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Ed Goble has not received a great reception on this board historically because I think no one understands his position.
I do not want to get into the details of his recent article and the recently closed thread but I would like to point out that if we take into consideration some views of aesthetic theory, he may have an excellent way of seeing the Book of Abraham.
For those who would question my qualifications for bringing this up, just know that I have studied art history as much as I have studied philosophy, and the connections between the two disciplines, but we really don't get into art history much here obviously. I have done graduate work in Art History as well as philosophy, but no degrees because of my pragmatic streak which could see no reason to finish either because I did not want to teach either subject, but I have been in the gallery business as well.
My Avatar represents that though few if any get it. Picasso created himself and the act of creating cubism represents humans creating themselves out of matter unorganized. So I see all that in my avatar- as me creating myself symbolically, as Picasso saw himself symbolically also. In choosing the avatar, I make myself Picasso recreating himself in his own image. (the painting is a Picasso self portrait)
So to see that avatar that way requires the kind of thought that Ed would like us to use in seeing the Book of Abraham.
Contemporary art especially encourages us to take the object at face value and see it as we interpret it, with all our prejudices firmly attached, to see it phenomenologically- loaded with meaning we bring to the table. Why would a painting showing minimal skill be in a fancy art museum? Why indeed- that is the whole point!! What does that fact tell you about art, or why someone sees that as important?
Why would Warhol paint a campbell's soup can? And what about that is "artisitic"? THAT is the point- to take the object at its face value in its present context- and see what that context says about modern socieity, about aesthetics itself?
THAT is what "modern art" is about.
Now Ed Goble makes the point that the Book of Abrham "translation" should be taken that way- that Joseph interpreted the symbols as he did, and as how we might interpret the Andy Warhol soup can.
These are my words, and my interpretation of Ed's article, perhaps I have it right or wrong, but that is what the thread is for.
He documents numerous examples in a scholarly way how that sort of phenomenological way of seeing text is common in the ancient world.
So the "translation" is not a translation at all, but, as I would put it, an artistic INTERPRETATION of the symbols as Joseph saw them as an AESTHETIC OBJECT.
I have been saying that for years in my own way and IF that is what Ed is saying, I think it is a brilliant point, well made in his article. My only suggestion is that he throw in more aesthetic theory and make the point that the translation itself IS an interpretation of an aesthetic object- the impressions of Joseph about the papyri taken as art.
It never was a "translation" though that word fits, according to meanings of the word from Joseph's time.
Anyway, it bears looking at from this perspective. Here is a link to the article
Remember to criticize this from an Egyptological perspective is irrelevant. Ed's argument is about aesthetics, and not about language or translation. It is about how we interpret art and without that understanding critics are barking up the wrong tree.
Unfortunately the other thread got closed because of squabbling. Let's try to avoid that and keep this thread in an aesthetic and phenomenological context.
If you don't know what that means, perhaps you need not comment.
It would be a pity to miss a great discussion just because Savedwheat's gotcha was clumsy and inept. The question raised was why does the risen Christ quote a paraphrase from Peter in the KJV New Testament in 3 Nephi. Of course, we don't have to stick to just this scripture passage and can discuss the presence of the KJV in the BoM more generally, but I would like it if we started with this one to keep discussion more focused. What does such a passage tell us about the translation process or of Josephas translator? How would a pre-Jacksonian and Jacksonian-era American respond to quotes and phrases that he or she would have readily recognised as originating in the NT? Given the probable dates and composition process of the gospels, what does inclusion of some of their passages tell us about the historical reliability of the BoM? If this is an example of expansion, what might the original have looked like? How could this linking of scriptures inform our theology? These are just some of the possible questions to be discussed, so feel free to raise whatever question you would like.
By Bernard Gui
Once again I bring up the appearance of the parallel poetic form "climax," "gradation parallelism," or "anadiplosis" in the Book of Mormon.
I bring it up once more because I have come to believe it is evidence that Joseph Smith did not author the Book of Mormon.
Many examples of gradation parallelism exist in the Book of Mormon. Bro Parry discusses two in his introduction: Moroni 8:25-26 and Mormon 9:12-13.
This passage takes us from the Fall of Adam through Exaltation, with all the necessary steps set plainly in order.
Other excellent examples include 2 Nephi 9:25-26; Alma 32:12-14, 41:13-14, and 42:23; Mosiah 2:17-19; Mormon 9:11-13; Moroni 10:20-22 and 32-34.
These examples follow this pattern.....the process of taking man from the Fall, through the Atonement, and on to Exaltation.
Here are my questions:
How did Joseph Smith learn about this form?
If Joseph Smith were the author of the Book of Mormon, would we expect to see this form in his other writings?
If we should not expect it, why not?
Is anyone aware of this form in the D&C or any other Joseph Smith writings?
If this is unique to the Book of Mormon, is it solid evidence that Joseph was not the author?
