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Ma’at, Order and Everything in Between

27 Apr

I recently started reading Violence in the Service of Order: the Religious Framework for Sanctioned Killings in Ancient Egypt by Kerry Muhlenstein, and while I’m only a chapter or so into the book, it’s given me quite a bit to think about in terms of ma’at and how it might be applied to the modern era. In the first chapter of the book, Muhlenstein talks about how most sanctioned acts of violence (such as corporeal punishment for criminals, ritual slayings/sacrifices) in AE were done to help preserve the order that existed in that era:

The concept of sacrifice acting to preserve rather than destroy is well articulated by Davies, who postulates that throughout human society “the act [sacrifice] was required, to save the people from calamity and the cosmos from collapse. Their object was, therefore, more to preserve than to destroy life.”69 Thus, sacrifice, in partnership with punishment and law, was aimed at bringing about social and cosmic order, at establishing the correct unity.70 This is especially true of ancient Egypt, a society which concentrated so heavily on the correct cosmic and social order embodied in Ma ‘at. As Willems writes, neither human sacrifice nor execution was so much a matter of revenge as it was an act of countering disorder. (Page 26)

In addition to killing to preserve Order, there is also a sense of othering that often comes with it. When the Egyptians found someone that was other, and this other worked against their perceptions of what was Orderly (read: in ma’at), then the person in question would be aligned with rebels, with people Who Are Not a Part of Our Cool Kids Club (aka society), and would then be disposed of in whatever means they saw fit. All in an attempt to preserve their ideas of Order:

That which qualified someone as a potential sacrificial victim was a sense of “otherness.” In some cases it could be a particularly valuable or holy-and thus “other”-victim. More often it was “exterior or marginal individuals, incapable of establishing or sharing the social bonds that link the rest of the inhabitants. Their status as foreigners or enemies, their servile condition, or simply their age prevents these future victims from fully integrating themselves into the community.”82 It was just such a lack of integration that made both the extraordinarily holy or great and the extraordinarily unholy or despicable individual a candidate for sacrifice. In Egypt, in particular, those who, through their actions, identified themselves with Isfet, could become candidates for sacrifice. Thus Willems writes that it is in keeping with Egyptian thought that their criminals should be sacrificed. (Pages 28-29)

Think of it like a playing-for-keeps execration. But instead of burning a sheet of paper, you’re burning people.

This got me thinking about Order and other-ness, and how it has applied to various cultures across the centuries. While ancient Egypt was relatively similar in how it did things throughout its history, there were still changes that occurred as the culture’s ideas about what was socially acceptable or what was considered to be within ma’at shifted over the years. And even if ancient Egypt had been static in its approach to what was considered the best sort of Order to build a society around, we don’t live in ancient Egypt anymore, and some of their ideas probably don’t fit into the modern practitioner’s world view.

So that then begs to ask, what sort of Order are we trying to build? What sort of Order should we be aiming for? Who or what should be considered as “other”? What kinds of behaviour fall outside of ma’at? Who or what do we want to exclude, if we want to exclude anything/one at all?

If I look to my home country for ideas, I can see that our country’s Order is supposed to be based off freedom and pursuit of your dreams. That sounds great on paper, but our society seems to only want that for a small group of people (originally only for Protestant, white, married men who owned land). The list of “others” in our society is incredibly long, and brings a lot of inequality into our ideas of what proper Order should look like. Of course, those who fall into the “other” category don’t particularly like being excluded from the protections of Order, and as such have been trying to change what Order looks like for our country. This is why we are currently in the middle of a struggle between several groups of people. Some of which want to change the Order of our society. Some of which want it to stay the same.

Possibly due to the fact that so many Kemetics are from the US, or possibly because people are relatively similar across time and location, this has been mirrored in our own community as well:

