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Chris Smith

My JWHA Paper on the Egyptian Alphabet

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Yes, as I wrote above, I am convinced that the evidence is conclusive concerning Phelps's primacy in the creation of the GAEL.

I am leaning this direction as well, though I believe Joseph initially wrote Part 1 of EA JS on his own (see my more explicit arguments in the following posts), and may have been somewhat involved in later working with Phelps and Cowdery on their respective EA's. At this point, I see no textual-critical evidence that Joseph was at all involved in the production of the GAEL, and only circumstantial evidence (i.e. the fact that it was written by two of Joseph's scribes at the time, Phelps and Parrish) that may be construed as suggesting that he was.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Here is a repost of the list that was deleted.

I have spent the last two days comparing and contrasting the first pages of EA WWP and EA JS, part 1, and I have compiled a list of differences (except for capitalization) between these two documents., This list strongly suggests to me that the two documents weren't written at the same time, but rather that EA JS was likely a first draft written by Joseph, himself, and EA WWP and possibly EA OC were second drafts written by W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery, with portions of each possibly being dictated by Joseph Smith from the first draft. And, presumably the GAEL was the third and perhaps final draft of the Alphabet and grammar (this appears to be the case from what little comparisons I have done between the two EA's and the GAEL)..

In doing the comparison, I have admittedly been limited by the somewhat low quality graphics I had to work with. In fact, the photocopy of the EA JS that I have is missing the far-right edge, and thus some of the explanations in my list below are truncated.

Both EA's are titled "Egyptian Alphabet" and "first degree", and were marked off in 4 columns. But, neither one was marked at the top as "part 1" (though both are titled towards the bottom of the page with Part 2). For the purposes of brevity, I will refer to EA WWP simply as WWP and EA JS simply as JS.

1. WWP has column headings but JS does not.

2. In the first column, WWP has characters/elements, whereas JS has two sets of composite characters (WWP has one composite character)

3. In the second column, WWP has letters, whereas JS has characters/elements.

4. In the third column, WWP has sounds, whereas JS has both sounds and explanations

5. In the fourth column WWP has explanations that start on the left-hand margin; whereas JS has explanations that overlap from the third column.

6. In the first row (ah), WWP appears to have drawn the character in greater detail than JS.

7. In the first row, second column, WWP has the letter "X"; whereas Joseph has a character and no letter.

8. In the second row (Pha-e), second column, WWP has the letter "Y"; whereas Joseph has a character and no letter

9. In the third row (Pha), second column, WWP has the letter "x"; whereas Joseph has a character and no letter

10. In the fourth row (Pha ho e oop), both WWP and JS have two characters in the first column, but JS repeats the second character in the second column; whereas WWP does not.

11. In the fourth row WWP writes the sound "Pha-ho-e-oop" in the third column, whereas JS starts in the third column with the explanation, and later adds the sound "Pha ho e up" using a "^".

12. In the fifth row (Ho oop hah), WWP writes the sound "ho-oop-hah" in the third column, whereas JS starts in the third column with the explanation, and later adds the sound "ho up hah" using a "^".

13. In the fifth row, WWP gives the following explanation: "Crown of a princes, or signifies Queen"; whereas JS gives this explanation: "Crown of a princys or queen or stands for queen".

14. In the sixth row (Zi) WWP writes the sound "Zi" in the third column, whereas JS starts in the third column with the explanation, and later adds the sound "Zi" using a "^".

15. In the sixth row, WWP gives the following explanation: "Virgin, unmarried, virtuous, or the principle of virtue"; whereas JS gives this explanation: "Virgin or unmarried or the principle of virtue".

16. In the seventh row (Kah tou mun), WWP has a single character in the first column and none in the second; whereas JS has three characters in the first column and one in the second column (the character in the second column appears to be the middle character in the first column).

17. In the seventh row, the character in WWP's first column does not match any of the characters in JS's first or second column.

