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Robert Ritner - Book of Abraham Interview


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On 8/5/2020 at 9:34 AM, The Unclean Deacon said:

And the catalyst theory while still viable has the position needing to retreat so far to allow for the evidence and data so as to be indistinguishable from a fraud.  And if a faithful interpretation is indistinguishable from a fraud, why not just skip the mental gymnastics and just go with the most rational conclusion that it is just fictional psedupigripha created as a deception?  (Because that conclusion requires no mental gymnastics)

Category mistake.

If you want to live without mental gymnastics, stop thinking which apparently many have.  :)

We all need meaning in our lives and meaning is not derived from objective evidence.  

Or better yet face our truth square on, that all scripture including the Bible is mystically received and has nothing to do with history or translation in the usual sense.  They are metaphors- as is all language- which might have "actually happened" or not, but their VALUE to humanity is in their spiritual message- and the spiritual message is what gives meaning.

Poof.

Argument over. 

You don't go to a hardware store to buy cold remedies.  That is what "category mistake" means.

A human receives visions or truths directly within their minds and writes them down, and then we get to read them and decide if their SPIRITUAL contents warrant- and that is an important word- warrant- them being regarded - seen AS- scripture for oneself.  Wittgenstein's rabbit and duck!

We need to ask that small voice in our heart that makes us know good from bad -  exactly like Moroni 10:4-5 says-  which alone makes THAT "scripture" for me.  It is a great truth.  We need to decide inside ourselves in our hearts- in all things.

Add that to James 1 and many other "scriptures" and countless statements by GA's etc which say that we need to get our own testimonies and decide that indeed they are right.

All of us have a little voice inside us that tell us right from wrong and deciding what is scripture for us is no different.

Heck every day we make these kinds of decisions without need for history or scientific evidence- Am I a racist deep in my heart?   Do we really need to worry about global warming?  Should I dedicate my life to stopping it?  For whom should I vote?  Is abortion right or wrong?   Is the Book of Abraham scripture because it is the source of the temple rites?

If you feel the spirit in the temple, then the Book of Abraham is scripture.

We need to give up the kid stuff and stand up as an adult and know that each of us make our own worlds, and these are just decisions each of us need to decide for ourselves on our HEARTS- not evidence other than spiritual evidence.

That is what our theology is, isn't it?  About human gods creating their worlds?

IMO, what else should we doing right now in our lives?   Why live if you are not doing what your purpose in life is: creating your world and having joy therein?

And like it or not, presented that way, it is what both theists and atheists do every day of our lives.  It is the heart of Christianity and Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, and every other world religion: listening to that inner voice!

"But Joseph thought he was translating!"   Yes he used that word, which meant something quite different than it does today.

 

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On 8/5/2020 at 9:38 AM, DBMormon said:

This should be interesting!

For you.  How many times do we need to go over the same category error?

The problem with the whole argument is summarized in those two words.

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On 8/5/2020 at 12:31 PM, OGHoosier said:

I'm going to channel Bro. Christensen now, if I can.

You can and should at all times and all places.  ;)

 

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On 8/6/2020 at 6:46 AM, stemelbow said:

I'd compare it to a biologist pointing out the weakness in the Bible's explanation of creation.  It simply didn't happen that way and so a biologist pointing out that it simply could not have, sure, is conclusive. 

Good analogy, but the biologist would not be seeing it as a spiritual lesson instead of science.  THAT is the category error.  

The author's intentions become irrelevant- what is important is the value we can gain from the story.   On the other hand, as has been pointed out, even the Genesis story can be seen as primitive but biologically "accurate" in that plants come before animals even in evolutionary theory.

And spiritually, we are all Adam and Eve and all of us have a fall from innocence at some point in our lives. 

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On 8/6/2020 at 7:41 AM, OGHoosier said:

I'd give you rep points if I could, but I can't, so this will have to do. 

You can now!  :)

 

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On 8/6/2020 at 7:58 AM, Calm said:

This would appear to conflict with this:

 

I do not necessarily agree with either statement but there is  no conflict that I see, unless one concludes that "Egyptology" consists strictly of translating hieroglyphics which is not the case.  It is much more than that.

