There are 8 thoughts on “Shulem, One of the King’s Principal Waiters”.

  1. One might also want to compare Sahidic Coptic šōlm (in list of names, Crum, Coptic Dictionary, 560a), perhaps a later form of that same name.

  2. According to David H. Fischer, Historians’ Fallacies (New York: Harper and Row, 1970), 48: “The fallacy of the presumptive proof consists in advancing a proposition and shifting the burden of proof or disproof to others.”
    Fischer goes on to explain (p. 49): “There is a burden of responsibility which rests squarely upon [the individual advancing a proposition], and not on his quibbling critics, to advance specific propositions which come closer to the core.”
    So far, the argument seems to have run this way:
    (1) Gee advances a set of specific propositions that relate to the individual named Shulem in the Book of Abraham that account for the specific spelling of the name, its use at the time of Abraham, and the nature of his position.
    (2) Hajicek claims that “the origination [sic] of Shulem was already covered (better)” in a book purportedly available to Joseph Smith. He advances this proposition without supplying the passage or any sort of context for this statement and providing a mistaken reference to the source.
    (3) Gee quotes the source and notes that nothing in the source matches the use to which it is put in the Book of Abraham. Gee also notes that Hajicek provided no argument that Joseph Smith had ever seen that source.
    (4) Hajicek claims that the burden of proof is on Gee, who provided evidence and argumentation, rather than Hajicek who is allowed simply to make assertions.
    Hajicek appears, on the face of it, to provide a classic example of the fallacy of presumptive proof.
    Context does matter. In cases of borrowing, it is not just the name but the context in which the name occurs. Hawker uses Shulem as the name of a place or an abstraction, not a person. If it is simply a version of the name, I already noted the biblical versions of the name in my article. Unlike Hawker’s book, or the Book of Jasher, we not only know that Joseph Smith had access to a Bible, we know he owned one, and was even known to have read from it. Occam’s razor would favor Joseph Smith getting something from reading his Bible (which we know he did) than from reading other books which he may or may not have even heard of.
    If Mr. Hijacek wishes to actually make a case using evidence and arguments, he is free to do so. Right now, he seems to wish to rest his case on a logical fallacy, and he is free to do that as well.

  3. No, there is no burden on me, as I have no hypothesis about where Joseph Smith got the name Shulem. Our author here, however, is saying Joseph could not have gotten it from his environment, which you are correct cannot be proved. As you say, it is “inherently impossible” for Gee to prove this. Thank you.

    • “No, there is no burden on me, as I have no hypothesis about where Joseph Smith got the name Shulem.”
      I think your assertion that Hawker provides a “better” explanation of Shulem, and that Joseph Smith had access to Hawker’s book, at least implied that you have a hypothesis. If not, then you’re correct. No burden of proof falls upon you.
      I agree with Dr. Gee however, in that the entry on “Shulamite” is not an impressive explanation for the name Shulem in the Book of Abraham. However, the origin of the name Shulem is only part of John Gee’s argument. While the origin of the name may continue to be debated, hopefully we can agree that Gee’s explanation and documentation of the different forms of the Egyptian “wdpw” offers some valuable insight into the title of one of the king’s principal waiters.
      Thanks for all your research Dr. Gee.

  4. You wrote, “If Joseph Smith had gotten the name from his environment, the name would have been Shillem” (instead of Shulem). However, I showed you that the precise word Shulem was available in his environment. You are flipping over your hypothesis on me, and saying that I must prove that Joseph Smith read a specific book. But it is the opposite, to prove your hypothesis you really must show that he did not read the book, or any other books like it, and that nobody else who influenced him did either. I showed it was possible to find it in his environment, which is counter to your hypothesis. Your argument was to prove that was impossible to find it in his environment, which I showed is conflicted by the evidence.
    You say that if I was correct, Joseph Smith “took liberties with the spelling” but on the contrary, the bottom of p. 854 of Hawker uses the same spelling as Joseph Smith. So I found an exact match. But in all of your 129 references, you did not find anything but a “vocalization of Shulem match” as you call it, or words that sound similar. I did fine, finding Joseph’s exact spelling in at least one reference book. By the way, Shulam in Jasher is a vocalization” of Shulem, and Jasher is a book Joseph probably could get. If you are concluding it is a “bullseye” to find a vocalization match (similar words) in ancient texts, you can certainly admit that it is a “bullseye” to find an equivalent vocalization match in the Book of Jasher, which was noted by Joseph Smith in 1840 and referenced by him in 1842.
    But since I found the exact spelling, your statement is incorrect at the outset when you assert: “The form of Shulem’s name is attested only at two times: the time period of Abraham and the time period of the Joseph Smith papyri.” I admire your research on the word Shulem, but the project needs further study, and the assertions need to be softened.

