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Robert Ritner - Book of Abraham Interview


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5 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Non-LDS Egyptologists Von Bissing, Woodward, and Hughes all agreed that the Anubis-priest in Fac 1:3 could have a knife in hand -- the priest of Elkenah (sometimes with Anubis mask) holding a knife, just as the priest also appears on the Egyptian style sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Byblos [below] in which Ahiram holds a lotus, sitting before an altar opposite a priest holding a knife about to perform a sacrifice (National Museum, Beirut, Lebanon; John Gray, NEM, 100, top right).  

Kerry Muhlestein in the video linked above says the findings in Egyptology change every day.  Why are you referencing Egyptologists who are long gone about a maybe possibly point?  What exactly did they say?  I'm assuming you are alluding to quotes from Nibley.  

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18 hours ago, stemelbow said:
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This doesn't do anything to lessen the impression that Ritner is an excellent Egyptologist with an anti-Mormon chip in his shoulder so big that Khufu modeled his Pyramid on it. 

I think he's plainly an Egyptian scholar

Nobody is disputing that, I think.  Rather, I think the question is whether he has, as it has been said, "an anti-Mormon chip in his shoulder so big that Khufu modeled his Pyramid on it."

18 hours ago, stemelbow said:

and cannot for the life of him find anything near the BoA in Egypt nor in the papyri that the Abraham story purportedly came from.  He does seem frustrated with the abhorrent "scholarship" of apologists, though.  

You are using "apologists" as an epithet, I guess.

Are you familiar with Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham?   Or this article at Pearl of Great Price CentralThe Ancient Egyptian View of Abraham?

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Nobody is disputing that, I think.  Rather, I think the question is whether he has, as it has been said, "an anti-Mormon chip in his shoulder so big that Khufu modeled his Pyramid on it."

Well, if we're left accusing each other of bad intentions, then we're playing a useless game.  

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You are using "apologists" as an epithet, I guess.

I'm using it as a descriptor.  There are those who offer defense.  I think Muhlestein described it well when he said:  

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“I start out with an assumption that the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon, and anything else that we get from the restored gospel, is true,” he said. “Therefore, any evidence I find, I will try to fit into that paradigm. …There are those who will assume that it’s not true, and on these points we’ll just have to agree to disagree. But we will understand one another better when we understand how our beginning assumptions color the way we filter all of the evidence that we find.”

https://www.deseret.com/2014/8/12/20546321/byu-professor-speaks-on-unnoticed-assumptions-about-the-book-of-abraham#facsimile-1-from-the-book-of-abraham-was-on-papyrus-discovered-in-egypt

I think he's describing an apologetic position--you start assuming something is true, then the data that doesn't fit the assumption gets filtered out.  I think he's right, if that's one's take, then it's best if that's acknowledged from the outset.  

 

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Are you familiar with Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham?   Or this article at Pearl of Great Price CentralThe Ancient Egyptian View of Abraham?

Thanks,

-Smac

Somewhat.  Is there something specific you'd like to discuss?  

2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You might try reading your own words, which misstate the facts, and which my paper refutes.  Here is what you said:

You may have noticed that I bolded the most absurd claim you made.  Since that claim is completely false, you might want to rethink it a bit.  You might want to ask some hard questions about ancient Egypt and, for example, the non-LDS scholarly claims that the Testament of Abraham (part of the Jewish scriptural canon in Ethiopia) originated in the Jewish community in Egypt in the 2nd century AD.  I mentioned that Testament of Abraham in my paper, along with the Apocalypse of Abraham, from the same period.  The parallels of both with the LDS Book of Abraham are remarkable.  This represents standard scholarship, rather than the "abhorrent" apologetics which you seem fixated on.  If you can focus on specific scholarly claims, we might have something to talk about.

Might.  But it appears you have misunderstood me again.  I'm merely mentioning what seems to be Ritner's position.  I'm not commenting on whether the apologetics about" Abraham being in Egypt therefore there is evidence for the BoA" has any merit.  

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Findings in all areas of archeology change slightly with every new discovery, and the Egyptological community is quite active and vocal.. Muhlestein himself conducts an annual excavation in Egypt, and may be thinking along those lines.  That does not mean that everything changes every day, and it is silly and anti-scholarly to suggest that it does.

I suppose my point is, if it carries weight--the notion that the figure standing with his hand extended has a knife--then you'd think others in today's world of Egyptology would agree.  It sounds like the old dudes who you mention gave a bit of a shrug saying "it's possible".  But I could be wrong.  

