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Home Book of Abraham Special Section The Doctrine of PreMortal Existence in the Book of Abraham - Anciently Authentic

The Doctrine of PreMortal Existence in the Book of Abraham - Anciently Authentic

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Research by Kerry A. Shirts

Critics' Treatment of the Book of Abraham

The Book of Abraham is claimed to have just fobbed its stuff from the Bible. It is not much more than warmed over rehash of Genesis.1 "The Book of Abraham is not a translation which fact is evident because the story about Abraham was obviously taken from the King James Version of Genesis."2 So, this is very much a case where, as John Tvedtnes of FARMS has constantly informed us, LDS scriptures are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Why? Because the Tanners note that where the LDS scriptures *differ* from the Bible, that proves them false!3 So if they are similar to the Bible they are wrong, and if they are different from the Bible they are wrong.

But I have a bone of contention to pick with Mr. Marquardt. Granted the creation stories in both the Book of Abraham and the Bible are similar (as they should be!), what about the glaring differences? Consider the chapter of Abraham 3 for instance. Wherein does the Bible describe in intimate details the pre-existent council of the Gods, their plan presented, the idea that Abraham and others were called to their callings before they were born, a discussion of intelligences, etc.? Lest we now contribute this to Joseph Smith's "authentic religious genius" and his "religion-making imagination"4, it is quite interesting to see the vast range and width of new historical and documentary, textual discoveries in the last 100 years since Smith's death to see just how much he could get away with. For as we are all aware, Joseph Smith was wide open and free to tango so to speak. Or as Brodie puts it:

"Joseph had a ranging fancy, a revolutionary vigor, and a genius for improvisation, and what he could mold with these he made well...yet Joseph's theology - a patchwork of ideas and rituals drawn from every quarter [she means from sources in Joseph's day, to be sure, as her discussion of View of the Hebrews amply shows - chapter 3] - became in his hands a thing of color, warmth, and originality."5

Other than directly contradicting the stinging edict of Mark Twain's famous quote "The Book of Mormon is chloroform in print," meaning there is absolutely no originality in it, Brodie puzzles me here. For in the paragraph just before this comment, she says "...within the dogma of the church there is no new Sermon on the Mount, no new saga of redemption, nothing for which Joseph himself might stand." Now this is interesting! No *new* saga of redemption? Why does there have to be? Would they argue the old one is no good anymore? Joseph's claim is God restoring His plan which was once had on earth already. She is completely missing the point as does H. Michael Marquardt with the Book of Abraham. For Brodie and Marquardt, there *has* to be something totally other than what we have in order for it to be acceptible. But Marquardt's method is flawed from the beginning of his analysis. Notice that his analysis skips the entire chapter 1 and applies the analysis only at Abraham chapter 2 (not using the entire chapter either), skips chapter 3 altogether, and stops after chapter 5, leaving out anything concerning the facsimiles!6 And his updating this year, 1997, he *still* is ignoring all of the unique, interesting items in the Book of Abraham and simply rehashing the anti-Mormon argument.7 He apparently is completely unaware (which I personally doubt because he does, after all, read the FARMS materials) of Klaus Baer admitting that "whether the resulting book of Abraham is or is not inspired scripture can... only be told by examining the PGP" [meaning the Pearl of Great Price - *not* the Egyptian papyri as virtually *all* critics do, and then drops it there without ever looking into the Book of Abraham itself].8 James R. Spencer merely gives the papyri a thrifty paragraph, and drops it at that referring the reader to the Tanners, who do not deal with the actual text of Abraham either.9 And the Tanners howl for a show down every time they think they find something so "contradictory" between the scriptures instead of similarities!10 Yet, there *is* something uniquely wonderful and staggeringly improbably in the highest degree that Joseph Smith would get anything like it correct in the first place, whether he used the literature of his day that was available to him or simply made it up with his "genius for improvisation." I refer of course, to the Council of the Gods in the Pre-existence, a doctrine wonderfully expounded and fully explained in quite some detail in the Book of Abraham and absolutely nowhere near in *anything* in print in Joseph's day. Today this Council and Plan have been rediscovered in the ancient Jewish and Christian documents, once having been a true and firmly established doctrine both in ancient Judaism as well as early Christianity. "Until the critics are willing to take the book of Abraham - text as well as pictures - and the recent scholarship seriously, they only dodge the issues."11 This is the large and serious defect with the newest approach at the Joseph Smith Papyri of Stan Larson's study. He ignores virtually everything about the book of Abraham altogether, although in all fairness, he is reporting on Thomas Stuart Ferguson's personal struggle with the papyri.12 To this day the critics have failed to work with all the evidence we have at hand. Granted that subjectivity enters into the discussion, but subjectivity without all the evidence is simply bias. While critics such as James R. Spencer yell they are objective and Mormon scholars are subjective, they ignore that true objectivity is simply impossible to obtain.

Historians Objective?

Martin E. Marty has noted that historians cannot be objective, so the next best thing we can and must do is "...be reasonably aware of their assumptions."13 This is important for a very simple reason that perhaps too many of us, both Mormons and non-Mormons alike are unaware of, namely "According to the norms and approaches of the historical profession, the 'ground rules' accepted by historians, it would be impossible to prove that Smith was a prophet... past events are, as events, wholly lost to us...Conversely, of course, historians may find it possible to prove to their own satisfaction that Smith was a fraud."14 In the final run of things, Marty comes up with something that raises our eyebrows, but on examining the various explanations of the Book of Abraham or the Joseph Smith Papyri, I believe his point is powerful, though he is using the Book of Mormon as his illustration.

