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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: February 14, 2017 11:58PM

I got the following e-mail yesterday (name deleted):

Problem with the “Problems”--
Since I am a retired university professor, and one of the world's leading scholars on Isaiah, and with some skills in pre-biblical Hebrew, I feel an obligation to make a comment or two. But Richard, since you ask for “no preaching,” I shall not show the incorrect assumptions made in each of the points listed under “Questions and problems.” But as an example, I will take the liberty to point out that my Ph.D. dissertation was on the authorship of the book of Isaiah, which found that the book of Isaiah was not written by multiple authors, but by Isaiah as one author, and all, prior to Lehi's day.
One other problem, in the listed problems, concerns the incorrect assumptions in comparing Hebrew names to Greek names. I would welcome the chance to sit down with you to show how each of the other problems listed are likewise based on invalid assumptions, but that would be a type of preaching. And, as Benjamin Franklin and others, have quoted, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still?”


I responded:

>Most scholars who comment on my writings are courteous enough to:
- specify exactly which article they are commenting on
- identify themselves as to institution
- cite their relevant scholarly writings
- know the difference between "preaching" and factual information
- feel it unnecessary to identify themselves as "one of the world's leading scholars on...."

After some searching, I found that your institutional affiliation is BYU, your Ph.D. is also from BYU, and that you are commenting on my article on the brass plates at

I doubt you would have received your Ph.D. from BYU had you taken any other position than you did in your dissertation.

I would like very much to see how your view of the authorship of Isaiah has persuaded others of the "world's leading scholars" in that field. I presume that you have informed them, in numerous scholarly and peer-reviewed journals, of their error in failing to give proper acknowledgement to the power of prophecy, especially since that power is so convincingly confirmed by the Book of Mormon. It is a difficult balance, juggling religious faith with Occam's Razor.

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Posted by: William Law ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 12:32AM

Mormons love appeal to authority. He says he's a leading authority, so, that means something to him. Forget the facts.

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 01:03AM

Several years ago I picked up a gentleman and took him to a hotel near the University of Utah.

We got talking, and it turned out he'd been in the education dept. at the University of Utah the same time I'd done my teaching certificate. He had one thing in common with your BYU guy there, Richard. He also said he had a "world class reputation" in his field.

He'd had a few, and I'll offer that as an excuse for his immodesty (and also the reason I'll keep his anonymity). I did Google him, and he was who and what he said he was. He now writes regularly for the Washington Post...

He also said to me in no uncertain terms, "BYU is not a university!"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/15/2017 01:27PM by SL Cabbie.

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Posted by: ? ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 12:34AM

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Posted by: L Tom Petty ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 08:46AM

He is still selling his Isaiah books and CDs to the TBM crowd.

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Posted by: ? ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 09:15PM

Scanning the net for proof:

1. ". . . Hailed as a 'major breakthrough' BY LEADINg BIBLE SCHOLARS. AVRAHAM GILEADI'S analysis of Isaiah convincingly reconciles Jewish and Christian concepts of the Messiah and demonstrates a dimension implicit in both: spiritual ascent upon a 'ladder' to heaven."

2. ". . . For his doctoral thesis ('A Bifid Division of the Book of Isaiah.' DISSERTATION, BRIGHT YOUNG UNIVERSITY, 1981), he [i.e., Avraham Gileadi] analyzed a complex literary structure in the Book of Isaiah that radically impacts the book’s interpretation. DURING HIS PH.D PROGRAM, he translated the text of Isaiah into modern English, with annotations from the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, 1Qsaa, and the Greek Septuagint Version, LXX, and published it with analyses of Isaiah’s literary patterns uncovered during a decade of postdoctoral research. His publications include 'Israel’s Apostasy and Restoration: Essays in Honor of Roland K. Harrison' (Baker Book House, 1988); 'The Literary Message of Isaiah' (Hebrews Press, 1994; 2012); 'The End from the Beginning: The Apocalyptic Vision of Isaiah with Isaiah Translation' (Hebraeus Press, 1997; 2012); Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven (Hebraeus Press, 2002; 2012); the audio series Analytical Commentary of Isaiah (Hebraeus Press, 2006); The Book of Isaiah: Analytical Translation with Comprehensive Concordance (Hebraeus Press, 2012); Apocalyptic Commentary of the Book of Isaiah (Hebraeus Press, 2013); and Windows on the Prophecy of Isaiah: Study Tools for Understanding Isaiah (Hebraeus Press, 2015)".

