications has been the efforts to just be dismissive of those who hold opposing points of view."
  • "I wish to reemphasize that I am not saying that there is nothing of value in these podcasts, nor that every idea raised in them should be ignored. Rather it is to say that those things that are of value should be stated in an appropriate academic venue, where an appropriate response could be made. I trust that in the days to come, many of the reasonable issues that have been raised about the Book of Abraham will be dealt with in proper academic fashion."
  • "Yet as we think of these podcasts and attempting to turn them into something that is trustworthy and useful, we must keep in mind that high-level academic discourse is slow. It requires detailed and painstaking research, careful writing, review and revision, then editorial and peer review, further revision, further review, editing, typesetting, more review, and finally publication. Then others can respond in kind. ... This means that reliable responses to new arguments will be slow in coming. I can only ask that those who really want to know the truth will be patient as they wait for such response and dialogue."
  • "I believe that a lot of good scholarship has been produced in the last decade or more, and that more is on the horizon. I also believe that even parties with diametrically opposed points of view can have a measured, honorable, and productive dialogue that will benefit both groups if they maintain high rhetoric."
  • "I hope that we can turn the recent spate of online information into a real dialogue. I am convinced that I can learn from those who have different viewpoints from mine. I am equally convinced that if they will really take my research seriously that it can aid them in their desires for accurate information. Done correctly, this can be a scholarly dialogue that moves us forward in a worthwhile way."
  • "I feel that the truth-seeking audience should know that there are many things that have been said about scholars, their methods, their motives, and their abilities that I believe are wildly inaccurate. In future days I will be seeking for the appropriate venue and tone to address such matters. Similarly, many will seek for fitting venues for productive discussions regarding both the good ideas and the faulty assumptions and misinformation that has been conveyed."
  • "In connection with this, may I express my hope for how such things will be done in the future? Let us try to address these issues in a scholarly and noble way. Let us avoid trying to cloud the issues by attacking people, and may we especially be honest and fair in what we say about people. Let us use a high register of rhetoric and discourse. Let us attempt to publicly identify our assumptions and address them. Let us try to honestly listen to the scholarly communications of each other with open minds. Let us accurately represent the arguments of others. And then let us discourse with each other in a way that can help us all advance our state of understanding. There are ways to do this, and I hope we will. I believe we have nothing to fear, and nothing to hide. True academic discourse can move us forward."
  • "To the lay audience, I urge both patience and wisdom. The sound and fury of the online discourse of recent days typically yields only froth. In each there are real currents that can move us forward, but those currents are almost completely covered by a foamy lather that has only air and no substance in it. I assure you that over time I and others will carefully pick our way through the much ado that has been made and find the real nuggets that are worth moving forward in a more appropriate, scholarly and effective way."

Muhlestein's measured, scholarly approach, calling for patience, dialogue, substantive "academic discourse," civility, and so on, is admirable and correct.  Contrary to Stem's unfair and inaccurate characterization, Muhlestein gives every indication of being willing to substantively discuss "the issues."

Thanks,

-Smac

 

I take it you haven't given ear to Ritner, nor RFM's latest?  If so, then I can see exactly why you are saying what you are saying.  Anyway, I will be delighted if in the years down the road a publication comes out from Muhlestein engaging in the issues.  Until then, I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree.  On the other hand, Muhlestein could begin the engagement right now.  He's been offered time to get together, and his reasons when he declined (apparently he declined the offer in a letter to Dehlin) ring rather hollow all things considered.  But again, I'd love to be shown otherwise. 

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David Bokavoy on FB summed the response by Kerry such

"

