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Robert Ritner - Book of Abraham Interview


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2 minutes ago, aussieguy55 said:

 I wonder Sheshong would have thought about the interpretation of and weird restoration of her hydrocephalus.   

I think Sheshonq would probably be really upset if her hydrocephalus was restored. Thankfully, given the doctrine concerning the Resurrection, we can be confident that will not happen. 

Autocorrect strikes again I see. 

More seriously though: your point is?

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Pretty much all one needs to know about the Book of Abraham:

From the LDS.org Essay on the Book of Abraham

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None of the characters on the papyrus fragments mentioned Abraham’s name or any of the events recorded in the book of Abraham. Mormon and non-Mormon Egyptologists agree that the characters on the fragments do not match the translation given in the book of Abraham, though there is not unanimity, even among non-Mormon scholars, about the proper interpretation of the vignettes on these fragments.27 Scholars have identified the papyrus fragments as parts of standard funerary texts that were deposited with mummified bodies. These fragments date to between the third century B.C.E. and the first century C.E., long after Abraham lived.

There really isn't much to debate here folks.  You either have faith that its scripture or you don't.

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5 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

We have. @Robert F. Smith and @gav have pointed out that Ritner's reconstruction of Facsimile 1 is likely wrong.

Boom...Mike Drop.  Seriously folks...we have Robert F. Smith and Gav on our side.  All the world has is the current Chair of the Oriental Institute from The University of Chicago,  the most credible Egyptology Institute in all the world.   ...like he carries any credibility. Geez. Game over. We win.

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 This book might be a help

https://www.amazon.com.au/Hypocephalus-Ancient-Egyptian-Funerary-Amulet/dp/1789693330

 The hypocephalus is an element of Late Period and Ptolemaic funerary equipment - an amuletic disc placed under the head of mummies. Its shape emulates the sun's disc, and its form is planar, although it occasionally has a concave shape (in such cases, it protects the head as a funerary cap). The earliest known example can be dated to the 4th century BC and the latest to the 2nd/1st century BC. The Hypocephalus: an Ancient Egyptian Funerary Amulet analyses both the written records and iconography of these objects. So far, 158 examples are known; several, unfortunately, from old descriptions only. The relatively low number shows that the object was not a widespread item of funerary equipment. Only priest and priestly families used them, those of Amon in Thebes, of Min in Akhmim, and the ones of Ptah in Memphis. Among the examples, no two are identical. In some details, every piece is an individualized creation. Ancient Egyptian theologians certainly interpreted hypocephali as the iris of the wedjat-eye, amidst which travels the sun-god in his hidden, mysterious and tremendous form(s). The hypocephalus can be considered as the sun-disk itself. It radiates light and energy towards the head of the deceased, who again becomes a living being, feeling him/herself as 'one with the Earth' through this energy. The texts and the iconography derive principally from the supplementary chapters of the Book of the Dead. Some discs directly cite the text of spell 162 which furnishes the mythological background of the invention of the disc by the Great Cow, who protected her son Re by creating the disc at his death"

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"The hypocephalus is an element of Late Period and Ptolemaic funerary equipment - an amuletic disc placed under the head of mummies'

Someone with some knowledge of these matters told me "Roughly from 600 BC to the end of dynastic Egypt with Queen Cleopatra.
Abraham was supposedly in Egypt during the 12 Dynasty during the 1900's BC.
It would be on par with saying mortal Jesus is preaching his New Testament gospel right now in Israel.
The artifacts Smith purchased from Chandler are so far out of date when looking for Abraham it would be like saying the ancient Greeks built a rocket and went to the moon."

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19 hours ago, smac97 said:

You have been juxtaposting Ritner's motives/intentions with Muhlestein's.  I am disagreeing with you on that point.

You started the "game."

ugh...Smac, you came out of the gate questioning Ritner's motives.  To find comparison I pointed out Muhlestein claimed his motive is something other than the standard scholarly attempt to be objective.  Ritner hasn't, as far as I know, and you certainly haven't pointed it out, claimed anything but scholarly objectivity as his goal.  How did I start that which you began?  

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And you juxtaposed this with Ritner, whom you have characterized as being "objective" and having an "agenda" of "truth" and "good solid objective scholarship." 

Ritner is objective, Muhlestein is "agenda driven."

This is you not "questioning other people's intentions?"

no.  it's stating clearly what they have clearly said about their motives.  Somehow you have attempted to paint Muhlestein as objective, when he said he is not being so, and have painted Ritner has non-objective when he suggests he's striving for that.  Thus, I'm not questioning motives, and you are.  

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What?  How can you say you disagree with a "characterization" when "charged words" don't "matter?"

With words.  Charged words only works as a charge if you feel them as charged.  Racial discrimination is clearly the definition of a priesthood ban based on race.  