"...it is impossible for historians as historians to prove that Smith was a prophet and improbable that they will prove him a fraud. Instead they seek to understand...Similarly, historians cannot prove that the Book of Mormon was translated from golden plates and have not proven that it was simply a fiction of Joseph Smith."15 Louis Midgley, retired Political Scientist from BYU concurs, noting that "proof is not possible in history, and it is neither possible nor necessary in matters of faith. Still, faith, if it is an 'historical faith,' is one in which texts witness to divine things."16

The Unique Doctrines in the Book of Abraham

I'm using that last idea as the take off for this Council of the Gods and Pre-Existence issue. I believe the text of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price witnesses to something wonderfully divine, intelligently conceived, carried out, and displayed, and is an astonishing reminder to us that there is more... far more to eternity, one that we ourselves are directly involved with, than meets the eye.

In the Book of Abraham chapter 3, we have the fullest development and pattern of a heavenly pre-existence with a Council of the Gods, in any and all of literature. There is absolutely nothing like this anywhere in the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Jasher, the Apocrypha, etc. So could something like these ideas be just cooked up by Joseph Smith's supposed fervid imagination? As more literature has been found since Joseph Smith's death, we know from all the scattered references that something akin to what Abraham presents, was indeed once had by ancient Jews and Early Christians. This is one of the most astonishing parts of the restoration in print. Consider the idea of the pre-existence of souls from ancient literature virtually unknown to *anyone* in Joseph Smith's day.

Books of Abraham, Moses, and Enoch - The Big Three

Today we have testaments and apocalypses of the three major patriarchs, Moses, Enoch, and Abraham, as well as others, but these are the big three, which influenced each other immensely.17 The fragments of the Coptic Enoch we are told "comprise the only surviving remnants of an apocryphon devoted to the biblical Enoch, an apocryphon which represents only a portion of what must have been a substantial Egyptian-Christian literature..." which, we are also told, "contain some important parallels to the Testament of Abraham..."18 The affinities to Moses are noted since the Testament of Abraham "is also related to works that give an account of the departure of the soul and the burial of the body, such as the Apocalypse of Moses, the Testament of Job, and the lost Assumption of Moses."19 Concepts in 1 Enoch are related to the Assumption of Moses and both the Testament and Apocalypse of Abraham.20 We also know that many theological parallels are found between the Apocalypse of Abraham and 3 Enoch.21 Especially the angelology in the literature of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Enoch, and Moses.22

The reason this is important to understand is because the Pearl of Great Price also uses just these three patriarchs and their books, Moses, and his visions, Enoch and his, and Abraham and his, with a smattering of Noah, all receiving verified and widespread support in our day. The most prominant aspect of Abraham is the Pre-existent Council of the Gods and all the spirits in discussing the creation. This is one major theme outside the Bible, and which certainly was in Early Christianity but thrown out by A.D. 553 by an edict known as the Anethemas against Origen, which were promulgated by Justinian, the Roman Emperor.23

Justinian Changes Everything

A brief account of Justinian helps us in understanding why he would get rid of such a magnificent doctrine as the pre-existence of the souls of men. Justinian was by one account desiring to regain the west, known as the "Imperial Restoration"24 and thus his Byzantine civilization saw new thought forms and art, which were considered more Byzantine than Roman.25 His "Corpus Juris Civilis" The Roman law that he codified and worked out from all the legacy of Rome, is what earned him the title "The Lawgiver of Civilization."26 On the other hand, Justinian has been a big puzzle to historians. When Rome collapsed, Europe became a battlegrounds for the various tribes "Propter Gallorum terras graviter inter se decertati sunt" (they fought bitterly among themselves for the land of the Gauls).27

"The Emperor Justinian displayed at all times a single-minded devotion to the Huns that puzzles and dismays historians... there was nothing he would not do to please the Huns, even to the wrecking of his own foreign policy and the ruination of trade and agriculture throughout the empire...he had worn their Persian beards, Hunnish hair-do, Hunnish cloaks, Hunnish shirts, and Hunnish shoes, the girdles and brooches of the steppes having already supplanted the more civilized styles of the West... Justinian was determined to make the Western world "completely change its clothes"; and he succeeded.

All the absurdities and contradictions in his policies vanish if we consider that this Illyrian, who hated Greek things, was set upon becoming a grand khan. Justinian handed over the wealth of the state to the Huns "who were always turning up" at court (a significant note) in ever increasing numbers. He would claim for himself all the private property of the citizens, either charging the Romans with a crime or pretending that it was all being brought in to him as gifts, and then promptly give it all away again to the Hunnish lords before his throne: a thing that made perfectly good sense to his visitors from the steppes but appeared to his Roman subjects as "a thing that had never happened since the beginning of time." What he did not thus throw away to the barbarians, says Procopius, he wasted on absurd buildings, constructed simply to outshine all other emperors--a thing that any khan would have understood."28 This is discussed by many a historian.29

"This Hun-worship actually amounted to the enslaving of the empire... He insisted that all his subjects, from top to bottom, be called his slaves, and instituted the strictly Central Asiatic style of prostration and foot-kissing... In short, "instead of acting like a Roman Emperor, he was the complete barbarian in language, dress, and thought." ... The welcome barbarians poured into court from all directions, to the immense delight of the emperor, who never failed to send them away loaded with gold,... In the end, all the offices and officials of the state were supplanted by one office--the royal court, and by two persons--the emperor and empress, for the new ascendancy of the empress... was the crowning Asiatic touch.

