Jump to content

Robert Ritner - Book of Abraham Interview


Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

But I don't think Gee is a linguist, trained in something other than Egyptian, so whatever he offers is as easily addressed by anyone else.  Now if it were a true linguist specializing in those ancient languages maybe we can settle on something here.

Wow, just wow. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
On 9/24/2020 at 12:05 PM, stemelbow said:

…we can make some assumptions and open our window to time and place pretty wide to see if we can find some ancient words, no matter their origin other than they come from the middle east somewhere at sometime.

This is a key part of the apologetic approach to the entire book, not just the canopic jars. One of Gee's arguments in support of the attempted sacrifice of Abraham is a Coptic text that narrates the attempted execution of a Christian named Abraham in the reign of Shapur II of Persia in the fourth century AD! Another is an Egyptian love spell in which Osiris appears on the lion-bed in an illustration and Abraham's name appears amid a string of magical nonsense words (Egyptian spells from the time period often included names of Egyptian gods, Greek gods, and Jewish patriarchs and angels, all invoked indiscriminately to increase the power of the spell). Ritner's rebuttal of Gee's arguments can be read on pages 3 through 5 here. Here's what he says at the end of that section:

Quote

Far too often, the LDS approach has been to find individual minor identifications or remote possibilities that cannot in sum either explain or justify the Book of Abraham. The new LDS citations of sources that are of minor relevance, misleading or false does not advance the cause of the church and its disputed scripture.

And it's not just him. Stephen Thompson said pretty much the same thing 25 years ago:

Quote

It is simply not valid, however, to search through 3,000 years of Egyptian religious iconography to find parallels which can be pushed, prodded, squeezed, or linked in an attempt to justify Joseph's interpretations. This is the approach taken in many of the apologetic treatments of the Book of Abraham.

But Gee and Muhlestein have not listened.

Link to post
On 9/24/2020 at 12:05 PM, stemelbow said:

…we can make some assumptions and open our window to time and place pretty wide to see if we can find some ancient words, no matter their origin other than they come from the middle east somewhere at sometime.

This is a key part of the apologetic approach to the entire book, not just the canopic jars. One of Gee's arguments in support of the attempted sacrifice of Abraham is a Coptic text that narrates the attempted execution of a Christian named Abraham in the reign of Shapur II of Persia in the fourth century AD! Another is an Egyptian love spell in which Osiris appears on the lion-bed in an illustration and Abraham's name appears amid a string of magical nonsense words (Egyptian spells from the time period often included names of Egyptian gods, Greek gods, and Jewish patriarchs and angels, all invoked indiscriminately to increase the power of the spell). Ritner's rebuttal of Gee's arguments can be read on pages 3 through 5 here. Here's what he says at the end of that section:

Quote

Far too often, the LDS approach has been to find individual minor identifications or remote possibilities that cannot in sum either explain or justify the Book of Abraham. The new LDS citations of sources that are of minor relevance, misleading or false does not advance the cause of the church and its disputed scripture.

And it's not just him. Stephen Thompson said pretty much the same thing 25 years ago:

Quote

It is simply not valid, however, to search through 3,000 years of Egyptian religious iconography to find parallels which can be pushed, prodded, squeezed, or linked in an attempt to justify Joseph's interpretations. This is the approach taken in many of the apologetic treatments of the Book of Abraham.

But Gee and Muhlestein have not listened. If I impute bad faith on their part, it's because I can't see their arguments as anything else.

Link to post
On 9/25/2020 at 7:23 PM, Scribe said:

This is a key part of the apologetic approach to the entire book, not just the canopic jars. One of Gee's arguments in support of the attempted sacrifice of Abraham is a Coptic text that narrates the attempted execution of a Christian named Abraham in the reign of Shapur II of Persia in the fourth century AD! Another is an Egyptian love spell in which Osiris appears on the lion-bed in an illustration and Abraham's name appears amid a string of magical nonsense words (Egyptian spells from the time period often included names of Egyptian gods, Greek gods, and Jewish patriarchs and angels, all invoked indiscriminately to increase the power of the spell). Ritner's rebuttal of Gee's arguments can be read on pages 3 through 5 here. Here's what he says at the end of that section:

And it's not just him. Stephen Thompson said pretty much the same thing 25 years ago:

But Gee and Muhlestein have not listened. If I impute bad faith on their part, it's because I can't see their arguments as anything else.

