Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

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I have a question
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Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by I have a question »

Was it really 5 years ago that Jenkins and Hamblin had their back and forth on the historicity of the Book of Mormon? Wow. Time flies. Fortunately, for posterity Philip Jenkins has posted a compendium of links in chronological order.
DEBATING THE BOOK OF Mormon

Philip Jenkins
Baylor University

Between May and July 2015, I posted several items on my Anxious Bench blog concerning historicity and pseudo-history, and in the process, I denied any (literal) historical or archaeological claims associated with the Book of Mormon. My assertions naturally drew forth quite an intense reaction, reflected in numerous comments at my blog. From mid-June, these statements also provoked a blog war with BYU historian Bill Hamblin, a leading proponent of the school of Ancient Book of Mormon Studies. He hosted a debate at his blog, Enigmatic Mirror, which generated some dozens of contributions by the two of us.

In order to record the debate, and to provide a chronology, I have collected the references to each of the contributions at this site. I believe this is a full compendium of posts, but if I am wrong, I would be happy to be corrected.

I am not including here comments by other writers or blogs concerning the debate, whichever side they might take. Everything in this listing is authored either by Hamblin or myself.
http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/p ... bating.htm

It's a good resource which I hope remains available for scholars and researchers of the future.

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Dr Exiled
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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Dr Exiled »

It was definitely the final nail in the coffin for me. What's funny is how too much cheer-leading about Nahom brought about the debate. Jenkins critiqued a Nahom piece and how it was over-blown. When called on it by the Mormon cheerleaders, he started asking for evidence of Nephites/Lamanites in the new world. Enter Hamblin and ....... he couldn't provide any ...... argued about the meaning of "evidence" instead of giving any, because there isn't any, and there never will be.
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Dr Moore
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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Dr Moore »

I appreciated how it was Jenkins who brought in the clarity. That spiritual evidence is purely internal (which is to be respected at all times, assuming those convictions lead to one becoming a better person) and therefore has no place or merit on the stage of scholarly debate.

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Physics Guy
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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Physics Guy »

You know, maybe the five year mark wouldn't be a bad time to reflect on this episode from different perspectives. The Jenkins-Hamblin debates were one of the first things I read as I started getting interested in Mormonism. This was a year or so after the debate itself, I think, but Bill Hamblin was still alive and posting on his blog and the debate seemed like recent history. I'm surprised now that it seems like a watershed event to other people here.

I've never been a Mormon or even known any Mormons well. Knowing that the Mormon faith was in fact still alive among educated people, I'd been assuming that Conan Doyle exaggerated early problems and that the modern-day faith at least was basically as respectable as most religions. I'm religious myself, at least for some values of "religious"; I live in Germany now but at heart I'm the kind of Massachusetts Episcopalian that looks forward to tea with the bishop and her wife. I'm also a scientist, so I'm used to accepting that religions in general have some 'splainin' to do.

At least the impression that I somehow got was that Philip Jenkins was a Christian academic like me, except probably somewhat more conservative as a Christian. It was weird seeing one of us as a voice of critical rigor instead of trying to hem and haw against atheists. But that was how I discovered that Mormon apologists are people that make conservative Christian academics look like rigorous realists.

I should say that I couldn't see anything wrong with anything Jenkins said just as a historian, though that's a for-what-it's-worth statement because no doubt a lot of garbage history would slip by me. But there was a surreal feeling for me in the whole exchange.

To me all the history and archaeology of the Christian Bible is kind of arguable but iffy. I'm not going to challenge anybody who argues that we can draw certain conclusions from the available evidence but in the back of my mind I'm always thinking, Look, it's not like we have any of this on video. So it was weird seeing the Bible as history being rock solid in comparison with the stuff that Hamblin was trying to uphold.

And that's how it looked from my end. I'd be interested to learn how it looked from a more Mormon perspective.

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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Gadianton »

Physic's Guy wrote:I'm surprised now that it seems like a watershed event to other people here.
Well, it was a watershed event, but it wasn't because Jenkins' arguments were so much better than anything that had come before. Some of his stuff I didn't even agree with, although a few of his observations were brilliant, such as the "one piece of evidence" for Bigfoot that would make it worth his time further considering, when Hamblin pointed to the decades of internal scholarship that would be cost prohibitive to comb through.