  • Some Kemetics don’t want any sort of social issues involved in the religion, because that doesn’t fit into their idea of Order. When people start to push social issues into the community, they become “othered” for their attempts.
  • Some Kemetics want to bring social issues in because it’s part of their idea of ma’at. These people might be inclined to “other” those who don’t support social issues or work to fix them.
  • Some Kemetics are okay with certain social issues, but not all social issues. They might only “other” particularly bad cases of bigotry.
  • Some Kemetics want a community that is broken up based off of practice type and model. The practice style would then create the Order, and anyone who doesn’t practice in a similar fashion might be “othered”.
  • Some Kemetics want a community where social behaviour is more important than practice structure. In this case, the code of behaviour becomes the Order, the practice style is irrelevant, and those who don’t fit into the ideal for behaviour might be “othered” regardless of practice style.
  • Some Kemetics want a no holds barred sort of community, where anyone can say anything regardless of how it’s said. In this case, no one will ever be “othered” due to their all-encompassing definition/perceptions of Order.
  • Other Kemetics want everyone to behave a certain particular way, because that’s how they consider ma’at to apply to social behaviour. They will “other” anyone who doesn’t behave exactly as they want, regardless of the legitimacy (or lack thereof) for their actions.

You’ve got a lot of different ideas of how our community should be built, run, etc. You’ve got a lot of different ideas about what Order should look like and who should be allowed to participate or not (aka who should be considered “othered” and who shouldn’t). It should go without saying that this creates some level of conflict between all of us, especially when it comes to that “othering”.

This can be further compounded by the format that we use to interact with one another. It’s pretty well known that text is hard to understand in terms of tone, and it can often lead to people blowing up, misunderstandings and arguments. These kinds of interactions are particularly important, as our understanding of what should be considered a part of Order and who should be “othered” will influence how we handle difficult social interaction within the community.

Of course, there are a few tools in our arsenal for figuring out whether someone’s behaviour is within our perceived idea of Order. We have the yardstick of dickery to help dictate whether someone is being a dick or not, and some suggestions on how to handle those situations. In cases where forums or FB groups are the venue, there are rules that dictate the group’s idea of Order that you’re supposed to follow as a member, which also give details on how to handle rule breakers.

However, these things don’t always work as there are plenty of groups who don’t apply their rules consistently or effectively when people break them (aka groups with lackluster admin staff). And when the interaction happens outside of a location that has admin staff, it becomes a matter of one Kemetic’s idea of Order and “othering”  clashing against another Kemetic’s idea of Order and “othering”. This is where most of the worst friction can occur, as some Kemetics believe that those that fall into their “other” category are fair game to treat however they see fit. There are Kemetics who simply don’t have good peopling skills, and make social faux pas regularly. Other co-religionists may then jump in and take sides, and it can spiral out of control if we’re not careful.

There are a lot of grey areas for figuring out how to handle such interactions within the community, and each individual will probably have different ideas on the best way to handle them. Figuring out what to do about these grey areas will probably be a less-than-smooth process, as is usually the case when you’re trying to establish a protocol or identify your idea of Order:

This is relevant in the modern era, given that our society is not entirely just or fair to it’s people. That may leave many readers wondering “how does ma’at fit into such a society? Is it better to go with what is already established, even if it possibly harms portions of the population? What is considered Good or Right in such a setting?” If literature from the First Intermediate Period has anything to say about it, ma’at rests in caring for the vulnerable and underserved, and working to reestablish true justice, fairness and order within the surrounding society. That means that sometimes you have to be the fly in the ointment, because reestablishing what is Good in a society often means upsetting others. But if one never steps forward to help reestablish, then ma’at can never prevail. Karenga, 61

If nothing else, this book has highlighted a potentially glaring issue in our community as it continues to grow and move forward: we haven’t fully established what we consider to be a part of our Order, nor have we established who we think should be “othered” (if anyone at all).

In the business world, it’s recommended that you create a Mission Statement when you create your business as a means to help direct your business where you want it to go. It also helps your employees to understand what your business is out to achieve, its ethics and its approach to business. Then the employee can tailor their actions to fit within that business model. Our community doesn’t really have such a thing outside of “living in ma’at”. Of course, ma’at is subjective and vague, and as mentioned above, this obscurity can create a lot of friction between members. Perhaps this is because we haven’t taken the time to truly discuss what we think a modern Kemetic community should look like beyond the basics of “maintain ma’at”.

Maybe it’s time that we started to look into changing that. Otherwise, I foresee a lot of the same friction that is occurring now continuing indefinitely into the future.

Do you think there is any benefit in discussing what modern Kemeticism’s idea Order should look like? If so, what do you think our community’s Order should look like?

Do you think that there are any particular groups of people that would fit into the “other” category? Why or why not? If you believe that there is a group worth “othering”, would they ever be able to move from that category, or are they permanently labeled as such?

