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jskains

KEP - How important was it?

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Hence, for me, the idea that the work represents pure revelatory material given to Joseph Smith as he sought to interpret these ancient documents is preferable than the alternative, i.e. that Joseph translated a pseudepigraphic Book of Abraham created by some random Jewish author from the Hellenized era.

That's as good a theory as I've seen. However, I don't think critics of the church would like it.

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That's as good a theory as I've seen. However, I don't think critics of the church would like it.

They might not, Deborah, but it doesn't really matter. Accepting the BofA as scripture is a spiritual, not an historical issue.

However, when all is said and done, the BofA presents a restoration of many profound ancient religious truths concerning God, man, and the universe that for me personally provide important intellectual evidence for the inspiration behind the text.

If we have the right perspective, the Book of Abraham is one of the great pieces of evidence in support of the Restoration. Wasting time on problematic apologetic theories regarding its origin detracts both believers and critics from focusing on the book's impressive internal ties to the ancient world.

If we look at the content, the BofA is an amazing book!

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Wasting time on problematic apologetic theories regarding its origin detracts both believers and critics from focusing on the book's impressive internal ties to the ancient world.

That is something I have not considered.

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If we look at the content, the BofA is an amazing book!

I totally agree. As I said it's one of my favorite works.

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This, of course is seprate issue. I agree that "the idea that the work represents pure revelatory material given to Joseph Smith as he sought to interpret these ancient documents is preferable".

I don't see it as a separate issue. With this perspective, it doesn't matter if Joseph used the KEP to produce the BofA, Mr. Schryver's analysis is really "Much Ado About Nothing." Hence, Latter-day Saints like myself who are interested in the issue from a purely historical perspective are free to think critically about Mr. Schryver's textual proposals.

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Hence, Latter-day Saints like myself who are interested in the issue from a purely historical perspective are free to think critically about Mr. Schryver's textual proposals.

Isn't that the point of this discussion?

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I don't see it as a separate issue. With this perspective, it doesn't matter if Joseph used the KEP to produce the BofA, Mr. Schryver's analysis is really "Much Ado About Nothing." Hence, Latter-day Saints like myself who are interested in the issue from a purely historical perspective are free to think critically about Mr. Schryver's textual proposals.

That is one way of looking at it. What I meant is that some of the points your brought up have nothing what so ever to do with Will's theroy. We are probably just saying the same thing at this point.

I am not sure what you are tying to say with your last part of the last sentance. Oh well.

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Isn't that the point of this discussion?

It should be. Unfortunately, however, since Mr. Schryver's presentation has been hyped as the salvation of the BofA from critics, many Latter-day Saints seem to have found themselves in a position comparable to George Armstrong Custer, with the combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho dismantling the BofA.

How we ever let Mr. Schryver lead this charge, I'll never know.

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One thing that I have noticed is that the detailed research materials I have seen aren't related to the whole cipher business at all. My impression is that while Schryver proposed the cipher explanation as a working hypothesis on what the EAG were being made for, it is very much a secondary, much less important, aspect of his arguments. Not that he has abandoned it or doesn't think it has merit anymore. Just that he thinks it is not nearly as important as the question of whether or not the EAG is dependent on a pre-existing text of the BoA. He has mentioned to me that if he had it to do all over again, he would de-emphasize the cipher discussion even more than he did, just because he feels like people have focused too much on that at the expense of the primary thesis, which is the dependency question. Right at the end of his FAIR presentation, he said this:

Then he concludes with this statement:

I only mention this because I believe some people continue to focus way too much on the KEP/cipher key hypothesis at the expense of the more important and compelling issue of its dependency on an already translated BoA. If Schryver is right about that, then all the arguments surrounding the Abraham manuscripts and the Book of Breathings text become moot.

I have started to think about this a bit.

Wasn't part of Will's presention a fact that very little (or no) egypitan from the papyri was found on the EAG?

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I've now been successfully distracted from getting any serious work done this afternoon, which is exactly what I wanted to avoid. I can only blame myself.

Over an out for now.

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I've now been successfully distracted from getting any serious work done this afternoon, which is exactly what I wanted to avoid. I can only blame myself.

Over an out for now.

Your in good comapny. I get distracted all the time.

