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Home Book of Abraham Special Section Lost Book of Abraham Video by Luke Wilson, Rebuttal by Kerry Shirts

Lost Book of Abraham Video by Luke Wilson, Rebuttal by Kerry Shirts

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KERRY SHIRTS ON THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM VIDEO FROM I.R.R.

FAIR CONFERENCE, SALT LAKE CITY, 04/08/02.

[Transcribed by Marc A. Schindler 17/09/02. Transcriber’s note: ellipses ("…") do not represent gaps in data, but pauses in conversation. Verbal speech does not follow the same rules as written text, so pauses in speech which might be represented by periods or commas in written text have been represented by ellipses]

I’m Kerry Shirts. I’m a researcher with FAIR, the Foundation for Apologetics Information and Research. We have been apprised of a situation, of a new video out on the Book of Abraham, by Luke Wilson, and the Institute of Religious Research – the IRR. They have presented a new video on the Book of Abraham, trying to refute it and bury it once and for all, showing why it’s phony, and why the papyri, the Joseph Smith papyri, prove that Joseph Smith is a false prophet. And that’s their full intention; it’s an agenda-driven video, I believe.

Now, I haven’t seen the video, but I have the transcript. A fellow researcher, Ben McGuire, from FAIR, and I, are putting together a response for our FAIR website. We’ll have that here in a few weeks. The timing of this video has been difficult to get a response in for our FAIR conference. It’s going to be held this upcoming week. Today’s August 4th 2002 – I might as well record the date for posterity’s sake.

So we have this new video and we decided we wanted to respond to this. The video medium gives a chance to put in background music, and put actors in, acting like Joseph Smith and Martin Harris and trying to make you feel like you’re actually there. You know, it’s just a more convincing way to present information

However, based upon the transcript that I have, I think this video is completely one-sided. They are totally ignoring the research of the Latter-day Saint scholars. This is rather typical – this is what I would expect – but they are staying with the same argument that they presented in the late 1960s and all through the 70s, 80s and 90s, and on into this new millennium.

Well, it’s time to move ahead. LDS research has been ploughing steadily forward on the papyri – the dating, the relationships, etc….background to the Book of Abraham – we’ve been discussing the Book of Abraham. This video does not touch the text of the Book of Abraham, not at all. It just strictly deals with the papyri. And it’s very negative. And I believe one-sided.

So I’ve put together a few resources. I’m not going to make this a typical five-to-twelve minute Sacrament meeting talk that’s basically simple. Not at all; I’m going to present the solid scholarly research. I’m going to present new information, that it’s time to call our critics to account for. They continually ignore it – we’re going to present it. This is going to be a tough response. It’s time to get tough, just a little bit, with these people. They’re saying the same lies over and over again, and we’re just not convinced.

So let me run through this transcript. I’m not going to cover all of the transcript, I’m not going to read the whole thing to you. I want to get to our stuff! They basically discuss the idea that the Book of Abraham is a book of scripture from papyri.

Their first argument that’s incorrect, however, is they claim the ancient Egyptian scroll that Joseph Smith purchased in 1835 contained the lost Book of Abraham, an original text nearly 4,000 years old. And I will get to that later on as they word this transcript differently. But that’s not a true claim. And that’s right on the first page of the transcript. And then they go through the idea of the finding of the papyri and how Lebolo and Chandler came to Kirtland and they conclude, they say, these were none other than the very writings of Abraham and Joseph – famous figures from the Old Testament of the Bible. And if this were true these scrolls would be a momentous and unprecedented discovery. Preservation of writings from nearly 2,000 years before Christ!

And, I knew there was something wrong with this so I looked into John Gee’s A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri [(Provo UT: FARMS, 2000)] dated 2000 – brand new. I wish he’d been more thorough in this guide. I understand he’s simplifying it for we the public, and I’m grateful to him for his magnificent work on that but I still wish he would have put more information in it. But that’s just me, you know…it’s an easy book, you can read it in one day. It’s a well-done book, it’s got wonderful, wonderful photographs and excellent charts. I highly recommend it.

Page 25: "Some have assumed that the papyri date to Abraham’s day. This notion is supported by hearsay sources (notably Josiah Quincy) who misunderstood what Joseph Smith said. Those who assume that the papyri date to Abraham’s day often do not distinguish between the date of a text and the date of a manuscript, which is a copy of that text. (For example, Paul’s letter to the Galatians was written in the first century, but most of the manuscripts date to much later.) This theory is largely a straw man" – and why? Because "it is mostly the anti-Mormons who claim that [we] believe that the papyri, rather than the text, date to Abraham’s [day]."

This is important to understand. There’s a few theories on the transmission of the text of Abraham. Those who believe that the manuscript and not just the text of the Book of Abraham, dates back to Abraham’s day, think that the papyri were written by Abraham while he was in Egypt, so textual transmission does not occur in this theory. Now although anti-Mormons often attribute this theory to us, there is nothing in the teachings of the Church which say that this is a universally held belief among Latter-day Saints.

There’s a second theory that Abraham wrote the text of the Book of Abraham as an Egyptian text while he was residing in Egypt, and then this text was transmitted by Egyptians. And the papyri are a later manuscript. What people who have this view do not take into account why, if it was intended for Egyptians, why are there explanations of Egyptian customs and beliefs in the Book of Abraham? See, it seems to be directed towards an audience unfamiliar with the Egyptian customs.

A third theory of transmission postulates that the Book of Abraham was written by Abraham, and passed on down through his descendants, the Jews – some of whom took a copy to Egypt, where it was copied after being translated onto a later manuscript.

So these are the various ideas involving the transmission of the Book of Abraham. So for them to say that we all believe that these writings are nearly 2,000 years before Christ…I don’t believe that theory holds water at all.

Now moving on through the transcript, they talk about the travellings of the papyri, discuss various newspaper articles, then they have the voice of William W….They say "William H. Phelps" – it’s supposed to be William W. Phelps, and you know, little details like that…they’re chuck full of mistakes like this. "Four Egyptian mummies were brought here. There were two papyrus rolls besides some other ancient Egypt writings with them. The rolls of papyrus contained the sacred writings of Joseph in Pharaoh’s court in Egypt, and the teachings of Father Abraham."

And then they have Ed Ashment, Jan Shipps, talk about how exciting it would have been in Joseph’s day to have this papyri back into the city, back in Amerika. They talk about the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar; he was developing the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, continuously translating the records, etc. Then they have the Egyptologist Robert K. Ritner. In the 1840s in the United States the ancient Egyptian language was virtually unknown. It had only been beginning to be deciphered in 1822 – the knowledge simply hadn’t crossed the Atlantic about that decipherment. So the assumption is it’s a pretty safe bet that whatever Joseph decided to translate, he could get away with. Nobody could catch him at it, so, you know, here comes the famous conspiracy theory.

Then he talks about "This afternoon," Joseph Smith was speaking here, "I labored on the Egyptian alphabet in company with Oliver Cowdery and W. W. Phelps. During the research the principles of astronomy, as understood by Abraham and the ancients, unfolded to our understanding, the particulars of which will appear hereafter." October 1st, 1835. Now they want to give the impression that while they were labouring on the Alphabet and Grammar, with all of this research, that it was an intellectual accomplishment. But there’s no mention of research in the original document itself. The "unfolded to our understanding" they want us to think it was their own research. But there wasn’t research, it was done by revelation.

John Gee in the Farms Review of Books 1992, talks about this situation. He’s reviewing Charles Larsen’s book, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus, which was put out by Luke Wilson’s organization, incidentally. He says, "Here’s a major flaw in the theory: the anti-Mormon argument assumes we have all the material Joseph Smith had, and that is the crux of the matter. That is the whole hinge on which the argument rests, with this video. They assume we have all the material that Joseph Smith had. We know that Joseph Smith planned to publish more of the Book of Abraham than he did, but what was in that unpublished portion? And I’ll get to some of this evidence in a little bit.

Well, we know something of the plan of the work that he was intending. Abraham writes that a knowledge of the beginning of the creation and of the planets, and also the stars, is what he was going to talk about. We have that beginning information in our present text of the Book of Abraham. However, it’s not the full amount.

When Joseph records that he was working on Egyptian records, a system of astronomy was unfolded. He means something specific. The word "unfold" refers to revelation, not to research, as Larsen claims. Larsen claimed a source, but it would have been better if would had used Dean Jesse’s "The Papers of Joseph Smith." Neither of the original manuscripts of Joseph Smith mentions "research," you see – it’s an "unfolding." And how that unfolding occurred, of course, is by revelation. Wilford Woodruff contends Joseph Smith translated it by the Urim and Thummim. We don’t know all of the particulars of how revelation worked just yet, but we know it wasn’t "research," as a typical understanding of what today’s "research" entails. It certainly wasn’t research like I’m doing, or any of the other LDS scholars are doing.

So let me get on with this. He says, "[in 1838] Joseph said ‘I exhibited and explained the Egyptian records and explained many things concerning the dealings of God with the ancients and the formation of the planetary system.’" You see, the formation, the actual formation of the planetary system. That’s nowhere in the Book of Abraham. This information goes far beyond the material that we have in the Book of Abraham. And even if Abraham 4:14-18 is taken to be the discussed passage, the next question Gee has is, "Where in the Kirtland Egyptian papers is this passage at?"

In 1838, Anson Call reported that "Joseph said to us, ‘sit down and we will read to you from the translations of the Book of Abraham.’" So Oliver Cowdery sat down and read until he was tired, and after he was tired, Thomas Marsh read, which made altogether about two hours. Well, Gee says a conservative estimate would suggest that the Book of Abraham material translated at that point is about four times the length of what we have now. Where did it all go? It only takes about half an hour to read our current Book of Abraham. These guys read for hours in the Book of Abraham translations. Well, H. Donald Peterson gives us a hint. In the book, Studies in Scripture, vol. 2: the Pearl of Great Price, by Millet and Jackson, H. Donald Peterson says, to the question, why did not Joseph Smith publish the Book of Abraham in book form prior to his death, or add it to the Doctrine & Covenants, "because it wasn’t finished. In fact, it was hardly begun. The book of Abraham was a lengthy record. One lone Latter-day Saint was told that when completed, it would be ‘more lengthy than the Bible’." Oliver Cowdery spoke of volumes necessary to contain the Book of Abraham. What we have are two short instalments, that were published during Joseph Smith’s lifetime, but he even promised more, though.

We have but a small fraction of a rather lengthy record. And the Book of Abraham was translated by divine inspiration. How the Spirit of the Lord operated on the mind of the prophet when he was working with this unknown language has never been explained, although Orson Pratt did indicate that he saw Joseph Smith’s countenance light up as the inspiration of the Holy Ghost rested upon him, dictating the great and most precious revelations now printed for our guide. "I saw his translating by inspiration the Old and the New Testaments and the inspired Book of Abraham from Egyptian papyrus." That’s on page 174 and 175 of H. Donald Peterson’s article.

So we have a lot of information that these critics are completely ignoring, and they are misconstruing what "unfolding" meant. "Unfolding" meant revelation, not research. They didn’t get that right, in other words. But they won’t tell you that. This was written…this has been in print now, for years, decades in some cases.

Well, then they have Stan Larson. He says Joseph Smith in his diary July 1835 talked specifically about translating "characters or hieroglyphics." And Ed Ashment: "He with a couple of his scribes began working on an Alphabet and Grammar of the Egyptian language." Well we have documents, some of which, one of which, was written by Joseph Smith, with some additions by Oliver Cowdery. And another one in the handwriting of Phelps. And we have additional summary remarks or small additions made in the handwriting of Warren Parrish.

And so what I did, was I looked up – again – some of the newest research on just this issue, a little more information on the Kirtland Egyptian papers. This is in John Gee’s brand new article "Eyewitness, Hearsay and Physical Evidence," in the Richard Lloyd Anderson festschrift for the year 2000. It’s volume 2, I believe. Anyway, this information by John Gee

[ John Gee, "Eyewitness, Hearsay, and Physical Evidence of the Joseph Smith Papyri" in Steven D. Ricks, et. al.; eds. The Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson (Provo UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies at Brigham Young University, 2000):175-217.] ---

is, of course, completely ignored. And they had it available to them – they just won’t use it.

"The Kirtland Egyptian Papers, these are a collection dating back to the Kirtland period in the handwriting of various individuals. They’ve been grouped into two classes of documents, Book of Abraham manuscripts…and Egyptian manuscripts." [Gee: 195]. He discusses the principles of astronomy that were being "unfolded" to them in the papyri, and he says, the interesting thing is "The Book of Abraham as published in The Times and Seasons was not a complete translation, but the publication of the facsimiles illustrates an order to the story. In Facsimile 1 Abraham is saved from being sacrificed; Facsimile 2 contains the knowledge of astronomy revealed to Abraham; and Facsimile 3 depicts Abraham teaching this astronomical knowledge in Pharaoh’s court." [ibid: 199-200] And that’s what the Book of Abraham outlined: "A knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers,…" [ibid: 200] and Abraham was going to share it with the posterity (Abraham 1:31).

In its currently published form, however, the Book of Abraham stops in the middle of a revelation on the creation. I’ve always noticed that when I’ve read the Book of Abraham. You’re going along reading about it, and all of a sudden…bam! It just stops cold.

So a word on the explanations of the facsimiles are also in order. Each facsimile has what is termed an "explanation" but that doesn’t say much about what’s going on with the facsimiles. Rather the explanations identify various elements which are then explained in the text of the Book of Abraham. This is an important point right now, that Gee mentions. As presently constituted, the text of the Book of Abraham stops before the explanation of Facsimile 2 occurs. When Joseph Smith writes on October 1st, 1835, that the system of astronomy was unfolded to us, he provides a date for the progress achieved to that point in the translation of the Book of Abraham – a point further along in the Book of Abraham than was ever published. This is crucial because the critics are ignoring this information.

Well…the Egyptian Alphabet. The other phrase that deserves examination in the October 1st entry is that Joseph Smith says "he labored on the Egyptian Alphabet." It’s long been assumed that this was the so-called Alphabet and Grammar. This cannot be maintained, on several grounds, however. The title given to the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar is, quote, "Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language," unquote. Whereas other documents, notably Kirtland Papers 3, 4 and 5, these bear a different title. They bear the title "Egyptian Alphabet". The handwritings of the Kirtland Papers is that of W. W. Phelps and Warren Parrish – that of Kirtland Paper number 1. But Parrish was not hired as a scribe to Joseph Smith until four weeks later.

On the other hand, the other papers, 3, 4 and 5 are in the handwritings of Joseph Smith, who more than just…he was present on the occasion, but he didn’t write very much; Oliver Cowdery, and William W. Phelps. Thus the documents that we refer to, if we posses them at all, must be these documents, 3, 4 and 5. Kirtland Egyptian Papers, Egyptian Manuscripts 3, 4 and 5 – these are almost identical in content. It’s interesting that the English renderings in the last column…these were copied. The papyri have deteriorated since 1835, and the English renderings in the last column are not connected with the Book of Abraham or with astronomy, although they should be if the critics are correct. And this is an important point the critics won’t notice: the fact that the only one of these manuscripts to have Joseph Smith’s handwriting on it matches Joseph Smith Papyrus Number 1, but not the Book of Abraham, would indicate that Joseph Smith did not think that the Book of Breathings was the Book of Abraham.

Did you get that? Joseph Smith Papyrus 1 is the Book of Breathings. This is the document critics think is the original of the Book of Abraham. However, the Book of Abraham in the manuscripts in Joseph Smith’s handwritings is not about the Book of Abraham. He didn’t think the Book of Breathings was the Book of Abraham, in other words. The three manuscripts are not copies of each other. There’re different variances, and synonym used to indicate that the manuscripts are independent notes made as they were all together on that same occasion. So the labour on the Book of Breathings, Joseph Smith Papyrus Number 1 Manuscript.

But the revelation given on the occasion was about a different papyrus, the Joseph Smith Hypocephalus. Now that’s crucial. The critics who claim the Book of Breathings is the original Book of Abraham have not looked at this information at all. In fact, Gee says the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, if anything, may have been the result of an effort by the brethren to align the Book of Abraham, which was already received by revelation, with papyri documents in their possession. That’s what’s going on. Now the Book of Abraham was located elsewhere on the rolls, and why we know this is because Joseph Smith refers to the teachings from the Book of Abraham, and he stated that he learned his teachings by translating the "now in my house." And the fascinating thing is that the teachings he’s talking about, that he learned from the papyrus, are in the King Follett Discourse. Now that is fascinating.