It was the closest thing outside of a direct EV context to a scholar without a "history" engaging an apologist. After all that time and commitment to the cause, Hamblin had a terrible time coming up with something.
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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Philo Sofee »

Dan Peterson recently told me the way Hamblin argued was just fine and he didn't lose the debate, something which sailed right over my head. I love his attempt at intimidation. What did not sail right over my head was the actual fact that Hamblin produced nothing of evidence for Book of Mormon historicity. There is no actual evidence, just argument and testimony. That is what sailed right over Peterson's head, that Hamblin (nor Peterson... nor Midgley...) never produced real evidence we can point to and go look at for the Nephites and Lamanites. I didn't miss the point of Jenkins, Peterson did.
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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by kairos »

Like going to heaven! Jenkins shred Hamblin to pieces and i loved every exchanged email. For me i used that "give me one physical piece of evidence that a group of jewish people lived on the continent in the Book of Mormon tine frame", in few exchanges myself. Also i believe Jenkins acted professionally in his exchanges an finally no DCP showed up to support Hamblin.

k

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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by I have a question »

kairos wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:40 am
Like going to heaven! Jenkins shred Hamblin to pieces and i loved every exchanged email. For me i used that "give me one physical piece of evidence that a group of jewish people lived on the continent in the Book of Mormon tine frame", in few exchanges myself. Also i believe Jenkins acted professionally in his exchanges an finally no DCP showed up to support Hamblin.

k
DCP has stated on more than one occasion that he thought Hamblin did rather well in the exchange, that he "won", and didn't need any help in doing so.

Interestingly, I hadn't realised that Hamblin remarried shortly before his death.
Hamblin lived in Provo, Utah. He has three children with his ex-wife, Loree. The two divorced in 2013.[10]
At the time of his passing, he was living in Cedar City, Utah, with his wife, Laura. They were married in 2019.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J ... sonal_life
Bill married Loree Peay on August, 2, 1977. Together they had three children: Ken, Karen, and Alex. They later divorced. Bill married Laura Behling Schroeder on February 19, 2019.
https://www.maglebymortuary.com/notices/William-Hamblin

Was his second marriage sealed in the temple?
Is it true DCP didn't approve of Hamblin's remarrying?

DCP didn't mention Hamblin's current wife in the blog post where he announces Hamblin's passing.
My wife and I and Bill and his wife Loree spent a lot of time together, exploring the wonders of pharaonic, classical, early Christian, and medieval Islamic Egypt.
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... -2019.html
At the time Peterson wrote that Loree had been Bill's ex-wife for 6 years, and Laura was his wife.

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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by moksha »

The debate was over when Jenkin's single shard of Nephite pottery argument could not be answered. The lesson for all future debaters is to come prepared with at least a single shard of evidence, even if it had to be manufactured in the kilns of BYU the day before and then taken from the earth by an angel before Jenkins had a chance to examine it and determined it was made of Kaolin clay from China. It wouldn't be cheating, it would be pottery for the Lord.
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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Stem »

Oh come on. Hamblin was the one who posed the question that Jenkins couldn't answer--What would qualify as evidence of something there is no evidence for?

Jenkins was stumped on that one and Hamblin gracefully took the prize.

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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Lemmie »

Stem wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:14 am
Oh come on. Hamblin was the one who posed the question that Jenkins couldn't answer--What would qualify as evidence of something there is no evidence for?

Jenkins was stumped on that one and Hamblin gracefully took the prize.
:lol: Has an apologist used that yet? If not, they will soon. They read here obsessively, and I get the sense that some are truly irony-impaired.

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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Lemmie »

Had some time, so I re-read a couple of Jenkins‘ posts. Still as fascinating as ever, plus the added bonus of the comments. Mopologists did not comport themselves well at all. Rappleye, in particular, has quite a way with words. Here’s an excerpt that had me in stitches:
Neal Rappleye • 5 years ago

Dr. Jenkins,

As a dreaded "Mormon apologist," I have quietly paid attention to your various blog posts on the Book of Mormon, but have not felt a need to comment or respond.

