Jump to content

Dr. Robert Ritner has passed away


Recommended Posts

May he Rest In Peace.  
My condolences to his family and friends.

I know he did a super long Mormon Stories interview of which I  listened to part. 
The guy had some very strong opinions about Gee and other apologists for the Book of Abraham.  
 

The Book of Abraham has been a big interest of mine for quite some time.  I recently read the chapter on the BOA from The Pearl of Greatest Price by Givens and Hauglid.  It was very insightful.  
 

I really would have liked to see some kind of debate or discussion between Ritner and Kerry Muhlestein on the subject.
 

Link to comment
6 hours ago, Rivers said:


 

I really would have liked to see some kind of debate or discussion between Ritner and Kerry Muhlestein on the subject [i.e., the Book of Abraham].
 

Not to derail the thread.  Condolences to Dr. Ritner's family, friends, and colleagues.  How, though, do you think that any debate or dialogue between Dr. Rittner and Dr. Muhlestein would be different than any disagreement that Dr. Gee had with Dr. Rittner?

Link to comment
On 7/27/2021 at 6:43 AM, Kenngo1969 said:

Not to derail the thread.  Condolences to Dr. Ritner's family, friends, and colleagues.  How, though, do you think that any debate or dialogue between Dr. Rittner and Dr. Muhlestein would be different than any disagreement that Dr. Gee had with Dr. Rittner?

Muhlestein has a paycheck to protect. Rittner would be the only one telling the truth in a debate between the two.

Poster removed

Link to comment
7 hours ago, Warlock said:

Muhlestein has a paycheck to protect. Rittner would be the only one telling the truth in a debate between the two.

Rewritten to avoid an implied attack on Rittner:

Money is not an automatic reason to deceive, either oneself or others, even if it contributes to bias….but there are an infinite number of things that do that in infinitely varying amounts.  For some people pride is enough to justify a lie or more likely a favouring of a particular interpretation in this case.  Not everyone places money as the most important thing in their life to protect.

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
6 hours ago, ttribe said:

  I heard nothing that indicated to me Dr. Ritner was worried in the least that his responses to the Book of Abraham controversy would have any bearing, whatsoever, on his distinguished career and reputation.

I didn’t mean to imply it had to be external or that it was a given, if it came across that way.  Just that money can be a factor for some to lie (whether to themselves or to others) and others will resist the temptation and the same thing will happen for other reasons, including pride in oneself…such as someone who can’t picture themselves as being wrong even if they could care less about others’ opinion.

I just think it is wrong to believe that money will automatically make someone willing to deceive others or self or that it is the only or even most likely thing that holds the honor of negative influence.  I accept that it does add bias and fear of its loss may lead some to deceive.

I think a debate like that…best to assume both have biases and then rather than assume the biases are large enough to lead to dishonesty, try and understand the positions and the value of each instead.

My husband is a professor.  I would find it highly offensive for someone to state he would lie about his work to protect his income.  I would have found it highly offensive if someone claimed you couldn’t trust Rittner about something before he retired due to his paycheck (or afterwards because of a money incentive)  I also don’t think someone becomes more honorable or less prone to bias when they retire.  I have seen no evidence of that in my experience.

I rewrote my earlier response to make it generic and hopefully less likely to be inferred I am suggesting Rittner was deceptive…I have no reason to believe that.  I was responding to the claim KM would lie for money as well as the implication money was the only reason people/professors deceive.  Otoh, it is very important that professors, researchers, scientists…experts in general be open about conflicts of interest and biases.  KM definitely has reasons to be invested in his position, income is one of them.

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
2 minutes ago, Calm said:

I didn’t mean to imply it had to be external or that it was a given, if it came across that way.  Just that money can be a factor for some to lie (whether to themselves and to others) and others will resist the temptation and the same thing will happen for other reasons, including pride in oneself…such as someone who can’t picture themselves as being wrong even if they could care less about others’ opinion.

I just think it is wrong to believe that money will automatically make someone willing to deceive others or self or that it is the only or even most likely thing that holds the honor of negative influence.  I accept that it does add bias and fear of its loss may lead some to deceive.

