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Chris Smith

My JWHA Paper on the Egyptian Alphabet

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Continuing on...

Thus far a reasonable case has been made that at least a portion of the Abraham roll was translated some time around the 5th or 6th of July, 1835.

A case has also been made to suggest that the initial Egyptian characters given to Joseph by Chandler, were translated by the gift and power of God (revelation or inspiration), rather than through the use of the Egytian alphabet and grammar--the construction of which wasn't completed until several months thereafter.

The question, then, is whether the portion of the Abraham roll that was translated around the 5th or 6th of July, was translated by the gift and power of God (as Will and I propose) or through use of the Egyptian grammar (as Chris Smith and others may suggest).

Aside from the historical fact that the Egyptian alphabet and grammar wasn't completed for several months after the translation of the first part of the Abraham roll, and thus would at best have been of very limited use in the translation, then, as Will intimated previously in the thread, the oft quoted citation in my previous post may give strong indication as to what means Joseph actually used to translate portions of the Abraham roll:

"Truly we can say, the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth". (ibid--emphasis mine)

In other words, historical evidence suggests that the translation of the first portion of the Abraham roll was by the gift and power of God (revelation or inspiration).

This make perfect sense. If, as even Chris agrees, the initial characters (given to Joseph by Chandler) were translated by revelation or inspiration, and not through use of the Egyptian alphabet/grammar, then it stands to reason that the translation of Abraham roll, the same day or the next, would also have been by revelation or inspiration rather than through use of the Egyptian alphabet/grammar that wouldn't be complested for several months thereafter.

Now, if Will is correct about Phelps or Cowdery claiming that the translation of the BoA came by way of the Urim and Thummim, then this would further solidify the case for the suggested mode of translation.

Again, reasonable people may rationally disagree on this point, but I believe a strong case has been made in support thereof.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Will,

You very well may be right. And I also understand you don

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It's part of the two-wrongs-make-a-right argument that is most widely used to answer questions in Mormonism that don't make sense

I don't think you know what you are talking about when you use this term. The way you use it it offers little to the discussion.

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Wade,

For a "good case" to have been made that a portion of the BoA was translated in early July, you'd actually need some specific evidence to that effect. What we have is a general statement that could apply to a number of other things, including

1) Joseph's verbal translation of the Book of Joseph

2) The initial portion of the Egyptian Alphabet

3) Direct, unwritten revelation telling Joseph who the authors of these records were.

In favor of the last option is the fact that none of the Kirtland Papers, including the text of the Book of Abraham, tell us that a record of Joseph of Egypt was among these papyri. For that information we must rely almost entirely on the reports of Joseph's scribes, who heard him verbally interpret the documents.

Frankly, there is no specific evidence placing the Book of Abraham translation in early July. And there is quite a bit of evidence placing it later.

Peace,

-Chris

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Wade,

For a "good case" to have been made that a portion of the BoA was translated in early July, you'd actually need some specific evidence to that effect. What we have is a general statement that could apply to a number of other things, including

1) Joseph's verbal translation of the Book of Joseph

2) The initial portion of the Egyptian Alphabet

3) Direct, unwritten revelation telling Joseph who the authors of these records were.

In favor of the last option is the fact that none of the Kirtland Papers, including the text of the Book of Abraham, tell us that a record of Joseph of Egypt was among these papyri. For that information we must rely almost entirely on the reports of Joseph's scribes, who heard him verbally interpret the documents.

Frankly, there is no specific evidence placing the Book of Abraham translation in early July. And there is quite a bit of evidence placing it later.

Peace,

-Chris

I could not disagree more strongly.

In fact, I am persuaded that we have something nearly approaching "proof" that the English text of at least Abr. 1:1-3 (and probably most or all of the first three chapters) was translated prior to the production of anything in the form of a "grammar and alphabet."

At any rate, I am persuaded, and will argue, (contra Smith and Metcalfe) that the first three chapters of the Book of Abraham (a mere seven and a half pages, 3650 words, in its current printed format) were translated prior to the employment of Warren Parrish as a scribe in late October 1835.