How do you think the community should handle the idea of a mission statement beyond “live in ma’at”? How should we handle the friction that occurs between different members that may have drastically different ideas about what the “correct” way to practice Kemeticism is?

If anyone decides to take a stab at these prompts, let me know and I’ll create a responses section below!

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15 Comments

Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Boat Paddlers Arsenal, Kemeticism

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

15 responses to “Ma’at, Order and Everything in Between

  1. onlyfragments

    April 27, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    For me, I think “othering” should come from intent. For example, you can accidentally hurt someone physically, mentally, or emotionally. While that may go against Ma’at, as long as you try to make amends in some way, I think you’re “good”. But if you purposefully hurt someone, especially in a major way (rape, murder, stalking, robbery, etc), your INTENT is what puts you way outside the bounds of Ma’at. So someone who intentionally harms others, with no remorse or attempt to change their ways? Yeah, keep them out. They’re bad vibes all around. But someone who messes up and tries to make it better, or even to just learn from their mistake? They can stay. Same with someone who maybe did bad things intentionally in the past, but now feels remorse and wants to change.

    I know the question will then be, what do we consider a bad thing? But I think in the end, it’s actually an easy question to answer. Our gut tells us what’s good and bad. When you cause someone else harm you could have prevented, that’s not good. When you do it on purpose, for profit somehow (emotional, physical, monetary), that’s super not good. If that were the standard, instead of something more vague like how someone worships, how they live their life, I think the line becomes easier to see. It’s sort of the idea of how freedom of religion or speech are supposed to work in the US; you can do what you want, say what you want… up until those things harm someone else. Don’t support gay people? Fine! Make laws that discriminate against them? Not fine.

    I don’t know if that makes sense, or if I’m even contributing anything to the conversation. I just think that if we are doing something because we believe it to be right, and it doesn’t harm someone else, that’s in Ma’at.

     
    • Seto K. (@Seto715)

      April 28, 2016 at 10:12 am

      I whole-heartedly agree with you onlyfragments! I think that if someone can see the error in their ways then Ma’at has prevailed! Isfet is fed into the mind, our actions can either make it worse or better. The glory of being human is the error. It is the curiosity and the attempts that make us human.

      Instead of running from the fire, we tamed it. We may have been burned several times, but we kept on that horse! Humankind needs error- it is growth itself! The individuals willing to accept the lessons of Ma’at in the form of error rise above the rest. Instead of staying on the path of Isfet, the individual has noticed their error or failure and intends to move beyond that. Individuals of Isfet crave distortion. No matter how much they receive (in terms of anything) they keep creating negativity. It’s never enough for some people. The individuals who have no desire to correct their negative ways or the ones who directly feed into those ways; they can stay far from me.

      In my opinion, there is no such thing as good or bad- as much as perspective. Perspective shapes EVERYTHING in our world. It creates our own personal reality, that we live in each day; an ecosystem of sorts. The only way to judge what is good and bad (besides obviously heinous acts) is to judge it for yourself. There is no one specific way of doing things, which people seem to fixate on. This creates a crack between people and then next thing you know its a sink hole. Worship should be applied in the same manner. It is between the Netjeru and the practitioner- a personal experience a lot of the time. If, as a group, we start placing stipulations on practice and worship, we could very well instigate and aggravate said sink hole. The freedom of the practice I think is why a lot of people choose to stay within the Kemetic practice.

      The artistic, creative, and interpretive nature of Kemeticism has made it’s own allure. The ancient Egyptians were an extremely creative society- that goes without saying. So, doesn’t it make sense that their practices followed similar nature? Just like all forms of art you have constraints but it’s not strictly guided. I think the idea of a standardized worship is much like paint-by-numbers to the Egyptians. Sure, it’s art and someone painted it, however it takes far more practice, patience, and skill to work within the parameters without such a strict guide. Also, the results are far more intriguing and varying when individuals choose to paint without numbers.

      Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing repeatedly the same way and expecting different results? So why standardize ourselves into that? We should accept as many incoming avenues of information, knowledge, detail, and stimuli as possible. It rounds our perspectives out and gives us more dots to connect. This is how discoveries and breakthroughs are made.

      Here’s an example (regarding the fluidity of the ancient Egyptians), Hieroglyphics while having shape, didn’t have a standard color to them. This was left to the artist’s interpretation. In much the same way, we should let the Kemetic practice follow their example. That is not to say of course, that ritual and ceremony shouldn’t use specific guidelines. Even the ancient Egyptians understood order within chaos, which I think is the prevailing point here.

