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Xander

The Gael/Papyri Relationship

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I should mention that while EA Part 1, itself, has at best probative-neutral value in regards to Kevin's speculation about column 1 of JSP I, when you add GAEL Part 1 into the mix as well as the two KEP notebooks, things go way south for Kevin.

Here is why: First, we discover in GAEL Part 1 that at least two of the 23 characters in EA Part 1 ("iota" and "zub zool oan") aren't from the imagined column 1 of JSP1, but are pieces (graphemes) of a composite characters listed in EA Parts 5 ("Za ki on hiash"). So, according to Kevin's logic, these two graphemes ought to be from column 5 in JSP 1. Yet, the composite character is nowhere to be found in column 5 because it is a "made up" character. So, two of the characters in EA Part 1 aren't from Kevin's imagined column 1, but are pieces taken from a made-up character.

Second, we learn from GAEL Part 1 that several composite characters ("Ki ah broam kiah brah oam zub zool oan," "Iota ni tah veh ahque," and "Za ki on hiash") come from EA Part 3 and 5, and several graphemes ("Beth" and "Beth Ka") come from EA Part 2. This means that characters Kevin hypothesized as derived from JSP columns 2, 3, and 4, in the GAEL were supposedly given the "grammatical function" of Part 1. In other words, these characters and graphemes in GAEL Part 1, didn't come from Kevin's imagined column 1, but two of the composite characters are at best possibly from JSP I column 4, and one of the composite characters from EA Part 5, and the two graphemes from EA Part 2, are made up.

Third, when we examine the two KEP notebooks, we find the possible grapheme given the sound "Kah tu mun," which is one of the characters listed in EA Part 1. This means that at least one more character in EA Part 1 wasn't derived from Kevin's imagined column 1 of the JSP I, but from the notebooks. Chris Smith has surmised that much of the content of EA Part 1 comes from missing papyri fragments that were not a part of the scroll containing JSP I. If he is correct, then much of EA Part 1, while derived from papyri, came from a different papyri scroll than the one Kevin speculates as housing the imagined column 1.

I am afraid this all spells disaster for Kevin's speculation about the "grammatical function" between EA Part 1 and his imagined column 1 of the JSP I.

When we combine this with what was determined about EA Part 2 and JSP I column 2, we find that the first two out of five supposed "grammatical functions" are countered by the evidence. The relationship that Kevin hypothesized between EA Parts 1 & 2 and JSP I columns 1 & 2, while seemingly plausible at first glance, are nothing more than coincidence. We will see if the same holds true for EA Parts 3, 4, and 5 and there hypothesized "grammatical function" relationship with the same columns in JSP I. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. :)

You know, what's really interesting about this whole argument, and why so much time, research, and self education need to go into understanding the original documents and what they actually contain, is precisely the degree to which much of what Kevin et al tell you about them appears to be matter-of-fact explanations of the actual textual elements of the documents themselves. However, upon closer inspection, we find that, in many cases, what is claimed to exist in the KEP are hypothesized, conjectural, speculative reconstructions of what the critic thinks "should" or "ought" or must have been there. Closer inspection may reveal that what the critic would like to have been there is conveniently useful for the particular thesis he is trying to promulgate at the time.

This is why I don't think any serious Latter day Saint, whether new to the Church of having long membership, should become too exercised over this issue. At best, its like a good murder mystery and gets the intellectual/critical juices flowing. At worst - at its very worst - it gives us a mysterious and perplexing correlation between the KEP and the BofA. Then the dogs lose the scent, and speculative conjecture must take over, some of it being rather free wheeling.

Then, of course, we enter the heady arena of bias and personal agenda. That's what happens often, of course, when we run out of facts and evidence. So be it. I have my bias as well, but I'm at east proclaiming "we don't know," while the critics seem equally at home with, "The case is closed, and the argument is settled" based upon the very same textual evidence.

Loran has left the building for lecturing instead of addressing the topic.

Edited by Minos

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Let's now look at EA Part 3. Here is the image Kevin posted earlier:

EgMs4pageU.jpg

Here is the image Kevin posted of the match-up with what he called JSP I column 3 (marked in yellow):

p2-3.jpg

As you may see, of the 20 characters in EA Part 3, and of the 12 or so characters in the JSP I--the column identified by Kevin as #3, Kevin only showed one match. That is a rather poor correlation.

However, it looks to me as though 11 of the first 12 characters actually match. This strikes me as a fairly strong correlation for more than half of the 20 EA Part 3 characters. Who knows from whence the other 9 characters were derived--maybe from the same column prior to it being damaged?

So, unlike with EA Parts 1 and 2, where the demonstrable correlation is zero to 1/11th, and where the character selection appears to have been derived randomly and arbitrarily from various sources (from made-up to this scroll and that), with Part 3 the character selection seems localized to a single column.

The question we must ask ourselves, then, is in the case of EA Part 3, whether the decision was made arbitrarily to draw characters from a single column on JSP I, or was it deliberate due to the belief that each and every Part of the EA were contained in the columns surrounding the lion couch scene?

Given what was determined previously about EA Parts 1 and 2, and given that the column now in question is the second from the right on JSP I, rather than the 3rd column, I am inclined to think it is the former. In my judgement, it seems to me that the person or persons selecting the characters started out the EA project culling characters randomly and arbitrarily from here and there (including from their imagination), and when that became too tedious by Part 3 of the EA, the decision may have been made to make it much easier on himself or themselves by culling characters in blocks from a single locale on a single papyri--the plausible logic being that since, as apparent with EA Parts 1 and 2, it didn't really matter where the characters were drawn from in creating a new "Egyptian" alphabet, then it wouldn't matter if they were culled in blocks.

What makes me a little more confident in my conclusion is the sharp drop-off in the number of characters selected beginning in Part 3. With Part 1 there were 23 characters, Part 2 had about 58, and then inexplicably the number dropped to about 12 in Part 3. Not only does the drop in numbers suggest to me a possible fatigue or ease factor, but an arbitrariness that defies the uniformity that one may expect from consciously drawing parts of an alphabet from relatively similar sized columns on the JSP I.

Who knows?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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What about EA Part 4? Here are the image Kevin posted:

EgMs4pageU.jpg

EgMs4pageV.jpg

Here are the images of the match-ups with the JSP 1 that Kevin posted:

p4.jpg

p4b.jpg

As you may see, of the 14 characters in EA Part 4, and the 14 or so characters in JSP 1, the first column from the right, Kevin only shows possible matches between two of them. From what I could tell, 10 of the 14 match up.