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Actually, yes, it can mean just that.  Using inflammatory / derisive / contemptuous language in a scholarly article tends to indicate a lack of objectivity.

"tends to indicate" does not mean its clearly lacking objectivity.  It simply means it's possible.  Just because it's possible someone's feeling hostile doesn't mean someone is.  

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So what?  He's a scholar.  Are Egyptologists in their own little sphere?  Are they excused from normative standards/expectations of scholars?

He described the Book of Abraham is clinical, objective terms because it was a part of the subject of his 2002 book about Joseph Smith.

Nope.  Let's look again at what Morris said:

Morris proceeds to give a number of examples of Ritner resorting to and relying on these bulleted items, and contrasting him with other scholars (Remini, Baer, the Ostlings) who avoid them.

And it's not just a matter of style in lieu of substance.  Morris suggests that Ritner let his animosity against Gee and the Church affect his scholarship to some extent.  So not only is his scholarship lacking in the appearance of objectivity by resorting to, as Morris put it, "sarcastic and contemptuous language," the substance of his scholarship seems to have been affected as well.  

THis isn't really about Morris' hit piece on Ritner.  It's about Ritner's podcast.  I can't even see how Morris' piece is relevant other than as used as an attempt to question Ritner's motives.  Who cares?  let's stick to what's said.  

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Sure.  But "how it's stated" still matters.  Just ask any attorney.  Lawyers get in trouble all the time for resorting to sarcasm, insults, etc. in legal briefs - the very failings exhibited by Ritner over and over.  

What we say about a topic is important.  How we say it is also important.

Maybe.  But again, you aren't addressing the topic in this thread, which is Ritner's podcast.  If we stuck with it, then we'd have some direction.  I think that's the hwole point of the rule of staying on topic.  

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Remini managed to be clinical / objective / scholarly when discussing Joseph Smith.  Ritner's scholarship is often lacking in these attributes.

There you go again.

Let me just ask, have you read Rimini's book on Joseph Smith?  I read it over a decade ago, and I really don't recall much about the BoA.  That's largely because, no doubt, this topic hasn't meant much to me, seeing as the BoA was near useless as scripture back when I was a believer.  

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LOL.  You can present your perspective on Ritner's scholarship (as "objective" and having an "agenda" of "truth" and "good solid objective scholarship") despite not being an Egyptologist,   but when I provide my perspective on Ritner's scholarship, suddenly a degree in Egyptology is required?

I don't get this point.  I'm simply pointing out how you haven't addressed the topic and instead seem focused on questioning Ritner's motives.  Fine.  I simply find that an unhelpful approach.  

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One set of rules for thee, another set for me?

Um, what?  "How do we know?"  By reading his scholarship.  We lack the training and skills necessary to critique much of Ritner's scholarship, but plenty of it is still open for lay critique (as Morris did).  See here:

Ritner "rebuts" Gee by quoting . . . Ritner.  This seems problematic from a scholarly point of view, particularly given that Ritner is pointing to his own reconstruction of missing text to rebut Gee.

Admittedly I havne't looked into this issue.  I'm still working my way through Ritner's podcast.  It's damn long.  

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Baer said that “Too little is left of line 4 to permit even a guess at what it said."  And yet Ritner felt free to not only "guess at what it said," but to use his (Ritner's) guess to declare that "This passage rebuts Gee" (a conclusion he leads his readers to, while neglecting to point them to "Baer's comment ont he matter).

Certainly one problem we have here is neither of us are Egyptologists.  Maybe Ritner is right.  Maybe not.  But, I think it takes an Egyptologist to say so.  Maybe Ritner did show Baer, Maybe Baer agrees.  Maybe even Gee agrees now?  Who knows?  

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You are previously pretty adamant about Ritner being "objective" and having an "agenda" of "truth" and "good solid objective scholarship."  The above seems like a pretty good example of A) Ritner lacking objectivity, B) Ritner having an ax to grind vis-à-vis Gee (and, presumably the Church), and C) Ritner's lack of objectivity affecting the substance of his scholarship.

What seems so to you may not be so in reality.  That's our problem with questioning people's motives.  

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And your response to this is "Beats me" and "I'm not an Egyptologist."

Oh.

Hmm.  I figured as much.

A very admirable dodge.  The point was not about Gee's purported unwillingness to work with Ritner (and given Ritner's removal from Gee's dissertation committee, Gee's apparent qualms appear to have had some merit).  Rather, the point was about Ritner "using a scholarly venue to vent about his personal dispute with Gee."

Using Dialogue.  DId you read his Dialogue article or just go with Morris' critique?  Perhaps, just perhaps Ritner wasn't being objective in the Dialogue article but sought to be much more so in the podcast?  How would you know?  It doesn't appear you've consumed either one.  

