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William Schryver

Textual Variants At Abraham 1:12

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Greg,

My guess would be that photographs and scans each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Will's image also looks like it's been converted to grayscale, though I can't say for certain whether that's the case. Perhaps he can enlighten us.

-Chris

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Greg,

[T]he KEP has been out of the bag now for some 20 years, ever since Brent Metcalfe and friends got their photos. And for at least the last six years, he's been parading bits and pieces of his photos around the Internet in an effort to prove that the Book of Abraham is less than it claims.

This is a seeming advantage for the critics of the BoA since the originals and photos the Church has are copyright protected with Intellectual Reserve.

And what do those of us who attempt to defend the Church have to hand? Bad photocopies of purloined microfilm. (When Elder Ballard recently issued his call to enter the Internet fray, did he realize how ill-equipped we are on this particular issue?)

You're absolutely right! Of course, I don't know what Elder Ballard knew when he issued his call for Internet defense of the Church, but you can see from what is happening with the JS Papers Project that the Church is very interested in getting well edited historical materials into the hands of the members.

I realize that critical text projects take time, but that hasn't prevented us from having Joseph Smith's words (thanks to Dean Jesse, Andrew Ehat, and others) or color photos of the JSP (first published a few months after the Church acquired them), original and authentic reproduction editions of the Book of Mormon (since 1830). And correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember that one of the problems with the slow publication of some 40% of the DSS was that a handful of scholars controlled access to those scrolls. Only after the scholarly monopoly ended did that large portion of the DSS become more widely available.

The JS Papers Project goes well beyond Jessee, Ehat, and others. As you may be aware the project is planning on up to 30+ volumes. It will provide solid edited editions of much unpublished material. As far as the BoM is concerned Royal Skousen has worked for many years to produce his critical text, which he is still doing. It's also true that the DSS were hoarded for 40 years, but when it was made available to scholars it still took years to produce credible document editions. More work in this way is being done presently.

Make no mistake. I'm not equating you with that handful of scholars nor is my impatience with you. But as a 56 year-old, life-long, tithe-paying member of the Church, I'm concerned [1.] with how selectively these photos have been parceled out, and [2.] that I may be dead before I get my hands on and my mind around high quality color photos/scans of the KEP.

I understand your frustration. I can only ask for your patience. When you say "how selectively these photos have been parceled out" it can mean that for the critics it's up to Brent and Ed Ashment who sees them. And for members of the Church it's up to the Church. However, I can assure you that it'll be long before you die (unless an imminent heart attack, stroke, or accident takes you out sooner) when you'll have your hands on this material.

Best to you.

Brian

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Brian,

So far, nothing.

Are you planning to take a look and report the result here?

-Chris

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Hi Chris,

To reiterate my view of the textual history of Abraham 1:12 in both BoAbr ms. 1a (fldr. 2; Frederick G. Williams scribe) and ms. 1b (fldr. 3; Warren Parrish scribe), I see no compelling text-critical reason to posit that the clause in question was a "later" emendationâ??in either manuscript. Obviously, something has compelled Williams to squeeze two lines of text into the space of one; but the solution need not involve a "later" insertion.

Hi Greg,

I understand your frustration. I've given up on setting a publication deadlineâ??domestic and professional commitments take precedence over unsalaried avocations.

Brian's publication title has appeared in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (A Textual Study of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions), so I suspect that his book will appear first. I look forward to reading it! happy-happy-joy-joy.gif

I appreciate your efforts to interpret the photographic evidence that Will and I have provided, but I can't emphasize enough that your efforts are often wholly misguided.

Kind regards,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

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Hi Brian,

Thanks for your timely response.

I apologize for my lack clarity. When I asked...

(I assume that you agree with me that Schryver's transcription of the clause from ms. 1a is inaccurateâ??correct?)

... I wasn't referring to Schryver's analysis (nor his intelligence), but to his transcription of the clause from ms. 1a (fldr. 2). Is it safe to assume that you agree with me that his transcription is inaccurate?