Woodward:

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October 10, 19 03. My dear Mr. Barclay: Papyri and the literature thereof are all at Bloomsbury, so I have sent your request on to my friend, Dr. Ernest A. T. W. Budge, keeper of Egptian, and Assyrian antiquities, to reply to and I hope he will do so. Savigny wrote the account of the first Napoleon's Egyptian campaign and in it are papyri (drawn) before the year 1870. I think all Smith's drawings are very bad copies of early genuine papyri en- gravings which he must have seen somewhere. His interpretations are of course all rubbish! Abraham being sacrificed by Elkanah is an embalmer. knife in hand, preparing to disembowel a dead body to embalm it! and the gods are a row of mummvpots. HENRY WOODWARD. Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum London W. C. No. 4272 9.10.03

Budge:

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My dear Sir: — No. 1 is an imitation of the scene from the Book of The Dead in which Anubis stands by the side of the de- ceased on his bier. The interpreta- tion is bosh. No. 2 is from one of the hvpocephali. I should say copied from the late Dr. Birch's papers. The interpretation is likewise bosh. No. 3 is adoration of Osiris by some deceased person. It is a falsified copy. The letter press is as idiotic as the pictures, and it is clearly based on the Bible and some of the Old Test. Apocryphal histories. I return the book and the letters herewith. I am. Yours very truly, E. A. W. BUDGE. Dr. Henry Woodward, F. R. S. I forwarded all the correspondence to President P. M. Lyman, then at Liverpool, for his perusal and com- ment, and take pleasure in quoting from his reply: 42 Islington, Liverpool, October 16. 1903

Von Bissing:

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It is impossible from Smith's bad facsimiles to make out any meaning of the inscriptions.

also:

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What he calls the ʹBook of Abrahamʹ is a funeral Egyptian text, probably  not older than the Greek ages. His figure 1 should be commented upon as  follows:    

 

The dead man (1) is lying on a bier (4) under which are standing the four  canopic jars (5‐8) and before which is standing the offering table (10). The  soul is leaving the body in the moment when the priest (3) is opening the  body with a knife for mummification. Fig. 3 may be part of the same  papyrus—the Goddess Maat (Truth) is introducing the dead (5) and his  shadow (6) before Osiris (1) and Isis (2) before whom an offering table  stands (3).  

(this is what I assume you are talking about)

 

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You can check the 1903 views of Henry Woodward (and E. Budge) in Improvement Era, 16:342 = Deseret News, Dec 19, 1912.  The views of Hughes and Von Bissing can be found in F. S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr., As a Translator: an Inquiry Conducted by [the] Rt. Rev. F. S. Spalding, D.D.,  [Episcopal] Bishop of Utah, with the Kind Assistance of Capable Scholars (SLC: The Arrow Press, Nov 1912); 31pp. pamphlet; reprinted by Modern Microfilm Co., in Why Egyptologists Reject the Book of Abraham (SLC, n.d.).

That is right out of my bibliography to my Commentary on the Book of Abraham (forthcoming).  I cite a great many dead Egyptologists, including Klaus Baer, John Wilson, Hugh Nibley, et al.  If any of them have said something which needs to be brought up to date, then by all means, update it.

I struggle to care at all about whether the Osiris figure was holding a knife or not.  i'm simply pointing out, that Ritner, a current Egyptoplogist ,says he would not be holding a knife.  I don't know what these long dead fellows thought or why they thought it.  And maybe RItner simply disagrees.  Or maybe he knows from which he speaks, as well.  

Edited by stemelbow
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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Not sure exactly what you are referring to, since the priesthood is not being taught in any of the facsimile explanations.  You seem to be suggesting that Chuck Larson's false pornographic restoration of facsimile 1 is to be set over against Joseph's explanation that Abraham is on the altar about to be sacrificed.  According to non-LDS Egyptologist Lanny Bell, both of the hands of Osiris [Abraham] are visible above his head.

