Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Kevin Graham

Book of Abraham

Recommended Posts

KG:

For whatever reason the project came to a stand still and whatever manuscript was used in the final product never surfaced.

Are there any, or even substantial (in your estimation), differences between the portion of text appearing in the columns of "translated" paragraphs and the final product published in 1842? (Aside from the fact that the KEP refer to only the first 1 1/2 chapters of the BofA?)

Also, if you were to speculate, how would you describe the process that resulted in the manuscripts comprising the KEP?

Share this post


Link to post
Hi Don,

Good to hear from you, my friend.

Not only are there traditional paragraph breaks, but there are also instances where a new "paragraph" is formed mid-sentence to accommodate a new (real or invented) Egyptian character.

Hi Brent!

That's awesome. I'd love to hear the apologetic explanation for that!

Don

Share this post


Link to post
gtaggart,

boabr-ms-2-p1-l.jpg

ms2p1_web-sm.jpg

Is this what you are refering too? There is quite a big difference.

Well, what you posted demonstrates the same thing, but no, I was referring to the photo that Brent labeled "Photo 2," which has one Egyptian symbol in the margin--it's the one with the double-stroke "s."

Share this post


Link to post

OK... So these ones...

boabr-ms-1b-p5-s.jpg

ms1bp5_web-detail.jpg

Its almost seems as if some one went back and darkened things in?

Thus the two-tone on the Egyptian. The double stroke on the 'm' is a different shade than the double stroke on the 's' but its the same shade as the 2nd tone on the 'slash' of the egyptian.

We can all agree with Kevin now and see that Brents Photos are high quality.

Share this post


Link to post
LDS generally know nothing about this issue. They are unfamiliar with the fundamental points of the anti-Mormon argument because most prefer to stick with whatever some LDS apologetic website says, whether it be a hyperlink to some dismissive Nibley interview or some amateur apologists website with a bunch of hyperlinks to FARMS or Jeff Lindsay....

Well, John Gee had access to the color photos and then developed an apologetic that worked off of our ignorance....

However, once the color photos were released by Brent Metcalfe (he purchased them from Christenson many years ago) it was clear Gee was talking out of his butt.

Share this post


Link to post
LDS generally know nothing about this issue. They are unfamiliar with the fundamental points of the anti-Mormon argument because most prefer to stick with whatever some LDS apologetic website says, whether it be a hyperlink to some dismissive Nibley interview or some amateur apologists website with a bunch of hyperlinks to FARMS or Jeff Lindsay....

Well, John Gee had access to the color photos and then developed an apologetic that worked off of our ignorance....

However, once the color photos were released by Brent Metcalfe (he purchased them from Christenson many years ago) it was clear Gee was talking out of his butt.

Share this post


Link to post

gtaggart

== Of course it's the case, you just stated it: Metcalfe was working from photos (high quality according to you) and Gee was no doubt working from something else.

Right, which is not the same thing as there being "different photos of the KEP taken at different times, under different conditions, using different cameras, different film, and different lighting." Who said there were two different sets of photos in the first place (outside Brent's personal collection that is), let alone two sets that were "under different conditions, using different cameras, different film, and different lighting"?

Brent was using photos of the originals while Gee was looking directly at the originals.

== There is a margin for error there, and we don't know how large that margin is. For example, let's suppose that Metcalfe was working from back-lit photos (which his appear to be) and Gee is working from something that is not back-lit. Would the ink and ink strokes appear differently to the viewer? I think they would, to what degree I don't know.

I do not think they would, but if they did, not to any meaningful degree. Brent's color photos are professionally done. This hypotheical about a possibly significant discrepancy in lighting that might occur, if perhaps there were two different photo sets, indicating that one might come to a different conclusions, is just too much "woulda coulda shoulda" hypothetical that is based on speculation alone. Isn't really enough to even entertain it mainly because you are talking about how two sets of photos might differ, before it is even substantiated that two sets exist in the first place. Once you have established this, and have demonstrated discrepancies that matter, then you will have something to work from.

