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Kevin Graham

Book of Abraham

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Kevin, what's your source for your statement that Metacalfe purchased his color photos of the KEP from Steve Christenson? I remember something different, but I'm open to correction. And what's your source for the statement that Gee has had access to the orginal or color copies of the KEP? Or are you assuming that he's had access? The reproductions in his "Guide" don't appear to be color, especially when compared with the reproductions of the papyri in the same book. I'm not arguing that he has or hasn't had access; I'm simply wondering if you know for sure. Thanks.

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== Kevin, what's your source for your statement that Metacalfe purchased his color photos of the KEP from Steve Christenson?

From Metcalfe himself. Because I asked him a few years ago, after hearing vicious rumors (from some of our own top scholars even!) about how he had stolen them from the Church archives. Another rumor said he swindled them from Steve's wife shortly after his tragic death. Just shooting the messenger nonsense.

== I remember something different, but I'm open to correction.

You remember what, and from whom?

== And what's your source for the statement that Gee has had access to the orginal or color copies of the KEP?

Gee himself, if memory serves. He and I had a few email exchanges over this topic a few years back.

== The reproductions in his "Guide" don't appear to be color

Well, if he reproduced them in his book, it seems obvious he had access to them, though I suppose it is possible that the Church air-mailed him preselected snippets. Why they were not in color is the mystery. In any event, I would have a hard time believing the Church didn't allow its lone Egyptologist to peruse the KEP.

PS: I should also point out that it would be absurd for anyone to develop an "ink analysis" argument if he hasn`t actually seen the ink!

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LDS writers produce some interesting apologetics when it come to the BOA but attempts to argue away from the KEP are sorely lacking. I think the KEP show that the BOA was produced from the known manuscripts and the missing papyri theory goes out the window.

Kevin, sometimes your directness cracks me up. :P

Phaedrus

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The strongest thing going for the LDS side is that the KEP do not contain a full translation, and in fact comes to a dead stop after a few pages.

So we know that, even if this was an attempt at the BoA translation, it wasn't the translation that was used. Meaning somewhere out there is another manuscript that was actually used for the final product.

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It seems to me that any claim to "same ink" or "different ink" could be settled best by resort to:

(a ) handwriting analysis; and

(b ) chemical analysis of the ink

Has either been done?

If yes, what were the results?

If no, are not claims for either side provisional at best?

No need for attacking Gee's integrity here. "Talking out of his . . ." is really unnecessary, KG.

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== Kevin, sometimes your directness cracks me up.

Not sure if that's necessarily a good thing.

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== It seems to me that any claim to "same ink" or "different ink" could be settled best by resort to: handwriting analysis; and chemical analysis of the ink. Has either been done?

I doubt it, and I doubt it would make a difference anyway. The color copy of the full manuscript pages indicate that the shades in ink changed with the writer as well, so there is no reason to think an entirely different ink was used.

== If no, are not claims for either side provisional at best?

The claim was made on the basis of his own optical analysis. Gee, provided nothing else to support the two ink theory. Trying to prove two inks at this point could be even more embarrassing, especially since the only reason to test it would be apologetic.

== No need for attacking Gee's integrity here. "Talking out of his . . ." is really unnecessary, KG.

Perhaps, but I suffered quite a bit of embarrassment by following his lead. I put my faith in his ability to deduce the obvious from something for which I had no access. He had that access, and he should have been more responsible, knowing the entire apologetic world was waiting for the latest word to come down from him.

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== Kevin, what's your source for your statement that Metacalfe purchased his color photos of the KEP from Steve Christenson?

From Metcalfe himself. Because I asked him a few years ago, after hearing vicious rumors (from some of our own top scholars even!) about how he had stolen them from the Church archives. Another rumor said he swindled them from Steve's wife shortly after his tragic death.

== I remember something different, but I'm open to correction.

You remember what, and from whom?

== And what's your source for the statement that Gee has had access to the orginal or color copies of the KEP?