Non-LDS Egyptologists Von Bissing, Woodward, and Hughes all agreed that the Anubis-priest in Fac 1:3 could have a knife in hand -- the priest of Elkenah (sometimes with Anubis mask) holding a knife, just as the priest also appears on the Egyptian style sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Byblos [below] in which Ahiram holds a lotus, sitting before an altar opposite a priest holding a knife about to perform a sacrifice (National Museum, Beirut, Lebanon; John Gray, NEM, 100, top right).   In Egyptology, it is Anubis who presides over blood sacrifices as representative of Pharaoh (Pyramid Texts 157, 590, 650, 727, 811d, 1286-1287, etc.).  Since Book of Abraham Fac 1 is described in Abr 1:10 as taking place in North Syrian Olishem (= Akkadian Ulisum), while the Fac 1:4 Egyptian altar is described in Abr 1:12 as a Chaldean bedstead, the Ptolemaic facsimile 1 illus is thus obviously not the Abrahamic original.  The Jewish scribe in Ptolemaic Egypt who is copying and passing this story on has substituted another illustration.

08dea5ac58b1b821ef050beb5ed537c9.jpg

This:

Represents God sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood; as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove.

Note: the original phallus (erect penis) was removed in past editions of the Pearl of Great Price, and restored in the 1981 Triple Combo (KJV, D&C, PGP).
no phallus phallus

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Ritner isn't anti Mormon, he is anti Mormonegyptologist who insist that the BoA was on actually on the papyrus. One can be a faithful Mormon and agree with Ritner.

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

This:

Represents God sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood; as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove.

Note: the original phallus (erect penis) was removed in past editions of the Pearl of Great Price, and restored in the 1981 Triple Combo (KJV, D&C, PGP).
no phallus phallus

That is probably a picture of the god "Min" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_(god)).  He is normally shown that way with the erect phallus.

Also, the phallus was probably removed accidentally instead of intentionally.  It is in the original printing plate (see https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/facsimile-printing-plates-circa-23-february-16-may-1842/2) and was in many of the earlier editions.  According to http://www.boap.org/LDS/BOAP/SecondEd/Draft-copy/AppendixVI-JS-Commentary-on-BOA.pdf, in the 1920's, they made a new printing plate and didn't do a very good job with facsimile 2.

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1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

Ritner isn't anti Mormon, he is anti Mormonegyptologist who insist that the BoA was on actually on the papyrus. One can be a faithful Mormon and agree with Ritner.

This is true I believe.  --"the BoA was not actually on..." i assume you meant.  

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4 hours ago, esodije said:

I have nothing substantive to add—this topic is tedious and inconsequential to me—

And rightly so.  Most specialized topics can be tedious and inconsequential to those untrained.  We cannot expect understanding in such circumstances.  Indeed, it may very well be the case that no one should expect a full measure of intellectual capacity in every area of endeavor.  Generally, one should expect that questions of faith cannot be answered by an appeal to intellect.  These are incommensurables.  Faith and intellectual inquiry are very separate modes of thought.  It is a category mistake to confuse the two as somehow the same thing.

4 hours ago, esodije said:

but I would warn anyone not to believe the credentialed blindly. My legal career was blessedly short, but as a young attorney I was involved in preparing several multi-day trials. I became acutely aware that expert witnesses are the real whores of the American legal system. In short, if a party to a lawsuit needs someone with credentials to testify to a given proposition (of varying plausibility), and there’s a buck in it, there will virtually always be a scientist or scholar willing so to testify. And the reward doesn’t even have to be monetary if ideological or political self-gratification enters into it.

That is why all scholarly inquiry should seek dispassionate and disinterested views from the scholars being consulted -- in whatever source.  Scholarship is a communal effort which takes place over time in many specialized areas.  It may even take centuries for good evidence for this or that to come to fruition, and even then may remain tentative.  Scholarship, like the talmud, is really a continuing discussion -- among the scholars.  Those looking in from the outside are likely to see that atomistically and statically, instead of as a process.

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2 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Ritner isn't anti Mormon, he is anti Mormonegyptologist who insist that the BoA was on actually on the papyrus. One can be a faithful Mormon and agree with Ritner.

Not sure that there is anyone anywhere who actually claims that the Book of Abraham is on any of the papyri.  Instead, all have been saying (both anti- and pro-LDS) that the BofA is not on any of the known papyri.  So, not sure what you are saying here, Steve.

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1 hour ago, webbles said:

That is probably a picture of the god "Min" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_(god)).  He is normally shown that way with the erect phallus.

Also, the phallus was probably removed accidentally instead of intentionally.  It is in the original printing plate (see https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/facsimile-printing-plates-circa-23-february-16-may-1842/2) and was in many of the earlier editions.  According to http://www.boap.org/LDS/BOAP/SecondEd/Draft-copy/AppendixVI-JS-Commentary-on-BOA.pdf, in the 1920's, they made a new printing plate and didn't do a very good job with facsimile 2.