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This is another example of Dr. Ritner's apparent lack of objectivity.  You previously felt fine with characterizing Ritner as "objective" and having an "agenda" of "truth" and "good solid objective scholarship."  But when presented with countervailing examples, all you've got is "beats me" and "I'm not an Egyptologist" and having "not much" thoughts.

Funny, then, that you chose to introduce that "game" into this thread.

You've had plenty to say about Ritner's and Muhlestein's "intentions."  

But when you bring up Ritner's intentions ("His agenda appears to be truth,  good solid objective scholarship"), then somehow it is not "fair to comment"?  It becomes a "game" that is "silly"?

That seems like a fairly brazen double standard, Stem.

As I said, I'm not questioning motives.  I'm going with what the two have said their motives are.  I like to go with what people say of their motives, most often.  Granted there may be a time or place, but I don't see how this is a good time or place for such games, that you brought up.  Weird how you attempted to twist this on me, but wel....

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Indications of a lack of objectivity have "little to do with his scholarship?"

Really?  Then why do you care about Muhlestein's "agenda"?  Why not just address Muhlestein's scholarship on its own?

I've explained this.  Muhlestein explained his agenda.  Thus, I'm not questioning his motives.  He told them to us.  

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You are free to question Muhlestein's scholarship by questioning his motives / agenda / biases, but we are not similarly at liberty to question Ritner's scholarship by questioning his motives / agenda / biases?

Again, this seems like a fairly brazen double standard. 

No, it's about quite a bit more than that.

Quelle surprise.

Morris gives some examples where his biases/animus seem to affect his scholarship.

That certainly is a whole different topic.  You want to discuss Morris' critique?  Be my guest.  BUt it's off topic.  

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And I find flagrant double standards weaselly.

That's because as I've said, you misunderstand what exactly has taken place.  After you introduced the game of questioning motives, I pointed that out and you somehow managed to convince yourself that I started the game of questioning motives.  

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And you are the one that introduced this "distraction" into this thread by juxtaposting Ritner's motives with Muhlestein's.

Again, you are twisting things.  You introduced the attempt to paint Ritner's intentions as somethign other than what he has stated them to be.  I have simply given both Ritner and Muhlestein the benefit of the doubt and have let them speak for themselves in terms of what is motivating them.  

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Well, we could discuss it.  But you just finished dismissing the examples out-of-hand by calling citation to them a "silly" "game" that is "weaselly."

That is an exceedingly "controversial" claim.  Hugely.  I am really quite surprised that you seem to be saying this with a straight face.  

Anyway, not only is the substance of what you are saying controversial, how it is presented by the purportedly "objective" scholar, Dr. Ritner, is very much in dispute.  As Morris put it:

Remember, you are the one that held up Ritner's scholarship as "objective."  You are the one that accused Muhlestein of having "a goal other than objectivity."

But now that Ritner's objectivity is brought into question, you respond with evasions and jabs ("beats me" and "I'm not an Egyptologist" and "games" and "silly" and "weaselly" and so on).

This is flagrantly, spectacularly wrong.  We know a lot more than just "what we see."  There are considerable amounts of "known unknowns" as pertaining to the Book of Abraham.  See, e.g., Gee's compilation of eyewitness statements:

This is again a big distractio but I would love to discuss it.  I'm sure I have here before.  I think Gee has bungled a number of his sources.  

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There are all sorts of issues that arise from the historical record about how many scrolls there were, their lengths, their relationships to the vignettes and fragments, Seyffarth’s 1856 catalog, the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, and so on.

It is very surprising to see you blithely declare that "as of now, all we know is what we see," and that "the 11 extant fragments were employed for the basis for the BoA."  I invite you to study this matter is more detail.  Even though you obviously disagree with Gee and Muhlestein, I hope you someday at least read what they have written.

I have.  I'm not convinced.  Gee wasn't forthright about how he arrived at the length of the scroll.  Smith and partner were.  So there is that.  I'm not sure how anyone can safely argue that the BoA source text was burned.  I know some do, but there arguments are left wanting.  

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Again, I invite you to study this matter in further detail.  POGP has a good introduction (published in January 2020) The “Kirtland Egyptian Papers” and the Book of Abraham

Thanks.  But it appears you have plenty to study on the matter.  

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Some excerpts:

(Emphasis added)

Jeff Lindsay also has some interesting observations about the fragments and the KEP (when discussing The Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations ("JSPRT")) :

Plenty of stuff to chew on.  Lots of unknowns.  Lots of room for informed and principled disagreement.  

And yet Morris has quoted quite a bit of Ritner's material that gives rise to reasonable questions about his "filters."

But rather than address what Morris has presented, all you've got is "Beats me."

Oh.

I'm content to let the reader decide how "fair" you've been in your treatment of Muhlestein (particularly when contrasted with your praise of Ritner and your curious indifference to Morris's critique of Ritner's scholarship).