This isn't quite as good of a correlation as in Part 3, though it is still strong. However, I believe my analytical conclusion (see my post above) still applies.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Okay, looking past what may now rightly be viewed as a non-rebuttal, let's consider Kevin's borrowed point about the "grammatical function" relationship between the 5 parts in the EA/GAEL and the 4 columns and 1 Lacuna in JSP I (Kevin at one point mistakenly refers to "Facsimile #1 when talking about the columns, whereas Facsimile #1 doesn't contain the columns, just the lion couch scene)

Wade, I'm sorry you're struggling with the basic concept of rebuttal. My response is an effective rebuttal to William's constant assertions that this project had little or nothing to do with the Egyptian papyri in their possession. All I see you doing here is focusing on a few trees and looking for uncertainty, while ignoring the forrest. And now I see you're trying to score rhetorical points by splitting hairs over Facsimile 1 and JSP 1, when I have argued that the first columh is on Facsimile 1. As you should know, Facsimile 1 comprises the bulk of JSP 1, so there is a distinction but not really a difference for our purposes here.

For obvious reasons, Kevin didn't provide a graphic showing the alleged matches with JSP I,, but here is what he had to say:

As I said, it is because they were believed to have come from non extant portions.

As you can see from the image posted above, there are 23 characters in EA Part 1. Kevin would have us believe that these 23 characters were taken from a non-extant portion of JSP 1, a column that he speculates inexplicably extends down into the lion couch scene (is there any known lion couch scenes where this is the case?).

I never said they were copied. The papyrus was deteriorated when it was in Joseph Smith's possession. The characters were divined or restored via revelation, as they were believed to have originally existed on the papyrus. As far as an alphabet inexplicably extending down into the lion couch scene, this is irrelevant to the obvious fact that Joseph Smith believed this papyrus contained an alphabet of the Egyptian language. Of course Joseph Smith's contention that any of these represent legitimate alphabet characters is "inexplicable" in and of itself, but we know this is what he believed because not only does his handwritten document say it, but we know from the historical record that he believed the Gold Plates also contained a section of alphabet characters deriving from the "reformed" Egyptian. It is perfectly consistent with his treatment of documents he believed to be ancient scripture. Michael Marquardt discusses this in his article on the Egyptian Alphabet, which will appear in Ritner's publication next month. Chris Smith also toughed on this in his paper, but no one from the apologetic side has addressed this evidence. It completely undermines everything you're trying to argue.

Aside from the question whether 23 characters could fit in a column extending from the upper edge of the papyri down to into the lion couch scene, and as baseless and dubious as this speculation is

It is only appears dubious and baseless because you do not understand the evidence.

let's go ahead and assume for the sake of argument, that it is true. The first question that pops into my mind is: If Joseph or whomever thought the characters in the columns in JSP 1 contained the Egyptian Alphabet, and given their understanding that Egyptian is read from right to left and from top to bottom, how is it that they figured that the first part of the alphabet didn't begin in the far right column, or the second column from the far right, or the third column from the far right, but a non-existent speculative 4th column from the right, though not the fifth column from the right?

The only speculation here is on your part, because you're speculating, without any evidence, that Joseph Smith would have understood a list of alphabetic symbols to appear in the same way as we would read hieroglyphic writing from right to left. Obviously he didn't since he categorized these from vertical columns, not from horizontal lines. If you look at the clear transcription of characters in the four columns, this becomes unquestionable. Now applying William's theory to this, we'd have to wonder why in the world they'd be trying ever so hard to transcribe characters from this portion of the papyrus when there were obviously much, much clearer symbols to be used from other areas of his papyri collection. But instead we see them taking characters from columns where restorations needed to be made. How does this make any sense at all? If you're going to have to "restore" anything for something that has nothing to do with Egyptian or papyri, then you might as well trash the papyri altogether and come up with your own characters from whole cloth. But we see this isn't what they did. They painstakingly copied the characters in sequence, designating their parts according to their columns as they appeared on JSP 1.

Remember, according to Will, these men were just using symbols from all sorts of places to incorporate into their new cipher project. He argued that it didn't matter where these symbols came from at all. But this makes absolutely no sense given the facts listed in this thread. The overwhelming impression here is that the men involved in this project were focused primarily on these Egytian papyri.

Beyond those questions, since the alleged column #1 is pure speculation, it really can't be argued for or against, and thus it has no probative value. So, nothing more needs to be said.

"Pure speculation" doesn't have evidence supporting it. All I am doing is following the pattern laid out for us by Joseph Smith. You miss the patter completely by focusing on segments. Take a step back, compare the papyrus to the Alphabet characters, and the relationship becomes clear.

As you can see from the images above, there are approximately 58 characters in EA Part 2. Kevin would have us believe that these characters are considered as Part 2 of the alphabet

Sigh. Wade, the Alphabet document says right there in the heading, "second part of the first degree," at which point these characters are copied from the same sequence in which they appeared on JSP 1. So no, it isn't Kevin who is saying these represent the second part, it is what the Alphabet document says about them. All three versions of the Alphabet documeht say the same exact thing.

because he can show where 5 of those 58 characters are in the third column from the right on JSP 1.

Your're essentially doing the same thing William did. You're ignoring the fact that all of the papyrus characters in that column are represented on the document. You're doing word counts to so you can throw out a low fraction of attestation, but what you don't understand is how some of those characters at the top of the "second part" column, were dissected into their respective graphemes in the alphabet documents. For example the figure looking like a stickman. This was broken up on the alphabet document and given individual sounds. Here is an image of the stickman following several other symbols that you're obviously thinking weren't on the papyri.

stickman.jpg

As we can see, the phonetics(ho hoop) alone establishes the relationship between all of these characters. But a closer eye will see that they were all taken as graphemes from the figure at the top. So the second character corresponds to what we'd probably see as the head and the left arm raised. The third character represents the portion that we'd probably view as the right arm raised. The fourth character is clearly the right leg (to our left) with the foot pointing to his left and the fifth character is clearly the left leg (to our right) with the left foot pointing in the same directing. Notice that both the first and fifth characters have a little line protruding from the ankle, further establishing the relationship.

So the point here is that we see six different characters on the Alphabet document, but in reality they all come from the same single character found on the Egyptian papyrus, in the column containing the "second part" of the first degree. The same trend is found throughout all the other "second part" characters that you insist are not on the papyri. This explains why you see multiple characters unattested on the papyri. In reality they're there, but you just don't know how to look for them. So everything you're saying is based on limited understanding. I presented the images so people could see how they correspond to the papyri, and every "part" is represented on the papyri except for the first part and the occasional restoration where the character fell into lacunae.