Frankly, your lack of engagement with the actual literature on these topics have made your comments so unrelated to the what is actually going on that it has seemed entirely unnecessary to respond.

I understand why you do not really care to spend a lot of time dealing with Mormon apologetic claims, but I hope you will likewise understand why I therefore do not see a need to respond to you....

...Similar problems persist in your other blog posts on the Book of Mormon. As I indicated above, I am hardly interested in going through them all. Nor am interested in having a long debate with you about it here. So, while you are welcome to make whatever comments in response you feel so inclined to make, don't hold your breath waiting for a response.

...But I would like to extend an invitation.... If you are willing to seriously review the volume [book published by Gardner] and publish your review on this blog or elsewhere, I will personally have a copy sent to you as soon as it is available, free of charge. You can contact me through the contact form on my blog...

http://disq.us/p/ydy5h0
Jenkins replies with great restraint and not inconsiderable irony:

philipjenkins Mod Neal Rappleye • 5 years ago • edited

You make a reasonable offer, and your invitation to debate is well phrased....

http://disq.us/p/ydzd7c

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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Kishkumen »

In my view the real significance of the Jenkins/Hamblin debate is that it constitutes the first time a non-LDS historian with real career gravitas told an LDS academic and apologist point blank: "The Book of Mormon does not meet the minimum evidentiary threshold even to be considered by scholars as a possible ancient work."

It is not as though other people, including the Reverend here, had not said the same thing before. Jenkins said it a lot better, and he said it as a non-LDS historian of some reputation (and debatably with no real dog in the fight).
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Dr Moore
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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Dr Moore »

Kishkumen wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:36 am
In my view the real significance of the Jenkins/Hamblin debate is that it constitutes the first time a non-LDS historian with real career gravitas told an LDS academic and apologist point blank: "The Book of Mormon does not meet the minimum evidentiary threshold even to be considered by scholars as a possible ancient work."
Mormon Apologists are entrepreneurial marketers. They may not self identify that way, but I think that's what they are.

So when Jenkins says he isn't buying because "the Book of Mormon does not meet the minimum evidentiary threshold to be considered by scholars as a possible ancient work" (your words Reverend) that is invaluable feedback.

Entrepreneurial marketers do one thing exceptionally well: listen. Listen to customers, product managers, executives, even to the customer of the customer. How else is the marketer supposed to craft a better story?

Does Hamblin listen to this new information? Does he take that information back to the war room and advocate a different approach?

No. He commits the cardinal sin of marketing. He argues with the informed buyer.

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Physics Guy
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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Physics Guy »

Huh.

I think that’s exactly why I stopped posting on the Mormon Dialogue & Discussion Board board. They started to complain that I, the at least somewhat informed potential buyer, had not already sold myself on their product.

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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by Dr Exiled »

Kishkumen wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:36 am
In my view the real significance of the Jenkins/Hamblin debate is that it constitutes the first time a non-LDS historian with real career gravitas told an LDS academic and apologist point blank: "The Book of Mormon does not meet the minimum evidentiary threshold even to be considered by scholars as a possible ancient work."
This is a key point. A respected outside scholar came into the ring with the Mormon Ph.D.'s and showed them how empty their claim of historicity was and how it is viewed by the outside academy. So, who really cares if this or that Mormon Ph.D. testifies about the nonsense? These are equally duped as the ordinary member is. Their advanced degrees have no meaning or weight any longer and so the reason for being duped must be because of some psychological reason along the lines of Festinger's research.
"Religion is about providing human community in the guise of solving problems that don’t exist or failing to solve problems that do and seeking to reconcile these contradictions and conceal the failures in bogus explanations otherwise known as theology." - Kishkumen 

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Re: Remembering Jenkins/Hamblin

Post by moksha »

Lemmie wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:39 am
Had some time, so I re-read a couple of Jenkins‘ posts.
Did you read far enough to have an opinion on whether the Denisovans were LDS?
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