== I disagree, and at the very least, it ought to give us pause in our assessment of Gee's work.

No, I see no reason to speculate that possibly Gee was looking at the KEP from a defective perspective that caused him to goof up like he did. The fact that he goofed should be evidenced by his refusal to maintan the same argument and defend his position years later. On ZLMB he showed up to "explain" his reference to the 'overrun' text, but I didn't see him defend his two inks argument.

== By the way, did you get my e-mail?

I'm sorry I didn't. Where did you send it? My PM box is slammed full, so if you or anyone else sent me a PM, I cannot receive it until I start cleaning out messages.

== Case in point, courtesy of Brent himself: Look at his Photo 2, then compare it with the photo of the same thing that Kevin posted on page 1 of this thread. Notice the difference?

Not much. One is brighter. Nobody is disputing that multiple photos can be taken with different lighting. I do his all the time, using different shutter speeds and from different angles. I dispute that this would have any significance in this debate because 1) it doesn't appear to help unless the light was split down the margin on the paper, showing the Egyptian to be a different color than the English, and 2) as we see below, two differently lighted photos of the same document still demonstrate Gee's error.

== Now, I'll grant that in both photos the ink on the hieroglyphics looks very much like the double ink stroke on the "s," but the appearance of the manuscript looks very different in the photos side-by-side.

Case in point, a difference in lighting doesn't necessarily support the theory that Gee might be innocent of misleading. Like you just said, the lightning doesn't change the fact that the ink to the left is exactly like the ink on the right.

Provis

== Are there any, or even substantial (in your estimation), differences between the portion of text appearing in the columns of "translated" paragraphs and the final product published in 1842? (Aside from the fact that the KEP refer to only the first 1 1/2 chapters of the BofA?)

Not that I am aware of. However I do know Nibley made a claim of "discrepancy," but was refuted by Metcalfe several years ago. Again, this was just one of the many reasons I found the LDS scholarship untrustworthy in this area.

== Also, if you were to speculate, how would you describe the process that resulted in the manuscripts comprising the KEP?

I would venture to guess that it involved the Urim and Thummin, or perhaps some other method whereby Smith dictated text to his scribes. I imagine the process went slowly, which might explain why they took breaks after a few paragraphs so another scribe to take over.

Share this post


Link to post
Who said there were two different sets of photos in the first place (outside Brent's personal collection that is), let alone two sets that were "under different conditions, using different cameras, different film, and different lighting"?

I did, based on the difference between the photos in Gee's book and Brent's photos.

Share this post


Link to post
== There is a margin for error there, and we don't know how large that margin is. For example, let's suppose that Metcalfe was working from back-lit photos (which his appear to be) and Gee is working from something that is not back-lit. Would the ink and ink strokes appear differently to the viewer? I think they would, to what degree I don't know.

I do not think they would, but if they did, not to any meaningful degree. Brent's color photos are professionally done. This hypotheical about a possibly significant discrepancy in lighting that might occur, if perhaps there were two different photo sets, indicating that one might come to a different conclusions, is just too much "woulda coulda shoulda" hypothetical that is based on speculation alone. Isn't really enough to even entertain it mainly because you are talking about how two sets of photos might differ, before it is even substantiated that two sets exist in the first place. Once you have established this, and have demonstrated discrepancies that matter, then you will have something to work from.

In what way is my speculation worse than your speculative assertions of dishonesty based on knowing of just Metcalfe's photos and without knowing exactly what Gee was looking at and how it compares with what Metcalfe has?

Let me be clear: There are a whole raft of reasons for getting something wrong. Only one of them involves dishonesty. Why the rush to do so in this case?

I just re-read Metcalfe's rebuttal of Nibley's "Illusory Variants" that you posted. I recalled that he had called Nibley's honesty into question the last time I read his rebuttal. I note with pleasure that he didn't do so, only wondering how Nibley could have made the error he did. That's fair.

Share this post


Link to post

KG:

Provis

== Are there any, or even substantial (in your estimation), differences between the portion of text appearing in the columns of "translated" paragraphs and the final product published in 1842? (Aside from the fact that the KEP refer to only the first 1 1/2 chapters of the BofA?)