I think a debate like that…best to assume both have biases and then rather than assume the biases are large enough to lead to dishonesty, try and understand the positions and the value of each instead.

My husband is a professor.  I would find it highly offensive for someone to state he would lie to protect his income.  I would have found it highly offensive if someone claimed you couldn’t trust Rittner about something before he retired due to his paycheck.

I don't disagree with your general sentiment and I should state for the record that I don't necessarily agree with Warlock's post either.  The specific route the discussion has gone has left me uncomfortable...not that my comfort really matters...just expressing what I see.

Link to comment
30 minutes ago, ttribe said:

I've listened to Ritner discuss this subject near the end of his life.  The man was already a tenured full professor at Chicago and had also been at that level at Yale.  I heard nothing that indicated to me Dr. Ritner was worried in the least that his responses to the Book of Abraham controversy would have any bearing, whatsoever, on his distinguished career and reputation.  He only got into the discussion because his name and research were being used improperly, in his opinion, by Gee.  It appears to me that Gee and Muhlstein are so far out on the fringes of their discipline that they are left grasping for straws of the merest possibility when Ritner's conclusions are not only far more plausible, but also well within the mainstream understanding of the Egyptology community.  Dr. Ritner was quite plain in his statements that he has no problem with members of the church believing in the divinity of the words that are published as the Book of Abraham.  However, to the extent the church (and Gee and Muhlstein) attempts to bolster that belief using the scrolls purchased by Joseph Smith as evidence of that divinity, he was quite straightforward in statements that the scrolls do not, in fact, provide support for such a claim.

In my opinion, continuing to try to defend the facsimiles as support for the Book of Abraham narrative simply no longer works.  Nibley's own work on this in 1967 laid the foundation for the church's opportunity to treat the Book of Abraham the same way they have the Book of Mormon; namely, as straight revelation.  Given what we know about Joseph Smith's non-use of the plates to generate the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham could simply have been transitioned into a similar enough narrative to avoid this ongoing debate 40 years later.

I, for one, am very uncomfortable with the notion that Dr. Ritner '[had] other things to protect" when his own statements on this subject showed no evidence of such concerns.  Moreover, the fact that this is being said in a thread about his recent passing makes me even more uncomfortable that apologists may be using his death to get the last word, so to speak.  I do hope I am wrong about your intent in saying those things.

Right.

 

Link to comment
8 hours ago, Warlock said:

Muhlestein has a paycheck to protect. Rittner would be the only one telling the truth in a debate between the two.

That's just easy low-hanging fruit.

Rittner had a paycheck and a reputation to defend.  I nonetheless credit him for sticking his neck out when it wasn't required of him. 

Link to comment
9 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Not to derail the thread.  Condolences to Dr. Ritner's family, friends, and colleagues.  How, though, do you think that any debate or dialogue between Dr. Rittner and Dr. Muhlestein would be different than any disagreement that Dr. Gee had with Dr. Rittner?

Dr. Gee expressed that he had zero interest in such a thing.  Dr. Muhlestein did.

Link to comment
18 hours ago, Rivers said:

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

I know he did a super long Mormon Stories interview of which I  listened to part. 
The guy had some very strong opinions about Gee and other apologists for the Book of Abraham. 

Just after he received his PhD and had just published his doctoral dissertation, Ritner came to UCLA Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Dept and spoke to us on the subject of his dissertation:  Egyptian magic.  I have a signed copy of his dissertation, and a  number of other books to which he contributed.  I have found his scholarship very helpful to me in numerous instances.

18 hours ago, Rivers said:

The Book of Abraham has been a big interest of mine for quite some time.  I recently read the chapter on the BOA from The Pearl of Greatest Price by Givens and Hauglid.  It was very insightful.  .......................

Unfortunately, Givens and Hauglid know nothing about Egyptology.

Link to comment
3 hours ago, Calm said:

...............................  KM definitely has reasons to be invested in his position, income is one of them.

Perhaps, but that is an inappropriate observation in any case.  The only valid observation is about the factual nature of his scholarship, or lack of it.