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Seriously? The critics arent the ones who first believed the Sense text was the source. The Mormons were, and for good reason too. Only when it turned out that the Egyptian found therein had nothing to do with the Book of Abraham did they feel the need to hit reverse and floor it.

Call for references please, Kevin Graham. Which "Mormons" (whom you therefore automatically despise) "first believed the Sense [sic] text was the source?"

Regards,

Pahoran

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That's as good a theory as I've seen. However, I don't think critics of the church would like it.

As someone who is regularly denounced as a "career anti-Mormon in training" by the aforementioned "Schryverite faction," I hope you won't mind my saying that I fully endorse David's approach and message.

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Wasn't part of Will's presention a fact that very little (or no) egypitan from the papyri was found on the EAG?

No. There were many, many characters from the papyri in the EAG. William's point was that most of these were left uninterpreted. The interpreted characters were largely (though certainly not entirely) invented characters not found on the papyrus.

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[iRL Name elided], please refrain from saying such things. I do not "despise" people for being Mormon, but the attempt at well-poisoning is gladly received as proof that you're giving up the debate before it even starts.

Excuse me Kevin, but as you perfectly well know, your response is assymetrical.

I did not call you Kevin Graham because it was your IRL name; I called you that because that is the posting handle under which you were previously banned from this forum. Had you been posting under something appropriately symbolic -- such as, say, "Korihor" -- I would, having guessed your identity, have called you by that handle.

"MikeyMike" is the umpteenth sockpuppet under which you have flouted, and tried to circumvent, the rules of this forum.

I guess you really are too insecure to allow any discussion to go on without sticking your oar into it.

Now: it happens that Hugh Nibley, the first person you cited, was also the first person to point out that J.S. Papyri I, XI and X formed what was then known as a "Book of Breathings." Just to restore a little of the perspective that you are trying to obscure. The fact that a few mediocre minds collapsed with their assumptions says nothing at all about the truth claims of the Church of Jesus Christ; desperately as you wish that it were otherwise.

Regards,

Pahoran

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It should be. Unfortunately, however, since Mr. Schryver's presentation has been hyped as the salvation of the BofA from critics, many Latter-day Saints seem to have found themselves in a position comparable to George Armstrong Custer, with the combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho dismantling the BofA.

How we ever let Mr. Schryver lead this charge, I'll never know.

I'm told that Will Schryver's hypothesis has been totally destroyed.

I guess I missed that.

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Pahoran, please refrain from saying such things. I do not "despise" people for being Mormon, but the attempt at well-poisoning is gladly received as proof that you're giving up the debate before it even starts. As for your CFR:

Hugh Nibley:

"Within a week of the publication of the papyri students began calling my attention, in fact, within a day or two, I think it was Witorf [?], called my attention to the fact that, the very definite fact that, one of the fragments seemed to supply all of the symbols for the Book of Abraham. This was the little "Sensen" scroll. Here are the symbols. The symbols are arranged here, and the interpretation goes along here and this interpretation turns out to be the Book of Abraham. Well, what about that? Here is the little "Sensen," because that name occurs frequently in it, the papyrus, in which a handful of Egyptian symbols was apparently expanded in translation to the whole Book of Abraham. This raises a lot of questions. It doesn't answer any questions, unless we're mind readers" (Speech given by Hugh Nibley, University of Utah, May 20, 1968).

"...the presence on the scene of some of the original papyri, including those used by the Prophet in preparing the text of the Book of Abraham and the Facsimiles with their commentaries, has not raised a single new question, though, as we shall see, it has solved some old ones."(Improvement Era, May, 1968, p54)

LDS scholar Richley Crapo:

"In December of 1967, I was able to examine the original papyri in the vaults of the BYU library and obtain one of the first released sets of photographic copies.... A more careful examination of these revealed the startling fact that one of the papyri of the Church collection, known as the Small Sen-Sen Papyrus, contained the same series of heiratic symbols, which had been copied, in the same order, into the Book of Abraham manuscript next to verses of that book! In other words, there was every indication that the collection of papyri in the hands of the Church contained the source which led to a production of the Book of Abraham. It was naturally this document which I immediately began to translate" (Book of Abraham Symposium, LDS Institute of Religion, Salt Lake City, April 3, 1970, p. 27).