      COMPLETE freedom in it’s most basic definition is chaos, it is Isfet. We need freedom within restriction in order to grow and evolve, as a society and a race. The greatest pieces of art come from places of great restriction. The quotation, “The brightest light casts the darkest shadow”, comes to mind. Ma’at being the brightest light will always be accompanied by the darkest shadow of Isfet. In this thought process, it’s fair to assume that places of turmoil, while brimming with Isfet; are also breeding grounds for the brightest lights of Ma’at imaginable. A great example of this in modern society is Malala Yousafzai. A Pakistani women’s rights activist, she is the youngest to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (for Youth) due to her efforts and history in the region. Malala fights for women to be educated and more equally treated in the Middle East. Her and her father have had numerous assassination attempts brought upon them because of their stance. She was born 12 July 1997.

      The ultimate point in all of this is that we need to find a balance of Ma’at inside our structure that rests surely, but gently on the waters of Isfet.

       
    • DevoTTR

      April 28, 2016 at 11:30 am

      I’m in a similar boat to you, I think. I feel that there needs to be some rules or guidelines for what is acceptable in the community and what isn’t, and that intent should probably play a role in that. Participating in things that actively hurt people shouldn’t be allowed, because who will want to participate in the community if they run the risk of being hurt? Even moreso if there isn’t anyone to step in if someone does hurt somebody. Looking at things like PU or Heathenry, I definitely want to learn from these places to make sure that we don’t turn into something like that. However, I do think there are some finer points that need to be ironed out between Kemetics- things like racism and ableism that still tend to hang around people, etc. But I also know that those things take time to work on, etc.
      Much like you, I think that someone actively working to improve is more important than someone who hurts ppl but doesn’t feel remorse or attempt to change the behaviour, etc. And that being let back into a group or community should probably be dependent upon the person changing the behaviour or apologizing for what they did, etc. You know, the stuff that they taught us in elementary school.
      So yeah, it makes sense. I think it contributes to the conver, though I have no clue how far this conversation will actually go beyond this blog post 😄

       
      • onlyfragments

        April 28, 2016 at 2:02 pm

        I can see behavior vs belief becoming an issue when you get to topics like racism and ableism. See, I feel like someone’s opinions on other folks are theirs to have – until they do something bad with them. So to me, if a Kemetic is a racist, that’s sad and I hope they change their mind, but they’re still Kemetic. Of course, that changes when they start using that opinion to hurt people inside or outside the community. But I can also see people being really uncomfortable knowing a fellow Kemetic is super racist, even if that person doesn’t vocalize that opinion. At that point, I suppose it becomes more a discussion about how Kemeticism itself approaches those topics… and whether any of that should be different now, given we’re living in a completely different world. Ugh, what a messy topic! 🙂

         
      • DevoTTR

        April 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm

        *nod I think that you can’t deny someone the label of Kemetic, fwiw. Even the most bigoted people can still ID as Kemetic if that’s their religion. However, I would say that bigotry goes against ma’at, and so if you’re racist, you’re not living fully in ma’at. The same way that if you support racists (just using racism because it’s an easy ‘ism’ to use for this, but any ‘ism’ could apply), I feel like you’re not being fully in ma’at (Karenga’s book seems to show that there is a historical precedence for this, too). I do plan on writing a full post on ma’at and isms in general, along with another post that gives a lot of short bullet points about what ma’at is and isn’t based off of what I’ve found in Karenga’s book. Justt gotta finish it first (I’m almost done, but then ran out of spoons… so that’s why I switched over to Muhlenstein’s paper instead 😄 ).

        It’s true, tho. It is a really messy topic. I think that it’s one of those things that we may never entirely clear up in our lifetime, but I still think it’s important to discuss and mull on what role this sort of thing plays in the religion- on both an individual level and on a communal level :>

         
  2. cardsandfeather

    April 27, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I hope I understood your points correctly. If I didn’t, please correct my understanding! I took your notion of “other” to mean “Those we will exclude from the group,” and the basis for that exclusion, I took it, was behavior more so than belief. While I know this can touch on religious practice, I worry that it might dovetail into judging the behavior of others. I am unsure of whether or not you meant it that way, but that is the perception I am using to respond.