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Wade,

For a "good case" to have been made that a portion of the BoA was translated in early July, you'd actually need some specific evidence to that effect. What we have is a general statement that could apply to a number of other things, including

1) Joseph's verbal translation of the Book of Joseph

2) The initial portion of the Egyptian Alphabet

3) Direct, unwritten revelation telling Joseph who the authors of these records were.

In favor of the last option is the fact that none of the Kirtland Papers, including the text of the Book of Abraham, tell us that a record of Joseph of Egypt was among these papyri. For that information we must rely almost entirely on the reports of Joseph's scribes, who heard him verbally interpret the documents.

Frankly, there is no specific evidence placing the Book of Abraham translation in early July. And there is quite a bit of evidence placing it later.

Peace, -Chris

Granted, the case I am inductively making, is circumstantial rather than factual. But, the same may be said for your case as well. The question is, who presents the stronger inductive argument for their circumstantial case, and against the opposing positions?

In terms of the timing of the translation of the first portion of the BoA, the observations I present in favor of early July, and against late July, are:

1) The HoC places the commencement of the translation of the BoA (translating it is the only way that it could have been determined to be the BoA) as between the 5th and 9th of July (i.e. early July).

2) The HoC places the certification of the translations as the 6th of July and the purchase of the papyri as between the 5th and the 9th of July (i.e early July). Since it makes little sense for the saints to pay $2,400.00 for an Egyptian alphabet/grammer and unkown papyri and mummies, Joseph likely translated beforehand (i.e. prior to purchasing the papyri) something he deemed of sufficient value to warrant the cost--i.e. portions of the BoA and the BoJ.

3) See my next post regarding the journal entry for the 19th of July.

As for your case, while you agree that Abraham 1:1-3 was translated by the end of July, your argument against the translation occuring in early July, is that there is no mention, within the extant Kirtland papers, of the record of Joseph, and that we only know of its existence because of what the scribes have said elsewhere.

Unfortunately, at best this MAY mitigate against a WRITTEN translation of the BoA in early July, but not against any translation of the BoA at all during that time. It still allows for, as you suggest: "Direct, unwritten revelation [translation] telling Joseph who the authors of these records were."

I say "MAY" because your argument presupposes that the extant Kirtland papers comprise the entirety of written translations associated with the papyri. This presupposition could very well be mistaken. At the very least, we don't currently have the written translation of the Egyptian characters that Cowdrey read to Chandler on the 6th (at least not that I am aware of). And, even you have speculated earlier in the thread about "a now-lost original of the specimen". This leaves the door open to there having once been, but perhaps now lost, written translation of portions of the BoA

But, either way, you really don't have much of an argument against an early July translation (written or not) of portions of the BoA.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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thews,

Let me say this as nicely as possible: Huh? Let me point out one, little, tiny sentence that illuminates your worthlessness on these boards. Your comments are caked in fallacy

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Chris,

I've been giving some serious consideration to the theory of production which you propose for the Book of Abraham. I was intrigued by your response last night that suggested that the first thing Joseph Smith produced in the way of a "translation" (the thing he showed to Chandler) was, in fact, the first elements of an attempt to develop a "grammar and alphabet."

Of course, your overriding theory is that Joseph Smith and his scribes spent the majority of the summer of 1835 preparing these grammar and alphabet documents, and then, beginning (presumably) some time in October of that year, they commenced to actually produce an English text of the Book of Abraham, from the papyri, by means of the grammar and alphabet they had previously prepared for that purpose.

In other words, you're saying that the Egyptian grammar and alphabet portions of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers were employed, in conjunction with (primarily) JSP XI (the so-called "Book of Breathings" text) as the modus operandi to produce the "translation" papers (KEPA 2 and KEPA 3) that you have argued were produced simultaneously as Joseph Smith dictated the words.

I imagine you envision a process whereby Joseph is consulting the papyri, and then the grammar and alphabet documents, and then gives sentence upon sentence as his scribes (Williams and Parrish) write it all down.

Does this more or less describe the scenario you envision for the process? And, if not, would you be so kind as to give us some kind of an idea of the actual process as you believe it might have taken place?

