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Ritner's Questionable Reading of 'Isis'


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1 hour ago, Latter Day Data said:

... Ritner needs to either explicitly show how the name "Isis" is on the Facsimile, or else admit that he deceived RFM and Dehlin and their audiences. 

Don't hold your breath! :rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, Latter Day Data said:

Ritner needs to either explicitly show how the name "Isis" is on the Facsimile, or else admit that he deceived RFM and Dehlin and their audiences.

He's just giving them their monies worth and the things that they want to hear.

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1 hour ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Don't hold your breath! :rolleyes:

hahaha well, his defenders are welcome to answer in his behalf, so maybe they can come up with something!

1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

He's just giving them their monies worth and the things that they want to hear.

True. They didn't exactly hold his feet to the fire on anything

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15 hours ago, Latter Day Data said:

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

And, as Quinten Barney points out in his thesis: "The first set of glyphs, which we would expect to spell the name “Isis,” bear little to no resemblance to the characters used in any known spelling of the name Isis."

Okay, so where is Ritner getting the name Isis?

Ritner says it is "completely legible." Where is he getting this from? 

Ritner's relevant words are timestamped here and here

I suggest reading Barney's thesis, where he compares the text with text on other, similar scenes. 

It seems likely that Ritner is not actually directly translating the name "Isis," but is instead pulling from similar scenes and determining that the name Isis should be expected, even though it apparently is not actually there. If this is what he is doing, then when he says it is perfectly legible, he evidently means it is "perfectly legible on other, similar vignettes." And in that case, when he says Nibley and others admit that the text can be read that way, he is evidently likewise talking about text on other, similar vignettes. And if this is what he is doing, then it is dishonest for him to not explicitly say so.  

Ritner needs to either explicitly show how the name "Isis" is on the Facsimile, or else admit that he deceived RFM and Dehlin and their audiences. 

Ritner compares the same Isis label in Papyrus Tubingen 2016 in his book, Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri (SLC: Signature, 2013), page 173, note 340.  However, the comparative work and translation had already been done for him by Mike Rhodes, The Hor Book of Breathings (Provo: FARMS, 2002), 24-25.  Most Egyptologists translate while carefully comparing previous work.  Ritner is likely to have taken a careful look at Rhodes.  You'll notice that his book includes detailed comparisons with previous translations.  He need not be accused of deception on that score.

ETA:  I got it backwards here.  Ritner actually published his translation of facsimile 3 first, as pointed out to me by webbles.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Ritner compares the same Isis label in Papyrus Tubingen 2016 in his book, Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri (SLC: Signature, 2013), page 173, note 340.  However, the comparative work and translation had already been done for him by Mike Rhodes, The Hor Book of Breathings (Provo: FARMS, 2002), 24-25.  Most Egyptologists translate while carefully comparing previous work.  Ritner is likely to have taken a careful look at Rhodes.  You'll notice that his book includes detailed comparisons with previous translations.  He need not be accused of deception on that score.

Speaking of Ritner and Rhodes, is this the first time Rhodes has been accused of plagiarizing Ritner, or has that popped up before? 

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8 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Ritner compares the same Isis label in Papyrus Tubingen 2016 in his book, Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri (SLC: Signature, 2013), page 173, note 340.  However, the comparative work and translation had already been done for him by Mike Rhodes, The Hor Book of Breathings (Provo: FARMS, 2002), 24-25.  Most Egyptologists translate while carefully comparing previous work.  Ritner is likely to have taken a careful look at Rhodes.  You'll notice that his book includes detailed comparisons with previous translations.  He need not be accused of deception on that score.

Dr. Ritner had already translated it in his paper 2 years before Dr. Rhodes did his translation.  Dr. Ritner wrote it in The 'Breathing Permit of Hor’ Thirty-four Years Later which was published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 33, no. 4 (Winter, 2000).  See his translation on page 114 of https://dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V33N04_107.pdf.

