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Posted by: flackerman ( )
Date: February 26, 2013 10:56PM

Recently, BYU professor Kerry Muhlestein has recorded a series of youtube videos where he defends the veracity of Joseph Smith's translation of the Egyptian papyrus as the Book of Abraham. These video can be found on the youtube channel "mormonchallenges".

In these videos, Kerry makes all kinds of claims about how Egyptology is discovering new connections between ancient egypt and the patriarch Abraham. I know all of the traditional objections to the translation problems of the book of Abraham and its accompanying facsimiles. I even made a video about it a while ago on my flackerman channel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvdqiTOf0PA

However, Kerry made it seem as if there has been some new information that has come out. Not being an Egyptologist, I decided to e-mail 3 professors of Egyptology at UCLA, where Kerry got his degree, and see if they agreed with his claims.

The first professor said that he did not have time to watch the videos, but that he was familiar with the Joseph Smith papyrus and the book of Abraham. He instead referred me to Professor Robert Ritner's book "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri. A Complete Edition" and said that he agreed with Dr. Ritner's conclusions. Dr. Ritner is the beared professor who appeared in the "book of Abraham" video documentary that so many of us has watched on youtube. He concluded in that video that there was no connection of any kind between the papyrus, the facsimiles, and the book of Abraham.

The second professor told me that the translation and interpretation of the Joseph Smith papyri are a religious, instead of a scholarly endeavor. I responded that I appreciated his religious sensitivity, but that professor Muhlestein was making a scholarly claim that the science of Egyptology had discovered a connection between the book of the Dead, the hypocephalus, and Abraham. After watching at least one of the videos, he responded that I was right and that he would "discuss it with him".

The last professor wrote me the following:

"I watched the three videos, and I don't agree with any of it. The ancient Egyptians had no concept of Abraham, so I don't know where he gets these comparisons… And No, most Egyptologists do not agree, despite what Kerry says. I know Kerry, but I do not have much respect for his work. Now I have even less. The fact that he is digging in Egypt is even more worrisome… This PhD was awarded before I arrived at UCLA, although I know that Kerry finished his text based dissertation after only two years of Egyptian language training, which is rather laughable.

Have you read Robert Ritner's work about this in Journal of Near Eastern Studies? It's the best out there… Kerry is just spinning out the same Mormon rhetoric. What is different is: Mormons are funding PhDs in Egyptology and Biblical Studies and then funding positions at BYU and elsewhere and passing these people off as experts, when they are only ideologically driven researchers, not experts interested in actual evidence.

Thanks for sending. It's important to know who these people are"

So there you have it. All 3 of the professors of Egyptology at the University where Kerry got his degree disagree with his claims. Peer review is a bitch, isn't it Kerry.

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Posted by: Naomi ( )
Date: February 26, 2013 11:03PM

Is there any way to confront Professor Muhlestein about this?

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Posted by: Tupperwhere ( )
Date: February 26, 2013 11:10PM

+1 and great job!

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Posted by: Surrender Dorothy ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 01:04AM

+1

Bravo!

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Posted by: flackerman ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 09:35AM

Naomi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is there any way to confront Professor Muhlestein
> about this?


I am going to be producing a video response soon.

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Posted by: spwdone ( )
Date: February 26, 2013 11:09PM

Nice. Of course, I could send this to my TBM fam and they would still come up with some sort of justification.

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Posted by: canadianfriend ( )
Date: February 26, 2013 11:09PM

Well done dealingwithit. The apologists need to give up. The only thing they accomplish is making themselves and the church look foolish.

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Posted by: dogeatdog ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 12:13AM


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Posted by: Chicken N. Backpacks ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 12:45AM

Just watched your video (again) and thought of something I've never thought of before: Abraham says to "...Refer to the representation at the commencment of this record..."

Apologists answer that since it's obvious now that Abraham papyri doesn't match the age of the surviving papyri, the "..by his hand.." thing simply means it was copied over many times years after. I wonder about the facsimiles? Were they copied over from original pictures drawn by Abe? Not that important, but just food for thought. Why would egyptians copy something from Abraham so many times over the years?

Dammit, there was something else I thought of but I forgot now that it's sleepy time....

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Posted by: sherlock ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 02:21AM

Some apologists say that the facsimiles were copied over the years and changed - so JS's translation was a restoration of the original symbols & figures which we don't now see in the facsimiles.

It's complete BS of course. Why would Abraham even create facsimile drawings in the first place? If people believed these were from Abraham, why change them rather than revere and take great care of them? Why didn't JS ever mention that these were corrupted over the years? Why would TSCC publish such things? Etc.....

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Posted by: kimball ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 02:14PM

Abraham 1:

" 12 And it came to pass that the priests laid violence upon me, that they might slay me also, as they did those virgins upon this altar; and that you may have a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you to the representation at the commencement of this record.

13 It was made after the form of a bedstead, such as was had among the Chaldeans, and it stood before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and also a god like unto that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.

14 That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics."


And, of course, Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash and Pharoah are all labeled in Facsimile 1.

