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Robert Ritner - Book of Abraham Interview


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3 hours ago, aussieguy55 said:

When one looks at the examples of these scenes such on figures  5, 6 & 7 on Fac 2 they are similar to Turin cat 2321 Museo Antichita Egizie Torino. In fac 1 Smith wrote " Representss God sitting upon his throne revealing through the heavens the grand key-words of the Priesthood; as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham in the form of a dove"   the figure on the throne as the same. You look at the "dove" however in the example  In Turin cat. it is a snake with legs. The same occurs in Hypocephalus Louvre N 32 Musee du Louvre /Decamp. If you look at what is found in No. 7 you could think it was a dove.Everything else found in 5,  6 & 7in the BOA  fac 2 is the same in both the above mentioned examples. The standing figure with what looks like a multiprong stick followed by a cow and four standing figures with heads of the four sons of Horus "In front of them the cow-goddess stands followed by an anthropomorphic  deity whose head is depicted as a wedjat-eye within a circle" 

I found Michael Rhodes translation of the Hypocephalus from 1977.  You can see it at https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4125&context=byusq.  The translations for figures 5, 6, and 7 can be found on the 15th and 16th page (page numbers 272 and 273).  It mentions basically the same thing you have above.

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What if there was a non oral debate of some sort. A statement debate, made that up, but each party do a bullet point statement of their belief about the BoA. And let the rest of us decide which one sounds like it could be true. 

 

Edited by Tacenda
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1 hour ago, Kevin Christensen said:

For instance, I quoted Rhodes in my response to the CES Letter

 

1 hour ago, Kevin Christensen said:

But is there any evidence that, even in distorted form, these illustrations were associated with Abraham anciently? There is indeed. I will discuss each facsimile in turn.

Facsimile 1. In an ancient Egyptian papyrus dating to roughly the first or second century ad, there is a lion-couch scene similar to the one shown in facsimile 1. Underneath the illustration, the text reads “Abraham, who upon .…” There is a break in the text here, so we do not know what word followed. The key point, however, is that an ancient Egyptian document, from approximately the same time period as the papyri Joseph Smith had in his possession, associated Abraham with a lion-couch scene.

Are all references in any Egyptian artifacts to "Abraham" referring to the Biblical Abraham?

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Tamas Mekis  author of Some Reflections on the Funerary Equipment of Paiuhor

in and email "

Thank you for your message on the Academia.edu. Today I managed to see the interview with Prof. Ritner. He is really a great name in Egyptology today, he is an expert of magical practices of Ancient Egyptians. As for your question, in general, I agree with his explications, though he doesn't explain different figures as a coherent whole. He is completely right about that Joseph Smith's translations are completely false, it has nothing to do with the Egyptian Language. Prof. Ritner's translations are correct.
In my articles written on the topic I tried to harmonize figures illustrated on the discs to explain the motor of the horizontal registers of the hypocephalus. As Prof. Ritner told, the main purpose of this amulet was to create protective warmth and light under the head of the deceased as the disc emulates the sundisc. I base my explications on this fact, so behind most of the figures there is a form of the sun god (Amon-Re). As in the case of most of Egyptian amulets, behind each one there is a Book of the Death Spell, which prescribes its usage. In the case of the hypocephalus it is spell 162, which is about the heavenly cow (mother of Amon-Re), who created this amulet for his son at his death to protect him during his journey through the underworld. The texts and figures of the hypocephalus are all with this protective magical purpose. 
So symbolically, the death of Amon-Re (the Sun) means the death of the god (Sunset), since the underworld of the Egyptians was a dangerous place they equipped the deceased with magical, protective devices (amulets, magical spells, richly decorated coffin(s), etc.) to safe journey through the underworld as to come up (rise) every morning as or with the sun god. So the deceased assimilated to the sun god who died each day and went down to the underworld on the West but next morning rose from the underworld on the East. As the hypocephalus was basically a sun symbol its figures explain the way of the journey of the sun through the day sky (upper hemisphere) and through the night sky (opposite hemisphere).
I send you through "wetransfer" a synoptic study, which is about the funerary equipment of a priest called Paiuhor. He may have been contemporary of Sheshonq (owner of the hypocephalus - Facsimile no. 2). So you will have an idea how the Egyptians equipped the mummy to the afterlife in the early Ptolemaic Period. In the study (pp. 268-277) I analyse the hypocephalus of this priest, thus you will see my point (which basically rhymes with Prof. Ritner's explications).
 