Edit: I am adding something which I wrote in post 44 which should have probably been the opening line of the OP:
What I refer to as the "history game" is the belief that if we could only find the right historical information, we could "prove Mormonism".
Critics use this against us all the time to show that Mormonism is "false" because their personal understanding of "history" does not live up to their perceptions of the "truth claims" of the church.
I want to attack those types of claims against us, head on. But the real problem is that we buy into their argument and we end up playing the "It's not historical" - "Yes it is"- "No it's not" game which never ends.- End of edit.
As someone of a philosophical bent, there is something I have not really understood about Mormonism. Sorry, this is gonna be kinda long, so if you don't want to get into it, don't bother.
I brought this up at the Fair Conference to a few who would know the answers, who will remain unnamed, but their answers still bother me and did not convince me that they were right, although they were good answers.
I look at philosophical arguments by first examining the main thesis of the argument- the assumptions, if you will, and then from that, what supports the rest of the argument.
The main thesis of Mormonism as I understand it, is that God exists in a bodily form like a Man, that his Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth to atone for our sins, that we accept the revelations of Joseph Smith as restoring the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth.
We accept other details about the Plan of Salvation as well, as defined in the Articles of Faith and in other places, about pre-earth life, some things about the nature of intelligences, the nature of matter, and the nature of the afterlife, including the amazing assertion that we can become like God himself if indeed we follow the true path.
We accept that the Bible represents one Testimony (Testament, Witness) of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon as another. We have other "Standard Works" which are canonized and are accepted as divine revelations.
We accept the Proclamation on the Family as a statement about gender and family values and how they are grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we know it and accept it to be "true".
We accept all this completely on faith because there is no possible way any of this can be "proven" by logic, or any other means.
On a personal level, knowing fully through my training, the implications of saying that "I know that "x" is true" I feel I can say with full assurance that "I know the church is true".
Some have problems with saying those words without hedging, but my spiritual experiences have convinced me that I can say that with some boldness.
Here's my problem:
The existence of God cannot be proven in any way. There is no historical evidence for the existence of God.
There is no possible evidence that this invisible, ephemeral being we call "God" IF indeed "He" exists, is capable of having, or in fact did have a "son" who came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. In fact most people in the world find the assertion, well, let's just say unbelievable.
Just as unbelievable are all the details about this alleged divine-human person, including the odd notion that his death could somehow take away all the bad things we have done in this world and make it all as if they had never happened if we only believe in him and do our best to not do them again.
The layers of what can be seen as nonsense keep getting deeper.
Not only do we not have evidence for God, or his Son, or the Atonement, we now add to it the idea that ANYONE can have a "true knowledge" of any of this, much less humans called "prophets".
Then we have the problem of how these alleged "prophets" received their knowledge of this unbelievable God and his unbelievable Son and their mission. There is no possible historical evidence which can show any of this to be true.
Even if we jumped into a time machine and took a video of the alleged crucifixion of the alleged person Jesus of Nazareth and his alleged agony in Gethsemane, it would still not prove that these alleged activities could in any way remove the alleged "spiritual" effects of our doing "bad things" called alleged "sins" now 2000 years later.
Hopefully by this point you get the idea. Again, I want to say that I am a TBM in every way and have answered all these questions to my satisfaction.
Why are we not concerned about the rationality of believing all these apparently irrational beliefs?
What are we concerned about really? Whether or not the names of some gods were correctly translated on an obscure Egyptian papyrus?
Are you serious?
We are concerned about historical evidence that some Ugaritic inscription somehow "parallels" our beliefs and therefore the beliefs are "true"?
That if Joseph "mistranslated" Egyptian, that therefore God does not exist?
That because we have no plates for the Book of Mormon and that we have not found a sign saying "Welcome to Zarahemla" then all the incredible insights on the human condition in the Book of Mormon should be thrown out?
Why in heaven's name do we gloss over the big picture and concentrate on meaningless and irrelevant minutia?
I have long been interested by the presence of so much of the 17thC KJV of the Old and New Testament in the Bible. In addition to obvious Isaiah quotes we also have extensive verbatim quotes from the New Testament. I wrote a long post about the problems of Mormon 9 borrowing from Mark 16 given the latter is considered a 2ndC tag-on by a scribe: (you also have Nephi quoting Peter and the entire Sermon on the Mount, including identical 'narrators' words).
I was reading one of the sources from why me in the 'hidden history' thread and read this from an Ensign article:
Given how 'loose' the translation of the rest of the BoM seems to have been I would agree that the best explanation for large chunks of the KJV in the BoM is that they were read straight out of it during the translation/dictation process.
If this is what happened, I wonder if Oliver was aware of him doing this and Joseph explained that he was testing the wording by the spirit (as suggested above) or whether he did it out of sight/memorised in advance.
It also presents the issue of him first quoting from the KJV but later correcting it with the JST, but not updating the same wording in the BoM.