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On 8/6/2020 at 6:16 PM, OGHoosier said:

Are you precisely sure that's how they'd frame it?

Also known as scholastic humility. 

:rofl:

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On 8/7/2020 at 2:00 PM, 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.

Yet if one takes that as I think Joseph naively took it, that is a right arm, missing the hand,  making a gesture which can be seen in the temple today, with the left "hand" showing the symbolic "translation" of both the compass and square. 

I am never sure why that is not obvious. 

To me this is THE clear evidence for the whole catalyst theory- in fact- I personally came up with my own "catalyst theory" when I first joined the church and saw the facsimile the first time before I had ever seen the catalyst theory mentioned in apologetic circles.   And that left arm raised and the left "hand" illustrates the exact meaning of what that left arm and right hand "say" symbolically, in the temple, or at least that is how I see it.

So it is not Min, or a phallus if you see it that way- it is a right arm seen only below the elbow, forming a square, and the left arm raised to the square,  and hand illustrated as a compass and square.

I saw that and immediately said to myself that Joseph was not "translating" Egyptian but, with that interpretation, clearly (to me) seeing the illustration in a naive way as what he describes it as being- God revealing the symbols used in the temple.

It is an interpretation of a drawing the way he saw it- which has nothing to do with Egyptology.

For me that was the key to the whole interpretation of "direct revelation" of all scriptures which came through Joseph, from the Book of Mormon through the King Follette Discourse.  They trace either 1) the development of Joseph's theology from the rather Protestant stuff in the Book of Mormon OR 2) the gospel as the Lord wanted to reveal it, bit by bit and line by line.

To me either way of seeing it- 1 or 2- is "correct".

The bottom line is that it is all for our spiritual edification putting together a comprehensive theory from which we can gain meaning in our lives about our eternal journey, which can only be "verified" by resonance felt within us delivered by either- the Holy Ghost- OR perhaps our own unconscious, reflecting the rules which have always worked for humanity.

It is either God or some deep instinct within us, as deep as perhaps the one that can lead a Monarch butterfly on its journey of thousands of miles, or the Spirit of God Himself guiding and directing our moral path and giving us meaning in life

But that comes down to a distinction without a difference, as we say in Pragmatism- it comes down to two ways of seeing like the rabbit and duck I have used so often to illustrate it.

And in my moments of silent meditation it is clear to me that it is a Voice of a Being so far above my intelligence that it is unimaginable, and which can only be spoken about in stories we have made up.

And so here we are imprisoned by language as the children of Babel.

I wonder if Wittgenstein every thought of that old story which says so much about his own philosophy??  ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 8/7/2020 at 3:29 PM, 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.

Brilliant in its simplicity.

It never occurred to me in precisely those terms but it is totally true!!

                                                             image.jpeg.1b10ddf0a620fa6ac19bae8f913de536.jpeg

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 8/7/2020 at 3:00 PM, 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.

It is no accident, by the way, that the Hebrew word for "sex" is min,  taken from the name of that ancient Egyptian god.

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

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

Contrary to your denial, you are specifically and expressly portraying Ritner as "objective" and having an "agenda" of "truth" and "good solid objective scholarship."  In contrast, you characterize Muhlestein as an "apologist" who is unduly beholden to "assumptions."

OGHoosier characterized Dr. Ritner as an "an excellent Egyptologist with an anti-Mormon chip in his shoulder so big that Khufu modeled his Pyramid on it."  I think there are evidentiary grounds for this characterization.  For example, he was removed from Gee's doctoral committee at Yale.  The circumstances of that removal remain mostly publicly opaque, ...........................................

Seems like there may be some behind-the-scenes stuff going on..........................................................................................

Ritner, who is a first-rate scholar, has a visceral hatred for the LDS Church -- which colors all his thinking on the subject -- even though the LDS Church and its members do not actually have it in for him and his personal orientation.  Most members have never even heard of him, and could care less.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

So you are speaking of ancient Egyptian sources of information about Abraham?

In The Ancient Egyptian View of Abrahamthe author states that "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 itemizes some of these ancient sources:

Why is Artapanus not a sufficient source for you?