Throughout the three-part series with Egyptologist Dr. Robert Ritner and John Dehlin/RFM, Ritner expresses his frustration that Mormon apologists often treat him as a “persona incognito”-- that they will allude to his work, but never even give him the dignity to actually mention his name; this despite the fact that he is one of the foremost Egyptologists in the world.
Dr. Ritner: “They [the LDS Church] in the meantime had cosponsored a series of additional volumes that failed to do me the dignity of acknowledging the existence of my work. So they had published volumes by Michael D. Rhoades on the initial papyrus, the Breathing Permit of Hor, and as I pointed out last time, they had plagiarized aspects from my book without actually ever acknowledging its existence, not even my articles in Dialogue or the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, they used them, they had appropriated portions from them, and they didn’t even cite them. They pretended that I didn’t exist. . . . [Rhoades] never cites any of my work. So I was genially irritated that my conclusions were being disparaged, my work was being pillaged, and I was not even being acknowledged.”
And now, a snippet from Kerry Muhlestein’s response to Ritner posted on the Interpreter site:
“In one recent podcast Joseph Smith was attacked for what the guest felt was an inaccurate reconstruction of a missing part of a drawing on a papyrus.”
Why are Mormon apologists too afraid to even mention Dr. Ritner’s name? It happens over and over again. It makes me wonder if Muhlestein even listened to the podcasts because he actually does precisely what Dr. Ritner complains about throughout the lengthy interview. They allude to him, but they won't even given him the dignity to mention his name.
Moreover, Muhlestein’s response to Ritner’s fifteen hour podcast explaining the Joseph Smith facsimiles and papyri has got to be one of the strangest things I have ever seen come out from the Mormon apologetic world. I don’t say that lightly.
1. Muhlestein literally wrote 3,298 words explaining why he was not going to accept the invitation to appear on a podcast with Dr. Ritner and correct what he believes are problems with Ritner’s scholarship. Alright. No need to do a podcast if you don’t want, but why not post half as many words in an essay and instead just focus on actually countering Ritner? Does anyone in this world really believe that if Muhlestein could correct Ritner and show actual evidence for the Book of Abraham that Muhlestein wouldn’t be jumping at the bit to do so?
2. Muhlestein tells readers that Ritner (even though he won’t use his name) raised some important issues, but instead of a podcast, Muhlestein will respond to Ritner via academic publications, which take time to produce, so readers should just remain patient.
But here’s the problem with that—Ritner didn’t say anything new that hasn’t been put forward already by scholars for many, many years, and there hasn’t been a response. Ritner first published his views twenty years ago, back in 2000 via the article, "The 'Breathing Permit of Hôr' Thirty-four Years Later" in Dialogue. Then three years later, Ritner published his article on the papyri in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies. Then in 2013, RItner published his arguments in full via Signature Book’s, The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition. Scholars have known everything that Ritner discussed in the podcasts for over twenty years! Even Ritner’s new discoveries that he addresses concerning the Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers are insights that other scholars such as Brent Metcalfe, Dan Vogel, and Brian Hauglid have been talking about for decades now.
So why, given this fact, is Muhlestein now saying that some interesting issues were raised, but they’ll be addressed via scholarly publications, so readers, just remain patient? Why does he say this when the issues Ritner discussed have been known to us for decades?
Answer: Because the podcasts made it easier for non-specialists to understand what scholars have been publishing and saying for many, many years.
I'm not trying to disparage, but I have to be honest. All I can take from this is that what truly matters to Kerry is not scholarship and addressing the evidence; what matters is simply assuring his tribe that there are answers, so just be patient. And I really don’t have any issue with that. It wouldn’t work for me, but it obviously does for some believers, and that’s fine. Right on. You be you.
But please don’t pretend that you’re not willing to openly discuss these matters with a renowned scholar whose name you won’t even mention because that’s not the way scholarship works.
For those interested in a detailed response to Muhlestein's Interpreter post, you may wish to consider this podcast episode from Radio Free Mormon. Because you know what? Podcasts are not bad things. Kerry has actually done some, along with a lot of videos; he just doesn't want to do one with "He Who Shall Not Be Named.""
 
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4 hours ago, stemelbow said:

RFM did a podcast responding to Kerry Muhlestein's reponse.  I found Muhlestein's reponse embarrassing when I first read it, and now after having listened to the RFM podcast I find Muhlestein's reponse even worse.  I'm sad Muhlestein has no desire whatsoever to engage the matters, but instead seems intent to talk past the issues brought up by others.  It's really all an unfortunate situation we find ourselves in regarding the BoA.  I'm curious how long this smoke and mirrors game can be maintained before something like the BoA gets de-canonized or something.  

I'm sure it's difficult to be fully transparent if you are under the obligation to not harm the church. I kind of feel sorry for the guy. ETA: Per Calm's response, I'm sorry if my comment here comes off badly, I just think Kerry is in a difficult situation. 

Edited by Tacenda
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4 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I'm sure it's difficult to be fully transparent if you are under the obligation to not harm the church. I kind of feel sorry for the guy. 

He is not required to do apologetics by his job, it is his voluntary choice. There is no need to feel sorry for him on that account imo. 
 