    With respect to creating “other” in terms of “ethical/moral behavior” : Creating a group of “other” explicitly states what we do all the time…it creates in-groups and out-groups. While there will likely be such groups for quite a while to come (they are implicit and sometimes explicit in society and groups already), it doesn’t make it right (in my opinion). Thus, I don’t think I’m very comfortable socially engineering my out-groups based on ethical/moral behavior. I think it bothers me not so much because I think I am truly inclusive (as the person above me said, I also don’t want others to be able to make laws that discriminate against anyone, but I respect their right to think as they please), but rather because it sounds a lot like pushing my own Order onto others. While there could be benefits to that, I don’t know that I trust the benefits of standardization to outweigh the costs.

    The above is particularly influenced by my belief/opinion that we are all human, and I don’t think anyone (aside from sociopaths) seeks to do harm without some “legitimate” reason, whether we agree with those justifications is another point entirely. What is the criteria, then, for “other”, if everyone feels their intent was pure?Who will decide when their intentions are within/outside of Ma’at? Who decides which actions are within/outside of Ma’at? And who will be able to look into their hearts and know when they are truly sorry? It seems unjust to permanently ostracize anyone for a single (or even a collection of) mistake(s). There are a lot of gray areas that will need defining; there are a lot of decisions that will need to be made, sometimes in situations where there really is no right or wrong answer. Our community tends to ostracize and criticize without the philosophical bent of doing so. Can you imagine if we fed the beast?

    What’s more, if the idea of “other”can quickly come to further biases rather than establish Order.

    While I don’t think discussing personal codes of ethics and behavioral guidelines would do any harm, I think it could become problematic when we come to use it to define a group of others composed of people. I applaud your starting of a conversation on standardization. I am leery of basing categorization on ethical behavior.

    With respect to clarifying definitions: I feel less discomfort with standardizing who is and is not a Kemetic (though this may be hard to do without getting into ideas on what Ma’at is). People draw these lines in the sand all the time, and it is much easier to make an objective decision in this instance than with ethical behavior. “If you do X, Y, and Z, just like we do, then we, the people who do these things, think you should call yourself K to help us identify each other.” The trick here is to get a representative sample, see what they do, and find the commonalities. I don’t think it would be wise for a small subset to define for everyone what they may and may not call themselves, as not everyone may have access to the community attempting to define “all Kemetics”, or, if they do, they may not feel comfortable speaking up. On the other hand, one could simply present the definition with the caveat of, “This definition was created under X conditions by Y individuals,” and anyone who takes issue could discuss it with Y individuals or differentiate themselves from that given definition and use a different definition or term.

    As far as discussing our ideas of “Order”, I do think that could yield something productive, particularly if we frame it in the light of, “What do you want the community to look like?” in terms of our goals, the roles of members, the goals of “hubs” (like blogs, temples, forums, etc.), and what unifies/distinguishes us from each other. Differences in practice or ideas of Order could lead to different “sects” of Kemeticism, if the sample were large enough to be said to be representative.

    I hope none of that includes any logic that is too circular or hypocritical. It’s a little past my bedtime. 😀

     
    • DevoTTR

      April 28, 2016 at 11:46 am

      It seems like you got the general gist of it. I used the phrase “othered” because it’s what was used in the dissertation, and I wanted to be consistent with the terminology. I have mixed feelings about using the tern “othered”, because I think it sounds really harsh, or perhaps evokes different sentiment than what I want to completely convey, but like I said, I wanted to be consistent. I also tried to write the post from a neutral standpoint, so that way people could arrive at their own conclusions without having to sift through my bias. So that may also be a factor in how the post came across.

      I was thinking more behaviour as being the criteria, yes. Though I imagine there are some people who might use other criteria for determining who they want to include or exclude. All in all, I sort of approached this post as an exercise in thinking and mulling about how ma’at applies to groups, and I would expect that this “exercise” would be applied possibly on several levels. As you mentioned, discussing what the overall Kemetic community looks like could be one level. Another level might be how each person individually interprets Order and ma’at, and how it applies to them. And then a third level being individual groups, etc.

