I have listened to most of this so far, Consiglieri, and would like to commend you for this extraordinarily helpful interview. Hauglid obviously has a comprehension of the details that is so intricate and total that it can be hard for him to unwind it all into simpler terms for those of us like myself who haven't done as much homework on this as John Gee. The Egyptological and linguistic arguments are much more up my alley, but I've never really thought much about the material issues of the scrolls and know next to nothing about the Abraham Papers, so it has been very helpful to me whenever you have summarized the main points of what he is talking about and connected them to the core arguments that are advanced or implied.
I have always been hesitant to assume duplicity in the apologists. I tend to think most are like Michael Rhodes, who comes off well in this podcast, because, as someone who detests uniformity, I celebrate approaches to scholarship that are unorthodox or eccentric, if that scholarship is done well. If an apologist (or faithful scholar, if you prefer) starts from the assumption that the Book of Abraham (or what have you) is ancient and then proceeds to offer an interesting idea about the text, I find I can generally learn something or stretch my mind while wrestling with it. The Interpreter
's editor (or at least its symbolic editor) has claimed, if I recall rightly, that the starting premise is the only thing that distinguishes what they do from what non-LDS scholars are doing. He's right but not in the way he intends. So why doesn't it actually live up to the promise?
Part of is that is that they just won't or can't do scholarship all that well on technical grounds (a basic factual grasp of things, you know, like what the Canaanite Vowel Shift is). Yet the deeper issue is not simply that so few of them work from their assumptions before they go on to do their scholarship but that they actually never move beyond their assumptions. It is all an attempt to prove the antiquity of Mormon scripture, which means they are always stuck in the assumptions phase and never get to ideas and understanding phase that we are promised—and that is what scholarship is about. It's a tedious enterprise of circuitous restatement and unidirectional recycling of previously determined positions that never gets off the ground. They promise us an acrobatic airshow but instead we get NASCAR: turning left for four hours, but with regular cars. Still, the faults are intellectual and not ethical in the main. That's been my view anyway.
But oh boy, Gee does not come off well here. I have studied and learned from one of his Egytpological papers on the Coptic imperfect, which was suggested to me long before I came here or knew much about apologetics, though I had heard that that was something he worked on. The mutual acquaintances that we have are all Egyptologists, and all I ever heard was that he seemed a bit eccentric, which to me is no bad thing. But I started from an angle that he is a highly competent scholar with a firm grasp of his subject, so I assumed in his LDS work that he was simply a believer who starts from a certain premise, hopefully secure enough in that premise that he doesn't need to spend his time proving and reproving them in an endless ring of logical circularity. The first I really looked at some of his aplogetic work, though, I was a little taken aback because it seemed to me that no one with his level of competence could handle the evidence as he did without being consciously dishonest (I discuss it in this thread here
). The most I could bring myself to say there is "very close to unethical." Stubbs is an astounding special pleader, Rhodes makes amateurish mistakes, Muehlestein overstates, Nibley is sloppy, but some of what Hauglid says about Gee confirms that he simply unethical. I am astounded that he accepted and was paid for the responsibility of reviewing a book pre-publication but then withheld his scathing criticisms (which have no validity anyway) until after the book was published—and even then he published those criticisms in his friend's partisan blog, so that he didn't have to moderate them in a way that any genuine intellectual would want to.
Unbelievable. I thought it was wrong to oust Gee from MI because I interpreted his presence their as a healthy dose of heterodoxy. I can see now why people wouldn't want someone like that around for reasons that have nothing to do with intellectual disagreement.
Doctor Scratch wrote: ↑
Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:54 am
Good observations, Reverend. Smoot is a strong candidate, IMO. He hasn't updated his blog since January. My guess is that, instead, he's been pouring all his energy into the "Neville Nevill Land" blog, which seemingly gets updates almost every day.
As a sidenote: if he doesn't get the Ph.D., that is going to pose a problem for him in all sorts of ways.
Why is that? It would seem to me a Ph.D. in Egyptology is more of a hindrance than a help these days.
"As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them."
—B. Redd McConkie