Sure he does.  I've quoted such relevant critiques a few times now.  And your response is "beats me."

Funny, then, that you introduced that "petty dispute" into this thread.

The contents of the Book of Abraham.

And the point I am making is that elements of "the BoA's story" are "found in ancient Egypt."

A source for part of "the BoA's story" being found in ancient Egypt.

“In the first century BC, the Egyptian Jew Artapanus wrote an account of Abraham teaching astronomy to the Egyptian Pharaoh.”

I"m not sure what you think this means, in terms of verifying the BoA story.  Are you saying the legend that Abraham found himself in Egypt was only found in Artapnus?  Or what specifically did Artapunus say?  Every time I see this reference its simply leaving it as plainly as that.  It's found in the writing of Eusebius, this allusion to Artpanus.  And what specifically did Eusebius say?  

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Compare that with Joseph Smith's interpretation of Facsimile No. 3:

From Morris:

Well?  How do you account for Joseph Smith's interpretation, which involves

  • A) Abraham
  • B) in Egypt,
  • C) teaching astronomy,
  • D) to the king
  • E) while sitting on the king's throne
  • F) because the king has chosen to honor or be polite to Abraham?

How do you account for A-D appearing the writings of Artapanus?

I don't.  Its simply possible the Joseph got such vagueries from many sources.  Again what did Artapanus say?  

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How do you account for D-F apparing in Qisas al-Anbiya?

Were these just lucky guesses?  

Its possible.  Or its more likely that this vague allusion was found in Abraham myths.  I don't understand how this is much of a point...If someone thousands of years after Abraham would have lived, thought Abraham taught astrology to a king in Egypt, then by golly that hardly means anything to me.  If it appears in the BoA that hardly means Abraham lived or wrote anything.  It hardly means the story of the Book of Abraham is true, or found in ancient Egypt at all.  

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No, that's not the point.  Because that point is at least partly false.  As Morris notes, "Ritner does not inform his readers that certain elements of the Book of Abraham also appear in ancient or medieval texts."

Ritner doesn't address this.  You aren't addressing it (even when it's practically served up to you on a silver platter).

How do you know if you haven't listened or read from Ritner?  The topic is not MOrris's concerns but it is Ritner's podcast.  

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That's the point, I think.

"Ritner's view" omits what Morris described above.

HOw do you know?  Because Morris told you?  Or....maybe there's far more to this story.  

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You seemed to be advocating or advancing "Ritner's view."  Now you seem to be backing off that.  Well, okay.  You were just parroting him?  You don't subscribe to his assessment?

I don't know all of his assessments.  We have the podcast to discuss which you seem to refuse to discuss.  That is the topic.  

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Ah.  Argumentum ad populum.  

You aren't the first one to do this.  See here:

I'm not really persuaded by scholarly indifference, whether it be about the Book of Mormon or the Book of Abraham.

LOL.  Scholarship only has meaning if it's popular?  Widespread?  Garnering tons of attention in academia?

It's clearly I"m pointing out that arguments carry more weight when the experts seem to all agree.  That doesn't mean the experts are right...it simply means at this point it's the best we have.  

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Yes.  So why did Ritner not address these?  Why are you not addressing them?  

Why are you not addressing the topic of the thread?  Why are you trying to change the topic to Morris' critique?  

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It does?  CFR, please.  The closest think I can find in the essay is this:

 

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"Available in apocryphal books or biblical commentaries in Joseph Smith's lifetime" seems not quite the same as "Joseph likely had access to sources that talked about these things."

Why not?  seems similar enough to me?  That's what I was talking about.  During Joseph's lifetimes apocryphal books and commentaries on the Bible is about the same as Joseph had access to these things.  

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Meanwhile, what "sources" do you think Joseph had access to relative to his interpretation of Facsimile No. 3? 

LOL.  Abraham teaching Pharaoh astronomy while Pharoah shows him respect is a "vague hit?"  I guess we'll have to disagree about that.

Please by all means, be more specific what you think is a great hit here.  What did Artapanus say, as forwarded by Eusebius?  What does the BoA say?  

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Well, okay then.

I never said "there are no responses from critics."

I said "Funny how often we end up with glib conclusions like {'Beats me' and 'Not sure it matters much to me'}."

And I stand by that.  With respect, when the chips are down, people like you usually don't have much to offer to people like me.  I'm quite willing to read what critics, including scholars like Ritner, have to say.  I've been doing that for years.  But when we really get to substantive analysis, folks like you usually back off, walk away, or merely come up with verbal shrugs like "beats me."

I'm guessing I"ve read far more from apologists like Gee than you have from Ritner.  But I could be wrong.  