Being treated as if he is a pathetic man not in control of his life, bowing to pressure to be dishonest, in need of someone’s embarrassment or pity...maybe you might consider how that comes across as rather disrespectful rather than kind or sympathetic.

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

He is not required to do apologetics by his job, it is his voluntary choice. There is no need to feel sorry for him on that account imo. 
 

Being treated as if he is a pathetic man not in control of his life, bowing to pressure to be dishonest, in need of someone’s embarrassment or pity...maybe you might consider how that comes across as rather disrespectful rather than kind or sympathetic.

I'm sorry it came off that way. I'll edit while I have the chance. 

Edited by Tacenda
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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I take it you haven't given ear to Ritner,

Not all of it.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

nor RFM's latest? 

Not sure what you are referencing here.

Meanwhile, your comments were about Muhlestein's article.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

If so, then I can see exactly why you are saying what you are saying.

Not really.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Anyway, I will be delighted if in the years down the road a publication comes out from Muhlestein engaging in the issues. 

There's lots of currently-available scholarship to discuss.  

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Until then, I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree. 

I think your mischaracterization of Muhlestein is patently clear.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

On the other hand, Muhlestein could begin the engagement right now. 

Or he could, as he said, take the moderated, methodical, scholarly approach, rather than responding to unscholarly, bordering-on-puerile nastygrams.  

I am not an academic scholar, but I am, in some sense, a legal scholar.  So when Muhlestein said "high-level academic discourse is slow," that sounded correct.  I've lost count of the number of times I've gone up against a pro se litigant (someone who is representing himself rather than hiring an attorney) who has exhibited impatience and contempt for the litigation process - which is also "slow."  But that speaks more to the ignorance and inexperience of the neophyte, and has very little relevance to an experienced attorney who recognizes the need for methodical, circumspect efforts to present claims to the court, sort out preliminary issues, exchange information, evaluate evidence, and then seek to resolve the case through settlement, or summary judgment, or trial, etc.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

He's been offered time to get together, and his reasons when he declined (apparently he declined the offer in a letter to Dehlin) ring rather hollow all things considered.  But again, I'd love to be shown otherwise. 

Dehlin has no role to play in this.  He's a distraction.  A sideshow.  He has nothing substantive to contribute to scholarly discourse about the Book of Abraham.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 hours ago, smac97 said:
  • "Embarrassing."
  • "I find Muhlestein's response even worse."
  • "I'm sad Muhlestein has no desire whatsover to engage the matters."
  • "{Muhlestein} seems intent to talk past the issues brought up by others."
  • "Really all an unfortunate situation."
  • "Smoke and mirrors game."

Here are some excerpts from Muhlestein's article (emphases added) :

  • "{O}nline communications have a downside, it is ensuring the accuracy of the information they convey...

Muhlestein's measured, scholarly approach, calling for patience, dialogue, substantive "academic discourse," civility, and so on, is admirable and correct.  Contrary to Stem's unfair and inaccurate characterization, Muhlestein gives every indication of being willing to substantively discuss "the issues."

Thanks,

-Smac

 

The problem with this is the context. Ritner already called for a substantive, civil, scholarly discourse, but Muhlestein refuses to engage with him in any such thing. Instead of actually engaging any of Ritner's points, Muhlestein wastes time, Ink, and integrity by insinuating that Ritner is unmeasured, unscholarly, impatient, and uncivil. The fact is Gee and Muhlestein have always been unwilling to actually have a scholarly discourse about the Book of Abraham with Ritner, and Muhlestein's article is really nothing more than an excuse to continue not engaging. It is disingenuous. 

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22 minutes ago, Calm said:

He is not required to do apologetics by his job, it is his voluntary choice. There is no need to feel sorry for him on that account imo. 
 

Being treated as if he is a pathetic man not in control of his life, bowing to pressure to be dishonest, in need of someone’s embarrassment or pity...maybe you might consider how that comes across as rather disrespectful rather than kind or sympathetic.

Isn't Kerry paid to do the apologetics? 

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3 hours ago, aussieguy55 said:

David Bokavoy on FB summed the response by Kerry such

And now, a snippet from Kerry Muhlestein’s response to Ritner posted on the Interpreter site:
“In one recent podcast Joseph Smith was attacked for what the guest felt was an inaccurate reconstruction of a missing part of a drawing on a papyrus.”
Why are Mormon apologists too afraid to even mention Dr. Ritner’s name? It happens over and over again. It makes me wonder if Muhlestein even listened to the podcasts because he actually does precisely what Dr. Ritner complains about throughout the lengthy interview. They allude to him, but they won't even given him the dignity to mention his name.
 

