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maklelan

Dittography in the Abraham Translation Manuscripts

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This is a version of a thread I began on the other boards, and I believe it provides the most reasonable explanation of the manner in which the Abraham translation manuscripts were composed. Here is the background:

The KEP includes several copies of manuscripts pages which contain the text of the Book of Abraham (Abr 1:1-2:18) with Egyptian characters occasionally written in the margins. Some assert that the manuscripts show indication of dictation, meaning Smith was translating the Egyptian characters from the GAEL as he went along composing the narrative. The manuscripts thus represent the earliest manifestation of the Book of Abraham. Others argue the manuscripts represent copies dictated and/or transcribed from a preexisting text which contained the previously composed Book of Abraham. Under current discussion is the fourth page of one of these manuscripts, which contains a dittograph, or a repetition of a section of text. The scribe finished copying Abr 2:2 with the word "Haran" at the end of a line of text. He then copies, beginning on the next line, Abr 2:3-5, which also ends with the word "Haran," again at the end of a line of text. The text on the next line, however, repeated Abr 2:3-5 and then continues on to v. 6, where it is cut off mid-sentence, indicating the text went on to another page that no longer exists. The repetition of the text appears to be the result of a scribal error which is caused by a phenomenon called homoioteleuton, which means "similar ending." This happens when a scribe, after looking away from a text, deletes or repeats words or lines of text because he returns to the wrong word or line of text because that word or line looks the same as the last word or line recorded. This appears to be the case with the copied portion of text in the manuscript, but others insist that dictation is still the most likely cause. Following is my argument.

My position regarding Ab2, page 4, is that the location on the manuscript of the word

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I know of no evidence that precludes the existence of a parent text, and I invite any who disagree to clearly outline such evidence if they believe they have it.

Hi Dan,

According to your Missing Manuscript Theory (not to be confused with the Missing Papyrus Theory), what were the names of these four guys in your hypothetical "Q" document?

sonsofHorus.jpg

MM

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Hi Dan,

According to your Missing Manuscript Theory (not to be confused with the Missing Papyrus Theory), what were the names of these four guys in your hypothetical "Q" document?

sonsofHorus.jpg

MM

Since I'm sure Dan is not presently in a position to answer this question, I will answer for him. The names of the four idolatrous gods as listed in the putative Ms. Q would have been: Elkkener, Zibnah, Mahmackrah, and Koash.

There are several text-critical elements that evince the existence of an now-missing original BoA translation manuscript.

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The names of the four idolatrous gods as listed in the putative Ms. Q would have been: Elkkener, Zibnah, Mahmackrah, and Koash.

How then did Williams and Parrish both manage to miss "Koash" on three and five occasions, respectively, for a total of 8 omissions?

I think Ko[r]ash looks a lot like Pharaoh, don't you?

BTW, I'll explain why the repeated Abr 2 text is not a dittograph if you reply to my query over here.

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BTW, I'll explain why the repeated Abr 2 text is not a dittograph if you reply to my query over here.

I can't answer those questions, since they really have nothing to do with me, but this is my thread, and if you can explain why the dittograph is not a transcription error, please do so (a dittograph is simply a repeated text--it's absolutely a dittograph--the question is whether or not it is a transcription error which attests to a parent text).

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How then did Williams and Parrish both manage to miss "Koash" on three and five occasions, respectively, for a total of 8 omissions?

I think Ko[r]ash looks a lot like Pharoah, don't you?

BTW, I'll explain why the repeated Abr 2 text is not a dittograph if you reply to my query over here.

ROFL. You know what this reminds me of the most? This was one of Brent's favorite questions a decade ago on ZLMB. It's nice to see that you all are sticking to your guns ...

Ben M.

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if you can explain why the dittograph is not a transcription error, please do so (a dittograph is simply a repeated text--it's absolutely a dittograph--the question is whether or not it is a transcription error which attests to a parent text).

Perhaps it depends your dictionary, but I think the most common usage implies inadvertent repetition. Williams' duplication of 108 words was deliberate.

Note how well his repeated text fits with the hieratic characters on Parrish's manuscript, like two pieces of a puzzle.

Parrish_Williams.jpg

Given their habit of cutting and pasting the papyri, I think it's reasonable to assume they may have had similar plans for completing Parrish's copy.