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Posted by: w.coll ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 12:47AM

I wonder what these Egyptologists think about Genesis 12 which talks about Abraham being in Egypt? People can be famous but most people don't know or care to know about them, like even these scholars. They could be huge in their field but outside no on eowuld even no of them, same as Abraham. If they are correct to know what all the Egyptians were thinking at any given moment

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Posted by: baura ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 01:33AM

I don't know what those Egyptologists think of Abraham having
possibly been in Egypt (as per Genesis), but I have heard
Egyptologists discuss the more detailed Joseph in Egypt story.
The consensus was that whoever wrote the Joseph in Egypt story
had an acquaintance with ancient Egypt.

Abraham may have been an actual person and may have sojourned
in Egypt. However I don't see what that has to do with the
validity of the Book of Abraham. As far as I can see if there
were found and Egyptian record of Abraham having been there the
Book of Abraham still fails on Joseph Smith's fake
translation.

The problem is that Joseph Smith CLAIMED that he TRANSLATED the
Book of Abraham from the papyrus that he paid a small fortune
for. He CLAIMED that the very handwriting of Abraham was on
the papyrus. He "translated" and interpreted the facsimiles.
We now know that his "translation" was wrong and that there was
no connection between the Egyptian text he translated and the
Book of Abraham or anything about Abraham.

That there might be some other material out there about Abraham
and Egypt is immaterial. We have what Joseph Smith said was
the original text of the Book of Abraham. We have his
"translation" of it. It is not, in any way, what HE said it was.

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Posted by: JamesM ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 02:30PM

I think it's possible the ancestors of the Israelites did spend some time in Egypt.

If I remember my studies correctly there was a time when foreigners from that area (Canaan) overtook Egypt and actually took over the northern part of the kingdom for a short while. The Egyptians rose up and sent the foreigners packing...back to Canaan.

So there's likely a bit of historical memory passed down in their oral traditions that got mixed into the Old Testament stories.

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Posted by: Fetal Deity ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 01:07AM

Thanks for taking the initiative to investigate and expose this Mopologist's claims. I wonder if there's anything that rational scholars can do to professionally sanction someone who no longer works for (or officially represents) their university and who goes and publishes b.s. claims like Muhlestein has--afterall, it can be a black eye on their reputation when a delusional idiot uses a degree from a prestigious instution like UCLA in an attempt to lend credibility to his fantastical religious beliefs. Anyway, at least you did your part by notifying the school by way of these individuals; like the last professor said: "It's important to know who these people are."



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/2013 04:30AM by Fetal Deity.

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Posted by: fossilman ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 10:07AM

Fetal Deity Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for taking the initiative to investigate
> and expose this Mopologist's claims. I wonder if
> there's anything that rational scholars can do to
> professionally sanction someone who no longer
> works for (or officially represents) their
> university and who goes and publishes b.s. claims
> like Muhlestein has--afterall, it can be a black
> eye on their reputation when a delusional idiot
> uses a degree from a prestigious instution like
> UCLA in an attempt to lend credibility to his
> fantastical religious beliefs. Anyway, at least
> you did your part by notifying the school by way
> of these individuals; like the last professor
> said: "It's important to know who these people
> are."


There's not much that they can do to him professionally. But a scientist's stature in their communitee is based on their resume of papers published in peer-reviewed journals. I have not searched for papers by Muhlestein, but I don't suspect that he has much.

Just as creationists' papers can't pass muster, and are never published in respected journals, I suspect wacko Egyptologists have a hard time getting published as well.

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Posted by: Mia ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 01:18AM

Thank you for taking the time and the trouble to bring this information to people like me.

I would never have any way of knowing what his peers thought of his writings/work. It's people like you that keep them honest.

If they choose to be deceptive, it's people like you that let people like me know of their deception. I could probably live two lifetimes and not have those kind of connections. Thank you so much for validating what i've thought and learned all along.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/2013 01:19AM by Mia.

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Posted by: schmendrick ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 02:58AM

You said "keep" them honest...

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Posted by: flackerman ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 09:40AM

Mia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thank you for taking the time and the trouble to
> bring this information to people like me.
>
> I would never have any way of knowing what his
> peers thought of his writings/work. It's people
> like you that keep them honest.
>
> If they choose to be deceptive, it's people like
> you that let people like me know of their
> deception. I could probably live two lifetimes and
> not have those kind of connections.

Until yesterday, I had never heard of any of these professors. I just went to the UCLA department of Egyptology site, saw the email addresses for their professors, and emailed each of them. I didn't know if they would respond or not, but each of them did.

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Posted by: jong1064 ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 02:21AM

Thank you for your research and time bringing this information to the board. I had never thought about it, but it makes perfect sense that the church is funding these PHD's basically to keep the hoax intact. It makes my head spin to think about it.

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Posted by: imaworkinonit ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 02:32AM

"Kerry finished his text based dissertation after only two years of Egyptian language training, which is rather laughable."

