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William Schryver

Missing Papyrus

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I agree with Brent. The angle is wrong and I see no damage between the dots.

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I agree with Brent. The angle is wrong and I can detect no damage between the dots; thus, connecting them is pretty egregious.

Mortal Man,

You can't detect damage? I can--possible damage or blemishes, of course, given that I don't have access to the original papyrus. Do you?

Look just above the top "blotch" on Metcalfe's Figure 2. There is an apparent blemish or "white out" that runs from left to right, angling ever so slightly down and to the right. It appears to cut across the bottom of the top three fingers. In Rhodes's photos, the blemish appears even more pronounced and "white."

Now look at Metcalfe's Figure 4, the real bird. Note a similar blemish or "white out" in the third line from the left on the bird's left wing (the three lines represent downward feathers). Obviously, that line should have run uninterrupted, but no, there's a blemish of some sort at about the middle of the line. At least, there is no ink where there should be. The blemish even cuts into the second line from the left just a little.

Likewise, the blemish or "white out" on the finger stroke, creates at least one of the so-called "blotches" Metcalfe wants us to believe are feathers.

In fact, the more I look at the lion couch scene, the more such blemishes I discover, i.e., there is no ink where there should be ink. Take a look at Abraham's kilt. Blemishes or "white outs" in many of the lines that decorate the kilt. Look at the first layer of what the Prophet calls the "expanse," the herring-bone floor that the couch sits on. Once again, a number of blemishes or "white outs" in the lines where there should be ink. Likewise in the pillars of heaven. I guess we could call the resulting "blotches" bird feathers, but I choose to reserve that term for Metcalfe's argument.

At least that's what I see.

Greg

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Anyway, you're up bright and early. For a Californian. Must be that extra hour you got yesterday, eh?

Actually, I couldn't sleep. I think I may have swine flu.

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Hi Chris,

Thanks for sharing your opinion. The fact that you don't always agree with me is precisely why I asked if you would proof my BoAbr transcriptions.

On Ed's depiction of the human head on the ba bird, I agree that his drawing is poor, but I don't think you're lining things up the way Ed intended, which was to match the human-headed ba bird with the human-headed canopic jar:


  • ba-bird_canopic-jar.jpg

Here is an animated overlay:


  • ba-bird_human-head_sm.gif

My best,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

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Mortal Man,

You can't detect damage? I can--possible damage or blemishes, of course, given that I don't have access to the original papyrus. Do you?

Look just above the top "blotch" on Metcalfe's Figure 2. There is an apparent blemish or "white out" that runs from left to right, angling ever so slightly down and to the right. It appears to cut across the bottom of the top three fingers. In Rhodes's photos, the blemish appears even more pronounced and "white."

Now look at Metcalfe's Figure 4, the real bird. Note a similar blemish or "white out" in the third line from the left on the bird's left wing (the three lines represent downward feathers). Obviously, that line should have run uninterrupted, but no, there's a blemish of some sort at about the middle of the line. At least, there is no ink where there should be. The blemish even cuts into the second line from the left just a little.

Likewise, the blemish or "white out" on the finger stroke, creates at least one of the so-called "blotches" Metcalfe wants us to believe are feathers.

In fact, the more I look at the lion couch scene, the more such blemishes I discover, i.e., there is no ink where there should be ink. Take a look at Abraham's kilt. Blemishes or "white outs" in many of the lines that decorate the kilt. Look at the first layer of what the Prophet calls the "expanse," the herring-bone floor that the couch sits on. Once again, a number of blemishes or "white outs" in the lines where there should be ink. Likewise in the pillars of heaven. I guess we could call the resulting "blotches" bird feathers, but I choose to reserve that term for Metcalfe's argument.

At least that's what I see.

Greg

What you are describing is not damage, but rather, the texture of the papyrus. The pen/brush sometimes skips across low-lying grooves, which appear white, but this can be sometimes be deceiving. For example, it appears here nodamage.jpg that the line extending from the middle left to the upper right has been cut by one of your "white outs". However, each line segment actually belongs to a different character. Also, with sufficient ink flow, the "blemish" is filled in, as seen in the center character.

Since the recto and verso fibers run perpendicular to each other, real damage changes the underlying texture.damage.jpg

You'd be better off arguing that the scribe's stroke was too rapid for the ink to fill the groove.

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What you are describing is not damage, but rather, the texture of the papyrus. The pen/brush sometimes skips across low-lying grooves, which appear white, but this can be sometimes be deceiving. For example, it appears here nodamage.jpg that the line extending from the middle left to the upper right has been cut by one of your "white outs". However, each line segment actually belongs to a different character. Also, with sufficient ink flow, the "blemish" is filled in, as seen in the center character.

Since the recto and verso fibers run perpendicular to each other, real damage changes the underlying texture.damage.jpg

You'd be better off arguing that the scribe's stroke was too rapid for the ink to fill the groove.