Justinian's weird innovations were no ephemeral thing. They were but the culmination of that process of Asianizing which had been deplored by the poets of the Republic... Diehls, and indeed the ancients themselves, see in Justinian the perfect type and model of the true Byzantine monarch, and his court became the model for every court of Europe...In the Crusades we find the nobility of the West employing all the devices and insignia of the Asiatics with accustomed familiarity, so that Edward I can arrange for a coordinated invasion operation with his Mongol allies down to the smallest detail. The Europeans fully understood all the gadgets of the East and were as enthusiastic for a life of raiding and adventure as any Bedouin. But the good side of the Asiatic system completely escaped them."30

In other words, Justinian promulgated paganism, and restricted, nay tried to destroy the Jews and their heritage.31 And of course, with their destruction, and his adapting to the "Barbarian Asiatic Horde" as opposed to Christian or Jewish principles, Justinian would rid the empire of doctrines they formerly held, such as the Pre-existence of souls, Council of the Gods, etc. Christianity had become pagan, wholecloth.

This is further discussed by James L. Barker, who noted that Justinian removed bishops and put in successors he wanted, as well as having the Council of Constantinople "erase Bishop Vigilius' name from the diptics", which was nearly the same thing as having him excommunicated, all because the Bishop didn't agree with the emperor.32 Justinian went so far as to proclaim:

"that the body of Christ is uncorruptible, and that Christ's human nature had never been subject to any of the wants and indignities of mortal flesh... The clergy warned him that if he died in this error his soul 'would be delivered to the flames, and burn there eternally.' He died unrepentant."33 No surprise then finding this area of Jewish and Christian doctrine vacant. Consider what we have found in the last 150 years however.

The Pre-Existence of (Intelligences) Souls

The Book of Abraham 3:22f, says:

"Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers: for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born."

Interestingly, we also read in the Pseudo-Zosimus: "Penetrating through all bodies, illuminating the *intellect* of everyone, he gives them the urge to ascend towards the blessed region in which the *intelligence* dwelt before becoming flesh." (my emphasis)34

We also read in the Zohar "And when these two, soul and spirit, have duly readied themselves, they are worthy to receive the 'super-soul'[neshamah], resting in turn upon the throne of the spirit [ruah]. The super-soul stands preeminent, and not to be perceived."35 This is precisely what the Book of Abraham indicates that there are gradations of intelligences, or spirits, one above another.

The Book of 2 Enoch 23:4,5 says:

"all the souls of men, whatever of them are not yet born, and their places, prepared for eternity. For all the souls are prepared for eternity, before the composition of the earth.36

Charlesworth notes that the phrase "formation of the earth" (zemlunago) is reminiscent of Mt. 24:34, and could be a Christian gloss. But the passage is talking about the pre-existence of all souls. "Even Adam existed before he was sent to earth."37 And in 2 Enoch 32, Charlesworth notes that "The idea that Adam was demoted from a heavenly paradise to earth is found in Origen."38 The curious exegesis of Genesis 3:19f causes Charlesworth to say it is unique, in that, "It implies that Adam, made in a heavenly Paradise from materials brought from the earth, is now sent back to his native element to live there."39 R.H. Charles said that this doctrine of the pre-existence of souls "made its way into Jewish thought in Egypt. This doctrine was also taught by the Essenes according to Josephus, and "it became the prevailing dogma in later Judaism. All souls which were to enter human bodies existed before the creation of the world in the Garden of Eden... These souls were conceived of as actually living beings. According to 'Bereshith rabba' c. 8, God takes council with the souls of the righteous before he creates the earth."40 This is precisely what the Book of Abraham notes.

3 Enoch, explicitly states that the souls of the righteous have not been created yet (meaning been born on the physical earth), and that the celestial palaces contain many treasuries and storehouses. There are also the archives wherein all deeds of man are recorded in the heavenly books, which will be opened at the heavenly court for judgement, and there is also a reference to the storehouse wherein the heavenly beings are kept.41 The editor's comment at 3 Enoch 43:1 is interesting! "...the souls of the righteous and the spirits and souls which are yet to be created [i.e. to be born]...the pre-existence of the soul is implied throughout this chapter...and the benediction 'Elohay neshamah' recited on waking from sleep: 'Oh my God, the soul which thou gavest me is pure.'"42 In fact, The Talmud itself refers to the pre-existence of souls with the curious comment: "The Son of David shall not come till all the souls are completed which are in the guph - (i.e. the pre-existence of souls is taught, and that they re kept in heaven till one after another appears in human form, and that the Messiah is kept back till all these shall have appeared), proof of this is derived from Isaiah lvii. 16."43 It is interesting to see this verse in parallel with the Hebrew, Septuagint, 3 Enoch, KJV, Ludlow's translation and Gileadi's translation of Isaiah.