Link to comment
On 7/27/2021 at 2:24 PM, ttribe said:

I've listened to Ritner discuss this subject near the end of his life.  The man was already a tenured full professor at Chicago and had also been at that level at Yale.  I heard nothing that indicated to me Dr. Ritner was worried in the least that his responses to the Book of Abraham controversy would have any bearing, whatsoever, on his distinguished career and reputation.  He only got into the discussion because his name and research were being used improperly, in his opinion, by Gee.  It appears to me that Gee and Muhlstein are so far out on the fringes of their discipline that they are left grasping for straws of the merest possibility when Ritner's conclusions are not only far more plausible, but also well within the mainstream understanding of the Egyptology community.  Dr. Ritner was quite plain in his statements that he has no problem with members of the church believing in the divinity of the words that are published as the Book of Abraham.  However, to the extent the church (and Gee and Muhlstein) attempts to bolster that belief using the scrolls purchased by Joseph Smith as evidence of that divinity, he was quite straightforward in statements that the scrolls do not, in fact, provide support for such a claim.

In my opinion, continuing to try to defend the facsimiles as support for the Book of Abraham narrative simply no longer works.  Nibley's own work on this in 1967 laid the foundation for the church's opportunity to treat the Book of Abraham the same way they have the Book of Mormon; namely, as straight revelation.  Given what we know about Joseph Smith's non-use of the plates to generate the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham could simply have been transitioned into a similar enough narrative to avoid this ongoing debate 40 years later.

I, for one, am very uncomfortable with the notion that Dr. Ritner '[had] other things to protect" when his own statements on this subject showed no evidence of such concerns.  Moreover, the fact that this is being said in a thread about his recent passing makes me even more uncomfortable that apologists may be using his death to get the last word, so to speak. .............................

The only people who have any business commenting on Ritner's scholarship are those with adequate training in Egyptology.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
Link to comment

Tamis Mekis has written a PHd on the hypocephalus in general and a chapter in a book. One can compare Smith's interpretations with that of Egyptologists, Mekis does not mention Smith's interpretations but rather what Egyptologist's state

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Fc7q4KNlr01H7J4xr7HnU_yL8ACaQC08kAoEkVt3DDc/edit

If one checks out the holdings of museums eg British Museum one can see how similar they are.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/search?object=hypocephalus&fbclid=IwAR1mf5jmVTStsjGiXmrJUcL-MsgRjROS6tLwPKSjYravybT7o5hzRooFkQA

Facsimile 3 escaped getting damaged like the Book of Breathings and Fac 1.

Some have suggested  that the  "slave" was Anubis and have argued that the printing plate showed showed some damage to the "slaves'" snout. I am aware of a BYU Masters on this issue.

Dr Mekis shared his thoughts here.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hy48-P-YZQpzOKaRyyzMZ2Zvko01NJUlwAZD39OJ5qM/edit

Robert Ritner shared his thoughts  on this facimile on the program on RFM. 

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Tweed1944 said:

Tamis Mekis has written a PHd on the hypocephalus in general and a chapter in a book. One can compare Smith's interpretations with that of Egyptologists, Mekis does not mention Smith's interpretations but rather what Egyptologist's state

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Fc7q4KNlr01H7J4xr7HnU_yL8ACaQC08kAoEkVt3DDc/edit

If one checks out the holdings of museums eg British Museum one can see how similar they are.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/search?object=hypocephalus&fbclid=IwAR1mf5jmVTStsjGiXmrJUcL-MsgRjROS6tLwPKSjYravybT7o5hzRooFkQA

Facsimile 3 escaped getting damaged like the Book of Breathings and Fac 1.

Some have suggested  that the  "slave" was Anubis and have argued that the printing plate showed showed some damage to the "slaves'" snout. I am aware of a BYU Masters on this issue.

Dr Mekis shared his thoughts here.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hy48-P-YZQpzOKaRyyzMZ2Zvko01NJUlwAZD39OJ5qM/edit

Robert Ritner shared his thoughts  on this facimile on the program on RFM. 

Hello, Mr. Hausler. 