18. In the seventh row WWP gives the following explanation " The name of the royal family, in the female line", whereas JS gives this explanation "The name of a royal family in female l"

19. In the eighth row (Zi oop hah), WWP has the sound "Zi=oop-hah"; whereas JS has "Zei oop hah".

20. In the eighth row WWP gives this explanation: "An unmarried woman, & a virgin, a princess"; whereas JS says: "An unmarried woman and a virgin prin". Also, WWP has crossed out the last comma and "a")

21. In the ninth row (Ho e oop), WWP gives this explanation: "A young unmarried man--a prince", whereas JS says " young unmarried man a price"

22. In the tenth row (Zip Zi), WWP gives this explanation: "A woman, married or unmarried daughter"; whereas JS says: "Woman married or unmarried or dau"

23. In the tenth row, WWP gives the sound "Ho-e=oop=hah", whereas JS gives the sound "Ha ee oop hah"

24. In the eleventh row, WWP gives the sound "oan, or ah=e" and then in small print above he wrote "oh-e"; whereas, JS writes "one ahe or ohe"

25. In the twelfth row, WWP wrote the sound "Tu-e, Toan, Tahe tae or tuu-e" and then erased the "Tu-e", whereas JS wrote "Tone tahe or tohe oan es"

26. In the twelfth row, WWP gives the explanation "Beneath, below, under, water", whereas JS writes " Beneath or under "

27. In the thirteenth row (Iota), WWP gives the explanation "eye = to see = sight, sometimes Me, myself"; whereas JS writes "The eye or to see or sight sometimes me my"

28. In the fourteenth row (Iota toues Zip Zi), WWP's character is somewhat different than JS's (JS's symbol is more detailed)

29. In the fourteenth row, WWP wrote the sound "Iota tau e Zip Zi"; whereas JS wrote "Iota tou-es Zip-Zi".

30. In the fourteenth row, WWP give the explanation: "Egypt. The land first seen, by a woman, under water", whereas JS writes "The land of Egypt first seen u"

31. In the fifteenth row, WWP wrote the sound "Su=e=eh=ni"; whereas JS wrote "Sue Eh ni"

32. In the sixteenth row, WWP wrote the sound "Ho=e=oop hah=pha=e"; whereas JS wrote "ho-ee oop pha-e" and then he crossed out the "pha-e" and finished by writing "hah pha-e"

33. In the sixteenth row, WWP gave the explanation: "Riegn, government, sepht, kingdom", and then using a "^" he inserted the word "power" between "government" and "sepht"; whereas JS wrote "government power or kingdom"

34. In the seventeenth row (Zub Zool oan), WWP gave the explanation: "The beginning, first, before appointing to"; whereas JS wrote "The beginning first before pointing"

35. In the eighteenth row, WWP gives the sound " Zub=Zool oan=eh"; whereas JS wrote " Zub Zool eh"

36. In the nineteenth row, WWP gives the sound "Zub=eh"; whereas JS wrote "Zool eh"

37. In the nineteenth row, WWP gives this explanation: "To be in, as light in the earth"; whereas JS wrote " Signifies to be in any as light in th"

38. In the 20th row (Zub), WWP gives this explanation: "The first creation of anything", then uses a "^" to add "or first institution"; whereas JS wrote "The first creation of anything first insti"

39. In the 22nd row, (zool), WWP gave this explanation: "From a fixed period of time back to the beginning"; whereas JS wrote " From any or some fixed period to the beg", then using a "^", he added the word "back" between the words "period" and "to".

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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As previously intimated, I would have thought that the shear number of differences (39--that I have found thus far) over the course of but two-thirds of a page would sufficiently evince that at least Part 1 of the EA WWP and EA JS weren't written together. But, for those who are yet unconvinced, I will lay out a more detailed argument.

I must confess, though, that while I am still open to the possibility that these two documents were produced together (there is no evidence that definitively rules it out), at the outset of my researching this issue I found it a little strange the assertion that Joseph dictated the EA's to himself along with Phelps and Cowdery. I could see how he might write things down during his own private research, but there seems no point for him to write things down if he has two scribes at the ready. So, I started my research with something of a bias, leaning away from concurrent production, and towards a series of drafts, with the first draft being Joseph's private surmizings.

The best argument I can think of against the two EA's being written together (let's call this the "concurrent theory") is to mentally walk through the likely production sequence with the assumption in mind that they were written together. If the two men (Smith and Phelps) were writing things down concurrently, and particularly if Joseph was dictating, and dictating word-for-word, I imagine that Joseph would have said something along the lines of, "Let's begin by giving this work a title: 'Egyptian Alphabet and 'first degree'." Then, he may have said, "let's use rulers and mark off four columns". So far, so good.

