Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Tom »

Gee writes:
The Hittites preserved a myth, supposedly Canaanite,31 about this god. According to that myth, Elkunirša lived at the headwaters of the Euphrates river.32 The myth, as such, is lamentably fragmentary, but has been summarized as follows:

“Ašertu, the wife of Elkunirša, attempts to seduce Baʿal. The Storm-god reveals everything to her husband and insults her on his inspiration. Thirsting revenge, Ašertu regains the favor of her husband, who then lets her do whatever she like with Baʿal. The goddess Anat now comes on the scene. Having overheard the conversation between Elkunirša and Ašertu, she warns Baʿal. Here the text breaks off. Elkunirša is the Hittitized form of the Semitic phrase ‘El Creator of the Earth.’”33

The myth contains intriguing passages, such as one character (Ašertu) saying to another, (Baʿal) “Come sleep with me”; and when the offer was refused, responding, “Else I will press you down with my [word] and [stab] you with my [. . .]”34 The restoration of “stab” comes from a parallel passage in the story. This passage echoes the passage in the Book of Abraham in which “this priest [of Elkenah (see Abraham 1:7)] had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; because they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians” (Abraham 1:11).
I examined the source cited in footnote 34, Hoffner, trans., Hittite Myths (the second edition is available online here (see pp. 90-92)).

Regarding the Canaanite myth, Hoffner writes:
In this fragment the younger, more virile god Baal (in Hittite called “the Storm God”) is propositioned by El’s wife Asherah (Hittite Ashertu). When he refuses her, she threatens him and eventually accuses him to her husband El. The couple then plan revenge on the Storm God (Baal), but Baal’s sister, Anat-Astarte ... overhears their plan and flies to warn her brother. The text is interrupted by a long break. When it resumes, Baal is treated for injuries.
Hoffner notes that this myth has similarities to the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39) and the Egyptian “Tale of the Two Brothers.”

I’m not seeing the similarity of the Canaanite myth (recall that Gee uses the verb echoes) to the passage in the first chapter of the Book of Abraham:
5 My fathers, having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;

6 For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt;

7 Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my life by the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh.

8 Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children.

9 And it came to pass that the priest made an offering unto the god of Pharaoh, and also unto the god of Shagreel, even after the manner of the Egyptians. Now the god of Shagreel was the sun.

10 Even the thank-offering of a child did the priest of Pharaoh offer upon the altar which stood by the hill called Potiphar’s Hill, at the head of the plain of Olishem.

11 Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians.

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Shulem »

Time

Based on the Book of Abraham, Abraham seems to have lived in a time when Egyptians were in the northern Levant.
So, you're also saying that based on the Book of Abraham, Abraham seems to have lived in a time when Egyptian kings allowed vile Asiatics to sit on a pharaonic throne and teach Asiatic principles of astronomy and mathematics.

Isn't that right, professor Gee?

:twisted:

Image
Gee wrote:The only time when that appears to be the case is between the reigns of the Pharaohs Sesostris II (1871‒1864 BC) or Sesostris III (1863‒1825 BC) on one end and Amenemhet III (1843‒1798 BC) on the other end.
There is no way in hell, by the record, that a vile Asiatic such as Abraham, would have ever been granted the right to sit on the throne of a powerful king of the 12 Dynasty.

You are way over your head, Gee. No way! Abraham never sat in Sesostris's or Amenemhat's throne as claimed by J Smith who didn't know jack ____ about Egyptology. Are you really that stupid or is it you're just a liar trying to create a false backdrop wherein stupid ignorant Mormons can eat false Egyptology out of your hand?

You're evil, Gee. You're a liar and have a lying spirit about you.

You deserve to be demonized. You are a false Egyptologist and a liar.

:mad:

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by moksha »

Dr Moore wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:59 pm
More likely for two of them, but Gee doesn't consider acknowledging in his paper:

* Libnah was borrowed from the Old Testament.
* Elkenah was borrowed from the Old Testament name Elkanah
These Biblical names are much too commonplace to be considered Egyptian Gods. That would be like admitting the similarities of the names in the Vern Holley maps were more than a mere coincidence.
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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by I have a question »

I thought this was an interesting comment from Bryce Hammond
"The odds of Joseph Smith guessing the names correctly is astronomical."