John Gee mentions that in his article, "The Role of the Book of Abraham in the Restoration." This is a FARMS paper that he gave in 1997, he says, "The Book of Abraham forms a background for the funeral discourse given for King Follett.

The prophet noted that he learned some of the things he spoke of in the King Follett Discourse by translating the papyrus ‘now in my house.’" So this is very interesting. It has nothing to do with the Book of Breathings whatsoever. But the critics pretend that it does. There’s your difference.

The process was not the process of the modern Egyptologists, this "translation" process. The word chosen to describe the translation process, "unfolded," as indicated elsewhere in the writings of Joseph Smith was one of revelation, and not research. That the Book of Abraham was received by direct revelation is confirmed by the disgruntled Warren Parrish after his apostasy. See, this is interesting. Here’s what he said after his own apostasy: "I have sat by his side and penned down the translation of the Egyptian hieroglyphics as he claimed to receive it by direct inspiration of heaven."

The evidence provided by those involved in the translation process indicates that the Book of Abraham came by revelation and not through modern Egyptological methods, or through the Kirtland Egyptian papers. The Kirtland Egyptian papers are at best a by-product of the…translation.

So let’s move on a little bit, and I will be repeating some of this information, only from various viewpoints simply because the transcript does that also. But I pull out a lot more information than just John Gee’s analysis, excellent though it is. And he’s exactly right. They claim that it was in Nauvoo that Joseph Smith published the Abraham scroll and this is correct, and then they talk about the installments in The Times and Seasons, etc., etc. They say it was called The Book of Abraham. A note at the beginning introduced it as the translation of some ancient records that had fallen into "our hands from the catacombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called ‘The Book of Abraham, written by his own hand on papyrus.’" And this is why they claim that we believe that this is such an ancient manuscript, because it was written "by Abraham’s own hand." That’s what it says, right?

That’s true, that’s what it says, but I wrote a review of James White’s silly book, Letters to a Mormon Elder, and in that review – it’s in the Farms Review of Books, vol. 11, no. 1, 1999. I wrote it with my good friend Russell McGregor. We were analyzing White and I took him to task for his sloppy methodology and scholarship on the Pearl of Great Price and the Book of Abraham. But here’s some interesting things about this "written by his own hand" that I did some research on, from this angle. Here’s what I wrote: "It’s obvious from reading the Hebrew Bible that the phrase ‘by his own hand’, this is a Hebrew idiom, be’yad which means ‘by the authority of’, you see, so we can clearly see in these two [couldn’t understand the next word – something "-gensian"] Hebrew texts that Kollenberger translates. He renders Exodus 9:35, as, quote, "Just as the Lord said through Moses," unquote. Now the Hebrew word for this is beyad, that is, "by the hand of." But clearly it was the Lord’s hand. It was the Lord’s authority which had led Moses against Pharaoh, that is, by the Lord’s authority. Though we don’t get it that way in the English, the Hebrew definitely has "by the hand of."

Then I found another text, I Samuel 28:15. The English translation reads that God would not appear to Saul either by the prophets or by dreams. Well, in the Hebrew we again find beyad "by the hand of." Or in other words, by the prophet’s authority from God. So in other words, Abraham may not have even touched the documents that bear his name, the very ones that fell into Joseph’s hands in the 1830s, since Abraham could have had them commissioned and written for him. Yet for all this the documents would still bear his signatures since they were authorized by him. Of course – by his own hand, even though a scribe may have written it instead of Abraham.

Isn’t it interesting that our critics take this one instance with sheer concrete literalness yet they guffaw when we take other scriptures literally when they don’t. For example, that God is our Father in Heaven embodied as a man in yonder heavens. Well, when we look in the New Testament, the Greek word cheir…this is a fascinating one because it has various levels of meaning. One of the meanings was "the hand as an instrument of action and power." Thus to the hand is ascribed what strictly belongs to the person himself, or to his power. "By his hand" means "by his intervention," or by the hands of someone.

Then I looked into the Septuagint, that is, the Greek Old Testament, at Leviticus 10:11. Moses is to offer the sacrifice, but he actually has Aaron, Eleazar and Ithamar eat the unleavened bread. The Greek cheir here means that though Moses offered the sacrifice, it was not Moses who ate the sacrifice, even though he is credited with it, having by his own hand ordered it down by others.

And I found again at I Kings 12:15 in the Hebrew text, the hand of the Lord was going to be on the king if he did not listen to the Lord. Well, of course it was not God’s hand, but rather the expression meant God would have someone else punish the king, which is the meaning of "by his hand."

For the Book of Abraham we see this as an expression of speech, more or less, not a literalism, that Abraham himself personally wrote. As the LDS Egyptologist John Gee has noted, there have been various Jewish immigrations into Egypt throughout history, and nothing compels us to assume that Abraham must have written his account in Egyptian. His book could have passed through the hands of Abraham’s posterity through time and eventually have been translated into other languages. He wrote that on pages 203, 4 and 5 But it’s important to understand that idiom.

You won’t see the critics ever discuss this at all. They completely ignore it! It’s as if we LDS scholars don’t exist and there’s no answer to their critiques and views and whatever they say is correct and whatever we say is no good because, after all, they tell us on the Internet all the time, "Oh, well, you’re just Mormon paid apologists." [laughs]. I would love to be paid for the work I’m doing for FAIR, I would love to be paid for these reviews I write for FARMS. I haven’t been paid one penny, as has anyone else. It’s not "paid" at all. They’re paid critics, of course, because they get their money from their congregation. We don’t receive a dime for doing this. So that’s a red herring anyway. That’s an ad hominem as far as that goes.

Well, let me increase the information from John Gee’s excellent analysis, that the Book of Abraham wasn’t necessarily written in Egyptian anciently at all. Hecateus of Abdera about 300 BC, who is a major source for Manetho, Diodorus Siculus and possibly Tacitus – these all used Egyptian sources to revise Herodotus’s account of Egyptian history. Hecateus had a positive assessment of Moses and the Jews and knew of non-canonical traditions about Abraham about which he wrote a book that is thought to have been a major source behind Josephus’s account of Abraham. So even if the traditions about Abraham are assigned to a pseudo-Hecateus, rather than Hecateus of Abdera, they must date to the 1st century AD at the very latest. If it is best to postulate Egyptian provenance for the original story for the Testament of Abraham, then it seems best to assume a date for the original of AD 100 plus or minus 25 years. What is so unusual about the mention of Abraham in 3rd century papyri or a papyrus manuscript of a non-Biblical book of Abraham dating to the end of the 1st century? But the Anastasi priestly archive has not proved that the Book of Abraham is true, nor does it prove that it even existed. The larger argument is basically independent of any evidence from that archive. What the Anastasi priestly archive shows is that the Egyptian priests in Thebes freely borrowed from Jewish and Christian sources, thus they must have had some sort of access to them.

Asking what the Egyptians of the Graeco-Roman period knew about Abraham – this is a legitimate historical question, of course. The Anastasi priestly archive is perfectly legitimate evidence for this historical question. The Book of Abraham also fits into this historical question and it seems to fit into the other evidence. A minimum historical argument for this is that the existence of the Book of Abraham in Egypt at the time of the Joseph Smith papyri were produced – this is well within the scope of reasonable scholarship. That’s the whole point. This is in his Review of Books on the Book of Mormon vol. 7, no. 1, 1995, page 73 and 74.

You know what else makes this so interesting is I have an article by Robert K. Rittner. This is the same Egyptologist that Luke Wilson is using here as a refutation of Abraham. I have an article of his, "Horus on the Crocodiles: a Juncture of Religion and Magic in Late Dynastic Egypt." This is from the Yale Egyptological Studies, edited by William Kelly Simpson. It’s Religion and Philosophy in Egypt, 1989. He says this on page 114: "The posture of trampling crocodiles was selected by the Greek writer Lucian of the 2nd century to depict the Egyptian magician Pankrates, whose feats include crossing the Nile by riding atop crocodiles. The Roman emperor Hadrian issued coinage showing himself as Horus spearing a crocodile, which he tramples beneath his feet. Antecedents for illustrations of St. George and the dragon. And the mediaeval collection Physiologius may preserve among its animal fables the memories of the young, naked Horus repelling serpents. The most striking examples of these survivals appear in certain Byzantine gems and amulets where crocodiles are trampled underfoot by a nude, youthful figure provided with a halo, surrounded by saints: Christ on the crocodiles." So, see, even Robert Rittner recognizes when he’s writing for Egyptological magazines, that is, he recognizes that foreign countries and people are adopting Egyptian ways. It’s very plausible, based on the historical, external, philological, archaeological evidence that we possess right now, it’s entirely possible that Abraham did this as well. This is something the critics just won’t acknowledge, however. But now we’re finding that the very Egyptologist they try to use against us also has this information and discussion. So that’s really fascinating to know.

Looking further into their transcript, I lied! They did touch the Book of Abraham. So I suppose I’m going to hell for that, but of course they give you the barest, minimal analysis and try to make it out a contradiction, so I suppose I’m going to be redeemed from hell once I give you the proper explanations! So let’s take it on.

They talk of the Gods organizing the creation and all that – Abraham 4:1 and so on and so forth. And then they say, with Dr. David Krump now…he says: "Judaism and Christianity have always been monotheistic religions; there’s one God, there’s one Creator. And if he had a council, it was a council of created, angelic beings that did his bidding by his sovereign authority and the idea of equally co-eternal beings working with him on a group project is totally unprecedented in Jewish and Christian teachings." What he does ignore is the council of the Gods. Now, there’s been a wealth of information on this very subject by non-LDS scholars of which I’m going to share a little bit with you.

E. Theodore Mullen, Jr., in his book The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature has this to say about this idea of monotheism. He says, "The passage in Psalms 86:6-9: this vividly reveals the connection of the Holy Ones with the Council of the Gods." Now, that’s not angelic beings, this is a council of the Gods. The [check English transcription spellings] Kadoshim are the members of the Council. They’re designated itself by the Kahal Kadoshim in verse 6, Sod Kadoshim in verse 8. They are the bene Elim. That is a term occurring only twice in biblical literature. It occurs again in Psalms 29:1. "On analogy to the Ugaritic designation of council members as bene Elim, the sons of El, the Eli-mi, Frank Moore Cross has noted the possibility that in Psalms 89:7 the reading should be bene elimi. The identification of the Kadoshim is clear. They are the divine beings who surround Yahweh in the council. Elsewhere in Hebrew literature Kadoshim serves as a common designation for the members of Yahweh’s council (Zechariah 14:5), which reads Kadoshim Emo with the Septuagint and then you have Psalms 77:14, Psalms 93:5, Job 15:15, Daniel 4:10, 14:20, etc. You can compare Hosea 12:1, Proverbs 9:10, Proverbs 33, Exodus 15:11 and so on and so forth.

However, the members of the council are clearly inferior to Yahweh. This is revealed in numerous biblical passages where the presumed background is the Council of the Gods. Psalms 89:7 notes that none of the bene-Elohim can be compared with Yahweh. Yahweh is greater, and more fearful than all the beings who surround him. The antiquity of this concept is seen in the occurrence in the archaic poem in Exodus 15. Anyway, I’ll skip that. The holy ones who constituted the Assembly are Gods. He says that right on page 192. Not angels – Gods. But they are not Yahweh’s equals. Of course not! The High God stands apart, greater and more feared than all the divine beings. The alqor Elohim [sp?] Psalms 95:3; Psalms 96:4; and so on and so forth. These surround him in his court. The only setting for such a comparison and exaltation of Yahweh is the same found within the heavenly council of God. He’s still quoting scriptures to you. Deuteronomy 3:24; Deuteronomy 10:17; I Kings 8:23; Jeremiah 10:6; Psalms 86:8; Psalms 97:7; Psalms 135:5.; Psalms 136:2, etc. Thus the Holy Ones, the kadoshim of Deuteronomy 33:2-3 are the members of Yahweh’s court and of his army. Now didn’t Joseph Smith translate the Hebrew, "the head God of the Gods"? Of course he did. And I will analyze that with Kevin Barney’s analysis as well. It’s too good to lose.

But in the meantime I want to get to a couple of other, non-LDS sources on this idea of the Elohim. Oh, I lied – Mullen page 204 – that’s twice I’ve lied in one day; boy, am I in trouble! In Deuteronomy 38:2, 9 the assemblies are gathered, the nations are apportioned. Verse 8 notes explicitly that it is the god Elyon who distributes the nations amongst the members of the assembly, among the council of the gods. Well, this has given rise to two interpretations of the position of Yahweh in this council of the gods. O. Eisfeldt has defended the point of view that Elyon here appears as a superior to Yahweh – isn’t this interesting! It is Elyon that appears at the head of the council. At the head of the council and apportions the nations among the gods, one of whom is Yahweh.

Now this argument is supported by the position of Elyon in Genesis 14:18-24. And it is probable that Yahweh recognizes the superiority of El Elyon, here regarded as a distinct deity. And then he says, "cf. Isaiah 14:13 and Ezekiel 28:2." Now didn’t Joseph Smith say the head god of the gods brought forth the gods? Hearing [?] deity is a great interesting thought. On page 205 he says, "they worship and adore the head of the assembly." There is a head god in the assembly of the gods. Fascinating!

I’m not going to belabour the point to death, but turning to Margaret Barker’s book The Great Angel, she says – this is page 162 – "Israel’s oldest religion was not monotheistic." Huh! Right out, straight up! She said, "Philo spoke of the seven aspects as the powers that were the visible manifestation of the glory in the creation. The second god, the Logos, was their chief." Very interesting. Each power had a name and the two chief powers were named Yahweh and Elohim. Fun stuff, this!

Now, Charles A. Gieschen in his book Angelmorphic Christology: Antecedents and Early Evidence. This is from [publishers] E. J. Brill, 1998 [part of the series Arbeiten zur Geschichte des Antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums, Bd. 42.]. He says on page 30, "Using the term ‘monotheism’ to describe 1st century C.E. Jewish belief in one god can be problematic." He quotes one of the Biblical scholars on just this issue: "Much attention has been devoted to mediatorial figures in Judaism because of the possible contribution they may have made to nascent Christology. What is becoming clear is that we can not blithely assume that there was a clear-cut monotheistic theology which was adhered to by all Jews. The gap between the early Christian theology and the pre-Christian Jewish theology is not as wide as it is sometimes assumed. And in fact most scholars also agree that flexibility existed within at least some expressions of Jewish monotheism which allowed for very exalted mediator figures. There you have it.

So I think David Krump simplifies the issue, of course, because Krump has to make it appear as if there’s a contradiction between the theology of the Book of Abraham with the Bible and the scholarship. But there’s not. There just isn’t.

And in my own research into this Yahweh/Elohim situation, I found that in the Old Testament, Jehovah is one of the Elohim. "Elohim" is the Hebrew word for "gods". Now this is specifically in the plural. Now, I’ve looked through many of my Hebrew manuals and every one of them, Bonnie Pedrotti‘s Biblical Hebrew: a Text and a Workbook from Yale University says "The root has the plural ending, -im. The word can and does mean ‘gods’." But most often in the Bible it is used for God with the third masculine singular verbs. When I looked in Page H. Kelly’s magnificent book, Biblical Hebrew: an Introductory Grammar, page 32, he notes that "Elohim can and does function as a plural when it is used with plural verbs." Jacques Doukhan’s Hebrew for Theologians, again, page 77, he notes that "In the Hebrew the plural is not only used to indicate multiplicity, it also expresses the idea of strength, and intensity implied in life." So there’s the multiple gods right there in the very Hebrew words.

Well, ancient Israelites used Elohim also as a proper plural form to refer to gods of nations other than Israel, and at such times the accompanying verbs and adjectives used were also plural. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 23). Here "other" is a plural adjective. This doesn’t say no other gods exist, this says "thou shalt have no other gods before me." See, the theme of ancient Israel was that they were to worship their god, not that there wasn’t any other gods. This is a crucial distinction. And the scriptures bear this interpretation out, as we find. Let’s go to Genesis 2:1: two words are used together to designate deity, "Lord God"; in Hebrew it’s "Jehovah Elohim". The meaning of this combination title may be "Jehovah of the Gods". Or Elohim can be used as a plural common noun and Hebrew permits a genitive relationship of two nouns thus placed together without a preposition between them.