Perhaps Muhlestein is hoping to avoid juvenile online back-and-forth sniping, and instead seeking to encourage civility, methodica scholarship, and well-rounded discourse. 

Quote
Moreover, Muhlestein’s response to Ritner’s fifteen hour podcast explaining the Joseph Smith facsimiles and papyri has got to be one of the strangest things I have ever seen come out from the Mormon apologetic world. I don’t say that lightly.
1. Muhlestein literally wrote 3,298 words explaining why he was not going to accept the invitation to appear on a podcast with Dr. Ritner and correct what he believes are problems with Ritner’s scholarship. Alright. No need to do a podcast if you don’t want, but why not post half as many words in an essay and instead just focus on actually countering Ritner? Does anyone in this world really believe that if Muhlestein could correct Ritner and show actual evidence for the Book of Abraham that Muhlestein wouldn’t be jumping at the bit to do so?
 

Muhlestein is pretty clear about this.  Scholarly debate should proceed in a matter more akin to what Muhlestein is advocating, and less like the juvenile, rought-and-tumble, back-and-forth stuff.

I find it weird that Bokovoy finds Muhlestein's comments weird.  Again, some excerpts from Muhlestein's comments:

  • "Hopefully a dialogue can be struck where we learn from one another rather than talk past one another."
  • "I will {} put my efforts into creating the kind of careful, systematic writing that can advance the field."
  • "To be fair, some reasonable and important points have also been raised, and if we were to change the discourse so that we conduct the discussion according to high academic standards in an academic venue, I believe that together we could make true scholarly progress."
  • "I anticipate that as time goes on these will be discussed in an appropriate and reasonable fashion. This will happen over the course of time..."
  • "{T}hose things that are of value should be stated in an appropriate academic venue, where an appropriate response could be made."
  • "I trust that in the days to come, many of the reasonable issues that have been raised about the Book of Abraham will be dealt with in proper academic fashion."
  • "{W}e must keep in mind that high-level academic discourse is slow. It requires detailed and painstaking research, careful writing, review and revision, then editorial and peer review, further revision, further review, editing, typesetting, more review, and finally publication."
  • "I hope that we can turn the recent spate of online information into a real dialogue."
  • "In future days I will be seeking for the appropriate venue and tone to address such matters. Similarly, many will seek for fitting venues for productive discussions regarding both the good ideas and the faulty assumptions and misinformation that has been conveyed."
  • "Let us try to address these issues in a scholarly and noble way."
  • "Let us avoid trying to cloud the issues by attacking people, and may we especially be honest and fair in what we say about people."
  • "Let us use a high register of rhetoric and discourse."
  • "Let us attempt to publicly identify our assumptions and address them."
  • "Let us try to honestly listen to the scholarly communications of each other with open minds."
  • "Let us accurately represent the arguments of others.  And then let us discourse with each other in a way that can help us all advance our state of understanding. There are ways to do this, and I hope we will."
  • "I believe we have nothing to fear, and nothing to hide. True academic discourse can move us forward."
  • "To the lay audience, I urge both patience and wisdom ... I assure you that over time I and others will carefully pick our way through the much ado that has been made and find the real nuggets that are worth moving forward in a more appropriate, scholarly and effective way."

This sounds measured.  Civil.  Circumspect.  Sensible.  Scholarly.

I am struggling to understand what here is problematic.

Quote

So why, given this fact, is Muhlestein now saying that some interesting issues were raised, but they’ll be addressed via scholarly publications, so readers, just remain patient?

Asked and answered, I think.

Quote

Why does he say this when the issues Ritner discussed have been known to us for decades?

Responding to Ritner's nine-hour, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink oratory is unworkable from a scholarly point of view.  Again, from Muhlestein: "{H}igh-level academic discourse is slow. It requires detailed and painstaking research, careful writing, review and revision, then editorial and peer review, further revision, further review, editing, typesetting, more review, and finally publication. Then others can respond in kind."

And it's not like Muhlestein and Gee have skirted these issues.  To the contrary, they've both published quite a bit.

Quote

Answer: Because the podcasts made it easier for non-specialists to understand what scholars have been publishing and saying for many, many years.