I know but Joseph is saying that is God telling how to get back to heaven using the PH language or something right? And according to Ritner it doesn't have anything to do with that.

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3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

.....................  I think Muhlestein described it well when he said:  

https://www.deseret.com/2014/8/12/20546321/byu-professor-speaks-on-unnoticed-assumptions-about-the-book-of-abraham#facsimile-1-from-the-book-of-abraham-was-on-papyrus-discovered-in-egypt

I think he's describing an apologetic position--you start assuming something is true, then the data that doesn't fit the assumption gets filtered out.  I think he's right, if that's one's take, then it's best if that's acknowledged from the outset.

That is indeed an apologetic approach and framework.  Both pro- and anti-LDS people can begin with that in mind.  Muhlestein is being very frank.  Nibley also called himself an apologist.

3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

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

Might.  But it appears you have misunderstood me again.  I'm merely mentioning what seems to be Ritner's position.  I'm not commenting on whether the apologetics about" Abraham being in Egypt therefore there is evidence for the BoA" has any merit.  

Your blanket statements are not only false, but not an advisable mode of response to specific questions.

3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I suppose my point is, if it carries weight--the notion that the figure standing with his hand extended has a knife--then you'd think others in today's world of Egyptology would agree.  It sounds like the old dudes who you mention gave a bit of a shrug saying "it's possible".  But I could be wrong.  

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

I struggle to care at all about whether the Osiris figure was holding a knife or not.  i'm simply pointing out, that Ritner, a current Egyptoplogist ,says he would not be holding a knife.  I don't know what these long dead fellows thought or why they thought it.  And maybe RItner simply disagrees.  Or maybe he knows from which he speaks, as well.  

It is true that Ritner suggests that the Anubis-priest is not holding a knife in PJS I.  However, I cited the Pyramid Texts which show that Anubis is in charge of blood sacrifice.  He is also the embalmer, as well as the character who performs the Opening of the Mouth Ritual -- the first two of which are performed with the typical Anubis knife, as the bronze one pictured here with a jackal on the handle:

c8cd873c5373e2395240e947322f52d0.jpg

The "old dudes" you have contempt for may be reflecting those known facts, which have not changed during the intervening years.  In fact, ordinary priests can hold both knife and the Opening of the Mouth tool, without Anubis masks, while assisting the Anubis-priest (with mask), as here:

6e833d36df0a9b54cae47aa5b8ca5e90.jpg

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7 hours ago, Tacenda said:

........Represents God sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood; as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove.

Note: the original phallus (erect penis) was removed in past editions of the Pearl of Great Price, and restored in the 1981 Triple Combo (KJV, D&C, PGP).
no phallus phallus

 

6 hours ago, webbles said:

That is probably a picture of the god "Min" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_(god)).  He is normally shown that way with the erect phallus.

Also, the phallus was probably removed accidentally instead of intentionally.  It is in the original printing plate (see https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/facsimile-printing-plates-circa-23-february-16-may-1842/2) and was in many of the earlier editions.  According to http://www.boap.org/LDS/BOAP/SecondEd/Draft-copy/AppendixVI-JS-Commentary-on-BOA.pdf, in the 1920's, they made a new printing plate and didn't do a very good job with facsimile 2.

Yes, the printing plates degraded over the years, and, in any case, these are not scenes of masturbation (which Chuck Larson put into facsimile 1).  Indeed, it is likely that both the bird-serpent and the seated falcon-wing-backed god are ithyphallic -- representing procreative power.  Jews in late antiquity are known to have used phallic emphasis in some representations of their God, YHWH,[1] not to mention the scholars who sometimes find phallic symbolism in the Bible (I Samuel 2:1,10, II Samuel 22:3 = Psalm 18:2, Job 16:15, Psalms 75:4-5, 89:17,24, Luke 1:69, etc.).[2]  Anti-LDS Egyptologist S. Mercer described register 2:7 as follows:

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Fig. 7 represents Nehebka, the serpent-god, presenting an uzat-eye to Horus-Min who is seated.  Horus-Min was formerly sometimes called Harammon.  Joseph Smith calls Horus-Min AGod sitting upon his throne,@ and Nehebka, the Holy Ghost Ain the form of a dove,@ the last expression being, of course, an anachronism.[3]

 

The seated god is Min-Amun-Re, sometimes called AArm-raising Horus,@ ATall-plumed son of Osiris,@ AHorus strong-armed,@ ASovereign of all the gods!@[4]  The Neheb-ka figure opposite is a composite animal holding a Wd3t-eye in its paws.  The Wd3t is Athe full, healed and intact eye@of Horus or of Re, is Athe symbol of divine life which can overcome death,@[5] i.e., the Wd3t is an amulet.

