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Chris Smith

My JWHA Paper on the Egyptian Alphabet

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There are, in fact, at least two different inks used in places on the KEPA manuscripts.

There are, in fact, cases where there are to be found significant instances of over-writing which militate against the critics' arguments.

A great many of Nibley's demonstrated parallels have great merit, and are, I believe, an extremely valuable evidence of the antiquity of the Book of Abraham, along with the sources cited in Hauglid and Gee's Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham.

Ashment was, quite simply, wrong about a large proportion of his arguments. I've demonstrated some of the ways already. More is forthcoming.

I don't know who Stephen Robinson is. Do you?

Finally, I invite you to cite something by Ritner that you believe militates against current LDS apologetic arguments.

You really don't have a clue do you? He obviously meant Stephen Thompson.

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Brent,

If I may be so bold (since I doubt Will is going to answer and I want to see where you're going with this), the one on the right is Joseph Smith's handwriting (from his Egyptian Alphabet document) and the one on the left is W. W. Phelps's from the "specimen". The more cursive/italic style of Smith's characters is mirrored in Cowdery's document, as well as in the second column in Phelps's EA document. Phelps's EA document is of course unique among the three in that for this section it includes two columns of characters side by side: the left more neat and square, the right in the cursive/italic style of Smith and Cowdery's documents. I'd say that the "specimen" is halfway between the squareness of Phelps's left column and the cursiveness of his right column in his EA document.

So what are we to make of all this? Well, if all four of these documents are copied from a now-lost original of the "specimen", we probably could conclude that it was in the cursive/italic style. Phelps in his copy of the "specimen" cleans it up considerably but retains a bit of the cursive tilt; in his EA document he attempts to do both-- preserving the cursive style in one column and cleaning it up in the other. Cowdery and Smith, meanwhile, preserve the original cursive/italic style. And if we acquiesce to all that I just inferred, then we could conclude that the characters on the lost original were not written by Phelps, since he didn't quite know what to do with them. Presumably the original artist would have been Smith.

Is all of that where you were going with this?

Best,

-Chris

Great job, Chris! You're even better than Ed McMahon.

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You really don't have a clue do you? He obviously meant Stephen Thompson.

I assure you that I am, in the immortal words of Ulysses Everett McGill, "dumber'n a bag o'hammers."

Even so, I knew he was fishing for Stephen Thompson, but he doesn't even know what Thompson had to say way back when, nor that he is now completely out of Egyptology.

I made it perfectly clear earlier in this thread that I was no longer going to use this or any other message board to make my arguments.

I've learned to be very patient with these things ...

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Chris and Brent,

So what are we to make of all this? Well, if all four of these documents are copied from a now-lost original of the "specimen", we probably could conclude that it was in the cursive/italic style. Phelps in his copy of the "specimen" cleans it up considerably but retains a bit of the cursive tilt; in his EA document he attempts to do both-- preserving the cursive style in one column and cleaning it up in the other. Cowdery and Smith, meanwhile, preserve the original cursive/italic style. And if we acquiesce to all that I just inferred, then we could conclude that the characters on the lost original were not written by Phelps, since he didn't quite know what to do with them. Presumably the original artist would have been Smith.

I evidently missed the part about why we need to assume that the documents are copied from a now-lost original of the "specimen," and that such was cursive/italic (to be honest, the handwriting stuff bores me terribly, and I have to keep medicated to stay attentive--sorry for being behind). The sloppy cursive is Joseph's, and the neat deliberate is Phelps's. But both the deliberate and sloppy came from an original sloppy copy? Eh? Why? Moreover, why does it matter at all if they have the papyri right in front of them? Wouldn't that be the original specimen? I'm obviously missing something, because as I see it, the thesis is true because of its virtue of being true. A bit circular if you'd ask me...but I have a hunch that this isn't what either of you are getting at.

No gold star for me. But that's OK. I prefer snack time anyway.

And I need to go to bed.

PacMan

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Hi PacMan,

The characters in question are not taken from the papyri. While most of the characters in the Egyptian Alphabet documents come from the papyri, these particular characters appear to have been copied directly from the specimen (which was produced before JS and WWP ever even saw the papyri) into the Egyptian Alphabet documents.

If you're following me so far, then you'll see why Smith and Co. would have needed to have a copy of the specimen with them, in Kirtland, at the time they created the Egyptian Alphabet documents. The copy in W. W. Phelps's letter to Sally, however, had been mailed off in late May. So there must have been another copy in Kirtland-- presumably an original copy, from which Phelps's postscript to Sally was reproduced.

As for why we should assume the original was in the "cursive" style, my reasoning is basically this: if all three men were copying from an original, and two of them copy it one way and the last copies it another, we generally go with the two witnesses over the one. (Of course, someone might respond that JS copied a nice, crisp source document in his characteristic "cursive" style, and then Cowdery copied his characters from Smith, while Phelps accurately rendered the original. So this argument alone isn't wholly conclusive. However, given the other reasons I've offered for accepting Smithian authorship of the specimen, I think we should probably avoid spinning wild aternative theories unless some good evidence is adduced to support them.)

Peace,

-Chris

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CS:

Of course, someone might respond ...

... in ways you just couldn't seem to anticipate beforehand.

That's the funny thing about perspective. Lock yourself into one for too long, and you easily forget that there are other ways of seeing things.

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William,

I notice you talk an awful lot about having these great rebuttals and all the answers to the mysteries of the universe, but you rarely actually offer us a taste of your insight. And, with a couple minor exceptions, when you have offered your insight it has been singularly unpersuasive. Absurd, in fact, in several cases. So, you'll have to forgive me for not bating my breath too terribly much as I wait for illumination.

Peace,

-Chris

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Do you guys ever have a hard time explaining your hobbies on dates?

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Do you guys ever have a hard time explaining your hobbies on dates?

Dates? You mean the fruit?

Actually, yes. Most of my friends and family and acquaintances think I'm tremendously weird. Including the Mormon ones.

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William,

I notice you talk an awful lot about having these great rebuttals and all the answers to the mysteries of the universe, but you rarely actually offer us a taste of your insight. And, with a couple minor exceptions, when you have offered your insight it has been singularly unpersuasive. Absurd, in fact, in several cases. So, you'll have to forgive me for not bating my breath too terribly much as I wait for illumination.

Peace,

-Chris

The mysteries of the universe?

To tell you the truth, I don't know what you're talking about.

But when it comes to the meaning of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, with very few exceptions, I have advanced every single one of my original arguments, as well as a few that originate with others, on this message board. I've gone to some effort to list repeatedly several of those things for which I have argued, lest they one day be forgotten as originating with me. I've kept a few special things to myself, but, for the most part, I've aired all my arguments here.

I do understand that you are unimpressed by those arguments. I'm not surprised. I didn't expect anything different from you. And that's fine with me. I am content to let my arguments, and those of my colleagues in these things, be judged by a wider audience than is represented by online forums. Remember, what Klaus Baer believed concerning the grammar and alphabet documents is much more in accord with what I believe than with what you apparently believe.

In any case, perhaps I am the fool you and your mentor make me out to be.

Time will tell.

But I have a considerable amount of confidence in the inexorable inertia of truth. Often it requires a good deal of time, but, in my experience, it always triumphs in the end.

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Dates? You mean the fruit?

Actually, yes. Most of my friends and family and acquaintances think I'm tremendously weird. Including the Mormon ones.

Well a bunch of us anonymous Internet people think you're cool!

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I've kept a few special things to myself, but, for the most part, I've aired all my arguments here.

That's exactly what I was afraid of. And these are the arguments that will convince everyone but the most intransigent critic! rolleyes.gif

Just move to the catalyst theory and be done with this nonsense.

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Note that W. W. Phelps fortuitously provided both versions:

I was simplifying. :P

Well a bunch of us anonymous Internet people think you're cool!

Ha! Thanks. ;)

But when it comes to the meaning of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, with very few exceptions, I have advanced every single one of my original arguments, as well as a few that originate with others, on this message board. I've gone to some effort to list repeatedly several of those things for which I have argued, lest they one day be forgotten as originating with me. I've kept a few special things to myself, but, for the most part, I've aired all my arguments here.

I do understand that you are unimpressed by those arguments. I'm not surprised. I didn't expect anything different from you. And that's fine with me. I am content to let my arguments, and those of my colleagues in these things, be judged by a wider audience than is represented by online forums.

Your argument that Abraham 1:12 is secondary was interesting, and I haven't entirely made up my mind on it, although I think the evidence for your view is considerably less clear-cut than you seem to think it is. And I still think that the dittograph argument is one of the most persuasive the apologist side has produced, even if in every other respect MS 2 has the characteristics of a dictation transcript.

Coming up with a couple moderately persuasive arguments, however, is far short of proffering a holistic explanation for the documents. Not only have you consistently failed to do that, but your strides toward that goal have nearly all been seriously misguided.

Remember, what Klaus Baer believed concerning the grammar and alphabet documents is much more in accord with what I believe than with what you apparently believe.

Actually, Baer and I are largely agreed on the meaning and relationship of these documents, so far as I can tell. When Baer said that you can't derive the Book of Abraham text by using the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, he was saying that you can't do it "except with the help of a considerable amount of direct inspiration." I agree with Baer on that point. If two different people applied the Grammar to the symbols in the margins of the manuscript of Abraham 1:1-3, their resulting translations might have considerable overlap in vocabulary, but would ultimately look quite different. In the system laid out by the Grammar, there is a certain amount of arbitrariness not only in how the characters are "dissected", but also in the connecting "parts of speech" that are supplied. This arbitrary quality means that there was a substantial amount of room for inspiration to shape the narrative, even in the midst of assembling it using the Grammar as a source text. I, like Baer, am willing to allow that Joseph created this text by means of "inspiration obtained while reflecting on the material sources." But I am not willing to consent to the distortion of history for apologetic purposes.

Peace,

-Chris

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Hi PacMan,

The characters in question are not taken from the papyri. While most of the characters in the Egyptian Alphabet documents come from the papyri, these particular characters appear to have been copied directly from the specimen (which was produced before JS and WWP ever even saw the papyri) into the Egyptian Alphabet documents.

Back-up. So Phelps was not the author of the specimen? Who was?

If you're following me so far, then you'll see why Smith and Co. would have needed to have a copy of the specimen with them, in Kirtland, at the time they created the Egyptian Alphabet documents. The copy in W. W. Phelps's letter to Sally, however, had been mailed off in late May. So there must have been another copy in Kirtland-- presumably an original copy, from which Phelps's postscript to Sally was reproduced.

I understand the specimen could have existed prior to the papyri falling into Smith & Co. hands. Are you saying that subsequent transmissions (Phelp's letter) was also pre-papyri?

As for why we should assume the original was in the "cursive" style, my reasoning is basically this: if all three men were copying from an original, and two of them copy it one way and the last copies it another, we generally go with the two witnesses over the one. (Of course, someone might respond that JS copied a nice, crisp source document in his characteristic "cursive" style, and then Cowdery copied his characters from Smith, while Phelps accurately rendered the original. So this argument alone isn't wholly conclusive. However, given the other reasons I've offered for accepting Smithian authorship of the specimen, I think we should probably avoid spinning wild aternative theories unless some good evidence is adduced to support them.)

Yeah...I tend to believe that sloppy writing will only follow once there are crisper copies available. The fact that there were two cursive copies doesn't suggest to me that they both came from another, cursive copy; but rather, it tells me that they had in their possession (and possibly those they were communicating with) a crisp copy. Moreover, I don't understand how you can conclude that there is only one specimen. Whatever copying could have been done could have come from a second or third generation specimen. In other words, to conclude on any sort of transmission history seems premature.

It doesn't make sense to conclude the contents of a photo that is missing 85% of the picture, and assume that every other conclusion is 'wild.' The difference appears to be found in the assumptions, and (at least at this juncture) your assumptions certainly non res ipsa loquitur.

PacMan

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Yeah, what's the deal with lostindc?

I don't know.

I am starting to think he is a JeffK sock puppet.

And a belated congratulations to Chris on getting his paper published. No mean thing, that.

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Watching vids that do not show the slides and the few images here or from FAIR papers I am at a disadvantage. Could anyone email me some of the images that is relevant. For example I couldn't even start answering Brent Metcalf's question because I have no images to compare them too. Or I guess You could take it to the pundits forum and I will just be an outside observer. Not that I could get a gold star (not my goal) but it least to have a small knowledge of what images we are talking about.

I have received feedback from many people who now seem as persuaded as I that the meaning of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers is that they are the evidence of these men attempting to decipher hieratic Egyptian using Joseph Smith

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This is exactly what I think happened.

Of course, you understand that this means your thought processes are "absurd"; you don't "have a clue" what you're talking about; and you have no "credibility."

So join the club! We've run out of t-shirts, but we'll still accept your generous donations. :P

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Watching vids that do not show the slides and the few images here or from FAIR papers I am at a disadvantage.

Will, didn't you (or someone else) record Hauglid's presentation including the slides and images he showed? If so, has it been posted anywhere in its entirety?

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Let me then repeat: the meaning of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers is that they are the evidence of these men attempting to decipher hieratic Egyptian using Joseph Smith

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Of course, you understand that this means your thought processes are "absurd"; you don't "have a clue" what you're talking about; and you have no "credibility."

So join the club! We've run out of t-shirts, but we'll still accept your generous donations. ;)

Aw man, I really wanted one of those shirts too. About my thought processes being absurd and me not having a clue is just a given anyway. :P

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Will, didn't you (or someone else) record Hauglid's presentation including the slides and images he showed? If so, has it been posted anywhere in its entirety?

The videos I watched were the seven part one by Brian Hauglid, and no it didn't show any of the image slides because of apparent copyright protection.

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