Is it your position that Joseph Smith knew about Artapanus writing about Abraham teaching astronomy to the Egyptian Pharaoh, and included that detail in the BoA?  Or is it just happenstance that an ancient source presents this story and Joseph Smith just stumbled into replicating it?..............................

Hecateus of Abdera?  Eupolemus?  Artapanus?  Philo?  The Testament of Abraham?

These aren't ancient Egyptian sources talking about Abraham in Egypt?

Part of the problem is that people generally are abysmally ignorant of Egyptian history, as well as of Western history.  Hardly anyone, for example, realizes that in Greco-Roman times, Egypt generally and Alexandria, Egypt, specifically was the intellectual center of the ancient world.  The world's greatest library was in Alexandria.  The center of Christianity was in Alexandria.  Not only that, but the greatest Jewish intellectuals lived there.  Not only was the Jewish community in Egypt huge, but they had been living in Egypt for centuries, and even had two temples in Egypt.  That's right, temples with priests and blood sacrifice.  The native Egyptian people were well aware of their Jewish neighbors, just as most Americans today are well aware of their American Jewish neighbors.  With the rise of Christianity, virtually the entire native Egyptian population converted to Christianity (Coptic Christianity).  That huge Jewish community in Egypt continued to exist and prosper there for the next two thousand years -- with the world's largest synagogue in Alexandria.  Yokels just can't grasp that reality.  So, naturally, there couldn't possibly have ever been anything Jewish in Egypt.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

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

In any event, Givens is not seeking upend or contradict the Church's claims about the Book of Abraham.  I am reminded here of the pretty-darn-embarrassing misreading/misrepresentation of Givens by Consig and Analytics last year. ...........................

I continue to feel a bit perplexed at

  • A) critics and skeptics taking a Dale Morgan-esque I-will-look-everywhere-for-explanations-except-to-the-ONE-explanation-that-is-the-position-of-the-church approach to the Church's claims,
  • B) critics and skeptics adopting a "guerrilla warfare" attitude when examining the BOM, BOA, etc. (endlessly disputing the Church's explanation of the BOM, BOA, etc., while not actually getting around to formulating a coherent counter-explanation);
  • C) critics and skeptics suddenly going all quiet and agnostic and conveniently ambivelant about issues pertaining to the Church when pressed to present a coherent counter-explanation for these things, and
  • D) critics and skeptics not really listening to what the Church and its scholars and apologists are actually saying, and instead trying to distort, misconstrue, misstate and mischaracterize what we are saying so as to put us in the worst possible light (such as what Consig and Analytics did re: Givens).

Responses like "beats me" and “I don’t have to lower myself to your simplistic little dichotomies" are singularly unimpressive to me. ..............................

The late John A. Wilson, a modern Egyptologist, saw the Aoffhand and hostile opinions@ of the 1912 Spalding anti-Mormon jurors as Aa lot of indignant snorts@ inimical to good scholarship.[1]    I suspect that Wilson would say the same of Ritner.


[1] Wilson, Thousands of Years, 176.

  

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Klaus Baer who authored a Dialogue article in 1967 in a letter regarding Nibley's publications (28th February 1972) to Walters

Dear Reverend Walters

A quick answer to your letters of February 24th which just arrived. I must admit that I have not been keeping up with the flood of LDS publication on the topic of the so-called "Book of Breathings" that has appeared since my article in Dialogue. Much of it seems to be obfuscatory in the extreme,tending to pick on aside quotes out of contexts and opinions emittered by the large penumbra of semi-scholarly types (and crackpots) that hang around the fringes of Egyptology - and are of course much attracted by such things as the Book of the Dead.

Among the latter I would include those who want to see in the Book of the Dead a manual of initiation. That the Book of the Dead has ritual significance in connection with funeral services - and that a great deal more can be pulled  out of it than has been in regard to ancient Egyptian  cosmological and theological views - has of course nothing to do with the point under consideration."

 

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On 8/7/2020 at 4:51 PM, 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.

Joseph Smith claimed that the Plan of Salvation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ gets us back to heaven.  Not sure what this "PH language" you refer to, or the claim that Ritner discussed "the PH language" -- whatever that is.  It seems to me that both of those claims are false.