The Neheb-ka is a taker away of power and a bestower of powers, with authority from the Great Ennead of Atum, i.e., the Divine Council, or is seen as seven uraei exalted and identified with the Bull of the Tribunal-Ennead (see Faulkner on Coffin Texts 85-88 [II, 51-54]).[6]   The ka-element in Neheb-ka has been translated variously as Aghost, phantom@ (Edfu, IV, 266, 7; Shipwrecked Sailor, 114), Aspirit, soul; essence; personality; fortune; fate; will (of king); kingship; goodwill; genius; guardian spirit; power; double@[7] (Pyramid Text 587), Ahyper-physical vital force.@[8] 


[1] J. Campbell, The Masks of God, III: Occidental Mythology, 273-276.
[2] W. A. Smalley in M. Black and W. A. Smalley, eds., On Language, Culture, and Religion, 365.
[3] S. Mercer, Utah Survey, I/1:24.
[4] M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, I:204.
[5] Bleeker, Hathor and Thoth, 125, citing Kristensen, Het leven uit de dood (1949), 26-27; A. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed., '266:1; Urkunden, V, 37, 13.
[6] Cf. Shorter, AThe God Nehebkau,@ JEA, 21 (1935):46B47.
[7] J. Wilson, Culture of Ancient Egypt, 86,299 n. 27; J. Zandee, Death as an Enemy, 184; LES, 68, 19; Gardiner, JEA, 36:7 n. 2; Greven, Ka in Theologie und Königskult des alten Reiches, reviewed by Faulkner, JEA, 41:141; Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity (1940), 130; Albright, VESO, 26, 61, and XVII.C, citing ZÄS, 48:152-159; 54:56-64; JEA, 5:64.
[8] S. Morenz, Egyptian Religion, 170.
Edited by Robert F. Smith
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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

I know but Joseph is saying that is God telling how to get back to heaven using the PH language or something right? And according to Ritner it doesn't have anything to do with that.

I'm pretty sure all Egyptologists (both members and non-members) say that it is Min.  So it isn't just Ritner who is saying that.

As for how to reconcile the fact that it is Min vs the explanation that Joseph Smith gave (which is about revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood), you might try what Muhlestein (a member and Egyptologist) said:

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[W]e do not know to what we really should compare the facsimiles. Was Joseph Smith giving us an interpretation that ancient Egyptians would have held, or one that only a small group of priests interested in Abraham would have held, or one that a group of ancient Jews in Egypt would have held, or something another group altogether would have held, or was he giving us an interpretation we needed to receive for our spiritual benefit regardless of how any ancient groups would have seen these?

There's some similar things mentioned at https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Book_of_Abraham/Joseph_Smith_Papyri/Facsimiles/Facsimile_2/Identification_of_the_ithyphallic_Egyptian_god_"Min"_as_"God_sitting_upon_his_throne"

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3 hours ago, webbles said:

I'm pretty sure all Egyptologists (both members and non-members) say that it is Min.  So it isn't just Ritner who is saying that.

As for how to reconcile the fact that it is Min vs the explanation that Joseph Smith gave (which is about revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood), you might try what Muhlestein (a member and Egyptologist) said:

There's some similar things mentioned at https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Book_of_Abraham/Joseph_Smith_Papyri/Facsimiles/Facsimile_2/Identification_of_the_ithyphallic_Egyptian_god_"Min"_as_"God_sitting_upon_his_throne"

Thanks!

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

That is indeed an apologetic approach and framework.  Both pro- and anti-LDS people can begin with that in mind.  Muhlestein is being very frank.  Nibley also called himself an apologist.

Your blanket statements are not only false, but not an advisable mode of response to specific questions.

It is true that Ritner suggests that the Anubis-priest is not holding a knife in PJS I.  However, I cited the Pyramid Texts which show that Anubis is in charge of blood sacrifice.  He is also the embalmer, as well as the character who performs the Opening of the Mouth Ritual -- the first two of which are performed with the typical Anubis knife, as the bronze one pictured here with a jackal on the handle:

Anubis is missing the jackal head I hear and is not the priest but a god.  