Alternative Answer: Some neophytes who are predisposed to be hostile to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not willing to examine issues pertaining to the Book of Abraham in a methodical, circumspect, reasoned, evidence-based way, and instead want a "quick fix."  A slam dunk.  They dislike the Church on religious grounds, and are thrilled that a respected scholar has joined with them in a sectarian fray.

Sorry, but I just don't think that's workable.  I have read quite a bit of scholarship about the Book of Abraham, but I make no claims to being any sort of a "scholar" in the relevant fields.  However, as an attorney I have had scores of experiences where I have had to talk to newbies (young lawyers, clients, pro se litigants, etc.) about how it just won't do to rush through complex legal analysis and research to provide an immediate, pithy soundbite.

I think it's not workable for amateurs (and, it seems, even some "experts") to resort to personal taunts and jibes.  Muhlestein's methodical, circumspect approach is better.

Quote

I'm not trying to disparage, but I have to be honest.

Pretty much looks like he is "trying to disparage."

Quote

All I can take from this is that what truly matters to Kerry is not scholarship and addressing the evidence; what matters is simply assuring his tribe that there are answers, so just be patient. And I really don’t have any issue with that. It wouldn’t work for me, but it obviously does for some believers, and that’s fine. Right on. You be you.

This is unfair, inaccurate, uncivil, and unscholarly.

Quote

But please don’t pretend that you’re not willing to openly discuss these matters with a renowned scholar whose name you won’t even mention because that’s not the way scholarship works.

This is unfortunate stuff.  

Quote

For those interested in a detailed response to Muhlestein's Interpreter post, you may wish to consider this podcast episode from Radio Free Mormon. Because you know what? Podcasts are not bad things. Kerry has actually done some, along with a lot of videos; he just doesn't want to do one with "He Who Shall Not Be Named.""

Muhlestein acknowledges this.

And Bokovoy concludes with mocking contempt.  Not very impressed with him on this.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, Analytics said:

The problem with this is the context. Ritner already called for a substantive, civil, scholarly discourse,

Dehlin's MS and Consig's RFM are not scholarly venues.  There is nothing close to their venues being reasonably characterized as a place where "substantive, civil, scholarly discourse" is the objective.

For pete's sake, RFM begins each and every podcast by analogizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members to Nazis.  And John Dehlin has bragged about how "many more people have left the church than have stayed because of (his) Internet work," and how he is "perfectly happy" about that.

There are scholarly venues to utilize, and scholarly means of expressing disagreements.  Dehlin and Consig impede are not part of such things.

Again, from Muhlestein: "To the lay audience, I urge both patience and wisdom ... I assure you that over time I and others will carefully pick our way through the much ado that has been made and find the real nuggets that are worth moving forward in a more appropriate, scholarly and effective way."

Quote

but Muhlestein refuses to engage with him in any such thing.

Wildly, flagrantly false.  Patently untrue.

Quote

Instead of actually engaging any of Ritner's points, Muhlestein wastes time, Ink, and integrity by insinuating that Ritner is unmeasured, unscholarly, impatient, and uncivil.

Not so.

Quote

The fact is Gee and Muhlestein have always been unwilling to actually have a scholarly discourse about the Book of Abraham with Ritner, and Muhlestein's article is really nothing more than an excuse to continue not engaging. It is disingenuous. 

Not so.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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36 minutes ago, Analytics said:

A reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I presume?  And I imagine the Monty-Python-esque ridicule comes after the obligatory and ritualistic comparison of Latter-day Saints to Nazis.

This, in your view, is indicative of RFM's ability to facilitate "substantive, civil, scholarly discourse?"

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Dehlin and Consig are not scholarly venues.  There is nothing close to their venues being reasonably characterized as a place where "substantive, civil, scholarly discourse" is the objective.

For pete's sake, RFM begins each and every podcast by analogizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members to Nazis.  And John Dehlin has bragged about how "many more people have left the church than have stayed because of (his) Internet work," and how he is "perfectly happy" about that.

There are scholarly venues to utilize, and scholarly means of expressing disagreements.  Dehlin and Consig impede are not part of such things.

Again, from Muhlestein: "To the lay audience, I urge both patience and wisdom ... I assure you that over time I and others will carefully pick our way through the much ado that has been made and find the real nuggets that are worth moving forward in a more appropriate, scholarly and effective way."