I can't really get further into the evidence at this point without stealing George Miller's thunder. He's going to be presenting on this topic at the next MHA. I will say that it is just fascinating the way he goes back and demonstrates what exactly these men thought they were doing and how they came up with their explanations based on Masonic sources. The stuff he has come up with will blow your mind.

I'll respond to the other posts over the weekend.

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Finally, there is EA Part 5. Here is the image Kevin posted earlier:

EgMs4pageV.jpg

And, here is the image Kevin posted earlier of the JSP 1 match-ups:

p5.jpg

As you can see, of the 23 characters in EA Part 5, and the the 10 extant characters in JSP 1, the far left column, Kevin shows 5 matches, whereas I picked out 8. Given how much of the JSP I column is missing, this is still a pretty good correlation.

So, out of the five EA parts, the last three have fairly strong match-ups with three of the columns in JSP 1 (from right to left, columns 2, 1, and 4). Now, even though there is this strong correlation for the last three EA Parts, given the odd sequence of the associated columns (2,1, and 4), and given what was determined previously about EA Parts 1 and 2, I am still of the mind that the EA character selection wasn't based on a conscious belief that the 4 columns surrounding the lion couch scene represented the "grammatical function" of four of the five parts of the "Egyptian" alphabet (there is too little correlation across the board, particularly at the beginning of the project, to warrant that assumption), but rather a capricious and arbitrary decision made part way through the project to move away from culling large numbers of characters randomly from here and there, to culling smaller numbers of characters respectively from a single locale on a single papyri.

At least that is where the data has lead me.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Wade, I'm sorry you're struggling with the basic concept of rebuttal. My response is an effective rebuttal to William's constant assertions that this project had little or nothing to do with the Egyptian papyri in their possession.

Yes, Kevin, I understand your rebuttal. However, unlike you, I also understand that it is a rebuttal to a straw man of your own making. To rebut what Will said, you have to correctly grasp what he specifically was referring to, and how that specific argument fits logically within his overall point (as I pointed out earlier in the thread). You obviously haven't grasped any of that, and this even though in the past it has been pointed out several time each by both Will and I as well as other apologist. For whatever reason, you just don't get it, and there seems to be nothing anyone can do to help you. And, that is okay.

The good news is, I have been saving links to these kinds of threads, and so if you ever feel inclined to here trot out one of your many straw men "rebuttals" to Will's FAIR presentation, I can simply post a link to this and other threads for the readers benefit.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Sigh. Wade, the Alphabet document says right there in the heading, "second part of the first degree," at which point these characters are copied from the same sequence in which they appeared on JSP 1. So no, it isn't Kevin who is saying these represent the second part, it is what the Alphabet document says about them. All three versions of the Alphabet documeht say the same exact thing.

Yawn...Kevin, of course the EA gives titles to each part. You know that, and I know that. In fact, I have been saying that all along and sharing the images you posted earlier that clearly show as much.

However, what weren't given titles by the author of the JSP I, are the four columns of characters in JSP I. You will not find the title "Part 2" at the top of the third column to the right. This is what, in part, I was speaking to. Do you get it?

What I was also speaking to is whether the person or people selecting the characters for the EA's, did so based on their belief that the characters in the respective JSP I columns represented an ancient Egyptian alphabet, rather than just a series of random characters in a certain location to be used by the selectors in creating a new "Egyptian" alphabet. The more I study the relationship between the EA/GAEL and the papyri, the more I am convinced that it is the latter. Did that compute?

You see, Kevin, in your haste to appear indulging of what you think I don't understand, is in ironic actuality cases where YOU don't understand. LOL

I could go through the rest of you post and point out additional examples--as I have done on numerous occasions in the past, but what would be the point?

Instead, I will wait to see what "George Miller" has to say on the subject, and perhaps attempt a discussion with him.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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stickman.jpg

As we can see, the phonetics(ho hoop) alone establishes the relationship between all of these characters. But a closer eye will see that they were all taken as graphemes from the figure at the top. So the second character corresponds to what we'd probably see as the head and the left arm raised. The third character represents the portion that we'd probably view as the right arm raised. The fourth character is clearly the right leg (to our left) with the foot pointing to his left and the fifth character is clearly the left leg (to our right) with the left foot pointing in the same directing. Notice that both the first and fifth characters have a little line protruding from the ankle, further establishing the relationship.

There are other examples of seeming dissected characters in EA Part 1 and Part 2. For instance, there is this from Part 1:

2rqk08w.jpg

Other examples include the characters for:

Ah, Pha-e, Pha,

Iota tou es zip zi, zip zi, oan, tou, iota,

Ah meos, Baethku, Beth, Beth ke, Beth ki

Bethku ain trieth, Bethko, Bethku

Kah tu ain trieth, Ebethka, Ebethka ain trieth

Dah tu Hahdees, Hahdees, De eh,

Lish zi ho e oop iota, Zip zi iota veh, Gahmel

As I see it, these possible dissections are speculative. While some of the supposed graphemes seem to match portions of the presumed composite characters, and some of the phonemes are shared in common, the only dissections we can be sure about are those specifically mentioned in the GAEL. And, the fact that the supposed examples mentioned above are not specifically mentioned as dissected characters in the GAEL, can reasonably raise suspicions that they may not be dissected, but coincidental simple shapes that may share parts and sounds in common with other simple shapes.

What raises my suspicions even further, is that one of the known dissected characters (kiah broam Kiah brah oam zub zool oan), actually started out in the shape of a man on JSP I column 3 (if Chris and Kevin are to be believed), and somehow morphed into a shape that included what Nibley refers to as the "reed-sign," one of the most common Egyptian symbols. In other words, because of the poor artistic abilities of the men copying characters from the papyri to the EA's, we supposedly have part of a symbol of a man someone dissected to include the "reed-sign".

Besides, as mentioned in another thread, the relationship between characters/graphemes and sounds/phonemes and explanations, don't always match up so well, which raises doubts about the supposed dissected relationships mentioned above.

But, it makes for an interesting match game.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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May I just say that one of the benefits I have derived from this thread is that I learned a lot that I didn't know about the relationships between the EA/GAEL and the JSP I, And, I find the information quite fascinating. I don't see it as rebutting Will's thesis, just helpful in garnering a deeper understanding of the documents.

I mention this because I think that online discussions such as this would probably be far more productive if we approached the discussion with the intent to share varied perspectives rather than to try and shoot each others perspectives down. At the very least we can save all the time often spent jousting, and devote it instead to research and critical analysis--let the data take us whereever. I don't know if that is likely. But, I am willing to give it a try.