Link to comment
6 hours ago, Tweed1944 said:

Tamis Mekis has written a PHd on the hypocephalus in general and a chapter in a book. One can compare Smith's interpretations with that of Egyptologists, Mekis does not mention Smith's interpretations but rather what Egyptologist's state

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Fc7q4KNlr01H7J4xr7HnU_yL8ACaQC08kAoEkVt3DDc/edit

If one checks out the holdings of museums eg British Museum one can see how similar they are.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/search?object=hypocephalus&fbclid=IwAR1mf5jmVTStsjGiXmrJUcL-MsgRjROS6tLwPKSjYravybT7o5hzRooFkQA

Facsimile 3 escaped getting damaged like the Book of Breathings and Fac 1.

Some have suggested  that the  "slave" was Anubis and have argued that the printing plate showed showed some damage to the "slaves'" snout. I am aware of a BYU Masters on this issue.

Dr Mekis shared his thoughts here.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hy48-P-YZQpzOKaRyyzMZ2Zvko01NJUlwAZD39OJ5qM/edit

Robert Ritner shared his thoughts  on this facimile on the program on RFM. 

Malcolm Mosher Jr, ed., The Book of the Dead, Saite through Ptolemaic Periods: Essays on Books of the Dead and Related Topics, SPBD Studies (Prescott, Arizona: SPBDStudies, 2019).
Includes Tamás Mekis, “Some Reflections on the Funerary Equipment of Paiuhor,” 257-299, online at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xoKNOA7zhO5jPKdztEjzc-1IH2y6eBlG/view .
Includes full discussion of the Hypocephalus of Paiuhor (Museum of Turin).

Dr Mekis had an earlier exchange about a year ago: 

Mekis concluded that "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.)

I wrote a detailed analysis of BofA Facsimile 2 back in 1975 and found Joseph Smith well justified in his opinions by standard Egyptology.  I circulated that study among several anti-Mormons in 1975, but they had nothing to say in response, and they have not made copies available.  I wonder why.  What are they afraid of?

Edited by Robert F. Smith
Link to comment

 

 Facsimile 2 looks like it has been incorrectly restored.  Figure 3 from what i have seen of examples of holdings was not in the original facsmile. It normaily has a boat with a scarab. What Smith inserted came from another piece of papyri. Look down the bottom right for what Smith inserted.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-87zHvKQxp8XKlhrkl_xaDCsESUbc5VapxQ3Q9Dge0E/edit

The figure in the middle normally has mutiple heads. This Smith has simply inserted the two headed figure similar to  that of no 2.

Then there is the "dove" figure 7.  The facsimile was broken away there so Smith would not have been aware that it was the head of a snake with legs something common in all examples of the hypocephalus I have seen. 

Mekis in the paper I shared discusses all the registers that appear in the hypocephalus.

One notices that Smith only seems to make attempts to interpret the pictures. The  figures 12 13 14...... "will be given in the own due time of the Lord" He had no problem translating the "missing papyri" of the BOA. 

If you look at the holdings of the hypocephalus in various museums one sees the common features. (coutesy of Dr Mekis)

Global Egyptian Museum (Brussels, Firenze, Leiden):
Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna):
 
Link to comment
On 7/27/2021 at 6:06 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

 

Unfortunately, Givens and Hauglid know nothing about Egyptology.

Yes.  Which is why they don’t spend much time on Egyptology in the book.  They focus more on the historical context in which the Book of Abraham was produced.

They spend a little time on the views of both LDS and non-LDS Egyptologists but don’t take a side.

 

 

Link to comment
8 minutes ago, Tweed1944 said:

Whay is the usual apologetic response to this?

fac.png

Poorly done graphic that is rather confusing on what point it is making most likely. 

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
9 minutes ago, Tweed1944 said:

Whay is the usual apologetic response to this?

fac.png

That it's a non-issue. Nobody disputes that the hypocephalus dates from a period in which Hieratic was used, nor does the restoration have to be precise in order to fulfill its purpose.

Link to comment
2 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

That it's a non-issue. Nobody disputes that the hypocephalus dates from a period in which Hieratic was used, nor does the restoration have to be precise in order to fulfill its purpose.

“Written by his own hand” variation argument then?

Edited by Calm
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...