I look forward to your reply.

Thanks,

Will

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According to the History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.17, p.238:

"Sunday, 19th.--Our public meeting was attended by more than a thousand people, and during our conference nine were baptized. ORSON HYDE, WM. E. M'LELLIN, Clerks. The remainder of this month, I was continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients." (Emphasis mine)

There are a number of interesting inferences in the bolded sentence above, which touch on the issues at hand.

1) When was the journal entry written? Even though the entry bears the date of the 19th [of July, 1835], it was clearly written some time later [likely August 2nd). The way I figure this is because it talks about what occured over "the remainder of the month", which is something that wouldn't likely have been known until after the month had been completed. It is possible also that the notation between the 5th and the 9th of July that I cited earlier, was written at the same time [August 2nd].

The reason for mentioning this is to allow some wiggle room, during the ongoing discussion, for slight inaccuracies in Joseph's recollections of the sequence of events at issue.

2) Who was doing the translating? Clearly, the prounoun "I" indicates that it was Joseph who was doing the translating during that time. But, what about Cowdery and Phelps? Weren't they involved during the mid-to-late July translation? I happen to think not, and this because from my reading of the historical record, both Cowdery and Phelps were terribly busy then compiling the Doctrine and Covenants and publishing it. In fact, the two were so busy with that project, that it inadvertantly caused a week or two delay in their publishing the August edition of the Messenger and Advocate (see Messenger and Advocate, August 1835, the explanation at the end of that edition)

Well, what about Warren Parrish? He didn't actually commence writing for Joseph until the end of October of 1835 (History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.21, p.293)

The significance of this is that Joseph, who had the power to translate by the power of God, and didn't require the use of Egyptian alphabet/grammar, was the only one continually doing the translating during the latter part of July.

3) What was he translating? He was translating "an alphabet" and "arranging a grammar". As such, this raises the question: if, as Chris suggests, the Egyptian characters he translated for Chandler were "the initial portion of the 'Egyptian Alphabet', relating to Katumin", then what need would there be for him to translate an alphabet in relation to the Book of Abraham?

4) By what means did Joseph translate the "alphabet"? It doesn't make sense to suggest that tan Egyptian alphabet was used to translate the Egyptian alphabet. So, this pretty much leaves revelation and inspiration. Thus, throughout July, Joseph used revelation or inspiration to translate.

5) What was the source from whence the alphabet was translated and the grammar arranged? The Book of Abraham. Obviously. This suggests that the alphabet and grammar were derived from Joseph's translation of a portion of the BoA, rather than the other way around, thus placing the translation of the portion of the BoA as predating July 19th. :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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According to the History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.17, p.238:

"Sunday, 19th.--Our public meeting was attended by more than a thousand people, and during our conference nine were baptized. ORSON HYDE, WM. E. M'LELLIN, Clerks. The remainder of this month, I was continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients." (Emphasis mine)

There are a number of interesting inferences in the bolded sentence above, which touch on the issues at hand.

1) When was the journal entry written? Even though the entry bears the date of the 19th [of July, 1835], it was clearly written some time later [likely August 2nd). The way I figure this is because it talks about what occured over "the remainder of the month", which is something that wouldn't likely have been known until after the month had been completed. It is possible also that the notation between the 5th and the 9th of July that I cited earlier, was written at the same time [August 2nd].

The reason for mentioning this is to allow some wiggle room, during the ongoing discussion, for slight inaccuracies in Joseph's recollections of the sequence of events at issue.

2) Who was doing the translating? Clearly, the prounoun "I" indicates that it was Joseph who was doing the translating during that time. But, what about Cowdery and Phelps? Weren't they involved during the mid-to-late July translation? I happen to think not, and this because from my reading of the historical record, both Cowdery and Phelps were terribly busy then compiling the Doctrine and Covenants and publishing it. In fact, the two were so busy with that project, that it inadvertantly caused a week or two delay in their publishing the August edition of the Messenger and Advocate (see Messenger and Advocate, August 1835, the explanation at the end of that edition)

Well, what about Warren Parrish? He didn't actually commence writing for Joseph until the end of October of 1835 (History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.21, p.293)

The significance of this is that Joseph, who had the power to translate by the power of God, and didn't require the use of Egyptian alphabet/grammar, was the only one continually doing the translating during the latter part of July.