Not necessarily. Given a large enough corpus of texts, it seems one is likely to find many arbitrary patterns. It is perhaps the principle called Ramsey Theory: "Given enough elements in a set or structure, some particular interesting pattern among them is guaranteed to emerge." In other words, the chances are not astronomical, but rather it's basically guaranteed to happen.
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... qus_thread

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Dr Moore »

moksha wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:36 am
Dr Moore wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:59 pm
More likely for two of them, but Gee doesn't consider acknowledging in his paper:

* Libnah was borrowed from the Old Testament.
* Elkenah was borrowed from the Old Testament name Elkanah
These Biblical names are much too commonplace to be considered Egyptian Gods. That would be like admitting the similarities of the names in the Vern Holley maps were more than a mere coincidence.
True true... except that Gee distorts both names to arrive at his "gods" bulls eye.

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by I have a question »

moksha wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:36 am
These Biblical names are much too commonplace to be considered Egyptian Gods. That would be like admitting the similarities of the names in the Vern Holley maps were more than a mere coincidence.
Dr Moore wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:52 am
True true... except that Gee distorts both names to arrive at his "gods" bulls eye.
When you say he distorts them, do you mean he simply amends them without Egyptological precedent, sort of out of whole cloth, simply for the purpose of creating a bulls eye where one doesn't exist?

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Dr Moore »

Something like that, yes 100% that is exactly what he does, with all 4 names!

Astronomical odds!

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Shulem »

Let's be clear about one thing:

The names given by Joseph Smith to the gods under the altar are 100% wrong just like the names he gave to the persons in Facsimile No. 3.

No sir, that ain't Egyptian. Both Smith and Gee are liars. The placing of Hebrew names from Smith's bible into Egyptian funerary spells is 100% inappropriate and utterly wrong.

You lose, Gee.

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by SteelHead »

This will serve a text book example of the Texas Sharp Shooter fallacy for generations to come.
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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

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I have learnt something new. Thanks "The 'Texas sharpshooter fallacy' (or: 'clustering illusion') refers to a man with a gun but no shooting skills who fires a number of bullets into the wall of a barn, paints a bull's-eye around a fortuitous cluster of bullet holes, and declares himself a sharpshooter (Smith, 2016).May 24, 2017"
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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by SteelHead »

So we have two that can be shown to be taken from the OT, and two that by casting as wide as net as possible across a wide enough area, and squinting real hard, we may be able to map syllables (again by squinting real hard) to the name of gods across a geographical area covering who knows how many cultures.- but Egyptian gods they are not.

Bullseye! How could Joseph have down it!!!?
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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Res Ipsa »

I have a question wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:08 am
I thought this was an interesting comment from Bryce Hammond
"The odds of Joseph Smith guessing the names correctly is astronomical."

Not necessarily. Given a large enough corpus of texts, it seems one is likely to find many arbitrary patterns. It is perhaps the principle called Ramsey Theory: "Given enough elements in a set or structure, some particular interesting pattern among them is guaranteed to emerge." In other words, the chances are not astronomical, but rather it's basically guaranteed to happen.
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... qus_thread
Exactly. The human ability to find patterns in randomness is infinite.
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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by I have a question »

This "discovery" by Gee could be a game changer for The Book Of Abraham's status amongst the wider communities and bodies of Egyptological study and discovery. Has he submitted it for peer review by trained, independent (non Mormon) Egyptologists? If not, given it's potential for elevating the global status of The Book Of Abraham, why has he not? Would he appreciate someone submitting it for such a peer review?

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Gadianton »

Dr Moore wrote: More likely for two of them, but Gee doesn't consider acknowledging in his paper:

* Libnah was borrowed from the Old Testament.
* Elkenah was borrowed from the Old Testament name Elkanah
Yes; I did some exploring myself. Elkanah is all over the OT. I found two of these in the same sentence (but lost my place; will find again).

Also, there are some "kors"

['Korah', 'Korahite', 'Korahites', 'Korathites', 'Kore', 'Korhites']

Malchiram
Maalehacrabbim

we know how Joseph Smith puts pieces of Bible names in different combinations and ad libs. They all have that familiar "Joseph Smith" ring to them.