Not that I am aware of. However I do know Nibley made a claim of "discrepancy," but was refuted by Metcalfe several years ago. Again, this was just one of the many reasons I found the LDS scholarship untrustworthy in this area.

== Also, if you were to speculate, how would you describe the process that resulted in the manuscripts comprising the KEP?

I would venture to guess that it involved the Urim and Thummin, or perhaps some other method whereby Smith dictated text to his scribes. I imagine the process went slowly, which might explain why they took breaks after a few paragraphs so another scribe to take over.

I, as well, perceive no substantial differences between the BoA text as it appears in the KEP, and the final product as published in 1842.

I, as well, am inclined to believe that the Book of Abraham was produced via the Urim and Thummim.

Question 1: Why do you say "so another scribe to (sic) take over"? It was my understand from detailed descriptions of the manuscripts that each is of similar content. Perhaps that is my misunderstanding and you could clear that up. But, to elaborate, it is my understanding that there is nothing to indicate that one "scribe" wrote a certain portion, then another "scribe" took up where the previous one left off. Rather, all of the manuscripts appear to be related to the same portion of the Book of Abraham.

Question 2: What other indications lead you to believe that the process "went slowly"? I would not have made that observation based on the photographs I have seen in the past few days. To the contrary, the text in the right hand columns appears to have been written in an extremely fluid fashion, with very few evidences of ink pooling where the scribe would have freshened his pen after a period of pause. Do you not agree?

Question 3: At this period of time (when the KEP were being produced) is there any contemporary evidence that any of the individuals in question had been recently or were currently serviing Joseph Smith in the capacity of "scribe"? To my knowledge, neither Cowdery, Phelphs, nor Parrish had served as scribes to Joseph for a considerable time preceeding this period. Perhaps I am mistaken in this respect and someone will correct me. But I think not.

I also sent you a PM late last night. If you would like, I could resend the text as an e-mail.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Greg,

No, the manuscripts weren't backlit nor would that have been desirable since BoAbr mss. 1a, 1b, and 2 are transcribed recto and verso (e.g., pages 1 and 2 in the respective documents are opposite sides of the same sheet of paper).

A quick note: the difference in online image quality (e.g., hue and focus) is largely due to my previous inexperience with scanning photos compared to the scans of the photographic negatives that were professionally processed. The real difference between the prints and negatives is that the negatives preserve more detail; but both clearly support the analysis that I posited years ago on ZLMB.

Kind regards,

Brent

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

Share this post


Link to post

Brent, could you or Kevin comment on the two-tone ink Egyptian in "PHOTO 2" above?

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Zak,

I already commented on the ink tones:

Photo 1 shows the manuscript location from which Photo 2 was extracted (BoAbr ms. 1b, p. 5, green rectangle). I saved Photo 2 for Web distribution (using Adobe ImageReady) sans any image modifications. Astute FAIR readers will notice 1) in Photo 1, darker ink appears throughout the page where multiple overlapping strokes occur (e.g., lowercase p's and f's), 2) Photo 2 is so detailed you can actually see the texture of the fabric that the photographer placed the manuscript on; and 3) Photo 1 shows the color- and gray-scale strips that were used for color correction.

Photo 1

  • boabr-ms-1b-p5-l.jpg

Photo 2

  • boabr-ms-1b-p5-s.jpg

The final joint stroke in the lowercase "s" has overlap on par with the descenders in some lowercase instances of "p" and "f"; the lowercase "m" lacks that level of overlap.

My best,

Brent

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

Share this post


Link to post

KG,

A follow-up question to my previous set. I've e-mailed you an enlarged extract from Ms.#2. Examine it carefully. Then answer how plausible you find it that a scribe, hastily taking down the dictation of a speaker, would be able to correctly place a semi-colon at the end of a phrase that will be followed by subsequent phrases, and then correctly place a comma within a phrase, and then resume placing semi-colons at each appropriate point until the end of the sentence? The semi-colon is a tool of the AUTHOR or EDITOR, not of the scribe taking dictation. The correct placement of the numerous semi-colons in this text is the surest evidence I can imagine that the text in question was COPIED from another document, and I would suspect that the punctuation was already present in the original, rather than being placed there by the "scribe". I would be very interested in seeing photos of the other manuscripts as well. If they consistently show this clear evidence of prior editing, I think we have compelling evidence that all were trans-scribing from an original document. Yet, even the fact that this manuscript manifests this level of punctuation is a strong argument in and of itself.