3) What was he translating? He was translating "an alphabet" and "arranging a grammar". As such, this raises the question: if, as Chris suggests, the Egyptian characters he translated for Chandler were "the initial portion of the 'Egyptian Alphabet', relating to Katumin", then what need would there be for him to translate an alphabet in relation to the Book of Abraham?

4) By what means did Joseph translate the "alphabet"? It doesn't make sense to suggest that tan Egyptian alphabet was used to translate the Egyptian alphabet. So, this pretty much leaves revelation and inspiration. Thus, throughout July, Joseph used revelation or inspiration to translate.

5) What was the source from whence the alphabet was translated and the grammar arranged? The Book of Abraham. Obviously. This suggests that the alphabet and grammar were derived from Joseph's translation of a portion of the BoA, rather than the other way around, thus placing the translation of the portion of the BoA as predating July 19th. :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Wade,

I'd like to personally thank you for your last two post, they were absolutely brilliant. I use the term brilliant mind you because a novice like me in these matters fully understood everything you posted. I appreciate yours and Williams voice in this matter. I will likely cut down posting and remain an avid reader.

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Wade,

I'd like to personally thank you for your last two post, they were absolutely brilliant. I use the term brilliant mind you because a novice like me in these matters fully understood everything you posted. I appreciate yours and Williams voice in this matter. I will likely cut down posting and remain an avid reader.

This was very kind of you to say. However, I believe the bulk of the credit ought to go to Will because it was he who sparked most of my thoughts and arguments. And, were it not for his reluctance to get more involved in the discussion here, I would likely be more inclined to cut back on posting and remain an avid reader as well. I really would like to see more of his work, though I accept and respect his wishes. It will be of great interest to see how Chris answers Will's latest quiery.

Now, I don't know about brilliance, but as a novice, myself, I prefer to attribute the ease of understanding to great minds thinking alike. :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Sigh. Folks, I'm afraid I don't have the free time to keep up the pace of this conversation. So a few more posts to wrap up, and then I'm done.

In fact, I am persuaded that we have something nearly approaching "proof" that the English text of at least Abr. 1:1-3 (and probably most or all of the first three chapters) was translated prior to the production of anything in the form of a "grammar and alphabet."

I highly doubt that.

At any rate, I am persuaded, and will argue, (contra Smith and Metcalfe) that the first three chapters of the Book of Abraham (a mere seven and a half pages, 3650 words, in its current printed format) were translated prior to the employment of Warren Parrish as a scribe in late October 1835.

There is a large amount of evidence indicating that Abraham 2:19ff was not translated until Nauvoo, including:

1) Hebrew words in chapter 3 that are clearly based on Seixas's Hebrew Grammar,

2) The fact that the first installment of the BoA publication went only up to 2:18, which is as far as any of our extant Kirtland-era manuscripts go,

3) Statements from Joseph Smith in Nauvoo indicating that he was translating the second installment of the BoA shortly before its publication,

4) A couple pages of the Nauvoo-era printer's manuscript for chapter three that show signs of contemporaneous composition,

5) The fact that in Warren Parrish's Manuscript 1, the ink changes after Abraham 2:5-- about where MS 2 had ended-- and thereafter shows signs of contemporaneous composition (thus 2:6b-2:18 was produced while Parrish was scribe),

6) The fact that no Kirtland-era manuscript contains any of the material after Abraham 2:18,

7) The fact that chapter 3 teaches real pre-existence,

8 ) the fact that chapter 3 reflects the Nauvoo concern for secrecy about marital relations,

etc. etc.

Of course, your overriding theory is that Joseph Smith and his scribes spent the majority of the summer of 1835 preparing these grammar and alphabet documents, and then, beginning (presumably) some time in October of that year, they commenced to actually produce an English text of the Book of Abraham, from the papyri, by means of the grammar and alphabet they had previously prepared for that purpose.