KJV Isaiah 57:16

The Spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.

3 Enoch 43:3

For the spirit clothes itself before me, and the souls I have made.44

LXX (Septuagint - The Greek Old Testament Isaiah 57:16

For my Spirit shall go forth from me, and I have created all breath.45

Hebrew Isaiah 57:16

For then the spirit of man would grow faint before me

The breath of man that I have created.46

Avraham Gileadi's Isaiah translation Isaiah 57:16

I will not contend forever, nor always be angry; The spirits and souls I have made would faint before me. 47

Victor Ludlow's translation Isaiah 57:16

I will not always fight against you forever, nor always show my wrath; if I did, all mankind would perish - the very souls that I have made.48

The 3 Enoch text agrees substantially with the others. There are souls which God created. Essentially, the interpretation is that righteous spirits need to be clothed with physical bodies in order to return to the presence of the Holy One.49

We are told "The soul... is the child coming from the palace above...the soul...is an actual part of the divine."50

"Pre-existence and the subdivision of the spiritual nature in man are found in the Talmud...When the Holy One willed to create the universe, He formed... those souls which were intended subsequently to dwell in human bodies."51

An important part of God's plan was providing a topos for the saints. There was previously prepared a topos for every soul of man. There are special places set apart for those spirits who are in transition, with both earthly and heavenly hosts having been assigned their places.52

The Patriarchs are Specifically Called in the Pre-Existence

We read in the Assumption of Moses that Moses knew God had assigned him his place, his topos, his calling as it were. "He designed and devised me, and He prepared me before the foundation of the world, that I should be the mediator of His covenant." Charles notes that "The Gentiles are fore-ordained to ignorance and blind conjecture, while Moses is the chosen agent of the true revelation...Moses is here assigned pre-existence as is the Son of Man in 1 Enoch. Later, Judaism, like the Alexandrian form of first century A.D., held the pre-existence of all souls alike."53 The "sons of Abraham" received "pure and immortal souls from God." Charles notes that this shows an original difference between good and bad souls before their incorporation in thebody."54 Many of the Patriarchs, Isaac, Jacob, Jeremiah, the Twelve Apostles, Peter, etc., are specifically said to have been chosen and set apart in the preexistence.55 In 1 Enoch the "elect and holy children will descend from the high heaven, and their seed will become one with the children of men." Concerning this, Eugene Seaich notes that this relates directly to the "entry of souls into bodies."56 The reason this is all so important is because the Book of Abraham clearly teaches this idea and specifically identifies Abraham as one of the chosen ones. We also have this interesting information in the Abrahamic literature which was virtually unknown in Joseph Smith's day. The "Prayer of Joseph" it begins with Jacob talking: "Abraham and Isaac were created before any work."57 It is also acknowledged that the notion of pre-existence in ancient Jewish materials "was quite widespread" while it was less common to read the claim that "the patriarchs or Moses were pre-existent."58 In the "Apocalypse of Abraham" we have confirmation that Abraham was indeed one of the mighty and great ones. Abraham is being shown in vision the world, as in a round picture (like the hypocephalus, Facsimile #2 in the Book of Abraham) and the guide tells him:

"These who are on the left side are a multitude of tribes who existed previously... and after you some (who have been) prepared for judgment and order, others for revenge and perdition at the end of the age. Those on the right side of the picture are the people set apart for me of the people with Azazel; these are the ones I have prepared to be born of you and to be called my people."59 The Old Slavonic word "prougotovlenym is tebe" means literally, "prepared out of you."60 We read later on the angel saying to Abraham, after he chased off Azazel, "an unclean bird" trying to ruin Abraham's sacrifice, and hence Abraham receives his heavenly garment, "Know from this that the Eternal One whom you have loved has chosen you."61

Clearly, the ancient Jews had the idea of pre-existence of souls scattered throughout their literature. Nothing like what we have in Abraham 3 is found, yet gathering the scattered remnants together and seeing what is said shows that Joseph Smith was accurate in depicting this magnificent scene as a restoration of what was once enjoyed. We see the very same thing with Christians, who inherited much of their doctrines from the Jews.62

The Pre-Existence of the Early Christians

That Christ himself was a pre-existent being is fairly well established in the New Testament.63 Considering that Adam was made in God's image (tselem - the "three dimensional image or form")then "...whatever qualities man possesses, such as intelligence, consciousness and freedom of will, must already have existed in man's Source."64 We read in the Pseudo-Eucherius concerning Adam and his children, of the will of God "...from which they were implanted and pre-established on the day when heaven and earth were made and God created all things at once."65 We are explicitly told that Didymus the Blind and Pricillian were two such teachers of "the Origenist theory that, created by God, the soul pre-existed the body..." However, the Greek Fathers rejected this view, which in turn was "formally condemned in the sixth century."66 Hamerton-Kelly noted that the "the idea of preexistence, which informs the entire New Testament, was derived originally from the Old Testament's Priestly theology, which had for several centuries described the Heavenly World and its eternal archetypes."67 Those archetypes include the preexistent temple cultus, Promises made to Israel, God's mysterious name, God's Creative Word or Wisdom, the Heavenly Council, the Son of Man, God's law, the Torah, the Congregation of the elect, etc.68