Now see, that’s something our critics won’t let you know, either. Back to Genesis 1:26, "let us make man in our own image," which in Hebrew is makh, [sp?] "we will make". This is the first person plural future of the verb asam, besalama "be in", selim, "image" nu, "our". This is the possessive adjective, first person plural. So in Genesis 1:26 we have a case where Elohim is used in connection with a plural verb – isn’t that interesting? – and also a plural possessive adjective. In Genesis 3:22, "Man has become as one of us." Here again the pronoun used is in the first person plural. I find this view of both these passages sustained by the idea that the Hebrew word meaning "God" is itself a plural word, and that implies, of course, that a plurality of persons is in the Godhead.

Well, when we find the plural word Elohim, or God, most usually, though not always, it’s coupled with a singular verb or an adjective. But, lest from the constant use of the word Elohim with the singular number we should be led to suppose that God is in no sense a plurality it should also be known that Elohim is sometimes used with a plural verb or adjective. Some of the clearest passages used in the Hebrew…you can find a plural verb in Genesis 20:13, "And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house." Again you can find it in Genesis 35:7, "And he built there an altar and called the place El Beth-el because there God appeared unto him. And, with a plural adjective, it’s found in Joshua 34:19. It’s found in Deuteronomy 35:26 in the original Hebrew. So see, this is something the critics won’t let on in the Hebrew. They merely assert that monotheism is the way it is. That may not necessarily be the case.

Now it’s interesting, because when we explore Genesis 1:26 further, Elohim is used in a plural sense, this is shown in the 26th verse. This is where Elohim, in referring to "themselves" they use the plural suffix Hebrew word nu [sp?], which is "our." And they use this twice. And they also use the plural form of the verb naseh [sp?], "let us make".

Well, what about Genesis 11:7? This is where nurdah , "let us descend," and nablah "let us confuse". Here again: two verbs in the plural proceed from the mouth of God. Now, this is not to say that a singular verb is not used with Elohim in the Old Testament. But that doesn’t refute the case that the plural verb is also used with Elohim, showing a plurality. And it’s just that simple.

I forgot…I have a paper that I researched on the council of the gods in ancient literature. And Julian Morgenstern has written a fantastic article; he’s discussed the council of the gods at great length using Old Testament scriptures, and he uses these scriptures in light of recent discoveries that other scholars have picked up on and they’ve elaborated on real well, like Frank Moore Cross and E. Theodore Mullen, and our own Daniel C. Peterson of FARMS, in one of his new articles. And he says that we have a rather complete description of the council of the gods in heaven. Morgenstern begins by demonstrating – here we go again! – that "the Hebrew Elohim cannot mean ‘judges’ or ‘foreign rulers’." But why not? See, this is the common interpretation against our understanding of the council of the gods. This isn’t a council of the gods, it’s a council of the judges.

Morgenstern says no, that’s not true. Why? Because the context of the entire 82nd Psalm requires the context of "gods" meaning divine beings. The reason is clear: the psalm as a whole, the gods being divine beings, this makes sense because they are the divine beings of a certain class and they were actually condemned to death by Yahweh. If not death, at least become mortal, like human beings, the scripture says. In other words, they were divine, and their punishment was to lose that. And this council was understood by Morgenstern as the Assembly of El, and these were the Elohim, the adat’el [sp?]. This was originally the council of El. And Israel’s neighbours, even, the Babylonians and the Assyrians, they knew the word awatu as "the word of the Gods," their divine council. This council of divine beings, even the very sons of God, the bene Elohim, was an uncomfortable one for the ancient Jews after the Babylonian captivity. It directly shows a polytheism which was later shunned and stamped out,

And this is really interesting, because Kevin Christensen, another really good friend of mine on the Internet, has written a FARMS "occasional paper" where he surveys Margaret Barker’s scholarship. And here’s what she says: "There were many in 1st century Palestine who still retained a world view derived from the more ancient religion of Israel, that of the First Tempelcy. It was here that there was a High God, and several Sons of God, of whom one was Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel – Yahweh, ‘the Lord’. He could be manifest on Earth in human form, or as an angel, or in the Davidic king. It was a manifestation of Yahweh, the son of God, that Jesus was acknowledged as Son of God, Messiah, Lord." Barker says this world view was largely suppressed from the Old Testament as we have it, and from 1st century Judaism as scholars had understood it before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other early writings such as I Enoch. So this is significant, this is interesting here.

What I want to do is show some further…I know I’m making a big deal of this point, but it’s a doctrinal point against the Book of Abraham that has been refuted, and our critics never acknowledge this refutation. You don’t see them examining the Hebrew, they merely assert it. You don’t see them examining the Ancient Near Eastern literature; they merely assert, no, this is what happened, without any evidence. And they misinterpret the scripture.

Emmanuel Tov, in his book, Hebrew Textual Criticism, he noted that the "Song of Moses" in Deuteronomy 32:8 – this referred to an assembly of the gods – then he compares Psalm 82 and I Kings 22:19 in which the most high God Elyon fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of the god El. He goes on to admit, "The scribe of an early text did not feel at ease with this possibly polytheistic picture," and, get this, this is what Tov says: "So the scribe replaced bene El, that is ‘the sons of El,’ with bene Yisrael, ‘the sons of Israel’." And this gives the text a different direction by the change of one word. And a similar change may be reflected in all textual witnesses—all of them—of Psalms 96:7, "Ascribe to the Lord, oh families of the people, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength," when compared with the presumably original polytheistic text of Psalm 29:1, "Ascribe to

the Lord, oh divine beings,"—this is the bene Elohim, see—"ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Psalms 29, which also is in other details, reflects situations and phrases known from Ugaritic texts says in this detail, "It describes a polytheistic picture of the assembly of the gods." Now, that’s Emmanuel Tov – he’s not LDS, he’s a fabulous Jewish scholar.

P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., another biblical textual critic, he shows the rendering of "the sons of god", at Deuteronomy 32:8, "This has the support of the Septuagint and its other versions. The original can be taken to mean that Yahweh was one of the sons of God to whom Elyon parcelled out peoples. The alteration of the bene Elohim to the bene Yisrael suppressed this interpretation. Fascinating!

Ronald S. Hendel, another Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, actually, he simply said this: "Somewhere along the line of the transmission of the standard Rabbinic Bible, someone felt the need to clean up the text by literally rewriting it and substituting ‘sons of Israel’ for the original ‘sons of God’ in Deuteronomy 32.8." Isn’t that what Joseph Smith said about the very first verse of the Bible?

--citation Ronald S. Hendel, "When the Sons of God Cavorted with the Daughters of Men," in Hershel Shanks, ed., Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: a Reader from the ‘Biblical Archaeology Review’ (New York: Random House, 1992): 170.

Some old Jew without any authority came and rewrote the text, changed the text. Well, now this is finding support through textual criticism.

These sons of God are indeed divine beings according to Ronald S. Hendel. Girard von Rad notes that the "creation is part of the aetiology of Israel." He further notes that another rooting [?] of Israel in the plans of Yahweh before the world is to be seen in Deuteronomy 32:8: "When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the Elohim beings but Yahweh’s portion is his people. Jacob is his allotted heritage." William F. Albright believed that this verse should be read in conjunction with Job 38:7 and this is a significant verse for Latter-day Saints. "When the morning stars rejoiced together and all the sons of God shouted with joy." Isn’t that fascinating? That is so beautiful.

And then to round off my research before I get to Kevin Barney’s, "…the leadership of the gods was usually headed by the head god of the gods." There you go. And he began a discussion which was largely in the hands of the so-called ilu rabbi otum [sp?] "the great gods," or better yet, "the senior gods." This is strikingly similar to Joseph Smith’s translation of Genesis 1:1, "The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods."

And this has been analyzed by good friend on the Internet, Kevin Barney, in an absolutely magnificent way, and I must get to this. It might take me the rest of this side of the tape, but it’s worth going into. I’m going to go into some scholarly detail and analysis of the Hebrew grammatical structures to show you that Joseph Smith’s rendition conjecturally emended can be a plausible emendation of the Hebrew in Genesis 1:1. This is going to take some doing but it’s well worth the excursion. This is the finest analysis I’ve ever read – don’t tell Kevin I said that or he’ll get a big head on him! He’s a great guy. Excellent Hebrew scholar, by the way. I’ve got him on an email list on the Internet and he’s wonderful. This research deserves wider recognition, it’s really good material.

What I’m going to do is give you the conclusion first and then I’ll analyze the grammatical reasoning that Barney gives. I’m jumping kind of in the middle of the end here. Structurally, Joseph Smith’s initial argument is based entirely on his analysis of the first Hebrew word in the Bible. And Joseph Smith conjecturally emended and expanded this word into a Hebrew phrase that could be translated "the head one of the gods brought forth the gods." And Joseph Smith understood this as an independent clause; it was completely separate from the rest of Genesis 1:1. Joseph analyzed the first Hebrew word bereshith by breaking it into three parts and this was suggested by Seixas’s Grammar, the gentleman who he studied Hebrew under, and Kevin goes into the analysis of that, which I’ll share with you.

Joseph then deleted the preposition – and we don’t know why, there’s various reasons – in bereshith so that it read roshith without the preposition. And this is also explained, incidentally, in Seixas’s Grammar, interestingly. The Seixas Grammar was the source for Joseph’s extraction of rosh or rashe from roshith. Rather than delete the termination, that is the ending, of the Hebrew word roshith as assumed by the traditional interpretation, Joseph Smith used those letters as part of his textual stanchion. Joseph understood the Hebrew letter yod as the end of the male plural construct, meaning the heads of, and so he may have understood the tau as the remnant of the accusative particle. The Seixas Grammar and Abraham 4 suggest that Joseph may have perceived the verb "brought forth" to be the hif’l of either vau or [?]. So in general, Joseph may have known what he was doing, and although he freely experimented with the Hebrew, he didn’t completely butcher it as it’s been assumed. It shouldn’t surprise us that Joseph Smith—and remember that he created extensive and creative Biblical expansions in the English of the Joseph Smith Translation—he certainly had the capacity to construct a comparatively modest textual expansion. In the Hebrew Genesis 1:1 that makes perfectly good sense.

I want to explore Kevin Barney’s analysis and this is going to take some doing, but it’s worth it, this is so good. I’m going to jump right into the middle of it, though, I’m going to skip some of his earlier stuff. In the Clayton Journal, in the Clayton account, immediately after the analysis of bereshith, Clayton records Joseph Smith as saying, "It read in the first, ‘The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.’" This is the true meaning. Roshith signified "to bring forth the Elohim" where the antecedent to it is bereshith. Now elucidating the argument using bracketed material, the sense of the passage is this: It [meaning the first word bereshith], it read in the first, that is originally, before a scribe could have corrupted it, "bereshith read ‘head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods’" or to be more precise, there’s a Hebrew phrase, that rendered into English, would read "the head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods". This is the true meaning. Roshith, that is, the first Hebrew word after the deletion of the preposition, but without deleting the termination, signifies "to bring forth the Elohim." The word roshith was the foundation of Joseph Smith’s entire initial conjecture. So, contrary to the assumed tradition and interpretation, Joseph did not argue that the termination of roshith should be deleted, rather he used those letters themselves as part of a conjectured expansion of that word, roshith. And this turned into the Hebrew clause that was rendered, "The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods." That’s a fascinating idea.

Well, when Joseph Smith comes to the second part of his argument, about the Gods organizing the heavens and the Earth, he moves from the first word to the second word, bara. He understood this to mean, "to organize." Now this is consistent with the idea that Joseph’s initial conjecture was based entirely on his analysis of the first word of Hebrew Genesis 1:1. Joseph was not cannibalizing barat Elohim and using those words twice, in both the first and second parts of his argument. Rather, the first part of his argument was based entirely upon his analysis of the first word, and the second argument was based entirely on his analysis of all the words in the remaining of the verse.

So, Barney says that Joseph was conjecturally emending the Hebrew prior to translating it. That is, Joseph was not translating the single word bereshith directly into the words "the head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods" – that’s not what he was doing. Rather, Joseph was modifying and expanding the Hebrew word bereshith into a Hebrew phrase that could be rendered "the head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods." The idea was that his conjectured Hebrew phrase had been original but it was this that was altered, and all that remained after the phrase was altered was the extant word, bereshith. So a second factor…oh, let me skip that – I don’t have the space.

Although I believe it’s clear, as strange as it may seem to us that Joseph somehow derived the ten English words, "the head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods" from the single Hebrew word reshith, we simply don’t have enough textual evidence to show exactly how he accomplished this. So here’s the conjecture: what did Joseph perceive to be the verb?

Barney’s working hypothesis is based on the English words "brought forth". Was that the verb – something like the Hebrew asaph? Or kabbatz. Well, he reviewed the Seixas Grammar, and he found two strong candidates for the verb. The first is the hif’l of the verb bo. My reasoning for this is this: first, this word would, lexically speaking, fit Joseph’s meaning. In the [?] or the simple active stem the verb means "to come." But in the hif’l stem, which has a causative force, this verb means "to cause to come," or "to bring." So, second, Seixas, on page 37, gives an example of a verb which loses one of its letters in conjugating, vayah veh, meaning "he brought," from bo. Now this is an imperfect masculine 3rd person hif’l form with the vau consecutive. Seixas gives the English translation as "brought" which but for the compound "forth" matches Joseph’s English rendering.

Third is the circumstance that in the form quoted by Seixas, the verbal root consists of the letters beth and aleph, and these are two of the letters in the duplicated sequence of letters beth, resh, aleph, tau [?] in the first two words of Genesis 1:1, and these may have influenced Joseph’s deletion of the letter beth from bereshith. Fourth is the fact that this is a hif’l form. As Michael T. Wallace has demonstrated, Joseph shows a special awareness of hif’l verb forms in his translation of Abraham 4. For instance, King James Genesis 1:4 reads, in part, "and God divided the light from the darkness." The verb translated "divided" is the hif’l form [?], the causative force, which is emphasized in Abraham 4:4. "And they divided the light," or caused it to be divided, "from the darkness," you see. A similar emphasis of the hif’l of this verb occurs in Abraham 4:17. And to cause to divide the light from the darkness.

Fifth is the fact that Joseph was almost certainly exposed to this verb in its hif’l form in his studies of the early chapters of Genesis. And then he gives an example of information in Genesis. But sixth, and most important, Seixas, following immediately his use of the hif’l of vau he goes on to give another example, [?] "and he formed," and this is from the Hebrew word, yatzar. See, this is the compound [?] imperfect yatzar, which is also attested several times in the early chapters of Genesis, Genesis 2:19. This is significant, because Abraham 4:1 reads, "and they," that is the Gods, "organized and formed the heavens and the earth." I had always assumed that Joseph had used the two English verbs, organized and formed to translate the single Hebrew verb bara by [?]. Whether that is the case or whether Joseph specifically understood yatzar to be present in the text, it’s clear that the English rendering "and formed" was influenced by this Hebrew verb. So there is every indication that Joseph had focussed specific attention on this very line of the Seixas grammar and he uses this in the text that parallels Genesis 1:1.

Another strong possibility for the verb is the hif’l of the verb yatzah; the hif’l form is cited in Seixas’s grammar, page 39, immediately following the hif’l form of the word meaning "to divide," which was emphasized in Abraham 4 , "to cause to divide from," the [?] "cause to come, to bring forth." And this is from Hebrew yatzah. Note that this verb would be lexically consistent with Joseph’s intended meaning. Joseph would also have been exposed to this verb in the early chapters of Genesis – Genesis 1:12, "and the earth brought forth grass," and Genesis 1:24, "And the Lord said, Let the earth bring forth the living creatures." See, the King James Version not only translates this verb with the word "brought," but with the compound, "brought forth," and that is precisely the English translation Joseph Smith had in mind.

So, the first word of Joseph’s conjecture may have been the verb, which may have been the hif’l of either bo or yatzah. On the analogy of bara the form would have been 3rd person masculine and perfect. Now, whether the verb would have been singular or plural depends on whether Joseph understood the subject, which was heb as either singular or plural. And the next word would have been the subject, either rosh, head of, or rosheh, the heads of. Because the subject is in the construct state, it’s not necessary to prefix the definite article. A noun in the construct state always derives its definiteness – or lack thereof – from the noun in the absolute state which it governs. So, as generally nothing is allowed to separate a noun in the construct state, and it must be a definite noun. In other words, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" is [in] the Bible, but the construct state says "ha-Elohim" – the Gods.