In other words, you're saying that the Egyptian grammar and alphabet portions of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers were employed, in conjunction with (primarily) JSP XI (the so-called "Book of Breathings" text) as the modus operandi to produce the "translation" papers (KEPA 2 and KEPA 3) that you have argued were produced simultaneously as Joseph Smith dictated the words.

I imagine you envision a process whereby Joseph is consulting the papyri, and then the grammar and alphabet documents, and then gives sentence upon sentence as his scribes (Williams and Parrish) write it all down.

Does this more or less describe the scenario you envision for the process? And, if not, would you be so kind as to give us some kind of an idea of the actual process as you believe it might have taken place?

I believe that the Alphabet and Grammar documents were largely produced in July, with the exception of the "second part" of the bound Grammar, produced on a single day in October. I believe that the use of the Grammar as a translation key happened almost exclusively in Abraham 1:1-3 (and much later for Facsimile 2), though there is a little material in the following couple chapters that appears to be drawn from the Grammar.

As for the process by which this occurred, I suspect that Smith and Phelps cooperated in carefully comparing the Grammar against the margin characters, with Smith composing as they went and telling Phelps what to write.

On a somewhat different note, William, I hope that as you make your case for the reverse-engineering hypothesis, you will consider the relationship between the 3 Egyptian Alphabet manuscripts-- particularly their last two characters, which are the first two characters of the Book of Abraham-- and the bound Grammar. I think it's quite clear that the Egyptian Alphabet manuscripts are earlier, that they reveal Joseph Smith struggling to articulate the meaning of these two characters, and that the explanations given by them are expanded in the Grammar, the fifth degree of which is of course the portion most closely related to the Book of Abraham. It seems to me that if the Alphabet and Grammar documents were an attempt at reverse-engineering using Abraham 1:1-3 as a source text, we would expect them to start with something like what we see in the GAEL's fifth degree-- explanations for the characters that have a very close relationship to the BoA text. Instead, the production of the Alphabet appears to climax with the section that has the highest correlation to the BoA text. This developmental trajectory was one of the key factors in leading me toward the modus operandi theory rather than the reverse-engineering hypothesis, so I'll be very interested to see how a reverse-engineering partisan explains it from that perspective.

Wade,

1) The HoC places the commencement of the translation of the BoA as between the 5th and 9th of July (i.e. early July).

No, it doesn't. It places the translation of some of the characters during this period.

(translating it is the only way that it could have been determined to be the BoA)

No, it isn't. Joseph could have received this information by direct revelation or by translating Abraham-related characters in the Egyptian Alphabet. I find it a little disheartening that I have reiterated this point several times, yet you are still making the same misguided claim.

2) The HoC places the certification of the translations as the 6th of July and the purchase of the papyri as between the 5th and the 9th of July (i.e early July). Since it makes little sense for the saints to pay $2,400.00 for an Egyptian alphabet/grammer and unkown papyri and mummies, Joseph likely translated beforehand (i.e. prior to purchasing the papyri) something he deemed of sufficient value to warrant the cost--i.e. portions of the BoA and the BoJ.

The Katumin material identifies the mummies as a pharaoh and his daughter. This is more than enough to account for the high price of the collection, especially since in the Alphabet Joseph Smith placed Katumin in the biblical context of creation and the discovery of Egypt after the flood.

As for your case, while you agree that Abraham 1:1-3 was translated by the end of July, your argument against the translation occuring in early July, is that there is no mention, within the extant Kirtland papers, of the record of Joseph, and that we only know of its existence because of what the scribes have said elsewhere. [...] you really don't have much of an argument against an early July translation (written or not) of portions of the BoA.

This is a mischaracterization of my position. I offered the bit about the Book of Joseph as a rebuttal of your position, to show that not only did Joseph not need to translate the text of the Book of Abraham to find that these were the records of Abraham and Joseph, but also that doing so in fact would not have so informed him.