One of the main scriptures in the New Testament concerning this idea of preexistence, is John 9:2, where the apostles ask Jesus who sinned, the man or the parents, that he was born blind. While this is usually explained away by such works as the "Evangelical" text "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia" (1986 edition), others, such as the "Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible" admit the doctrine is here assumed and understood by both Christ and his apostles. Quite humorously, Seaich notes that the cautious statement "It has been argued that this passage indicates that the disciples of Jesus shared this belief. The passage more readily supports the view that the evangelist and the readers for whom he wrote his gospel believed the doctrine, although the possibility that the disciples of Jesus also believed it cannot be denied" reminds us of two scientists, who, while riding a train, passed by a flock of newly shorn sheep. The one said "It appears these sheep have been recently shorn." The other replied grudgingly, "On this side, at least!"69 It is also quite obvious to most scholars who deal with the Gnostic texts, who are considered a branch of the "early Christians" taught and believed in the preexistence.70 Having established that the Jews and Christians held the doctrine of preexistence, it is a most interesting discovery that the Council of the Gods was also understood and believed by both groups. Our interest is in the ancient Judaic conception, more or less discovered by scholars over the last 100 years after decades of study and research of newly found ancient texts. Joseph Smith gave it all to us full blown in just a few years and that without *any* ancient texts, which cover this topic. It is remarkable to assess.

Endnotes

1. H. Michael Marquardt, "The Book of Abraham Papyrus Found: An Answer to Dr. Hugh Nibley's Book, 'The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri:An Egyptian Endowment'", Utah Lightouse Ministry, 1975, pp. 25-35.

2. "Ibid.," p. 35.

3. Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "Mormon Scriptures and the Bible,"Modern Microfilm Co., 1970, cf. for instance, pp. 32ff.

4. Harold Bloom, "The American Religion," Simon & Schuster, 1992, pp. 96f. This honestly amounts to little serious analysis at all of the scriptures themselves and unfortunately ends up getting into name calling.

5. Fawn M. Brodie, "No Man Knows My History," Knopf, 1966, p. 403. Cf. the very interesting review of the essential background needed to understand Brodie's mental makeup when dealing with Joseph Smith and Mormonism by Louis Midgley, "F.M. Brodie - 'The Fasting Hermit and Very Saint of Ignorance': A Biographer and Her Legend," in "Review of Books," FARMS, Vol. 8, #2, 1996, pp. 147-230.

6. Marquardt, "Ibid.," pp. 25-34.

7. See also H. Michael Marquardt, "The Book of Abraham Revisited," 1997, at http://www.xmission.com/research/about/abraham.htm.

8. Klaus Baer, letter to Hugh Nibley, 10 August 1968, p. 1 in the Archives of the Oriental Institute at University of Chicago, as cited in John Gee, "A Tragedy of Errors," Review of Charles Larson, in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, vol. 4, 1992, p. 115.

9. James R. Spencer, "Have You Witnessed to a Mormon Lately?," Chosen Books, 1986, pp. 153f.

10. For the seriously fatal flaws in their scholarship and analysis of Mormonism, see L. Ara Norwood, "Reviewing "Covering up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon", in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, Vol. 3, 1991, pp. 158-169; Matthew Roper, "Ibid.," pp. 170-187; John A. Tvedtnes, "Ibid.," pp. 188-230; Matthew Roper, reviewing "Mormonism, Shadow or Reality?", in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, vol. 4, 1992, pp. 169-215; William J. Hamblin, reviewing "Archaeology and the Book of Mormon," in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, vol. 5, 1993, pp. 250-272; Tom Nibley, reviewing "Covering up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon," in "Ibid.," pp. 273-289; Matt Roper, reviewing "Answering Mormon Scholars,: in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," vol. 6, #2, 1994, pp. 156-203; John Tvedtnes, reviewing "Answering Mormon Scholars," in "Ibid.," pp. 204-249; John A. Tvedtnes & Matt Roper, reviewing "Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha," in "Review of Books," FARMS, vol. 8, #2, pp. 326-372; Matt Roper, reviewing "Answering Mormon Scholars," in "Review of Books," FARMS, vol. 9, #1, 1997, pp. 87-145.

11. Gee, "Ibid.," p. 117.

12. Stan Larson, "Quest for the Gold Plates," Freethinkers Press, 1996, pp. 85-132. One of the main problems Ferguson may have had is misunderstanding so much of what Hugh Nibley was doing. In his letter to James Boyack, he says that "Nibley's "Era" articles on the Book of Abraham aren't worth a tinker...he did not face the true issue: 'Could Joseph Smith translate Egyptian?' I clipped every one of his articles and have them in a single file - and I have reviewed them - looking in vain for that issue." (p. 115). For Ferguson that was the issue, but that is not what Nibley was doing with those articles. This is a red herring. Nibley certainly *did* deal with this issue of Joseph Smith translating in many articles in "BYU Studies" throughout the late 1960's and on into the 1970's, as well as his book "The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri" and his book "Abraham in Egypt." To single out one series of articles and claim Nibley skips the issue is unfair and not true at all. After all, a bonafide Egyptologist said the *REAL* issue is not what Ferguson felt, but rather what about the doggone book of Abraham? The critics are *still* ignoring the book! The book, the book, it's about time to get to the *book*! Klaus Baer admitted this was the proper recourse, and critics love to use and believe what he said, so what is the holdup?