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7 hours ago, smac97 said:

continue to feel a bit perplexed at

  • A) critics and skeptics taking a Dale Morgan-esque I-will-look-everywhere-for-explanations-except-to-the-ONE-explanation-that-is-the-position-of-the-church approach to the Church's claims,
  • B) critics and skeptics adopting a "guerrilla warfare" attitude when examining the BOM, BOA, etc. (endlessly disputing the Church's explanation of the BOM, BOA, etc., while not actually getting around to formulating a coherent counter-explanation);
  • C) critics and skeptics suddenly going all quiet and agnostic and conveniently ambivelant about issues pertaining to the Church when pressed to present a coherent counter-explanation for these things, and
  • D) critics and skeptics not really listening to, or meaningfully interacting with, what the Church and its scholars and apologists are actually saying, and instead trying to distort, misconstrue, misstate and mischaracterize what we are saying so as to put us in the worst possible light (such as what Consig and Analytics did re: Givens).

Responses like "beats me" and “I don’t have to lower myself to your simplistic little dichotomies" are singularly unimpressive to me, particularly in 2020, and particularly given the wealth of readily-available information and scholarship we have seen come out in the last many years.  

"guerrilla warfare" is an elegant analogy, my less refined thinking processes summarise the above with phrases like "uber greased weasel strategies" and "ultimate slippery eel tactics"

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2 hours ago, aussieguy55 said:

Klaus Baer .................28th February 1972.. to Walters

Dear Reverend Walters

A quick answer to your letters of February 24th which just arrived. I must admit that I have not been keeping up with the flood of LDS publication on the topic of the so-called "Book of Breathings" that has appeared since my article in Dialogue. Much of it seems to be obfuscatory in the extreme,tending to pick on aside quotes out of contexts and opinions emittered by the large penumbra of semi-scholarly types (and crackpots) that hang around the fringes of Egyptology - and are of course much attracted by such things as the Book of the Dead.

Among the latter I would include those who want to see in the Book of the Dead a manual of initiation. That the Book of the Dead has ritual significance in connection with funeral services - and that a great deal more can be pulled  out of it than has been in regard to ancient Egyptian  cosmological and theological views - has of course nothing to do with the point under consideration."

The so-called Book of the Dead (that is not its Egyptian title) is not one regularly published document, but appears in a variety of forms and rescensions of various lengths with illustrations.  Like the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, it is liturgical in nature.  It first appears in the Pyramids of ancient Egypt, and is therefore called the Pyramid Texts, then it takes the form of the Coffin Texts, and finally the Book of the Dead.  All contain traditional liturgical spells and prayers.  Some such documents are merely compact summaries of the larger works, as with the Book of Breathings.

There is a ritual dramatic text of ca. 110 B.C. going back to the First Dynasty,[1] and there were plenty of magic spells used by living Egyptians.[2]

Prof Baer passed on before it became a commonplace in Egyptology to recognize that the spells and prayers of that Book of the Dead liturgical tradition were an integral part of regular Egyptian temple observance in ancient times -- that is regular observance by the living.  The false view is that the Book of Dead was never used for any other purpose than being rolled up and placed in a tomb so that the deceased could read it on the other side.  The Mysteries of Re, for example, as recorded at Ashmunein (Hermopolis Magna) from at least as early as the reign of Ramesses III (ca. 1198-1167 B.C.), followed the same dramatic sequence as that of Mithraism a millennium later:  Birth, struggle, triumph, and final journey to completion.[3]  This was typical also of the Mysteries of Isis, practiced throughout the Mediterranean world.  Pagan temples and libraries were everywhere in the ancient world,[4] until systematically destroyed by Christianity.  The only place one is likely to encounter such ancient practices today is in a Mormon or Hindu temple.

[1] Fairman, The Triumph of Horus (1974), 4, 34.