However, from this point on, things get more than a bit bumpy for the concurrent/dictated theory. With the Phelps document, we find column headings, but not with Joseph. If they were working together, and particularly if Joseph was dictating, one would expect that both documents would have column headings, or neither would have them. Did Joseph dictate the column headings, but neglected to write them down himself? I don't think so. To me, there is a more viable explanation (see below)

Had the documents being written concurrently, one might reasonably expect that the columns would have contained the same content. Yet, In the first column, WWP has characters/elements, whereas JS has two sets of composite characters (WWP has one composite character). In the second column, WWP has letters, whereas JS has no letters but characters/elements. In the third column, WWP has sounds, whereas JS has both sounds and explanations. In the fourth column WWP has explanations that start on the left-hand margin; whereas JS has explanations that overlap from the third column. For all intents and purposes, Joseph only really used two columns (one for the characters, and the other for the sounds and explanations), whereas Phelps used all four columns. So, to some degree, the divergent use of the page layout indicates that the two documents may have been written at different times.

Then, in the first three rows things get even worse for the "concurrent theory". In those three rows Phelps has written an English letter in each, which are nowhere to be found in EA JS. How does that happen with a concurrent dictation? There is no indication that Joseph even thought of English letters when writing his document, let alone having dictated those letters to himself along with Phelps. One may reasonably expect that were the documents written together, they would both share at least some English letters in common. But, they don't.

Then, in the fourth and fifth and sixth rows, Phelps writes the sound in the third column and the explanation in the fourth column, whereas JS starts in the third column with the explanation, and later adds the sounds using a "^". How would that happen with a concurrent dictation? One may reasonably expect that were the documents written together, particularly if dictated word-for-word, they both wold have written together the sound and then the explanation. But, they both didn't. Of the two men, only Phelps did.

In rows six through ten and twelve through twenty-two, there are numerous word variants in the explanation section of these two documents. One may reasonably expect that were the documents written together, particularly if dictated word-for-word, they would both give the same explanations. Instead, the word variants may reasonably be interpreted as indicating a non-concurrent dictated production.

In the seventh row, EA JS has three characters that are no-where to be found in EA WWP. Why is that? And, in rows seven and fourteen, the characters are not the same. Again, how does that happen with a concurrent dictation? Shouldn't the characters be the same? I think so.

There are also several variant spellings of sounds which Chris and Brent presume to be evidence for dictation. And, while this is certainly a reasonable conclusion at first blush, the variant spellings do not necessarily suggest concurrency. If dictation was involved with the EA WWP (or perhaps also the EA OC), it is quite feasible, and reasonably presumed, that the dictation could have been read from an earlier draft written by Joseph. :P

Besides, I believe the variant spellings can better be explained as editorial corrections in a later draft. Note, in regards to the example Chris presented earlier in the thread, where WWP wrote "oan" and JS wrote "one", that on the next row down (12), as well as for row seventeen, Joseph spells it as "oan". This indicates to me that Joseph soon became aware of the spelling error, and he or Phelps made the correction on row 11 in a subsequent draft.

Whatever the case, there are also variants in the sounds that go beyond phonetics. For example, in rows 13 and 20, Phelps includes sounds in his document that are missing in the JS's (one of the sounds is later erased by Phelps). Hw does that happen with a concurrent dictation? Also, in row 17, Joseph wrote the sound "ho-ee oop pha-e" and then he crossed out the "pha-e" and finished by writing "hah pha-e". Phelps wrote the sound in its corrected form. This, too, strongly indicates to me that that EA WWP was a later and corrected draft of EA JS.

There are other differences that I believe give indication that EA WWP and EA JS were written at different times, which I will present in my next post, where I intend present additional reasons suggesting that EA JS was written before EA WWP, and that EA JS may have been an earlier draft used to write EA WWP (and possibly also EA OC).

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Wade,

At the risk of getting sucked back into this discussion, a few quick questions.

In the second column, WWP has letters, whereas JS has no letters but characters/elements. ...For all intents and purposes, Joseph only really used two columns (one for the characters, and the other for the sounds and explanations), whereas Phelps used all four columns. So, to some degree, the divergent use of the page layout indicates that the two documents may have been written at different times.