13. Martin E. Marty, "Religion and Republic: The American Circumstance," Beacon Press, 1987, p. 305. See David Earl Bohn's excellent comments in his "No Higher Ground: Objective History is an Illusive Chimera," in "Sunstone," May-June 1983, pp. 26-32, wherein essentially the essence of the article is that "The historian in some sense has already come to his conclusion about the historical record before consulting it." And the discussion is far from over. Some of the more interesting articles, and not an exhaustive reference to the works written on the subject, involving Mormon History, are, Melvin T. Smith, "Faithful History/Secular Faith," in "Dialogue," Winter 1983, pp. 65-71; Thomas G. Alexander's review of Klaus J. Hansen's "Mormonism and the American Experience," in "Dialogue," Winter 1983, pp. 146ff; Kent E. Robson, "Objectivity and History," in "Dialogue," Winter 1986, pp. 87-96; Thomas G. Alexander, "Historiography and the New Mormon History: A Historian's Perspective," in "Dialogue," Fall 1986, pp. 25-46; M. Gerald Bradford, "The Case for the New Mormon History: Thomas G. Alexander and His Critics," in "Dialogue," Winter 1988, pp. 143-150; David B. McKinlay's review of Alan Goff's "Hermeneutic of Sacred Texts: Historicism, Revisionism, Positivism, and the Bible and Book of Mormon," in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, Vol. 2, 1990, pp. 86-95; D. Michael Quinn, Ed., "The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays on the Past," Signature Books, 1992; Gary F. Novak's review of George D. Smith's "Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History," in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, Vol. 5, 1993, pp. 231-249; David B. Honey & Daniel C. Peterson, "Advocacy and Inquiry in the Writing of Latter Day Saint History," in "BYU Studies," Spring 1991, No.2, pp. 139-179; Thomas F. Rogers, "Thoughts About Joseph Smith: Upon Reading Donna Hill's 'Joseph Smith: The First Mormon'", in "By Study and Also By Faith," Vol. 2, FARMS/Deseret Book, 1990, Ch. 19; William J. Hamblin's review of Brent L. Metcalfe's "Apologetic and Critical Assumptions about Book of Mormon Historicity," in "Review of Books on the BOok of Mormon," FARMS, Vol. 6, #1, 1994, pp. 434-523; Richard L. Bushman's review of H. Michael Marquardt & Wesley WQalters, "Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record," in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, Vol. 6, #2, 1994, pp. 122-133; Clara V. Dobay, "Intellect and Faith: The Controversy Over Revisionist Mormon History," in "Dialogue," Spring 1994, pp. 91-105; Gary F. Novak's review of Robert N. Hullinger, "Joseph Smith's Response to Skepticism," in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, Vol. 7, #1, 1995, pp. 139-154; Alan Goff's review of Brent L. Metcalfe's "Apologetic and Critical Assumptions about Book of Mormon Historicity," in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, Vol. 7, #1, 1995, pp. 170-207; Larry C. Porter's review of H. Michael Marquardt & Wesley Walters, "Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record," in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, Vol. 7, #2, 1995, pp. 123-143; Louis Midgley's review of Jan Shipps, "Mormonism: The Story of a Religious Tradition," in "Review of Books on the Book of Mormon," FARMS, Vol. 7, #2, 1995, pp. 219-252; Steven Epperson, "Some Problems With Supressionism in Mormon Thought: A Review Essay," in "BYU Studies," Vol. 34, #4, 1994-95, pp. 125-136; Steven L. Olsen's review of Davis Bitton's "The Ritualization of Mormon History and Other Essays," in "BYU Studies," Vol. 35, #1, 1995, pp. 235-238; D. Michael Quinn, "The Rest is History," in "Sunstone," Dacember 1995, pp. 50-57; Lawrence Foster, "New Paradigms for Understanding Mormonism and Mormon History," in "Dialogue," Vol. 29, #3, Fall 1996, pp. 55-63; Gary F. Novak's review on John Phillip Walker, ed., "Dale Morgan on Early Mormonism," in "Review of Books," FARMS, Vol. 8, #1, 1996, pp. 122-167; Richard L. Bushman, "The Secret History of Mormonism," reviewing John L. Brooke's "The Refiner's Fire," in "Sunstone," March 1996, pp. 66-70;

14. "Ibid.," p. 314.

15. "Ibid.," p. 324.

16. For Midgley's review of Marty see, Louis Midgley, "The Challenge of Historical Consciousness: Mormon History and the Encounter with Secular Modernity," in "By Study and Also By Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh Nibley," Deseret Books/FARMS, 2 vols., 1990, cited in vol. 2, p. 524.

17. Janes H. Charlesworth notes that "...it is likely that Moses traditions influenced the Testament of Abraham." in "The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha," 2 vols., Doubleday and Co., 1983, vol. 1, p. 879. Cf. Samuel E Loewenstamm, "The Death of Moses," in G.W.E. Nickelseburg, ed., "Studies on the Testament of Abraham," Scholars Press, 1976, pp. 185-217; Samuel E. Loewenstamm, "The Testament of Abraham and the Texts Concerning Moses' Death," in "Ibid.," pp. 219-225.