Wildly, flagrantly false.  Patently untrue.

Not so.

Not so.

Thanks,

-Smac

Tell yourself whatever you need to in order to justify ignoring Dr. Ritner.

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18 minutes ago, Analytics said:

Tell yourself whatever you need to in order to justify ignoring Dr. Ritner.

Nobody is proposing that.  

Scholarship about complex, arcane topics is a tough nut to crack.  It takes time.  Effort.  Study.  Methodical analysis of evidence and reasoning.  Muhlestein and Gee have published plenty about the Book of Abraham.  Many of the topics addressed by Ritner have already been addressed, and I'm sure more is coming.

The taunts and jabs and ridicule are not impressing.  I'm getting a sort of deja vu feeling as to experiences I have had with pro se litigants who are 100% cocksure that their interpretation of the facts/evidence/law is definitive, so much so that they resort to saying . . . stuff like you and Stem and Aussieguy are saying.  Their triumphalism is pretty much never borne out in the end.  But apparently it makes them feel good to smacktalk and insult and mock...

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

There are scholarly venues to utilize, and scholarly means of expressing disagreements.  Dehlin and Consig impede are not part of such things.

I really want to be sympathetic to your view of the Book of Abraham.  I'm a believer, but I feel a particular sense of outrage with the way apologia is being done.  I never used to feel that outrage, but several years ago I was invited to a study group to review John Sorenson's book, and my outrage started to build then.   Apologia has a function, but not to state outright lies and misrepresentation of the facts and scientific method.

There has been no "scholarly" support of which I'm aware that supports Gee and Muhlstein. If I'm wrong perhaps you can point me to such.  "Scholarly" should mean a peer reviewed publication in an academic publication.  Why do they insist upon publishing their findings in non-scholarly journals?

Further, it isn't legitimate to engage in discourse because the critic is being impolite.  I've read Coe's Breaking the Maya Code, and he had lots of problems and issues with his colleagues.  He was quite insulting.  Yet, he and they published their counter positions in academic peer-reviewed journals.  Perhaps you could point me to Gee and Mulstein work in a university-sponsored publication other than FARMS Review.

Edited by Bob Crockett
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10 minutes ago, Analytics said:

Defending existing scholarship from credible accusations of dishonesty and incompetence doesn't require time, effort, study, and methodical analysis of new evidence--at least not in the way that producing new scholarship does. What it takes a willingness to defend your ideas when you are right and a willingness to admit you are wrong when you are wrong. But if you are so scared of Ritner that you won't even recognize the existence of his work even as you are plagiarizing it, of course you won't face him to defend yourself against his accusations. It's not that hard to see what's going on.

I just want to literally underline this.

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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I'm sorry it came off that way. I'll edit while I have the chance. 

That sounds like a good idea. 

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4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Not all of it.

Not sure what you are referencing here.

Meanwhile, your comments were about Muhlestein's article.

Not really.

There's lots of currently-available scholarship to discuss.  

I think your mischaracterization of Muhlestein is patently clear.

Or he could, as he said, take the moderated, methodical, scholarly approach, rather than responding to unscholarly, bordering-on-puerile nastygrams.  

Serious?  Did you just call Ritner's hours of BoA discussion as "unscholarly, bordering-on-puerile nastygrams"?   Hmmm..

I saw a comment earlier saying how Muhlestein may have accidentally uncovered a brand new fallacy--the fallacy of blaming the venue.  Instead of responding to the arguments it appears hes disrespecting Ritner without naming him (disrespectful in it's own right), and complaining the venue is too big an obstacle for him to actually engage.  

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

I am not an academic scholar, but I am, in some sense, a legal scholar.  So when Muhlestein said "high-level academic discourse is slow," that sounded correct.  I've lost count of the number of times I've gone up against a pro se litigant (someone who is representing himself rather than hiring an attorney) who has exhibited impatience and contempt for the litigation process - which is also "slow."  But that speaks more to the ignorance and inexperience of the neophyte, and has very little relevance to an experienced attorney who recognizes the need for methodical, circumspect efforts to present claims to the court, sort out preliminary issues, exchange information, evaluate evidence, and then seek to resolve the case through settlement, or summary judgment, or trial, etc.

Dehlin has no role to play in this.  He's a distraction.  A sideshow.  He has nothing substantive to contribute to scholarly discourse about the Book of Abraham.

Thanks,

-Smac

I think analytics said it well.  

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