In fact, one of the more fruitful conversations I have had online regarding the overall Book of Abraham question, was with "George Miller" during the thread in which I was examining the sounds (linked above). There, we were just imparting our respective insights, and I don't know about him, but I sure gained a lot.

Something to think about.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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FWIW I think that Kevin's analysis is spot on the money. Below is a clean picture of the initial vignette and its associated text and the first column of hieratic text. (Figure 1) When the papyri arrived in Kirtland in 1835, these two pieces were most likely still connected. However, because of the constant wear and tear of handling, the outer wrappings of the roll were mounted on paper while the inner portions of the roll were most likely left intact. Note that there are a total of 5 columns of vertical text, one above the hand of the "idolatrous priest of Elkenah" (Anubis), three to the right of the vignette, and one to the left of the vignette.

Color%2BCoded%2BHor%2BBook%2Bof%2BBreathings.jpg

Figure 1 - The Hor Book of Breathings. (LEFT) Column 1 of text. (RIGHT) Vignette 1 with its associated five columns of hieroglyphic text.

Note that the column in blue is highly damaged only leaving the remains of a few hieroglyphs. Both Rhodes and Ritner agree that there should be a column of text in this position. (Rhodes, 2002)(Ritner, 2003) I am unsure why Wade is disputing this fact.

Abraham%2BRow%2B1.jpg

Figure 2 - (Center) First row of Column 1 of the Hor Book of Breathings. (BOTTOM) Egyptian characters restored to fill in the lacunae as published Michael D. Rhodes. (Above) Characters in order as they appear in the Abraham Manuscripts (AB1-4) in the hand of Joseph Smith's scribes W. W. Phelps (AB1), Frederick G. Williams (AB2), Warren Parish (AB 3-4).

To the left of the initial vignette is the first column of hieratic text (Figure 1) and above you can see a close up of the first row of column 1. (Figure 2) Now lets see what type of relationship there is between the Hor Book of Breathings and the hieroglyphics in the Egyptian Alphabet (EA). As Kevin, Will, and others have noted, there are three copies of the EA, one each in the hands of Joseph Smith (EAJS), Oliver Cowdery (EAOC), and W. W. Phelps (EAWP). I will focus the bulk of my analysis using the EA in the hand of Joseph Smith.

EAJS.jpg

Figure 3 - Egyptian Alphabet in the hand of Joseph Smith (EAJS). EAJS is divided into six sections which are called parts. These parts are numbered part one (blue), part two (purple), part 3 (red), part 4 (yellow), and part 5 (silver). Following these 5 parts are the first two hieroglyphs contained on column 1 (see Figure 2).

The easiest way to understand the relationship between the hieroglyphs in the EA and Hor Book of Breathings is to start from the end and move backwards. The last two hieroglyphs in the EA are the first two hieroglyphs from row 1 of column 1. So these hieroglyphs come directly from the Hor Book of Breathings. (Figure 2/3)

Part%2B1-5.jpg

Figure 4 - Pictured above are the five column of vertical text from the hieroglyphics surrounding the initial vignette. To the left of each column are the Egyptian hieroglyphs as published in Michael D. Rhodes translation. To the right are the hieroglyphs from EAJS taken in order. Only the hieroglyphs given neither a pronunciation or definition are shown, with the exception of the explained hieroglyphs in part 3.

When we examine the unexplained hieroglyphs we can clearly see that ALL of the unexplained hieroglyphs from EAJS are taken sequentially from the Hor Book of Breathings. All of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 5 come from the column to the left of the vignette. All of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 4 come from the column to the far right of the papyrus. All of the explained and unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 3 come directly from the column to the immediate left of Part 4. Finally all of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 2 come sequentially from the the column to the immediate right of the vignette. (Figure 4) Given the above data Kevin's attribution of Part 2-5 are to the indicated columns of hieroglyphics is completely justified. Given the straightforward nature of the data so far, I am unsure why Wade is calling Kevin's attribution into question.

Part%2B2.jpg

Figure 5 - The hieroglyphs in EA Part 2.

So what about the explained hieroglyphs from Part 2? Wade does bring up a valid question. There are many explained hieroglyphs here and only a limited amount of space. As Kevin has indicated, should my MHA presentation be accepted, I will answering this question then. Kevin is correct that some of the characters are dissected characters, while others are variants of the same hieroglyph.

More controversial is where on the papyri is Part 1. It seems fairly obvious that there is only one more column left, the one above the hand of Anubis. Given the highly damaged nature of the column, reconstructing Joseph's thinking about Part 1 is much more difficult. But as Kevin has indicated there are many fewer hieroglyphs because many of the hieroglyphs are either dissections of a single hieroglyph or are variants of the same hieroglyph.

I wish to say that Kevin's arguments here seem very sound. Wade has made many objections, but what his commentary clearly shows to me is that he has not spent the necessary amount of time studying the scholarly literature of the all ready published literature on this matter. Wade has spent extended time with important primary document, but he needs to spend an equal amount of time reading the relevant literature. I in no way mean this as a "dig" at Wade, it is simply that many of his "objections" would disappear if he sought to understand before being understood. For example the critics has always held that ALL of the hieroglyphs from Part 3-5 are taken directly from the Hor Book of Breathings, while Wade seems to indicate otherwise. Additionally, Wade's discussion of the some of the dissected subglyphs appearing in composite hieroglyphs in other parts of the EA also seems misguided since this has been discussed by Brent, Chris, and Kevin in other venues; and their discussion on these points is perfectly cogent.

[End of Line]

Edited by George Miller

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Note that the column in blue is highly damaged only leaving the remains of a few hieroglyphs. Both Rhodes and Ritner agree that there should be a column of text in this position. (Rhodes, 2002)(Ritner, 2003) I am unsure why Wade is disputing this fact.

Correction, it is not a fact, but rather a logical induction. Unfortunately, some people are prone to confusing the two.

And, the reason I am raising legitimate questions is because that is how critical analysis and progress in knowledge works.

Granted, it may prove useful in one sense for me to be more aware of the current scholarship--I could certain save myself some time. My hesitance in doing so is because I don't wish to have my thinking unduly influenced by past or contemporary thinking, but I prefer instead to mostly let that data take me where it will. That is how new and innovative insights often occur.

I appreciate the information you supplied. I will give it further consideration.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Hi George,

I have given your post some careful thought, and I agree with much of what you said. However, there a several points you made that I believe are deserving of further consideration, and there are some comments specifically about me that I wish to address.