18. Birger A. Pearson, "The Pierpont Morgan Fragments of a Coptic Enoch Apocryphon," in Nickelsburg, "Ibid.," p. 228.

19. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 880.

20. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 10.

21. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 249.

22. Anitra Bingham Kolenkow, "The Angelology of the Testament of Abraham," in Nickelsburg, "Ibid.," pp. 153-162; Cf. Daniel J. Harrington "Abraham Traditions in the Testament of Abraham and in the 'Rewritten Bible' of the Intertestamental Perios," in Nickelsburg, "Ibid.," pp. 165-171.

23. Joseph Fielding McConkie, "Premortal Existence, Foreordinations, and Heavenly Councils," in C. Wilfred Griggs, ed., "Apocryphal Writings and the Latter Day Saints," BYU Religious Studies Center, 1986, p. 174. Cf. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 141, note f - "...the views of Origen on the subject condemned by the Second Council of Constantinople."

24. Philip Van Ness Myers, "Ancient History," Ginn and Co., Revised, 1904, p. 592.

25. Edward M. Burns, "World Civilizations," W.W. Norton, 1982, 6th edition, p. 359.

26. Myers, "Ibid.," p. 593. These laws were promulgated by the different emperors since the time of Hadrian. (p. 562). Cf. Philip Schaff, "History of the Christian Church," 6 vols., Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1910, vol. 4, p. 388f. See also Schaff, "Ibid.," vol. 3, pp. 768-772.

27. Hugh Nibley, "The Hierocentric State," in Donald W. Parry, Stephen D. Ricks, eds., "The Ancient State," Deseret/FARMS, 1991, p. 126f.

28. Nibley, "Ibid.," pp. 128f. Cf. H.G. Wells, "The Outline of History," Garden City Books, Revised, 1961, p. 450 - "Justinian...may have had Slav blood in his veins."

29. Robin Lane Fox, "Pagans and Christians," Knopf, 1989, p. 681, where he discusses the extravagant and beautiful city founded in North Africa, with all sorts of mosaics and fancies. Cf. John A. Garraty, "A Columbia History of the World," Harper & Row, 1981, p. 245, discussing the "de grande luxe," and other extravagancies, that became part of the heritage of Justinian, his great domed churches, such as Constantinople's St. Sophia, described as "the most skillful, daring, breathtaking, magnificent achievement of all ancient architecture." Leading to, of course, the overtaxation of resources, and hence collapse of the Empire. Wells, "Ibid.," p. 450. See also Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," Atheneum, 1976, pp. 130-135, where we learn among other things that "Rome and its bishopric had suffered grieviously during Justinian's wars and afterwards."

30. Nibley, "Ibid.," p. 129f.

31. On the troubles the Jews had in large measure thanks to Justinian, see Garraty, "Ibid.," p. 418f. Cf. the incredibly raw and inhumane treatment of any who opposed him, "he resumed with great brutality the policy of repression by the police." in Jean Danielou, Henri I. Marrou, "The Christian Centuries," Vol. 1, McGraw-Hill, 1964, pp. 365ff.

32. James L. Barker, "Apostasy From the Divine Church," Bookcraft, 1960, pp. 397-400.

33. Barker, "Ibid.," p. 401.

34. Marcus von Wellnitz, "Christ and the Patriarchs: New Light from Apocryphal Literature and Tradition," Horizon, 1981, p. 13.

35. Gershom Scholem, ed., "Zohar: The Book of Splendor," Schocken Books, 1949, p. 44. Cf. David A. Cooper, "God is a Verb," Riverhead Books, 1997, p. 107 - "The Zohar teaches that before God sends souls into the world, they are formed into male and female pairs." Isaac Luria taught there are "fundamental soul types..." p. 108. "The soul of man was originally clothed in a purely spiritual garment," in Gershom Scholem, "On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism," Schocken Books, 1965, p. 71. Cf. the idea of the "grades of the soul" in Willis Barnstone, "The Other Bible," HarperSanFrancisco, 1984, p. 708f.

36. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," vol. 1, p. 140.

37. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 141, note f.

38. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 154, note c.

39. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 155, note b. Cf. Marcus Von Wellnitz, "Ibid.," p. 13, wherein he has many references to Adam as a pre-existent being. Kenas, an early prophet saw the spirits of men walking around waiting to be born in the world after it is created according to the Psuedo-Philo.

40. R. H. Charles, "The Apocrypha & Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament," Oxford, 2 vols., reprint, 1979, vol. 2, p. 444, note 5. Cf. the large and utterly fascinating discussion of this in Julian Morgenstern, "The Mythological Background of Psalm 82," in "Hebrew Union College Annual," Vol XIV, 1939, pp. 29-126.

41. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," vol. 1, p. 240.

42. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 294.