If Phelps was working from an already-written document by JS, why couldn't he anticipate that assigning English letters to each character based on its "sound" wasn't going to work? It should have been obvious from how many of the sounds start with "ph" and "z".

How would that happen with a concurrent dictation? One may reasonably expect that were the documents written together, particularly if dictated word-for-word, they both wold have written together the sound and then the explanation. But, they both didn't. Of the two men, only Phelps did.

If Phelps is maintaining columns whereas JS is not, then would Phelps need to use a caret to add the "sounds" for these three lines after writing their explanations?

One may reasonably expect that were the documents written together, particularly if dictated word-for-word, they would both give the same explanations. Instead, the word variants may reasonably be interpreted as indicating a non-concurrent dictated production.

Could it not instead be that the dictation was not so much word-for-word as it was JS expounding on the characters and the scribes capturing different aspects of what he was saying (as I have argued in this thread)?

A good example of this, in my opinion, is the explanation for Ho-e-oop-hah-pha-e.

In the seventh row, EA JS has three characters that are no-where to be found in EA WWP. Why is that? And, in rows seven and fourteen, the characters are not the same. Again, how does that happen with a concurrent dictation?

What do the characters have to do with dictation, one way or the other?

Besides, I believe the variant spellings can better be explained as editorial corrections in a later draft. Note, in regards to the example Chris presented earlier in the thread, where WWP wrote "oan" and JS wrote "one", that on the next row down (12), as well as for row seventeen, Joseph spells it as "oan". This indicates to me that Joseph soon became aware of the spelling error, and he or Phelps made the correction on row 11 in a subsequent draft.

How did Joseph "become aware" of the spelling error if he wasn't working alongside Phelps and Cowdery?

Anyway, Wade, my point is that if you're going to point to variants as evidence for a particular view, you need to think a bit harder about how these variants came to be and why they are more likely to have happened under your model than the one you're arguing against.

Peace,

-Chris

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As evidence that not only were EA WWP and EA JS most likely produced at different times, but EA JS was likely written as a first draft, and later used to write EA WWP as a second draft, which in turn may have been used, along with EA JS, to create the GAEL, there is, in addition to th arguments I have already presented, the fact that most of the variants consist of added editorial details and improvement in the EA WWP over what is found in the EA JS.

For example, in addition to what was contained in EA JS, WWP provided column headings, as well as a column for letters and with letters. He utilized four columns rather than just the two used by JS, and he neatly kept the content of each column pretty much separate. To me, such changes make more sense occurring over a series of drafts rather than concurrently.

WWP also made the following editorial improvements over what JS had written:

1. He corrected spelling errors--like with the words "seign" (changing it to "sign") and "princys" (changed to "princes") and "price" (changed to 'prince")

2. He added punctuation--for instance, he wrote "Royal family, royal blood, or Pharoah, or supreme power or king" as compared with "Royal family royal blood or pharoah or supreme power"; and he wrote "What other person is that? who?" as contrasted with "What other person is that or wh"

3. He added or changed conjunctions--for example, in addition to those noted above and below, he wrote "The name of the royal family, in the female line" instead of "The name of a royal family in female line"

4. He changed or added or deleted certain words to make the explanations more clear and concise--for example, he wrote "Crown of a princes, or signifies a queen" in place of Joseph's "Crown of a princys or queen or stands for queen"; and he wrote; "Virgin, unmarried, virtuous, or the principle of virtue" instead of "Virgin or unmarried or the principle of virtue"; also, he wrote "Beneath, below, under, water" in place of " Beneath or under"; and he wrote "Egypt. The land first seen, by a woman, under water" in place of "The land of Egypt first seen u"; or "Riegn, government, power septer, kingdom" as compared with "government power or kingdom"; or "The beginning, first, before appointing to" in replacement of " The beginning first before pointing"; or "The first creation of anything or first institution" instead of "The first creation of anything first insti"; and "From a fixed period of time back to the beginning" changed to "From any or some fixed period back to the beg"

Again, thse editorial improvements make more sense occurring over a series of drafts rather than concurrently

However, to underscore this point, it's interesting to also see how the added clarity caries over from draft (EA JS) to draft (EA WWP) to draft (GAEL). For example, here are the respective explanations given for the "Ho e oop hah pha e" character, first degree:

EA JS: "government power or kingdom"

EA WWP: "Riegn, government, power septer, kingdom"

GAEL: "Riegn or rule, governments, power, Kingdom or dominion"

Also of interest, the historical record appears to support the notion that Joseph first worked alone in writing the initial draft (EA JS) and may have at a later date worked collaboratively with Phelps and Cowdery on the second draft (EA WWP and possibly EA OC).