Regarding the alleged "Haran" homoioteleuton, there are huge differences between this case and the biblical texts:

1) Most of the early New Testament scribes were illiterate; i.e., they couldn't read what they were copying; hence, the words were not in their heads as they went along. Williams, by comparison, was highly literate and processed the words into his memory.

2) Uncial script is far more susceptible to dittography than punctuated text with spaces between words and both upper and lower case letters.

3) Most biblical dittographs are single letters or single words. Dittographs arising from homoioteleutons typically involve one or two lines at most. There is nothing anywhere approaching 108 words spanning 13 lines of text.

4) Dittographs in the biblical texts are related to homoioteleutons by comparison with earlier/independent manuscripts, which actually show the similar endings in the parent texts. Since you don't have the Q manuscript, you can only speculate regarding the position of each "Haran" in that hypothetical document.

For this to be a transcription error, we would have to assume that Smith, Williams or both suddenly developed severe amnesia and partial blindness, such that he/they could neither see nor recall the paragraph he/they had just read/written on the same page.

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Mortal Man:

Williams' duplication of 108 words was deliberate.

Note how well his repeated text fits with the hieratic characters on Parrish's manuscript, like two pieces of a puzzle.

Given their habit of cutting and pasting the papyri, I think it's reasonable to assume they may have had similar plans for completing Parrish's copy.

Regarding the alleged "Haran" homoioteleuton, there are huge differences between this case and the biblical texts:

1) Most of the early New Testament scribes were illiterate; i.e., they couldn't read what they were copying; hence, the words were not in their head as they went along. Williams, by comparison, was highly literate and processed the words into his memory.

2) Uncial script is far more susceptible to dittography than punctuated text with spaces between words and upper and lower case letters.

3) Most biblical dittographs are single letters or single words. Dittographs arising from homoioteleutons typically involve one or two lines at most. There is nothing anywhere approaching 108 words and 13 lines of text.

4) Dittographs in the biblical texts are related to homoioteleutons by comparison with earlier/independent manuscripts, which actually show the similar endings in the parent text. Since you don't have the Q manuscript, you can only speculate regarding the position of each "Haran" in that hypothetical document.

For this to be a transcription error, we would have to assume that Smith, Williams or both suddenly developed severe amnesia and partial blindness, such that he/they couldn't see the text they had just read/written on the same page.

Since it is rather apparent that you have become another of his proxies, all I can say is that I sincerely hope

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1) Most of the early New Testament scribes were illiterate; i.e., they couldn't read what they were copying; hence, the words were not in their head as they went along.
I disagree with this.

Are you familiar with this work?

Eberhard W. G

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I disagree with this.

Are you familiar with this work?

Eberhard W. G

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Perhaps it depends your dictionary, but I think the most common usage implies inadvertent repetition. Williams' duplication of 108 words was deliberate.

Oh, you must have some killer evidence.

Note how well his repeated text fits with the hieratic characters on Parrish's manuscript, like two pieces of a puzzle.

Or like two different transcriptions of the same parent text.

Given their habit of cutting and pasting the papyri, I think it's reasonable to assume they may have had similar plans for completing Parrish's copy.

Cutting and pasting the papyri? Please explain how this bears on the Williams manuscript, and please be precise.

Next, why does Williams not put at least a bit of space between the lines? I've attached a picture of that page. Parrish's text ends half way down the page. Why not just write out the text on Parrish's own manuscript? There's even an Egyptian character there all by its lonesome waiting for text.

Regarding the alleged "Haran" homoioteleuton, there are huge differences between this case and the biblical texts

That's because there are huge differences between Williams and ancient scribes, and between Williams' text and biblical texts. For instance, all biblical scribes were very familiar with their texts, and many had large portions of it memorized. If we accept a parent text, how well did Williams know it?

1) Most of the early New Testament scribes were illiterate; i.e., they couldn't read what they were copying; hence, the words were not in their head as they went along.

A ludicrous and completely false claim, but it also ignores the fact that homoioteleuton occurred more frequently in Hebrew Bible manuscripts (those scribes were also not illiterate).

Williams, by comparison, was highly literate and processed the words into his memory.

And yet he still corrects "said unto Abraham" to "said unto Abraham me."

2) Uncial script is far more susceptible to dittography than punctuated text with spaces between words and upper and lower case letters.

And yet dittography happens all the time in non-uncial texts. In fact, it's considered by many to be the most common scribal error. Texts without proper spacing, paragraph breaks, etc., are especially susceptible. For instance, in the printer's manuscript of 2 Ne 17:4-5 we have the following dittograph as a result of homoioteleuton:

. . . the Son of Remaliah, because Syria, Ephraim, and the Son of Remaliah, because have taken evil Counsel against thee . . .

A comparison of occurrences of homoioteleuton was done between 17 papyri attesting to the book of Philippians in the NT and the primary manuscript of Piers Plowman. Among the 17 papyri of Philippians there were 14 omissions due to homoioteleuton or some other kind of haplography. This is surprisingly low. For the one Piers Plowman manuscript, 1 out of every 60 lines was omitted because of homoioteleuton. This is much higher. It turns out homoioteleuton is not more common in uncial texts.

3) Most biblical dittographs are single letters or single words. Dittographs arising from homoioteleutons involve one or two lines at most. There is nothing anywhere approaching 108 words spanning 13 lines of text.

Scribes of biblical texts also counted mow many letters were in each line of text and in each book to make sure their transcriptions were accurate. The Williams dittograph is a large dittograph, but that is hardly undermines the conclusion that it's homoioteleuton that's responsible for it. To respond directly to your a priori assumption, however, take a look at Codex W. Jo 6:56 repeats 5 lines of text (139 letters) because of homoioteleuton. Matt 4:21-22 on the same manuscript omits 220 letters because of homoioteleuton. That's 10 lines of text on that manuscript. Jo 5:11-12 of the same manuscript omits 69 letters. Matt 15:18: 44 letters. Jo 21:4: 49 letters. Luke 17:35: 65 letters.

4) Dittographs in the biblical texts are related to homoioteleutons by comparison with earlier/independent manuscripts, which actually show the similar endings in the parent texts. Since you don't have the Q manuscript, you can only speculate regarding the position of each "Haran" in that hypothetical document.

This is nonsensical. One occurrence of "Haran" existed on the parent text before the other. No other positioning needs to be speculated.

For this to be a transcription error, we would have to assume that Smith, Williams or both suddenly developed severe amnesia and partial blindness, such that he/they could neither see nor recall the paragraph they had just read/written on the same page.

Or they had to have been away from the text overnight, over the weekend, or for some other extended period of time. This has been repeated since the theory was first posited that this is homoioteleuton.

Your reasoning is severely flawed, and your theory cannot possibly hold.

post-3610-090442300 1282676668_thumb.jpg

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But that is the least of Mortal Man's (Metcalfe's)

What do you mean by this? Are you assuming MM is a sock puppet?

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What do you mean by this? Are you assuming MM is a sock puppet?

William and his sockpuppet/sycophant believe that Mortal Man is taking dictation from Brent. He has wrongly accused me of the same numerous times in the past. It's a favorite meme of his.

Hopefully his analysis of the KEP is more perceptive than his analyses of our posts.

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William and his sockpuppet/sycophant believe that Mortal Man is taking dictation from Brent. He has wrongly accused me of the same numerous times in the past. It's a favorite meme of his.

I'm pleased to have apparently acquired a handful of enthusiastic supporters to lend a little bit of counter-weight to the legion of fawning sycophants you and Metcalfe have accumulated over the years. Granted, my half-dozen doesn't compare to the several score you guys can call upon at any given point in time, nor are mine as shamelessly indiscriminate, but they make up in quality what they lack in quantity. :P

In any case, given what few indications I have been able to garner over the years, I do agree with Nomad's assessment that Andrew's explanation of the dittograph is, more than likely, an accurate representation of Metcalfe's thoughts on the matter. If not, then I invite Brent to articulate his position--for once.

Also, despite your disagreements on some minor points here and there, I think it would be quite accurate to characterize your views as being more or less identical to those of Metcalfe when it comes to the meaning and purpose of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.

Hopefully his analysis of the KEP is more perceptive than his analyses of our posts.

I am confident that both are equally perceptive.

I am also confident that anyone attempting to argue against the conclusion that the homoioteleuton-facilitated dittograph on page 4 of Ab2 is a visual copying error will be making a serious strategic error. To turn Metcalfe's summary dismissal around to its original author, rest assured that Williams' redundancy would be considered a dittograph by anyone who understands even the rudiments of textual criticism.

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I'm pleased to have apparently acquired a handful of enthusiastic supporters to lend a little bit of counter-weight to the legion of fawning sycophants you and Metcalfe have accumulated over the years. Granted, my half-dozen doesn't compare to the several score you guys can call upon at any given point in time, nor are mine as shamelessly indiscriminate, but they make up in quality what they lack in quantity. :P

In any case, given what few indications I have been able to garner over the years, I do agree with Nomad's assessment that Andrew's explanation of the dittograph is, more than likely, an accurate representation of Metcalfe's thoughts on the matter. If not, then I invite Brent to articulate his position--for once.

Also, despite your disagreements on some minor points here and there, I think it would be quite accurate to characterize your views as being more or less identical to those of Metcalfe when it comes to the meaning and purpose of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.

I am confident that both are equally perceptive.

I am also confident that anyone attempting to argue against the conclusion that the homoioteleuton-facilitated dittograph on page 4 of Ab2 is a visual copying error will be making a serious strategic error. To turn Metcalfe's summary dismissal around to its original author, rest assured that Williams' redundancy would be considered a dittograph by anyone who understands even the rudiments of textual criticism.

Let's see. Metcalfe's e-mail to Graham (at your link) is dated October 18, 2006. That's . . . . [counting on my fingers] . . . . almost four years ago! And still no critical text of the KEP. Some things never change--apparently. I don't know a homoioteleuton from a homocysteine, but I know delay and posturing when I see it.

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Chris,

Let me offer a couple of points as I see them.

1: Mortal Man is using images which I presume he got from Brent (of course, I could be wrong on that point).

2: Mortal Man asked this question:

"I think Ko[r]ash looks a lot like Pharoah, don't you?"

I distinctly remember a discussion I had with Brent Metcalfe back in 2002 on ZLMB (November 20th, 2002 to be precise). Brent made this comment to me:

"... I suspect that the phrase "and also a god like unto that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt" means quite literally a god who looks like Pharaoh. I'm curious, Ben

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Mortal Man, are you presenting Brent Metcalfe's theories?

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William,

Brent and I may indeed agree about many things, but I think for myself, thanks.

Peace,

-Chris

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Chris,

Let me offer a couple of points as I see them.

1: Mortal Man is using images which I presume he got from Brent (of course, I could be wrong on that point).

2: Mortal Man asked this question:

"I think Ko[r]ash looks a lot like Pharoah, don't you?"

I distinctly remember a discussion I had with Brent Metcalfe back in 2002 on ZLMB (November 20th, 2002 to be precise). Brent made this comment to me:

"... I suspect that the phrase "and also a god like unto that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt" means quite literally a god who looks like Pharaoh. I'm curious, Ben

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Although it's somewhat outside the scope of the topic of this thread, I wanted to mention that I have just realized (duh!) that the top line of Ab2(Williams), the line that reads, "sign of the fifth degree of the second part," is a secondary emendation and was added to the document after the text that follows was written.

This is consistent with several of my announced findings, and I will elaborate further on its implications at some point in the near future.

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Ben,

I noticed the Pharaoh/Korash thing on my own and blogged about it a while back. I'm not at all surprised to hear that Brent noticed it earlier, but the point is, Andrew doesn't have to be receiving off-board coaching from Brent to raise the issue.

Peace,

-Chris

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The problem though, Chris, is with the shared faulty reading of the text ... I am not saying that Brent is necessarily coaching Andrew, I am suggesting that Andrew may be forwarding Brent's ideas though. By the way, when you said that you blogged on the subject, did you blog on it using the faulty reading of the text as well?

Ben M.

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Just thought I would announce a major discovery I have made this morning: I can conclusively demonstrate that the characters in Ab2 were added after the BoA text was already written.

I will present the textual evidence as soon as possible ...

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Mortal Man, are you presenting Brent Metcalfe's theories?

If you're asking if Brent is "coaching" me, the answer is no. We are in email contact but never at any time has he suggested I post anything. I am a big boy and can post all by myself.

As for the Imsety/Korash=Pharaoh thing, that is a discussion that goes way back and yes, I did first learn about it from Brent's posts.

Regarding my spliced image of Parrish's manuscript with William's repeated text (with a notch cut out for the hieratic character), I got the idea for the Photoshop experiment from a couple of Chris's posts on MDB. If the theory becomes widely accepted then I'll be happy to take full credit for it. If the theory falls flat on its face then I'll be happy to attribute it all to Chris.

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If you're asking if Brent is "coaching" me, the answer is no.

Not specifically, I'm wondering if you're getting your ideas from him, coaching or otherwise.

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