Yes.  It is pretty nutty, I think, to use our inability to station Abraham in time and place as a means to argue for evidence.  "Well this character in some myth from thousands of years ago, somewhere available in the super-region where Abraham might have been, has the same consonant to begin the name as this name Joseph Smith said...that is a bullseye.  There's no way Joseph could have picked a consonant to start a name of something that somehow matches the consonant of one of thousands of characters that might have spanned the super-region and the millennia somewhat adjacent to where and when we assume Abraham could have been."  

Thank you Stephen Thompson for pointing that out 25 years ago.  Good catch, even if its gone completely unheeded.   

Link to post
1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Good catch, even if its gone completely unheeded.

It hasn't gone unheeded. People like Hauglid and Bokovoy have very explicitly pointed out the problems with these approaches at great costs to their careers. Others like Jensen, Ashurst-McGee, Grey, Ashment, and Givens have also published contrasting view points in highly respected peer reviewed venues. What is being ignored here (by here I mean in this form) is the fact that one can disagree with BYU Egyptological theories on the production of the Book of Abraham and still believe it to be scripture. One shouldn't have to support the missing scroll theory to get or keep job at BYU.

 

Edited by CA Steve
Link to post
41 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

It hasn't gone unheeded. People like Hauglid and Bokovoy have very explicitly pointed out the problems with these approaches at great costs to their careers. Others like Jensen, Ashurst-McGee, Grey, Ashment, and Givens have also published contrasting view points in highly respected peer reviewed venues. What is being ignored here (by here I mean in this form) is the fact that one can disagree with BYU Egyptological theories on the production of the Book of Abraham and still believe it to be scripture. One shouldn't have to support the missing scroll theory to get or keep job at BYU.

 

Fair enough.  I should have said "...completely unheeded by some."  

Link to post
3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Wow about what?  Is Gee a linguist trained in all forms of ANE languages?  I thought he was an Egyptologist specializing in religion, or something.

Yes. Gee definitely has training and background in multiple ANE languages. You might want to take a look at his many publications in both Latter-day Saint and non-Latter-day Saint academic journals. In fact, I'm guessing most Egyptologists have familiarity with multiple ANE languages. It seems like it is a necessity for any comparative analysis in their field. Moreover, once a scholar has a solid understanding of ANE linguistics in general, I think it is pretty easy to responsibly apply that knowledge to languages that they are less familiar with. They know where to look to get the data they need , and how to understand that data. 

So, yeah, I will trust Gee for now. 

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
1 hour ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Moreover, once a scholar has a solid understanding of ANE linguistics in general, I think it is pretty easy to responsibly apply that knowledge to languages that they are less familiar with. They know where to look to get the data they need , and how to understand that data. 

So, yeah, I will trust Gee for now. 

What about a BYU professor trained in ANE languages like Matt Grey who disagrees with Dr Gee, do you trust him also?

Edited by CA Steve
Link to post
2 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Yes. Gee definitely has training and background in multiple ANE languages. You might want to take a look at his many publications in both Latter-day Saint and non-Latter-day Saint academic journals. In fact, I'm guessing most Egyptologists have familiarity with multiple ANE languages. It seems like it is a necessity for any comparative analysis in their field. Moreover, once a scholar has a solid understanding of ANE linguistics in general, I think it is pretty easy to responsibly apply that knowledge to languages that they are less familiar with. They know where to look to get the data they need , and how to understand that data. 

So, yeah, I will trust Gee for now. 

Ok.  I'm not finding his piece very convincing for sure.  A matching consonant or two doesn't really show much connection to me...at all.  And that there is no apparent connection to Abraham, Egypt or the time frames for Abraham or Egyptian lores, seems pretty clearly like this is just guesswork.  