The entry for July 19, 1835, reads; "The remainder of this month, I [Joseph--note the singular pronoun] 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." (History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.17, p.238)

The next time the Egyptian alphabet is mentioned in the historical record, is on October 1st, 1835, " This after noon labored on the Egyptian alphabet, in company with brsr. O. Cowdery and W.W.Phelps: The system of astronomy was unfolded." (Joseph Smith's Journal)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I do want to say that I think Wade has made some good observations. For example, I think he is correct in asserting the uselessness of a "sounds" column in a document ostensibly intended to produce an English translation from the papyri. However, I have very good reason to believe that the vast majority of the content of the EA documents was produced in tandem. In other words, Phelps, Smith, and Cowdery were in the same place at the same time when the documents were produced. That said, I see no persuasive evidence that the Phelps and Cowdery documents were produced via dictation. Quite to the contrary, there is a discernible dominance on the part of one of the participants in this project, and it is not Joseph Smith. Nevertheless, I believe the documents originate, by and large, in a combined setting.

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Wade,

At the risk of getting sucked back into this discussion, a few quick questions.

If Phelps was working from an already-written document by JS, why couldn't he anticipate that assigning English letters to each character based on its "sound" wasn't going to work? It should have been obvious from how many of the sounds start with "ph" and "z".

Hi Chris,

Unfortunately, your question is loaded up with a host of debatable and conjectural presuppositions that I doubt you have the interest to get sucked into exploring with me. Suffice it to say that it is possible that Phelps could have anticipated what you suggested, just as it is possible, and I believe more likely, that he didn't anticipate such things, but he (and or Joseph and or Oliver) may have come to the presumed realization during the course of working through the second draft.

If Phelps is maintaining columns whereas JS is not, then would Phelps need to use a caret to add the "sounds" for these three lines after writing their explanations?

I am not sure why you presume that Phelps added the missing sounds to the JS manuscript. I don't believe he did. The handwriting for the additions appears to be that of Joseph Smith. But, when, and who made the corrections, isn't as critical, I believe, as the fact that the sounds were once missing in EA JS, but not in EA WWP, thus mitigating somewhat against a concurrent dictation.

Could it not instead be that the dictation was not so much word-for-word as it was JS expounding on the characters and the scribes capturing different aspects of what he was saying (as I have argued in this thread)? A good example of this, in my opinion, is the explanation for Ho-e-oop-hah-pha-e

It could be as you suggest, just as it could be otherwise. In my opinion, when considering all the data, my "multiple drafts" hypothesis provides the best over-all explanation.

What do the characters have to do with dictation, one way or the other?

I view them as unavoidably a part of a possible dictation-lead production sequence (like Will, I question whether the EA's were dictated by Joseph, let alone concurrently, though for he sake of argument...,), where there is a strong implied connection between the characters and the alleged dictated sounds and explanations. As I imagine it, the person doing the dictation may have first pointed to or drawn the Egyptian character for the scribe(s) to see, and then after checking to make sure the scribe(s) had drawn the right character (and this to assure that everyone is on the same page so to speak and had correctly rendered the character), he would go on to dictate to the scribes the corresponding sound and explanation. And, if this is how things transpired, I could see letting very minor variants in the drawings get by, but not the meaningful differences I observed. To me, the differences are more indicative of a change of mind and a later emendation to the presumed second draft--though, this can be somewhat tested by comparing Phelps' rendition of the two variant characters ("Kah tou mun" and "Iota tou-es Zip-Zi") against what Cowdery drew in EA OC and also against what Phelps later drew in the GAEL. But, I will have to wait to perform that test until I somehow get access to the relevant graphics.

How did Joseph "become aware" of the spelling error if he wasn't working alongside Phelps and Cowdery?