I have multiple reasons for questioning the notion that Williams' inclusion of the clause was a later emendation. I mentioned one such reason in my previous post:

There is only one instance where a glyph comes into contact with the line below: the curved line preceding "commencement" and the h in "the":

  • BoAbr ms. 1a (fldr. 2), p. 1
    • ... will refer ...
      ... ( commencement ...
      ... the form ...

ms-1a_p-1.jpg

Using your high-powered scope, what have you learned from this intersection of ink?

You replied:

So far, nothing.

I'm convinced that the ink flow indicates that the curved line (Schryver's [and your?] "parenthesis") was inscribed before the h in "the" on the line below.

I welcome your eyewitness input.

(Tangentially, no one can copyright an original holographic manuscript from the early-19thC.)

My best,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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I appreciate your efforts to interpret the photographic evidence that Will and I have provided, but I can't emphasize enough that your efforts are often wholly misguided.
Brent,

If my efforts are often wholly misguided, then maybe you wouldn't mind explaining why.

Thanks,

Greg

Greg,My guess would be that photographs and scans each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Will's image also looks like it's been converted to grayscale, though I can't say for certain whether that's the case. Perhaps he can enlighten us.-Chris

Chris,

I've been a bit careless with the terms photo and/or scan, largely because I can't remember who has what at this point. Regardless, if for example, someone were to make an argument based on the faint "l" in "will" or on the pool of ink on the "f" crossover, using Metcalfe's photo/scan--hypothetically speaking--their argument would be easily undercut by Will's photo/scan. Or am I missing something?

Obviously any serious textual argument would be based on more than one or two pieces of evidence; however, I have little doubt that the two differences I've pointed out are only two of probably hundreds or even thousands of differences between the extant copies of the photographed/scanned pages of the KEP. And if that's true as between different photos/scans, how many more differences would you expect there to be between the photos/scans and the real deal? Consequently, it would seem that an accruate/credible critical text of the KEP would almost have to be based on the actual KEP or on scans/photos that duplicate the KEP precisely. Or am I missing something?

To be clear, I'm not saying that Metcalfe can make no valid arguments from his copy of the KEP. He certainly has and will contribute to the debate about that ambiguous text's meaning. However, he's at a distinct disadvantage against someone with access to the actual KEP, in my humble opinion.

Greg

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Hi Greg,

We've gone this round before. For example, you questioned the quality of my photographs in comparison to John Gee's here, you questioned my photograph in comparison to Will's artistically rendered photograph here, and now you continue to question the quality of my photographs. Your slip... er, I mean... bias is showing. j-k_sort-of.gif

My best,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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I've been a bit careless with the terms photo and/or scan, largely because I can't remember who has what at this point. Regardless, if for example, someone were to make an argument based on the faint "l" in "will" or on the pool of ink on the "f" crossover, using Metcalfe's photo/scan--hypothetically speaking--their argument would be easily undercut by Will's photo/scan. Or am I missing something?

Hey Greg,

Brent has photos, whereas Brian has scans. My limited experience of document scanning and photography is that scanning tends to "go deeper," so to speak, bringing out the grain and texture of the paper itself. By contrast, photography tends to capture surface coloration. The advantage of scanning, I suppose, would be that it brings out ink that has faded on the surface of the paper but that is still present beneath the surface. Its disadvantage might be that it exaggerates contrast and discoloration. I don't know the exact methods that were used to produce either the scans or the photos, but I suspect that both are accurate reflections of the documents, though each perhaps has particular strengths and weaknesses.

Grayscale images also tend to emphasize contrast. So If Will has converted his image to grayscale, that could be a significant reason for the differences you've noticed. (In any event, I'm not quite sure what you're referring to in the case of the "f".)

Consequently, it would seem that an accruate/credible critical text of the KEP would almost have to be based on the actual KEP or on scans/photos that duplicate the KEP precisely. Or am I missing something?

No image can ever precisely duplicate any object. However, I suspect that the images in use by Brent and Brian are largely sufficient for the kinds of analyses they are engaged in. In some respects they may actually be superior to and/or easier to work with than the documents themselves.

To be clear, I'm not saying that Metcalfe can make no valid arguments from his copy of the KEP. He certainly has and will contribute to the debate about that ambiguous text's meaning. However, he's at a distinct disadvantage against someone with access to the actual KEP, in my humble opinion.