We know from the English target and from the statement "bereshith" signifies "to bring forth the Elohim," that the object of the verb will also be "the Gods’ or the Elohim – in Hebrew, ha-Elohim, and a definite object is usually preceded in the word order by "et" – this is the sign of the direct object.

So, I believe that Joseph may have understood the final latter "tau" at the end of "reshith," which if it’s not to be deleted, remains to be accounted for. This is the remnant of the accusative particle [participle?] "et" which marks the ending of the direct verb. Boy, this is getting technical, isn’t it? He is technical, but it’s awesome.

So let me conclude Barney’s idea here. I see Joseph’s conjecture as transforming Genesis 1:1 into two independent clauses. Here’s Barney’s difference: something like the following, "The head one, the head of the Gods, brought forth the Gods, and the Gods, that is, the head God, or the heads of the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the Earth." The first clause is derived entirely from reshith, the first Hebrew word, and the second clause is derived from the remainder of Genesis 1:1. Joseph may have perceived the transition from the first to the second clause as being formed by a simple vau [?] conjunction, which seems to be suggested by Abraham 4:1, of all things. He says, "At the beginning," – that is at the first Hebrew word – is joined to the remainder of the sentence by the English, "and," and this isn’t present at this position in the King James Version of Genesis 1:1.

So some of this can be seen in the Bullock account of the June 17th discourse. Oh, I’m going t skip that…Let me skip over to here…he says, "If this suggestion is correct, then in the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth." This would be the fullest statement available to us from the original manuscript evidence of how Joseph understood the Hebrew of Genesis 1:1, because it combines the two clauses, although the first clause has been converted back into extant Hebrew form, and it makes this statement truly complete: we would need to replace "In the beginning" with the conjecture that he had earlier derived from bereshith, "the head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods."

The whole point of this excursion is that Joseph Smith’s understanding of Hebrew was pretty detailed, it was pretty good, and there’s a potential possibility, based on Joseph Smith’s use of Seixas’s Grammar, that his interpretation of Elohim is plausible, but we just don’t have it in the manuscript evidence of the Bible. Why? Because some "old Jew" took it out, according to Joseph Smith. Well, we have found evidence in the Council of the Gods idea that this has in fact happened in textual criticism, and other, world-class Bible scholars have noted that. So Joseph Smith is entirely in line as far as I’m concerned.

All of this hullabaloo because these guys -Dr. David Krump --claims, have always been monotheists – the Jews and the Christians – and therefore the Book of Abraham is "phony" on this doctrine of the multiple Gods. Well, it’s not phony. But you don’t see this kind of analysis from the critics very often, or very much at all, and what they try to do is make it a contradiction, and hence a problem. But it’s really not, so anyway, I think it’s time to move on. I have a walloping lot of material to cover.

Oh, I love this…But before I do, Kevin Barney’s article is in Dialogue, vol. 30 No. 4 (Winter 1997). It’s very well worth the effort to get, if you can. Truly a good study. So now, where was I? I get so confused and excited that…that I get going here!

These guys in this video use a witness, William West, and he visited the Mormons in Kirtland, and he viewed Joseph Smith’s scrolls, and they show how he expressed his doubts about it, and this is the voice of William West:

"Is it possible that a record written by Abraham containing the most important revelations that God ever gave to man, should be entirely lost by the tenacious Israelites, and preserved by the unbelieving Egyptians, and by them embalmed and deposited in catacombs with an Egyptian priest? I venture to say no, it’s not possible. It’s more likely that the records are Egyptian."

Now that’s how they present William West, but notice the fuller testimony of William West that we happen to have, that they have ignored:

"The Mormons have four mummies and a quantity of records written on papyrus in Egyptian hieroglyphics, which were brought from the catacombs near Thebes, in Egypt. They say the mummies were Egyptian but the records are those of Abraham and Joseph and contain important information respecting the creation, the fall of man, the deluge, the patriarchs, the Book of mormon, the lost tribes, the gathering, the end of the world, the Judgement, etc., etc." – it’s obvious he’s having fun with this – "This is as near as I can recollect." – now notice what he says here – "If there is an error, and I hope some of the Mormons will point it out, and I will recall it" – now get this point – "these records were torn by being taken from the roll [?] of embalming salve which contained them and some parts entirely lost. But Smith is to translate the whole by divine inspiration and that which is lost, like Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, can be interpreted as well as that which is preserved, and a larger volume than the Bible will be required to contain them."

He said this in 1837. Notice what he’s saying here. Even though the record’s not there, Joseph Smith can still bring it out by inspiration – that’s fascinating. And that’s something that the critics pooh pooh. They say, nah, nah, Joseph Smith can’t do that. He translated, we know what he meant by "translate," but do they? They never once bring out Hugh Nibley’s analysis of translation. I think it’s important to highlight once again this message from Hugh Nibley’s book, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri. He says this on page 47, starting on p. 47 at the bottom, "What is a translation? The most carefully thought-out definition is that of Willamowitz-Moellendorf, ‘a translation is a statement in the translator’s own words of what he thinks the author had in mind.’ Now a little reflection will show that this is the best, if not --Citation: Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: an Egyptian Endowment (Salt Lake City UT: Deseret, 1975): 47. ---

the only possible definition. Gardiner", for instance, the Egyptologist, he "defines a sentence as ‘any set of words in which he [the hearer], can discern a reasonable intention on the part of the speaker.’ A translation must therefore be not a matching of dictionaries, but meeting of minds.’[…]

"The ablest Egyptologists have always insisted that the main difficulty that confronts them is not a matter of grammar or vocabulary but a complete ignorance of what the Egyptian writer really had in mind. ‘The most perfect knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of Egyptian does not suffice to pierce the obscurity,’ […] [Or as Naville put it, ‘[…]We have understood the form but we have not penetrated to the idea that lies behind it.’ […] ‘Too often we know [approximately] what a sentence means,’ Erman admitted, ‘but its exact translation is not yet possible in the present state of our knowledge.’[…]" That’s page 48.

Is there such a thing as a completely ordinary text in Egyptian in the first place? To this day there’s no agreement on the meaning of the most ordinary and familiar phrases in the religious writings such as [?] or [?]. As an eminent contemporary Egyptologist puts it, he says, "a certain helplessness in the face of these mythological records is unavoidable to both laymen and Egyptologists." How did Joseph Smith translate? There’s an unabridged gulf, and it’s broad and deep, believe you me, between the real message of the Joseph Smith Papyri and what purport to be translations. It’s ironic indeed that the main weapon against the Prophet Joseph Smith has always been the word "translate" – and this is a word that none of his critics have bothered to define, but which, if carefully considered, might lead to fruitful investigation.

How about Joseph Smith translating? He summed up all the great, ancient cultures, he shared their ideas, he transferred their thought across the space of time. Interesting when we look at Webster’s, the idea of translation…oh, where am I?...Joseph Smith…forget Webster’s for a sec. He understands translating in its broad and proper sense, as the handing on of any part of the heritage of the past from one generation, or culture, or language, to another, in which the rendering of written text is only part of the process, you see. But the critics say, no, we have the papyri, it’s been translated by Egyptologists, it doesn’t contain the Book of Abraham, therefore Joseph Smith is false. They want to give us a very narrow definition of what translation means. What is the broader concept, though? They use it one sense, Joseph Smith uses it in another.

Joseph Smith says, "’While we were doing the work of translation, which the Lord had appointed unto us, we came to the 28th verse of the 5th chapter of John, which was given to us as follows,’ (D&C 76:15) Right here we see that the critics of the papyri are wasting their time. The Prophet never claims to be operating as a linguist—the translation is given to him. We are reminded that he translated large parts of the Bible in the same way," you see.

Further to the point, on page 49, continuing, "In 1835 the Prophet speaks of himself as being ‘continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham,’ using translation," here, Joseph Smith uses this "as the equivalent of deciphering--, and that is what translation is. "Again, speaking of what entitled the ‘Explanation of the Above Cut’ in the Book of Abraham," Joseph Smith says, "’the above translation is given as far as we have any right to give it at the present time,’" Now here Joseph Smith identifies "translation with interpretation or explanation of a picture" which has no writing! We’re told later—he’s quoted Michael Chandler … "When we are told that ‘a few leaves, opened by Mr. Chandler for exhibition were shown to Professor Anthon of New York and Dr. Mitchell of Philadelphia, each of whom commenced a translation,’ we can be sure that those men were not translating as they did from the Classical languages which they knew so well" because this is the Egyptian, but it was described as being a translation. It’s obvious "in this case to call any attempt at interpreting any old document a translation."—of course! "When we read in the eighth Article of Faith, ‘We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God,’ we are given to understand that" the Book of Mormon, "though containing ‘the mistakes of men’ is still translated more correctly than the Bible," you see. What Joseph "means by translation is apparent while the Prophet was producing the Book of Moses, in December of 1830:" the same year the book of Mormon came out, "’Soon after the words of Enoch were given [these are contained in the Book of Moses], the Lord gave the following commandment: "[…] behold I say unto you that it is not expedient in me that ye should translate any more until ye shall go to the Ohio."’[…] In what language were ‘the words of Enoch’ which Joseph had been translating? Where was the document? All we know is that Joseph Smith did produce—‘translate’—a book of Enoch, which, matched with many ancient texts discovered since the Prophet’s day, must be accepted as an authentic piece of the large and growing corpus of Enoch literature.

"It’s also important to understand Joseph Smith’s method of translation. […] The Book of Breathings is not the pretended original text of the Book of Abraham at all. If the Book of Abraham were a hodgepodge of nonsense, one might well look for its source almost anywhere. But far from being nonsense, it tells a story of Abraham which subsequent documentary discoveries have confirmed in detail, this, along with the now well-established tradition that Abraham did write an autobiography about his Egyptian experiences and that it was preserved and read by his descendants in Egypt, makes a very strong case for the proposition that the Book of Abraham was indeed taken from ancient writings. If there is anything that the Mormons have always cried from the housetops, it is that Joseph Smith did not translate after the manner of the scholars; […] Consider Section 7 of the D&C: ‘Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Oliver Cowdery at Harmony, Pennsylvania, April 1829, when they inquired through the Urim and Thummim […] The revelation referred to is the translated version of the record made on parchment by John and hidden up by himself.’ Here we have a translation which Joseph Smith did not make—it was given to him, and he calls it a revelation; yet it was made from a real document, on parchment or treated leather, which John wrote with his hand and then hid away. We know from recent discoveries that it was the custom among saintly communities of Palestine in John’s day to write important things on leather and then hide them up in caves."—we have the Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance—"[…] But the remarkable thing is that though the translation was made from a real and tangible document, such a document was never in the hands of Joseph Smith; it may still be in existence" somewhere, but we don’t know, "[…] a cave, a monastery," wherever, " […] but it is plain that Joseph Smith never had it—he didn’t need to have it or to know how to read it, for the whole thing was given to him," and he says this, he says, "’Now this caused us to marvel, for it was given unto us of the Spirit.’ (D&C 76:18). The translation of John, like the book of Enoch, was made from a document that was never in the Prophet’s possession and may indeed have been destroyed thousands of years ago. Did he know the original language of Enoch? Nobody does, but that makes no difference when a translation is not worked out but given to one by revelation.

So this is the idea with the Book of Abraham, potentially. The idea is the critics want us to understand that the translation is phony, but they don’t understand this aspect of translation, and it’s a valid aspect. They’ll never tell you about this side of the story. So again, in a rigidly narrow definition and sense the critics want this to be seen as phony, fake, false, whatever. So let me move quickly through this transcript; I’m running out of space here.

They talk about Theodoule Dévaria and his evaluation of the Book of Abraham, how everything was "wrong", it was interpreted wrong, there’s something wrong with the pictures. They resembled some common burial documents that he’d seen, of course, but Dévaria and other Egyptologists in 1912 misidentified the characters in the facsimile, and the priest with the knife in his hand to slay Abraham, in reality, Dévaria said this is the Egyptian God Anubis, Anubis is drawn incorrectly; he should have been drawn with the head of a jackal, not the head of a man. And they quote Dr. Lanny Bell, another Egyptologist, "You would never imagine, as an Egyptologist that the god, the black god on the left of this scene, had anything but a jackal’s head. That’s just normal. He belongs in the scene. He belongs in the scene as a jackal headed figure as well." So, see, Joseph Smith "blew it" in Facsimile Nr. 1; it’s drawn wrong and it’s the wrong interpretation. What could be plainer? We have a professional Egyptologist telling us this.

Well, again, I suspect that even Dr. Bell has been given only one side of the equation, very carefully and very deliberately and basically hasn’t seen the Mormon response. So I want to give that. Dr. Bell is incomplete in his information and knowledge, and it’s important we realize that. John Gee in his Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, on p. 66, has a very interesting idea on Anubis as a priest, which is how Joseph Smith identified him. I believe, though, that I’m at the end of the tape, so you’re going to have to turn this tape over to get to the answer to this particular issue of Anubis as a jackal-headed god or as a human-headed priest.

And this is the end of tape 1, side 2. … This is tape 2, side 1.

John Gee’s analysis of Anubis as the figure of the priest on Facsimile Nr. 1 is on p. 66 in his Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri. He says "The argument for the identification runs as follows:

"(1) Assume for the sake of argument that the head on Facsimile 1 Figure 3 is correct. What are the implications of the figure being a bald man? Shaving was a common feature of initiation into the priesthood from the Old Kingdom through the Roman period." – on other words for thousands of years—"Since ‘Complete shaving of the head was another mark of the male Isaiac votary and priest’ the bald figure would then be a priest.

"(2) Assume on the other hand that the head on Facsimile 1 Figure 3 is that of a jackal, as was first suggested by Theodule Devéra. We have representations of priests wearing masks, one example of an actual mask, [and] literary accounts from non-Egyptians about Egyptian priests wearing masks[….]

"Thus, however the restoration is made, the individual shown in Facsimile 1 Figure 3 is a priest, and the entire question of which head should be on the figure is moot so far as identifying the figure is concerned. (John Gee, "Abracadabra, Isaac, and Jacob," Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 7/1 [1995]: 80-82)."

In other words, he is a priest, as Joseph Smith correctly noted. This is something the critics just won’t tell you. They went to make it look like there’s a contradiction – oh, this figure should have a different head, therefore it’s wrong. That’s not necessarily the case. Now there are other studies in the Classical journal, as various other journals that I have, that discuss the same idea from the Greek perception, that the priests wore masks of various different deities. So this is apparently a common feature throughout the ancient world. So I think that point’s taken care of.

The next one that they bring up is really a doozy – this is a lot of fun for me. They say Joseph Smith had explained another of the illustrations in the Book of Abraham called Facsimile 3 as Abraham seated on Pharaoh’s themes, lecturing the court on matters of astronomy. But the argument is, by the Egyptologists, that this is completely wrong. It’s a common scene from Egyptologists burial documents and depicts a deceased man being led into the presence of Osiris, the Egyptologist, God of the Underworld. Now what is so interesting here? Well, then say Joseph said the characters above the man’s hand spell his name, Shulem. In actuality the hieroglyphics give his name as Horus – there’s no mention of Shulem at all. Now Robert Rittner weighs in also. He says, "Devéria’s initial analysis of Facsimile Nr. 3 – this is accurate. It is the result of the judgment scene in which the deceased Horus is brought forth into the presence of Osiris by Anubis, who is mis-described in Facsimile Nr. 3 as being a slave." Well, what about this?

Well, here’s what about this. Robert Rittner is apparently unaware of Hugh Nibley’s analysis in Abraham in Egypt. And I want you to pay particular attention to the Egyptologist sources that Nibley uses. This is too good to lose. Nibley says in chapter 9 of his book, Abraham in Egypt.

"Compositions most closely resembling Facsimile 3 are classified as (1) presentation scenes, (2) offering scenes, and (3) judgment scenes, or combinations of the same. But before taking a closer look, it is important to emphasize what many Egyptologists are insisting on today as never before, namely, the folly of giving just one interpretation and one only to any Egyptian representation. This is the pit into which Joseph Smith's critics have always fallen: ‘This cannot possibly represent "A" because it represents "B"!’ ‘The value of an Egyptian presentation,’ Eberhard Otto reminds us, ‘depended on seeing the greatest possible number of meanings in the briefest possible formulation.’ Heretofore, critics of the Joseph Smith explanations have insisted on the least possible number of meanings, namely one, to every item, and as a result have not only disagreed widely among themselves, but also exposed their efforts to drastic future revision. The Egyptians ‘considered it a particular nicety that symbols should possess multiple significance,’ wrote Henri Frankfort, ‘that one single interpretation should not be the only possible one.’