    • “But it is the opposite, to prove your hypothesis you really must show that he did not read the book, or any other books like it, and that nobody else who influenced him did either.”
      No. The burden of proof is not on Gee to show that Joseph Smith didn’t read something (which is inherently impossible, since you cannot prove a negative).
      If you are going to assert that Joseph Smith got the name Shulem from this or that book, the burden of proof is on you, the one making the positive claim, to demonstrate such.
      More to the point, this is much like the issue with Nahom in 1 Nephi. It’s not just a name. It’s the name, but it’s also the time, the place, and the context. All of this works for the Book of Abraham in the late Middle Kingdom and 2nd Intermediate Period. Hardly any of this works in Joseph Smith’s 19th century environment. Gee’s hypothesis therefore has stronger explanatory power, and is to be preferred.
      “Shulam in Jasher is a vocalization” of Shulem, and Jasher is a book Joseph probably could get.”
      It’s actually “Shulamite” in Jasher, and it is the same thing as what’s referenced in the Song of Solomon.
      So we’re back to square one.

  5. Where should I start with this?
    (1) Do you mean ROBERT Hawker?
    (2) His book may have been available, but neither Harvard, nor Yale, nor Columbia have a copy. Before you make this assertion, you need to show that Joseph Smith had access to a copy and read it. Just as you, in theory, could have consulted any of the books that I cited, but chances are you have never heard of them, so Joseph Smith would have to have actually read the book rather than just lived in a time when the book existed.
    (3) Fortunately, thanks to the internet, we can actually look at the passage in question from the book:
    “This name is given to the church in the Songs of Solomon, Song vi. 13. It hath been variously accounted for. Some have supposed that it is in consequence of her marriage with Solomon, and bearing therefore his name for Shulamite is the feminine, as Solomon is the masculine, both being derived from Shalem, peace. And if so there is a great beauty in it as ir relates to Christ and his church, for if Jesus be the Shalem, the peace of his people, His spouse hat peace in him and his blood and righteousness. We have a beautiful instance of the same kind, and from the authority of the Holy Ghose, Jer. xxiii. 6, with Jer. xxxiii. 16, where, in the first of these chapters Jesus is called by Jehovah’s appointment the Lord of righteousness, and in the second the church, by the same authority, as one bearing the name of her husband, is called the same.
    But beside these considerations there is a great propriety in calling the church Shulamite, for Shulem Salem is the same as Jeru-salem; and this is the mother of the church, Gal. iv. 26. Hence Melchizedec is said to have been King of Salem, king of peace, Heb. vii. 2. What a sweet thought! Our Jesus, our Melchizedec, the King of Salem, and all his people are in this sense Shulamites; for they are “fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,” Ephes. ii. 19, &c.”
    “And it is very blessed yet farther to trace the propriety of the name in reference to the church’s connection and interest with her Lord; for she is a Shulamite indeed in the peace and perfection of beauty put upon her, by the comeliness and perfection of Jesus. Hence when the daughters of Jerusalem, smitten with a view of her loveliness in Christ, call upon her, it is to return, that they may look upon her beauty, “Return, return, O Shulamite! return, return, that we may look upon thee.” So struck were they with her righteousness in Jesus, Song vi. 4.”
    (4) As far as “the originination [sic] of Shulem”, I do not find this terribly impressive. If this were his source, then he obviously (a) took liberties with the spelling, (b) turned the name from referring to an abstraction to a person, (c) changed the name from a woman’s to a man’s, (d) had the name refer to a waiter rather than the Church, (e) in short changed almost everything the entry that supposedly was his source.
    (5) At the same time, Joseph changed all this material to something that matched something out of Abraham’s time and place.
    (6) Thank you for providing what Joseph Smith’s contemporaries said about the subject. I think you may have proved that whatever else can be said of this line from the Book of Abraham, it was not produced out of Joseph Smith’s environment.

  6. In the name of scholarship! The origination of Shulem was already covered (better) in Richard Hawker’s Poor Man’s Concordance and Dictionary, in print for Joseph Smith to use at least by 1828 in the copy I checked.
    The Song of Solomon is comically on point, as usual:
    Song. 6: 13
    13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite?

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