 

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Thus, I'll err on the side of faith.  The Book of Abraham is "downstream" from my testimony of the Book of Mormon, such that my beliefs about the latter inform my beliefs about the former.  The extant evidence allows for this.

Sigh.  I'd like to hear what he has to say about the missing papyri.  And Facsimile No. 3.  Listening to Dehlin's meandering will make this much more of a chore than it needs to be.

I'm not sure you have an argument, except to point to the Church's position and say "not that."

I'm reminded of this comment from Dr. Peterson:

(Emphasis added)

If your "argument" consists of, in essence, the Dale Morgan-esque "I will look everywhere for explanations except to the ONE explanation that is the position of the church," then I'll leave you to it.

If you have something more to say, then I'd like to hear it.  For example, I'd like to hear what you have to say about Facsimile No. 3.

Nope.  Just an explanation of my perspective.  Perhaps a bit too longwinded...

Okey doke.  I'm inclined to examine the substance of what they are saying to see if it matches up with their purported "intentions."

You've been trying really hard to characterize Dr. Ritner as "objective" and having an "agenda" of "truth" and "good solid objective scholarship."  You have simultaneously impugned Muhlestein's scholarship as "agenda"-driven.

I submit that Dr. Ritner has a pretty obvious "agenda," and that his has affected his scholarship.  The juxtaposition of his purported impartiality with Muhlestein's purported bias, then, seems less than apt.

Thanks,

-Smac

Ok.  I get the game you want to play.  I don't.  if you want to listen and engage on topic I"m game.  I think we've been back and forth with your many distractions enough.  Have a good one.  It was fun while it lasted.

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Nothing. I see no benefit to Dr. Gee or Muhlestein to participate in a debate involving Dehlin or RFM. 

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5 hours ago, Tacenda said:

This was sent to the apologists listed. What do you think will happen?

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As Calm has said, nothing will happen.  I seriously doubt that Gee and Muhlestein would be part of an open public debate.  That is too bad, because if handled right, this could be an enlightening event.  

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37 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

As Calm has said, nothing will happen.  I seriously doubt that Gee and Muhlestein would be part of an open public debate.  That is too bad, because if handled right, this could be an enlightening event.  

I remember a few years ago reading something from Daniel Peterson who had, IIRC, declined to debate James White.  Part of the reason was that Dr. Peterson felt that in-person debates were less effective (and also perhaps less interesting, at least to some) than written debates.  I think he had a point.  This is why attorneys virtually always submit written briefs to the court, and then may or may not have oral argument about the briefs.   Written briefs clarify the scope of what is to be discussed.  They allow for a more structured and thoughtful interaction, whereas in-person debates can meander, get off-topic, devolve into bickering, etc.  Nevertheless, Dr. Peterson eventually did have a discussion with James White (see here).

I see plenty of reasons to not interact with Dehlin and RFM.  RFM is execrable.  And Dehlin's email is taunting and risible.  As for "direct dialogue," what is Dehlin talking about here?  Latter-day Saint scholars have been publishing their views, and responding to and critiquing views of critics/skeptics, for many decades.

There are plenty of ways interested parties can evaluate disparate perspectives on the Book of Abraham.  Ritner has written quite a bit (and now participated in a very long podcast on the subject).  Gee and Muhlestein have also written quite a bit about this topic.  Most of these writings are available online for free.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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On 8/10/2020 at 4:31 PM, Fair Dinkum said:

...There really isn't much to debate here folks.  You either have faith that its scripture or you don't.

I have faith that the Book of Abraham is scripture.  I also have faith that eventually, the lack of correspondence between the English text of the Book of Abraham and the fragments of papyrus that have survived will be resolved.  Any questions notwithstanding, among other things, I'm too fascinated by the text to dismiss it out-of-hand entirely.

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I remember a few years ago reading something from Daniel Peterson who had, IIRC, declined to debate James White.  Part of the reason was that Dr. Peterson felt that in-person debates were less effective (and also perhaps less interesting, at least to some) than written debates.  I think he had a point.  This is why attorneys virtually always submit written briefs to the court, and then may or may not have oral argument about the briefs.   Written briefs clarify the scope of what is to be discussed.  They allow for a more structured and thoughtful interaction, whereas in-person debates can meander, get off-topic, devolve into bickering, etc.  Nevertheless, Dr. Peterson eventually did have a discussion with James White (see here).

I see plenty of reasons to not interact with Dehlin and RFM.  RFM is execrable.  And Dehlin's email is taunting and risible.  As for "direct dialogue," what is Dehlin talking about here?  Latter-day Saint scholars have been publishing their views, and responding to and critiquing views of critics/skeptics, for many decades.

There are plenty of ways interested parties can evaluate disparate perspectives on the Book of Abraham.  Ritner has written quite a bit (and now participated in a very long podcast on the subject).  Gee and Muhlestein have also written quite a bit about this topic.  Most of these writings are available online for free.

