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William Schryver

The KEP Abraham Manuscripts

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As I have continued my analysis of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, and also reviewed some of the prior threads dedicated to this topic, I discover that some of the arguments made by Mr. Metcalfe don

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Will,

If this emendation is secondary, then a plausible explanation for what we see in this portion of the manuscripts is that

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Dan,

I appreciate your reply, and I have much to say in response to your arguments. However, I must respectfully defer my response until much later this evening or tomorrow, seeing as I have a prior engagement that, shockingly enough, must be given priority over the FAIR board

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Will,

I find it quite ironic that the only people who are claiming that I have misrepresented Brian are various critics. Brian has never suggested that I am misrepresenting him, and I am quite confident he would not do so now. Your assertions (and those of others) to the contrary are rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of Brian

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Dan,

Didn't Brian (on another thread) say that under microscope that "these" was wrong, and should be "the"? (Not that is matters too much.)

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Zeta-Flux,

He said:

I also confirmed without doubt that the "these/them" question on Ms 2 is undeniably "the/them."

Are you trying to apply it to MS #3?

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The scribe catches the mistake before completing the recopied phrase and crosses it out:

MS #2 (hypothetical 1) -

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California Kid,

Just a technicality: the above is not a definitive example of a dittograph, because even in this case it could be simple redundancy.

Ooops! You are quite right, which also proves my point. Let

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California Kid,

Forgive me for plaguing you, but even this would not be a definitive dittograph. Williams might simply have begun to write a redundant phrase, which Joseph corrected before Williams could finish transcribing it. A definitive dittograph would have to be an absurd redundancy. It should also be noted that dittographs often occur where the same conjunction appears twice in the same approximate vicinity. For example, say I were trying to copy the sentence,

"Dan Vogel went to Will Schryver's house and they played video games and ate cookies." A definitive dittograph might look like this:

"Dan Vogel went to Will Schryver's house and they played video games and they played video games and ate cookies."

In this case, after I finished transcribing "and they played video games," my eyes skipped back to the wrong "and" and I transcribed the same phrase again. This is a common kind of dittograph for two reasons:

1) Copyists typically transcribe a whole phrase at a time, and phrases often start with conjunctions.

2) Copyists often look for "key words" at the start of a phrase in order to remember where they are in a document. When the same "key word" appears several times in close proximity to each other, it is not unusual for the copyist's eyes to skip to the wrong one.

The phrase that has been erased in Williams' document, "the gods of the land", does not begin with a conjunction. We cannot construe this as a confusion of key words. That doesn't mean it isn't dittography (quite often dittography happens when a scribe just spaces out and writes the same thing twice), but I'd certainly disagree that it is a definitive example.

I think you make a valid point here.

The "whereunto/unto" case is an even less likely example of dittography, since only part of a word is repeated. Usually what is repeated is a conceptual unit, which can be as small as a word or as big as a clause. I suppose that in a compound word like "whereunto", the scribe might conceive of the word as two separate units-- "where" and "unto"-- and so might repeat only half of it by dittography. But most people think of a compound word as single conceptual unit rather than as two separate parts. It is also unlikely that a copyist's eyes would skip to the middle of a word in a dittography error (unless, as Dan suggested, it was divided between lines). If this is an example of accidental redundancy committed by a scribe (of which I am unconvinced), I think it would be more likely to occur during an oral dictation session, especially if Joseph pronounced "whereunto" as two separate words.

I

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Dan and CK:

I have but a few minutes to reply. But I wanted to at least acknowledge that I had taken the time to quickly peruse your responses to my previous post. I will examine them in greater detail over the course of the next few days, and then respond accordingly later in the week. My work schedule is such this week that I simply cannot dedicate much time to this discussion.

CK wrote:

The "whereunto/unto" case is an even less likely example of dittography, since only part of a word is repeated.

I agree that the case of

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Having completed my work projects sooner than anticipated, I have found time tonight to add my latest comments to this discussion.