No kidding. I once had the idea that I would learn how to read Egyptian so I could objectively determine if the B of A translation was correct or not. I even bought an Egyptian dictionary and couple of books.

Yeah, it was laughable. Egyptian is an amazingly complex combination of representative pictures and phonetic symbols. I learned just enough to realize it was hopeless unless I had maybe 10 years to a lifetime to work on it. I finally gave up and read "By His Own Hand, Upon Papyrus". There are times when you just have to defer to the experts.

It's sad to me that someone would throw away their professional credibility (and integrity) to convince others that the B of A is a legitimate translation by JS.

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 04:04AM


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Posted by: Jesus Smith ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 06:29AM

Fantastic! I'd like to see of we can put this on Mormonthink. If you wouldn't mind, email us at Mormonscholars @ Mormonthink . Com

Thanks.

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Posted by: flackerman ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 09:50AM

Jesus Smith Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Fantastic! I'd like to see of we can put this on
> Mormonthink. If you wouldn't mind, email us at
> Mormonscholars @ Mormonthink . Com
>
> Thanks.


That would be fine, and I will contact you.

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Posted by: Jesus Smith ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 10:01AM

Thanks. I replied back. And yes, I am part of the MT editorial board.

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Posted by: lulu ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 08:02AM

Porn?

No, the Book of Abraham.

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Posted by: PapaKen ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 08:49AM

Thanks, dealingwithit!

I love it when reality & truth slam guys like Kerry in the face.

BTW, I watched all of your FlackerMan videos recently, and now I've subscribed. I think they're very well done & I really like your voice & down-to-earth, matter-of-fact approach. Keep 'em coming!

I mentioned "FlackerMan" to a few RfMers, but no one seemed to know you or anything about you. I did a search on RfM, but nothing came up. So now, I'm glad to know your RfM name.

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Posted by: Chicken N. Backpacks ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 09:24AM

The BoA has got to be a nail in the coffin, but of course the majority of TBM's will stick with the social aspects of the church; still, there is no way it can be defended by way of saying: "It may be factually incorrect, but Joseph Smith was simply tring to impart spiritual truths." No, he was trying to impart historical and scientific information that's totally bogus.

And he got caught.

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Posted by: breedumyung ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 09:34AM

Thank You Flackerman !!!

I have watched your vids on youtube.

It's great to know you are here...

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Posted by: Once More ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 10:05AM

Flackerman, in order to allow journalists to fact check your account, and to write their own articles, you need to identify the legitimate professors quoted in your post.

Please check with them, especially the last professor you quoted, and get permission to list them as a source.

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Posted by: flackerman ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 10:53AM

Once More Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Flackerman, in order to allow journalists to fact
> check your account, and to write their own
> articles, you need to identify the legitimate
> professors quoted in your post.
>
> Please check with them, especially the last
> professor you quoted, and get permission to list
> them as a source.


I did not get permission until this morning to share the name of the professor who was the most critical. She is Dr. Kara Cooney who was the star of her own TV show, "Out of Egypt", on the Discovery channel. The other two were Wendrich and Dieleman.

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Posted by: Once More ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 01:31PM

Thank you so much.

Having the names of experts who are not mormon faux experts is really helpful.

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Posted by: Outcast ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 10:33AM

So, to summarize, mopologists with PhDs use youtube to get their work publicized.

Legitimate PhDs get their work published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

Laughable indeed.

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Posted by: AmIDarkNow? ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 10:55AM

This is fantastic! Get the real professional world to refute LDS apologist claims specifically when they use their station to promote bald faced lies.

I wish we had some professional DNA experts besides Simon Southerton to publically refute the BS apologetics on DNA and the BOM. Simon has done a more than exellent job but as we all know exmormon means anti-mormon which means an exmormons professional peer reviewed determinations can be dismissed out of hand.

With un-biased never-mos it changes the perspective by believers of authoritative authenticity. That is my perception of it having lived inside the bubble for forty years and outside for five.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/2013 11:05AM by AmIDarkNow?.

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Posted by: AmIDarkNow? ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 01:25PM

To the top again for more exposure.

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Posted by: Jesus Smith ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 02:03PM

Mormonthink has put up the relating of this at:

http://mormonthink.com/book-of-abraham-issues.htm#muhlestein

Thank you, flackerman, for your efforts.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/2013 02:03PM by Jesus Smith.

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Posted by: Jack ( )
Date: February 27, 2013 02:35PM

Emails, originating in Provo and headed to Westwood, are burning up the interwebz about now. I'm sure they will be filled with righteous indignation.....

lol

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Posted by: flackerman ( )
Date: February 28, 2013 12:37AM

Jack Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Emails, originating in Provo and headed to
> Westwood, are burning up the interwebz about now.
> I'm sure they will be filled with righteous
> indignation.....
>
> lol


It will be interesting to learn if there are any conversations about this at that level. Especially after I rip him apart in my video response.

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Posted by: Heartless ( )
Date: August 21, 2014 09:06PM

Why did Abraham write in Egyptian? Since he was from Mesopotamia, he should have used cuneiform.

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