Thanks,

-Smac

I've always found in-person vocal debates to be tests of showmanship just as much as they are tests of evidence and logic. Personal presence, gravitas, dramatic timing, humor...these things do not truth decide, but they sure can affect our impressions of who won a debate and thus who was correct. I personally am not interested in identifying the best grandstander out of Dehlin, Ritner, Gee, Muhlestein, and RFM, so I'd be just as happy if they stick with the texts.

In-person debates rarely allow for much more than soundbites anyway. 

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4 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I've always found in-person vocal debates to be tests of showmanship just as much as they are tests of evidence and logic. Personal presence, gravitas, dramatic timing, humor...these things do not truth decide, but they sure can affect our impressions of who won a debate and thus who was correct. I personally am not interested in identifying the best grandstander out of Dehlin, Ritner, Gee, Muhlestein, and RFM, so I'd be just as happy if they stick with the texts.

In-person debates rarely allow for much more than soundbites anyway. 

Dehlin and RFM could be cut out of the equation, and the debate could be a series of written arguments.  That could be interesting to see (for me, anyway).  It would be interesting to see what Dr. Ritner has to say about eyewitness accounts of the papyri held by Joseph Smith, the debate over the length of the scrolls (the Cook/Smith v. Gee debate about estimates of scroll length derived from mathematical formulas), the "bird wing" issue associated with the lion couch vignette, and perhaps even addressing the "catalyst" theory.

I wonder if Dr. Ritner might come to regret lending his secular academic reputation to what would likely end up being, or least come across as, a predominantly sectarian/religious debate.  

Thanks,

-Smac

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54 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I wonder if Dr. Ritner might come to regret lending his secular academic reputation to what would likely end up being, or least come across as, a predominantly sectarian/religious debate.  

Why do you think that might be an issue for him?

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14 hours ago, Tacenda said:

This was sent to the apologists listed. What do you think will happen?

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Nothing will come of this and neither Gee nor Muhlstein will even go to the bother of acknowledging receipt of this email correspondence.  I'm almost certain that it has already been relegated to their "Junk Mail"  folder and deleted forthwith.

That said I do find it sad that the division between the realities of the non believer and believer is so vast that common ground can't even be attempted.  Its my way or no way.  Much like our current political divide within America, the divide between the believer and non is a gap that can not be bridged.

One would think, disappointingly, that two parties with disparaging opinions could find common ground and agreement.  But even here on this august board with so many scholars and educated posters, common ground is a rarity and seldom found.  Why then would we ever expect that these parties would be able to find any?

But alas, there is too much at stake and both parties are so heavily invested in their respective opinions for either party to give even a scintilla of ground up to the other for them to be able to find agreement in even the most basic of facts.

 

 

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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3 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Nothing will come of this and neither Gee nor Muhlstein will even go to the bother of acknowledging receipt of this email correspondence.  I'm almost certain that it has already been relegated to their "Junk Mail"  folder and deleted forthwith.

That said I do find it sad that the division between the realities of the non believer and believer is so vast that common ground can't even be attempted. 

Do you really think that Dehlin, Consig and Ritner are looking for "common ground?"

Moreover, you seem to be acting as if there is no exchange of ideas about the Book of Abraham.  That's simply not so.

3 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Its my way or no way. 

TBH, I think this sort of rigid dogmatism is more pronounced on the skeptic/critic side of things.

3 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Much like our current political divide within America, the divide between the believer and non is a gap that can not be bridged.

Ultimately, sure.  However, I think neophytes like us have been given huge amounts of literature to peruse as pertaining to the Book of Abraham.

3 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

One would think, disappointingly, that two parties with disparaging opinions could find common ground and agreement. 

Again, do you think Dehlin, Consig and Ritner are looking for "common ground and agreement?"

3 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

But even here on this august board with so many scholars and educated posters, common ground is a rarity and seldom found.

Is common ground commonly sought?

3 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Why then would we ever expect that these parties would be able to find any?

Again, who here is seriously thinking that Dehlin, Consig and Ritner are seeking "common ground" with Gee and Muhlestein?  I think they are seeking anything but that.

3 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

But alas, there is too much at stake and both parties are so heavily invested in their respective opinions for either party to give even a scintilla of ground up to the other for them to be able to find agreement in even the most basic of facts.

Not so.  Again, I think the dogmatism is much more deeply entrenched on your side of the debate.

Our position is based on faith buttressed by reasoned and plausible analysis of extant evidence.  We aren't demanding that everyone accept the Book of Abraham is what the Church presents it to be.  We are putting it out there and inviting people to consider it as a very-much-downstream-from-the-Book-of-Mormon portion of our scriptural canon.