After wading through Vogel

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If I may, I would like to suggest that the following unproductive lines of argumentation be avoided:

1) intimations from both sides of the aisle that the other side has edited the colors or contrast of their photos in order to make ink differences more or less pronounced

2) intimations that the other side has refrained from publishing images of certain parts of the documents because said images would immediately reveal the fallacies of their arguments

3) intimations that because the other side has retreated from previous convictions, they have no credibility

4) intimations that the other side "doesn't want us to know about" or "doesn't want us to discuss" certain parts of the manuscripts

5) complaints about semantics or other trivial or irrelevant aspects of the other side's position

6) intimations that the other side is unwilling to consider differing points of view

7) intimations that because a poster has made arguments on other topics that you consider fallacious, nothing they have to say on this topic can be trusted

<_< intimations that because a poster has spent more time studying the issue than other posters, he is automatically more qualified to assess the manuscripts than they

9) intimations that the only reason a poster has failed to publish after two decades of research is that he knows that his conclusions are indefensible

10) unwarranted assumptions about the relationship between other posters or about other posters' sources of information, particularly in an attempt to discredit them

11) ridiculing other posters' arguments, no matter how outrageous you may think they are

12) any kind of ad hominem argument or personal attack

The above are not directed at any particular side; in fact, I think both sides are guilty of at least some of the things listed above. Furthermore, there are undoubtedly more things that could be added to this list; it is not intended to be comprehensive. Nor is it intended to be an indictment. I simply want to help us cut through the rhetoric and keep this discussion charitable and on-topic. I recommend that anytime a poster may feel tempted to use one of the tactics above, he simply restrain himself. Let's talk about the manuscripts, not about people. I also recommend that if the arguments above have already been made, the other posters simply dismiss rather than attempt to respond to them. I feel this will elevate the level of discourse and enable us to occupy a uniquely high ground: we will approach the manuscripts as collaborating scholars rather than as quibbling opponents.

-CK

Good job! You wanna be a moderator? From one that wants to retire. :P

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Will,

Your post is very thoughtful and well-written. I regret that I do not have a copy of the photographs myself, that I might hope to answer you with equal erudition. However, I will do my best to analyze the evidence you have presented and to suggest a number of interpretive options I do not believe you have considered. But don't get the wrong impression; I will also, where appropriate, concede the strength of some of this new evidence.

I may also note that my continuing examination of the manuscripts somewhat inclines me away from the theory that Ms. #3 was copied from Ms. #2 and towards the idea of another, earlier Ms. X.

The difficulty I perceive in this view is that it does not adequately explain the similarity of emendations in the MSS. For example, how are we to explain "whereunto" or "their hearts are turned" if these are both copies of a MS X? I suppose we could say that these errors occurred unemended in the original document and were perpetuated by both Williams and Phelps. But then how do we explain the "mine" that is inserted supralinearly in both documents? Unlike the other two, it is not an obvious emendation to make, and so would not have been made independently by both scribes. The only options, then, are either (1) that the emendation existed already in the primary document and neither scribe noticed it until they had passed it, or (2) that the two scribes collaborated in making the emendation. Against collaboration, we may adduce the fact that the emendation does not appear in darker ink in MS 2, and so is presumably primary.

It should also be noted that your argument that differences in the MSS precludes oral dictation applies with equal force to visual copying. You provide the following three examples, which you say provide evidence against the dictation theory:

In Abr. 1:7, Ms. #2 reads:

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On multiple scribes: I think it's likely that Joseph's experiences with producing the Book of Mormon led him to the idea of having two copies produced simultaneously. If he had used such an approach in 1828, he wouldn't have lost the 116 pages. Also, when he finally arranged to have the Book of Mormon published, he was understandably wary of handing over his only copy of the manuscript, so he had a second (printer's) manuscript produced, which added a great deal of work to the project. Since having two scribes doesn't require any more effort than having one (at least on the seer's part), it was a simple solution to a problem that had vexed his first translation. And by 1835, Joseph had a much larger pool of followers to draw from.

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CK:

I don't have time right now to respond in full to your post.

I did want to further elaborate on the "these/them" issue about which you have commented much.

I want to preface my comments by saying that I can certainly appreciate the difficulty in reaching a firm conclusion as to what is going on with this particular emendation. But, as I noted before, the thing most do not realize is that there is some significant damage to the manuscript that terminates precisely on the vertical line separating the "e" from the "m". A larger crop of the manuscript would bear out my observation.

However, I have prepared a series of three images that at least explain what I see (and what I believe Dr. Hauglid has argued).

In this first image we see the word, with both brightness and contrast boosted:

Them01.jpg

I understand where your (and Brent's) argument claims that the "e" continues to form the upstroke an "s". I see what it is you're looking at. However, I ask you to seriously consider the projected course of the "e" and ask yourself if it corresponds to the proposed course of the "s" upstroke:

Them01a.jpg

I perceive a distinct difference between them.

