Reading Charles Larson's "...By his own hand upon papyrus" was the final straw for me, about 7 years ago this summer. Today I got a copy of Robert K. Ritner's "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri", the only scholarly translation of the papyri to date (Ritner is a real, non-Mormon Egyptologist).
I'm on page 2 now, and already Ritner made minced meat of Joe's lies about the cost of the original papyri, about who put up the dough, Joe's "conflation of Egyptian and Greek", and John Gee's faulty interpretation (a.k.a. apologetic lie) of the name Su-e-eh-ni (Gee misses the mark on phonetics as well as grammar).
Glancing over page 3, I see that the name Potiphar cannot possibly have existed in the time frame that Abraham is supposed to have lived, that "Egyptus"is anglicized Latin and not Chaldean, as Joe claimed, and that Joe's rendering of a Chaldean passage is incompetent, misunderstood, misrepresented, wrongly transliterated and made up.
Note that I am talking about pages 2 and 3 in the book, not 20 and 30. This is going to be good...
I would like to buy a book about the Book of Abraham so I can easily show the Mormons in my life why i don't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. Which book do you prefer? "By his own hand upon papyrus" or "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri? Or are their other recommendations?
Anonananana Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I would like to buy a book about the Book of > Abraham so I can easily show the Mormons in my > life why i don't believe Joseph Smith was a > prophet. Which book do you prefer? "By his own > hand upon papyrus" or "The Joseph Smith Egyptian > Papyri? Or are their other recommendations?
I would recommend Larson's book, as it deals with the issues more directly. Ritner's book is primarily a legitimate translation of the Joseph Smith papyri.
When he published his early paper "The Breathing Permit of Hor," I was in the middle of debating the BOA's authenticity with some Mopologists on alt.religion.mormon. Ritner's paper demolished Joseph Smith's "interpretations" as well as the defenses by Mopologists such as John Gee. Here's my ARM post from 2003 quoting Ritner's paper:
In case some of you are unable or unwilling to read Egyptologist Robert Ritner's paper "The Breathing Permit of Hor," here are a few of the most informative excerpts:
"A customary scholarly request to examine the original Joseph Smith Papyri for this publication was refused by Steven R. Sorenson, Director of LDS Church Archives."---Page 161.
"Facsimile No. 2, Explanation. Attempts to salvage these pseudo-Egyptian transcriptions reach desperate levels in suggestions by current apologists Michael Rhodes and John Gee....."---page 161, note 3.
Referring to Hugh Nibley's series of articles in the 'Improvement Era' in 1968: "Nibley undercuts this 'appeal to authority' by a series of personal attacks...Nibley's logic is peculiar in these tracts circulated only among the faithful...Nibley wants a sympathetic audience, not Egyptological fact. The August 1968 continuation [of Nibley's articles] derides the careers of T. Deveria, J. Peters, A. C. Mace, A. M. Lythgoe, G. Barton, E. Banks, and E.A.W. Budge. Nibley's tactic has been adopted by his followers. The earlier version of this article produced internet discussions devoted not to the translation, but to scurrilous remarks concerning my own religious and personal habits. Let the scholar be warned."---Page 162, note 7.
"With the regard to the articles by my former student John Gee, I am constrained to note than unlike the interaction between Baer and Nibley, and the practice of all my other Egyptology students, Gee never chose to share drafts of his publications with me to elicit scholarly criticism, so that I have encountered these only recently. It must be understood that in these apologetic writings, Gee's opinions do not necessarily reflect my own, nor the standards of Egyptological proof that I required at Yale or Chicago."---p. 167.
Page 168, footnote 41, where Ritner states that "the most reasonable explanations of the vignettes" [facsimiles] were done by Klaus Baer, Edward Ashment, and Stephen Thompson---not Nibley, Gee, or Rhodes.
"Human sacrifice in Egypt was rare and more political execution, never depicted as on the altered Book of Abraham rendition of P JS I.....The early assessments of this material by Egyptologists Breasted, Petrie, Mercer, et al. solicited by Spalding in 1912 remain valid in 2003, despite ad hominem attacks by Nibley, cited by Gee....."
Page 172, note 88: "My citation of the available image of P JS IV should not be construed as an endorsement of Nibley's scholarship, contra the implications of Gee....."
Nibley had asserted that Egyptologist Klaus Baer had written him that the vignette depicted in Facsimile 3 "is not a judgment scene." Nibley and other Mopologists misrepresent Baer's statement and used it to support Joseph Smith's claim that the vignette depicted a human sacrifice. But Ritner explains:
"Baer's statement that it is 'similar to but not identical with scenes showing judgment of the deceased before Osiris'..... and 'is not a judgment scene'.....means only that the actual process of judgment is not shown. This image *does*, however, form part of standard judgment scenes."---page 175, note 122.
Page 176, note 128, regarding: "Stephen E. Thompson, 'Egyptology and the Book of Abraham,' Dialogue 28/1 (1995): 145-48. Gee's brief rebuttal (A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, pp. 40 and 67, n. 17) is unacceptable. Reference to a costumed private individual in the Roman procession of Isis is not evidence that the figure of Isis here (no. 2) is 'King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head,' as published by Joseph Smith.
Smith misunderstood 'Pharaoh' as a personal name (cf. Abraham 1:25), and the name above fig. 2 is unquestionably that of the female Isis. Osiris (fig. 1) is certainly not 'Abraham,' nor is it possible that the altar of Osiris (fig.3) 'signifies Abraham.' Maat (fig. 4) is not a male 'prince,' Hor (fig. 5) is not a 'waiter,' nor is Anubis (fig. 6) a 'slave' (because of his dark skin). Such interpretations are uninspired fantasies and are defended only with the forfeiture of scholarly judgement and credibility."
Yah, the By His Own Hand book was the book that nailed the coffin for me too; I cried when I read the Kolob picture translation and shuddered to think all of my family were subject to this false cult...
I had always questioned Mormonism but believed Joseph Smith was inspired but corrupted. That book just made me realize it was all crap, and I think I blanked out after that because on 2nd reading I didn't remember all the other stuff after that but it honestly was like tossing the coffin into the ocean because it just became more clear.
I will have to read The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri because I want a non-Mormon scholarly look at it. Thanks for the post!