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Chris Smith

My JWHA Paper on the Egyptian Alphabet

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Unfortunately without the paper backing.

Nibley's Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri 2nd ed. includes the paper backing.

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Nibley's Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri 2nd ed. includes the paper backing.

True, but the plates are way too small and, in my opinion, the photos are of inferior quality. The lighting is deficient and the sharpness and contrast are poor.

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True, but the plates are way too small and, in my opinion, the photos are of inferior quality. The lighting is deficient and the sharpness and contrast are poor.

Agreed.

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Nibley's Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri 2nd ed. includes the paper backing.

True, and they're nicer and bigger photos than Larson's, too. Unfortunately JSP VIII is not included, but then again it does include JSP III in color, whereas Larson includes that fragment only in black and white. So, if people can afford Nibley's Message then it's definitely worth buying, if only for the photos. But in favor of Larson, his is cheaper. And I really like how Larson's foldout shows how the fragments were originally connected to form scrolls.

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If you mean, will the critical edition of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers including images of the Joseph Smith Papyri, the answer is no. Volume 2 in the FARMS Book of Abraham series does include excellent images of the "Book of Breathings" portions of the papyri.

I have seen pictures of it in non-LDS websites (the papyrus Emma sold that was given to the church in 1967) on the web, but is there information (linkable) on the web from an LDS source?

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Hi Chris,

You have my warmest congratulations on the publication of your article "The Dependence of Abraham 1:1-3 on the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" (The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal vol. 29 [2009], 38-54). I'm sure that I express the sentiments of many when I say that I hope to enjoy your contributions to Mormon studies for many years to come.

You were missed at the JWHA annual conference. I encourage you to attend (note that they have grants for student participants).

Kind regards,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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You were missed at the JWHA annual conference. I encourage you to attend (note that they have grants for student participants).

Ooh... I was not aware of that! I'll have to pay more attention to such things.

This year I will be going to MHA and SHEAR, and probably a Sunstone or two too. Maybe I can fit the 2010 JWHA in there somewhere...

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Darth Gazelem, Dark Lord of the Sith. :P

Best

Post

Ever!

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So Chris,

What did you think of Sam Brown's article in Church History this past March?

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Congrats Chris. That is so exciting to have your first paper published. Sorry to hear they made some editorial changes that didn't help the flow. Man, I remember when you first posted here and were wanting to be a youth pastor for an Pentacostal (?) church. Not that it was a bad goal, but you have definitely matured in different ways since then.

Anyway congrats again. I need to go back and read the whole thread now.

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The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal arrived today, with my article "The Dependence of Abr. 1:1-3 on the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" inside.

[...]

Hi Chris,

I saw

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Congrats on getting published, Chris. I'll have to get a copy.

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So Chris,

What did you think of Sam Brown's article in Church History this past March?

I have read Brown's Phelps as Ghostwriter article, and I am presently reading his Joseph in Egypt article to which you refer.

In my judgment, Sam makes many insightful observations. However, I am convinced that his perspective on these questions suffers--almost fatally in places--by assumptions based in what I am inclined to describe as the "pervasive mythology" of the relationship of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers to the "translated" text of the Book of Abraham with which they are associated. It is a methodology that originates in assumptions made by the Tanner's and by Edward Ashment in the early days of the controversy; assumptions that have, over course of time, and in consequence of a lack of rigorous scrutiny, come to be regarded as undeniable facts rather than the speculative notions they really are.

Specifically, the question remains as to which preceded which: did the KEP and the grammar and alphabet documents come before or after the portion of the Book of Abraham to which they make reference? It is my conclusion (and one shared by others who have had access to high-quality images of the KEP) that the best explanation is that the "translation" of the first part of the Book of Abraham preceded the creation of all of the documents contained in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, and that it was the text of that translation that motivated and then informed the KEP, rather than the other way around.

Indeed, when one examines the textual evidence with that premise in mind, it becomes much easier to make sense of the evidence, and to see, in the process, what it was Joseph Smith, W. W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery, F. G. Williams, and Warren Parrish were trying to do: decipher the papyri, Rosetta-stone-like, armed with an English version of a text that they were convinced was to be found thereon. Their biggest problem? They did not know, at least at that time, where exactly on the papyri the story of Abraham commenced. This could explain, at least in part, why their efforts in the GAEL lack any distinct methodology.

It may be that Joseph Smith eventually determined what Egyptian text corresponded to his translation of the Book of Abraham, and that this knowledge explains his continuing interest in the uncut portion of the scroll of Horos. But we can never be certain that even the Prophet himself knew what Egyptian text from the papyri represented the Book of Abraham. As has often been emphasized here and elsewhere, Joseph Smith was not a conventional "translator," but rather a medium through which ancient texts were restored.

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So Chris,

What did you think of Sam Brown's article in Church History this past March?

It was very well done! Sam focuses on Phelps a little too much, but other than that he has captured much of the spirit of the KEP.

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Apparently Chris's mind is a blank. :P

.

.

.

Edit: Now he's actually said something, instead of clicking "Reply" immediately followed by "Post".

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It was very well done! Sam focuses on Phelps a little too much, but other than that he has captured much of the spirit of the KEP.

