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Robert Ritner - Book of Abraham Interview


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Those interested in the discussion of the attempt to mathematically determine the length of the Hor papyrus scroll may find the following article of interest:

The length of a scroll: Quantitative evaluation of material reconstructions
Eshbal Ratzon, Nachum Dershowitz
Published: October 21, 2020
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239831

Scholars have used mathematical models to estimate the missing length
of deteriorated scrolls from ancient Egypt, Qumran, Herculaneum, and
elsewhere. Based on such estimations, the content of ancient
literature as well as the process of its composition is deduced.
Though theoretically reasonable, many practical problems interfere
with the method. In the current study, the empirical validity of these
mathematical models is examined, showing that highly significant
errors are quite frequent. When applied to comparatively intact
scrolls, the largest contribution to errors is the subjectivity
inherent in measuring patterns of damaged areas. In less well
preserved scrolls, deterioration and deformation are more central
causes of errors. Another factor is the quality of imaging. Hence,
even after maximal reduction of interfering factors, one should only
use these estimation methods in conjunction with other supporting
considerations. Accordingly, past uses of this approach should be
reevaluated, which may have substantial implications for the study of
antiquity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Citation: Ratzon E, Dershowitz N (2020) The length of a scroll:
Quantitative evaluation of material reconstructions. PLoS ONE 15(10):
e0239831. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239831

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16 hours ago, Steve Thompson said:

Those interested in the discussion of the attempt to mathematically determine the length of the Hor papyrus scroll may find the following article of interest:

The length of a scroll: Quantitative evaluation of material reconstructions
Eshbal Ratzon, Nachum Dershowitz
Published: October 21, 2020
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239831

Scholars have used mathematical models to estimate the missing length
of deteriorated scrolls from ancient Egypt, Qumran, Herculaneum, and
elsewhere. Based on such estimations, the content of ancient
literature as well as the process of its composition is deduced.
Though theoretically reasonable, many practical problems interfere
with the method. In the current study, the empirical validity of these
mathematical models is examined, showing that highly significant
errors are quite frequent. When applied to comparatively intact
scrolls, the largest contribution to errors is the subjectivity
inherent in measuring patterns of damaged areas. In less well
preserved scrolls, deterioration and deformation are more central
causes of errors. Another factor is the quality of imaging. Hence,
even after maximal reduction of interfering factors, one should only
use these estimation methods in conjunction with other supporting
considerations. Accordingly, past uses of this approach should be
reevaluated, which may have substantial implications for the study of
antiquity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Citation: Ratzon E, Dershowitz N (2020) The length of a scroll:
Quantitative evaluation of material reconstructions. PLoS ONE 15(10):
e0239831. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239831

Yeah...take that Chris Smith and Andrew.  Oh and take that too John Gee.  

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

Those interested in the discussion of the attempt to mathematically determine the length of the Hor papyrus scroll may find the following article of interest:

The length of a scroll: Quantitative evaluation of material reconstructions
Eshbal Ratzon, Nachum Dershowitz
Published: October 21, 2020
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239831

Scholars have used mathematical models to estimate the missing length of deteriorated scrolls from ancient Egypt, Qumran, Herculaneum, and elsewhere. Based on such estimations, the content of ancient literature as well as the process of its composition is deduced.  Though theoretically reasonable, many practical problems interfere with the method. In the current study, the empirical validity of these mathematical models is examined, showing that highly significant errors are quite frequent. When applied to comparatively intact scrolls, the largest contribution to errors is the subjectivity inherent in measuring patterns of damaged areas. In less well preserved scrolls, deterioration and deformation are more central causes of errors. Another factor is the quality of imaging. Hence, even after maximal reduction of interfering factors, one should only use these estimation methods in conjunction with other supporting considerations. Accordingly, past uses of this approach should be reevaluated, which may have substantial implications for the study of antiquity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Citation: Ratzon E, Dershowitz N (2020) The length of a scroll:
Quantitative evaluation of material reconstructions. PLoS ONE 15(10):
e0239831. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239831

Yeah...take that Chris Smith and Andrew.  Oh and take that too John Gee.  

I don't understand the last statement.  Could you clarify how the above abstract indicts Gee?

Thanks,

-Smac

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19 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I don't understand the last statement.  Could you clarify how the above abstract indicts Gee?

Thanks,

-Smac

Gee, I thought, attempted to calculate the length of the missing portion of the scroll as well.  