FWIW I think that Kevin's analysis is spot on the money.

You agree with Kevin, and so it makes sense that you would see it that way. When people are in agreement, it is more difficult for them to bring a level of objectivity and critical review that may be needed. That is why it is good to have opposing eyes look over our work because they may see things that we may have inadvertently overlooked. I post my work here for that very reason. And, you and Chris and Brent have been of great help to me in correcting some of my mistakes and causing me to rethink some of my conclusions.

Below is a clean picture of the initial vignette and its associated text and the first column of hieratic text. (Figure 1) When the papyri arrived in Kirtland in 1835, these two pieces were most likely still connected. However, because of the constant wear and tear of handling, the outer wrappings of the roll were mounted on paper while the inner portions of the roll were most likely left intact. Note that there are a total of 5 columns of vertical text, one above the hand of the "idolatrous priest of Elkenah" (Anubis), three to the right of the vignette, and one to the left of the vignette.

Color%2BCoded%2BHor%2BBook%2Bof%2BBreathings.jpg

Figure 1 - The Hor Book of Breathings. (LEFT) Column 1 of text. (RIGHT) Vignette 1 with its associated five columns of hieroglyphic text.

Note that the column in blue is highly damaged only leaving the remains of a few hieroglyphs. Both Rhodes and Ritner agree that there should be a column of text in this position. (Rhodes, 2002)(Ritner, 2003) I am unsure why Wade is disputing this fact.

It may interest you to know that prior to you posting this, I had researched my own queries to Kevin, and I found a website that had five examples of lion couch scenes. I looked at each to see if there was any texts encroaching on the vignette. There were several, though none by way of formal columns. However, I had also looked more closely at my digital copy of JSP I, and I could just make out what looked to me to be the bottom corner of a column in the area Kevin mentioned. So, by the time you had posted the above, I had already, on my own, concluded that there likely was a column there.

I also noticed that to the far right of the fragment, and to the right of the column you and others refer to as #4, there looks to be the visages of another column, though I can't be sure.

My primary issue isn't with the existence of the non-extant column identified as #1, but whether it had anything to do with EA Part 1 or not (more on this later).

-continued-

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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FWIW I think that Kevin's analysis is spot on the money. Below is a clean picture of the initial vignette and its associated text and the first column of hieratic text. (Figure 1) When the papyri arrived in Kirtland in 1835, these two pieces were most likely still connected. However, because of the constant wear and tear of handling, the outer wrappings of the roll were mounted on paper while the inner portions of the roll were most likely left intact. Note that there are a total of 5 columns of vertical text, one above the hand of the "idolatrous priest of Elkenah" (Anubis), three to the right of the vignette, and one to the left of the vignette.

Color%2BCoded%2BHor%2BBook%2Bof%2BBreathings.jpg

Figure 1 - The Hor Book of Breathings. (LEFT) Column 1 of text. (RIGHT) Vignette 1 with its associated five columns of hieroglyphic text.

Note that the column in blue is highly damaged only leaving the remains of a few hieroglyphs. Both Rhodes and Ritner agree that there should be a column of text in this position. (Rhodes, 2002)(Ritner, 2003) I am unsure why Wade is disputing this fact.

Abraham%2BRow%2B1.jpg

Figure 2 - (Center) First row of Column 1 of the Hor Book of Breathings. (BOTTOM) Egyptian characters restored to fill in the lacunae as published Michael D. Rhodes. (Above) Characters in order as they appear in the Abraham Manuscripts (AB1-4) in the hand of Joseph Smith's scribes W. W. Phelps (AB1), Frederick G. Williams (AB2), Warren Parish (AB 3-4).

To the left of the initial vignette is the first column of hieratic text (Figure 1) and above you can see a close up of the first row of column 1. (Figure 2) Now lets see what type of relationship there is between the Hor Book of Breathings and the hieroglyphics in the Egyptian Alphabet (EA). As Kevin, Will, and others have noted, there are three copies of the EA, one each in the hands of Joseph Smith (EAJS), Oliver Cowdery (EAOC), and W. W. Phelps (EAWP). I will focus the bulk of my analysis using the EA in the hand of Joseph Smith.

EAJS.jpg

Figure 3 - Egyptian Alphabet in the hand of Joseph Smith (EAJS). EAJS is divided into six sections which are called parts. These parts are numbered part one (blue), part two (purple), part 3 (red), part 4 (yellow), and part 5 (silver). Following these 5 parts are the first two hieroglyphs contained on column 1 (see Figure 2).

The easiest way to understand the relationship between the hieroglyphs in the EA and Hor Book of Breathings is to start from the end and move backwards. The last two hieroglyphs in the EA are the first two hieroglyphs from row 1 of column 1. So these hieroglyphs come directly from the Hor Book of Breathings. (Figure 2/3)

Part%2B1-5.jpg

Figure 4 - Pictured above are the five column of vertical text from the hieroglyphics surrounding the initial vignette. To the left of each column are the Egyptian hieroglyphs as published in Michael D. Rhodes translation. To the right are the hieroglyphs from EAJS taken in order. Only the hieroglyphs given neither a pronunciation or definition are shown, with the exception of the explained hieroglyphs in part 3.

When we examine the unexplained hieroglyphs we can clearly see that ALL of the unexplained hieroglyphs from EAJS are taken sequentially from the Hor Book of Breathings. All of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 5 come from the column to the left of the vignette. All of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 4 come from the column to the far right of the papyrus. All of the explained and unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 3 come directly from the column to the immediate left of Part 4. Finally all of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 2 come sequentially from the the column to the immediate right of the vignette. (Figure 4) Given the above data Kevin's attribution of Part 2-5 are to the indicated columns of hieroglyphics is completely justified. Given the straightforward nature of the data so far, I am unsure why Wade is calling Kevin's attribution into question.

Part%2B2.jpg

Figure 5 - The hieroglyphs in EA Part 2.

So what about the explained hieroglyphs from Part 2? Wade does bring up a valid question. There are many explained hieroglyphs here and only a limited amount of space. As Kevin has indicated, should my MHA presentation be accepted, I will answering this question then. Kevin is correct that some of the characters are dissected characters, while others are variants of the same hieroglyph.

More controversial is where on the papyri is Part 1. It seems fairly obvious that there is only one more column left, the one above the hand of Anubis. Given the highly damaged nature of the column, reconstructing Joseph's thinking about Part 1 is much more difficult. But as Kevin has indicated there are many fewer hieroglyphs because many of the hieroglyphs are either dissections of a single hieroglyph or are variants of the same hieroglyph.