If you will have further questions, do not hesitate to write me. If you will still be interested in further details, I can send you my book on hypocephali in a digital form.    
 
Best wishes,
Tamás
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Thanks for your reply. The paper you are interested in is the result of our research with Malcolm Mosher Jr. As you know Antonio Lebolo worked in the service of the French consul Bernardino Drovetti in Thebes, what he found in the tombs he transmitted to his chief and later in his career he kept some objects for his own collection which he transported to Italy when he retired and retuned to Piedmont. Finally this collection landed in America and some pieces ended up in the hands of Joseph Smith. 
Naturally Lobolo sold pieces to other customers too in Thebes. Together with my colleague we managed to identify the second part of the papyrus Joseph Smith 2 and 3. While the first part of the papyri was in the possession of Joseph Smith the second part was sold by Lebolo to Mr. Cimba, doctor of the English consul, Henry Salt. Dr. Cimba's collection ended up in Leiden. A third small piece from this papyrus was transmitted to Drovetti by Lebolo which ended up in the Louvre with the rest of Drovetti's collection.
 
I send you this article too through "wetransfer".
 
To tell you the truth I read also many articles from Smith's story with the Egyptian antiquities, but in my opinion H. Donl Peterson's The Story of the Book of Abraham. Mummies, Manuscripts, and Mormonism book is the best. Do you have this book? I can send you a digitized version of this one if you are interested in.
 
I send you also the catalogue section of my book, where facsimile 2 appears. I have an idea about that Smith may have seen another hypocephalus in Kirtland but he didn't purchase it, that is why he knew that on the missing upper section there should have stood another both, that is why he reconstructed one there in the publication at Times and Season. Though it is just a hypothesis, but why not?    
 
The closest analogy to the Mormon example is cat. no. 61 (an example of Vienna).
 
With my best wishes,
Tamás 
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Dear 

 
Of course, you may share my opinion in favour of Prof. Ritner. He is completely right about the erroneous translation and interpretations of Joseph Smith.
 
(I must state that faithful Mormons will never admit the errors of Joseph Smith and will always criticize those who reveal the errors of their "prophet". It's an endless debate.) 
 
Best wishes,
Tamas
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Aussie, who were these sent to?  I am okay with an alias, just want to know the context. I haven’t been reading that closely, so may have missed it if you mentioned it before. 

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I'm working on transcribing the podcast.  I'm using an automated speech-to-text system.  It isn't perfect but it looks like it gets a good portion of it.  Here's an example of the first minute of the podcast:

Quote

all i think you to ristoro making today's episode possible however you want to welcome to another edition of warminster's boast i her host john dale it is july thirtieth twenty twenty i apologize for the hyperbole but i do believe that we have one of the most important episodes it will ever have a more mysteries by cast this will stand shoulder to shoulder with the micco interview with the tom villainie with the bateman interview and with our top interviews will be an immediate top five i'm guessing i am here to day with doctor robert writer who is a world famous he's apologist that's what all call him ill will have him tell you as official title and just a second we have covered book

It looks like the phrase "mormon stories podcast" gets really messed up ("warminster's boast" and "more mysteries by cast").  Egyptian terms from later on also look to be really messed up.

It won't label who is speaking and can only convert 1 minute sections so words at the boundary might be messed up.  But would it be useful?

Edited by webbles
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7 minutes ago, aussieguy55 said:

They were sent to me...

Thank you. 

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I'm 2 episodes into this podcast. I want to be fair, but at least to me, it is becoming very obvious that the Book of Abraham, as I had been taught to believe, is not what the church has claimed it is.  It is not a translation, in any known understanding of that word, of an ancient Egyptian papyri written by the hand of Abraham. Joseph could not translate the Egyptian language and from what he did produced from his so called translations of facsimiles 1,2 & 3 it is beyond doubt that he was just making stuff up and calling it a translation.  None of the facsimile translations are what Smith claimed they were...it's just complete fiction,  entirely made up gibberish.  One does not have to even go to the verses in the Book of Abraham to see beyond doubt that Joseph was just making things up and passing it off as revelation.

I'm sorry for venting, but this is hard and difficult to accept.   How are we as a people to accept that Smith was who he claimed to be and then reconcile that with his claimed translation of those 3 facsimiles?  Dr Rittner did give Smith some credit for a few (if you tilt your head sideways and look crossed eyed) hits, but other than those, it's compelte made up gibberish with zero connection to what is on the papyri.

So what options are there?  The Catalyst Theory or a cleaver attempt by Smith to fool his followers into believing that he was what he claimed to be.  I think the later is what one would call a fraud.  Are there other options?  If there is I would personally like to know what they are.

If we ignore what Smith claimed he was doing and ignore what his scribes claimed he was doing and try to explain away the troubling realities that have surrounded the Book of Abraham what other options have I missed?  I'm more than willing to consider other logical options for what the Book of Abraham is, but I must also be true to myself and accept what it is not.

Anyone?

 

PS: Before I make any dire decisions I will wait to see what others here might suggest. How do believing members of the church explain away the translations of the facsimiles?   I am also going to read Robert Smith's essay on the Book of Abraham.  I'll return and report.

 

 

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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You have discovered what I found out years ago. The LDS church had been good for me in my late teens and young adulthood and I found my wife there. I have many positive memories.It kind of jolts ones psyche when you are confronted with the facts. I associated with a Christian church for some years but reading the likes of Bart Ehrman and Israel Finkelstein produced further problems. 

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14 minutes ago, aussieguy55 said:

You have discovered what I found out years ago. The LDS church had been good for me in my late teens and young adulthood and I found my wife there. I have many positive memories.It kind of jolts ones psyche when you are confronted with the facts. I associated with a Christian church for some years but reading the likes of Bart Ehrman and Israel Finkelstein produced further problems. 

I've known for a long time that the Book of Abraham was problematic and that the actual book was not found on the extant papyri.  But what I hadn't fully wrapped my head around was just how strong the argument against Smith is by merely looking at what we do have, the Facsimiles and what Smith claimed they were.  It's complete nonsense and gibberish.

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46 minutes ago, aussieguy55 said:

I know how you feel. Are you Australian? You use the term fair dinkum

True Blue and Dinkie Die and beetroot on my burger mate.  Sydneysider You?

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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9 hours ago, webbles said:

I'm working on transcribing the podcast.  I'm using an automated speech-to-text system.  It isn't perfect but it looks like it gets a good portion of it.  Here's an example of the first minute of the podcast:

It looks like the phrase "mormon stories podcast" gets really messed up ("warminster's boast" and "more mysteries by cast").  Egyptian terms from later on also look to be really messed up.

It won't label who is speaking and can only convert 1 minute sections so words at the boundary might be messed up.  But would it be useful?

Here's the finished transcription.  The three files are for each of the podcast parts.  Each file has one line for each minute of the podcast and is labeled with "Xm:" where X is the minute in the podcast (though it might be a minute off because in some of the parts, the first minute was just music that had no speech that the system could detect).  This should help in finding the speech in the actual podcast.

Edited to add: This is an automated transcript.  It is not 100% correct.  So if something doesn't seem right in the transcript, double check the podcast to find out what was really said.

part1.txt part2.txt part3.txt

Edited by webbles
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10 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I've known for a long time that the Book of Abraham was problematic and that the actual book was not found on the extant papyri.  But what I hadn't fully wrapped my head around was just how strong the argument against Smith is by merely looking at what we do have, the Facsimiles and what Smith claimed they were.  It's complete nonsense and gibberish.

Terryl Givens has actually pointed  out this sentiment.  He has recently discussed the fact that long before the rediscovery of the Joseph Smith papyri in the 60's, there were critics pointing out the problems with what we already had.  Church leaders were also responding to the criticisms.  This whole Book of Abraham controversy has been going on for a long time. 

I remember reading the Book of Abraham as a kid and finding it very odd that we had symbols from an ancient pagan religion in one of our standard works.  I never understood why all these Egyptian symbols had Jewish/Christian meanings rather than the Egyptian religious beliefs  I was learning about in school.  But now I find the idea of symbols being repurposed to be rather intriguing.

The Book of Abraham is weird book.  I don't know what to think about it.  And trying to follow these threads on the subject always hurts my head.  Its all so complicating. 

 

Edited by Rivers
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I went and listened to some of Ritner's Mormon Stories interview.  I also re-watched Terryl Givens' interview with Kerry Muhlstein.  I like how Givens points out that Egyptologists were ripping the Book of Abraham to shreds over a hundred years ago.  And here we have Robert Ritner ripping the Book of Abraham to shreds now in the year 2020. Maybe we should take the same approach that Latter-day Saint scholars took all the way back in 1913: Joseph Smith obviously couldn't translate Egyptian but the product we ended up with is somehow inspired. 

Maybe Gee's approach isn't the right way to go about this ordeal. 

As I listen to Kerry Muhlstein talk to Terryl Givens and read his Interpreter article, I get the sense that he is very open-minded towards a broad variety possibilities and approaches.  I think he deserves some slack. 

 

 

 

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On 8/11/2020 at 11:27 PM, 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 agree that nothing will happen, but John Dehlin already knew that.  His open letter is just for show, and his rank dishonesty is the most important feature of his anti-Mormon efforts.  His allies should be deeply embarrassed.

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8 hours ago, webbles said:

Here's the finished transcription.  The three files are for each of the podcast parts.  Each file has one line for each minute of the podcast and is labeled with "Xm:" where X is the minute in the podcast (though it might be a minute off because in some of the parts, the first minute was just music that had no speech that the system could detect).  This should help in finding the speech in the actual podcast.

Edited to add: This is an automated transcript.  It is not 100% correct.  So if something doesn't seem right in the transcript, double check the podcast to find out what was really said.

part1.txt 143.43 kB · 4 downloads part2.txt 166.25 kB · 3 downloads part3.txt 239.81 kB · 2 downloads

I took a look at your part 2 text, and was able to glean the following from the first few sentences:

Quote

Dr. Rider’s facing kidney failure and is in need of a living donor to secure his life and continued research.  If you can help, please contact Danaan at 312695 .... for making today's episode possible. However, welcome back to another ........ and it’s August 3, 2020, and we are back with another epic historic interview with Dr Robert Ritner, accompanied by my co-host on Radio Free Mormon.  Hello, Art. ... I'm so happy to be here for part two, John.

And Dr. Ritner and Dr. Rider, so glad you could join us again; my pleasure; so let's begin really quickly Dr Rider before we jump in, so what we've already talked about your background Dr Rider in episode one. We talked about the historical context and the history of the Book of Abraham is related to Joseph and Kirtland and.....

The automated system is vastly inferior to a live transcriber who types fast.  Then a good editor can clean it up.  That is the method we used at FARMS years ago.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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13 hours ago, aussieguy55 said:

You have discovered what I found out years ago. The LDS church had been good for me in my late teens and young adulthood and I found my wife there. I have many positive memories.It kind of jolts ones psyche when you are confronted with the facts. I associated with a Christian church for some years but reading the likes of Bart Ehrman and Israel Finkelstein produced further problems. 

A very difficult lesson for some is the fact that the LDS Scriptures are subject to the same critique as the Bible.  Always have been.

Most of those finding themselves in a state of shock don't really understand that faith and reason are two very separate modes of thought, which don't mesh.

The average person has a choice:  Listen to and believe everything professors Ritner, Ehrman, and Finkelstein tell you, without question, or keep the faith.  In order to properly evaluate the claims of Ritner, Ehrman, and Finkelstein, you must know nearly as much as they do about the ancient world.  Since you do not, you are exercising blind faith in their claims.  Guess where that leaves you?

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