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Chris Smith

My JWHA Paper on the Egyptian Alphabet

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PacMan,

Yes, news of Champollion's discovery had crossed the pond, as had some more specific information about his findings. Charles Anthon, in fact, was one of those "in the know" on this rather arcane historical subject. But I can't imagine why you are "compelled" to believe Joseph Smith was privy to this information. In fact, I think it's kind of funny, given how much flak the critics take for presuming that Joseph was well-read.

In order to make your case, I'd want more specific evidence. For example, 1) Name specific publications known to have been owned or read by Joseph Smith that discussed Champollion's findings, 2) Name specific scholars in 1835 who would have been able to accurately translate Chandler's papyrus, and/or 3) Provide a quote or statement from Joseph Smith that demonstrates he knew the true nature and workings of the Egyptian language.

Best,

-Chris

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PacMan,

Yes, news of Champollion's discovery had crossed the pond, as had some more specific information about his findings. Charles Anthon, in fact, was one of those "in the know" on this rather arcane historical subject. But I can't imagine why you are "compelled" to believe Joseph Smith was privy to this information. In fact, I think it's kind of funny, given how much flak the critics take for presuming that Joseph was well-read.

In order to make your case, I'd want more specific evidence. For example, 1) Name specific publications known to have been owned or read by Joseph Smith that discussed Champollion's findings, 2) Name specific scholars in 1835 who would have been able to accurately translate Chandler's papyrus, and/or 3) Provide a quote or statement from Joseph Smith that demonstrates he knew the true nature and workings of the Egyptian language.

Best,

-Chris

I, for one, don't believe (at least at this juncture) that Joseph Smith knew much, if anything, about the details (such as they were available at the time) of Champollion's decipherment of the Rosetta Stone.

As for W. W. Phelps ...

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*sigh*...

... again...

I know what you think the relationship is between them.

Yes, you've already trotted out your "clairvoyant gift." So, what do I "think the relationship is between them"? (And please, quote the sources and provide your own analysis.)

Cheers,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

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Hi Will,

The "Mehitabel" that I was referring to was W. W.'s mother -- that is, young Mehitabel's grandmother, not her "great-grandmother" as you suggest.

And above all, it is abundantly clear that you are completely unaware of the fact that much of the content of W. W.'s missive to Sally on the "pure language" owes its inspiration to a revelation that Joseph issued ca. March 1832.

Hi Greg,

Since I evidently have nothing new to add to Will's knowledge, I'm sure that he'll be able to provide the source within the next few minutes.

All the best,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

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You'd have to elaborate on what you mean by "practice" because I'm doubtful that I'm understanding your intent in using that particular word.

Well I was typing rather quickly. I need to be more specific. As I read and watch papers and video from Brian Hauglid I have to concur with his idea that perhaps the KEPE were unsuccessful attempts of some of the early brethren to figure out the translation and were used as study papers (I wrote practice pads) which Joseph had already completed The translation of the Book of Abraham or was very close to it.. Joseph had earlier gave blessings to Oliver, WW Phelps and Perrish to know mysteries, language, etc. These men has a strong desires to learn and receive of those blessings. Like Oliver earlier not able to translate the Book of Mormon these brethren tried in fact a serious attempt was made but like Oliver earlier was they were not able.

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Hey Anijen,

Most of what Hauglid discusses does not bear on my essay. However, in Pt. 4 he does argue that pg. 1 of translation ms 1 (which contains Abr. 1:1-3) is not a dictated text, because it has punctuation and it uses superscripted numbers to show which characters correspond to which English text. This leads Hauglid to the conclusion that this portion of MS 1 was copied from some other document. Well, to a certain degree I actually agree with Hauglid. Much of the phrasing here was copied from the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar. The different mode of composition for these three verses accounts for the peculiarities of the manuscript. These verses weren't dictated in the straightforward way that the Book of Mormon was.

- Chris

Chris I took a couple days to read your paper and take some notes. I am such a novice with the KEPE so please bear with me. On your paper that you emailed me was missing the bibliography I wanted to read some of the sources and wasn't able :P

I am still a bit confused on this fifth degree etc it does seem to be a weird grid system but that might be just my naivete showing up.

I am still unconvinced what you think is translation I feel it is dictation. In your paper you quote in nice colors but to tell the truth I had to read it a few times to figure out your point. Again that is more my lack of understanding than a knock on your writing skills. For example of you quoting Abraham 1:1-3;

1 In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence;

2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.