Anyway, all the best.  I cant' quite accept this as much of anything.  

Link to post
2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Ok.  I'm not finding his piece very convincing for sure.  A matching consonant or two doesn't really show much connection to me...at all.  And that there is no apparent connection to Abraham, Egypt or the time frames for Abraham or Egyptian lores, seems pretty clearly like this is just guesswork.  

Anyway, all the best.  I cant' quite accept this as much of anything.

I can see why it might seem that way to you. All the best. 

Link to post
3 hours ago, CA Steve said:

What about a BYU professor trained in ANE languages like Matt Grey who disagrees with Dr Gee, do you trust him also?

I trust that most scholars with adequate training can have scholarly disagreements about linguistics and many other matters. That isn't really my point, though.

The discussion isn't about holding an unyielding assumption that Gee is completely right, based solely on his credentials. Rather it is about one commenter's casual dismissal of Gee's analysis, based on Gee's supposed lack of relevant linguistic expertise. If other scholars weigh in and it seems that a consensus forms against Gee's analysis, that is one thing. But it seems rather ironic to me that someone with virtually no linguistic expertise would simply brush off Gee's linguistic analysis as if it were clearly wrong, and then justify this dismissal because of Gee's supposed lack of expertise. I'm guessing that the disparity in their relevant background and training on this matter is quite large.

Until a qualified individual comments on this aspect of Gee's research, I'm going to assume it has at least some degree of merit and relevance to the discussion, and that it provides some evidence of Joseph Smith's prophetic calling. 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3
Link to post
  • 2 weeks later...

This article is so disturbing to me. It mentions Joseph took the mummies and pretty much desecrated them. Also, there's so much racism in the BoA that I haven't admittedly known because I have not studied the PoGP much. In it is pretty much using scripture to okay racism. It might be time to get rid of the racist scriptures in the LDS canon.

The article is from an ex Mormon, but probably very factual. The last few paragraphs, if you can read them, print is so small. https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/opth/open-issue/article-10.1515-opth-2016-0054/article-10.1515-opth-2016-0054.xml?fbclid=IwAR0aWR8_jhj7heXz6XxDxHRnzwC8bGuhdq71pr-KXfsP959bkcmEE3nvEyw

Edited by Tacenda
Link to post

One author is Thomas Murphy, who iirc trashed the Book of Mormon and the Church for imposing their origin/identity story onto the Native American while ignoring DNA theories about Asian land bridges and such don’t allow for most Native American creation stories. 
 

——-

I agree that genetic research and tracing needs to develop more ethical use of genetic material. The fact that companies can own/have a patent on people’s DNA or cell samples or other bodily material troubles me. 
 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrietta_Lacks

There are also many other issues that I think the church can do better on. I do want to know if Murphy really believes Joseph desecrated a burial or memorial site and found gold plates that were buried by an indigenous people and used them as the foundation for his Book of Mormon stores. 

Edited by Calm
  • Like 1
Link to post
21 hours ago, Tacenda said:

This article is so disturbing to me. It mentions Joseph took the mummies and pretty much desecrated them. Also, there's so much racism in the BoA that I haven't admittedly known because I have not studied the PoGP much. In it is pretty much using scripture to okay racism. It might be time to get rid of the racist scriptures in the LDS canon.

The article is from an ex Mormon, but probably very factual. The last few paragraphs, if you can read them, print is so small. https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/opth/open-issue/article-10.1515-opth-2016-0054/article-10.1515-opth-2016-0054.xml?fbclid=IwAR0aWR8_jhj7heXz6XxDxHRnzwC8bGuhdq71pr-KXfsP959bkcmEE3nvEyw

FYI, in 1980 in Abraham in Egypt, Nibley offered this line of thinking:

Quote

 However, Hugh Nibley makes a powerful argument for another view: "Why was Pharaoh . . . denied the priesthood ...?.. . [B]ecause he claimed it through the wrong line, 'that
lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood.' What was wrong with it? Simply this: it was not the patriarchal but the matriarchal line he was following" (1981, 133-34). While imitating the order
established by the fathers "in the days of the first patriarchal reign" (Abr. 1:26), Pharaoh traced his lineage through Egyptus, a daughter of Ham, who settled her sons in the land —"Thus the government of
Egypt was carried on under the fiction of being patriarchal while the actual line was matriarchal, the Queen being 'the Wife of the God and bearer of the royal lineage' " (p. 134). The Book of Abraham, then,
offers "no exclusive equation between Ham and Pharaoh, or between Ham and the Egyptians, or between the Egyptians and blacks, or between any of the above and any particular curse. What was denied
was the recognition of patriarchal right to the priesthood made by claims of matriarchal succession" (pp. 219-20).

Quoting from my Dialogue essay here: https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V24N03_123.pdf since Abraham in Egypt is no longer freely available online at the Maxwell Institute website.

The question remains, "Why has the Book of Abraham been used to justify priesthood restrictions?"  The answer comes not from Mormonism, but from the larger culture.  Stirling Adams's review of two books by Jewish scholars on the history of the interpretation of Noah's curse on Ham shows that the LDS inherited a misreading which was then applied to the Book of Abraham.  

Quote

DAVID M. GOLDENBERG. The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.

STEPHEN R. HAYNES. Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Two recent books explore how the Genesis account of Noah cursing his grandson Canaan came to be used as a primary justification for enslaving black Africans. In doing so, the books add to the understanding of how this and other biblical stories were previously viewed within Mormonism as support for race-based classifications. Genesis tells of Ham finding his father Noah drunk and uncovered in his tent. Ham informs his brothers Shem and Japheth. They, walking backward so as not to see their father's nakedness, cover Noah with a garment. After Noah awakes from his drunkenness, he curses—not Ham, and not himself—but Ham's son Canaan by pronouncing: "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren" (see Genesis 9:20–27). There is no reference to dark skin, to any skin color, or to Africa, and Noah does not say the curse applies to Canaan's descendants. Yet this story, as it was amplified and changed in extrabiblical interpretations, became the ideological cornerstone used to justify the slavery of black Africans thousands of years afterwards.

David Goldenberg is a Jewish studies scholar and has been editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review, President of Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, and Associate Director of the Annenberg Research Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. In The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Goldenberg seeks to answer how and when the Genesis story became a "curse of Ham" condemning black Africans to slavery.

See https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/curse-ham-race-and-slavery-early-judaism-christianity-and-islam-noahs-curse-biblical

My Dialogue essay linked above also provides evidence of the prexisting misreading by quoting Alexander Campbell Sr. in 1828:

Quote

 An 1828 debate between Alexander Campbell, a leader in the Disciples of Christ movement, and Robert Owen, an atheistic Utopian, helps put this in historical context: "We shall now
observe that part [of Noah's prophesy]. . . which relates to the sentence pronounced on Canaan. . . . The whole continent of Africa was peopled principally by the children of Ham. . . . Egypt is often called
in scripture the land of Ham. . . . The inhabitants of Africa have been bought and sold as slaves from the earliest periods of history, even to the present time" (in Grunder 1987, item 57). 

Joseph Campbell describes how one of the functions of myth is to "sustain the social order."  The long standing misreading of the Bible was done to do just that, as Goldenberg and Haynes demonstrate.   And it turns out that the misreading of the Book of Abraham is also originally done to "sustain the social order", and ironically, now that the social order has shifted, the misreading is often done to negatively paint the Book of Abraham as though it is responsible for making arguments that it does not make.  It's a way to smear the LDS as a means of self-justification, not a way to come of enlightenment of the mind and enlargement of the soul.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

  • Like 3
Link to post

I found examples of Fac 2 are common with the must of the same imagery. Figure 7 appears in all of them  and this is the Nehenkau (the dove) who appears in them with legs and a penis offering the wedjat eye to the deity before him. Figure 3 must have been broken away as the creator of Fac 2 inserted a deity on a boat and with an insect from another section of the Smith papyri 22  23 is usually a figure with multiple heads. It was broken away there and it looks like the two headed deity above was inserted. 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vYqfTAwR2xVx0gKruLt_ylbU9hBz4EZ7pqSh0uUm8lg/edit