Since I can 't read minds (particularly those long deceased), I can't really say. But, to me, its not all that important to know how he may have become aware, as it is that he apparently did become aware, as made evident by the fact that he consistently spelled it "oan" thereafter, while Phelps always spelled it that way, thus intimating what I have suggested.

Anyway, Wade, my point is that if you're going to point to variants as evidence for a particular view, you need to think a bit harder about how these variants came to be and why they are more likely to have happened under your model than the one you're arguing against. Peace, -Chris

I had actually considered beforehand 3 of the 4 questions you presented here, and had come up with satisfactory answers that were consistent with where the evidence has lead me thus far. And, given that I spent a number of days pouring over the two document in question, meticulously identifying the numerous variants, and using that data to then, for your benefit, carefully formulate about a dozen reasoned arguments in favor of my hypothesis, as contrasted with your having merely presuming a concurrent production in your paper, I am not sure it is me that needs to be lectured about needing to give the matter more thought. ;)

Anyway, since it doesn't matter one way or another to my belief in the verity and workability of the gospel in my life, I am completely open to having my hypothesis challenged, and even negated, and as such I appreciate you taking the time to present the questions you did for consideration. :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I do want to say that I think Wade has made some good observations. For example, I think he is correct in asserting the uselessness of a "sounds" column in a document ostensibly intended to produce an English translation from the papyri.

That was very kind of you to say. But please be careful, though, because comments like this could undermine your reputation as a mean-spirited and thoughtless ogre. :P

However, I have very good reason to believe that the vast majority of the content of the EA documents was produced in tandem. In other words, Phelps, Smith, and Cowdery were in the same place at the same time when the documents were produced. That said, I see no persuasive evidence that the Phelps and Cowdery documents were produced via dictation. Quite to the contrary, there is a discernible dominance on the part of one of the participants in this project, and it is not Joseph Smith. Nevertheless, I believe the documents originate, by and large, in a combined setting.

Well...you certainly have access to more data than me, and have likely thought things through to a greater depth (having battled with the critics over numerous related issues throuh-out the years), and so it wouldn't surprise me (particularly given that you appear to be in agreement with some of the leading critics and other apologists about it being a concurrent production) to learn that I was wrong. And, I would have no problem if that turns out to be the case. In fact, if I am incorrect, I look forward to being set straight.

Again, either way, it is of no matter to the verity of the restored gospel and the worthy goal of coming to Christ and becoming like Christ.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Part of what opens the door to reasonble people logicaly coming to different reasonable conclusions regarding the production, intent, and use of the Egytian alphabets and grammar, is that we have no primary evidence for the initial layer of production. We are not told how the sounds or explanations were derived, on what basis the English letters were eventually assigned, what clued the various parties in to there being diffeent degrees and to think that a single characters might ential paragraphs of information, let alone what elements of a given character may mean this or that?

We, then, are left to induce the whole body of the literary dinosaur from a few evidenciary bones.

Most puzzling to me, though, of all are the sounds. Where did Joseph and/or Phelps and/or Cowdery come up with the sounds? I mean its not as though the Urim and Thummim had headphones or speakers to facilitate listening. In fact, in my research I could find no evidence to suggest that Urim and Thummin did anything more than display words or images. So, where did they get the sounds?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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By way of interjecting some measure of objectivity into the analysis of this issue (i.e. whether the documents were written concurrently or consecutively as drafts or otherwise), it is customary to utilize a generalizable methodology similar to what may be found in the field of Textual Criticism.

I don't know if the experts have yet developed a methodology for ascertaining whether a set of documents was/were written concurrently or consecutively (please let me know if they have). However, in case they haven't, I propose that our respective arguments be principally tested against documents that are known to have been written either concurrently or consecutively, and/or use those known documents in formulating the methodology.

For example, we know to a high degree of certainty that there are consecutive drafts/edits of the Book of Mormon--one of which was dictated by Joseph, and others of which were editorial alterations (some of which involving Joseph and Oliver). Even within the KEP, itself, we have documents with similar content that are figured to have been written at different time (it is fairly certain that EA WWP was written at a different time, and most likely before, the GAEL; and we can be quite confident that KEPA 1 and 3 were written years earlier than KEPA 4)

I don't know for certain, but I suspect that among the Joseph Smith Papers there are instances of documents with similar content produced concurrently--such as notes from multiple parties of conference talks given by Joseph, or revelations dictated by Joseph to multiple scribes at the same time, etc.. It would be most wonderful if the Joseph Smith Papers included coursework from several church leaders written during the Hebrew lessons of 1836.