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5 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Gee, I thought, attempted to calculate the length of the missing portion of the scroll as well.  

Yes, but my recollection is also that Gee has noted (as has Muhlestein) the shortcomings of the mathematical formula used for such estimates.  Is this recollection incorrect?

Further, Gee's assessment of scroll length also relies on eyewitness accounts.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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14 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Yes, but my recollection is also that Gee has noted (as has Muhlestein) the shortcomings of the mathematical formula used for such estimates.  Is this recollection incorrect?

You're probably right.  

14 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Further, Gee's assessment of scroll length also relies on eyewitness accounts.

Thanks,

-Smac

No.  Not at all.  I think Gee's use of sources on this are sketchy at best.  

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13 minutes ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

Further, Gee's assessment of scroll length also relies on eyewitness accounts.

No.  Not at all.  I think Gee's use of sources on this are sketchy at best.  

I don't follow.  What does "No.  Not at all" mean?  Are you disputing that Gee has used eyewitness accounts in his assessment of scroll length?  Or are you saying that he is misrepresenting or otherwise not properly using the substance of those accounts?

See, for example, here:

Quote

Eyewitnesses from the Nauvoo period (1839–1844) describe “a quantity of records, written on papyrus, in Egyptian hieroglyphics,”32 including (1) some papyri “preserved under glass,”33 described as “a number of glazed slides, like picture frames, containing sheets of papyrus, with Egyptian inscriptions and hieroglyphics”;34 (2) “a long roll of manuscript”35 that contained the Book of Abraham;36 (3) “another roll”;37 (4) and “two or three other small pieces of papyrus with astronomical calculations, epitaphs, &c.”38 Only the mounted fragments ended up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and thence were given back to the Church of Jesus Christ. When eyewitnesses described the vignettes as being of the mounted fragments, they can be matched with the fragments from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; but when the vignettes described are on the rolls, the descriptions do not match any of the fragments from the Met. Gustavus Seyffarth’s 1856 catalog of the Wood Museum indicates that some of the papyri were there.  Those papyri went to Chicago and were burned in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Whatever we might imagine their contents to be is only conjecture. Both Mormon and non-Mormon eyewitnesses from the nineteenth century agree that it was a “roll of papyrus from which our prophet translated the Book of Abraham,”39 meaning the “long roll of manuscript” and not one of the mounted fragments that eventually ended up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.40
---
32. William S. West, A Few Interesting Facts Respecting the Rise, Progress, and Pretensions of the Mormons (Warren, OH, 1837), 5, cited in Todd, Saga of the Book of Abraham, 196–97.
33. Quincy, Figures of the Past, 386.
34. Henry Caswall, The City of the Mormons; or, Three Days at Nauvoo, in 1842 (London: Rivington, 1843), 22–23.
35. Charlotte Haven to her mother, 19 February 1843, printed in “A Girl’s Letters from Nauvoo,” Overland Monthly 16/96 (December 1890): 624, as cited in Todd, Saga of the Book of Abraham, 245.
36. Jerusha W. Blanchard, “Reminiscences of the Granddaughter of Hyrum Smith,” Relief Society Magazine 9/1 (1922): 9; and Haven to her mother, 19 February 1843.
37. Haven to her mother, 19 February 1843.
38. Oliver Cowdery to William Frye, 22 December 1835, printed in the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 2 (December 1835): 234.
39. Blanchard, “Reminiscences,” 9; and Haven to her mother, 19 February 1843.
40. For the distribution of the manuscript fragments, see John Gee, “Eyewitness, Hearsay, and Physical Evidence of the Joseph Smith Papyri,” in The Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson, ed.  Stephen D. Ricks et al. (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000), 188–91; and John Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000), 10–13.

Thanks,

-Smac

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33 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I don't follow.  What does "No.  Not at all" mean?  Are you disputing that Gee has used eyewitness accounts in his assessment of scroll length?  Or are you saying that he is misrepresenting or otherwise not properly using the substance of those accounts?

See, for example, here:

Thanks,

-Smac

I've been over this with people a number of times.

Looks like we discussed it before:  

 

 

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41 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I've been over this with people a number of times.

Looks like we discussed it before:  

 

 

Ah.  You are disputing the reasonableness of Gee's citation to eyewitness accounts, as you have before.  Yes, we've discussed it before.

Thanks,

-Smac

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