That may be. Unfortunately-- as John Gee reiterated in his recent FARMS Review essay-- your Church is afraid to let critics anywhere near its BoA documentary collection. I assure you that we will continue to pursue the truth, regardless of any mild disadvantage the Church insists upon imposing upon us.

Best,

-Chris

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Hi Greg,

We've gone this round before. For example, you questioned the quality of my photographs in comparison to John Gee's here, you questioned my photograph in comparison to Will's artistically rendered photograph here, and now you continue to question the quality of my photographs. Your slip... er, I mean... bias is showing. j-k_sort-of.gif

My best,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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Hey Greg,

Brent has photos, whereas Brian has scans. My limited experience of document scanning and photography is that scanning tends to "go deeper," so to speak, bringing out the grain and texture of the paper itself. By contrast, photography tends to capture surface coloration. The advantage of scanning, I suppose, would be that it brings out ink that has faded on the surface of the paper but that is still present beneath the surface. Its disadvantage might be that it exaggerates contrast and discoloration. I don't know the exact methods that were used to produce either the scans or the photos, but I suspect that both are accurate reflections of the documents, though each perhaps has particular strengths and weaknesses.

Grayscale images also tend to emphasize contrast. So If Will has converted his image to grayscale, that could be a significant reason for the differences you've noticed. (In any event, I'm not quite sure what you're referring to in the case of the "f".)

No image can ever precisely duplicate any object. However, I suspect that the images in use by Brent and Brian are largely sufficient for the kinds of analyses they are engaged in. In some respects they may actually be superior to and/or easier to work with than the documents themselves.

That may be. Unfortunately-- as John Gee reiterated in his recent FARMS Review essay-- your Church is afraid to let critics anywhere near its BoA documentary collection. I assure you that we will continue to pursue the truth, regardless of any mild disadvantage the Church insists upon imposing upon us.

Best,

-Chris

Thanks for the information.

As for the "f": note the tiny circular space--a bit of light, if you will--at the center of the crossover in Will's scan. It's not there in Brent's photos. Instead the crossover resembles a pool of ink. The tiny circle is just to the left of the horizontal line in the "f."

Greg

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Brent,

Is it safe to assume that you agree with me that his transcription is inaccurate?

I'm sure you know that Will's purpose was not in trying to give an "accurate" transcription.

I have multiple reasons for questioning the notion that Williams' inclusion of the clause was a later emendation.

Well then please provide your analysis.

I mentioned one such reason in my previous post:

I'm convinced that the ink flow indicates that the curved line (Schryver's [and your?] "parenthesis") was inscribed before the h in "the" on the line below.

I admire your certainty. Please go on.

BTW: Are you sure an inline insertion in Ms 2 (Ashment 1a) at Abr. 1:12 is the best argument for simultaneous dictation? I'm sure we both agree that Ms 3 (Ashment 1b) at Abr. 1:12 is not a later insertion. Correct?

(Tangentially, no one can copyright an original holographic manuscript from the early-19thC.)

I'm relieved you're off the hook.

Best to you.

Brian

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Hi Chris,

Are you planning to take a look and report the result here?

Yes I am. It won't be until later in June. When I have something I'll report it here.

Although quite frankly it eludes me as to why you really care.

Cheers,

Brian

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BM:

... I wasn't referring to Schryver's analysis (nor his intelligence) â?¦

Whew!

â?¦ but to his transcription of the clause â?¦

Obviously, the transcription I rendered is based on my personal interpretation of the text-critical evidence. You act as though there is only one "correct" interpretation!

Simply put, I have â?? to this point, at least â?? judged that the "curved line" in question is an opening parenthesis, and that "I will refer" consciously avoids that parenthesis as it veers towards the line above it. That interpretation informs the "transcription" I provided.

Nevertheless, for the sake of argument, let's suppose that the "curved line" is not in fact a parenthesis (as you apparently suggest), but rather some kind of scribal indicator. Even so, the fact remains that in order for Williams to have even perceived a need to squeeze these two lines in the space where they are, there HAD to already be a line below to define that space!

Otherwise it was all empty space below and Williams could have just written the line like everything preceding it.