Gee himself, if memory serves. He and I had a few email exchanges over this topic a few years back.

== The reproductions in his "Guide" don't appear to be color

Well, if he reproduced them in his book, it seems obvious he had access to them, though I suppose it is possible that the Church air-mailed him preselected snippets. Why they were not in color is the mystery. In any event, I would have a hard time believing the Church didn't allow its lone Egyptologist to peruse the KEP.(emphasis supplied)

From the book "Victims" by Richard Turley (see page 141). Turley recounts some discussions Christensen had with attorney David E. West regarding the McClellin collection, then discusses a meeting Christensen had with Hugh Pinnock, quoting from Pinnock's journal (all the following comes from pages 141-142):

"Then," Pinnock wrote, "Steve Christensen did a very strange thing.  He turned over to me photographs of a [number] of documents he has collected through the years.  He said, 'I have been quite a liberal in the past.'  He implied that he is doing that which his doing to show he can be trusted--which we already knew."

The photographs Christensen turned over to Pinnock were ones taken of the Joseph Smith Egyptian papyri at the request of Ed Ashment, who had been an employee of the church's Translation Division.  Don Schmidt had granted permission for the photographs to be taken because he tacitly assumed that the project related to official translation work for the church.  In fact, it was a private project that Christensen had helped to underwrite.  After Schmidt had retired, church officials had learned the project was not official.  Schmidt's successor, Glenn Rowe, had phone Ashment to ask about the project and had learned about Christensen's role in financing it.

"I called Steve Christensen who has the negatives in a bank vault," Rowe had recorded in March 1985, "and also asked him to please not duplicate them without permission.  He said [that] at the time the project was done four color sets were made and one black and white.  One color and black and white set went to Ed Ashment; one set was to come to us; one color sent went to Brent Metcalfe; and he personally kept one color set and the negatives.  Since Brent M. and Ed. A. now work for George Smith and not Steve Christensen, George Smith asked for a set.  For $6,000 Steve allowed George Smith to borrow his negatives.  George Smith now has a set of negatives and a set of photgraphs."  When Rowe had spoken with him, "Christensen had been apologetic, saying he had been told the matter was discussed in detail with Schmidt."

I asked Metcalfe about this on ZLMB back when he posted the KEP photos that you refer to (as I recall, he acknowledged that the photos referred to in Turley's book included the KEP). Anyway, Metcalfe disputed Schmidt's recollection and said that he had done nothing wrong to get the photos. On this point, I have my doubts. At the very least, it seems odd to me that three of the most famous and prolific critics of the church have color photos of the KEP and the papyri.

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The claim was made on the basis of his own optical analysis. Gee, provided nothing else to support the two ink theory. Trying to prove two inks at this point could be even more embarrassing, especially since the only reason to test it would be apologetic.

Why, pray, should I, who know relatively little about the matter, accept Metcalfe's "optical analysis" as being more accute than Gee's?

Was Gee looking at the originals or copies?

What was the state of the color copy industry in the 1980s, when Metcalfe's copy was made?

In other words, slow down, cowpoke. No need to jump into bed with the likes of Metcalfe on anything. His agenda is clear, so check and double check before accepting what, on its surface and only upon his terms, is evidence that Gee is wrong.

Eisenman spins a whole lot of what looks like gold from not very much straw. And almost no one agrees it's actually gold.

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The ink appears to be the same ink. The characters written to the side must indicate something, but what? An attempt to render one character into a single long paragraph? It's clear to me (and it's the only thing that's clear) that both sides in this debate are proffering methodologies which can only be guessed at historically.

Certainly, I would feel better if Joseph Smith were here and could be grilled regarding the method he used to translate the Book of Abraham. From what I've read, the Book of Abraham could have been voluminous in its length had Smith decided to pursue it. I'd certainly like to know how that would be possible if the methodology suggested here was the one actually used by the prophet. The here's-the-character, there's-the-paragraph looks intriging, but is it the only possible method? And given the content of the Book of Abraham with its rich tradition of a pre-mortal council, how could Smith have gleaned it from other sources? Or was it just one of those lucky "hits" on his part?