"We are most fortunate in possessing the doctoral thesis of a native Egyptian Egyptologist, Ali Radwan, who has brought together for comparison about one hundred scenes belonging to our Facsimile 3 category. Why only a hundred? Because he is confining himself to one dynasty, the Eighteenth, and to scenes depicting royal audiences but found only in private, not royal, tombs. The title of the thesis is ‘Representations of the Ruling King and Members of His Family in the Private Tombs of the Eighteenth Dynasty’ Though the royal audience scene (and all the scenes are ‘audiences’ like our Facsimile 3) is presented with characteristic variations in each period of Egyptian history, the situation depicted is a timeless one, […] The audience scenes collected by Radwan are not funerary; all take place during the lifetime of the pharaoh and the tomb owner, ‘and the owner of the tomb who commissions the mural or relief is always personally involved in the event’ Though the pictures are found in tombs and are sometimes thought of as projected into the reaches of eternity, they all record a very real and happy party at the palace, to which the tomb owner is invited; it is the high point in his life, and the picture is like a photograph taken to immortalize the moment of his closest proximity to Pharaoh: […]"

"The purpose of the audience is to honor the tomb owner in recognition of services of a wide variety. Thus when we see Pharaoh in the presence of the court honoring an official whose efficiency has brought in a bumper grain harvest to the royal storehouses, we inevitably think of Joseph in Egypt (cf. fig. 50).Surprisingly, the atmosphere is not one of overpowering majesty, but of cheerful intimacy. ‘Intimate contact with the king was an essential to a proper biography,’ Radwan assures us. ‘Intimacy is the keynote. Even the constant reminders of coronation motifs, the Sed festival, and the New Year's celebration only heighten the atmosphere of warmth and friendliness, for that was the time for the family open house with the exchanging of gifts among people of every class and connection.’ With personal contact at a premium, immediate servants of the palace enjoyed a special, we might say, and unfair advantage[…]), and though high officials are not to be denied their claims on the king, by far the great majority of the tomb owners who enjoy the attention of the royal family are servants of the palace, especially butlers—‘principal waiters.’ It is therefore completely in order to find the main subject in our Facsimile 3 to be one ‘Shulem, one of the king's principal waiters,’ without whom we never would have gotten this particular story." Isn’t that fascinating?....

Citation

Hugh Nibley, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: vol. 14, Abraham in Egypt, edited by Gary P. Gillum, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City / Provo UT, Deseret Book Co., / Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies at Brigham Young University: 2000) 382-386.

Now what’s really interesting is Nibley shows a picture from the Kerasher papyri – this is a psychoastasy scene usually found in the Book of the Dead, but here it is in the Book of Breathings, just as it is in the Joseph Smith Papyri I, X and XI. Kerasher’s version shows him depicted as a curly-haired Nubian in the picture – it’s on p. 437 of Nibley’s book. This is wonderful because it looks just like Sulem, who was one of the king’s principle writers in our Facsimile Nor. 3. It’s magnificently illustrated here. This is beautiful.

But I have something else that’s even better. After all, Nibley’s one of those "biased, paid Mormon apologists" so anything he says can’t possibly be used. They also scream and complain that he’s not an Egyptologist, either, even though they aren’t themselves. I mean, Jan Shipps isn’t an Egyptologist, yet they use her in this video. Ed Ashment’s not an Egyptologist and neither is Brent Metcalfe – none of those guys are Egyptologists, but boy, they use them!

Well, I have an article here by Jaramir Malek . It’s called "the Royal Butler Hori at Northern Sakara This is in The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 1988. He says on p. 131, "The monument in [?] is the main stela of the tomb, but it is not without problems. Its jambs are very prominently inscribed for Hori’s overseers and servants, [?]. He is also shown with his children before his master and his mistress in the bottom register. An overseer of servants [?], was a senior pension who probably had the authority of a department of a royal on a temple estate, or as is likely in this case, as an official estate. There were not only household servants, but they were also lower order managers and specialists. The names of the people named in the stela are somewhat reminiscent of another in the Oriental Museum, the University of Durham – there the jambs are inscribed with the names of overssers of retainers."

He says on p. 132, "The [?] Stela was set up by or for a member of Hori’s estate, in other words, his overseer of servants, [?]-Amen." This is exactly what Nibley had noted in Radwan’s doctoral thesis, and it’s exactly depicted in our Facsimile Nr. 3 as Shulem, not Hori, but this is the Egyptologial idea, and Jaromir Malek, he’s an Egyptologist. The Royal Butler Hori, son of Ta-m-wiya and Hathor, is known from several other sources, which is fortunate for us. Chronologically, though, it is impossible to connect him with another Ta-m-wiya, who in addition to his honorific titles, was described as the Royal Butler, clean of hands. Well, the involvement of butlers quickly surpassed that of simple royal man-servants, suggested by the title, although this original aspect was perhaps never entirely lost. Their influence stemmed from their access to and their relationship with the king, and they could be charged with duties and tasks in almost any administrative sphere. That is precisely what Nibley and Radwan say. So I think it’s fascinating, oh, and p. 136, "Some Ramesid royal butlers were, it seems, Egyptianized foreigners. So this is another fascinating Egyptological study that corresponds really well with the historical Egyptological background that Nibley and Radwan have found for our Facsimile Nr. 3. Shulem’s not out of place at all. Sure, Joseph Smith may have made mistakes with the hieroglyphics. We’re not saying Joseph Smith got everything right—not at all, but the historical scene and the historical situation? It’s really honestly attested Egyptologically. And not just by "lousy, paid Mormon apologists" either! This is something the critics of this video simply do not let you know.

They want to keep it narrow. And then the video goes into the year 1912, Franklin. S. Spaulding, the Episcopal Bishop of Utah. He brought another round of scrutiny to the Book of Abraham. He asked noted scholars of Egyptologist to evaluate the three facsimiles, in his New Look at the Pearl of Great Price, trounced these guys – he beat them to bloody death. It’s fascinating. They were not Egyptologists, not all of them; most of them were Episcopal priests of Spaulding’s own church. See, what they want to do is build their foundation on other powerful philosophical interpretations of the Book of Abraham. But Nibley has shown that this isn’t the case at all.

None of them agree amongst themselves upon their own interpretations of Facsimile No. 1 when they were asked what it does represent, then; some of them said it was Osiris reviving on the funeral couch, some said it was Anubis bringing about the resurrection of Osiris. Others say that with the knife he was embalming the dead man. Others say that the bird was his sister, Isis. Others say the bird was something else. None of them agreed on what the facsimiles were when they were asked. I’ll read from Nibley in one of his papers , "Our experts haven’t told us much about the plate but what they have told us is interesting. First, they have told us is that is it is a familiar and well known scene so that nobody has any excuse whatsoever for getting anything wrong. Well, that is, as it were, the very ABC of Egyptology. Yet our experts don’t seem to agree very well, even in their casual and brief comments. For one expert the body on the couch is simply the body of a dead man. For another it is no less than the figure of the god Isiris himself. For Breasted Osiris is in the act of rising from the dead. Devéria also saw that. But others see in it the preparation of a man for burial, the very opposite process. According to some the bird is leaving the body, for others it is coming to it. For Devéria the hawk is nothing less than the soul of Osiris. For Petrie it is the hawk of Horus, a very different figure. For Breasted [?] the same is the bird Isis, the sister of Osiris For Peters it is simply the soul of a dead man flying away in the form of a bird. Von Bissing agreed with that, that it is flying away. Eduard Myers says that it is flying to the man on the couch. Von Billing says the soul is leaving the body and the moment when the priest cuts it open for mummification.

Did the Egyptians believe the soul didn’t leave the body until the incision was made? If so our other experts seem to be unaware of the fact. Two of them identify the figure with the knife as the god Anubis, but for others it is simply the priest for embalming, or am embalmer. Now this is very odd. How does it happen that six experts -- or eight—each commenting on a very brief sentence or two on what is supposed to be the commonest and most frequent representation of all Egyptian art—how is it that they disagree on what they see? Can it be that there is something unusual or peculiar about this particular document? After all, Bishop Spaulding rests his case on the consensus of the experts against Joseph Smith. Well, we’ve seen that they agree perfectly well amongst themselves without collusion in stating that Joseph Smith’s interpretations are worthless, for sure, but we would expect that under any circumstances. Spaulding is more specific, however. "There is practically complete agreement as to the real meaning of the hieroglyphs. But nobody has given us the meaning of any real hieroglyphs whatsoever! Here they have interpreted a picture, and as soon as we get down to the particulars of that picture, none of the experts agree with themselves—even about the most elementary and the most simple things in the picture. And it’s the most elementary and simple things in funerary literature.

You see, this is the foundation that the film is trying to get us to think has been defeated—the Book of Abraham. I think the people in the film have made a big mistake in ignoring Hugh Nibley’s research. If nothing else, at least acknowledging that it exists and there is another view, but again, they don’t want to see that. No, I say the Hugh Nibley stuff destroyed the 1912 affair—no question about it. For them to bring that up is completely silly, in my opinion, and it destroys their credibility. And then they go on and show how the papyri disappeared and some of it was destroyed in the Chicago fire and all that, but they ignore B. H. Roberts and they misuse John Henry Evans’ questions about this—this is a hoot, this is fun. They ignore James Reuben Clark’s analysis that Spaulding deliberately sent the people in 1912—the Egyptologists, the supposed experts—he sent them the worst copied facsimiles while he told them that these are the originals, and they weren’t the originals. When the papyri came back in 1967 we found that out. We now have the original of Facsimile No. 1 and it wasn’t what Spaulding sent them.

Anyway, so they go on in this transcript, but did these 11 fragments…and 11 fragments were found in 1967 by Aziz Atiya and brought back to the Church and the question is but did these 11 fragments include the scroll Joseph Smith identified as the lost book of Abraham? Oh, boy, here we go.

Now we get into the crux of their video. And here’s where we have some powerful evidence against their claim. They say that it was important to identify whether or not the papyri found in the 1960s were the same ones that Joseph Smith used in his translation process. This is the whole crux. The torn picture found in one of these fragments was an identical match to the familiar picture found in the beginning of the Book of Abraham, and so on and so forth. Well then Dr. Lanny Bell – they get the Egyptologist Lanny Bell – he says when you have the modern state of the papyrus today in front of you, or the photograph of it, or whatever, and you compare it with Facsimile 1, you can see where Facsimile 1 starts to become un-Egyptological. Isn’t that fascinating? Facsimile No. 1’s "un-Egyptological" according to Dr. Lanny Bell? Let’s explore this for a minute.

Dan Peterson, in his really good article in The Ensign, January, 1994, "News From Antiquity" says this about Facsimile No. 1; this is on page 18. "Ancient texts indicate that the idolatrous gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, and Korash, described in the book of Abraham […], truly were worshipped in the ancient world, despite the fact that the Bible makes no mention of them. Furthermore, ancient texts suggest that the ensemble of four figures depicted as figure 6 of Facsimile 2 could indeed "represent this earth in its four quarters" in the ancient world, as the explanation to the facsimile in the book of Abraham says. 6 Ancient texts also support the interpretation given in the book of Abraham of figure 11 of facsimile 1 as ‘designed to represent the pillars of heaven, as understood by the Egyptians.’ In fact, the phrase "pillars of heaven" occurs in Egyptian literature. The angled lines below the lion couch in facsimile 1 are identified as ‘the firmament over our heads’ (fig. 12), which must seem rather strange to any modern reader. It only makes sense when we realize, in light of recent research, that the lines represent the waves of the water in which the crocodile is swimming, and that one way the ancient Egyptians conceived of heaven was as ‘a heavenly ocean.’

"One noteworthy element of the religious situation portrayed in the book of Abraham is the identification of a crocodile as ‘the idolatrous god of Pharaoh.’ (Facsimile 1, fig. 9.)"—see, all of this is supposed to be "un-Egyptological"—"Although this may have seemed strange in Joseph Smith’s day, discoveries in other ancient texts confirm this representation. Unas or Wenis, for example, was the last king of the fifth dynasty (circa 2356-2323 B.C.), and his pyramid still stands at Saqqara, south of modern Cairo. Utterance 317 of Unas’s Pyramid Texts includes the following: ‘The King Appears as the Crocodile-God Sobk,’ and ‘Unas has come today from the overflowing flood; Unas is Sobk, green-plumed, wakeful, alert. … Unas arises as Sobk, son of Neith.’ One scholar observes that ‘the god Sobk is … viewed as a manifestation of Horus, the god most closely identified with the kingship of Egypt’ during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom era (circa 2040-1640 B.C.), which includes the time period that tradition indicates as Abraham’s lifetime.

"Intriguingly, Middle Kingdom Egypt saw a great deal of activity in the large oasis to the southwest of modern Cairo known as the Faiyum. Crocodiles were common there, and Sobk (or Sobek) was the chief local deity. The last king of the twelfth dynasty, which may include the period of Abraham’s life, even adopted the name of the crocodile god, calling himself Nefru-sobk (‘Beautiful is Sobk’), and five pharaohs of the next dynasty, the thirteenth, took the name Sebek-hotpe (Sobk is content’).

"The book of Abraham tells of an attempt by idolatrous priests to sacrifice the young Abraham. (Abr. 1:7-20; facsimile 1.) Although the Bible says nothing of such an episode, postbiblical literature repeatedly mentions Abraham’s miraculous deliverance from an attempt to kill him. Recently a reference has been found in a third-century A.D. Egyptian papyrus which associates the name of Abraham with a lion-couch scene like that in facsimile 1.

"The book of Abraham records that years later, as Abraham is about to enter Egypt, the Lord advises him to conceal the fact that Sarai is his wife and to tell the Egyptians that she is his sister, a term whose broad usage also appropriately identified Sarai. (Abr. 2:22-25.) The Bible records the story of Abraham’s answer but is silent regarding the divine counsel that authorized it. (See Gen. 12:11-20.) However, the Genesis Apocryphon, a document found in this century among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, agrees with the book of Abraham that the patriarch’s behavior in this matter was divinely ordained. And there was good reason: The crocodile-god/king of the Pyramid Texts, cited above, is portrayed as willful and tyrannical. Specifically, he is said to steal wives from their husbands whenever it suits him to do so. That is, of course, exactly what Abraham expected the pharaoh to do to Sarai."

So that’s Dan Peterson’s analysis of Facsimile No. 1. It sure doesn’t appear to me to be un-Egyptological whatsoever but soundly confirmed in so many ways. And of course the video doesn’t tell you any of this. They want it to be strictly negative, as if no research we have done as Latter-day Saint scholars is of any significance whatsoever. But, the thing I notice, too, is that Peterson is quoting a lot of Egyptologists in this article. He is quoting…let me get to this real quick…he is quoting Adriaan de Buck; he is quoting Dieter Arnold; he is quoting Wolfgang Helck; he is quoting Heinrich Balez; he’s quoting Erik Hornung; he is quoting Miriam Lichtheim—he is quoting lots of Egyptologists—he is quoting George Möller—he is quoting lots of Egyptologists in this.

So the claim by Dr. Lanny Bell that Facsimile No. 1 is un-Egyptological is simply false. And that’s a tough statement to make about a good, professional Egyptologist. But just because he has the Ph.D. and just because he has the ability to translate Egyptian he’s always right. In this case he is dead wrong.

Now, then, for another real fun one that this video says, they use Dr. Robert Ritner. He says, "If you took a painting of the Madonna and Child and you tore off the heads of both figures and you replace them with a dog and a cat, it would be as obvious to us now that this was wrong as the replacing of the clearly jackal head with the human head on this Egyptian piece, because we know what these images actually looked like. I’ve already talked about the Anubis mask in John Gee’s response to this—tissue of fantasy!—in the same way, Ritner continues, we know that those figures would never under any circumstances hold a knife, and that’s critical to the text itself because it’s not mere decoration for this text, it goes to the core of the story that supposedly accompanies it. And if you take the knife away you’ve taken the story away as well, and clearly the knife had no reason to be there. In other words, they are still arguing about the knife. It is embarrassing at this point that the Egyptologists remain so grossly out of date, and I’m going to show you what I mean.