My position, however, is carefully outlined in my paper. I believe there are very good reasons to believe that Abraham 1:1-3 is dependent on the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, and therefore that it was produced after the corresponding portion of the Grammar in the first part of the fifth degree. It is these arguments you have to answer if you want to make the case that Abraham 1:1-3 could have been translated in early July.

The remainder of this month, I was continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients. [...] When was the journal entry written?

It was written in Nauvoo by Willard Richards, who consulted W. W. Phelps as his source.

Joseph, who had the power to translate by the power of God, and didn't require the use of Egyptian alphabet/grammar, was the only one continually doing the translating during the latter part of July.

You're drawing more unwarranted inferences with basically no evidence. There is only one known Egyptian Grammar, and it's in the handwriting of Phelps. The History doesn't mention Phelps's involvement because his role as scribe is a given.

Peace,

-Chris

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Well, I don't need to stoop to name calling because I have nothing but triangulated logic that doesn't make sense.

Agreed.

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Wade,

No, it doesn't. It places the translation of some of the characters during this period.

Wrong, again. The notation to which I referred (HoC between the 5th and 9th of July, 1835) spoke of both the characters/heiroglyphics and the Abraham/Joseph rolls. It is perfectly reasonably to conclude that the translation was of portions of each.

No, it isn't. Joseph could have received this information by direct revelation or by translating Abraham-related characters in the Egyptian Alphabet. I find it a little disheartening that I have reiterated this point several times, yet you are still making the same misguided claim.

While you may reasonably conjecture that Joseph may have learned of the Abraham and Joseph rolls through direct revelation, it is also reasonable to inductively conclude that he learned of them by way of translation. What is disheartening is your repeated and unwarranted attempts to dismiss my reasonable inductions. This may come as a shock to you, but unlike you, I don't privilege your conjectures, nor do I view them as negating my inductive arguments. They simply represent a difference of opinion.

The Katumin material identifies the mummies as a pharaoh and his daughter. This is more than enough to account for the high price of the collection, especially since in the Alphabet Joseph Smith placed Katumin in the biblical context of creation and the discovery of Egypt after the flood.

Clearly, you and I differ as to the value of those things. And, I have serious doubts that Joseph or the saints would have viewed a couple of mummies (regardles who the mummies were) and an Egyptian alphabet as worth a quarter of what had then been spent to build the Kirtland temple, particularly during the hard finacial time back then. In fact, to me, your suggestion beggars belief. But, to each their own.

This is a mischaracterization of my position. I offered the bit about the Book of Joseph as a rebuttal of your position, to show that not only did Joseph not need to translate the text of the Book of Abraham to find that these were the records of Abraham and Joseph, but also that doing so in fact would not have so informed him.

Since you know what you were saying better than I do, I will accept your clarification even though I don't see how it differs much from what I said.

Again, while you may reasonably conjecture that Joseph may have learned of the Abraham and Joseph rolls through direct revelation, it is also reasonable to inductively conclude that he learned of them by way of translation. That your conjecture differs from my inductive reasoning, does not constitute a counter to my argument, but rather simply a difference of opinion. To each their own.

My position, however, is carefully outlined in my paper. I believe there are very good reasons to believe that Abraham 1:1-3 is dependent on the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, and therefore that it was produced after the corresponding portion of the Grammar in the first part of the fifth degree. It is these arguments you have to answer if you want to make the case that Abraham 1:1-3 could have been translated in early July.

Actually, to make my case here, I simply need to do what I have already done, and that is present inductive arguments in support thereof. If you, then, wish to challenge my inductions by presenting here your counter-arguments thereto, then by all means be my guest (if or when you have the time). Now, were I to some day publish my arguments in a reputable periodical--which is highly unlikely, then I may or may not feel obliged to make the personal effort on my own to investigate and address your scholarship elsewhere (assuming I found it sufficiently compelling), but not on an informal message board such as this. Here, I reasonably expect each party to bring their own arguments and counter-arguments to the table, and not leave others to do the work for them. Fair is fair.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Wade,

I'll just let your comments stand, as there's not much else to say that I haven't already said. Thanks for the discussion.