[2] Kirsten Dzwiza, "Concealing Cultural Diversity under the Veil of Modern Translation: ‘Magic’ in the Greek, Demotic and Coptic Ritual Instruction Manuals,” Sept 12, 2014, at the Cultural Plurality in Ancient Magical Texts and Practices Conference in Heidelberg, online at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265850896_Concealing_Cultural_Diversity_under_the_Veil_of_Modern_Translation_'Magic'_in_the_Greek_Demotic_and_Coptic_Ritual_Instruction_Manuals

[3] Gary Lease, AMithra in Egypt,@ 127 n. 53, in B. A. Pearson & J. E. Goehring, eds., The Roots of Egyptian Christianity (Phila.: Fortress Press, 1986). Cf. Hans Dieter Betz, The AMithras Liturgy@: Text, Translation, and Commentary, Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum 18 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003).

[4] Finegan, Myth & Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989), 15, citing, C. J. Bleeker, Egyptian Festivals: Enactments of Religious Renewal, Studies in the History of Religions 13 (Leiden: Brill, 1967, 11-12; cf. Joseph Campbell, ed., The Mysteries: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, Bollingen Series XXX/2 (Princeton Univ. Press, 1978), translated from the Eranos-Jahrbücher IV - XI (Zurich: Rhein Verlag, 1936-1944).

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6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Joseph Smith claimed that the Plan of Salvation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ gets us back to heaven.  Not sure what this "PH language" you refer to, or the claim that Ritner discussed "the PH language" -- whatever that is.  It seems to me that both of those claims are false.

Priesthood language. Or is it the teachings to get back to heaven? Is that considered a PH language? Don't know, I just saw a meme with it. And making fun of JS for saying it was that vs what it really is that of a guy doing the no-no. Or the "M" word.

I lack much in this area of expertise. I just don't get how it's okay to believe that Joseph was in the right to take the papyri and turn it into something else entirely. Isn't it okay for members to say that is wrong? Like it's okay for members to say that leaders get things wrong sometimes and that they are human? Why are we okaying that JS lied about knowing the translation of the papyri? Shouldn't we say he got it wrong when he did? 

Now the poor apologist for the church have to fend for Joseph and put their very own lives in such a state to where people can't believe they have good judgement since doing that. That's got to be difficult for these good people. 

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4 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Priesthood language. Or is it the teachings to get back to heaven? Is that considered a PH language? Don't know, I just saw a meme with it. And making fun of JS for saying it was that vs what it really is that of a guy doing the no-no. Or the "M" word.

I lack much in this area of expertise. I just don't get how it's okay to believe that Joseph was in the right to take the papyri and turn it into something else entirely. Isn't it okay for members to say that is wrong? Like it's okay for members to say that leaders get things wrong sometimes and that they are human? Why are we okaying that JS lied about knowing the translation of the papyri? Shouldn't we say he got it wrong when he did? 

Now the poor apologist for the church have to fend for Joseph and put their very own lives in such a state to where people can't believe they have good judgement since doing that. That's got to be difficult for these good people. 

Well, what was the point of the papyri in the first place? What is the point of any symbol? Does any symbol represent reality in anything stronger than an arbitrary sense? Who gets to define the meaning of a symbol? These are questions that bear on how we interpret the case of the Joseph Smith papyri. 

What was the point of the papyri? Symbolic instructions regarding return to the presence of Deity within the Egyptian religious system. Is the only acceptable "translation" a direct rendering of what the Egyptians thought? Why do they deserve to have a monopoly on meaning? The ancients did not think of symbols in such a narrow, copyrighted sense. Why should we consent to such a rhetorical straitjacket? The whole formulation of "Joseph got it wrong" is dependent on first accepting the idea that  the only acceptable interpretation of these symbols is the "original" one, which, might I add, we can't be sure is the true original. Symbols got recycled and repurposed throughout the ancient world. Fixing on one meaning as "the one true meaning" is not wise. 

Also, the whole "JS lied" formulation is a conclusion jumped-to in and of itself. Egyptology was in its infancy - how was Joseph to know any better? He may legitimately have believed that those things represented Abraham. Is that a lie, then? Is there any charity present in this worldview at all? 

Furthermore, this all assumes the conclusion that the papyri truly had nothing to do, or could never be interpreted in a way relating to Abraham. I think that conclusion is premature and dependent on dogmatic thinking. D. Charles Pyle, in my opinion, demonstrates that the picture can be more complicated than a Missed in Sunday School meme can convey. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I just don't get how it's okay to believe that Joseph was in the right to take the papyri and turn it into something else entirely. Isn't it okay for members to say that is wrong? Like it's okay for members to say that leaders get things wrong sometimes and that they are human? Why are we okaying that JS lied about knowing the translation of the papyri? Shouldn't we say he got it wrong when he did? 