I wish to say that Kevin's arguments here seem very sound. Wade has made many objections, but what his commentary clearly shows to me is that he has not spent the necessary amount of time studying the scholarly literature of the all ready published literature on this matter. Wade has spent extended time with important primary document, but he needs to spend an equal amount of time reading the relevant literature. I in no way mean this as a "dig" at Wade, it is simply that many of his "objections" would disappear if he sought to understand before being understood. For example the critics has always held that ALL of the hieroglyphs from Part 3-5 are taken directly from the Hor Book of Breathings, while Wade seems to indicate otherwise. Additionally, Wade's discussion of the some of the dissected subglyphs appearing in composite hieroglyphs in other parts of the EA also seems misguided since this has been discussed by Brent, Chris, and Kevin in other venues; and their discussion on these points is perfectly cogent.

[End of Line]

Thanks for dropping in George and thanks for posting these images. You saved me a lot of time from having to repeat myself, again.

As I was saying, a proper understanding of the relationship between the GAEL and papyri is crucial in order to properly understand the meaning and purpose of the Joseph Smith Egyptian papers.This was my primary point, as it reveals a serious deficiency in William's presentation; he constantly argued that there was no relationship at all between the GAEL and the papyri. For those who have studied these documents for years, he doesn't really seem to understand any of this stuff. Once you realize how these characters were developed and where they were believed to originate, it is frankly impossible to maintain faith in the cipher theory because his theory requires that there be no necessary relationship with the papyri. My rebuttal was directed towards his frequent comments intended to negate or downplay the papyri's significance, and I think I've effectively refuted his thesis by demonstrating why his numerous assumptions simply cannot be so.

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-continued-

Abraham%2BRow%2B1.jpg

Figure 2 - (Center) First row of Column 1 of the Hor Book of Breathings. (BOTTOM) Egyptian characters restored to fill in the lacunae as published Michael D. Rhodes. (Above) Characters in order as they appear in the Abraham Manuscripts (AB1-4) in the hand of Joseph Smith's scribes W. W. Phelps (AB1), Frederick G. Williams (AB2), Warren Parish (AB 3-4).

Versions of this have been posted several times over the last year or so. I have a copy of one of them in my files. So, I am familiar with this proposition, and even agree with it.

Where I may part company, is, in part, whether the graphic and comments above have anything directly to do with the specific remark from Will that Kevin was supposedly rebutting, and to which I had responded. It doesn't, though it may factor into the overall Book of Abraham issue.

To the left of the initial vignette is the first column of hieratic text (Figure 1) and above you can see a close up of the first row of column 1. (Figure 2) Now lets see what type of relationship there is between the Hor Book of Breathings and the hieroglyphics in the Egyptian Alphabet (EA). As Kevin, Will, and others have noted, there are three copies of the EA, one each in the hands of Joseph Smith (EAJS), Oliver Cowdery (EAOC), and W. W. Phelps (EAWP). I will focus the bulk of my analysis using the EA in the hand of Joseph Smith.

EAJS.jpg

Figure 3 - Egyptian Alphabet in the hand of Joseph Smith (EAJS). EAJS is divided into six sections which are called parts. These parts are numbered part one (blue), part two (purple), part 3 (red), part 4 (yellow), and part 5 (silver). Following these 5 parts are the first two hieroglyphs contained on column 1 (see Figure 2).

As I carefully considered your graphic representation, it occurred to me that this is a clear case of confirmation bias. It looks to me that your theory is driving the data, rather than the other way around. Consequently, you have conflated two categorizing scheme. The two categories include: 1) the five parts that the EA declare of itself, and 2) the 1 part based on from whence the characters were derived.

Now, you may have thought that you were just representing the latter, and if so, then your representation is not complete. If you wish to be correct (and I assume you do since, as you say, so many testimonies hang in the balance and could be damaged by apologetic errors), your graphic should contain at least the following shadings: a) Unknown origin (white), b) possible Amenhotep papyrus origin (red), c) Phelps letter (orange), d) multiple origins (brown), e) possible astronomical calendar origin (turquoise), f) JSP I, third column from the right (purple), g) second column from the right (red), h) first column from the right (yellow), 1st column from the left (silver), and i) JSP XI (green). This makes nine subcategories instead of five.

I don't have the graphics program or wherewithal to display this as an image, but what it means is that EA Part 1 would be comprised of white, red, and brown. EA Part 2 would consist of white, orange, turquoise, brown, green, and purple. EA Part 3 would consist of mostly red with a little white. EA Part 4 would consist of mostly yellow with a little white. And EA Part 5 would consist of mostly silver with a little white, green, and brown.

While this would be an accurate representation of the relationship between the EA parts and the induced origins of the characters, I understand that it doesn't suite your theory. And, that is okay. It is a valid criticism nevertheless, and it will factor in as I respond to the remainder of your post.

-continued-

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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-continued-

The easiest way to understand the relationship between the hieroglyphs in the EA and Hor Book of Breathings is to start from the end and move backwards. The last two hieroglyphs in the EA are the first two hieroglyphs from row 1 of column 1. So these hieroglyphs come directly from the Hor Book of Breathings. (Figure 2/3)

Part%2B1-5.jpg

Figure 4 - Pictured above are the five column of vertical text from the hieroglyphics surrounding the initial vignette. To the left of each column are the Egyptian hieroglyphs as published in Michael D. Rhodes translation. To the right are the hieroglyphs from EAJS taken in order. Only the hieroglyphs given neither a pronunciation or definition are shown, with the exception of the explained hieroglyphs in part 3.

Let me make a slight correction to an otherwise meaningful observation. In none of the EA's are the hieroglyphs in Part 3 explained. Two of them are given sounds in EA WWP and EA JS, while only one is given a sound in EA OC.

When we examine the unexplained hieroglyphs we can clearly see that ALL of the unexplained hieroglyphs from EAJS are taken sequentially from the Hor Book of Breathings.

This isn't exactly correct. (see below)

All of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 5 come from the column to the left of the vignette.

Actually, as I explained in a previous post, there are only 10 extant characters in the far left column of JSP 1, whereas there are 23 characters in EA Part 5, only two of which aren't explained. One can reasonably extrapolate from the 10 extant characters that all 21 of the unexplained characters were once contained in the far left column. However, it is not a given, and subject to reasonable doubt. I mention this so as to distinguish between what is fact and what is reasoned opinion.

All of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 4 come from the column to the far right of the papyrus.