Anyway, I opened the Book of Abraham for the first time in a decade or two, and I'm baffled. I'm pretty sure Gee is misreading what the Book of Abraham says. Gee sees the names of Five gods, the four you mentioned, plus "Pharaoh", who as I understand it is considered a "god" in Egyptian lore. I'm pretty sure, the Book of Abraham names five individuals, including Pharaoh, who worship five respective false gods. For much of the text, it reads consistently either way. However:

"The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh."

Does it really make sense that the priest of Pharaoh, a living "king of Egypt" if also a deity, and Elkenah, an idol or god symbolized by an idol have the same priest?

"And it came to pass that the priest made an offering unto the god of Pharaoh, and also unto the god of Shagreel,"

So this same priest makes an offering to Pharaoh, "king of egypt", and Shagreel, another idol at the same time?

And then:

"Now the god of Shagreel was the sun."

Sure, that could mean Shagreel is the sun, but it's more straightforward that Shagreel's god is the sun.

And the lynchpin for me:

"Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children."

The priest of Pharaoh offers up to these strange gods, (including Pharaoh's god).

And doesn't "the god of Elkenah" or "the god of Pharaoh" contrast with "The god of Abraham" "the god of Jacob"?
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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

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Why bring in Hittite gods to the Egyptian court? That's ludicrous, you'd more likely have Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump play golf together at Mar-a-Lago and Elizabeth Warren serving them sandwiches.

Since we're just playing word association games, I'll take Abraham's connection to Arabia via Islamic tradition, which Gee loves to exploit elsewhere. It's more likely than Hittite gods at the Egyptian court, and in any case the supposed time of Abraham would have been a few centuries before the earliest attested Hittite anyway. Very bizarre.

But let's try our word association game in three minutes or less. My hypothesis is that these were not names or titles but references to the gods of people's and places, which actually fits the phraseology of the text quite well, as Gadianton points out.

The god of Elkenah = the god ("El" in Semitic) of the Banu Kinana, a tribe in Arabia
The god of Korash = the god of the Quraish tribe, of which Muhammad was a member in later centuries.

Remember that Abraham established the Kaaba at Mecca, so this makes sense, right? My theory is that the Egyptians Abraham was encountering were from the second intermediate period, when the Semitic Hysksos dominated the country, and they likely included contingents of Arabian tribes. That is how you get their gods there.

The god of Libnah = the god of the city of Libnah in western Israel, in Canaan, where Abraham sojourned. The rule of the Hyksos was preceded by the influx of Canaanites into the eastern delta.

The god of Mahmackrah = an Egyptian pronunciation of the Arabic mamlaka, which means "kingdom," or the chief god in the Hyksos pantheon. (r/l were in variation in some dialects and stages of Egyptian, so no problem with the linguistics here, and the transposition of a liquid consonant presents no problems; it's very common cross-linguistically, especially when you have a bilingual society, which you would have had with the Hyksos). Or it could it could be a nomen loci, with an unattested mamakrāh in Semitic, which would mean "a place of selling." Remember that Abraham came down to Egypt because of famine—that is, to buy food.

This all makes more sense than the Egyptians' importation of Hittite gods into the royal court, especially a bag-god (as the two great powers of the near east in the mid second millennium, they were constantly at war with each other until the end of that millennium). I fudge the chronology too—since when do apologists take pains with chronology—but I still manage to connect Abraham with established traditions unknown to Joseph Smith and without relying on a complete absurdity.
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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by moksha »

Symmachus wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:34 pm
This all makes more sense than the Egyptians' importation of Hittite gods into the royal court,...
How much sense do any of these Idolatous Egyptian Gods make versus a horrendous misunderstanding of what the canopic jars actually represented?
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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

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Symmachus wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:34 pm
I fudge the chronology too—since when do apologists take pains with chronology—but I still manage to connect Abraham with established traditions unknown to Joseph Smith and without relying on a complete absurdity.
Been there done that. But it simply is not possible. Abraham's time far precedes the Hyksos anomaly -- there is no connection or association with Abraham's Egyptian sojourn and the Hyksos takeover. Period. Don't even go there or bother to speculate that disastrous thought. Chronology is firm based on king's lists and absolutely fixed based on Sothic star dating which I might add is based on solid math and exact calculation.

Period.

The apologist lose at every turn. Joseph Smith was wrong on every turn and account. According to the records, the gods of Egypt are the gods of Egypt and the god of Abraham is Israel's god.