I would say the strongest parts of Sam's paper are where he explores the psyche of W. W. Phelps, an extremely fascinating character in early church history, and one whose influence has continued to be felt to this day in many, many ways--both for good and ill, I believe.

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Apparently Chris's mind is a blank. :P

Edit: Now he's actually said something, instead of clicking "Reply" immediately followed by "Post".

The first time I tried to post I got a Database Error. Clicking "back" apparently erased what I'd written. So, I blame the ghost in the machine (i.e. probably Juliann). ;)

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The first time I tried to post I got a Database Error. Clicking "back" apparently erased what I'd written. So, I blame the ghost in the machine (i.e. probably Juliann). :P

Sure, sure. And here I thought it was the Deus ex Machina that you need to save you everytime. ;)

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Thanks for the congratulations, everyone!

I'm so jealous!

Hey, does it count for something if I write a letter to the editor that gets published?

'Cause I could work on that ...

[Dear Editor, I have a real problem with the violins on television ...]

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The following video on the KEP, Hauglid makes very strong answers to some of the KEP questions.

Sigh.

He perpetuates the apologetic myth==> the Book of the Dead has nothing to do with the text of the Book of Abraham. He pontificates, he gives his testimony that WE KNOW that for a fact.

How touching.

It would be really nice, with all his research on the EAG, that he had read Tvedtnes' work back in 1977. If he disagrees with Tvedtnes, let him give his arguments, rather than dumb silence.

Oh well, the myth continues. Gee, et al, have already conceded defeat -- let's just ignore it, and the whole thing will go away (as I read his recent statement). Or, even more silly, that this is just JS practicing translation, the text of the BOD juxtaposed with a completely irrevalant BOA text. Yep, a really really powerful argument.

Note: I am a believer in the BOA, but reject the man-made doctrines of the apologists.

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Note: I am a believer in the BOA, but reject the man-made doctrines of the apologists.

:P

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Sigh.

He perpetuates the apologetic myth==> the Book of the Dead has nothing to do with the text of the Book of Abraham. He pontificates, he gives his testimony that WE KNOW that for a fact.

How touching.

It would be really nice, with all his research on the EAG, that he had read Tvedtnes' work back in 1977. If he disagrees with Tvedtnes, let him give his arguments, rather than dumb silence.

Oh well, the myth continues. Gee, et al, have already conceded defeat -- let's just ignore it, and the whole thing will go away (as I read his recent statement). Or, even more silly, that this is just JS practicing translation, the text of the BOD juxtaposed with a completely irrevalant BOA text. Yep, a really really powerful argument.

Note: I am a believer in the BOA, but reject the man-made doctrines of the apologists.

Charles,

"Man-made doctrines?" "Apologetic myths?" What exactly does that mean? Do you even know? Or is it just a rhetorical device designed to denigrate the efforts of sincere and believing students and scholars of these things?

I'm afraid that your post only reveals that you are, frankly, just not aware of what the "current" apologetic arguments are, and what evidence has been marshaled to support those conclusions.

Do you realize that the most significant work on these things has only occurred since Professor Hauglid's address in 2006?

As for John Twedtnes and his 40+ year old "mnemonic device" theory, are you aware that not even Twedtnes himself believes that theory is tenable anymore?

Are you aware of the fact that (as is now strongly believed by those who have been studying the KEP for the past few years) the text of the initial portion of the BoA pre-dates the creation of any of the so-called "grammar and alphabet" materials, as well as the KEPA manuscripts that juxtapose the hieratic characters with English text?

Do you appreciate what that means to the long-standing beliefs about the relationship of the KEP to the "translation" of the Book of Abraham?

Oh, well ... I doubt you're going to be persuaded anytime soon, if ever, to abandon your long-held beliefs. I can only tell you that your conclusions are based on several false premises. And I can only hope that--in time--you will come to see how mistaken those premises have been.

Suffice it to say that Book of Abraham apologetics, rather than being (as I believe you have concluded) a "spent force," has actually advanced, albeit to a great extent "behind the scenes," from infancy to adolescence and is now, in my estimation, on the verge of strong and vibrant manhood. Rather than disparaging the efforts of the good people who have diligently and methodically been working to achieve these advances, I believe you would do better to excitedly anticipate a "coming out" party that very few people have seen coming.

Best wishes for the future,

Will

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Perhaps you can educate me.

I bow to your scholarchip in this area, so perhaps you can walk me through it. For example, tell me how the dating of the KEP relates to our discussion. Tell me how some of the KEP is actually in JS's handwriting fits into this picture.

I look forward to the education.

As for John Twedtnes and his 40+ year old "mnemonic device" theory, are you aware that not even Twedtnes himself believes that theory is tenable anymore?

Actually I am, since I have personally spoken with him about it. Now, are you aware of WHY he has changed his position? I know why, and, well, maybe I'm a moron, but I still accept his research and original conclusions. I also know that he basically wants to move on to other things, rather than engage in further discussion in this particular area. Gee has spoken, he accepted Gee's position, and he just moved on.

Nice try.

As to the "spent force", please put Gee's recent comments on the BOA into context of how the apologets have made great strides "behind the scenes".

I look forward to receiving an education in this matter.

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