In comparing these two sets of historical documents, the question may then be asked what, textually, are some of the distinguishing characteristics?

And, of those distinguishing characteristics, do any apply in the case of EA WWP and EA JS?

Just something to consider. Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Most puzzling to me, though, of all are the sounds. Where did Joseph and/or Phelps and/or Cowdery come up with the sounds? I mean its not as though the Urim and Thummim had headphones or speakers to facilitate listening. In fact, in my research I could find no evidence to suggest that Urim and Thummin did anything more than display words or images. So, where did they get the sounds?

Thanks Wade. The words were spelled out phonetically, I suppose. Names in the BOM were also spelled out phonetically.

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*deleted*, maybe I'll post more in a few days.

I've followed this discussion from a distance and don't claim to have a good grasp of all its details, but I was anticipating your report of your visit to the Church Archives. Did you find what you were looking for?

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Hey Nomad,

Yes, I did get what I needed. Our measurements from the photographs turned out to be correct to within a few mm. I'll have to wait for Andrew to finish re-running his analysis before I can tell you our results, however.

I made a number of other interesting observations on the papyri as well, but I'm debating what I should do with them. Some of them will probably end up here eventually. Others may find their way into a future publication. Unfortunately I just don't have time to figure it out right now, as I have procrastinated my actual homework to a point where the next two weeks are going to be a desperate rush of paper-writing. :P

Peace,

-Chris

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Thanks Wade. The words were spelled out phonetically, I suppose. Names in the BOM were also spelled out phonetically.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the Urim and Thummim was used in creating the alphabets and grammar (I seriously doubt that it was--it seems completely out of character for God to get into the secular linguistics business of producing alphabets and grammars for dead languages), and if it spelled the words out phonetically, then why the difference in phonetic spellings between EA WWP and EA JS? It just doesn't add up.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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It has become painfully obvious that I am boring everyone into submission with my tedious musings. And so the charitable thing for me to do is cease with the harranges and get out of the way of the scholars.

Is that a collosctive sigh of relief that I hear rising like a tsunami in the distance? :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Just got the journal, looks like interesting reading, though I tend to like the Romney opinion more. This thread is providing some very good information.

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Yes, I did get what I needed. Our measurements from the photographs turned out to be correct to within a few mm. I'll have to wait for Andrew to finish re-running his analysis before I can tell you our results, however.

Did you measure the thickness of papyri?

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Did you measure the thickness of papyri?

Unfortunately the papyri were encased in a Mylar sheath when I saw them, so taking thickness measurements was not possible. However, their encasement in Mylar had its advantages, since it meant I was able to take exact tracings of the edges of the papyri without fear of damaging the fragments. This will make for a far more accurate regression analysis.

I will say that from my visual observation of the fragments, it was quite clear that the Hor papyrus is thicker than the Ta-shere min papyrus. I'd guess that it was about twice as thick.

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I will say that from my visual observation of the fragments, it was quite clear that the Hor papyrus is thicker than the Ta-shere min papyrus. I'd guess that it was about twice as thick.

The scroll of Horos is not twice as thick. But the scroll of Semminis (Ta-shere min) is very, very thin. Astonishingly thin, in fact.

`

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Unfortunately the papyri were encased in a Mylar sheath when I saw them, so taking thickness measurements was not possible. However, their encasement in Mylar had its advantages, since it meant I was able to take exact tracings of the edges of the papyri without fear of damaging the fragments. This will make for a far more accurate regression analysis.

I will say that from my visual observation of the fragments, it was quite clear that the Hor papyrus is thicker than the Ta-shere min papyrus. I'd guess that it was about twice as thick.

Incidentally, it is not impossible to measure the papyri while encased inside the mylar. Indeed, with the right tool, it is quite easy to measure the thickness of the mylar, the papyrus, the glue used to attach the papyrus to the backing paper, and the backing paper itself--every single layer, to 1/10,000th of an inch.

`

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It has become painfully obvious that I am boring everyone into submission with my tedious musings.

Nonsense Wade, I've read with interest every word you've written. I've just been lying low since the mods seem to be on the prowl for me lately.

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