Please allow me illustrate. OK?

👌

You have and I have just used what wikipedia(I know...) describes thus:

Quote

OK (spelling variations include okay, O.K., and ok) is an English word (originally American English) denoting approval, acceptance, agreement, assent, acknowledgment, or a sign of indifference. OK is frequently used as a loanword in other languages. It has been described as the most frequently spoken or written word on the planet.[1] The origins of the word are disputed.

The OK sign 👌or symbol is well recognised and benign but now the woke have decided that since the three percenters far right militia uses a similar gesture it must be cancelled.

20170727-nB9BLGm2Pa8oDGDJyZMx?auto=forma

To the point that the regular OK sign 👌has been removed from the Call of Duty game etc. for fear of woke backlash.

In France the same gesture has a sexual connotation (something to do with homosexuality I believe) as it does in some other places.

So here we have one relatively recent symbol that potentially means 3 different things at the same time. The word OK only emerged in the last few centuries. I'm not sure about the gesture but it is in the form of an O and a K so probably emerged after the spoken expression. 

When you have common symbols that span many centuries and even millennia their meaning naturally drifts, much like words, meaning and language drift over time. Just because we know some of the meanings that have been applied to some symbols over certain periods of time does not mean we know all meaning that have been ascribed at all times.

Anybody that excludes other interpretations/translations on the basis that the meaning of the symbol is perfectly known and excludes any other meaning is overstating their case when it comes to symbols that were in use for such long periods in Egypt.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Well, what was the point of the papyri in the first place? What is the point of any symbol? Does any symbol represent reality in anything stronger than an arbitrary sense? Who gets to define the meaning of a symbol? These are questions that bear on how we interpret the case of the Joseph Smith papyri. 

What was the point of the papyri? Symbolic instructions regarding return to the presence of Deity within the Egyptian religious system. Is the only acceptable "translation" a direct rendering of what the Egyptians thought? Why do they deserve to have a monopoly on meaning? The ancients did not think of symbols in such a narrow, copyrighted sense. Why should we consent to such a rhetorical straitjacket? The whole formulation of "Joseph got it wrong" is dependent on first accepting the idea that  the only acceptable interpretation of these symbols is the "original" one, which, might I add, we can't be sure is the true original. Symbols got recycled and repurposed throughout the ancient world. Fixing on one meaning as "the one true meaning" is not wise. 

Also, the whole "JS lied" formulation is a conclusion jumped-to in and of itself. Egyptology was in its infancy - how was Joseph to know any better? He may legitimately have believed that those things represented Abraham. Is that a lie, then? Is there any charity present in this worldview at all? 

Furthermore, this all assumes the conclusion that the papyri truly had nothing to do, or could never be interpreted in a way relating to Abraham. I think that conclusion is premature and dependent on dogmatic thinking. D. Charles Pyle, in my opinion, demonstrates that the picture can be more complicated than a Missed in Sunday School meme can convey. 

 

 

12 minutes ago, gav said:

Please allow me illustrate. OK?

👌

You have and I have just used what wikipedia(I know...) describes thus:

The OK sign 👌or symbol is well recognised and benign but now the woke have decided that since the three percenters far right militia uses a similar gesture it must be cancelled.

20170727-nB9BLGm2Pa8oDGDJyZMx?auto=forma

To the point that the regular OK sign 👌has been removed from the Call of Duty game etc. for fear of woke backlash.

In France the same gesture has a sexual connotation (something to do with homosexuality I believe) as it does in some other places.

So here we have one relatively recent symbol that potentially means 3 different things at the same time. The word OK only emerged in the last few centuries. I'm not sure about the gesture but it is in the form of an O and a K so probably emerged after the spoken expression. 

When you have common symbols that span many centuries and even millennia their meaning naturally drifts, much like words, meaning and language drift over time. Just because we know some of the meanings that have been applied to some symbols over certain periods of time does not mean we know all meaning that have been ascribed at all times.