First, John Gee in his article "Eyewitness, Hearsay and Physical Evidence" in the Richard Lloyd Anderson Festschrift notes that the journal of William Appleby in 1841, Appleby said,

"There are likewise representations of an Altar erected, with a man bound and laid thereon, and a Priest with a knife in his hand[…]" [op. cit. 184] So here are the elements of the published Book of Abraham. There are also descriptions of scenes from the papyri that are not published and the knife is depicted in the hand of Figure 3, Facsimile 1. Now, Henry Caswell, he visited Nauvoo in 1842, and he says one vignette contained the figure of a man lying on a table, accompanied by a man standing by him with a drawn knife. It’s interesting, too, that Caswell, who was a non-Mormon—he was hostile to Joseph Smith—was looking for any evidence to say anything bad against him, doesn’t mention the man without a knife, he mentions the man with a drawn knife. The existence of the knife has been doubted by many because it doesn’t conform with what many other Egyptian papyri would lead us to expect, and this is Ritner’s approach, you see.

Yet it has been here described by a non-Mormon eye witness whose description matched the contemporary accounts. Charlotte Haven, in 1843, says this, too. She says that there was a man with a knife also. What is the significance of this knife? There’s many eye witnesses in Joseph Smith’s day that the knife was on Facsimile No. 1 and now our original document now is damaged to where there is no knife in it. There’s a lacuna, that is, there’s a gap, and this refutes the Egyptologists’ other stance, that the papyri we have today are in pretty much the same shape as they were in Joseph Smith’s day. That’s not true. Eye witness accounts in Joseph Smith’s day mention this priest with a knife, but we don’t have that now – the papyri has been damaged since Joseph Smith’s day. And that’s a pretty serious, significant gap in the facsimile.

So how do we know how much other stuff has been damaged? We don’t, but they want us to think we have everything we need. We have everything Joseph Smith had. That’s false, we do not. See, this is the same approach Nibley took in his "New Approach to the Pearl of Great Price" in the 1978 Improvement Era series of articles. Egyptologists today are ignorant of this; when they decide to pick up the Mormon papyri issues is just inexcusable. Nibley’s name is linked to the Joseph Smith Papyri and the Book of Abraham just as surely as Albert Einstein’s name is linked to what? That’s right, you said it, relativity.

To ignore Nibley is foolhardy at this point. Here’s what Nibley says: Dr. Lythgoe claims that the Mormons themselves drew the knife into the papyri.

That’s interesting, but there was nothing wrong with the knife back in 1903 when Henry Woodward saw in Facsimile 3 an embalmer, knife in hand, prepared to disembowel a dead body to embalm it. That was the eye witness description there. Von Bissing saw the soul leaving the body the moment the priest is opening the body with a knife for mummification. And at the present time Prof. George R. Hughes of the Oriental Institute in Chicago obliges with an explanation. He says the embalming of a deceased person, or rather the operation preparatory to mummification, and he saw the human-headed "bird" as well as the embalmer priest. He has in his hand a knife ready to make an incision in the abdomen. So the knife is a respectable object and fits nicely into an embalming scene. No, this isn’t un-Egyptological as Dr. Ritner’s trying to say. There were earlier [?] Egyptologists who saw it as an embalming scene, for crying out loud!

Well, what made Lythgoe suspicious was the peculiar form of the knife, and rightly so, since it was badly copied in the reproduction that Spaulding sent him, of course, but in the 1842 engraving the thing has a different shape, like a thin crescent moon, and this is significant. We’re speculating that this is significant. Herman Kees suggested that the knife used by the Egyptian was for human sacrifice had to be shaped like a thin, new moon. And in one of the oldest Abraham legends, we’re told that the knife used by the patriarch to sacrifice Isaac was a sharp knife, lusting after flesh, and crescent-shaped, like the new moon. So that’s fascinating—the point is the knife does too fit into the Egyptological aspects. It just depends on which biases one brings to the table before one discusses the issue. Obviously Ritner does not like the Book of Abraham facsimiles, but that doesn’t mean he’s correct.

And so yet again we see them invoke Dr. Klaus Baer of the University of Chicago, whose dead now and their conclusion now of course—now Egyptologists can read the papyri for themselves and see if they contain the story of an evil priest attempting to sacrifice Abraham on an altar. Since the Book of Breathings is not the original of the Book of Abraham, of course they’re not going to find that information.

Here’s what Robert Ritner says, "What this document really is is an extended prayer on behalf of a deceased Egyptian priest which begins with an invocation to the God of mummification probably." Probably? [laughs]. Certainly with a picture of the God of mummification. Well, now, this is interesting, because Ritner said Anubis is the God of mummification.

Yet in his article in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 71 (1985), entitled "Anubis and the Lunar Disk" Ritner says something else. With the exception of a Lunar [?] identification for the disk" – Anubis is being pictured with a disk—"A coherent explanation is provided. Not only for these birth scenes—notice these birth scenes; Anubis is associated with birth scenes, not just mummification but also for two additional categories of representation hitherto completely unexplained. The first of these appears sporadically, at underside of feet of the Roman period. In each a gilded and canvas figure of Anubis elevates the disk above his head. This depiction seems the counterpart of that found in the birth reliefs. Whereas the latter portray the operation of embalming of the body of the moon, Osiris by Anubis, the examples from the mummy wrappings stress the moment of resurrection. Anubis raises the now mummified and reborn lunar Osiris into the heavens. The position of the representation beneath the feet is of significance. For by virtue of identification of the deceased with Osiris, Anubis elevates not only the disk, but also the mummy which stands above him. " That’s on page 154.

On page 155, he concludes, "Far from being obscure, the relation of Anubis to his disk, whether in birth or funerary scenes, becomes at once clear and coherent if the disk is identified with the moon and Osiris. [Sieves and circumcisions?] are extraneous. In each instance, the scene recalls the role of Anubis as the agent of resurrection and as the grantor of a repetition of births, like Osiris the Moon. " So Anubis apparently can have more than one role, and this is proper, according to Ritner himself. And yet he says in this video that Anubis is only the God of mummification. And, so, I find this somewhat of a double standard because how does he know that the involvement of Facsimile No. 1, the Anubis in Facsimile No. 1, isn’t something like that. Perhaps he’s acting as a resurrection agent there, or an embalming agent. So they can take on different roles. There’s a little bit of an incongruity there that just doesn’t make sense to me, of why they keep ridiculing Joseph Smith’s explanations when they themselves show how it could be this, or it could be that, or it could be that, in their own Egyptological areas.

Ritner then goes on to pooh-pooh the Book of Abraham and the idea of the priest in Abraham. He says essentially ensuring this dead priest is able to function in death as he had in life. Now as part of the company of the ancient Egyptian gods, the point is in this facsimile Abraham is not mentioned once. And so he’s really out of date in some respects

Hugh Nibley, in his article, "I Have a Question" in The Ensign, March 1976—he was asked about this and he said, well, "the papyri were on display for years during which time Reuben Hedlock’s printed engraving was also diligently circulated. Those who viewed the Egyptian artefacts were often hostile but as nobody ever pointed out the discrepancies between the engraving and the original, we need more proof to show that there were any. Quite enough of the original remains for us to allow for meaningful study. The critics who worked hard to prove what the missing parts should be were wasting their time because they were determined to identify Facsimile No. 1 with an embalming scene, and that can’t be done. So now we see the fuller ramifications coming out. Why not? Because there are literally hundreds of lion scenes that more or less resemble this one and they are not all the same scene. No two Egyptian tombs, temples or texts are exactly alike. Even in the ritual compositions the artist was free to emphasize or minimize any aspect of a stereotype scene. And because even lavish copying is far easier than limited originality, the differences are certainly intangible.

Wouldn’t that be confusing? Well, not to people grounded in the fundamentals. "The Egyptian," wrote Henry Frankfort [sp?] "considered it a particular nicety that symbols should possess multiple significance, that one particular interpretation should not be the only possible one. Hence one cannot say dogmatically that a certain Egyptian drawing depicts such and such an event and nothing else. A lion couch represents a standard Egyptian embalming table but at the same time it is a domestic bed and a standard sacrificial altar. And why not? One is put to sleep on all of these, and with the same intent: that of rising again." Of all the scenes resembling our Facsimile No. 1, the most striking are those found in the Temple of [?] and the Tomb of Seti I. The king lies dead on the lion couch in both cases, having been overcome by the powers of death but also in both cases he is shown just at the point of stirring to life again. A historical event? Indeed. How historical? It took place as a dramatic presentation, a ritual – not once, but countless times. Whatever Pharaoh does, from washing his mouth in the morning to leading an army into Asia, follows prescribed ritual forms, and it’s recorded as an organic part of the history of the universe.

So what does all this have to do with Abraham? Surprisingly, everything. Here the coincidences start to pile up in a spectacular manner. Important early Christian, Jewish and Muslim texts tell of the attempted sacrifices of Abraham and Sarah, heretofore unknown but precisely the concern of Joseph Smith’s Abraham. At the same time comparative studies have brought to the fore certain dominant ritual and mythological patterns that pervade all over the Ancient Near East. Foremost among them the sacrificial death and miraculous revival of the king.

Where’s Abraham? He’s just two steps away. First the king at the end of a certain period had to undergo sacrificial death, being ritually resurrected in the person of his son. Well, that was not pleasant, but there was a way out of this—a substitute on the altar of sacrifice. This was done often and regularly at the completion of a set cycle, and now we come to Abraham. The oldest Abraham legend describes a great king who aspires to rule the world. Abraham insists that it is really God who rules the universe. For this irreverence to authority the hero is made to serve as a sacrificial victim. But on the altar, Abraham prays and God sends an angel to deliver him. The altar is overthrown by an earthquake in some versions. And the officiating priest perishes. The king is now convinced and reverences the patriarch.

Which takes us to Facsimile No. 3.So, see, so far Ritner may be right—Abraham isn’t specifically mentioned. But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything to do with Abraham. Abraham’s all over in it according to the ancient ritual patterns. Now, countless studies of the substitute king have noticed that the business of the substitute was to sit on the king’s throne while the real king was being held by death in the underworld. During that dark interval, the false king, representing the Adversary, ruled the world, only to be put to death at the end of the appointed time.

Well, Abraham is the substitute king. Specifically Abraham, though? Well, the substitute was not just anybody, but the most exalted adversary that could be found. He had to be an outsider, be a prince and have red or brown hair. According to the legends, Abraham was all of these. But you said the substitute sits on the throne before being dispatched; Abraham sits on the throne afterwards. And that is exactly how it should be. The false king first claims the throne then suffers. The real king is first humiliated and then glorified. Abraham represents true divinity and kingship while the tyrant is only a pretender. This is the lesson of the facsimiles also. Abraham on the throne? You bet! In the Rabbinic version the king is so overwhelmed by Abraham’s miraculous delivery that he orders a special throne erected for Abraham and

commands all of his courtiers to bring their children to be instructed in astronomy by the man on the throne. This is the same queer situation we find in Facsimile 3. It says "Abraham sitting on Pharaoh’s throne by the politeness of the king even while Abraham is reasoning upon the principles of astronomy in the king’s court."

But does this make sense, that Pharaoh would let anybody else sit on his throne? To us it doesn’t, but when we look a bit further we discover that the Pharaohs did actually let other people sit on the throne. How come? According to Wolfgang Helck in Orientalia,

"the throne of Rpct when the king in the Old Kingdom needed someone to represent him in an important assignment he was unable to officiate in person, he would endow his chosen agent with his own kingly power and authority by allowing him to function as Rpct on the throne of Geb. At first only the king’s son and heir, the true Rpct was entrusted with such awesome dignity, but soon, with growing administrative pressures, some of the great lords were allowed the same privilege."

Now I can see the need for such authority, but what is the rationale behind this? It’s the principle of substitution, of course. The Rpct figured as the substitute for the king after his ritual murder in the Sed festival, according to Wolfgang Helck. In theory the throne must always pass from father to son, and so the Rpct who saw [?] on it bore the royal insignia and held a written document bestowing on him plenary power to rule the world. But since the regent had to be a legitimate Rpct and since the regent was often a queen mother, many if not most of the Rpcts were women. That’s fascinating. This explains the two ladies labelled as Pharaoh and Prince of Pharaoh in the facsimiles.

Ritner ridicules this idea of gender being incorrect in the facsimiles, incidentally, a little later in the video. Yes, when you ask young children to identify the ladies, they do so inevitably. Well, couldn’t Joseph Smith recognize a female when he saw one? Have you ever wondered why the Egyptologists who were so eager to get rid of Joseph Smith never pointed to this egregious indiscretion? Well, now, Robert Ritner in this video does, but he’s wrong. I strongly suspect it’s because they sensed he was on the right track. Apparently Ritner doesn’t think so. The Prince of Pharaoh here is the Lady Maat who can represent anyone while acting as lieutenant for Pharaoh, and is the very embodiment of the rule of succession. The lady designated as Pharaoh is the Lady Hathor Isis, mother, sister, and bride of the Pharaoh, and the ultimate source of his authority. These two ladies must be present in any coronation scene when there is a transmission of royal power. To show Pharaoh and the Prince in their own persons would actually confuse the issue.

Today Abraham is being held by scholars as the key figure, next to Christ, in the story of God’s dealing with men. The facsimiles confirm the Book of Abraham and place before our eyes a present and tangible tie with the patriarch itself. It’s not far-fetched. Joseph Smith’s presentation has now received powerful confirmation from four directions. All these directions are ignored by today’s Egyptologists. The newly published Abraham Documents and Legends,

the classical sources which now, read in the new light, back them up, the Egyptian ritual sources, disclosing heretofore unsuspected riches and the vast breadth of studies in comparative religion and literature showing that the events set forth in the text in the facsimiles of the Book of Abraham actually belong to well-established routines, and these are found all over the ancient world.

This is what the video ignores; this is what today’s Egyptologists ignore. They want it to stay narrow, they don’t want to do all this comparative study that LDS scholarship has shown to be viable, real, and powerful. And that’s why I don’t find this video convincing. It’s narrow, it’s got an agenda, and it’s dead wrong in so many things. And where it’s not dead wrong on so many things, it’s completely incomplete. Kind of sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it, but that’s what it is – it’s grossly incomplete. It underestimates everything, as far as comparative studies go. They ignore this. I know I keep harping on this, but that is the key to realizing that they don’t have a lot to refute.

End of Tape 2 Side 1

Tape 2 Side 2

Another area where people are out of date and misunderstanding things is mentioned by John Gee in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, vol. 7, No. 1. (1995). He has found and analyzed the lion couch papyrus that has the name of Abraham on that papyrus. He says, on page 22, "A single test of the authenticity of a document usually cannot decide the question in and of itself." The papyri references were used in the articles that Gee wrote, not as authenticity for the book of Abraham, but for the falsification of a particular anti-Mormon theory. "The evidence refutes two hypotheses that the anti-Mormons put forward: the first is that Egyptian papyri have nothing to do with any scripture written by Abraham. This quickly degenerates into statements that the name Abraham never appears in Egyptian writing. This is proven wrong by this lion couch with Abraham’s name, just found about five years ago. The reference to Abraham in the papyri do not and they can not in and of themselves prove the Book of Abraham authentic. It was argued that the only real proof of the authenticity of scripture comes through the power of the Holy Ghost." And that’s what we’ve always maintained.

Now the video goes on to quote Dr. Lanny Bell. "From the evidence we have today it’s quite safe to say that Joseph Smith did not have the Book of Abraham or the Book of Joseph in front of him in the form of these papyri because they bear no relationships to the contents of the stories or to his translation." But we’ve just seen how Hugh Nibley completely destroys that lame thesis. Lanny Bell is hopelessly out of date so far. But I have another contention to pick with Lanny Bell. In an article of his he authored in The Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 44 (October 1985) called "The Cult of the Luxor Temple and the Royal Ka", page 286, here’s what Dr. Bell has to say: "The Pharaoh is extolled with many epithets and one of these epithets is he is extolled as two ladies. Another king is extolled as ‘He is found as two ladies who establishes laws.’ He appears as Horus, Mighty Bull, Beloved of Amun, Two Ladies." Page 288 he says, "Tutankhamen had a ceremonial cubic rod from [?] and it calls him Two Ladies, Great One in the Palace, Great One of Amun."