Meanwhile, Dehlin, Consig and Ritner are "heavily invested" in an absolutist position re: the BOA.

Thanks,

-Smac

Thanks,

-Smac

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8 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Do you really think that Dehlin, Consig and Ritner are looking for "common ground?"

Moreover, you seem to be acting as if there is no exchange of ideas about the Book of Abraham.  That's simply not so.

TBH, I think this sort of rigid dogmatism is more pronounced on the skeptic/critic side of things.

Ultimately, sure.  However, I think neophytes like us have been given huge amounts of literature to peruse as pertaining to the Book of Abraham.

Again, do you think Dehlin, Consig and Ritner are looking for "common ground and agreement?"

Is common ground commonly sought?

Again, who here is seriously thinking that Dehlin, Consig and Ritner are seeking "common ground" with Gee and Muhlestein?  I think they are seeking anything but that.

Not so.  Again, I think the dogmatism is much more deeply entrenched on your side of the debate.

Our position is based on faith buttressed by reasoned and plausible analysis of extant evidence.  We aren't demanding that everyone accept the Book of Abraham is what the Church presents it to be.  We are putting it out there and inviting people to consider it as a very-much-downstream-from-the-Book-of-Mormon portion of our scriptural canon.

Meanwhile, Dehlin, Consig and Ritner are "heavily invested" in an absolutist position re: the BOA.

Thanks,

-Smac

Thanks,

-Smac

I think the reason they are so dogged is because they think that it's wrong for members to not know the exact truth and sacrifice so much for the church. They make covenants to do so. My initial reaction to the letter was, leave these people alone, JD, RFM, RR. But then I thought a bit and that is the conclusion I'm making. That the members need to know the facts/truth. I think I've asked the question on this board before, where if the BoM isn't historical, would they stay in the church. And I believe I got a big "no". As long as the members know the truth, then let them make the decision based on that to stay and give their tithes, time, talents, and whatever is asked or needed. Because you probably know members like that. They will sacrifice life and limb for the church. That's where I think they're coming from. 

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2 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I think the reason they are so dogged is because they think that it's wrong for members to not know the exact truth and sacrifice so much for the church.

"The truth?"  Are you suggesting that Dehlin/Consig/Ritner are necessarily in possession of it and Gee/Muhlestein/Church, etc. are not?

Also, I don't think Dehlin/Consig/Ritner give two figs about the spiritual/emotional welfare of the members of the Church.  That's just pretext.  If Consig was genuinely concerned about the Latter-day Saints, he would not go so far out of his way to be as offensive and profane as he is.  Same goes for Dehlin.

They dislike and oppose the Church.  Probably for a variety of reasons, but that's the nexus.  That's the motive.

2 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

They make covenants to do so. My initial reaction to the letter was, leave these people alone, JD, RFM, RR. But then I thought a bit and that is the conclusion I'm making. That the members need to know the facts/truth.

There is no shortage of freely-available literature about the Book of Abraham. 

2 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I think I've asked the question on this board before, where if the BoM isn't historical, would they stay in the church. And I believe I got a big "no". As long as the members know the truth, then let them make the decision based on that to stay and give their tithes, time, talents, and whatever is asked or needed. Because you probably know members like that. They will sacrifice life and limb for the church. That's where I think they're coming from. 

I don't think that at all.  That doesn't seem plausible at all, TBH.  

Dehlin/Consig/Ritner aren't meddlesome busybodies concerned about the welfare of the members of the Church.  They dislike the Church, and so speak against it in any way possible.  That's where I think they're coming from.

Thanks,

-Smac

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8 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I think the reason they are so dogged is because they think that it's wrong for members to not know the exact truth and sacrifice so much for the church. They make covenants to do so. My initial reaction to the letter was, leave these people alone, JD, RFM, RR. But then I thought a bit and that is the conclusion I'm making. That the members need to know the facts/truth. I think I've asked the question on this board before, where if the BoM isn't historical, would they stay in the church. And I believe I got a big "no". As long as the members know the truth, then let them make the decision based on that to stay and give their tithes, time, talents, and whatever is asked or needed. Because you probably know members like that. They will sacrifice life and limb for the church. That's where I think they're coming from. 

I'm sorry, but I've seen too much of Dehlin and RFM to have any confidence at all in their bonafides. Their discussions are so one-sided that I cannot attribute to them anything more noble than the status of active polemicist. If they were interested in the truth, they would give Brant Gardner and Terryl Givens the same softball treatment they give Coe and Ritner. Dehlin's interview with Coe was absolutely embarrassing: he hadn't put in any effort at all to grasp the fundamentals of apologetic scholarship. They may use the "it's wrong for members to not know the exact truth and sacrifice so much for the church" line as cover, but in practice they act like nothing more than antagonists. There's already a live exchange of information and ideas about the Book of Abraham that gets better with time; we don't need Dehlin and RFM curating our experience for us. 