      Like you, I do have concerns about ma’at becoming a bludgeoning tool (I actually have a post that’s due out in the next month about this). I wouldn’t want to create an us vs. them kind of community, so that definitely needs to be kept in mind when considering who might be part of “other”. However, I do think that we have to have some sort of guidelines in terms of what is acceptable behaviour. I worry that if no rules are put in place at all, then it will be a complete mess (look at tumblr and pagansuncensored to see how that pans out). So like, for me, the group of “othered” might be predators, people who are abusive and/or manipulative or are attempting to harm community members. Another group might be people who engage in a lot if ‘ism’ behaviour (read: bigotry). Obviously, this is one of those grey areas, because I think we all make mistakes and we’re all learning, so I definitely think there needs to be some lee-way in terms of this category or section, etc.

      Ofc, my ideas on this aren’t concrete yet, and I’ve been working on trying to figure out my thoughts on them. Your concerns are definitely important and those sorts of things should be considered in any sort of community building or assessing. Because yeah, you don’t want to go too far in one direction, imo, otherwise ppl get hurt.

      (hopefully my response isn’t too confusing or circular, either XDD)

       
      • cardsandfeather

        April 28, 2016 at 4:30 pm

        Oh ok, I see where you are coming from more clearly now. And I think most of my thoughts are echoed in the comments between you and onlyfragments above – on the one hand, someone has a right to be what ever -ism they chose in their own heads (even though, personally, I do feel most if not many -isms go against Ma’at as well). I do start to feel that “shoulds” and “should nots” come into play when we start interacting with others. I think the key might be limiting the types of behavior we wish to eschew to the most important ones, and not trying to overly complicate the expectations.

        I do think it will be very interesting to have a conversation about what each of us feels Ma’at means, how we live it, and what we want the community to look like (both ideally and with a dose of reality).

        I am excited to see how this progresses, and, if solicited, I will try my best to provide useful input.

         
  3. John McArthur

    April 28, 2016 at 5:40 am

    I read a paper by the author on a related subject today and got the impression there was a mean spirit working under the cloak of scholarly impartiality (I won’t publish a link to a paper I think is capable of misleading people who are unfamiliar with the subject and have limited access to other scholarly works). He consistently put the worst interpretation on smiting scenes etc. whilst relegating the common and well founded scholarly view to parenthetical asides in order to fend off the legitimate charges of pseudo-scholarship. I am familiar with such works from dealing in times past with religious apologists and it was no surprise therefore to find on a simple google search that the writer has been involved in controversies involving the Mormon faith as well as being banned by the Egyptian authorities for issuing misleading information. I wouldn’t trust his work because it seems to lack the very thing you discuss – Maat. I am amazed he has a phd.

     
    • DevoTTR

      April 28, 2016 at 11:53 am

      I’d be interested in seeing the other paper that you’re reading so that I can compare notes. In the current paper that I linked to in this post, I haven’t seen a whole lot of “mean spirit” in the writing. I think that Toby Wilkinson’s book has more “mean spirit” than Muhlenstein’s (though Wilkinson’s book is purely to expose the dark underbelly of AE. That’s the whole point of the book XD).
      Even if the dissertation isn’t scholastically sound (so far the biblio seems legit), I think the points raised in my post are still valid. The idea of trying to figure out how ma’at is going to apply to modern Kemetics, and what kinds of exclusions or lines in the sand that we feel are necessary to draw are valid, regardless of whether the dissertation is sound or not. Esp since the act of aligning malevolent forces (read: anything that threatened AE’s well being) with isfet is pretty attested at this point. I mainly included the dissertation so that I could use it as a logical spring board into the discussion.

      We’ll see if my feelings on the paper change by the time I reach the end of it. I’m currently a few chapters in, and it seems pretty solid so far.

       
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  5. John McArthur

    April 29, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I didn’t like Wilkinson’s book for it’s lack of balance and as the title suggests it was written as a work of general history and not purely to expose what he thinks (wrongly) scholars have neglected. Regarding Kerry Muhlenstein,:

    “Dr. Kara Cooney, 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””

    Mormon apologetic site Fairmon treats the above as being an authentic response and have replied in appropriate style (google for links).

     
  6. Rina

    May 12, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I believe it should come from the goddess ma’at, and that each of us should try to bring order to our lives as best we can.

     
    • DevoTTR

      May 12, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      The biggest caveat with that is- who is going to discern what Ma’at wants? It’d be one thing if she could come down here and tell us all what we should be doing, but unfortunately she can’t. So we’ve got to hash these details out ourselves, it would seem.

       

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