Now, when Brian examined the word under the microscope, what he saw was a distinct termination of the stroke of the "e", indicated below by the vertical red line. The yellow line represents the final stroke of the "e" and the blue line represents the upstroke of the "m":

Them02.jpg

As I indicated above, the damage to the document has created anomalies all along the vertical axis of the page at this point. In this final image, I have surrounded in orange many of the splotches of ink that appear to be the result of the damage. I believe the entire proposed course of the "s" is a result of this damage.

Them03.jpg

I wish we had a photo taken through the microscope to demonstrate how these ink splotches from the damage have infiltrated this word and produced distortions that account for the differences of opinion.

Anyway, that is all for now. I just thought I would offer these observations for your consideration.

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William,

I may be wrong on this, so take this with a grain of salt. I think your red mark is in the wrong spot. I believe that the red mark (in the last picture) should be at the end of the blue line, and that most of the blue line and all of the yellow line represent one continous stroke.

In other words, the "m" does indeed overlap with "the." I took Brian's comment to mean that the upstroke on the letter "e" ends before the "m" so there is no cover-up of a secret "se." (However, this doesn't address this alternate theory that the upstroke after the "e" is really the beginning of an "s".)

Best,

Zeta-Flux

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William,

I may be wrong on this, so take this with a grain of salt. I think your red mark is in the wrong spot. I believe that the red mark (in the last picture) should be at the end of the blue line, and that most of the blue line and all of the yellow line represent one continous stroke.

In other words, the "m" does indeed overlap with "the." I took Brian's comment to mean that the upstroke on the letter "e" ends before the "m" so there is no cover-up of a secret "se." (However, this doesn't address this alternate theory that the upstroke after the "e" is really the beginning of an "s".)

Best,

Zeta-Flux

I placed the red line where the "e" appears to terminate. Williams does not, in any of his scribing of "the" cause the "e" to extend any further than where I have indicated; often it does not continue as far.

I was very deliberate in where I placed my colored overlays.

I believe the "apparent" course of an "s" that you and others propose is a conglomerate of a dark ink splotch (above) and an illusory line (below) caused by the liquid that washed over the document. I have indicated in the image below other areas in the document where lines seem to be formed by the damage:

Them04.jpg

Do I consider this argument to be definitive? Hardly. I am learning quickly that there is little that is definitive about these mysterious documents. However, as I examine this particular question, this is what I see. I leave it to others to judge.

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Will,

I appreciate your comments. It is helpful to know that there is water damamge here; that certainly explains some of the imperfections in the letter "m". However, I strongly disagree with your suggestions about which "lines" are water damage and which "lines" were drawn by Williams. What Brian seems to be suggesting (and I believe that this is the strongest alternative to Brent's reconstruction) is that the dark blue line below is the final stroke of the "e", and the yellow line below is the "m" that was added.

water-damage.jpg

You, however, appear to be dismissing the entire region outlined in light blue above as the result of water damage. This reconstruction seems strained. The light blue region doesn't appear to be haphazard or accidental, like the splotches underneath the "m". Rather, it forms a single, coherent stroke with the rest of the "m". It also narrows neatly on one end, just as we would expect from a stroke drawn with a quill pen. In short, it's too smooth, too much like a deliberately-drawn line, too much a part of the "m", to be mere water damage.

More likely, in my opinion, is that the anomaly I have outlined in orange above (which is essential to your own reconstruction) is the result of water damage. In reality, though, even that need not necessarily be the case. Part of that anomaly may simply be an extension of the yellow line.

-CK

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CK:

It is quite difficult to say. However, your last doctored image presents another plausible scenario to my mind.

You traced the "m" using the alleged upstroke of the purported "s". The initial stroke of the "m" is also possible in the line above. However the higher line is much fainter than the lower one. It is possible that, when Williams began to scribe the "m", he realized he was out of ink, and then dabbed the pen again, and then re-scribed the "m", creating to initial strokes for the one letter.

Just an idea for you and others to consider. That would also account for the apparent "glob" of ink that I have argued as being a consequence of the water damage.

In any event, I cannot see an "s" in this word, which is the crux of the argument. Nor do I believe that the "e" extends as high as you are suggesting. There is no other such extension of an "e" in the word "the" throughout the Williams manuscript. The "e" always stops short in the examples I have identified.

I must leave now, but I will try to check back later this evening, and then it's off to the paradise of Moab for the rest of the week. However, I will have internet access on occasion (when we're not out driving Hummers around the redrock!).

It has been pleasant to debate this with you, even though we apparently do not agree on much.

Edit: By the way, I do strongly feel that the areas outlined below are absolutely part of the damage to which I have referred, regardless of what lies underneath them:

Them05.jpg

Here is a blow up of the area:

Them06.jpg

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