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Cold Steel

Book of Abraham Evidence?

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HUH! Cool!

FWIW, this was roughly my hypothesis of Book of Mormon origins several years ago. I saw the Book of Mormon as inexact history, something like historical fiction, in which Joseph Smith used his conversations with Moroni and his visions of the ancient Nephites as a springboard for "studying out" in his mind the text, which - by the subjective and interpretive nature of the process - resulted in his inadvertantly inserting much of himself and his environment into the framework provided by Moroni and his visions. On this view, at the level of broad history, the work was historical, but at the level of the words, Joseph Smith was the author of the book - he was the one who put the story into words.

Don Bradley

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On this view, at the level of broad history, the work was historical, but at the level of the words, Joseph Smith was the author of the book - he was the one who put the story into words.

I suppose this view would be roughly consistent with Blake Ostler's theory that the Book of Mormon is an expansion of an ancient text, or no?

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I see it as going a step beyond Blake's hypothesis, in that none of the text, at the level of wording, would have been produced by an ancient author, whereas he posits texts that are ancient sitting side-by-side with texts that are modern.

Don

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I see it as going a step beyond Blake's hypothesis, in that none of the text, at the level of wording, would have been produced by an ancient author, whereas he posits texts that are ancient sitting side-by-side with texts that are modern.

Which brings us (or me at least) back to the original subject of this thread: the Book of Abraham. It seems relatively clear, at least according to Ritner, that the JS papyri we have are the only papyri connected to the translation of the BoA. JS was presented with an ancient language he did not know. He likely composed the BoA on the same principles as the BoM, as described in the revelation to Cowdery. None of the text, on the level of wording, would likely be ancient in that case.

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It seems relatively clear, at least according to Ritner, that the JS papyri we have are the only papyri connected to the translation of the BoA.

Is it clear? Isn't this the very matter in dispute? If it is what I am thinking (and I could be wrong) this is exactly what Ritner does not address. He just makes an announcment. Do you have information to the contrary?

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Is it clear?  Isn't this the very matter in dispute?  If it is what I am thinking (and I could be wrong) this is exactly what Ritner does not address.  He just makes an announcment.  Do you have information to the contrary?

I suppose the matter is in dispute. Certain LDS scholars dispute that we have all of the papyri. I don't agree with them. I am sure you are not impressed by that. From what I recall of Ritner, the documents as extant conform to what an expert would expect of their content and length. I personally don't see any compelling reason to push the case for anomalies. In the case of the Book of Abraham, some LDS scholars seem to be adding anomaly to anomaly. Not only must the JS papyri themselves somehow be unique in the extreme, but the one instance of a lion couch scene in which the name Abraham is actually used must somehow be unique as well. From where I sit, it looks like a magic spell. I have no particular bias against magic, or reason to suppose the document is more than a magic spell, so I don't see the need to make a case for it being something other than what it appears to be.

But back to the original topic--I don't find the early descriptions of the papyri to suggest the existence of anything more than what is extant today. Indeed, I see no reason to posit a missing text, other than the lack of a clear correllation between Joseph Smith's translation and the papyri.

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