4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

c8cd873c5373e2395240e947322f52d0.jpg

The "old dudes" you have contempt for may be reflecting those known facts, which have not changed during the intervening years.

Ok.  As I quoted these old dudes completely disagreed that Joseph got something right.  Pointing out that they are no longer around isn't showing contempt.  

4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

  In fact, ordinary priests can hold both knife and the Opening of the Mouth tool, without Anubis masks, while assisting the Anubis-priest (with mask), as here:

6e833d36df0a9b54cae47aa5b8ca5e90.jpg

None of that looks as pictured in the drawing filling in the lacuna.  

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4 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Anubis is missing the jackal head I hear and is not the priest but a god. 

So you reject normative Egyptology in understanding that the Anubis-priest wears a mask, and you likewise misunderstand the English phrase "idolatrous priest of Elkenah" (fac 1:3) as meaning not a priest but a god?  And you also misunderstand the phrase "The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh" (Abr 1:7)?  If you cannot even accept ordinary English grammar and meaning, how is it possible to carry on a rational conversation?

4 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Ok.  As I quoted these old dudes completely disagreed that Joseph got something right.  Pointing out that they are no longer around isn't showing contempt. 

You specifically disallowed their opinions simply because they spoke long ago.  Now you are suddenly no longer contemptuous?

4 hours ago, stemelbow said:

None of that looks as pictured in the drawing filling in the lacuna.  

All the males pictured are priests (except the deceased loved one -- the upright mummy with incense cone and lotus on his head).  So you reject Egyptian culture and ritual practices?  This is you anti-scholarly approach, since you see all factual discussion as "apologetics."

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

So you reject normative Egyptology in understanding that the Anubis-priest wears a mask, and you likewise misunderstand the English phrase "idolatrous priest of Elkenah" (fac 1:3) as meaning not a priest but a god?  And you also misunderstand the phrase "The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh" (Abr 1:7)?  If you cannot even accept ordinary English grammar and meaning, how is it possible to carry on a rational conversation?

Of course I understand english and get what the words in the BoA mean.  

3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You specifically disallowed their opinions simply because they spoke long ago.  Now you are suddenly no longer contemptuous?

I didn't disallow.  I asked a question  as you suggested they disagreed with Ritner.  But after reading their words, and their total disagreement with Smith it appears they'd agree with Ritner anyway.  The question of a knife in hand is nothing more than somewhat vaguely alluded to as possible by one of them.  And it seems to be a small and useless point. 

3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

All the males pictured are priests (except the deceased loved one -- the upright mummy with incense cone and lotus on his head).  So you reject Egyptian culture and ritual practices?  This is you anti-scholarly approach, since you see all factual discussion as "apologetics."

I don't reject anything.  I simply pointed out that example you gave is not  a similar scene and the knives drawn look nothing like the knife in hand in Smith's apparemt recreated scene.  I don't see how that justifies the conclusion that Smith got something right.  

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17 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Not sure that there is anyone anywhere who actually claims that the Book of Abraham is on any of the papyri.  Instead, all have been saying (both anti- and pro-LDS) that the BofA is not on any of the known papyri.  So, not sure what you are saying here, Steve.

Hi Robert,

I am posting from my phone and not very good at it.  I did not limit my response to the extant or known papyri from the JS collection. I believe Ritner's work points out that there is no evidence that any of the collection Joseph used to produce the BoA can be linked to the Biblical Abraham. This is not an anti-Mormon attack by Ritner as faithful LDS members can and do accept the BoA as scripture and still reject Mormon Egyptological apologetic arguments that somewhere on a missing portion of the artifacts was the actual text of the BoA. I see labeling Ritner as anti-Mormon as attempts to make accepting theories like the missing scroll a faith test. I do not see Ritner as anti-Mormon, but simply as one who is pointing out the problems with Mormon egyptological apologetics. There is a big difference. 

Edited by CA Steve
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19 hours ago, stemelbow said:
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Nobody is disputing that, I think.  Rather, I think the question is whether he has, as it has been said, "an anti-Mormon chip in his shoulder so big that Khufu modeled his Pyramid on it."

Well, if we're left accusing each other of bad intentions, thn we're playing a useless game.  

You seem to be trying to portray Ritner as impartial and objective when it comes to Gee and the Book of Abraham.  There is evidence suggesting that is not the case.