43. Alfred Edersheim, "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah," Macdonald Publishing, 2 vols., 1898, vol. 2, p. 728. Cf. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 294 - "The storehouse of beings: Heb. 'gup habberiyyot.' This storehouse is mentioned in b. Yeb 62a; 63b; b.AZ 5a: b.Nidd 13b. Rashi explains the idea thus: There is a treasure-house ['osar] called 'gup' and at the time of creation all souls destined to be born were formed and placed there. "Gup" - a chamber like a body [gup]: the name for the special place for souls which are about to be born. "Gup" - A Curtain [pargod] which forms a partition between the Shekinah and the angels, and there are placed spirits and souls created since the six days of creation, which are to be put in bodies yet to be created."

44. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 294. "when this chapter of 3Enoch speaks of souls which have been created and souls which have not yet been created it cannot mean creation in any absolute sense, but must refer to the entry of the soul into the body."

45. Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton, "The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English," Hendrickson Publishers, 5th printing, 1995.

46. The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament," Four vols. in one, John R. Kohlenberger III, Ed., Zondervan, 1987.

47. Avraham Gileadi, "The Apocalyptic Book of Isaiah," Hebraeus Press, 1982. He utilizes this translation as well in his "The Book of Isaiah: A New Translation with Interpretive Keys from the Book of Mormon," Deseret Book, 1988, p. 208.

48. Victor L. Ludlow, "Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet," Deseret Book, 1982, p. 479. saying of this verse, "He retains compassion for those 'souls' or premortal spirits he created."

49. McConkie, "Ibid.," p. 175.

50. Solomon Schechter, "Aspects of Rabbinic Theology," Jewish Lights Publishing, 1993, p. 241. Cf. Gershom Scholem, "On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism," Schocken Books, 1965, p. 48 The Book of Bahir has the conception of a pre-existent Torah. "The last sefirah is called the treasury of the oral Torah." Cf. Abraham Cohen, "Everyman's Talmud," Schocken Books, 1949, p. 76 "Man's soul is from heaven and his body from earth, (Sifra Deut 306:132a). The body is the scabbard of the soul." Later he adds "The Talmud teaches the pre-existence of souls. In the seventh heaven, 'Araboth', are stored the spirits and souls which have still to be created, i.e., the unborn souls which have yet to be united to bodies."

51. A.E. Waite, "The Holy Kabbalah," University Books, Citadel Press, p. 235.

52. Hugh Nibley, "Treasures in the Heavens," in Truman Madsen, ed., "Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless," BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978, p. 79, footnote 96.

53. R. H. Charles, "The Apocrypha and Pseudepigraph of the Old Testament," 2 vols, Oxford, reprint, 1979, vol. 2, p. 415.

54. Charles, "Ibid.," vol. 2, "Fourth Book of the Maccabees," p. 685.

55. Nibley, "Treasures in the Heavens," "Ibid.," p. 66, footnote 19.

56. Eugene Seaich, "Ancient Texts and Mormonism: Discovering the Roots of the Eternal Gospel in Ancient Israel and the Primitive Church," 2nd revised and enlarged edition, Self-published 1995, p. 375. Cf. his "Mormonism, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Nag Hammadi Texts," Sounds of Zion, 1980, pp. 5-15. See also his "Ancient Texts and Mormonism," 1st edition, Mormon Miscellaneous, 1983, pp. 28-34.

57. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," vol. 2, p. 713.

58. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," vol. 2, p. 713, note d.

59. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," vol. 1, p. 700.

60. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," vol. 1, p. 694, note o.

61. Charlesworth, "Ibid.," p. 695.

62. For general treatments, Eugene Seaich, "Ancient Texts and Mormonism," 2nd revised & enlarged ed., pp. 174-195;James H. Charlesworth, "Jesus Within Judaism," Doubleday, 1988; James H. Charlesworth, ed., "Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls," Doubleday, 1992; James H. Charlesworth, ed., "The Messiah: Developments in Earliest Judaism and Christianity," Fortress Press, 1992; John J. Collins, "The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Ancient Literature," Doubleday, 1995; John P. Meier, "A Marginal Jew," Doubleday, 2 vols., 1992; Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their True Meaning for Judaism and Christianity," Doubleday, 1995; Robert Eisenman, "James, the Brother of Jesus," Viking, 1996; Robert Eisenman & Michael Wise, "The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered," Element, 1992; Robert Eisenman, "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians," Element, 1996; Neil Asher Silberman, "The Hidden Scrolls," Grosset/Putnam, 1994; James C. Vanderkam, "The Dead Sea Scrolls Today," Eerdmans, 1994.

63. Fred B. Craddock, "The Pre-existence of Christ in the New Testament," Abingdon Press, 1968.

64. Eugene Seaich, "Ancient Texts and Mormonism," 2nd ed., p. 311. For Tselem, see Gershom Scholem, "Von der mysticischen Gestalt der Gottheit: Studien zu Grundbegriffen d. Kabbalah," thrans. by Joachim Neugroschel, "On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead," 1991, p. 17.

65. George Boas, "Essays on Primitivism and Related Ideas in the Middle Ages," Octagon Books, 1978, p. 57.

66. J.N.D. Kelly, "Early Christian Doctrines," Harper & Row, Revised ed., 1978, pp. 344f.

67. Seaich, "Ibid.," p. 391.

68. Seaich, "Ibid.," pp. 390-403.

69. Seaich, "Ibid.," pp. 434f.

70. Gospel of Thomas, logion 49, 84:17; Gospel of Truth XVIr, 17; Gospel of Philip 112:10, etc.

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