Sketch of Facsimile 2

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f7YMm6IGxfQwsGFW2S9jdkDmF881LzpRMIHERp4Sbbg/edit

Edited by aussieguy55
more information
Link to post
On 10/7/2020 at 10:05 PM, Tacenda said:

This article is so disturbing to me. It mentions Joseph took the mummies and pretty much desecrated them. Also, there's so much racism in the BoA that I haven't admittedly known because I have not studied the PoGP much. In it is pretty much using scripture to okay racism. It might be time to get rid of the racist scriptures in the LDS canon.

The article is from an ex Mormon, but probably very factual. The last few paragraphs, if you can read them, print is so small. https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/opth/open-issue/article-10.1515-opth-2016-0054/article-10.1515-opth-2016-0054.xml?fbclid=IwAR0aWR8_jhj7heXz6XxDxHRnzwC8bGuhdq71pr-KXfsP959bkcmEE3nvEyw

It was extremely common in the 19th century and before for mummies to be opened up.  In the UK the wealthy held unwrapping parties.   The greedy pulled the wrappings off for the jewels and gold that was placed underneath them and finally,  and most gruesomely,  mummies were ground up and the powder used in creams rubbed on or mixed into drinks because it was believed to be medicinal.   The tombs in Egypt were robbed almost the moment the mummy was buried and it went on for centuries, into the 20th.  So, it would be very surprising if a mummy remained unmolested.   Even now, mummies are on display in museums.  King Tutenkhamen can be viewed in his tomb. Is that not desecration?  If the mummies Joseph Smith bought were desecrated,  it began when they were removed from what was supposed to be their last resting place.   I'm not convinced Joseph is the one to blame and I don't think he treated them worse than we do now.  As for the BOA, for the last few years, I have been in a study group studying the PoGP and I have grown to really appreciate all the books within it, including the BoA, as wonderful and meaningful scripture, in line with the Book of Mormon. 

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
6 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

FYI, in 1980 in Abraham in Egypt, Nibley offered this line of thinking:

Quoting from my Dialogue essay here: https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V24N03_123.pdf since Abraham in Egypt is no longer freely available online at the Maxwell Institute website.

The question remains, "Why has the Book of Abraham been used to justify priesthood restrictions?"  The answer comes not from Mormonism, but from the larger culture.  Stirling Adams's review of two books by Jewish scholars on the history of the interpretation of Noah's curse on Ham shows that the LDS inherited a misreading which was then applied to the Book of Abraham.  

See https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/curse-ham-race-and-slavery-early-judaism-christianity-and-islam-noahs-curse-biblical

My Dialogue essay linked above also provides evidence of the prexisting misreading by quoting Alexander Campbell Sr. in 1828:

Joseph Campbell describes how one of the functions of myth is to "sustain the social order."  The long standing misreading of the Bible was done to do just that, as Goldenberg and Haynes demonstrate.   And it turns out that the misreading of the Book of Abraham is also originally done to "sustain the social order", and ironically, now that the social order has shifted, the misreading is often done to negatively paint the Book of Abraham as though it is responsible for making arguments that it does not make.  It's a way to smear the LDS as a means of self-justification, not a way to come of enlightenment of the mind and enlargement of the soul.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

I appreciate your valuable time to answer my quote. I just wish I believed that it's merely a mistaken reading of the BoA and Bible. If we have men that are living prophets, I sure wish they would be a head of the times, not behind them.

Link to post
14 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I appreciate your valuable time to answer my quote. I just wish I believed that it's merely a mistaken reading of the BoA and Bible. If we have men that are living prophets, I sure wish they would be a head of the times, not behind them.

Are living prophets supposed to be God's sock puppets?  That is, once called, they stop being people with multiple inputs besides inspiration, and only one output, God's omniscience, expressed in such a way that it immediately conveys that omniscience to every listener, and coerces those listeners into instant conformity on all points and actions?