I was using blemish and white out loosely to describe the fact that there were gaps in what should have been uninterrupted lines of ink in the kilt, the expanse, the pillars of heaven, the bird's left wing, and the upper hand. Though I appreciate the papyrus lesson, it appears my point stands: there are numerous places in the lion couch vignette where those gaps occur; that they do, lends credibility to the argument that Metcalfe's "feathered' wing is really a hand; that is, what he calls feathers are no more than "the scribe's stroke [being] too rapid for the ink to fill the groove" or some such. The white area between the "blotch" and the rest of the line or finger is simply too pronounced, cutting off the finger precisely at its bottom and the "blotch" at its top.

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Hi Greg,

If experts agreed that the papyrological evidence confirmed that the two dapple marks were intentional and not accidental, would you concur that John fudged the strokes in following image?...


  • gee_strokes.jpg
    (John Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri [Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000], 38)

Just curious.

My best,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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Hi Greg,

If experts agreed that the papyrological evidence confirmed that the two dapple marks were intentional and not accidental, would you concur that John fudged the strokes in following image?...


  • gee_strokes.jpg
    (John Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri [Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000], 38)

Just curious.

My best,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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Hi Greg,

For the sake of argument, let's assume that Gee, Nibley, and Rhodes' writings exhibit dispassionate scholarship as you seem to believe. But... if you saw with your own eyes evidence that the dapple marks were clearly not the result of papyrus fiber texture, would you concur that John fudged the strokes in following image?...


  • gee_strokes.jpg
    (John Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri [Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000], 38)

Regards,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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Hi Greg,

For the sake of argument, let's assume that Gee, Nibley, and Rhodes' writings exhibit dispassionate scholarship as you seem to believe. But... if you saw with your own eyes evidence that the dapple marks were clearly not the result of papyrus fiber texture, would you concur that John fudged the strokes in following image?...


  • gee_strokes.jpg
    (John Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri [Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000], 38)

Regards,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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John Gee is an expert. He obviously doesn't agree. Hugh Nibley was an expert. If memory serves, he didn't agree. Mike Rhodes is an expert. I assume he doesn't agree. At the very least, they all agree that Abraham is on the couch, with his hands raised. And all of them have studied the actual papyrus. What experts are you referring to? Have they even seen the actual papyrus, let alone studied it? Have any of them examined the actual papyrus with more than the naked eye? If not, what's the basis for their opinion? Are they relying on photos or scans? Are they all appropriately non-Mormon, so they have none of the messy bias that impairs the judgment of Gee, Nibley, and Rhodes?

You left out Stephen Thompson.

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You left out Stephen Thompson.

So Thompson agrees with my triumvirate? I had no idea. There's one more I considered adding, but I've never read anything by Kerry Muhlestein.

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I understand that Professor Gee is planning a visit to SLC in advance of Chris Smith's date with the papyri in order to confirm his previous winding length measurements and fully document the methodology employed.

So what was the outcome of Prof. Gee's visit?

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MM:

Have you ever dried apricots?

Indeed I have. I grew up in a house built in the middle of an apricot orchard. Your question brings back awful memories and aromas of rotting apricots.

Are you familiar with the ancient methods of papyrus production?

Also, you might want to go a little easier with your vise-grip.

I don

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Indeed I have. I grew up in a house built in the middle of an apricot orchard. Your question brings back awful memories and aromas of rotting apricots.

I happen to like dried apricots.

Are you familiar with the ancient methods of papyrus production?

Yes, as well as their preservation.

Let me ask you some related questions:

Why do you suppose that old scrolls exposed to air in hot dry climates are difficult to unroll?

Why do you suppose that Chandler apparently had little trouble unrolling the Hor scroll?

What do you suppose the weather is like in Kirtland in July?

Why do you suppose that somebody suddenly felt the need to glue the papyrus to backing paper and place the fragments under glass?

Suffice it to say, at this juncture, that Professor Gee figured out how to make much more precise measurements of the winding lengths.

What do you mean? Did he use a better ruler?

I read "precise" here as "changed his mind about the winding end-points."

What are the new, more precise, winding lengths?

We did not use a micrometer to determine the papyrus thickness.

Care to elaborate?

And I

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Indeed, I believe the methodology we have employed is revolutionary, in terms of its application to the question of determining the original length of scrolls for which only remnants remain.

So is the methodology Mortal Man came up with. I have been extremely impressed with his work. If you and John still intend to argue for a 10-41 foot roll, you're going to have to perform a miracle to put the Seagulls to shame.

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So is the methodology Mortal Man came up with. I have been extremely impressed with his work. If you and John still intend to argue for a 10-41 foot roll, you're going to have to perform a miracle to put the Seagulls to shame.

Well, I am, of course, a believer in miracles.

But, at present, I am resolved to look at this question purely from the standpoint of the evidence adduced:

  • The historical evidence I have seen makes it clear that there were long rolls present in Nauvoo long after the surviving fragments were removed and framed in Kirtland. I'm not sure what "marvelous work and a wonder" you plan to employ to make that evidence disappear, especially since I am confident you are not even aware of all of it.
  • The outer winding length is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 cm, by your own admission.
  • The intact portions of the papyri we have measured attest to a very thin stock of papyrus used for all of the extant scroll remnants.
  • The combination of a 10 cm outer winding circumference with a very thin stock of papyrus equates to a substantially long scroll, assuming it was a typical example of comparable Ptolemaic-era documents, which, in all material respects, it appears to be.