John Gee, ____ you! Your apologetics is abhorrent and totally misleading and deceptive. You're in my opinion a horrible man and a terrible example of what an Egyptologist should be. The Egyptologists at BYU are monkeys making fools of themselves and their apologetic reasoning for the Book of Abraham have zero credibility in the academic world.

____ you, Gee. You should be fired from BYU but seeing it's a school for monkeys you may stay and continue to teach crap.

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Dr Moore »

Is there any evidence Joseph studied Hebrew words or letters on his own, eg in 1835 before producing Abraham 1:1-2:18 and before hiring Seixas?
I'm curious what the thinking on when Joseph first attempted to read Hebrew words.

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Symmachus »

Shulem wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:41 am

Been there done that. But it simply is not possible. Abraham's time far precedes the Hyksos anomaly -- there is no connection or association with Abraham's Egyptian sojourn and the Hyksos takeover. Period. Don't even go there or bother to speculate that disastrous thought. Chronology is firm based on king's lists and absolutely fixed based on Sothic star dating which I might add is based on solid math and exact calculation.
Abraham’s date is not based on any of this. It’s based on whatever is needed to make a claim about him sound plausible.

This was a guy who lived to be 175, so...
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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Shulem »

Symmachus wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:12 pm
Abraham’s date is not based on any of this. It’s based on whatever is needed to make a claim about him sound plausible.
This was a guy who lived to be 175, so...
I hear what you're saying and understand. BUT, the Abraham of the bible based upon biblical chronology places him squarely in the jaws of death.

Death by Abraham!

:lol:

Death to the Book of Abraham.

____ you, John Gee, you liar for the Lord and WORST Egyptologist of the 21st century who will go down in history as a traitor and a liar for Mormonism.

John Gee, the Mormon Egyptologist was the very worst of the worst.

:twisted:

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Re: Gee's paper on Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Post by Gadianton »

Symmachus wrote: Why bring in Hittite gods to the Egyptian court? That's ludicrous, you'd more likely have Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump play golf together at Mar-a-Lago and Elizabeth Warren serving them sandwiches.

Since we're just playing word association games, I'll take Abraham's connection to Arabia via Islamic tradition, which Gee loves to exploit elsewhere. It's more likely than Hittite gods at the Egyptian court, and in any case the supposed time of Abraham would have been a few centuries before the earliest attested Hittite anyway. Very bizarre.

But let's try our word association game in three minutes or less. My hypothesis is that these were not names or titles but references to the gods of people's and places, which actually fits the phraseology of the text quite well, as Gadianton points out.

The god of Elkenah = the god ("El" in Semitic) of the Banu Kinana, a tribe in Arabia
The god of Korash = the god of the Quraish tribe, of which Muhammad was a member in later centuries.

Remember that Abraham established the Kaaba at Mecca, so this makes sense, right? My theory is that the Egyptians Abraham was encountering were from the second intermediate period, when the Semitic Hysksos dominated the country, and they likely included contingents of Arabian tribes. That is how you get their gods there.

The god of Libnah = the god of the city of Libnah in western Israel, in Canaan, where Abraham sojourned. The rule of the Hyksos was preceded by the influx of Canaanites into the eastern delta.

The god of Mahmackrah = an Egyptian pronunciation of the Arabic mamlaka, which means "kingdom," or the chief god in the Hyksos pantheon. (r/l were in variation in some dialects and stages of Egyptian, so no problem with the linguistics here, and the transposition of a liquid consonant presents no problems; it's very common cross-linguistically, especially when you have a bilingual society, which you would have had with the Hyksos). Or it could it could be a nomen loci, with an unattested mamakrāh in Semitic, which would mean "a place of selling." Remember that Abraham came down to Egypt because of famine—that is, to buy food.

This all makes more sense than the Egyptians' importation of Hittite gods into the royal court, especially a bag-god (as the two great powers of the near east in the mid second millennium, they were constantly at war with each other until the end of that millennium). I fudge the chronology too—since when do apologists take pains with chronology—but I still manage to connect Abraham with established traditions unknown to Joseph Smith and without relying on a complete absurdity.
You should consider writing for Interpreter. by the way, I had a big laugh over the "bag god" when I skimmed Gee's paper. Funny that stuck out for you enough to mention it. ;)
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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