John Gee

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John Gee in 2016

John Laurence Gee (born 1964) is a Mormon apologist, and Egyptologist at Brigham Young University (BYU), known for his writings in support of the Book of Abraham.[1][2][3][4][5]


Gee graduated from BYU in 1988.[6] Later, he became a graduate student in Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley[7] and received his M.A.[8] in Near Eastern Studies[9] in 1991.[10] He earned his Ph.D. in Egyptology at Yale University[8] in 1998, completing his dissertation on ancient Egyptian ritual purity.[11]

Gee is the William "Bill" Gay Research Professor of Egyptology at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU. In this role, he is an editor for the Studies in the Book of Abraham series and a member of the editorial board of the Eastern Christian Texts series.[12]

Gee has been involved with various professional societies. He is editor of the Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, and has served on the Society's committees and board of trustees.[13] He was also on the board of directors for the Aziz S. Atiya Fund for Coptic Studies at the University of Utah.[14] He has participated in the International Association for Coptic Studies,[15][16] the Society of Biblical Literature,[17][18][19] the American Research Center in Egypt,[20] and the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.[21]

Gee has written an overview of Coptic literature.[22][full citation needed] In May 2008 Gee gave a presentation on the early conversion to Christianity in Egypt at the Coptic Church Centre in London.[23][full citation needed]

Mormon studies[edit]

Gee is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which believes Joseph Smith divinely translated the Book of Abraham from Egyptian papyrus in the 19th century. Because of his expertise in Near Eastern studies and Egyptology, Gee is highly visible in the debate over the authenticity of the Book of Abraham. His interest in these issues led to his involvement with the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) at BYU since the late 1980s.[24] He has also presented on the Joseph Smith Papyri to the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR).[25]

In 2010 Gee made a presentation with Louis C. Midgley at the BYU Mormon Media Studies Symposium reporting on their study into the effect of the tendency of Evangelical Christians to attack the right of other groups to call themselves Christians and how this affected Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.[26]

One of Gee's former Yale professors, Robert K. Ritner, later publicly criticized some of Gee's interpretations of the Joseph Smith Papyri and failure to include Ritner in professional peer reviews of his work, as his other students have.[27] Based on his own analyses, Ritner has concluded that "the specific source of the Book of Abraham is the 'Breathing Permit of Hôr,' misunderstood and mistranslated by Joseph Smith."[28]


  • Gee, John (1987). "Creation: The Book of Abraham, Science, and the Ancient Near East". [University scholar project]. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University.
  • —— (1991). "Notes on the Sons of Horus". [masters thesis]. Provo, UT: FARMS.
  • —— (1998). "The Requirements of Ritual Purity in Ancient Egypt". [doctoral dissertation]. New Haven, CT: Yale University.
  • —— (1999). "A History of the Joseph Smith Papyri and Book of Abraham". Provo, UT: FARMS.
  • —— (1999). "The Ancient Owners of the Joseph Smith Papyri". Provo, UT: FARMS.
  • —— (2004). "'There Needs No Ghost, My Lord, Come from the Grave to Tell Us This': Dreams and Angels in Ancient Egypt" (PDF). Society of Biblical Literature.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham". Google Book Search. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  2. ^ "Gee, John (John Laurence), 1964-". Library of Congress Online Catalog. Library of Congress (&SA=Gee%2C%20John%20Laurence&PID=pr_PFyyNdv5l_9caZFCj–oyiUFak&SID=2). Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  3. ^ Keller (June 19, 2008). "John Gee at Olivewood". FAIR Blog. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  4. ^ Hardy, Roger L. (June 20, 2008). "BYU scholar researching Book of Abraham origins". MormonTimes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  5. ^ "Book of Abraham - Section 2". The Mormon Curtain. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  6. ^ "FARMS Report". BYU Magazine. Brigham Young University. Winter 2002. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  7. ^ Gee, John (1994). "La Trahison des Clercs: On the Language and Translation of the Book of Mormon". FARMS Review. 6 (1): 51–120. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  8. ^ a b "About the Reviewers". Review of Books on the Book of Mormon. Provo, UT: FARMS. 4 (1): 273. 1992. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  9. ^ Gee, John (July 1992). "Abraham in Ancient Egyptian Texts". Ensign: 60. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  10. ^ Gee's 1991 "Notes on the Sons of Horus" was his master's thesis.See Shirts, Kerry A. (2001). "With His Own Thoughts, Upon the Sources of Anti-Mormonism, Muddying Up the Issues on the Papyrus". Kerry A. Shirts's Mormonism Researched. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2009-04-09.; Gee, John (1991). "Notes on the Sons of Horus". Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.
  11. ^ Gee, John Laurence (1998). "The Requirements of Ritual Purity in Ancient Egypt". Yale University. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  12. ^ "Gee, John". Authors. Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
  13. ^ "About the SSEA". The Society For The Study of Egyptian Antiquities. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  14. ^ Gee, John (2007). "New Light on the Joseph Smith Papyri". FARMS Review. 19 (2): 245–260. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  15. ^ "Newsletter Bulletin D'Information" (PDF) (32). International Association for Coptic Studies. November 1993. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  16. ^ "Newsletter Bulletin D'Information" (35). International Association for Coptic Studies. May 1995. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  17. ^ "Annual Meeting Seminar Papers and Websites". Society of Biblical Literature. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  18. ^ "2007 Annual Meeting". Society of Biblical Literature. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  19. ^ "Annual Meeting Program Unit Chairs" (PDF). Society Report. Society of Biblical Literature. November 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  20. ^ "Stylistic Dating of Greco-Roman Stele II: Heads and Hands" (paper presented at the American Research Center in Egypt Annual Meetings, Atlanta, Georgia, 25 April 2003)
  21. ^ See 2007 lectures at "Past Lectures". David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  22. ^ link to article
  23. ^ program for Coptic Symposium
  24. ^ Gee, John (2007). "New Light on the Joseph Smith Papyri". FARMS Review. 19 (2): 245–260. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  25. ^ "FAIR Conference Speakers". Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research. 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  26. ^ Deseret News. Nov. 14, 2010
  27. ^ In an article highly critical of Joseph Smith's interpretation of Egyptian writing, Ritner wrote, "With regard to the articles by my former student John Gee, I am constrained to note that unlike the… practice of all my other Egyptology students, Gee never chose to share drafts of his publications with me to elicit scholarly criticism, so that I have encountered these only recently. It must be understood that in these apologetic writings, Gee’s opinions do not necessarily reflect my own, nor the standards of Egyptological proof that I required at Yale or Chicago."Ritner, Robert K. (Winter 2000). "The 'Breathing Permit of Hôr': Thirty-four Years Later". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 33 (4): 97–119. Retrieved 2009-04-06.Republished with revised introduction in Ritner, Robert K. (July 2003). "'The Breathing Permit of Hôr' Among The Joseph Smith Papyri". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 62 (3): 161–180. doi:10.1086/380315.See also this BYU review of Ritner's critique in Morris, Larry E. (2004). "The Book of Abraham: Ask the Right Questions and Keep On Looking". FARMS Review. 16 (2): 355–80. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
  28. ^ Ritner, Robert K., A Response to "Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham" (PDF), retrieved 2016-01-19

External links[edit]