Frankly, I don't understand why you can't see that â?? and why you just won't admit that this is an insertion. I find it difficult to believe that anyone, credentialed or otherwise, is going to agree with you if you commit to the course you've taken so far. If you are going to stick with the oral dictation theory, then I'm afraid you're going to have to adapt it to include the reality of this insertion at Abr. 1:12. Why not now, and then we can move on to the more interesting topic of dittography? :P

I'm convinced that the ink flow indicates that the curved line (Schryver's [and your?] "parenthesis") was inscribed before the h in "the" on the line below.

And I am just as convinced that the "curved line" was written after. It had to be, for the simple reasons cited above.

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Yes I am. It won't be until later in June. When I have something I'll report it here.

Although quite frankly it eludes me as to why you really care.

No need for hostility. I just find the BoA/KEP debate fascinating, want to understand these documents, and enjoy the exchange of ideas. You know that adrenaline rush Brent sometimes talks about that you feel when you've made some new discovery? I feel that a lot when I study the KEP. It's really an amazing and multi-layered collection.

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No need for hostility.

No need to be testy, it was a simple inquiry.

I just find the BoA/KEP debate fascinating, want to understand these documents, and enjoy the exchange of ideas. You know that adrenaline rush Brent sometimes talks about that you feel when you've made some new discovery? I feel that a lot when I study the KEP. It's really an amazing and multi-layered collection.

Good for you.

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Brian,

Maybe I'm misreading you, but you appear to be the one who is "testy". Have I merely misunderstood your posting style?

-Chris

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CS:

That may be. Unfortunately-- as John Gee reiterated in his recent FARMS Review essay-- your Church is afraid to let critics anywhere near its BoA documentary collection.

You mean like the collection that a certain critic named Metcalfe has now possessed for a quarter-century? A photographic collection of documents of which he assures us:

... no one can copyright an original holographic manuscript from the early-19thC. ...

And which therefore he could have made available to any of his fellow critics at any time?

Is this the collection to which you refer? :P

If the Church, as you allege, has had some good reason to keep critics away from its collection of the original documents, what do you suppose has driven the apparently similar desires of the critic who has had it in his power to break that hegemony at any time?

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Chris,

Maybe I'm misreading you, but you appear to be the one who is "testy". Have I merely misunderstood your posting style?

I do have limited time for posting so I try to keep them as short as possible. I do not know you, so there's no reason for me to be testy.

Best,

Brian

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If the Church, as you allege, has had some good reason to keep critics away from its collection of the original documents, what do you suppose has driven the apparently similar desires of the critic who has had it in his power to break that hegemony at any time?

Wanting to be the first to publish something you're lucky enough to have exclusive access to is one thing. It's not very idealistic, perhaps, but it's not unusual. Restricting access to archival documents on an ideological basis, however, is unusual.

In any case, after thinking about the Abraham 1:12 question a bit, the following model reflects what I think was the chain of events that produced this locus:

1) Joseph dictates the preceding line up to the word "altar," at which point he stops and says, "next character."

2) Williams slides the papyrus toward himself so he can start copying the next character.

3) While Parrish is waiting for Williams to finish that, Joseph says, "No, wait. Add 'I will refer you to the representation that is lying before you.'" Parrish obeys.

4) Williams finishes drawing the character, then starts writing the additional phrase interlinearly so as not to throw his Enlish text out of alignment with the just-drawn character.

5) JS says, "No, make it 'at the commencement of this record' instead of "that is lying before you'."

6) Parrish, who had started writing the insertion a few seconds before Williams, has to strike out "that is lying before you." Williams, however, has not yet written "lying before you" and so is able to finish the sentence without any strike-outs.

I do have limited time for posting so I try to keep them as short as possible. I do not know you, so there's no reason for me to be testy.

Ok. Than I apologize for misunderstanding.

-Chris

P.S. - Has anyone else noticed that when you post twice in rapid succession, the board not only conflates the two posts but also eliminates all formatting?

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CS:

Wanting to be the first to publish something you're lucky enough to have exclusive access to is one thing. It's not very idealistic, perhaps, but it's not unusual.

If that's the case, then he'd better hurry now, before that exclusivity expires.