Now this idea of the ladies is interesting in relation to Facsimile No. 3. No relationship to the Book of Abraham indeed! Lanny Bell notes that Pharaohs are called ladies in Egyptian literature. Hugh Nibley in his book Abraham in Egypt starting on page 425, says, "Dietrich Wildung notes an instance in which ‘we can identify Anat [the Canaanites’ version of Hathor] as ‘Anat of Ramses [the king] himself in the shape of a goddess’" And that’s exactly how Joseph Smith identified him. The two ladies in the facsimile figures 2 and 4 will be identified as any novice as the goddess Hathor and Maat. You know, it’s on page 429, "in her special capacity as the one closest and dearest to the king, Hathor is identified with Isis, who is ‘the divine mother and princess,[…]the female Sun.’ Like Hathor, Isis commands the throne, for in the words of Siegfried Morenz, ‘She is the embodiment of the Throne, . . . is the Egyptian Kingship itself, which is embodied in the living King Horus, at whose death it enters into Osiris.’ With the idea of the Great Lady actually ‘embodying’ the king, the incongruity of figure 2 as ‘King Pharaoh’ begins to dissolve. ‘The throne "makes" the king,’ wrote Frankfort; ‘the term occurs in Egyptian texts’—and so the throne, Isis, is the "mother" of tile king. [ibid. 429]

"Since Hathor installs the king ‘as guarantor of the world order,’ it is not surprising that she is also identified with Maat (our figure 4 in Facsimile 3) at the coronation, hailed as "Hathor the Great, the Lady of Heaven, the Queen of the Gods and Goddesses, Maat herself, the female son [sic] […] Maat who brings order to the world at the head of the Sun-bark, even ‘Isis the Great,' the Mother of the Gods.’" [ibid, 430]

"To signify his own wholeness of heart, the king presents the Maal-image to Hathor. Maat (the female son) is the younger of the two—indeed, who is not younger than the primordial mother? While ‘Isis the divine mother’ says at the coronation, ‘I place my son on tile throne,’ the younger goddess standing by as Nephthys ‘the Divine Sister’ says, ‘I protect thy body my brother Osiris.’ Here the two ladies as Isis the venerable and Nephthys the maiden appear as mother and daughter, standing in the same relationship to each other as ‘Pharaoh’ and ‘Prince of Pharaoh.’ whom they embody in Facsimile 3 (figures 2 and 4 respectively). [ibid. 431]

"All this switching ot sexes is understandable, if unsettling, in a symbolic sense—after all, Job says of the righteous man, "his breasts are full of milk" (job 21:24). But Facsimile 3 is supposed to be an actual scene in the palace; would the family-night charades go so far? Granted that a bisexual nature was the rule for Egyptian divinities, who could freely change their outward appearance to match special functions, still in a purportedly historical scene in which men are represented as women we need something more specific. To begin with, Hathor and Maat were always known for the masks that represent them, these masks being regularly worn by men. […] meant to be worn originally as a mask In the Old Kingdom, the son of Cheops wore the Hathor mask in his office of Intendant of the Palace, and other high officials wore it too; in the Middle Kingdom it was still the mark of men serving the king's most intimate needs as his personal attendants, The Egyptian chief judge, as he mounted the bench to represent the king, would suspend a large Hathor mask from his neck to signify that the court was formally in session, just as lawyers and judges in England submerge their personal identities in wigs and robes. This Hathor mask seems to have been at all times interchangeable with the Maat-symbol, usually a huge greenstone feather[….]

"The wearing of these two amulets or masks means complete identification. ‘Maat places herself as an amulet at thy neck […] thy right eye is Maat, thy left eye is Maat, thy flesh is Maat,[…] and thy members; […] thy bandelette is Maat, thy garment [...] is Maat.; The reference here is specifically to clothing; plainly the new king, the young one, is all dressed up as Maat-—she embodies him in her person in spite of sex. So let no one be shocked by figure 4. She is ‘the female Horus, the youthful, [...] Isis, the great, the mother of God,, born in Dendera on the eve of the child in its cradle (the New Year). […] from a Pyramid Text it is clear that the king wore not only the horned headdress of the royal mother Hathor, but her complete outfit as well—combined with the Maat feathers; ‘His royal robe is upon him as Hathor, while his feather is a falcon's feather,’ […] the chief judge of Sheshonq III, though designated as ‘Prophet of Maat,’ wears not the Maat but the Hathor emblem.[ibid. 430-435]

"But would ‘King Pharaoh’ and the ‘Prince of Pharaoh’ actually dress up as the goddesses who embodied their majesty at the moment of transition? If the son of Cheops wore the Hathor mask with his royal robe upon him as Hathor and the Maat feather on his head or breast, the high priest of Heliopolis could appear at the Sed festival wearing ‘a peculiar garment, suggesting a woman's apparel,’ and the king could identify himself with the Great Mother "by enveloping himself with her bandelette.’

"Because there was no real identification or fusion,’ Erik Hornung explains, "the god could with impunity take any form or sex he pleased without disturbing anyone..’ Isis as Neith was ‘two-thirds man and one-third woman,’ making it possible for her to fuse with Chnum, the Creator, both male and female elements being indispensable to any act of creation. This woman comes forth wearing the familiar white crown but adding a beard to her costume, thus ‘showing her androgynous character.’ In the same spirit the king appears in the coronation rites as Hapy the Nile, the feeder of the land, heavily bearded but with all the attributes of a pregnant woman, whereby, according to Hari, he is identified with the Lady Wr.t- k3w.

"Maat appears in the male form of Horus to show that she is the bearer of the kingship, and at the real coronation the queen in her office of Rpct would be ‘at great pains to conceal her sex.’

"lkhnaton thought of himself ‘as an extension of Maat,’ it being characteristic that at this time […] lkhnaten was represented in female forms […] The Prophet, by his feminine body of many forms honors his god, the womb of the universe.’" [ibid 440-441]

And they say this has nothing to do with Egyptology. These guys are so hopelessly out of date, it’s comical. Positively embarrassing as far as I would be concerned if I were one of them. The video is useless. They ignore the LDS scholarship. At their own peril, I might add. So for them to have Ritner say, "I want to be absolutely clear on this, there simply is no justification for any of the interpretations that appear in Facsimile No. 1 or Facsimile 3" – notice how he skips Facsimile 2—He says, "They are wrong with regard to the hieroglyphs, they are wrong with regard to the gender, they are wrong with regard to what the scene actually represents." Then Lanny Bell says, "You can not find outside discussion of this particular set of facsimiles, any Egyptologist who would be discussing it in this way."

Actually you can’t find any Egyptologists discussing these facsimiles, period. They fail to touch it, including Ritner and Bell here. All they’re doing is presenting their negative approach and negative attitude. They’ve presented no evidence against it whatsoever. Ritner complains about Gee saying that some of the papyri is lost. Well, let’s look at this yet again in sort of a wrap-up of this whole situation.

My good friend Jeff Lindsay on the Internet has a fantastic website on the Book of Abraham; I’m going to use some of his material. "The existing papyri include only one of the three figures that relate to the Book of Abraham. If two-thirds of the figures are missing, how can anyone honestly maintain that we have the entire set of scrolls? Some critics often make it sound as if the full set of papyri used to translate the Book of Abraham have been found, not letting the reader know that at least some of it is missing." And this, according to some of the early eye witnesses, too. So, interesting…

"Now while there was special mention of two scrolls with writings of Abraham and Joseph, we learn that there may have been three scrolls in the best description that we have of the original mummies. This is found in a non-LDS newspaper, the Painesville Telegraph, from an article of March 27, 1835 […] There was found with this person [mummy no. 1] a roll or book, having a little resemblance to birch bark; […] [Mummy] No. 2 was found with roll as [mummy] No. 1, filled with hieroglyphics, rudely executed. [Mummy] No. 3 had a roll of writing as No. 1 & 2. The possibility of more than two scrolls is also found in a newspaper account of the mummies and records while they were on display in Philadelphia, before they were brought to the Latter-day Saints. The Daily Intelligencer"

http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_Abraham.shtml

cited it. There was a book described as being perfectly preserved in The Cleveland Whig. "The physical description of the well preserved "book’ on ‘bark’ leaves - probably papyrus - does not fit either the Book of Breathings or the Book of the Dead from the Joseph Smith Papyri (the latter being written on a scroll about twice as wide as described, though some of the pieces are now more narrow). Dr. Peterson (p. 115) states that the two booklike writings mentioned in the Cleveland Whig ‘were in addition to the rolls,’ though one could argue that lengthy scrolls, when rolled up, might be mistaken for a booklike set of papyrus leaves. In any case, the eyewitness account of the reporter for the Cleveland Whig raises the possibility of lengthy papyrus documents. The well preserved ‘book’ appeared significant enough to be called ‘by far the most interesting part of the exhibition.’

"What we have now, called the Joseph Smith Papyri, are fragments that had been cut from scrolls and mounted on stiff backing paper and/or on glass." So even after all of the existing fragments have been mounted, on paper or on glass panes there still may have been long documents in the papyrus collection which Joseph Smith had, documents that we don’t have today. We can accept the description of Charlotte Haven. She says – this is 1843 – ""Then she [Mrs. Smith] turned to a long table, set her candlestick down, and opened a long roll of manuscript, saying it was 'the writing of Abraham […]" so there’s a description…not short, stubby fragments, but a long roll. The significant thing is that Charlotte refers to two rolls when the rolls had already been mounted on glass. She also refers to content in these rolls which differs from the existing fragments and from the published Book of Abraham

John Gee also suggests further evidence of more scrolls in that Egyptian papyrus documents universally pertain to only one individual. He then demonstrates that there are five individuals mentioned in the existing fragments of the Kirtland Papers and the Facsimiles. There must have been several other rolls in the sets, documents from at least five different individuals that he names, and then Gee asks a question. If we have all the papyri that Joseph Smith had, might we then ask Mr. Larson, are facsimiles 2 and 3, the roll belonging to Amenhotep, or all the strange vignettes which those who saw the papyri in Nauvoo described? If they’re documents that we don’t have, by what clairvoyance do Larson and his fellow critics what was or what was not on them? You see? The original Book of Abraham very well may be missing. There could be several rolls of papyri according to the eyewitness descriptions and according to the Egyptian customs.

The critics assume that the Book of Breathings is the original of the Book of Abraham. That is an assumption, it hasn’t been demonstrated yet. Here’s another one of the key factors: the eleven fragments that we have today of the Joseph Smith Papyri came from two scrolls, one the Book of the Breathings, the other the Book of the Dead—Fragments 10 and 11. They’re called the Snsn Scrolls. The Tanners and many other critics and these videomakers along with Dr. Ritner and apparently Dr. Bell, have claimed that this was the source of the Book of Abraham. Here’s why. Characters on the margin of the Kirtland Papers, assumed to be sources for the translations, come from the Snsn text, that is, the Book of Breathings. Facsimile 1 appears to have been torn from the other fragments of the Snsn scroll, and the text of the Book of Abraham says that the figure of Abraham being sacrificed is at the beginning of this document. Other examples of the Book of Breathings are said to conclude with the figure much like the lost [?] Facsimile 3. So we can’t argue that the beginning, the middle and the end of the Book of Breathings corresponds to the Book of Abraham, showing that Joseph translated from it. This is what the critics are doing, this is what this video does.

There are several weaknesses with this view, however. The description of the scroll used to produce the Book of Abraham shows that it could not have been the Book of Breathings. So then there are some interesting, puzzling relationships to work out between the Book of Abraham and the Book of Breathings. For example, could Egyptian Jews have adopted the Book of Breathings and/or the Book of the Dead as a vehicle for Abraham’s story? Or did some scribe put some items from the Book of Abraham into a Book of Breathings format? We don’t know at this point.

The critical evidence is the physical description of the original scroll that Joseph used in his translation. The prophet Joseph himself said that it is beautifully written, it’s with black and a small portion of red ink and it is in perfect preservation. This is the key. There can be no doubt whatever that the manuscript he was describing was and is a completely different one from the badly written, poorly preserved, little Book of Breathings. And the Book of Breathings text doesn’t have any rubrics at all, either. There’s no red writing, there’s no red ink on the Book of Breathings, which is the fragment the critics say is the original of the Book of Abraham.

Joseph’s journal entry says the record of Abraham and Joseph found with the mummies is beautifully written on papyrus with black and a small part of red ink, and in perfect preservation. That is the key. Now whether it’s Joseph or Oliver who’s giving the physical description, those who accept the Book of Breathings as the source for the Book of Abraham have to pay attention. Oliver Cowdery’s fuller description in a long letter says "On the subject of the Egyptian records, or rather the writings of Abraham and Joseph, if I may say a few words, this record is beautifully written on papyrus in black with a small part of red ink, in perfect preservation."

There are obviously multiple Egyptian records in the collection, but apparently, referring to the writing of Abraham and Joseph in particular, Oliver says "this record." Then in describing how the scrolls in general – that is, the whole set – are found, it’s back to saying "these records." We have further evidence about the physical appearance of the records Joseph Smith translated from another eye witness, Robert Horne [?]. Horne describes a time in Nauvoo when Lucy Mack Smith allowed him to handle the papyrus records with his own hands and he said, "the record I saw were some kind of parchment on papyrus and it contained writing in red and black. Mother Lucy told me that one was the writings of Abraham, the other the writings of Joseph."

Again, the original scrolls used to produce the Book of Abraham as well as the scroll for the Book of Joseph are described as containing red and black ink. This is in stark contrast to the red ink-free Book of Breathings that critics claim is the original Book of Abraham papyrus. Warren Foote [sp?] said that the writings were the records of Joseph and Abraham, Jacob’s sons, some of the writing was in black, and some in red. He said that the writing in red was pertaining to the priesthood.

Once again an eye witness describes the writings of Abraham and Joseph by mentioning red and black writing, without giving any indication that this description did not apply to the Book of Abraham. We are then specifically told that the red writing pertains to the priesthood. Now, does the Book of Abraham have anything pertaining to or having to do with the priesthood? Absolutely! That’s the whole message of the first two chapters: who has the true priesthood – Abraham or Pharaoh?

Nibley has done an enormous amount of study on this subject in his Improvement Era articles, "A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price." Critics completely ignore this. They’re just not honest, you see, it’s not a complete analysis at all. Warren Foote’s description of the Egyptian scrolls that he saw, once again, lumps two books together with a description of red and black writing, but goes further in identifying the red writing with the priesthood passages. And our Book of Abraham contains multiple passages dealing with just the priesthood subject. It’s consistent. Nobody of the eye witnesses says that the Book of Abraham was old, poorly preserved and in black ink only, while the Book of Joseph was well-preserved and in red and black. The two records are always lumped together. So the most reasonable conclusion, based on eye witness accounts, mind you, is that the scrolls containing the Book of Abraham and Joseph had a similar appearance which justified grouping the two of them together in their description. That’s how they’re always described.

It’s interesting that one of the descriptions of the rolls in the Painesville Telegraph said it was "rudely executed," possibly in contrast to both of the other scrolls. Perhaps the "rudely executed" scroll was comprised of the fragments that we now call the Book of Breathings. It’s rudely executed as opposed to some of the others. Or perhaps they were part of the miscellaneous fragments found with the other scrolls in the first place – we don’t know. In any case, the Book of Breathings was not what Joseph said he was translating. So if the Book of Breathings doesn’t fit the physical description offered by several eye witnesses of the scrolls the eye witnesses Joseph used to translate the Book of Mormon [sic?] then their primary argument in this video and in all their writings, that the translation of the Snsn Book of Breathings was not the source of the Book of Abraham. That’s not a good argument the critics bring out; of course it wasn’t.

Another angle to consider: if Oliver thought that Joseph was translating the lengthy Book of Abraham with its potential to fill volumes from this tiny fragment of the Book of Breathings, he must have thought that a single character could generate huge quantities of text, as the critics make fun of. They say one character produced 110 words, which is ridiculous, therefore the Book of Abraham is false. That’s what the critics contend. However, he [Oliver] mentions that he copied himself four or five sentences from the scroll for Joseph Smith to translate, and Joseph translated some of the characters, and Oliver didn’t see anything out of the ordinary compared to the translation process for the Book of Mormon. See, Oliver compares the Egyptian characters to those of the Book of Mormon. In the translation of the Book of Mormon there was no evidence of single characters generating whole paragraphs of text. So there appeared to have been a reasonable correlation between symbols and words, as in other languages, see.