Paul Barnabus admit "We are men of like passions with you."  (Acts 14:15).  Joseph Smith admits the same of himself.  And Nephi and Alma do the same:

Quote

Nephi writes of himself"And now, if I do err, even they did err of old" (1 Nephi 19:6).
Alma is especially instructive on the nature and extent and sources for prophetic knowledge:
Now as to this thing I do not know. . . . But behold, the Spirit hath said this much unto me. (Alma 7:8-9)
Now I unfold unto you a mystery; nevertheless, there are many mysteries which are kept, that no one
knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God
that I might know .... Now when this time cometh no one knows .... Now, whether there shall be one
time, or a second time, or a third time, . . . it mattereth not; for God knoweth all things; and it
sufficeth me to know in this case ... what becometh of the souls of men is the thing which I have inquired 

All of that is exactly why we are asked to "sustain" our leaders and one another.  If you look up the word in a good dictionary, it has several meanings, including "endure, suffer, allow, uphold," rather than uncritically agree with everything said and done.

And how do we measure who is "ahead of the times", rather than behind them?  Which issues are most important to measure if the question is not, what do I want, or what do I think, but rather, "What is real?"  Who choses?  Is contemporary popular opinion the most reliable method of determining truth?  Are our own personal opinions and desires an unassailable reference against which to measure God?  I studied all of the reasons that Biblical peoples gave for rejecting Biblical prophets boiled down to them saying "It's not what I think," and/or "It's not what I want."  And it turns out that the Biblical recommendations for what a person should do to see truth amounts to the sacrifice of a broken heart (that is, offer up one's desires), and a contrite spirit (risking what one thinks) in order to find what is real.  Consider, for instance, John Clark's report about archeology and the Book of Mormon:

Quote

The overall trend in the data over the past 175 years fits the expectations for the Book of Mormon as history rather than hoax. The Book of Mormon did not play well in Joseph Smith’s lifetime as ancient American history; Mormon missionaries got the worst of most debates on the merits of physical evidence in the 1840s.30 But that was decades before scientific archaeology appeared on the scene. Today, current science is more supportive because many claims made in the book have been substantiated. Given the number of complaints over the years and the range of evidence, quibbling over a point or two of fact will not alter this trend. As seen by science, the Book of Mormon is stronger today than it was in 1830, 1844, 1950, or even 2000, so I expect it will continue to become stronger in the future.

https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/archaeological-trends-and-book-mormon-origins

If you have watched the recent National Geographic Special on LiDar surverys in Mesomerica (its on Disney + now), you will have seen more progress that Clark did not know when he wrote in 2005.  Remember that Kuhn has this:

Quote

At the start a new candidate for a paradigm may have few supporters, and on occasions the supporters’ motives may be suspect. Nevertheless, if they are competent, they will improve it, explore its possibilities, and show what it would be like to belong to the community and be guided by it. And as that goes on, if the paradigm is one destined to win its fight, the number and strength of persuasive arguments in its favor will increase. (Kuhn 159)

And that, it happens, is what Alma 32:34-38 says.

Quote

[A]nd now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.

But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
15 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I appreciate your valuable time to answer my quote. I just wish I believed that it's merely a mistaken reading of the BoA and Bible. If we have men that are living prophets, I sure wish they would be a head of the times, not behind them.

It isn't so much a misreading of the Book of Abraham as it is the Book of Abraham adopting and canonizing the misreading of the Bible. The Book of Abraham's connection of Canaan, Cain, and black skin reflects the thinking of nineteenth-century white American Christians and requires no misinterpretation. David Goldenberg explains why the Book of Abraham explicitly connects the "curse" to black skin and why it links the Canaanites to Cain:

Quote

The Cain theory had an advantage over the Curse of Ham, since the Bible mentions a "mark" put on Cain, even if it doesn't specify what is [sic] was. Furthermore, Cain, history's first murderer, was a far more sinister character than Ham, who merely looked at his father's nakedness. On the other hand, as a link between skin color and slavery, the theory had a problem, for, as opposed to the Curse of Ham, there is no mention of slavery in the Cain narrative. How could slavery be brought into play? One answer was to make Ham a descendant of Cain, but a quick look at the biblical genealogy made that thesis untenable. The answer that took hold was to claim that Ham must have married a descendant of black Cain. This way Ham's descendants, through Canaan, would be both black and enslaved, conveniently coinciding with the situation current at the time. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, incorporated this genealogy into his thinking, and from his time onward, Cain's blackness became part of Mormon theology: "The seed of Cain were black and had not place among [the seed of Adam]"; "a blackness came upon the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people." (The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, 178.)

 

Edited by jkwilliams
  • Like 2
Link to post
3 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Are living prophets supposed to be God's sock puppets?  That is, once called, they stop being people with multiple inputs besides inspiration, and only one output, God's omniscience, expressed in such a way that it immediately conveys that omniscience to every listener, and coerces those listeners into instant conformity on all points and actions?

Paul Barnabus admit "We are men of like passions with you."  (Acts 14:15).  Joseph Smith admits the same of himself.  And Nephi and Alma do the same:

All of that is exactly why we are asked to "sustain" our leaders and one another.  If you look up the word in a good dictionary, it has several meanings, including "endure, suffer, allow, uphold," rather than uncritically agree with everything said and done.

And how do we measure who is "ahead of the times", rather than behind them?  Which issues are most important to measure if the question is not, what do I want, or what do I think, but rather, "What is real?"  Who choses?  Is contemporary popular opinion the most reliable method of determining truth?  Are our own personal opinions and desires an unassailable reference against which to measure God?  I studied all of the reasons that Biblical peoples gave for rejecting Biblical prophets boiled down to them saying "It's not what I think," and/or "It's not what I want."  And it turns out that the Biblical recommendations for what a person should do to see truth amounts to the sacrifice of a broken heart (that is, offer up one's desires), and a contrite spirit (risking what one thinks) in order to find what is real.  Consider, for instance, John Clark's report about archeology and the Book of Mormon:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/archaeological-trends-and-book-mormon-origins

If you have watched the recent National Geographic Special on LiDar surverys in Mesomerica (its on Disney + now), you will have seen more progress that Clark did not know when he wrote in 2005.  Remember that Kuhn has this:

And that, it happens, is what Alma 32:34-38 says.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Kevin, I don't think we'll see eye to eye so feel free to ignore. I can't understand how God would be finite on so many little things in communicating to JS in the D&C, but not such a big thing like getting it wrong when misunderstanding the Bible where so many are hurt, such as slavery or the Native Americans/African American communities that have suffered so much under the white supremacy dreadful root. I think if the Lord would speak to JS about little things such as land acquirement in the D&C, that God would surely care enough about His own children more than money/land situations. 

Link to post
13 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

It isn't so much a misreading of the Book of Abraham as it is the Book of Abraham adopting and canonizing the misreading of the Bible. The Book of Abraham's connection of Canaan, Cain, and black skin reflects the thinking of nineteenth-century white American Christians and requires no misinterpretation. David Goldenberg explains why the Book of Abraham explicitly connects the "curse" to black skin and why it links the Canaanites to Cain:

 

One minor point, Ham didn't just look up on his father's nakedness he blabbed about it to his brothers instead of doing something about it.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
14 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

he Book of Abraham's connection of Canaan, Cain, and black skin reflects the thinking of nineteenth-century white American Christians and requires no misinterpretation.

The Book of Abraham contains neither the word black nor skin. Nor does it say that Ham himself was an invalid priesthood line. It says that Pharaoh was the son of the daughter of Ham.  As in Kevin's quote of Nibley, using a female line for a patriarchal priesthood doesn't work.

Link to post
13 hours ago, rodheadlee said:

One minor point, Ham didn't just look up on his father's nakedness he blabbed about it to his brothers instead of doing something about it.

Your quibble is with Goldenberg, not me. 

Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...