3. "Testimonials

"DR. GILEADI'S work will render obsolete ALMOST ALL THE SPECULATIONS OF ISAIAH SCHOLARS OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS, enabling scholarship to proceed along an entirely new line, opening new avenues of approach for others to follow.”
-Professor Roland K. Harrison, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada . . .

“Dr. Gileadi has clearly demonstrated HIS MASTERY of the Book of Isaiah and OF THE SCHOLARLY LITERATURE dealing with it”—
-Professor Ronald Youngblood, Bethel Theological Seminary, San Diego, California"

(The above excerpted from "'The End from the Beginning Avraham,' paperback, March 1, 1998,"; "Avraham Gileadi Biography" at "Isaiah Explained with Avraham Gileadi,", emphasis added)

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Posted by: Neal A. Mocks Well ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 10:07PM

ROFL. A book blurb masquerading as scholarly credentials.

So he wrote a few books, nearly all published by one religious publishing house. Not exactly peer-reviewed academic journals. Joseph Fielding Smith wrote a bunch of books too, so that must make him a world's leading scholar on… something.

This is the funniest part:

"His publications include 'Israel's Apostasy and Restoration: Essays in Honor of Roland K. Harrison'"

"3. Testimonials
'DR. GILEADI'S work will render obsolete ALMOST ALL THE SPECULATIONS OF ISAIAH SCHOLARS OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS, enabling scholarship to proceed along an entirely new line, opening new avenues of approach for others to follow.'
-Professor Roland K. Harrison, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada…"

He wrote a book of essays in honor of a guy who, it just so happens, provides a testimonial of his work. Scratching each other's back feels sooooooo good!

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 11:35PM

No, my correspondent was not A. Gileadi.

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Posted by: Void K. Packer ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 12:40AM

Good god, he actually lead with the statement of being a world leading scholar? Seriously? What a little, little man.

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Posted by: Babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 01:33AM

I think he meant world class douche bag.

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Posted by: Cornflakereject ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 12:41AM

Cornflakereject gives you a standing ovation!!! Bravo!!!

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 12:46AM

They seem to have an alt facts system going at BYU.

I had to add this: I love their quaint little fantasy that the title of a book in the Bible is also the name of the author!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/15/2017 12:50AM by donbagley.

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Posted by: Neal A. Mocks Well ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 01:45AM

"I doubt you would have received your Ph.D. from BYU had you taken any other position than you did in your dissertation."

Also, I doubt he would have been awarded a Ph.D. from any other institution had he taken that position in his dissertation.

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Posted by: poopstone ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 05:50AM

There might be some value in looking at what he has to say about what Isaiah means? But I'd be rather inclined to see what he has to say about the ancient books of Enoch, and what all the heavens are, and time periods that are so mysterious there, or the ancient Egyptian text called Adam and Eve. And what to believe about that?

But personally if he knows Greek I would feel more inclined to ask what the h*** Paul was talking about in those obscure passages in Corinthians.

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Posted by: midwestanon ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 06:34AM

Richard, your response was brilliant. Kudos. I could almost see the BYU coming as I read further down your post...

Regardless it was still fun to read. And I agree with you and the other poster who said I can't see any University besides BYU- maybe Oral Roberts- awarding someone a dissertation for that kind of writing. Hey, for all I know Oral Roberts has impeccable academic standards when it comes to authoring papers on religious texts.