P.S. I thought the e-mail tool on the board had an "attach" function, but it does not. Just view Ms.#2 in an editor and look closely at the final sentence in the dark ink.

Share this post


Link to post
answer how plausible you find it that a scribe, hastily taking down the dictation of a speaker, would be able to correctly place a semi-colon at the end of a phrase that will be followed by subsequent phrases, and then correctly place a comma within a phrase, and then resume placing semi-colons at each appropriate point until the end of the sentence?  The semi-colon is a tool of the AUTHOR or EDITOR, not of the scribe taking dictation.  The correct placement of the numerous semi-colons in this text is the surest evidence I can imagine that the text in question was COPIED from another document, and I would suspect that the punctuation was already present in the original, rather than being placed there by the "scribe".

Would a U&T translation (as suggested by Kevin) necessarily be hasty? If it wasn't hasty, it seems like there might be ample time to add punctuation. OTOH maybe the U&T was upgraded with the punctuation package between BoM and BoA translations. :P

Share this post


Link to post
answer how plausible you find it that a scribe, hastily taking down the dictation of a speaker, would be able to correctly place a semi-colon at the end of a phrase that will be followed by subsequent phrases, and then correctly place a comma within a phrase, and then resume placing semi-colons at each appropriate point until the end of the sentence?  The semi-colon is a tool of the AUTHOR or EDITOR, not of the scribe taking dictation.  The correct placement of the numerous semi-colons in this text is the surest evidence I can imagine that the text in question was COPIED from another document, and I would suspect that the punctuation was already present in the original, rather than being placed there by the "scribe".

Would a U&T translation (as suggested by Kevin) necessarily be hasty? If it wasn't hasty, it seems like there might be ample time to add punctuation. OTOH maybe the U&T was upgraded with the punctuation package between BoM and BoA translations. :P

You're so clever!

Actually, the Book of Mormon manuscript contains not a single punctuation mark. That is what is typical of a Urim and Thummim transcription. All punctutation in the first edition of the BoM was added by a printer's assistant.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Provis,

I encourage you to spend more time familiarizing yourself with the punctuation styles of Joseph Smith's scribes because your observations are without merit.

Perhaps you're unaware that the scribe you focus on in BoAbr ms. 2 is William W. Phelps. A newspaper editor before his conversion to Mormonism, Phelps was editor of the first Mormon newspaper, the Evening and Morning Star

Share this post


Link to post
Actually, the Book of Mormon manuscript contains not a single punctuation mark. 

I am well aware of that.

That is what is typical of a Urim and Thummim transcription.

Typical? One data point makes something typical? Just as likely a lack of punctuation is typical of JS's early U&T translations and JS was better able to use the menu features with more practice.

Share this post


Link to post
Hi Provis,

I encourage you to spend more time familiarizing yourself with the punctuation styles of Joseph Smith's scribes because your observations are without merit.

Perhaps you're unaware that the scribe you focus on in BoAbr ms. 2 is William W. Phelps. A newspaper editor before his conversion to Mormonism, Phelps was editor of the first Mormon newspaper, the Evening and Morning Star

Share this post


Link to post

Some have been commenting on the possibility that the KEP were transcriptions of the original translation document. I'm having trouble understanding why this is an important point.

To me it seems most likely that this was the case and that they just didn't have time to finish. Perhaps they wanted a "clean" copy of the translation as the end result but never finished it.

Even if the KEP are a cleaned up copy of the original translation documents, doesn't it still show that, according to the understanding of JS and his scribes, part of the BoAbr was "translated" from the Horus scroll that we now have? Why does it matter that we might only have a transcription of the original translation?