As indicated in a previous post, of the 14 or so characters in EA Part 4 (all of which are unexplained), and the 14 or so characters in JSP 1, the first column from the right, Kevin only shows possible matches between two of them. From what I could tell, 10 of the 14 match up very well. Four of them don't. So, this leaves room for reasonable doubt.

All of the explained and unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 3 come directly from the column to the immediate left of Part 4.

As also explained in a previous post, of the 20 characters in EA Part 3 (none of which are explained, though two are given sounds), and of the 12 or so characters in the JSP I--the column identified by Kevin as #3, Kevin only showed one match. That is a rather poor correlation. However, it looks to me as though 11 of the first 12 characters actually match. This strikes me as a fairly strong correlation for more than half of the 20 EA Part 3 characters. Who knows from whence the other 9 characters were derived--maybe from the same column prior to it being damaged? Again, though, there is room for reasonable doubt.

Finally all of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 2 come sequentially from the the column to the immediate right of the vignette. (Figure 4)

This is not entirely correct. As I have examined this column more closely, and compared it to the unexplained characters in EA Part 2, and accounting for the seeming dissected character Kevin mentioned earlier as well as separated pairs of character, I find that of the 39 unexplained characters in EA Part 2, only 22 have legitimate matches with characters in the JSP I column designated as #2. And, while the vast majority of those matches come at the end of the 39 characters, there are 6 of the 22 that are sequentially mixed in-between. These characters are thought by Chris Smith to have been derived from an astronomical calendar. This raises doubts about the provenance of at least 1/6th of the unexplained characters in EA Part 2. As such, it is inaccurate for you to claim that "all of the unexplained hieroglyphs from Part 2 come sequentially from the the column to the immediate right of the vignette."

-continued-

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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-continued-

FWIW I think that Given the above data Kevin's attribution of Part 2-5 are to the indicated columns of hieroglyphics is completely justified. Given the straightforward nature of the data so far, I am unsure why Wade is calling Kevin's attribution into question.

I called it into question for several reasons. First, unlike some of the data you present above, Kevin didn't distinguish between explained and unexplained EA characters. He made the same mistake you did with your Figure #3, by speaking in terms of both (explained and unexplained), or both as a whole (the entire EA Parts).

As indicated several times, I am fine with the attributions in relation to the last 3 parts of the EA, and this because they match up pretty well--in part because they are comprised almost exclusively of unexplained characters. My main concern was with the first 2 EA parts, particularly the explained portions--though, as mentioned above, I have some issues with certain unexplained portions as well.

Second, I questioned it because the attributions were made in the context of a supposed "rebuttal"--a rebuttal that turned out to be directed at a straw man.

These were two perfectly reasonable and legitimate issues that were worthy of being raised.

So what about the explained hieroglyphs from Part 2? Wade does bring up a valid question. There are many explained hieroglyphs here and only a limited amount of space. As Kevin has indicated, should my MHA presentation be accepted, I will answering this question then. Kevin is correct that some of the characters are dissected characters, while others are variants of the same hieroglyph.

The space issue is only one of a series of issue I raised. I guess we will have to wait and see if you resolve them all in some potential future presentation. For now, they are unresolved and weigh against Kevin's so-called "rebuttal."

More controversial is where on the papyri is Part 1. It seems fairly obvious that there is only one more column left, the one above the hand of Anubis.

Are you sure there isn't a hint of a column to the right of the column you attribute to Part 4?

Besides, in addition to the questions I raised earlier in regards to the explained portions of EA Parts 1 and 2, your own data seems to count against Part 1 being taken from the JSP I at all. As you mentioned, all the matches you found in the 4 columns were of unexplained characters. You were not able to show a match with any of the explained characters. This logically suggests that the unexplained characters came from the 4 columns, while the explained characters did not. And, since all of the characters in EA Part 1 are explained, then it follows that those characters were not taken from columns on JSP I. ;)

Given the highly damaged nature of the column, reconstructing Joseph's thinking about Part 1 is much more difficult. But as Kevin has indicated there are many fewer hieroglyphs because many of the hieroglyphs are either dissections of a single hieroglyph or are variants of the same hieroglyph. I wish to say that Kevin's arguments here seem very sound.

Again, that seems only natural that you would think so. You agree with him. However, when subjected to a greater level of scrutiny by someone, like myself, who doesn't have a vested interest in supporting Kevin's theory, then Kevin's arguments, particularly as he stated them and in the context of a supposed "rebuttal," have been rationally found to be problematic.

Again, I have no problem with EA Parts 3 - 5 being attributed to corresponding columns in the JSP I. Where I take issue is with the first two parts. And, those first two parts are what are relevant to Will's FAIR statement and conclusion.

Wade has made many objections, but what his commentary clearly shows to me is that he has not spent the necessary amount of time studying the scholarly literature of the all ready published literature on this matter. Wade has spent extended time with important primary document, but he needs to spend an equal amount of time reading the relevant literature. I in no way mean this as a "dig" at Wade, it is simply that many of his "objections" would disappear if he sought to understand before being understood. For example the critics has always held that ALL of the hieroglyphs from Part 3-5 are taken directly from the Hor Book of Breathings, while Wade seems to indicate otherwise.

Again, for all intents and purposes, for EA Parts 3 - 5, I am only really questioning whether the last two characters came from JSP I. I believe they were made up so as to fill in missing pieces of JSP XI. It turns out you agree.

And, I can certainly be faulted for not being on top of all the current scholarship. However, from what little you have presented of the scholarship here, it doesn't really alter my criticism in any meaningful way. So, in relation to this discussion, your concern in moot.

Additionally, Wade's discussion of the some of the dissected subglyphs appearing in composite hieroglyphs in other parts of the EA also seems misguided since this has been discussed by Brent, Chris, and Kevin in other venues; and their discussion on these points is perfectly cogent.

Forgive me if I don't just take your word that my criticism regarding the "dissected subglyphs" is supposedly misguided. If any of those three people, or you, wish to make their case here allegedly in contravention to what I have said, then I would be pleased to consider it. Until then, its stands. Sorry.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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Wade,

It doesn't matter in the least if it could be demonstrated that all the EA/GAEL characters derive from the papyri. My theses would remain unaffected.

Of course, it's perfectly obvious that, at the very least, the characters Phelps employed in his May 1835 letter to his wife (and re-used later in the EA/GAEL) do not come from the papyri. Any argument that the characters contained in Part 1 come from the papyri is speculative, at best.

I am not aware of any credible arguments that the EC characters derive from the papyri. (The text-critical evidence strongly suggests that the EC manuscript pre-dates the GAEL, and likely pre-dates the EA. I am also increasingly persuaded that it may very well pre-date the arrival of the papyri in Kirtland.)