3 It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.

This as I have learned is a very common mistake that shows up in tons of works were the scribe will look on one section (I underline the fathers here) and then writes it down and then his eye goes back but focuses on a father later and results are missing portions of the work. I think this actually happens in one of the KEPE Mss but I couldn't say which.

I also have trouble going from one labeling system to another it confuses me easily I read words like GAEL, KEP, KEPE, Mss, Abraham Manuscripts and Egyptian manuscripts, BoA text or Alphabet, Counting and grammar, leaves, pages, were one writing was done before another but labeled later and then on back a continuation of even another. All this without any sources to pictures of the KEPE because of copyright. There is ink analysis, colors, overwriting, all from believe it or not photographs. As Hauglid might ask how does one do an analysis on ink from a photograph? Old photos at that.It is a mess to me and no wonder those who dive into at first have a doe in the headlights look. That is another reason for me to side with Hauglid over Metcalf and yourself he has studied original KEPE manuscripts under microscopes.

All I can say is I really wish Metcalf's book he has been promising will come out soon. I also cant wait to read Gees and Hauglid's new works that will be out soon. Take care thanks for your patience with my NOOBness

Anijen

Edited to say a lot of those things I have trouble with was not just in your paper but all my reading there doesn't seem to be a consensus on labeling...

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Oh for all those who read my chicken scratch well I just want to say The BoA is an inspiration and true revelation. I am thankful for it. I am thankful for modern day prophets. I am thankful for scholars who spend so much time studying these things so guys like me can better understand. Just thought you might wanna know where I stand.

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Hi Anijen,

Yes, I understand the numbering systems can be confusing, especially since people are using several different systems. I find people also confuse the Alphabet manuscripts with the Translation manuscripts. Not only are these manuscripts variously numbered and mostly unavailable to the public, but there are also a whole lot of them, and they are incredibly complex. You're right; some confusion on the part of newbies is perfectly understandable. Hopefully Hauglid's publication will help clear up the confusion for you.

As for the footnotes, please note that the first time a reference is given I give the full citation, whereas if I use the same citation again it is abbreviated. So if there's an abbreviated citation for a source you want to read, you have to go back in the footnotes and find the first time it appeared.

Peace,

-Chris

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thews,

Whatever tenants of buffoonery you seem complicit in promulgating, please be advised that you don't know nearly as much as you think you do. Let me give to quick examples before I try and catch a wink (gotta love EST).

1) Your understanding surrounding the history of the Rosetta Stone is incorrect. As such, you should stop gulping the erroneous rhetoric of those like Robert Ritner whom haven't the foggiest about what they're talking about. Ignoring Young altogether (whom Franklin, Jefferson, etc. were aware of and first stated Champollion's theory of phonetic alphabetization), Champollion's work was well circulated not only in Europe, but had crossed the pond and was well-disseminated in the States long before Joseph got into 'translating' Egyptian. [P.S. Translation was a very, loose term for Joseph. The Book of Moses is an example: completely a revelation without text, but still a 'translation']. Rittner's claim that "In 1835 in America, there was no one who could read ancient Egyptian. All knowledge of the language had been lost for centuries," Is simply wrong. Champollion's work had surfaced and began a broad distribution in the U.S. by the mid 1820's--published in some of the greatest journals and circulated in papers throughout the U.S. at that time.

Oh I see... "translation" is now redefined to start to make your story fit? I don't think so... Joseph Smith claimed to know how to translate ancient languages. This is what brought the Greek psalter to him and eventually the mummies that were for sale. If you're trying to claim the Egyptian code was cracked and everyone knew about it in 1835... well it is possible I guess, but 1827 to 1835 wouldn't have produced many experts, especially in the US.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_Stone

In 1858, the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania published the first complete English translation of the Rosetta Stone as accomplished by three of its undergraduate members: Charles R Hale, S Huntington Jones, and Henry Morton.[4]

What does this mean? First, the germane issue is whether Joseph and friends knew of the nature of Egyptian...not how to translate it. If Joseph, et. al knew about the nature of Egyptian characters (which I am compelled to believe that they did), the idea that the GAEL is illustrative of a on-going translation suggests nonsense and logical incoherence. Why would they treat the text in a manner which was known to be inconsistent with the latest science of the day? However, if the revelation came first--knowing it came from the papyri and believing it was limited to the text--the GAEL was a backdoor attempt to make it fit. A failure of reverse engineering, but an attempt nonetheless.

I'm not following you here. When you say, "Why would they treat the text in a manner which was known to be inconsistent with the latest science of the day?" are you implying they knew enough about translating Egyptian to prevent then from making such big mistakes? And then when you say, "However, if the revelation came first--knowing it came from the papyri and believing it was limited to the text--the GAEL was a backdoor attempt to make it fit," are you implying that Joseph Smith received his revelation from the papyrus, and then wrote the Book of Abraham, and then tried to write the EAG but failed?

2) Your understanding of Kinderhook is greatly simplistic. CFR. The singular journal account which you implicitly state as fact is overzealous, and doesn't conclude as you wish it would. Moreover, the newspaper's announcement that Joseph would translate it does little to embarrass his seership without an announcement of subsequent findings. Your conspiracy lacks bite. And originality.

Cheers,

PacMan

P.S. All: Ignore my spelling conflations and grammatical equivocations. I'm simply to tired (and lazy) to go fix them all.

Regarding the Kinderhook plates, are you claiming that Joseph Smith knew they were fake and didn't attempt to translate them?

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I think Will's thinking of Mehitabel the Cat from Archie & Mehitabel.

Archie was a cockroach.

R

The girl's name Mehitabel:

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Metcalfe:

... it is abundantly clear that you are completely unaware of the fact that much of the content of W. W.'s missive to Sally on the "pure language" owes its inspiration to a revelation that Joseph issued ca. March 1832.

Yes. Quite.

It has been a Will Schryver replicant reading about said relationship in Chris's paper for the past several days, and another one discussing it with others familiar with the question. The real Will Schryver has been languishing in the squalor of his single-wide a few miles downwind from Ely, and only emerged from his quasi-perpetual daze in order for you to enlighten him on these matters on this message board. Now, can I get back to my Twilight Zone reruns? (They look real good on my new 9" black and white TV from the pawn shop. Only $15! And it came with the vice-grips for changing channels!)

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Hi Will,

Thanks for pointing me to Chris' question (I inadvertently skipped over it). The answer is no, the manuscript revelation on "pure language" doesn't include the characters in Phelps' May 1835 letter. That wasn't my point. My point centers on the fact that the content of all but one of the six translations that Phelps recorded derives from Joseph Smith's then unpublished 1832 revelation. That evinces an intimate relationship between Phelps' report and Joseph Smith.

But there is much, much more...

In your considered opinion, Will, what would you say is the fundamental difference between the character set on the left and the character set on the right?

adamic-characters.jpg

...

All the best,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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Well I was typing rather quickly. I need to be more specific. As I read and watch papers and video from Brian Hauglid I have to concur with his idea that perhaps the KEPE were unsuccessful attempts of some of the early brethren to figure out the translation and were used as study papers (I wrote practice pads) which Joseph had already completed The translation of the Book of Abraham or was very close to it.. Joseph had earlier gave blessings to Oliver, WW Phelps and Perrish to know mysteries, language, etc. These men has a strong desires to learn and receive of those blessings. Like Oliver earlier not able to translate the Book of Mormon these brethren tried in fact a serious attempt was made but like Oliver earlier was they were not able.

Anijen,

I am personally convinced that the grammar and alphabet documents all post-date the "translation" of the initial portion of the text of the Book of Abraham. How much does "initial portion" mean? Hard to say. The grammar documents were prepared at different times, and probably after different stages of the "translation" had been completed. I will say that, by the time the bound grammar and alphabet volume was created, it appears that at least the first three chapters of the text of the BoA was completed.

There is also a growing body of evidence that suggests the currently published portion of the BoA represents only a fraction of what had been translated before the death of Joseph Smith. (You'll notice that our current BoA ends, as it were, in medias res.) The remainder was either lost or has been deliberately withheld from publication for unknown reasons.

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In your considered opinion, Will, what would you say is the fundamental difference between the character set on the left and the character set on the right?</brent>

To my somewhat untrained eye, it appears that caracter set on the left is written by a different person that the character set on the right, and that the person who wrote the characters on the left had better penmanship skills than the person who wrote the characters on the right.

Is that what you were looking for?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Chris,

I have plenty of evidence and names of multiple pre-1830s publications that promulgate Champollion

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Will,

We've hashed this out over the years, but give me a quick summary of what your hypothesis. In fairness, I don't know that I cleave to one theory over another, but argue the data and see where it takes me.

The standard critical interpreation of Metcalfe, et. al (in simple terms) is that the characters where written and then the interpretation was "translated" and written subsequently.

Is yours that the GAEL was a reverse-engineering, or that the character/text had another association?

PacMan

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I will say that, by the time the bound grammar and alphabet volume was created, it appears that at least the first three chapters of the text of the BoA was completed.

You've lost your marbles, my dear William.

There is also a growing body of evidence that suggests the currently published portion of the BoA represents only a fraction of what had been translated before the death of Joseph Smith. (You'll notice that our current BoA ends, as it were, in medias res.) The remainder was either lost or has been deliberately withheld from publication for unknown reasons.

Did I mention that you've lost your marbles?

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You've lost your marbles, my dear William.

Did I mention that you've lost your marbles?

Perhaps so. Perhaps so.

But I have a nice bag to put them in should they ever turn up again.

CrownRoyalBag.jpg:P

.

.

.

Now, for the benefit of those following along who really don't feel like they're in a position to judge the relative merits of such claims, I will repeat:

My analysis of the evidence has persuaded me that all the grammar and alphabet pages were prepared after the Prophet had "translated" the English text of the Book of Abraham to which they refer. The grammar and alphabet pages are therefore not the modus operandi for the "translation" of the Book of Abraham. Rather, it is just the opposite: the text of the "translated" BoA is what informs the creation of the grammar and alphabet pages.

This thesis has considerable explanatory potency in the face of the documentary evidence. In my judgment, the contrary thesis (that the grammar and alphabet are the means by which the text of the Book of Abraham was created) is a theory that can only be advanced by someone who is blinded by his own agenda, presuppositions, and prejudices, or who has ... well ... lost his marbles. ;)

The late Egyptologist Klaus Baer, a man quite familiar with these issues, agrees with me. Wrote he:

Try to obtain the Book of Abraham from the papyrus by applying the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar (leaving aside the question where that came from). So far as I can tell, that won't work ...

Klaus Baer, as quoted in Jay Todd, The Saga of the Book of Abraham, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City (1969) 386.

Furthermore:

Most readers have noted that the Book of Abraham ends abruptly, right in the middle of the creation story, in between the account of Adam and Eve being commanded to not partake of the forbidden fruit and when the serpent appears to beguile Eve.

There is a considerable body of documentary evidence (much of it assembled by that inimitable master sleuth, Matthew Roper) that suggests the currently published portion of the BoA represents only a small fraction of what had been translated before the death of Joseph Smith.

.

.

.

These theses will be, in the coming months and years, defended formally in scholarly journals. And, as more and more people are enabled to judge the evidence for themselves, the strength of the "Rosetta Stone" explanation will gain an inexorable momentum.

I believe that, in as little as another decade, only the most intransigent critics and their similarly intransigent supporters will attempt to contradict the fundamental thesis that the KEP represent an effort on the part of the people involved to decipher hieratic Egyptian armed with an English primer in the form of Joseph Smith's initial "translation" of the Book of Abraham.

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I believe that, in as little as another decade, only the most intransigent critics and their similarly intransigent supporters will attempt to contradict the fundamental thesis that the KEP represent an effort on the part of the people involved to decipher hieratic Egyptian armed with an English primer in the form of Joseph Smith's initial "translation" of the Book of Abraham.

A decade? I thought you said Hauglid's new book was going to do this, and I thought it was coming out much sooner than that. If you or someone else has already done the analysis convincing you that Ashment and Co. are wrong, then why will it take ten years to convince everyone except the most intransigent critics?

The problem is one of credibility for the entire BOA apologetic intelligentsia. So many BOA apologetic theories have been birthed and died over the last forty years, that it is hard to take it seriously when you tell everyone to "wait, wait, this time we really do have an answer to Ashment."

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Will,

Playing the d-advocate, why are the characters there, if they are not M.O.? Or is that a wholly distinct question that you have yet indulged, or have yet sufficient evidence to garner a conclusion?

PacMan

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A decade? I thought you said Hauglid's new book was going to do this, and I thought it was coming out much sooner than that. If you or someone else has already done the analysis convincing you that Ashment and Co. are wrong, then why will it take ten years to convince everyone except the most intransigent critics?

The problem is one of credibility for the entire BOA apologetic intelligentsia. So many BOA apologetic theories have been birthed and died over the last forty years, that it is hard to take it seriously when you tell everyone to "wait, wait, this time we really do have an answer to Ashment."

How does a presumed institutional credibility have anything to with objective analysis? Apparently, much for the lazy or nonobjective.... Too bad, really.

PacMan

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How does a presumed institutional credibility have anything to with objective analysis? Apparently, much for the lazy or nonobjective.... Too bad, really.

The credibility comes in when there is no objective analysis, only future promises that at some undefined future date (now extended to a decade) everyone will be convinced by a heretofore unknown analysis.

I'm all for hoping that Will and Hauglid pull the rabbit out of the hat . . . but the history of these endeavors doesn't give one much hope.

It's kind of like cold fusion. I would love it if it worked, but its history doesn't leave one with a lot of hope.

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