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Kevin Graham

Book of Abraham

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1871: The original papyri are thought to be destroyed in the Chicago fire. In reality, they were in the possession of Abel Combs, who had bought them from Emma Smith Bidamon. The actual location of the papyrus is a mystery to the LDS until 1966, when they will be rediscovered in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Just in case anyone thinks this is in the bag. There is a BIG ASSUMPTION here that these scrolls that were found are indeed the same scrolls that Joseph Smith saw and translated.

As some of you may know, there were ELEVEN such mummies, and Chandler had sold the other SEVEN to someone else before Joseph Smith. Maybe Joseph's scrolls did INDEED get destroyed in the Chicago fire as some had SUPPOSED (room for doubt here). And maybe the scrolls that were discovered in New York were actually from among the SEVEN. With all these unknowns AS USUAL, is there any "testimony" that these New York scrolls are in fact the "true scrolls?" :P

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Rockyterrain writes:

Just in case anyone thinks this is in the bag. There is a BIG ASSUMPTION here that these scrolls that were found are indeed the same scrolls that Joseph Smith saw and translated.
No, there is no doubt about this (i.e. that the pieces found were had in the possession of Joseph Smith). The fragments recovered from the museum were backed on card stock which had Nauvoo related material on the other side. Additionally, the original for facsimile 1 was there (and this seems conclusive as well). Furthermore, the genuine Egyptian characters on the KEP match up to characters on the papyri found. And where there are holes in the papyri, we have artificial characters in the KEP drawn to fill in the gaps (meaning again that it is certain we have the same piece from which the KEP characters were taken).
As some of you may know, there were ELEVEN such mummies, and Chandler had sold the other SEVEN to someone else before Joseph Smith. Maybe Joseph's scrolls did INDEED get destroyed in the Chicago fire as some had SUPPOSED (room for doubt here). And maybe the scrolls that were discovered in New York were actually from among the SEVEN. With all these unknowns AS USUAL, is there any "testimony" that these New York scrolls are in fact the "true scrolls?"
We know that some of the papyri ended up in the Chicago museum. This is because the location of the papyri can be tracked relatively well. The went from Joseph's family to the Woods Museum in St. Louis. There they were displayed, and an attempt was made by Sayffarth (sp? - its too early) to translate them. We have copies of the translation (it is wrong of course - his system of translation was faulty). This included the original of facsimile 3 and some attached columns of material. This stuff later shows up in catalogs of the Chicago Museum. When one wing of that museum was destroyed in the fire, all traces of the Joseph Smith papyri vanish. The fragments found in New York were judged (so the story goes) to be too small to sell originally - and so went first to a housekeeper and then to the museum where they were later identified.

So, some (most) of the Joseph Smith collection was probably burned, and some small pieces were preserved in New York.

Ben

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Point well taken. You do need to realize that the Breathings text is connected to the BoA with the adjacent characters, so whether they are from Joseph or not, there is still a link. I'm still curious as to what other links between the manuscript and the papyri exist, because (again) I don't think the characters adjacent to the paragraphs is substantial (in the least) to prove that they were the text by which the paragraphs were translated for reasons I've given previously.

But something that does need to be addressed (as pointed out), is really the ridiculous weight that is placed on the KEP. Nearly 100 years had passed from when they went missing until they were found. Try and conclude anything in a court of law...the case would be thrown out!!! Moreover, we are dealing with 'high quality pictures' (maybe next time I go on vacation, I'll just stay at home and enjoy the brochures). What exists is skeptical, and therefore any conclusion reached must be considered all the more skeptical.

Cheers,

PacMan

P.S. If Brent would like to include my words as a preface to his book, he may. We'd have to negotiate the royalties, but I'm not picky. <_<

P.S.S. And a big hand to myself for graduating to 'Member' status. :P

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I think I'm happier with the idea of studying the KEP and devoting time to writing articles about it rather than simply arguing about it on the Internet. I've argued a lot over the years and it does wear on me after a while.

There is a conscience in every one of us and it behooves us to listen to that conscience and mingle it with the still small voice that comes from above. We Latter-day Saints have the gift of the Holy Ghost

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Paul...point taken. Perhaps the problem many of us have had in studying the KEP, is that we've study it fragments at a time. I don't mind the notion at all that there is valuable material included...so is there a good source that lays out what the KEP includes, both in a listing and contextual format? I for one would love access to it all (wouldn't we all), spend a day a read over every page. I know Brent has shared some photos. What else is out there?

PacMan

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And, yes, I have read the Ashment offerings on the subject.

USU,

I was also unconvinced when I read Ashment's arguments on this. What I later discovered, however, was that this was because I couldn't see just what he was saying till I sat down with a photocopy of the KEP and attempted to follow his arguments in the documents. When I could follow along, and see for myself, I found the arguments quite compelling.

I've also had the privilege of having Brent M. go through his KEP photos with me in some detail. This left no doubt about the relative ordering of the documents.

Because of my experience, I'd say to anyone that to understand the relevant arguments, it's very important to be able to follow along in the KEP for yourself. If you're very interested in the topic, I'd get a copy, and try to trace Ashment's and Brent's arguments for yourself, do the same with Gee's arguments, and examine the documents for yourself to the extent you can.

So . . . I'm to learn what from the foregoing? That if I were really, really smart then I'd think just like Brent and Ashment?