Also, someone going to the trouble of pointing out that there considered a world-class scholar in their field seems evidence of the fact that they have no reputation at all, both in their field, and probably at BYU, as well. Unless it was Daniel C Peterson writing to you, and I thought his Ph.D was in Arabic studies or something like that.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/15/2017 05:11PM by midwestanon.

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Posted by: midwestanon ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 05:12PM

Accidental D/P

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/15/2017 05:13PM by midwestanon.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 07:12AM

"prior to Lehi's day."

Using fictional characters in his appeal didn't do much to bolster his credentials.

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 07:28AM

Weird thing to go around calling yourself "a leading scholar" in just about anything. But I don't think I've ever met any Mormon who could have been considered a leading scholar in anything. But whether they are heart surgeons or well-educated historians, credibility drops as soon as you notice the ferret dangling from their ass.

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Posted by: lurking in ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 03:48PM

... among all those who know me ...." (Book of Mormon | Alma 10:4)

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Posted by: 3X ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 04:13PM

Why indeed did he not identify himself as the recipient of an advanced degree from the Harvard of the West - I guess he felt that the institutional cachet would be too overwhelming for ordinary mortals.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/15/2017 04:13PM by 3X.

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Posted by: Chicken N. Backpacks ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 04:39PM

And his ironclad evidence is......?

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Posted by: midwestanon ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 05:13PM

Why, his fervent testimony in the Book of Mormon. He doesn't just believe in it; he KNOWS it's true.

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Posted by: East Coast Exmo ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 05:20PM

Can I declare myself a "leading scholar"? I will be the leading scholar on who can (and cannot) declare themselves leading scholars.

Wow, that was easy.

Retired BYU prof, I work with leading scholars. I know leading scholars. Leading scholars are friends of mine. Retired BYU prof, you're no leading scholar.

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Posted by: left4good ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 07:14PM

Ask him how many non-LDS scholars support his theories or anything substantial about Book of Mormon historocity.

And ask him how many bona fide scholars he can name who converted to Mormonism based on legitimate research.

Guessing the answer in both cases is zero.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 07:38PM

Fascinating that someone could make it all the way to being a professor and not understand the difference between "leading" and "misleading."

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 07:44PM

Excellent response.

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Posted by: Surfin Serf ( )
Date: February 15, 2017 10:59PM

Apparently PhD stands for Prickhead!

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Posted by: rhgc ( )
Date: February 16, 2017 02:02PM

I once introduced a famous MIT professor as an expert - he being a major advisor on the matter to the then President. He demurred and said there was NO expert on the topic. As an aside, he wrote a letter of recommendation to Yale Law School, though I went to Duke instead. Otherwise Hilary would have re-met me in law school,

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Posted by: sd ( )
Date: February 16, 2017 04:24PM

way back when I first started coming to RfM and how impressed I was by the keen intellect and rapier wit on one RPackam. The wit and the intellect are still alive and well. :)

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Posted by: Josephina ( )
Date: February 16, 2017 09:42PM

Even though Richard is not talking about Dr. Gileadi, I want to say something in Avraham's defense.He is the ONLY Mormon writer I am still willing to read, and The only LDS scholar that I regard with any level of seriousness. When I learned that Mormonism is a crock, I threw out all of my LDS literature, every scrap of it, except for Gileadi's book: "ISAIAH DECODED". It makes no references to Mormon "scripture" (I had another Gileadi work that referred to the BoM, so I completely trashed it) and reads like a true work of a deep Hebrew scholar. I'm still a Bible lover, though I now loathe Mormonism with the hottest passion. I enjoy studying the Old Testament. But the vast majority of Mormon Bible scholars/writers can't be trusted even as far as you can throw a boulder.

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Posted by: No one for this ( )
Date: February 16, 2017 10:28PM

Victor Ludlow? Although I must say I do not remember him being pompous. Compared to many of the religion profs at the Zoo, he seemed a decent sort.

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: February 17, 2017 11:42AM

No one for this Wrote:
> Victor Ludlow?

No, it wasn't Ludlow.

His last names starts with "A"....

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