19 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I think he's describing an apologetic position--you start assuming something is true,

I think that is an accurate statement.

19 hours ago, stemelbow said:

then the data that doesn't fit the assumption gets filtered out. 

I'm not sure you are correct here.  I'm not even sure what "gets filtered out" means.

Also, surely Ritner's position can also be characterized as starting out with assumptions, with non-fitting-data getting "filtered"?

19 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I think he's right, if that's one's take, then it's best if that's acknowledged from the outset.

I think that's what Kerry Muhlestein has done.  Meanwhile, I'm not sure Dr. Ritner has acknowledged his biases/hostilities.

19 hours ago, stemelbow said:
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and cannot for the life of him find anything near the BoA in Egypt nor in the papyri that the Abraham story purportedly came from. 

Are you familiar with Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham?   Or this article at Pearl of Great Price CentralThe Ancient Egyptian View of Abraham?

Somewhat.  Is there something specific you'd like to discuss?  

If I understand you correctly, you sare saying that Ritner "cannot...find anything near the BoA in Egypt ... that the Abraham story purportedly came from."

My understanding is that there are a number of stories from antiquity that place Abraham in Egypt.  From the POGPC article above:

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Some wondering about the Book of Abraham might ask how likely it would have been for the ancient Egyptians to have known anything about the biblical figure Abraham. In fact, evidence survives today indicating that stories about Abraham were known to the ancient Egyptians as early as the time of the composition of the Joseph Smith Papyri (ca. 300–30 BC).

The article goes on to provide a number of examples of "extra-biblical stories about Abraham {} in Egypt during this time," including "Eupolemus ... recount{ing} how Abraham lived in Heliopolis (On) and taught astronomy and other sciences to the Egyptian priests," "the Egyptian Jew Artapanus wrote an account of Abraham teaching astronomy to the Egyptian Pharaoh," a fragmentary text from Egypt about Abraham describes how the king (the word used is pharaoh) tries to sacrifice Abraham, but Abraham is delivered by an angel of the Lord," and about "Abraham later teach{ing} the members of the royal court about the true God using astronomy."

As Daniel Peterson notes:

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Although the Bible attributes no special astronomical interests to Abraham, Facsimile 3 and many postbiblical texts — including both Jubilees (second century B.C.) and the Qur'an (A.D. seventh century) portray him as an astronomer. And the first-century Jewish historian Josephus quotes an earlier description of Abraham as "a man … skillful in the celestial science."

In Testament of Abraham 9–10 (first or second century), the patriarch is caught up into heaven and shown the earth and all its inhabitants; the contemporary Apocalypse of Abraham adds that he beheld "hosts of stars, and the orders they were commanded to carry out, and the elements of earth obeying them." (Compare 4:14-18.) In Abraham 3, the prophet sees an apparently geocentric (earth-centered) astronomical model including the star or planet Kolob, "set nigh unto the throne of God" (3:9).

The 10th-century Muslim scholar al-Tabari says that "the seven heavens were opened to Abraham, up to and including the throne (of God)." Facsimile 3 shows an Egyptian scene bearing the explanation, "Abraham is reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the king's court." Similarly, Josephus tells of Abraham's teaching astronomy in Egypt, and the fourth-century Christian historian Eusebius preserves an even earlier account specifying that Abraham taught astronomy to both Egypt's priests and Pharaoh himself.
...
It's amazing what Joseph Smith was able to pick up on the western frontier.

Your position (and apparently Ritner's) is that Joseph Smith was totally fabricating things as he went along.  And yet Joseph Smith claimed to translate a text that, in part, states that Abraham taught astronomy to Pharaoh in Egypt.  This seems like a pretty specific thing to get right.  Is it your position that Joseph Smith was just guessing on this point?  Or that he cribbed from ancient sources to formulate the narrative?  If so, what do you think those sources were?

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

You seem to be trying to portray Ritner as impartial and objective when it comes to Gee and the Book of Abraham.  There is evidence suggesting that is not the case.

I think that is an accurate statement.

I'm not sure you are correct here.  I'm not even sure what "gets filtered out" means.

Also, surely Ritner's position can also be characterized as starting out with assumptions, with non-fitting-data getting "filtered"?

I think that's what Kerry Muhlestein has done.  Meanwhile, I'm not sure Dr. Ritner has acknowledged his biases/hostilities.

If I understand you correctly, you sare saying that Ritner "cannot...find anything near the BoA in Egypt ... that the Abraham story purportedly came from."