So if Joseph was suddenly attributing hundreds of words to a single character, Oliver should have been suspicious. Instead he talks about copying sentences from the scroll and having Joseph translate them – and he does, in a one-to-one correspondence. If Oliver recognized that groups of characters formed single sentences and also imagine that volumes of sacred writings could be extracted from the scrolls, does it make any sense that any of the tiny fragments of the existing papyri was what he was referring to? John Gee tells me personally that the Joseph Smith papyri can be held in the palm of your hand. They’re just tiny little fragments.

See, Oliver was probably referring to larger scrolls and the plural is used in the record of [?]’s sale of scrolls of papyri sold to Chicago. That’s the description in the sale. And they perished in the Chicago fire. Well, who’s to say what those scrolls were? If William West indicated that there’s enough material in the Book of Abraham to fill a book larger than the Bible, this isn’t consistent with the tiny set of fragments we now have. Joseph spent many days translating the Book of Abraham, and he had enough text already translated that required hours to read. I’ve already covered that. It’s just interesting to emphasize.

In fact, Preston Nibley visited the Nauvoo House in 1906 with Joseph F. Smith who saw [had seen?] Joseph Smith kneeling on the floor in the front room with the Egyptian manuscript spread out all around him. And he had rocks on them, and books, and stuff like that, and he was studying a line of characters, jotting down his impression. This roll that Joseph was looking at rolled through two rooms. Now the 12 fragments in the existing collection that we have now, these can be put on a simple desktop for study.

Another problem: on March 9th, 1842, as the Book of Abraham was being prepared for publication, Joseph Smith said that he was revising and correcting the manuscript. So many of these marks were probably made during the preparation and the translation of the text before March 9th but none of the Book of Abraham manuscripts in the Kirtland Egyptian papers show any editorial remarks, or marks like this. It seems unlikely that any of the Kirtland papers could have been Joseph Smith’s working papers for translation – there’s no editing marks at all. Interesting – between October and December 1835 Joseph Smith mentions exhibiting the papyri 15 times, translating 4 times, transcribing once, but the Egyptian Alphabet was mentioned only once. This is where he says, "a system of astronomy was unfolded." See, it’s generally been assumed that the Egyptian Alphabet is the Kirtland Egyptian Manuscript No. 1, or the so-called Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar. And I discuss this along with Gee.

The only grammar in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers is just a page and a half long, and what it does, it treats only 23 Egyptian characters. It’s also in the handwriting of William W. Phelps. If the brethren are reading out of the Book of Abraham for hours and hours and Joseph Smith is working on the Book of Abraham from a long roll of papyrus that stretches through two rooms, mind you, and the Kirtland Egyptian Papers only have a page and a half, with 23 Egyptian characters? And they say those are the working papers? The critics’ theory just doesn’t jive, that’s all.

Another important feature of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers which critics say is proof that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Breathings into the Book of Abraham…these pages are mostly in the handwriting of Warren Parrish – more importantly, the Egyptian characters in the margins, they were added after the English text had been written down. Now I know Brent Metcalfe disagrees with this, but John Gee in his Guide shows the evidence and it’s pretty obvious in my opinion. Parrish’s English text flows smoothly and continuously. He’s one of the penmen of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. His text flows smoothly and continuously as if written in one steady stream copied from an original document while the characters – the Egyptian characters at the side – these get cramped together as if someone was trying to fit them into space that had already been constrained by the English text. Parrish’s English text shows no sign of having been produced as a translation from the material to the left of it. If the Egyptian had been written first then the English text would have been unevenly spaced to adjust to the spacing of the Egyptian characters. And there probably would have been numerous additions and corrections in the English text. There’s none of that. There’s no erasing, no smudges, nothing.

Hugh Nibley showed that in his "Kirtland Egyptian Papers Study" which, incidentally, critics ignore – of course! Because it doesn’t fit their pre-conceived notions.

It appears that some of Joseph’s associates were examining relationships between the Egyptian characters in the Book of Breathings and the Book of Abraham texts, after the translation of the Book of Abraham had been completed. That’s what these show. Critics won’t let on to that, though.

The other thing to keep in mind, though, is Joseph had a complete translation and he promised much more material from the Book of Abraham. None of that additional material is found in the Kirtland Papers. None of it. They read for two solid hours according to one account. Two solid hours. It only takes us half an hour to read the Book of Abraham and none of this is in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers either. The history of the astronomy, the information on the creation and the history of the planetary system, none of that’s found in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. These are supposed to be Joseph Smith’s working papers that he produced the Book of Abraham with, though. None of that information’s there. I don’t think the critics’ theory is very strong at all.

And probably one of the most significant things is Kirtland Egyptian Paper No. 6. Now, Joseph’s associates did not suffer from the foolish notion that hundreds of words could be derived from a single character. Paper Nr. 6 was written by William W. Phelps, who was one of Joseph’s scribes. This contains the only known case where an early Latter-day Saint claims that a specific English text is a translation of a specific Egyptian text. Phelps gives us four lines of English text and says that they are a translation of three lines of Egyptian text. Phelps did not associate hundreds of English words with a single stroke of Egyptian like our critics contend.

So when it comes to translation the evenness between the two languages is shown in Kirtland Egyptian Paper No. 6 and critics just don’t even bother to bring up this paper. So the idea that Joseph used the Kirtland Papers to perform his translation is largely based on statements in Joseph Smith’s journal over a brief period of a few weeks. But then the idea of translation becomes the issue and I talked about that with Nibley’s information. The translation was, however, performed by revelation, not from Joseph Smith’s linguistic abilities. And Nibley has covered that area extensively as well.

For the Egyptologists of today in this video to proclaim that the facsimiles are un-Egyptian and that the Book of Abraham is unconfirmed and phony and false and that there is no correlation between modern Egyptological knowledge and the facsimiles – they twit Michael Rhodes on that—is simply false. I found, when you look at Facsimile No. 2, for instance the cow is identified by Joseph Smith as the sun, I have found where the Hathor cow is considered the sun, as well as other heavenly bodies in the sky. She’s called in one text, "Hathor, die Kuh von Gold" – "Hathor, the cow of gold." Why gold if she was not the sun? In the Book of the Dead, in the chapter of transformation of the dead into the golden falcon, the golden falcon is clearly a designation of the sun.

So my question is, if the falcon has gold and is the sun, why isn’t Hathor, who is described as gold, also [not] the sun? Well the fact is that she is, and this is in a lot of Egyptian texts that I have discussed. I’m trying to wrap this up and do a quick summary of some other material.

I’ve also found that Egyptologically, the hawk with outspread wings does signify the expanse of the heavens. This is confirmed in the Pyramid Texts where the king’s two wings have grown into that of the falcon’s and he spreads his wings and he flies like a bird [Kerry: personal note – this text is actually part of the libretto for Philip Glass’s opera Akhenaton, which uses original Hebrew, Akkadian and Egyptian texts such as the Tel el-Amarna Letters for its libretto. I can scan any Egyptian texts in the libretto in the CD liner notes and send them to you if you’re interested, but you probably have all that already – Marc] and he flies like the bird in the heavens.

Rudolph Anthus says that on the ivory comb of King Horus, serpent of the First Dynasty, the falcon Horus is represented twice. He’s got spread out wings in a boat, and Horus presides over the sky. It occurs in a vineyard, it’s the name of a vineyard, of King Joser [sp?] of the Third Dynasty. One thing is certain, Horus presides over the sky. [?] Horus was confined to the hovering falcon, which is a variant of the standing falcon, and his outspread wings in the boat definitely signify the sky, the expanse, as Joseph Smith said. Well, there’s some Egyptological knowledge confirming some of Joseph Smith’s interpretations. None of this was brought out by any of the critics [in] this film. None of the Egyptologists acknowledge these correlations.

And finally, what I consider probably the crown jewel of Book of Abraham studies thus far is the book by John Tvedtnes, Brian M. Hauglid and John Gee, Traditions About the Early Life of Abraham. This

John Tvedtnes, Brian M. Hauglid, John Gee. The Book of Abraham Series, vol I: Traditions About the Early Life of Abraham (Provo UT, Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2001 book is magnificent. What they do is they use 121 extra-biblical sources to show the unique elements of the Book of Abraham is supported by the extra-biblical traditions of antiquity. It is astonishing. It’s a huge book. In fact, John Tvedtnes told me in an email that there are college professors back east asking to use this book as a college text now, which is really exciting. These extra-biblical sources show idolatry in Abraham’s day. They show Abraham’s father worshipped idols as Abraham states in the Book of Abraham. They use sources of Abu Al-Fida, Al-Tarafi, Anonymous Christian Chronicle, The Armenian Paraphrase of Genesis, Bar-Hebraeus, The Book of the [Venerable] Bede, The Book of the [the Cave of] Treasures, The Conflict of Adam and Eve [with Satan], The Epiphanius Penarium, these many texts. Some of these texts show Abraham’s father worshipped idols. They show the idols were made of wood and stone. The Chronicle of Jarahmeel, The Conflict of Adam and Eve [with Satan], Hecateus, The Kebra Nagast: Terah, Abraham’s father, worshipped idols, according to the Book of Abraham and several extra-canonical sources: Muslim, Christian, Early Christian, Ancient Egyptian, all of these sources. The Apocalypse of Abraham, the Ibn Kathir. Terah, after repenting, returned to his idols. This is said in Al-Tabari and Al-Thaclab The sacrifice of Abraham and others, children were sacrificed – this is talked about in Al-Baidawi, Al-Biruni, Al-Kisai, Al-Maqdisi, the Anonymous Christian Chronicle. The story of those who would not worship idols being killed is found in the Anonymous Christian Chronicle, Asatir, The Commentarium in Genesim, Falasha Story, Rabanus Maurus. Abraham was brought to be sacrificed because he would not worship the idols; this is found in the Book of Abraham 1:7 and Facsimile 1 fig. 3, of course, the one we’ve been talking about. Well, this story is in Abu Al-Fida, Al-Baidawi. Abraham was brought to be killed or sacrificed according to Al-Mascudi; according to Angelomus Lexoviensis, the Babylonian Talmud, the Venerable Bede, the Falasha Story, Hugh of St. Victor, Jacob of Odessa, Kacb al-Ahbar, Petrus Comestor, Rashi, Syriac Commentary on Genesis, Rabanus Maurus.

Terah was behind the attempt to kill Abraham according to some traditions: The Book of Jasher, Al-Nisaburi, the Falasha Story. Abraham was fastened or bound to an altar: this is according to several…they’ve got an entire appendix, Appendix A, in the back of this book with all of these themes. When his life is in danger, Abraham prayed and an angel came to rescue Abraham. This is found in Al-Baidawi, Al-Kisai, the Falasha Story. God rescued Abraham from death: this is in several sources. God rescued Abraham from death and the altar furnace of the idols was destroyed. The leader, or the priest, was smitten, and died according to several of these stories.

The priesthood: he was heir to the priesthood and his father’s. Abraham held the priesthood. Abraham was linked to Noah. Interestingly, believers are the seed of Abraham and are blessed through him, according to the Armenian Paraphrase of Genesis. Abraham sought God earnestly, Abraham made converts in Haran, Abraham possessed the Urim and Thummim by means of which he received revelation from God. This is in the Babylonian Talmud, Bahir; Abraham was knowledgeable about astronomy, which he learned from ancient records and from God. This is in 4th Ezra, Al-Kisai, Al-Rabghuzi.

Abraham taught astronomy to the Egyptians – this is our Facsimile Nr. 3 again, you see – this is in Artapanus, Eupolemus, George Syncellus, Ioannes Zonares, the Zohar of Genesis. Earth has four quarters, according to The Chronicles of Jerhameel, the Zohar. Abraham knew about the creation, there was advanced planning for the creation according to The Apocalypse of Abraham. The elements of Earth obeyed God according to The Apocalypse of Abraham. Abraham saw the premortal spirits according to Al-Kisai, Al-Tabari, Al-Tarafi, The Apocalypse of Abraham, The Book of Jasher, The Clementine Recognitions.

Abraham possessed records from his fathers, ancient records – Pharaoh and the founding of Egypt. Pharaoh was a descendant of Ham and also Kanaan according to several sources: Al-Thaclabi, Jubilees, Pesikta Rabbati. The first Pharaoh, a good man, was blessed by Noah. All of this…the famine in Chaldea – there was a famine in Abraham’s homeland, and this is found. Abraham prayed that God would end the famine in Chaldea. Haran died in the famine according to Al-Rabghuzi.

But all of these interesting, unique doctrines, all of these new, interesting ideas found in the Book of Abraham but not found in the Bible, is discussed in this text of Tvedtnes, Hauglid and Gee and it’s over 500 pages – the thing is huge. It’s magnificent. So for our critics to come and say, well, you know, there’s no support – the Book of Abraham is just a fabrication, it’s phony, Joseph Smith’s a false prophet, the Joseph Smith Book of Abraham isn’t translated out of the papyri, the facsimiles are un-Egyptian, all the criticisms from this video have been shown by serious, powerful scholarship to be completely false. And it makes me wonder why the critics won’t update themselves? I have found genuine Egyptian names in the Alphabet and Grammar.

Now the Alphabet and Grammar has been said to be gibberish, but I found actual Egyptian names and these correlate [with] Egyptological knowledge found in Alan Gardiner’s Egyptian Grammar, I found it in Faulkner’s Egyptian Book of Hieroglyphics, the text, the dictionary. I found it in a lot of Egyptological information. There’s 15 or 20 genuine Egyptian names in the Alphabet and Grammar, so Joseph knew more than we’ve assumed. The name Flos Isis, the word Jahnihah. The word Ka in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar means "power." Ka in Egyptian is "spirit" or "power," "preparedness," "abundance." The word Min in Ka-Tu-Min is of course the God Min, the three Pharaohs; he says it’s the princess, the daughter of Onitas King of Egypt. Katumin in Egyptian means "my spirit is one with the God." It’s a very acceptable ancient Egyptian female personal name and has a religious connotation: "my spirit is one with the God Min" The word Toues is "the Land of Egypt." In Egyptian, Tawi is the two lands, south and northern Egypt. I found this in Gardiner on page 37 and Faulconer’s Egyptian Dictionary on page 113.

Isis, [Flos-Isis], this is the highest degree of light. It’s a governing principle of light. Isis is the throne of kingship as Nibley says; she is the power behind the throne, light. Onitas I’ve found in Gardiner, Budge’s hieroglyphic book, Edward’s Pyramids – this is the king of Egypt. Onitas could be Anutah "the land/dwelling of the city of light". This is Heliopolis, of all things, and Heliopolis is mentioned on the rim of Facsimile No. 2. So that’s a genuine Egyptian connection. How about the Egyptian Zi or Zeh in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar? "It’s being taught mostly, perfectly and uprightly. Si, Sia is "wisdom," "knowledge," "learning." It’s a wise man. Faulconer, page 212, in his Egyptian hieroglyphic dictionaries is awesome on this. Zitah in the Alphabet and Grammar, signifies "Egypt." The pyramid city of Pepi I, I found it in Faulconer, page 222. It’s a nomesman or a district, it’s a nome of Egypt. Joseph Smith says it signifies "Egypt." It’s a genuine connection; Faulconer, page 222. Ptah was the chief god of Memphis, of course. The ending of –hah, Joseph Smith says, shows possession, line of descent, the right of possession. The –hah is a place near at hand, in the neighbourhood; Gardiner, page 132. Faulconer on page 156 and 157 says the same thing. Zub are the first inhabitants of the Garden of Eden according to Joseph Smith. Faulconer’s dictionary, Sab is a dignitary, a senior, and also is the solar Horus. Ahmestrah is Egypt, it’s the name of the inhabitants [Kerry: cf. al-Misr, the modern Arabic name for Egypt – Marc], the Ahmestrahans, according to the Alphabet and Grammar. [Ahmestra] is they who are born of the children Re, the kings of Egypt. This is Faulconer, page 116, it’s good, too.

There’s just Egyptian correlations everywhere when you know what to look for in the Alphabet and Grammar and elsewhere. So to say that nothing relates, that it’s all gibberish, is clearly wrong, but to say that Joseph Smith is doing this differently than we would have – well, now, that’s correct, yes, but that doesn’t make it false and phony. It’s just a different method, that’s all.

Now this video had an agenda, that’s all there is to it. It’s clearly incomplete and one-sided and I’m not impressed. Thank you for letting me elaborate on the obfuscation of this long-winded discourse, but it’s important to see all of the evidence for yourselves. This I believe I’ve demonstrated – that we have reasons for continuing to study the Book of Abraham.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 13:31  

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