From the Valley of the Nile

From the Valley of the Nile October 22, 2023

 

NASA/NOAA, Egypt from space
A NASA/NOAA photo of the Nile River and the Nile Delta — the ORIGINAL “delta” — from approximately 512 miles above the surface of the planet. The exceptionally bright glow of Cairo at the southern end of the Delta is plainly visible, as is the long narrow strip along the Mediterranean coast on western side of the Delta that is Alexandria. Moving westward, after the sparsely populated moonscape of the Sinai Peninsula, the very populous nations of Israel and Lebanon and coastal Syria, along with the Gaza Strip, are unmistakable. The Nile Valley and the Delta, taken together, resemble an Egyptian lotus flower and its stem.

 

Our Interpreter Foundation tour of Türkiye ended yesterday, so we flew today from the great city of Istanbul to the massive city of Cairo.  Most of our group headed home (or, anyway, somewhere else), but some have come with us to Egypt and others will join us here, for a non-Interpreter tour of the land of the Nile, either this evening or sometime tomorrow.  It’s always good to be back in the city where my wife and I spent the first four years of our married life and where our first child was born.

 

NASA Egypt and Sinai
Against the barren desert of northeastern Africa, the fertile valley of the Nile River runs northward through Egypt. In this image, the city of Cairo can be seen as a gray smudge where the river widens into its broad fan-shaped delta. Other cities are dotted across the green landscape, giving it a speckled appearance. Where the Nile empties into the Mediterranean Sea (top) the waters are swirling with color, likely a mixture of sediment, organic matter, and possibly marine plant life. Farther west, the bright blue color of the water is likely less-organically rich sediment, perhaps sand. East of the delta lies the arid Sinai Peninsula, whose pointed tip is home to rugged mountains, some as high as 8,600 feet. The lattice work of pale lines marks the paths of ephemeral rivers. The Sinai Peninsula intrudes into the Red Sea. Farther east are Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. At top right is the disputed territory of the West Bank.  The Gaza Strip is plainly outlined in the upper righthand quadrant of the photograph.  Herodotus remarked that Egypt is the gift of the Nile, and this photograph certainly illustrates his point.

(Wikimedia Commons NASA public domain image)

 

I’ve been a bit busy for the past few days, and out of sync with North American time, but I’m going to try to catch up with some recent publications from the Interpreter Foundation.  The first two are actually quite appropriate to the place from which I’m writing as of today:

“The Hamites: The Pre-Restoration Monotheism of the Children of Ham in the Book of Abraham,” written by Adam Stokes

Abstract: This article examines the treatment of several personages identified as Hamites in the Book of Abraham. It proposes that, in contrast to traditional readings of the text, Hamites are featured positively in the Book of Abraham. This is particularly true of the daughters of Onitah and of Pharaoh himself, both of whom are presented as righteous people practicing an early form of monotheism. While I do not claim that the Book of Abraham is completely free of elements possibly deemed to be racially problematic, until now, the positive depiction of the Hamites in the text has largely been overlooked.

“Interpreting Interpreter: A Hamite View,” written by Kyler Rasmussen

This post is a summary of the article “The Hamites: The Pre-Restoration Monotheism of the Children of Ham in the Book of Abraham” by Adam Stokes in Volume 59 of Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. All of the articles may be seen at https://interpreterfoundation.org/category/summaries/. An introduction to the Interpreting Interpreter series is available at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreting-interpreter-on-abstracting-thought/.

The Takeaway: Stokes argues that the Book of Abraham, despite its perception among critics as a racist document, generally presents the descendants of Ham as righteous and faithful.

Textual and Comparative Explorations in 1 & 2 Enoch: “Zion” and “Jerusalem” as Lady Wisdom in Moses 7 and Nephi’s Tree of Life Vision: Reverberations of Enoch and Asherah in Nineteenth Century America,” written by Samuel Zinner

Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article originally appeared in Textual and Comparative Explorations in 1 & 2 Enoch (2014) by Samuel Zinner. For more information, go to https://interpreterfoundation.org/books/textual-and-comparative-explorations-in-1-2-enoch/.

The Bright and Morning Star: Finding and Following Jesus Through the Book of Revelation, written by Breck England

Just in time for the “Come Follow Me” lessons on the last book of the New Testament, we are pleased to announce that The Bright and Morning Star: Finding and Following Jesus Through the Book of Revelation by Breck England is now available. This new study views Revelation through the lens of the temple in an innovative “ritual reading” that relies on the best scholarship and the words of prophets ancient and modern. Here the mysteries and symbols of Revelation become clear in light of the ordinances of the holy temple.

The New Testament in Context Lesson 44: “Be Thou an Example of the Believers”: 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon

In the 1 October 2023 Come, Follow Me segment of the Interpreter Radio Show, discussants Spencer Kraus, Hales Swift, Brent Schmidt, and Martin Tanner focused on New Testament lesson 44, “Be Thou an Example of the Believers,” covering 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

The other segments of the 1 October 2023 radio show can be accessed at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-october-1-2023.

The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard each and every Sunday evening in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640.  Alternatively, if you’re not in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, you can listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.  I daresay that, were I awake at the appropriate time, which I may well be but devoutly hope that I am not, I could even listen to it here via my computer.

Come, Follow Me — New Testament Study and Teaching Helps: Lesson 44, October 23 — October 29: 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon — “Be Thou an Example of the Believers”

As he regularly does on the Interpreter website, Jonn Claybaugh has contributed a concise set of notes for student and teachers of the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Interpreter Radio Show — October 1, 2023

In the 1 October 2023 episode of the Interpreter Radio Show, a panel consisting of Spencer Kraus, Hales Swift, Brent Schmidt, and Martin Tanner discussed Come, Follow Me New Testament lesson 44, Church finances, and General Conference.

The “New Testament in Context” portion of this show, for the Come, Follow Me New Testament lesson 44, “Be Thou an Example of the Believers,” covering 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, is also posted separately above.

Archived recordings of the Interpreter Radio Show are made available to you free of charge, and are edited to remove commercial breaks.

 

Cairo, a sampling of mosques
A view of some mosques in Cairo, where my wife and I spent the first four years of our married life
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

As is my wont from time to time, I glanced in for a few minutes upon what I sometimes call the Peterson Obsession Board, where my buffoonish viciousness has been a principal focus of daily discussion for the better part of two decades.  There, I saw an interesting claim from the zany madcap who goes by the name of Everybody’s WC (or something of that sort).  He alleges that I kept a small hoard of antiquities in my BYU office, and that I eagerly sought to impress visitors by boastfully showing off my collection (which was probably obtained illegally).  As is generally the case with Everybody’s WC, of course, he’s lying.  (Or, to take a more charitable view, he’s been duped by somebody else who is lying in order to exploit his eager gullibility.)  I have no such collection, and I’ve never had such a collection.  Accordingly, I’ve never sought to impress anybody with it.  As I remarked here two or three weeks ago about Everybody’s WC,

It’s pretty safe to assume, whenever he pretends to know me well or to have damning inside information on me from, say, my neighbors, my university colleagues, my former Maxwell Institute associates, my fellow volunteers in the Interpreter Foundation, and so on — he’s claimed all of these on various occasions — that he’s either lying or, much less likely, that he’s being played.

 

Posted from Cairo, Egypt

 

 

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