Restricting access to archival documents on an ideological basis, however, is unusual.

Is it? In any case, are you sure that's what the church has been doing? On what basis do you reach that conclusion? That certainly isn't the reason Gee suggested.

In any case, after thinking about the Abraham 1:12 question a bit, the following model reflects what I think was the chain of events that produced this locus:

1) Joseph dictates the preceding line up to the word "altar," at which point he stops and says, "next character."

2) Williams slides the papyrus toward himself so he can start copying the next character.

3) While Parrish is waiting for Williams to finish that, Joseph says, "No, wait. Add 'I will refer you to the representation that is lying before you.'" Parrish obeys.

4) Williams finishes drawing the character, then starts writing the additional phrase interlinearly so as not to throw his Enlish text out of alignment with the just-drawn character.

5) JS says, "No, make it 'at the commencement of this record' instead of "that is lying before you'."

6) Parrish, who had started writing the insertion a few seconds before Williams, has to strike out "that is lying before you." Williams, however, has not yet written "lying before you" and so is able to finish the sentence without any strike-outs.

That's quite a hypothesis! A little top heavy with seemingly-unwarranted assumptions, but quite a hypothesis all the same.

I guess we'll see whether or not it holds up under scrutiny -- and whether or not it will harmonize with the explanations offered for other anomalous aspects of the manuscripts.

.

.

.

P.S. - Has anyone else noticed that when you post twice in rapid succession, the board not only conflates the two posts but also eliminates all formatting?

That, and a few other strange things, too. I changed to the "Rich Text" editor and I'm having fewer problems now.

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Is it? In any case, are you sure that's what the church has been doing? On what basis do you reach that conclusion? That certainly isn't the reason Gee suggested.

Gee suggested, "If you want to do anything with the originals, you need to apply to the archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at least a full year in advance. You will need approvals from half a dozen committees that meet only once a month and for whom your request will be far down the list of agenda items...Whatever goodwill Professor Baer had established among the Mormons by his tact has more than been destroyed by the recent cooperation of certain Egyptologists with anti-Mormons. Whatever short-term tactical gains for anti-Mormonism these Egyptologists may have made, the net result is a long-term loss for a serious Egyptological examination of the material. Those who wish to work with the originals will have to find ways to distance themselves from those efforts and the individuals involved in them, and from those who violate the church's copyrights on the material." Of late, it is only a handful of carefully-screened apologists who have been allowed to study the papyri.

That's quite a hypothesis! A little top heavy with seemingly-unwarranted assumptions, but quite a hypothesis all the same.

Top heavy, maybe, but which assumptions are unwarranted? It's designed to account for the data.

That, and a few other strange things, too. I changed to the "Rich Text" editor and I'm having fewer problems now.

How does one switch to the Rich Text editor?

-Chris

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Chris,

Ok. Th[e]n I apologize for misunderstanding.

No hard feelings.

In any case, after thinking about the Abraham 1:12 question a bit, the following model reflects what I think was the chain of events that produced this locus:

1) Joseph dictates the preceding line up to the word "altar," at which point he stops and says, "next character." Unsupported assumption. Besides the obvious characters and English do you have any contemporary historical evidence that shows this is indeed the translation scheme of JS?

2) Williams slides the papyrus toward himself so he can start copying the next character. Unsupported assumption. Why is Williams so far behind?

3) While Parrish is waiting for Williams to finish that, Joseph says, "No, wait. Add 'I will refer you to the representation that is lying before you.'" Parrish obeys. Unsupported assumption. Why didn't JS just wait for Williams to catch up?

4) Williams finishes drawing the character, then starts writing the additional phrase interlinearly so as not to throw his En[g]lish text out of alignment with the just-drawn character. Unsupported assumption. Why wasn't Parrish's character drawn to include the said clause? Parrish's is written at the top of page 3, which is clearly separated from the preceding said clause at the end of page 2.

5) JS says, "No, make it 'at the commencement of this record' instead of "that is lying before you'." Unsupported assumption

6) Parrish, who had started writing the insertion a few seconds before Williams, has to strike out "that is lying before you." Williams, however, has not yet written "lying before you" and so is able to finish the sentence without any strike-outs. Unsupported assumption.