As far as I can tell, your only option is to, more or less, arbitrarily assert that the scroll just "ended" after about 130 cm (the 68 cm surviving + the ~60 cm additional that you predict); that it was not rolled in typical fashion: folded over itself and then wound tightly from the inside out.

So, I will read your paper with interest in order to see how these apparently insuperable obstacles to your thesis can be overcome. I commenced my investigations entirely open to the possibility that the surviving fragments represent most of what Joseph Smith originally possessed. What I have learned in the past few years, both in terms of the historical evidence as well as the physical evidence of the papyri themselves, leads me to confidently conclude that there was, in fact, a considerable amount of scroll material that has been lost--including much more than 60 cm of the scroll of Hor. Does this mean that there was an Egyptian text of the Book of Abraham on that missing portion? We have no way of conclusively determining any such thing. That said, I believe the weight of the available evidence is conclusive: there was a significant quantity of original scroll material that has not survived to the present day.

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I would like to emphasize that our sole objective has been to provide ourselves with the most accurate and comprehensive set of measurements possible.

Glad to hear it.

Indeed, I believe the methodology we have employed is revolutionary, in terms of its application to the question of determining the original length of scrolls for which only remnants remain.

I look forward to reading about it.

John and I plan to co-author a paper discussing these things that will then be submitted to a mainstream Egyptological journal.

JNES? What's your timeframe?

You may, however, look forward to a paper which will appear in The Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture.

Cool. ETA?

At any rate, John and I are pleased to learn that you and Christopher Smith plan to publish a paper on this topic; a paper that, from what we can tell, will assert a ~60 cm length for the missing portion of the scroll of Horos. I am quite willing to have that paper juxtaposed with my own, and to permit our readers to reach their own conclusions based on the evidence adduced.

Does this mean you've reconsidered my proposal to submit our papers to the same journal? Indeed, that could be the greatest thing since Godzilla met Mothra.

mothra_godzilla_500px.jpg

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The intact portions of the papyri we have measured attest to a very thin stock of papyrus used for all of the extant scroll remnants.

The measured thickness of the unrolled fragments is less relevant than the "effective thickness" of each winding in the original scroll, which we can determine by looking at the change in length of successive wrappings. Measured thickness merely sets a lower limit on effective thickness. Effective thickness would only be the same as measured thickness if the papyrus was perfectly smooth, and wrapped impossibly tightly.

Since our analysis uses effective thickness, it will more accurately predict the original characteristics of the scroll than would one based on measured thickness.

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Ok, I've given up trying to reformat your bizzare fonts and hidden characters.

Well, I am, of course, a believer in miracles.

Including the magical properties of magical papyri?

  • The historical evidence I have seen makes it clear that there were long rolls present in Nauvoo long after the surviving fragments were removed and framed in Kirtland. I'm not sure what "marvelous work and a wonder" you plan to employ to make that evidence disappear, especially since I am confident you are not even aware of all of it.

Exactly how many "long rolls" do you think there were and which was the longest?

  • The outer winding length is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 cm, by your own admission.

"Somewhere in the neighborhood" sounds a bit vague. Does that mean > 9.7 cm? Surely with your "precise" measurements "to 1/10,000th of an inch" accuracy you can give us at least 1 more digit can't you?

  • The intact portions of the papyri we have measured attest to a very thin stock of papyrus used for all of the extant scroll remnants.

Assuming your thickness measurements are correct, how can you assure us that the moisture content of the papyrus in the climate-controlled vault is the same as it was in 1833 or in the second century BC?

  • The combination of a 10 cm outer winding circumference with a very thin stock of papyrus equates to a substantially long scroll, assuming it was a typical example of comparable Ptolemaic-era documents, which, in all material respects, it appears to be.

What do you mean "equates"? I thought that you "never suggested a relationship between papyrus thickness measurements and the Hoffman[n] formula."

As far as I can tell, your only option is to, more or less, arbitrarily assert that the scroll just "ended" after about 130 cm (the 68 cm surviving + the ~60 cm additional that you predict); that it was not rolled in typical fashion: folded over itself and then wound tightly from the inside out.

I can't figure out what you're saying here. Can you draw it?

So, I will read your paper with interest in order to see how these apparently insuperable obstacles to your thesis can be overcome.

Cool, I'm glad to know we'll have at least one reader.

there was a significant quantity of original scroll material that has not survived to the present day.

Fair enough; although, "significant" isn't very quantitative.

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I believe the methodology we have employed is revolutionary

So you have finally inferred that the windings are revolutionary? What circular logic and spiral analysis led to this conclusion?

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So you have finally inferred that the windings are revolutionary? What circular logic and spiral analysis led to this conclusion?

:P

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