Was the writer of the words of the Book of Abraham the same writer of the characters, or did someone come along later and add them in an attempt to discover Joseph's methods?

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Kevin, I was posting on ZLMB on the day that you felt you were embarassed by Metcalfe and learned a few things myself. And I agree that regardless of how Metcalfe came by the photos, his arguments need to be addressed. It will be interesting if and when he finally publishes his book on the papyri (he said then that it would be out in December 2005, in time for Joseph Smith's 200th).

I still have reservations about anything "proven" from color photos. I have three different color reproductions of the JSP: those in Gee's "Guide," those in Larsen's book, and those in Michael Rhodes' translation of the Book of Breathings. They are markedly different from one another, a fact that causes me to grant Gee some slack--who knows how different his copies are from Metcalfe's?--and makes me wary of anyone's arguments on the color point. Back lighting, resolution, 20+ years of advancement in color photography, etc. could all affect the quality of the color in any photos.

That said, I hope that someone affilated with the church has been preparing to respond to the possible arguments in Metcalfe's much anticipated book, especially since he's already played his hand to some degree.

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Was the writer of the words of the Book of Abraham the same writer of the characters, or did someone come along later and add them in an attempt to discover Joseph's methods?

That's certainly one of the issues. If I recall correctly, Metcalfe argues that the way the left margin line is drawn proves that the characters came first.

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I still have reservations about anything "proven" from color photos. I have three different color reproductions of the JSP: those in Gee's "Guide," those in Larsen's book, and those in Michael Rhodes' translation of the Book of Breathings. They are markedly different from one another, a fact that causes me to grant Gee some slack--who knows how different his copies are from Metcalfe's?--and makes me wary of anyone's arguments on the color point. Back lighting, resolution, 20+ years of advancement in color photography, etc. could all affect the quality of the color in any photos.

I quite agree that caution is indicated here.

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What is the deal with the papyri? Are they locked away in a vault somewhere or something? This is strange - this talk about certain people having access to them. I hadn't heard this before. I would think they'd be proudly displayed somewhere for all to see and marvel at. Just curious...

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What is the deal with the papyri?  Are they locked away in a vault somewhere or something?  This is strange - this talk about certain people having access to them.  I hadn't heard this before.  I would think they'd be proudly displayed somewhere for all to see and marvel at.  Just curious...

If you had been following all of the to-doing about the Dead Sea Scrolls having limited access for over 50 years and lawsuits over people jumping the gun on their publication and whatnot, you'd be not at all surprised by the care with which these fragments have been preserved.

It's not an easy thing to preserve 2K+ year old papyri.

But this is quite a different issue from the Kirtland papers, whose pictures are being discussed here, and from one set of which Metcalfe has drawn certain conclusions about Gee's prior work on them.

Bottom line? Mac's kid's pix are, apparently, all anybody's been looking at here . . . except for maybe Gee. As noted, we should be cautious about making too definite a statement about "identical" or "different" ink on different parts of the originals from perusal of copies, even color copies.

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USU78:

KEP?

Ok, i'm still learning all this lingo.

Not sure if this was your question TSS, but were you asking why the KEP hasn't been displayed for all to see (since it's not a 2k year old document)? If so, that's a good question.

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USU78:

KEP?

:P<_<

Ooooppppssss! I'll go back and fix that.

USU "Better get that room at the home ready, kids!" 78

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If you had been following all of the to-doing about the Dead Sea Scrolls having limited access for over 50 years and lawsuits over people jumping the gun on their publication and whatnot, you'd be not at all surprised by the care with which these fragments have been preserved.

Haven't really followed it. But I guess it makes sense - to some extent.

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Who Knows & USU78:

It's no trick question. I don't know what the abbreviation "KEP" means.

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USU78:

KEP?

Kirtland Egyptian Papers.