My understanding is that there are a number of stories from antiquity that place Abraham in Egypt.  From the POGPC article above:

The article goes on to provide a number of examples of "extra-biblical stories about Abraham {} in Egypt during this time," including "Eupolemus ... recount{ing} how Abraham lived in Heliopolis (On) and taught astronomy and other sciences to the Egyptian priests," "the Egyptian Jew Artapanus wrote an account of Abraham teaching astronomy to the Egyptian Pharaoh," a fragmentary text from Egypt about Abraham describes how the king (the word used is pharaoh) tries to sacrifice Abraham, but Abraham is delivered by an angel of the Lord," and about "Abraham later teach{ing} the members of the royal court about the true God using astronomy."

As Daniel Peterson notes:

Your position (and apparently Ritner's) is that Joseph Smith was totally fabricating things as he went along.  And yet Joseph Smith claimed to translate a text that, in part, states that Abraham taught astronomy to Pharaoh in Egypt.  This seems like a pretty specific thing to get right.  Is it your position that Joseph Smith was just guessing on this point?  Or that he cribbed from ancient sources to formulate the narrative?  If so, what do you think those sources were?

Thanks,

-Smac

Josephus is one possibility:

2. For whereas the Egyptians were formerly addicted to different customs, and despised one anothers sacred and accustomed rites, and were very angry one with another on that account; Abram conferred with each of them, and confuting the reasonings they made use of, every one for their own practices, he demonstrated that such reasonings were vain, and void of truth. Whereupon he was admired by them, in those conferences, as a very wise man, and one of great sagacity, when he discoursed on any subject he undertook; and this not only in understanding it, but in persuading other men also to assent to him. He communicated to them Arithmetick; and delivered to them the science of Astronomy. (28) For before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with those parts of learning: for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt; and from thence to the Greeks also.

https://penelope.uchicago.edu/josephus/ant-1.html

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

You seem to be trying to portray Ritner as impartial and objective when it comes to Gee and the Book of Abraham.  There is evidence suggesting that is not the case.

I'm not trying to portray him as anything.  I'm respecting his expertise.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I think that is an accurate statement.

I'm not sure you are correct here.  I'm not even sure what "gets filtered out" means.

What's that I figured filtered meant, from his statement.  He takes all the evidence then filters it to fit his assumption, no?  That's what he said, it seems to me.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Also, surely Ritner's position can also be characterized as starting out with assumptions, with non-fitting-data getting "filtered"?

I think his filter is set at attempting to be objective.  His agenda appears to be truth,  good solid objective scholarship.  In contrast, Kerry has a goal other than objectivity as he describes. 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I think that's what Kerry Muhlestein has done.  Meanwhile, I'm not sure Dr. Ritner has acknowledged his biases/hostilities.

What are those? 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

If I understand you correctly, you sare saying that Ritner "cannot...find anything near the BoA in Egypt ... that the Abraham story purportedly came from."

My understanding is that there are a number of stories from antiquity that place Abraham in Egypt.  From the POGPC article above:

Perhaps there are stories that crept in Hebrew tradition for instance, but that's not finding the BoA story in ancient Egypt. 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

The article goes on to provide a number of examples of "extra-biblical stories about Abraham {} in Egypt during this time," including "Eupolemus ... recount{ing} how Abraham lived in Heliopolis (On) and taught astronomy and other sciences to the Egyptian priests," "the Egyptian Jew Artapanus wrote an account of Abraham teaching astronomy to the Egyptian Pharaoh," a fragmentary text from Egypt about Abraham describes how the king (the word used is pharaoh) tries to sacrifice Abraham, but Abraham is delivered by an angel of the Lord," and about "Abraham later teach{ing} the members of the royal court about the true God using astronomy."

Yes.  The point...none of this is found in ancient Egypt.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

As Daniel Peterson notes:

Your position (and apparently Ritner's) is that Joseph Smith was totally fabricating things as he went along.  And yet Joseph Smith claimed to translate a text that, in part, states that Abraham taught astronomy to Pharaoh in Egypt.  This seems like a pretty specific thing to get right.  Is it your position that Joseph Smith was just guessing on this point?  Or that he cribbed from ancient sources to formulate the narrative?  If so, what do you think those sources were?

Thanks,

-Smac

Beats me.  Not sure it matters much to me.  I think Givens case for bricolage is built on things like that.  Are you saying Givens is way off with his argument that Joseph used other sources?  

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