This is clearly the theory driving the evidence. Brent, do you agree with this analysis?

Best,

Brian

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CS:

Gee suggested, "If you want to do anything with the originals, you need to apply to the archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at least a full year in advance. You will need approvals from half a dozen committees that meet only once a month and for whom your request will be far down the list of agenda items...Whatever goodwill Professor Baer had established among the Mormons by his tact has more than been destroyed by the recent cooperation of certain Egyptologists with anti-Mormons. Whatever short-term tactical gains for anti-Mormonism these Egyptologists may have made, the net result is a long-term loss for a serious Egyptological examination of the material. Those who wish to work with the originals will have to find ways to distance themselves from those efforts and the individuals involved in them, and from those who violate the church's copyrights on the material." Of late, it is only a handful of carefully-screened apologists who have been allowed to study the papyri.

I thought we were talking about the KEPA, not the KEPE. And, if I'm not mistaken, I believe that images of most of the papyri fragments have been published in one place or another since 1967.

============================================

How does one switch to the Rich Text editor?

My Controls ==> Board Settings ==> Type of text editor to use when posting

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Brent has photos, whereas Brian has scans.
Just to be clear on this, while Brian has scans in his personal possession to refer to as desired, he also has access to the originals to confirm or further explore any theories he might make from these scans, does he not?

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Brian,

In any case, after thinking about the Abraham 1:12 question a bit, the following model reflects what I think was the chain of events that produced this locus:

1) Joseph dictates the preceding line up to the word "altar," at which point he stops and says, "next character." Unsupported assumption. Besides the obvious characters and English do you have any contemporary historical evidence that shows this is indeed the translation scheme of JS?

I am drawing an inference, not making an "unsupported assumption". I think the manuscript evidence shows that the characters were being added into the margins as the scribes proceeded. Notice how in MS 3 characters are written in anticipation of English text that apparently was never provided:

missingtrans.jpg

And in MS 2, the margin widens in order to make room for the characters:

marginwidens2.jpg

marginwidens.jpg

widenmargin.jpg

Given the manuscript evidence, I think that my step # 1 is plausible enough.

2) Williams slides the papyrus toward himself so he can start copying the next character. Unsupported assumption. Why is Williams so far behind?

I don't follow you here. This step does not require that Williams be behind, so far as I can tell. It merely requires that Williams was the first to start copying the character, and that Parrish was waiting his turn. If you are demanding independent evidence that this is the case, I suppose I can't offer any. But I think it's plausible, and when taken with the other steps in my model I think it explains the present locus fairly well.

3) While Parrish is waiting for Williams to finish that, Joseph says, "No, wait. Add 'I will refer you to the representation that is lying before you.'" Parrish obeys. Unsupported assumption. Why didn't JS just wait for Williams to catch up?

You mean why didn't he wait for Williams to finish writing the next character? Probably because he intended the additional phrase to go with the previous character.

4) Williams finishes drawing the character, then starts writing the additional phrase interlinearly so as not to throw his En[g]lish text out of alignment with the just-drawn character. Unsupported assumption. Why wasn't Parrish's character drawn to include the said clause? Parrish's is written at the top of page 3, which is clearly separated from the preceding said clause at the end of page 2.

I'm not sure what you mean. Maybe you're misunderstanding my model?

5) JS says, "No, make it 'at the commencement of this record' instead of "that is lying before you'." Unsupported assumption

My model is designed to account for the data at hand. It is a model, and so like any model it is hypothetical. But it is not "unsupported".

6) Parrish, who had started writing the insertion a few seconds before Williams, has to strike out "that is lying before you." Williams, however, has not yet written "lying before you" and so is able to finish the sentence without any strike-outs. Unsupported assumption.

Within my model it makes sense, because Williams had been busy drawing the next character when Phelps started writing the additional phrase.

In any case, this is where I think William's concept of falsification comes into play. I have proposed a theory that explains the data. As people propose alternative theories, we can adduce evidence that supports or subverts them and hopefully eliminate the improbable ones, thereby narrowing down our options to the one or two that seem most probable.

-Chris

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