Hogwash. My background is philology, though it's hobby instead of vocation the last 25 years. My work these days involves a bit of sleuthery and crafting (what I always hope is) persuasive arguments.

The KEP issue, which I first looked at about the time the photos were taken (I was doing my masters at the ewe at the time and hanging out with the proto-Sunstone folks), does not lead of necessity to what Ashment and Brent would make them into. There is, indeed, no "necessity" at all. They are quite opaque.

Nothing significant has been added in the last 25 years, in my view, on their purpose and contents, though many have taken them down rabbitholes in hopes that something of significance would emerge. Nothing has. Parsing the hieroglyphics, as the folks back in Kirtland attempted, leads nowhere. Only a prophet could make sense of such an approach. And JSJr never got this project, to the extent his involvement was significant and not merely in oversight, to the point that he felt comfortable about its publication.

This is significant. We have a mystery on our hands, to be sure, about the Ursprung of the BoA. The KEP haven't helped a bit with the mystery, however: at most it kicks the can around. Every time we retrieve the can, however, it's just the same old can.

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USU78:

The KEP issue, which I first looked at about the time the photos were taken (I was doing my masters at the ewe at the time and hanging out with the proto-Sunstone folks), does not lead of necessity to what Ashment and Brent would make them into. There is, indeed, no "necessity" at all. They are quite opaque.

Opaque is hardly a sufficient adjective to describe how I have come to view the KEP. I have been employing the term "impenetrable", and I'm still groping for something that answers to my impressions even better than that.

Nothing significant has been added in the last 25 years, in my view, on their purpose and contents, though many have taken them down rabbitholes in hopes that something of significance would emerge. Nothing has. Parsing the hieroglyphics, as the folks back in Kirtland attempted, leads nowhere. Only a prophet could make sense of such an approach. And JSJr never got this project, to the extent his involvement was significant and not merely in oversight, to the point that he felt comfortable about its publication.

This is significant. We have a mystery on our hands, to be sure, about the Ursprung of the BoA. The KEP haven't helped a bit with the mystery, however: at most it kicks the can around. Every time we retrieve the can, however, it's just the same old can.

I couldn't have said it better. Perhaps the KEP represented some kind of kriegspiele for Phelps, Parrish, et al.? I have read the theories from each commentator, and I find them all lacking to one degree or another. I suspect we may be compelled to wait on the eventual opportunity of the original participants to shed some light on the mystery. And, as I have noted previously, I am patient enough to wait.

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And, yes, I have read the Ashment offerings on the subject.

USU,

I was also unconvinced when I read Ashment's arguments on this. What I later discovered, however, was that this was because I couldn't see just what he was saying till I sat down with a photocopy of the KEP and attempted to follow his arguments in the documents. When I could follow along, and see for myself, I found the arguments quite compelling.

I've also had the privilege of having Brent M. go through his KEP photos with me in some detail. This left no doubt about the relative ordering of the documents.

Because of my experience, I'd say to anyone that to understand the relevant arguments, it's very important to be able to follow along in the KEP for yourself. If you're very interested in the topic, I'd get a copy, and try to trace Ashment's and Brent's arguments for yourself, do the same with Gee's arguments, and examine the documents for yourself to the extent you can.

So . . . I'm to learn what from the foregoing? That if I were really, really smart then I'd think just like Brent and Ashment?

:P

I'm sorry that you misunderstood my comments so badly. They really are meant to be helpful.

What I was trying to say was that I think you'll be in a much better position to follow, and therefore assess, the arguments of Ashment, Metcalfe, and Gee if you have copies of the revelant documents in front of you as you go through their arguments. At least, I feel that this was the case for me.

Don Bradley

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What I was trying to say was that I think you'll be in a much better position to follow, and therefore assess, the arguments of Ashment, Metcalfe, and Gee if you have copies of the revelant documents in front of you as you go through their arguments.

I have been following the developments since about 1978-80. This is not a new issue for me, since I first started looking at them whilst in grad school amongst the proto-Sunstonians. While I haven't seen the color photos (except to the extent they have been posted in part here), their present appearance hasn't affected my opinions (which are always subject to revision upon presentation of a persuasive case) at all.

Historical documents are tricky beasties. I'm happy to admit as much. But thus far I've still seen nothing compelling any kind of conclusion about these particular historical documents, let alone Ashment's/Brent's.

Moreover, the lack of good provenance bothers me.

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Jungle,

I miss what you'd call a spelling error-everything was spelled correctly. The only reason for editing that particular text was redundancy editing (whereunto gives the same meaning as unto)...and why was there a slight curve to the word? Well, if you're really stretching for something:

1- Go write on a piece of paper and see what your hand does when you get to the end of the line. Most people will write a word or so on the new line, and then readjust it.

2- He sneezed, coughed, yawned

3- He was re-dipping his pen

4- Someone walked into the room

The fact is that there would have been a myriad of interruptions, and to single out one differentiation as obvious evidence that it was due to 'in process' correction is simply ridiculous. The fact that the colons (and semi-colons) indicate a listing, and 'unto' was the very next word after the 'unto' that was struck out are significant claims against in-process correction. Whether you accept it or not is yours to choice.

Sorry, I meant to say I corrected my spelling errors.

I agree that there could have been a variety of possible reasons for the interruption. My point is that it appears there was some interruption and this could have happened while a scribe was taking dictation. An argument against this is that the other scribe didn

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