Peace,

-Chris

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I know you don't know what the definition of "translate" is, but to be "ignorant" is to ignore. Ignore the truth if the truth is not required to base your faith on, and if your faith is based on pagan documents that have nothing to do with Abraham translated by Joseph Smith supposedly by God, and that translation was completely wrong, then draw your conclusion based on your truth.

This is going to be great. I needed a good laugh today.

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thews,

So, <headscratching> what about this whole pit about polygamy and the BoA? Were you not aware that the bible was pretty explicit about Abraham

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Christ Smith writes:

Hebrew words in chapter 3 that are clearly based on Seixas's Hebrew Grammar,
Could you elaborate on this please?

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Folks, I believe that the Alphabet and Grammar documents were largely produced in July, with the exception of the "second part" of the bound Grammar, produced on a single day in October. I believe that the use of the Grammar as a translation key happened almost exclusively in Abraham 1:1-3 (and much later for Facsimile 2), though there is a little material in the following couple chapters that appears to be drawn from the Grammar.

As for the process by which this occurred, I suspect that Smith and Phelps cooperated in carefully comparing the Grammar against the margin characters, with Smith composing as they went and telling Phelps what to write.

I must confess that this has me really scratching my head. What you are essentially suggesting here and earlier in the thread, is that throughout the month of July, Joseph, instead of using revelation (Urim & Thummim) to directly translate Abr 1:1-3, he used revelation (u&t) to translate the entire Egyptian alphabet and grammar, to then be used as a key to translate but the first three verses of Abraham.

If translating the BoA was the objective, then why not simply use the U&T to directly translate the BoA?

However, if learning the Egyptian language was also an objective, then I would think it would make sense to first us the U&T to translate portions of the BoA, and then either use that translation to construct (reverse engineer) the Egyptian alphabet/grammar or also directly translate the alphabet/grammar using the U&T, and then use both revelatory translations as a comparative check against each other, and as a tool for learning the Egyptian language.

Either way, it makes most sense for Joseph to employ his revelatory powers to translate the BoA.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Once again, the use of the word "translate" when Joseph Smith claimed to be "translating" the papyrus means exactly what it implies. Joseph Smith claimed to be able to translate "reformed Egyptian" so that's what brought the papyrus and mummies, along with the Greek Psalter to him. Your instance that "translate" means anything other than the definition of the word is a simple ploy to keep pounding your square peg into the round hole. "Translate" means to take the words of one language and "translate" them into another. This was supposed to be a record of Abraham, and Joseph Smith identified it as such when he set out to get enough money to buy it. Using your logic, he read the papyrus, or was inspired by it, and then knew it was about Abraham... doesn't make sense, but I'm being critical while you obviously aren't.

Really? Your definition of "translate" is clearly limited.

From the 1828 Dictionary,

TRANSLA'TE, v.t. [L. translatus, from transfero; trans, over, and fero, to bear.]

1. To bear, carry or remove from one place to another. It is applied to the removal of a bishop from one see to another.

The bishop of Rochester, when the king would have translated him to a better bishoprick, refused.

2. To remove or convey to heaven, as a human being, without death.

By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see

death. Heb. 16.

3. To transfer; to convey from one to another. 2 Sam. 3.

4. To cause to remove from one part of the body to another; as, to translate a disease.

5. To change.

Happy is your grace,

That can translate the stubbornness of fortune

Into so quiet and so sweet a style.

6. To interpret; to render into another language; to express the sense of one language in the words of another. The Old Testament was translated into the Greek language more than two hundred years before Christ. The Scriptures are now translated into most of the languages of Europe and Asia.

7. To explain.

AND FYI

2 Sam. 3:10 To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beer-sheba.

So, in broad terms, to translate means to move from one state of being to another.

Now with all of that said, feel free to go back to your ranting and raving. Your approach is very affective!!!!

Sarcasm/off

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Either way, it makes most sense for Joseph to employ his revelatory powers to translate the BoA.

I'm not suggesting he didn't. I'm just suggesting he worked it out in his mind first, in company with his scribes.

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