James R. Clark speaks on the KEP manuscripts:

"I have in my possession a photostatic copy of the manuscript of the Prophet Joseph Smith's translation of Abraham 1:1 to 2:18. This manuscript was bought by Wilford Wood in 1945 from Charles Bidamon, son of the man who married Emma after the death of the Prophet. The original of this manuscript is in the Church Historian's Office in Salt Lake City. The characters from which our present book of Abraham was translated are down the left-hand column and Joseph Smith's translation opposite, so we know approximately how much material was translated from each character" (Pearl of Great Price Conference, December 10, 1960, 1964 ed., pp. 60-61)

This flies in the face of Nibley's apologetic claim that there was no way one character would translate to dozens of words, therefore that isn't what he was doing. James Clark disagreed.

Of course, I'm hardly surprised this stuff is news to you. As I said before, most folks here are simply out of the loop because they rely on the annual FAIR conference to supply them with their fill of information. That and the FARMS reviews.

The point is, when it became clear the Egyptian didn't translate to anything remotely similar to the Book of Abraham, Hugh Nibley began his apologetic circus by claiming the KEP were nothing more than Smith's scribes trying to try their hand at translation because they were "miffed" at the Prophet's superior knowledge. This is ridiculous and without support, but it served as a fathomable scenario that could exclude the Prophet as the project's leader. Gradually, the popular apologetic position fell along those lines, especially after Nibley's failure to breath life into Crapo's "supercryptogram" theory. Eventually, it became common belief that the Papyri we had must not be the source for the Book of Abraham.

But that wasn't always so, as evidenced above. Hugh Nibley said his students started to immediately point out the obvious connections. Everyone in the Church who knew about the discovery expected the Prophet to be vindicated once the documents were translated by Egyptologists. Why? Because they believed these were the source for the Book of Abraham. Good grief, the published version of the BoA contains Facsimile #1 and everyone can see the newly discovered facsimile. They knew the connection. They knew Abr 1:12 placed the facsimile at the beginning of the papyrus. Their line of reasoning was very sound. That is precisely the same line of reasoning the "critics" follow to this day, and yet they are accused of being irrational by modern-day apologists. Oh my, double-standards are fun.

Incidentally, Grant Heward was another Mormon who examined the documents and arrived to conclusions that eventually got him excommunicated. Mormon scholar Edward Ashment, who worked for the Church translation dept, followed down the same path of inquiry, discovery, shock and deconversion. The evidence was simply overwhelming. Joseph Smith could not translate ancient documents, and that shatters the foundational claims of the Church.

Joseph could not translate ancient documents in a traditional way, that is true. And I can see why those who picture the Prophet evaluating the Egyptian papyri or the Nephite characters in the same way a modern linguist considers a foreign script would find the historical evidence troubling.

For those of us, however, who recognize that there was nothing whatsoever traditional about the way Joseph translated ancient texts, these issues are simply interesting insights into the inspired way Joseph worked with these ancient sources.

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Once again a Kevin Graham sock puppet has emerged. As always all his posts have and will be deleted.

Nemesis

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No. There were many, many characters from the papyri in the EAG. William's point was that most of these were left uninterpreted. The interpreted characters were largely (though certainly not entirely) invented characters not found on the papyrus.

Ah, thanks for the comments Chris. I did not want to mis represent what is factual.

I think that is an interesting point, don't you?

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No. There were many, many characters from the papyri in the EAG. William's point was that most of these were left uninterpreted. The interpreted characters were largely (though certainly not entirely) invented characters not found on the papyrus.

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Silly guy. :P

Again, so what if the Book of Abraham was there before the EAG? So what if Joseph Smith received that by revelation first, and then after the fact, he decided to show some of the "mechanics" that would be involved in making a "methodological" translation? This is why the dependence issue is what is moot.

Ok, so now you would have us somehow view the EAG differently than the EXPLANATIONS for the Facsimiles? Are you seriously going to tell us that the Explanations of the Facsimiles are NOT translations? This is what makes no sense whatsoever from any of your/Schryver's arguments. Because, firstly you are trying to argue for the KEP/EAG as if it exists in a vacuum. You are trying to argue for it outside of the context of the rest of the evidence at hand for Joseph Smith's translations, and you are trying to treat it differently than the rest of the translations.

Because just because a value is "assigned" a some value in the sense of a cipher, which I agree with somewhat, it doesn't mean it isn't a translation, and that the ancient Egyptian meaning of the item being translated does not fundamentally relate to the theme of the substance of the translation. This is why schryver's theory doesn't work, even though he is right about the cipher. Because the problem is, the hieroglyphs and characters in question are absolutely NOT arbitrary or generic. The core Egyptian meanings ABSOLUTELY relate to either the root meaning, the core meaning of the theme or subject or substance of the translation, or the heiroglyphs relate VISUALLY IN FORM to other hieroglyphs that translate CONSISTENTLY, or they relate as a homonym or metonym in one or more of three (or maybe four) languages, depending on each case, either Greek, Egyptian or Hebrew (or Aramaic), with huge word plays between those languages, which we would expect from a Syncretist in Greco-Roman Egypt, as those are the common languages he would have known in the area. They are not arbitrarily selected AT ALL.

Because everything that you are saying is trying to make the EAG/KEP out to be some special case, when Mormons all understand that everything that Joseph Smith did with Egyptian materials outside of the EAG was translation activity. This is what is so dumb about this. Is you want us to treat the word "explanation" in the EAG differently than it is used in the EXPLANATIONS FOR THE FACSIMILES. Why should it be? What you are missing entirely is that the EAG treats each character of the Sensen as its own little facsimile for which the EAG provides an EXPLANATION which is a TRANSLATION. This is why the text of the Sensen by Joseph Smith is not treated as text at all. Each ideogram in the Sensen Papyrus is treated as its own little facsimile for which an explanation/translation is provided. This is why its wrong for us to think of the Sensen text as text for the Book of Abraham at all. Though the Sensen is text Egyptologically (i.e. the Book of Breathings), the original "text" for the Book of Abraham is nothing of the sort, because it treats those same hieroglyphs in an entirely different system of interpretation. It is a bunch of explanations for a bunch of little "facsimiles". This is the grand twist about what the EAG actually is, and how in the Book of Abraham context, the Sensen Text is not the Book of Abraham text at all, or in other words, calling it a "text" that translates as if it were actual text is not what it is about at all. Each little facsimile is a mnemonic for which an explanation is provided in the same manner that each numbered item in each Facsimile for the book of Abraham has an explanation provided. Each numbered item in each Facsimile is a mnemonic with an explanation, with some core Egyptian meaning that relates to the theme of the explanation for which Joseph Smith provided. The same with each hieroglyph in the Sensen. And in my reverse engineering of the KEP that I am doing at this moment in my paper, I show this to be the case. But these "assignments" of meaning were made after the fact by another guy imposing a different system of interpretation on an already existing text, not by the original author of the Sensen text who had a different idea in mind. But the fact that the assignments of meaning were deliberate means that the guy that made the assignments of meaning for the hieroglyphs had in mind that they were Abrahamic, or that he meant to represent Abrahamic ideas using those hieroglyphs. In that sense, the Sensen becomes a "magic chalkboard" or template and the hieroglyphs become the chalk around which a system of interpretation must be engineered to use them in a way that is "magical". This is like imposing a value on a variable in computer programming or algebra. 2 + 2 = x. The value x is 4. While this is fundamentally the same idea as the cipher, the difference with the Egyptian characters is that they are chosen to represent something much more carefully than that. They are chosen in the manner they are because the root meaning or *other* attributes of the character relate to what the Syncretist was trying to convey. In that sense, they are much less arbitrary or generic than Schryver was trying to make them out to be. And since this is the case, a 19th century person with no knowledge of Egyptian could not be the person to do this "cipher."

You have no evidence whatsoever that each item in the KEP for which an explanation is provided should not be treated like each numbered item for the Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham. And to treat the use of the word EXPLANATION in the KEP differently than it is used in the Facsimiles for the book of Abraham is mere sleight of hand, yet another bamboozlement of members of the Church with bad apologetics. See, this is the problem with bad apologetics. Is you are inviting unsuspecting, gullible people to have faith in something that isn't so. Not that apologetics can rationally guarantee that an explanation is "true." It just means that the apologist has to do his due diligence to do his best. In Schryver's explanation, as well as a lot of other desperate attempts at apologetics, it is the EXPLAINING AWAY factor that shows that something has been forced on something else in the apologetic. It has been FORCED TO FIT.

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That's as good a theory as I've seen. However, I don't think critics of the church would like it.

Speaking as a critic, I must say, I really like David's theory.

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