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gtaggart

== At the very least, it seems odd to me that three of the most famous and prolific critics of the church have color photos of the KEP and the papyri.

It is really a non-issue for me whether Brent did anything irregular or wrong in obtaining the photos (to borrow an argument from Provis, "it doesn't matter how we got them, what matters is what they say!"). However, I do not believe he did anything wrong. He told me his side of the story, and without compelling counter-evidence I see no reason to dispute it. And I asked the same question above a few years ago but according to Tvetness, Metcalfe was not known as a "critic" during that time period, let alone one of the "most famous" ones. I seriously doubt he would have been able to keep a job working security for the Church, if he was some notorious Jack Mormon.

Tvetness also implied that if Mrs.Christenson had any idea that Metcalfe would fall away from the Church, she probably wouldn't have sold him the negatives. But that really doesn't matter. I suspect that if he obtained them illegally, then there would have been some type of legal dispute by now.

== I still have reservations about anything "proven" from color photos.

The initial claim was that something was proven using black and white photos. Gee forwarded his theory that the Egyptian text in the left margin was placed there after the English was written. To prove this he offered the two inks argument. But the color photos prove that this argument is untenable. Thus, the color photos disprove something more than they prove.

== That said, I hope that someone affilated with the church has been preparing to respond to the possible arguments in Metcalfe's much anticipated book, especially since he's already played his hand to some degree.

I couldn't agree more.

USU78

== Why, pray, should I, who know relatively little about the matter, accept Metcalfe's "optical analysis" as being more accute than Gee's?

You shouldn't. You should accept your own analysis. And thanks to Brent's color copies you can develop your own. Before that time you were stuck with trusting Gee but now you can see what Gee saw. Just look at them for Pete's sake. If you think that two inks are manifest just from looking at the color photos, then please explain how you came to this conclusion. I cannot think of anyone who holds to the two ink theory anymore. I doubt even Gee does anymore.

== Was Gee looking at the originals or copies?

Yep. If he wasn't, it is a knock against his credibility for making an argument about inks he never saw to begin with!

== What was the state of the color copy industry in the 1980s, when Metcalfe's copy was made?

You seem to be missing something. These were photos of the originals taken with a high quality 35mm camera. Brent has since scanned them, preserving them digitally. So we are talking about photos of the originals, not photo copies like something from a Xerox machine.

== In other words, slow down, cowpoke. No need to jump into bed with the likes of Metcalfe on anything. His agenda is clear, so check and double check before accepting what, on its surface and only upon his terms, is evidence that Gee is wrong.

I am sorry, but Gee's agenda is just as clear, and unlike Gee, I have no reason to distrust Brent. I am generally trusting, and often give people the benefit of the doubt, until the give me a reason not to. But as I said before, it is not Brent's eyes I am trusting. I am trusting my own, and I expect everyone else to trust their own eyes, which is why the two ink theory has seen its death. Nobody holds to it anymore. Try to find one single LDS apologist who believes it. Since Brent has released the color photos the apologetic died on the spot.

== we should be cautious about making too definite a statement about "identical" or "different" ink on different parts of the originals from perusal of copies, even color copies

But caution was thrown to the wind when Gee, not Brent, started makng arguments based on ink!

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**** Disreguard most of this post ****

Ok never mind I just looked again... it is going backwards.

----------------------------------------------

I have a few questions Kevin. I'm not sure if we have enough information to even entertain this.

So here we have a single Egyptian fragment and the letters in the Margins of the KEP and each Character translates to a whole paragraph. What I found intresting is the direction the Characters go. Did egyptians write like we do from top left to bottom right or where they more like the Orientals writting from bottom right to top left in Columns?

Also what if the fragment was more like a biblical code type of thing? The characters where actually referants into, or perhaps a table of contents into a larger text that we no longer have?

In fact the Egyptian paper is even paragraph indented like we do. That doesn't seem very egyptian to me.

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But caution was thrown to the wind when Gee, not Brent, started makng arguments based on ink!

And what is Gee's position these days?

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