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My position is that the jury is still out on the Book of Abraham.  Once the papyri from which Joseph Smith purported to translate the Book of Abraham are found, then a reasonable discussion can take place regarding the issues surrounding it.  If that makes me "rigidly dogmatic" and unwilling to entertain other points of view, then, so be it.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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11 hours ago, smac97 said:

I remember a few years ago reading something from Daniel Peterson who had, IIRC, declined to debate James White.  Part of the reason was that Dr. Peterson felt that in-person debates were less effective (and also perhaps less interesting, at least to some) than written debates.  I think he had a point.  This is why attorneys virtually always submit written briefs to the court, and then may or may not have oral argument about the briefs.   Written briefs clarify the scope of what is to be discussed.  They allow for a more structured and thoughtful interaction, whereas in-person debates can meander, get off-topic, devolve into bickering, etc.  Nevertheless, Dr. Peterson eventually did have a discussion with James White (see here).

I see plenty of reasons to not interact with Dehlin and RFM.  RFM is execrable.  And Dehlin's email is taunting and risible.  As for "direct dialogue," what is Dehlin talking about here?  Latter-day Saint scholars have been publishing their views, and responding to and critiquing views of critics/skeptics, for many decades.

There are plenty of ways interested parties can evaluate disparate perspectives on the Book of Abraham.  Ritner has written quite a bit (and now participated in a very long podcast on the subject).  Gee and Muhlestein have also written quite a bit about this topic.  Most of these writings are available online for free.

Thanks,

-Smac

I'm thinking Dr Peterson has debated since making that case about James White.  I seem to recall he did anyway.

So, the invitation is not to debate in some formal sense, of course.  It is to have a direct dialogue.  I think that's kind of Ritner to do seeing as there's been bad blood on both sides.  But I'm feeling pretty confident Gee nor Muhlestein will accept the kind invite.  If they respond at all, which they might not, it'll be to decline.  Too bad, though.  Could be a step to getting to the bottom of their big disagreements.  

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7 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I'm thinking Dr Peterson has debated since making that case about James White.  I seem to recall he did anyway.

So, the invitation is not to debate in some formal sense, of course.  It is to have a direct dialogue.  I think that's kind of Ritner to do seeing as there's been bad blood on both sides.  But I'm feeling pretty confident Gee nor Muhlestein will accept the kind invite.  If they respond at all, which they might not, it'll be to decline.  Too bad, though.  Could be a step to getting to the bottom of their big disagreements.  

A direct scholarly dialogue has already been ongoing. Dehlin and RFM would not be needed as moderators if it were going to be an exchange of papers or anything other than a "formal debate." Their self-insertion betrays the whole game. 

Nothing of substance is lost. Dehlin and RFM are just throwing another gauntlet around which will then become r/exmormon fodder for mocking the Mopologists from TSCC. And, after the furor passes, the number  of people who give a darn will remain at 0. 

Edited by OGHoosier
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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I think the reason they are so dogged is because they think that it's wrong for members to not know the exact truth and sacrifice so much for the church. They make covenants to do so. My initial reaction to the letter was, leave these people alone, JD, RFM, RR. But then I thought a bit and that is the conclusion I'm making. That the members need to know the facts/truth. I think I've asked the question on this board before, where if the BoM isn't historical, would they stay in the church. And I believe I got a big "no". As long as the members know the truth, then let them make the decision based on that to stay and give their tithes, time, talents, and whatever is asked or needed. Because you probably know members like that. They will sacrifice life and limb for the church. That's where I think they're coming from. 

The problem as I see it is that not even the Apologists nor the church can agree on what the exact truth is.  The Book of Abraham is a moving target.  It's no long a document written by the actual hand of Abraham as Smith claimed, nor is it a translation of Egyptian Papyri. What it is keeps changing.  So will you please call me once the church and it's apologists settle on what the book of Abraham actually is?

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45 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

A direct scholarly dialogue has already been ongoing. Dehlin and RFM would not be needed as moderators if it were going to be an exchange of papers or anything other than a "formal debate." Their self-insertion betrays the whole game. 

Nothing of substance is lost. Dehlin and RFM are just throwing another gauntlet around which will then become r/exmormon fodder for mocking the Mopologists from TSCC. And, after the furor passes, the number  of people who give a darn will remain at 0. 

Huh?  Is that some acknowledgement that the apologist positions is weak at best?  I think there are tons as specific points that they need to zero in on.  It seems to me to some extent the apologist keepontalking past the critiques rather than engaging.  With that said if they did discuss I'm guessing Gee and Muhlestein won't be able to supply good arguments for their positions but that's already the case.  Of course apologist don't want to engage directly.  

Edited by stemelbow
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