Anybody that excludes other interpretations/translations on the basis that the meaning of the symbol is perfectly known and excludes any other meaning is overstating their case when it comes to symbols that were in use for such long periods in Egypt.

 

 

Well, if this is acceptable, could JS creating the BoM be also? Because both are incredible feats!

Edited by Tacenda
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15 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

 

Well, if this is acceptable, could JS creating the BoM be also? Because both are incredible feats!

Although pontificating, speculating and reasoning about their origins can be scholarly, fun and at times enlightening it is the doctrinal content of these two books that I spend far more of my time on. I consider the doctrine, knowledge to be obtained and tutoring via the spirit while studying and searching the scriptures, of infinitely more value.

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33 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

 

Well, if this is acceptable, could JS creating the BoM be also? Because both are incredible feats!

To some, it is acceptable. My hangup with the historicity is that Joseph said he talked with these people as angels. I believe that Joseph wasn't lying; perhaps God sent angels named Moroni and etc. to give him instructions and they were responsible for helping with the creation? It's a possibility, I suppose, though I do not personally adhere to it. That being said, I can't speak for what God is capable of doing/not doing, so I don't usually place limits on Him in my personal evaluations. I suppose that's a built-in bug/feature in me: I don't assume that I know what God would consider to be right, or what He would or would not do or permit to be done, so the problem of evil has never hit me as hard as others. Statements like "God wouldn't do X" to me seem not just correct/incorrect but in fact meaningless, since I feel that I have 0 authority to constrain God to my generation-specific conceptions of right and wrong. 

The long and the short of what gav (if I have him correctly) and I are trying to say is that the meaning of a symbol is largely in the eye of the beholder, and the meaning derived will be different from person to person. It's like Jesus' parable of the sower: not only will the same seeds yield differently based on the ground they land on, but even seed on the same ground can yield differently: "But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold." It's significant that Jesus taught this parable as a key to understanding parables: "Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?" Given that all symbols are parables, the same holds true for symbolic imagery: meaning is in the eye of the beholder. 

So, the whole "Joseph got it wrong" kind of runs aground on this. He said it meant something different than the typical Egyptological explanation: that is a fact, but that is the extent of the facts. That's as far as the facts go. Any further depends on our ground, to continue with the sower parable. Egyptologists like John Wilson have acknowledged that their explanations aren't exhaustive: the whole thing is symbols and thus could mean any number of things depending on who's looking. This leads to two potential resolutions: one option is that Joseph just repurposed the facsimiles to illustrate his revelation. Ancient Christian and Jewish communities did just that, we have it on record, so there's a precedent. The other option is that ancient communities really did interpret those things in the way Joseph said that they did, and he was conveying their interpretation, as opposed to the conventional Egyptological one which is mistakenly portrayed as the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, AND EGYPTOLOGIC interpretation. 

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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

To some, it is acceptable. My hangup with the historicity is that Joseph said he talked with these people as angels. I believe that Joseph wasn't lying; perhaps God sent angels named Moroni and etc. to give him instructions and they were responsible for helping with the creation? It's a possibility, I suppose, though I do not personally adhere to it. That being said, I can't speak for what God is capable of doing/not doing, so I don't usually place limits on Him in my personal evaluations. I suppose that's a built-in bug/feature in me: I don't assume that I know what God would consider to be right, or what He would or would not do or permit to be done, so the problem of evil has never hit me as hard as others. Statements like "God wouldn't do X" to me seem not just correct/incorrect but in fact meaningless, since I feel that I have 0 authority to constrain God to my generation-specific conceptions of right and wrong. 

The long and the short of what gav (if I have him correctly) and I are trying to say is that the meaning of a symbol is largely in the eye of the beholder, and the meaning derived will be different from person to person. It's like Jesus' parable of the sower: not only will the same seeds yield differently based on the ground they land on, but even seed on the same ground can yield differently: "But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold." It's significant that Jesus taught this parable as a key to understanding parables: "Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?" Given that all symbols are parables, the same holds true for symbolic imagery: meaning is in the eye of the beholder. 

So, the whole "Joseph got it wrong" kind of runs aground on this. He said it meant something different than the typical Egyptological explanation: that is a fact, but that is the extent of the facts. That's as far as the facts go. Any further depends on our ground, to continue with the sower parable. Egyptologists like John Wilson have acknowledged that their explanations aren't exhaustive: the whole thing is symbols and thus could mean any number of things depending on who's looking. This leads to two potential resolutions: one option is that Joseph just repurposed the facsimiles to illustrate his revelation. Ancient Christian and Jewish communities did just that, we have it on record, so there's a precedent. The other option is that ancient communities really did interpret those things in the way Joseph said that they did, and he was conveying their interpretation, as opposed to the conventional Egyptological one which is mistakenly portrayed as the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, AND EGYPTOLOGIC interpretation. 

 

1 hour ago, gav said:

Although pontificating, speculating and reasoning about their origins can be scholarly, fun and at times enlightening it is the doctrinal content of these two books that I spend far more of my time on. I consider the doctrine, knowledge to be obtained and tutoring via the spirit while studying and searching the scriptures, of infinitely more value.

Well then, why do we even have apologists that have to go to all the work of making it historic, and years before the essays of saying that the BoA is historical? And not just book of breathing for the dead? I did listen to the 1st and 2nd podcasts, didn't catch all of the contents because I listen at night most likely sleep through most of it and there is a part where I can see how Joseph could use papyri to put out a story like he has that can probably help people believe in an after life and a map for their lives. So there's that. But maybe we aren't giving the apologists enough credit for holding the boat afloat for the leadership of the church, that don't have to worry about any of that. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

 

Well then, why do we even have apologists that have to go to all the work of making it historic, and years before the essays of saying that the BoA is historical? And not just book of breathing for the dead? I did listen to the 1st and 2nd podcasts, didn't catch all of the contents because I listen at night most likely sleep through most of it and there is a part where I can see how Joseph could use papyri to put out a story like he has that can probably help people believe in an after life and a map for their lives. So there's that. But maybe we aren't giving the apologists enough credit for holding the boat afloat for the leadership of the church, that don't have to worry about any of that. 

 

I don't think I understand the question. 

Nobody has said that the Book of the Dead is the Book of Abraham.

All Egyptologists, in the Church and out of it, are in agreement on that. The argument as I understand it is: did the Book of Abraham text come from another part of the papyri? Or did Joseph just receive it by revelation, independent of the papyri connection? How do the facsimiles fit in? Were they simply repurposed for Joseph's translation or were they connected with the Book of Abraham urtext? 

Nobody that I know of is denying that Facsimile 1, say, is surrounded by the text of the Book of the Dead, and that text does not say anything about Abraham. So, I do not understand the question. 

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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

The long and the short of what gav (if I have him correctly) and I are trying to say is that the meaning of a symbol is largely in the eye of the beholder, and the meaning derived will be different from person to person.

I would pluralise. "the meaning of a symbol is largely in the eye of the beholders and the meaning derived may be different from groups of persons to groups of persons"

A consensus develops around what a symbol means, that way it can convey the same meaning to everyone in the consensus group. Over time the consensus may change and evolve and the same symbol can have a slightly different meaning. During the transitions there may be multiple different groups that ascribe different meanings to the same symbol and over time they might diverge completely and permanently.

We can see this process happening before our very eyes in the ways of the woke movement. They started off as political correctness in the last century. Words and actions which had been serviceable and culturally acceptable up till then were re-defined as offensive and discriminatory. Now cancelling is the order of the day for anybody that refuses to comply with the "new consensus" that is being forced down in a new cultural revolution. Not only words and behaviours are being redefined but also icons etc. in the form of statues and monuments.

After a few such revolutions symbols may fall into disuse or be repurposed altogether. Since Egyptian symbols were carved in stone on magnificent edifices with sacred significance or costly papyri it would be easier to repurpose than to expunge. Hence similar symbols - potentially different meanings over vast periods of time as societal consensus drifts.

Often one of the first things a conquerer does is goes after the symbols, beliefs, other group identity features and cohesion of the conquered to institute their new ways or co-opt the old. This also muddies the waters of the past and what things might have meant way back when.

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