As I have repeatedly emphasized, my primary thesis of the EA/GAEL is that:

... they are dependent on the Book of Abraham—and not the other way around.

I have already presented persuasive evidence to support that thesis. I will yet present overwhelming evidence to support that thesis.

It is also rather obvious that the Egyptian Counting manuscript constitutes what is effectively a "cipher key," or "translation key." The character and name columns are the "substitution" values for the "plain text" values listed in the "Explanations" column. It is employed in this fashion in the GAEL.

.

.

.

"George Miller":

... I think that Kevin's analysis is spot on the money.
I wish to say that Kevin's arguments here seem very sound.

I am intrigued (and somewhat surprised) to hear you say so. I very much look forward to your defense of Graham's analysis.

.

.

.

In the way of news: I have, in the past few days, completed the initial drafts of two articles that address major shortcomings in the Hauglid analysis (sparse as it was) of the Abraham manuscripts. I have commenced a much longer third article that will simultaneously address another important shortcoming in the Hauglid analysis of the Abraham manuscripts, and also constitute a comprehensive critique of the 2010 JWHA Christopher Smith paper: The Dependence of Abraham 1:1-3 on the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar.

Barring any unforeseen complications, all three articles will be published during the first half of 2012.

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Wade,

It doesn't matter in the least if it could be demonstrated that all the EA/GAEL characters derive from the papyri. My theses would remain unaffected.

I realize that even if no one else on this thread does. My reason for pressing the point is I believe that by correctly understanding the production sequence, including character selection and derivation, it may provide a better glimpse into the illusive intents and purposes of the EA/GAEL (beyond what little can be garnered from the titles of the documents).

Besides, I would be doing my opponents a disservice if I didn't challenge there ideas and correct there mistakes, just as they have done with me and mine.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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To summarize, in terms of the characters:

1. Virtually none of the 69 explained characters in the EA's can be identified with either the JSP I or JSP XI.

2. Virtually all of the 66 unexplained characters in the EA's can be identified with JSP I, but not with JSP XI.

3. Virtually all of the 29 characters (all of them are explained) in the 1835 Abr. Mss. can be identified with JSP XI, but not with JSP I.

The only overlap between the unexplained and explained EA's and the 1835 Abr. Mss. as well as the two Breathing Permit fragments (JSP I and XI), are three out of a total of 161 characters, two of which were made up. And, it just so happens that those two characters are the last two EA characters and the first two 1835 Abr. Mss. characters.

Coincidence?

I don't think so. Given that the first 42% or more of the characters selected were not verifiably derived from either Breathing Permit fragments (JSP I and XI), or perhaps virtually any papyri fragments at all; and given that the second 41% of the characters selected were verifiably derived from JSP I and not JSP XI; and given that last 16% or more of the selected characters were verifiably derived from JSP XI and not JSP I, this logically suggest to me a conscious shift in character selection over the course of the project.

As I see it, the project started out with characters being selected form hither and yon, and then about 2/5ths the way through, for whatever reason (simplification?) the decision was made to select characters from a specific portion of the papyri (JSP I), and then once work shifted from the EA/GAEL to the Abr. Mss., the decision was made, for whatever reason, to select from yet another portion of the papyri (JSP XI).

If so, then this further suggests to me that the Abr. Mss. were an extension (another phase) of the EA/GAEL project, with the three overlapping and made up character acting as a transition, and not an attempted translation.

Additional confirmation and insights may emerge when considering the production sequence of the project in its entirety, starting with the selection of the 6 characters from the Phelps letter derived from wherever, moving on to the selection of the 10 basic characters from Phelps Counting document derived, as Will has noted, mostly from the Arabic language, followed by the selection of the first half of the characters in the Phelps EA derived from wherever, and then the selection of the second half of the Phelps EA characters derived from the JSP I, followed by development of the first half of the characters in the Phelps GAEL Part 1, and then the Phelps GAEL Part 2, followed transitionally by the three overlapping and made-up characters in the Phelps Abr. Ms., and then later the selection of 26 characters derived from the JSP XI in the three 1835 manuscripts,

The fact that two of the three 1835 Mss. are titled "Sign of the fifth degree of the Second Part," seems to me to support my conclusion.

At least that is how I currently see it. Something to consider.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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Now that we have examined the relationship between the EA/GAEL characters and the papryi, perhaps we should next take a look at the EA/GAEL sounds and ask whether they directly relate to the papyri?

In other words, are the sounds ancient Egyptian? Can any of the sounds, themselves, be found on the papyri?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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Yes, Kevin, I understand your rebuttal. However, unlike you, I also understand that it is a rebuttal to a straw man of your own making. To rebut what Will said, you have to correctly grasp what he specifically was referring to, and how that specific argument fits logically within his overall point (as I pointed out earlier in the thread).

The only thing you continuously point out is your failure to comprehend basic concepts that have been carefully explained to you. If you really intend to sit there and tell me that it is a straw man to say William wanted to distance the papyri from the GAEL project, then you simply do not understand his argument and you have willfully ignored the evidence to the contrary.

You obviously haven't grasped any of that, and this even though in the past it has been pointed out several time each by both Will and I as well as other apologist. For whatever reason, you just don't get it, and there seems to be nothing anyone can do to help you. And, that is okay.

All you keep doing is telling me I misunderstand. You do not address the evidence from his presentation that proves that you are the one misunderstanding.

The good news is, I have been saving links to these kinds of threads, and so if you ever feel inclined to here trot out one of your many straw men "rebuttals" to Will's FAIR presentation, I can simply post a link to this and other threads for the readers benefit.

But the bad news is, you still don't understand the evidence and persist in the rhetoric instead of dealing with the evidence. You've never once dealt with the numerous citations from his presentation that refute your silly claims that I'm beating a straw man. I'm beating up his argument, not a straw man.

Yawn...Kevin, of course the EA gives titles to each part. You know that, and I know that. In fact, I have been saying that all along and sharing the images you posted earlier that clearly show as much.

Yawn? Yeah, I figured you'd soon be reduced to this kind of "discussion." This usually happens when people cannot deal with the evidence.

However, what weren't given titles by the author of the JSP I, are the four columns of characters in JSP I. You will not find the title "Part 2" at the top of the third column to the right. This is what, in part, I was speaking to. Do you get it?

So what? We know from the Alphabet documents that these men, Joseph Smith included, believed the five columns contained the Egyptian alphabet and that each "part" was assigned to a specific column. