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The Lion Couch Vignette Attached To The Hor Document Of Fellowship


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#1 Olavarria

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 09:58 AM

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Next in the roll of Horos is a vignette that we know as Facsimile 1. The facsimiles from the Book of Abraham are three illustrations floating like islands in the sea of thousands of pages of words in our scriptures; hence they draw interest. Despite that interest, there is no emphasis put on them in the church. Of the current curriculum materials, Facsimile 1 is mentioned only once, in an optional enrichment activity in a lesson for eight- through eleven-year-olds.[79] Facsimile 2 has been mentioned only once in general conferences of the church in the last sixty-five years.[80] I cannot help but wonder if the critics attack the facsimiles because they are relatively insignificant in the church.

The facsimiles, like all vignettes, present a number of challenges, and it is worth remembering a few things about (1) the placement of vignettes, (2) the drawing of vignettes, and (3) the identification of figures on vignettes.

(1) With regard to the placement of vignettes, I will provide a number of quotations from Egyptologists about Late Period documents in general and Ptolemaic texts in particular. The list is lengthy because it is a common thing, but everyone seems to want to treat the Joseph Smith Papyri as a special exception to a general rule, and I do not think we should do so. From Malcolm Mosher, who specializes in Late Period religious texts: "In documents from the 21st Dynasty on, misalignment of the text and vignette of a spell can occur, with the text preceding the vignette, or vice versa."[81] "While this type of problem can be observed sporadically from the late New Kingdom on, it is more common in the Late Period."[82] "The problem is particularly acute where more spells are textually represented for such a group than there are vignettes. . . . It can be difficult to determine which spells have a vignette and which do not."[83] "A similar problem to misalignment frequently encountered in Late documents is where the vignette for a particular spell is associated with the wrong text and the correct text is not found in the document."[84] From Henk Milde, probably the foremost authority on papyrus vignettes: "Unfortunately, the connection between text and picture is not always clear cut."[85] "One has to take into account at least the following difficulties in vignette research, that are here placed in eight categories. . . . 1. Spatial discrepancy between text and vignette. . . . 2. Incorrect combination of text and vignette in the original. . . . 3. Incorrect combination of text and vignette in studies and editions of the Book of the Dead. . . . 4. Unclear relation between text and vignette. . . . 5. Transfer or omission of pictorial elements. . . . 6. Emendation of the picture. . . . 7. Combination and contamination of pictorial elements of different vignettes. . . . 8. Conglomeration of texts under a vignette."[86] From Jean-Claude Goyon, who has published so many Late Period Papyri: The vignettes "often do not have but a very distant connection with the discussion written beneath."[87] From Marc ƒtienne, of the Louvre: "The vignettes do not always correspond to the chapters which the text prescribes."[88] This is particularly the case in Documents of Breathings Made by Isis: "The relation between the vignettes and the text is not straightforward. . . . The vignettes are not meant to illustrate the contents of the composition."[89] In other words, the vignettes in the Document of Breathings Made by Isis usually do not match the text and may not even belong to it. This would explain why "the vignette of the P. Joseph Smith I" represents "new themes and contain[s] a variety of unique features."[90]The vignette in P. Joseph Smith I is, in fact, unique. After looking at vignettes in thousands of documents from the Saite period on, I have not found any exact match or anything really very close.

(2) Furthermore, in vignettes from the Ptolemaic period, "the genders of the various figures are often incorrect. . . . The genders of priests and deities are occasionally confused."[91]

(3) Finally, I wish to mention something about the perils of identifying iconography in vignettes. The bulk of iconographic study in Egyptology is based on New Kingdom material, and there is a danger in applying such iconographic experience to Ptolemaic materials from a millennium later. For instance, in the New Kingdom, a jackal-headed figure might be Anubis, but in the Ptolemaic period, jackal-headed figures might be Osiris, or Shesmu, or Isdes, or the Khetiu, while Anubis might have a human or lion head.

Egyptologists, and many others, point to parallels in the roof chapels of the Dendara Temple as parallels for Facsimile 1. There are over forty lion couch scenes in these chapels, most of which are labeled as local variants of the same scene. What the critics do not do, however, is read the inscriptions. In the Dendara texts, the word for the lion couch, nm.t,[92] is either homophonous or identical with the word nm.t, "abattoir, slaughterhouse,"[93] as well as a term for "offerings."[94] This is picked up in the inscriptions. For example, in the central scene in the innermost eastern chapel, we read, "He will not exist nor will his name exist, since you will destroy his town, cast down the walls of his house, and everyone who is in it will be set on fire, you will demolish his district, you will stab his confederates,[95] his flesh being ashes, the evil conspirator consigned to the lion couch / slaughterhouse,[96] so that he will no longer exist."[97] In another scene, Bastet (who is not pictured) "is your protection every day; she has commanded her messengers[98] to slaughter your enemies."[99] Symmetrical with this scene we have another scene with a broken inscription that mentions "ashes" and continues, "to burn his flesh with fire."[100] So here we have both a scene and descriptions that parallel the Book of Abraham. Furthermore, in the same chapel we have depictions of Anubis and the sons of Horus (presumably the figures under the lion couch in Facsimile 1) holding knives. Anubis is here identified as the one "who smites the adversaries with his might, since the knife is in his hand, to expel the one who treads in transgression; I am the violent one who came forth from god, after having cut off the heads of the confederates of him whose name is evil."[101] The human-headed son of Horus is identified above his head as "the one who repulses enemies" and "who comes tearing out (šd) the enemies who butchers (ts) the sinners."[102] The baboon-headed son of Horus says: "I have slaughtered those who create injuries in the house of God in his presence; I take away the breath from his nostrils."[103] The jackal-headed son of Horus says: "I cause the hostile foreigners to retreat."[104] Finally, the falcon-headed son of Horus says: "I have removed rebellion (3y)."[105] So the inscriptions from Dendara associate the lion couch scene with the sacrificial slaughter of enemies. Nor are they the only depictions of lion couch scenes to do so. A papyrus in Berlin, for example, contains instructions that it is "to stab (or cut)[106] your disobedient ones,[107] to sacrifice your apostates, to overthrow your enemies every day."[108] "May your flames shoot out against your enemies each and every day so that you remain while your adversaries are overthrown."[109] Another frequently occurring lion couch scene contains the description "the lords of truth . . . cause the sacrifice of the evildoers."[110] This is interpreted as being either "Seth and Isdes"[111] (a knife-wielding jackal-headed deity),[112] or "Sobek (a deity usually depicted as a crocodile), who is in the water."[113] The Sons of Horus, "Imseti, Hapi, Duamutef, and Qebehsenuef,"[114] are described as forming "the council around (or behind) Osiris who cause the sacrifice of the evildoers"[115] by "placing knives into the evil doers" and "incinerating the souls of the evil-doers."[116] They are said to be "put in place by Anubis."[117] Excluding a sacrificial dimension to lion couch scenes is un-Egyptian, even if we cannot come up with one definitive reading at this time.


Edited by Pedro A. Olavarria, 26 October 2011 - 10:35 AM.

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#2 Zakuska

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 10:15 AM

Hey Pedro, could you fix the fonts on the quoted block. Very hard to read. Thanks.
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#3 floatingboy

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 10:22 AM

1. so, sometimes vignettes don't match the text of the scroll they're on, or at least their relationship to the text is not straightforward. what would you say is the relationship of facsimile #1 and the known egyptological translation of the text that follows it? do they coincide or do they not?

2. genders are "often incorrect" and or "occasionally confused". are they in facsimile #2? does the apparent gender match or not match the inscription above each person?

3. lion couch scenes have been known to be accompanied by text that speaks of eliminating enemies and infidels. is that the case with facsimile #1?
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#4 Olavarria

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 10:34 AM

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For what it's worth, at least one Theban priest from around the same time as Hor, wrote a love charm that mentions Abraham and contains a lion couch scene.


Read it Here
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#5 Olavarria

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 11:00 AM

1. so, sometimes vignettes don't match the text of the scroll they're on, or at least their relationship to the text is not straightforward. what would you say is the relationship of facsimile #1 and the known egyptological translation of the text that follows it? do they coincide or do they not?

Well, read the translation and tell me;) Facsimile 3 definitly does have something to do with the Hor document.

As for Facsimile 1, My best guess and its an unegyptological guess because I dont know anything. The lioncouch scene isnt referenced at all and no other "Book of Breathings" that we know of has this vignette. But here is my guess:


(1) [The Osiris, God’s father, ] priest of Amon-Re, king of the gods, priest of Min, who
massacres his enemies. 1priest of Khonsu, who is powerful in Thebes.
2(2) . . . Hôr, justified, the
son of one of like titles,3master of the secrets, god’s priest, Usirwer, justified, [born of the house
wife, the musician (3) of Amon-Re,] Taykhebyt. May your soul live in their midst. May you be
buried at the head of the West. . . . (4) . . . . . . . (5) May you give to him beautiful and useful
things on the west [of Thebes] like the mountains of Manu.

I cant find the paper, but the priest of Min would perform human sacrifices on criminals. So the vignette might be a representation of Hor killing someone. JUST A GUESS,



2. genders are "often incorrect" and or "occasionally confused". are they in facsimile #2? does the apparent gender match or not match the inscription above each person?

I think he's talking about Fac 3

3. lion couch scenes have been known to be accompanied by text that speaks of eliminating enemies and infidels. is that the case with facsimile #1?


See 1
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#6 floatingboy

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 11:38 AM

yes, i did mean facsimile 3. that being the case, how do you answer that question?
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#7 William Schryver

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 12:03 PM

yes, i did mean facsimile 3. that being the case, how do you answer that question?

Facsimile 3, in my opinion, presents a fascinating relationship to a text purporting to be from Abraham, from the standpoint of the ancient interpretations associated with this "judgment scene." I can't seem to turn up, via the board search function, the old thread where David Bokovoy talked about the interpretation of a Sumerian judgment scene. Perhaps if he sees this thread he'll reprise what he had to say about it back then. As I recall the meaning of this scene, it is something we would easily relate to things associated with our temple worship. Very interesting stuff.

At any rate, as I understand the use of these illustrative vignettes, whether those associated with the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or the one associated with hypocephali, they are more or less generic templates that can be used to convey a rather wide variety of meanings. Something like Facsimile 3, for example, turns up in a variety of places and in a variety of contexts, throughout the Near East, from ~3000 B.C.E. clear through the Roman era.
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#8 Olavarria

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 05:35 PM

yes, i did mean facsimile 3. that being the case, how do you answer that question?

It all depends on what the missing portions of the BoA say about Shulem, Olimlah and that whole situation.
Why did Abraham wear priesthood regalia during an "astronomy lesson"?
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#9 Olavarria

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 05:37 PM

Facsimile 3, in my opinion, presents a fascinating relationship to a text purporting to be from Abraham, from the standpoint of the ancient interpretations associated with this "judgment scene." I can't seem to turn up, via the board search function, the old thread where David Bokovoy talked about the interpretation of a Sumerian judgment scene. Perhaps if he sees this thread he'll reprise what he had to say about it back then. As I recall the meaning of this scene, it is something we would easily relate to things associated with our temple worship. Very interesting stuff.

At any rate, as I understand the use of these illustrative vignettes, whether those associated with the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or the one associated with hypocephali, they are more or less generic templates that can be used to convey a rather wide variety of meanings. Something like Facsimile 3, for example, turns up in a variety of places and in a variety of contexts, throughout the Near East, from ~3000 B.C.E. clear through the Roman era.

try yuotube
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#10 floatingboy

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 10:06 PM

there are missing portions of the BofA? i don't see how that or will's post relate to my question. all i'm asking is if the apparent gender of each person in facsimile #3 matches what the inscription above them says about their gender. let me look it up so as to answer my own question for you:

from left to right:

-looks like a female, and is said to be Isis (goddess).
-looks like a male, and is said to be Osiris (god).
-looks like a female, and is said to be Maat (goddess).
-looks like a male, and is said to be Hor, the deceased (man).
-looks like a male, and is said to be Anubis (the jackal-headed god).

it appears that, at least in the context that the accompanying text supplies, that all apparent genders are what they seem to be. but it is interesting that in other such scenes, gender is not fixed.

regarding your answers to my other questions, so if there is even an oblique reference to someone slaughtering enemies, then that must be what the lion couch scene is meant to represent? what about the fact that this drawing accompanied a dead person who had been mummified and whose viscera had been placed in canopic jars below his funeral bed, while also expressing the hope for his future resurrection with the help of Anubis? seems like a pretty level-headed assumption, but then again i'm no egyptologist either. :)
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#11 William Schryver

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 07:00 AM

there are missing portions of the BofA? i don't see how that or will's post relate to my question. all i'm asking is if the apparent gender of each person in facsimile #3 matches what the inscription above them says about their gender. let me look it up so as to answer my own question for you:

from left to right:

-looks like a female, and is said to be Isis (goddess).
-looks like a male, and is said to be Osiris (god).
-looks like a female, and is said to be Maat (goddess).
-looks like a male, and is said to be Hor, the deceased (man).
-looks like a male, and is said to be Anubis (the jackal-headed god).

it appears that, at least in the context that the accompanying text supplies, that all apparent genders are what they seem to be. but it is interesting that in other such scenes, gender is not fixed.

regarding your answers to my other questions, so if there is even an oblique reference to someone slaughtering enemies, then that must be what the lion couch scene is meant to represent? what about the fact that this drawing accompanied a dead person who had been mummified and whose viscera had been placed in canopic jars below his funeral bed, while also expressing the hope for his future resurrection with the help of Anubis? seems like a pretty level-headed assumption, but then again i'm no egyptologist either. :)

You're missing the point here. These "judgment scenes," of which Facsimile 3 is a typical example, don't always have female characters in the positions seen in the vignette that appears with the Book of Abraham. But they have characters in the various positions: the initiate, the character accompanying the initiate, the god on his throne, etc. What Joseph Smith appears to have done is give a correct interpretation of the "judgment scene" vignette as applied to the story of Abraham he has received by revelation. Simple as that, and quite ancient Near Eastern in the way it was done. That is what is so impressive.
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#12 floatingboy

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 08:55 AM

What Joseph Smith appears to have done is give a correct interpretation of the "judgment scene" vignette as applied to the story of Abraham he has received by revelation.


I think maybe you should've put the word "correct" in quotes, since it's subjective. Regardless of that, I was merely addressing the claims made in the OP, that being

Furthermore, in vignettes from the Ptolemaic period, "the genders of the various figures are often incorrect. . . . The genders of priests and deities are occasionally confused.


I could buy this when applied to facsimile #3 if the inscriptions next to the figures contradicted the apparent gender. The point being, while this observation may apply to some vignettes, it doesn't seem to apply to ours. I am open to an egyptologist's explanation of how, in spite of the inscriptions on this specific vignette, the genders are confused.

I will say, however, that I think even a 5 year old can see which figures are males and which are females, so I'm not so arrogant as to think that JS couldn't see that himself. He may have either had some knowledge, given his fascination with and study of the ancient world, that genders can be switched around; or he may have just ignored it for his own reasons. However, I just can't buy the idea that either he or God (depending on whom you see being the translator) in effect said, "This is the interpretation of...well...not this scene as it was originally intended, but rather some other scene like it way back in the day which has been misplaced, but I assure you was very similar. Except the genders were different. And this god figure was a black slave. All I'm saying is that these scrolls are a lot like the one Abraham wrote 1500 years or so earlier. Just with different pictures and words, because, you know, how will did Abraham even speak Egyptian, let alone write it? But, I digress. These will do just fine to get the translation across to the folks. After all, it's the content that matters."
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#13 floatingboy

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 09:13 AM

And I fail to see what other judgement scenes mean when we're talking about this one. A vignette that accompanies the Book of Breathings (or Breathing Permit) for a deceased man named Hor--with text written specifically for him--which also identifies Hor as one of the figures. Regardless of what other similar scenes have portrayed or signified, this one seems to have the specific purpose of portraying a judgment/presentation of Hor to Osiris.

If I understand what you're saying, Will, this vignette, although intended for the specific purpose mentioned above, was appropriated by JS for the purposes of illustrating the story of Abraham which was revealed to him (though not contained on the scroll), and that he was not entirely out of bounds by calling women men and men women because such things have a precedent.
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#14 William Schryver

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 09:22 AM

What part of "generic template" did you not understand about these judgment scenes?

Of course Joseph Smith's interpretation was subjective. In the context of what I'm suggesting (and I confess it's just a hypothesis) he took a judgment scene, treated it as a generic template, and applied his own interpretation to it. Simple as that. (Well, perhaps not that simple--I actually don't believe Joseph Smith was conscious of what he was doing; he did it all by revelation.)

But the fact that these judgment scenes appear in different contexts throughout the history of the Near East is what makes them a generic template, and since there is really no way that Joseph Smith could have known about that aspect of these scenes, that's why I find his interpretation (by revelation) so impressive.
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#15 Olavarria

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 10:19 AM

there are missing portions of the BofA?

At least that's what people from Joseph's day seem to intimate; there was more of the translation than we currently have. Who is Shulem? Where in the actual BoA that we have today can I read about Abraham sitting on Pharoah's throne?

i don't see how that or will's post relate to my question. all i'm asking is if the apparent gender of each person in facsimile #3 matches what the inscription above them says about their gender. let me look it up so as to answer my own question for you:

It comes down to the missing papyrus theory. IF the scroll was long and IF the BoA was attached, it's possible that a reference to Abraham's time at court might include a gloss referring to fac3 etc. IF that is the case, it might explain the transgender identifications in the BoA, since that did happen in other Ptlomaic texts.

I have to say, I am agnostic on scroll length and translation theory issues. I don't know if there was an actual BoA on papyrus or whether the papyri acted as a catalyst.

from left to right:


-looks like a female, and is said to be Isis (goddess).
-looks like a male, and is said to be Osiris (god).
-looks like a female, and is said to be Maat (goddess).
-looks like a male, and is said to be Hor, the deceased (man).
-looks like a male, and is said to be Anubis (the jackal-headed god).

As I understand it, facsimile 3 and the entire HBoB describes the now Osiris-Hor being initiated in the presence of the gods, to become one of the gods himself. This process was ritualized for priests in life during their initiation into the priesthood but was actualized in the next life. The initiation into egyptian priesthood took place in the temple, involved a description of the cosmos and culminated with an encounter with the god.


Which is why I am fascinated with the missing portions of the BoA that we don't have. All we Joseph's identifications for people from the book, what we lack is a description of how those people acted as a coherent whole.

Why is Abraham wearing clothing and paraphernalia connected to priesthood?
Why is the only Semite in the scene represented by the Osiris Hor?
Is Shulem a metanym? I think it's fascinating that Shulam(סֻלָּם),in Hebrew, means "ladder" or "ramp"(Genesis 28:12). This is also the name of the mountain Jared spoke to the Lord through the cloud(Ether 3:1)

What is on the missing BoA text?


regarding your answers to my other questions, so if there is even an oblique reference to someone slaughtering enemies, then that must be what the lion couch scene is meant to represent?

No. It was just a random guess. What do the Egyptians say about the scene in the actual Hor BoB?

what about the fact that this drawing accompanied a dead person who had been mummified and whose viscera had been placed in canopic jars below his funeral bed, while also expressing the hope for his future resurrection with the help of Anubis? seems like a pretty level-headed assumption, but then again i'm no egyptologist either.

And it's just an assumption. Since the HBOB is silent on the issue, we should be careful.

Edited by Pedro A. Olavarria, 27 October 2011 - 10:26 AM.

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#16 floatingboy

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 10:26 AM

i think it's great that you so easily type the phrase "what part of [X] don't you understand?" when responding to people's questions. it just flows from your fingertips. but i've read enough of your posts to not be surprised. maybe next time you could just type, "why are you so thick-headed as to question my hypothesis?" i think it's closer to what you really mean.

i'm pretty sure i understand the idea of generic templates. what part of "the [apparently] generic template was used in a specific way in this scroll" don't you understand?

your other option upon replying was to say, "yes, your last paragraph pretty much sums up what i'm saying." so again, JS took a vignette out of its context in order to give it a different meaning which is not wholly inconsistent with other ancient near eastern usages (although i think the god reinterpreted as a slave part is a little tough to swallow), which alternate usages you assume he couldn't have known about. he also has an accompanying narrative revealed to him that is completely different from the text of the scroll. remind me why he even needed the scroll? what did he pay for it all? $2400 ($50k in today's money)? because, as he stated, one of the scrolls contained the writings of Abraham, and another of Joseph. if i understand some of your other posts correctly, we just don't have those parts.
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#17 Olavarria

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 10:28 AM

Posted Image
For what it's worth, at least one Theban priest from around the same time as Hor, wrote a love charm that mentions Abraham and contains a lion couch scene.


Read it Here

Am I the only one that thinks this is neat?
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#18 Olavarria

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 10:39 AM

i think it's great that you so easily type the phrase "what part of [X] don't you understand?" when responding to people's questions. it just flows from your fingertips. but i've read enough of your posts to not be surprised. maybe next time you could just type, "why are you so thick-headed as to question my hypothesis?" i think it's closer to what you really mean.


:blink:


i'm pretty sure i understand the idea of generic templates. what part of "the [apparently] generic template was used in a specific way in this scroll" don't you understand?


I'm actually agreeing with you there. The scene depicts an Egyptian priest being initiated into godhood. All I'm saying is, unless we have the part of the BoA this is supposed to correspond to, we have no real way of seeing how Joseph's explanation matches up.


your other option upon replying was to say, "yes, your last paragraph pretty much sums up what i'm saying." so again, JS took a vignette out of its context in order to give it a different meaning


Maybe, that would fit the catalyst theory of translation.

which is not wholly inconsistent with other ancient near eastern usages (although i think the god reinterpreted as a slave part is a little tough to swallow), which alternate usages you assume he couldn't have known about.....he also has an accompanying narrative revealed to him that is completely different from the text of the scroll.

Again, that all depends on what went on during this episode in Abraham's story and if the BoA was attached to the Hor scroll. I don't know if it was.


remind me why he even needed the scroll?

Why did he even need the plates?

what did he pay for it all? $2400 ($50k in today's money)? because, as he stated, one of the scrolls contained the writings of Abraham, and another of Joseph. if i understand some of your other posts correctly, we just don't have those parts.

Maybe, I'm agnostic on the quantity and content of missing papyri. Mind you, I don't believe in infallible prophets but I do believe in the divinity and historicity of the BoA.
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#19 Nemesis

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 06:57 AM

Links to sites with temple content are not allowed.

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