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Provis,

There is considerable manuscript evidence that the scribes' transcription rate lagged behind Joseph Smith's dictation rate. In other words, JS didn't merely dictate a word and then wait for the scribes to transcribe it before proceeding; rather, JS would dictate many words and the scribes had the challenge of keeping up. This is especially apparent in instances where multiple scribes wrote from simultaneous dictation, as in BoAbr mss 1a and 1b (for manuscript designations, see here).

Documentation on the identities of JS's 1835 scribes is readily available on the Web and elsewhere

Share this post


Link to post
Hi Provis,

There is considerable manuscript evidence that the scribes' transcription rate lagged behind Joseph Smith's dictation rate. In other words, JS didn't merely dictate a word and then wait for the scribes to transcribe it before proceeding; rather, JS would dictate many words and the scribes had the challenge of keeping up. This is especially apparent in instances where multiple scribes wrote from simultaneous dictation, as in BoAbr mss 1a and 1b (for manuscript designations, see here).

Documentation on the identities of JS's 1835 scribes is readily available on the Web and elsewhere

Share this post


Link to post
Some have been commenting on the possibility that the KEP were transcriptions of the original translation document.  I'm having trouble understanding why this is an important point.

To me it seems most likely that this was the case and that they just didn't have time to finish.  Perhaps they wanted a "clean" copy of the translation as the end result but never finished it.

Even if the KEP are a cleaned up copy of the original translation documents, doesn't it still show that, according to the understanding of JS and his scribes, part of the BoAbr was "translated" from the Horus scroll that we now have? Why does it matter that we might only have a transcription of the original translation?

It's a huge point if you are familiar with the arguments put forth by the critics, specifically that the three manuscripts in question represent the simultaneous transcription of Joseph Smith's dictation by three separate scribes, and that they represent the "working translation" of the Book of Abraham. That is, Joseph was looking at an Egyptian character and then spouting off words that these three scribes then wrote down.

If the translated Book of Abraham was already completed by Joseph Smith prior to this time, then the KEP become something entirely different than what they are claimed to be by the critics. They become something much more similar to what Nibley suggested in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Provis,

I almost forgot to mention an important point: a key portion of the serial list involving semicolons derives from Joseph Smith's earlier work, the bound Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language, which also uses semicolons:

[GAEL, p. 3]

... a father of many nations; a

prince of peace; one who keeps the com

mandment of God; a patriarch; a

rightful heir; a high priest.

[bAbr Ms. 2, p. 1]

... a father of many nations; a prince

of peace; one who keeps the commandments of

God; a righful heir; a high priest ...

(Compare Abr. 1:2.)

Put simply, in this instance JS was working from a prior document (sort of, anyway).

When Willard Richards copied BoAbr ms. 2 into ms. 3 (the printer's manuscript), he preserved only one of Phelps' four semicolons, replacing the others with commas.

So much for your speculations.

My best,

Brent

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

Share this post


Link to post

Brent:

Put simply, in this instance JS was working from a prior document (sort of, anyway).

When Willard Richards copied BoAbr ms. 2 into ms. 3 (the printer's manuscript), he preserved only one of Parrish's four semicolons, replacing the others with commas.

So much for your speculations.

Then you clearly do consent to the main point of the argument: that the utilization of semi-colons in the fashion Phelps employs them presupposes that he was working from an existing document. Thank you for conceding on that point. Now we can proceed to your others.

The argument that Willard Richards changed the semi-colons to commas is utterly and completely irrelevant to the point that the so-called "scribes" were working, not from the spoken word, but rather from a previously-prepared text. You know that, so what are trying to pull here? Come on now, don't treat everyone with the same level of disdain -- modulate it on occasion!

Now, what about those other photos? You're not hiding anything are you?

:P

Edit: You said "Parrish", not "Phelps", and yet Phelps is the author of Ms.#2 which you posted earlier, and the one wherein I noted the precise punctuation. Are you also saying that Parrish used identical, or at least substantially similar punctuation?

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×