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35 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Ritner compares the same Isis label in Papyrus Tubingen 2016 in his book, Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri (SLC: Signature, 2013), page 173, note 340.  However, the comparative work and translation had already been done for him by Mike Rhodes, The Hor Book of Breathings (Provo: FARMS, 2002), 24-25.  Most Egyptologists translate while carefully comparing previous work.  Ritner is likely to have taken a careful look at Rhodes.  You'll notice that his book includes detailed comparisons with previous translations.  He need not be accused of deception on that score.

Hello!

Yes, and I have written elsewhere that there is nothing wrong with the Egyptological convention of translating that way, as a standard practice. 

However, I agree with what Quinten Barney wrote in his thesis (see the OP for a link):

"Thus, while comparisons with other copies of the Book of Breathings would cause us to expect Figure 2 of Facsimile No. 3 to be Isis, the lack of any clear reading of her name, as well as the various associations of the epithet “the god’s mother” prevent us from saying so with certainty. This case serves as a good example in demonstrating our purposes in this chapter. Were I trying to produce my own translation of the text, I would likely reconstruct this column to read the same way Rhodes or Ritner read it, and include in my notes that my translation is somewhat speculative and relies upon parallel texts. Thus, while I would expect it to say Isis here, as far as I can determine with certainty, it does not."

So, the problem I have with Ritner's claim is him stating that it is "completely legible," combined with his use of circular reasoning which I outline here.  

So, to be clear, I was not trying to suggest that the practice (which is necessitated in Egyptology by practical limitations of the field) is itself dishonest. Rather, I am suggesting that Ritner used it as a bait and switch to lead his audience to believe something that is not true. You will notice that when I discussed him doing this in the above link, I stated at the time that Ritner was doing this unintentionally. However, the way he portrayed the situation in the recent interview makes it look like he is doing this quite intentionally. 

Now, to some this might seem like a minor detail. But Joseph Smith was not claiming that the situation he was dealing with was a common one. Indeed, Facsimile 1 does not even belong in a Book of Breathing made by Isis (it is the only example of such a scene being placed there), and it has some unique features. Ritner even pointed out in the recent interview that the "pillars" at the bottom make this vignette very special and valuable. Other unique features have been pointed out as well, and Barney's thesis delves into some unique features of Facsimile 3.

I realize the uniqueness of these illustrations does not by itself mean Joseph Smith was right, but it does lend them to a discussion of iconography and perhaps theories similar to Kevin Barney's Jewish Redactor theory. But it's difficult to have those sorts of conversations when experts give misleading information which other people can then cite. 

It reminds me of a situation where Brian Hauglid stated falsely in an interview that Joseph Smith had written something in his journal in July of 1835. This complicated things when I was trying to explain to someone that Joseph Smith did not keep a  journal in July of 1835. 

If Quinten Barney is correct, then I find it inexcusable for Ritner to claim that the text is "completely legible." 

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4 minutes ago, Latter Day Data said:

Brian Hauglid stated falsely in an interview that Joseph Smith had written something in his journal in July of 1835. This complicated things when I was trying to explain to someone that Joseph Smith did not keep a  journal in July of 1835. 

Wait what?

Please elaborate on this instance. 

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1 hour ago, webbles said:

Dr. Ritner had already translated it in his paper 2 years before Dr. Rhodes did his translation.  Dr. Ritner wrote it in The 'Breathing Permit of Hor’ Thirty-four Years Later which was published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 33, no. 4 (Winter, 2000).  See his translation on page 114 of https://dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V33N04_107.pdf.

Thanks for correcting me, webbles.  It was in my bibliography, but I neglected even to look.  See also Ritner's ‘The Breathing Permit of Hôr’ Among the Joseph Smith Papyri,” JNES, 62/3 (July 2003):161-180.

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8 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Wait what?

Please elaborate on this instance. 

On a MormonMatters podcast dated February 21, 2014, Dr. Hauglid said the following:

We have Joseph Smith's journal, this is in July of 1835, his journal saying, 'with W.W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commenced the translation of some of the characters, or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt.' ... And then later on in that month, Joseph Smith writes again...

The reason this is relevant to my theory is explained in my Fourth Meditation on Vogel (scroll a little more than halfway down the page and you should run into the Fourth Meditation). 

 

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16 minutes ago, Latter Day Data said:

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

I realize the uniqueness of these illustrations does not by itself mean Joseph Smith was right, but it does lend them to a discussion of iconography and perhaps theories similar to Kevin Barney's Jewish Redactor theory. But it's difficult to have those sorts of conversations when experts give misleading information which other people can then cite. 

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

How do you feel about Kevin Barney's (and my) notion that the facsimiles were adapted or repurposed by a Jewish redactor who was less interested in the specific labels than in the iconographic value of the persons, gods, and symbols (which most Egyptologists understand must be "read" on their own account)?

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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

Speaking of Ritner and Rhodes, is this the first time Rhodes has been accused of plagiarizing Ritner, or has that popped up before? 

Based on what webbles just told me, I have it backwards.  Of course, Ritner has accused others of plagiarizing him without acknowledgement.

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8 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

How do you feel about Kevin Barney's (and my) notion that the facsimiles were adapted or repurposed by a Jewish redactor who was less interested in the specific labels than in the iconographic value of the persons, gods, and symbols (which most Egyptologists understand must be "read" on their own account)?

I'm very open to that possibility :) for my current purposes, I was just trying to say that I think it's important for all the details we are working with to be accurate in order to facilitate further discussions (like iconography).

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17 hours ago, Latter Day Data said:

In his interview with RFM and John Dehlin, Robert Ritner says he was able to read the text on Facsimile 3. 

For instance, he says the name Isis is readable. 

However:

Egyptologist James Henry Breasted said the figure is "probably Isis," indicating the name was not readable and he therefore was basing his analysis on other, similar vignettes.

Klaus Baer, the man who taught Egyptian to Robert Ritner, did not think he could translate most of the text on facsimile 3. In fact, the only part he felt he could translate was the portion relating directly to Hor (which, I have argued, Joseph Smith got right). 

According to Archibald Henry Sayce, of Oxford University, the hieroglyphics in Facsimile 3 had been “transformed into unintelligible lines.” 

And, as Quinten Barney points out in his thesis: "The first set of glyphs, which we would expect to spell the name “Isis,” bear little to no resemblance to the characters used in any known spelling of the name Isis."

Okay, so where is Ritner getting the name Isis?

Ritner says it is "completely legible." Where is he getting this from? 

Ritner's relevant words are timestamped here and here

I suggest reading Barney's thesis, where he compares the text with text on other, similar scenes. 

It seems likely that Ritner is not actually directly translating the name "Isis," but is instead pulling from similar scenes and determining that the name Isis should be expected, even though it apparently is not actually there. If this is what he is doing, then when he says it is perfectly legible, he evidently means it is "perfectly legible on other, similar vignettes." And in that case, when he says Nibley and others admit that the text can be read that way, he is evidently likewise talking about text on other, similar vignettes. And if this is what he is doing, then it is dishonest for him to not explicitly say so.  

Ritner needs to either explicitly show how the name "Isis" is on the Facsimile, or else admit that he deceived RFM and Dehlin and their audiences. 

What would be really useful is if Gee and Muhlestein would agree to actually engage on these matters, then they too could point out any errors Ritner might be making.  Then we all could benefit.  As it is now, though, they simply want to leave it in a state of talking past each other.  My suspicion is, Gee and Muhlestein like that because it keeps them from feeling like they have to answer for their claims.  

Also, it might be that Ritner has a legitimate reason for his claims, Gee and Muhlestein know that and have no interest in trying to address him...well because they are the ones making outlandish claims, as Ritner has pointed out.  

Edited by stemelbow
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Seems silly to call out one of hundreds of things that Ritner discussed as slightly misleading, in the face of the fact that he spent 13 hours of discussion debunking dozens of obviously misleading claims that have been made by John Gee.  If you get anyone to talk for 13 hours straight on a subject they are going to misspeak a few times.  More importantly though, if this is all we have to discredit Ritner's argument, in light of all of the deception he is debunking from Gee, then this case is even more open/shut than I realized. 

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3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

What would be really useful is if Gee and Muhlestein would agree to actually engage on these matters, then they too could point out any errors Ritner might be making.  Then we all could benefit.  As it is now, though, they simply want to leave it in a state of talking past each other.  My suspicion is, Gee and Muhlestein like that because it keeps them from feeling like they have to answer for their claims.  

Also, it might be that Ritner has a legitimate reason for his claims, Gee and Muhlestein know that and have no interest in trying to address him...well because they are the ones making outlandish claims, as Ritner has pointed out.  

Which is it? are you a Ritner apologist, or a Gee and Muhlestein hater? or simply both?

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11 minutes ago, JasonMonroe said:

Seems silly to call out one of hundreds of things that Ritner discussed as slightly misleading, in the face of the fact that he spent 13 hours of discussion debunking dozens of obviously misleading claims that have been made by John Gee.  If you get anyone to talk for 13 hours straight on a subject they are going to misspeak a few times.  More importantly though, if this is all we have to discredit Ritner's argument, in light of all of the deception he is debunking from Gee, then this case is even more open/shut than I realized. 

Lovely, whose sock puppet are you? coming out swinging on your first post.

Edited by gav
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57 minutes ago, gav said:

Which is it? are you a Ritner apologist, or a Gee and Muhlestein hater? or simply both?

Or neither.  I love everyone, man.  and pretty much advocate for everyone.  I want to see people succeed.  Feel bad these two apologists seem so uncomfortable with addressing the issues.  

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13 hours ago, cinepro said:

If people filling in gaps on the facsimiles with made-up stuff and overestimating their ability to translate the Egyptian and therefore deceiving people bothers you, I have terrible news.

The original Egyptian creator made up stuff to fill in the facsimilie too?

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33 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

The original Egyptian creator made up stuff to fill in the facsimilie too?

I predict that six months from now, that will be part of the apologetic theory.

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1 hour ago, gav said:

Lovely, whose sock puppet are you? coming out swinging on your first post.

I might be missing something, but it seems extremely odd for someone who has been on this forum for two weeks to accuse someone else of being a sock puppet.

 I mean, even if JasonMonroe were a sock puppet, if it were someone whose time on this forum predated August 3, how would you even know who it was?

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To me, it's not a little thing. Because, Ritner said the text could be clearly read. So, if he was talking about the text being clearly readable on other illustrations (but not on Facsimile 3), he ought to know that the listeners are going to assume he's talking about Facsimile 3. He might rationalize it by perhaps thinking "well, this is how things are done in Egyptology, and I'm just giving this to the people on a level they can understand," or perhaps he might think, "well, Joseph Smith was such a fraud that the specifics here don't really even matter," but the problem this creates is that people can then cite him as a source for something which is not correct. And that makes discussing the topic more difficult than it already is. 

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9 hours ago, JasonMonroe said:

Seems silly to call out one of hundreds of things that Ritner discussed as slightly misleading, in the face of the fact that he spent 13 hours of discussion debunking dozens of obviously misleading claims that have been made by John Gee.  If you get anyone to talk for 13 hours straight on a subject they are going to misspeak a few times.  More importantly though, if this is all we have to discredit Ritner's argument, in light of all of the deception he is debunking from Gee, then this case is even more open/shut than I realized. 

Welcome to the discussion board JasonMonrow.  Your post deserves a rep point.

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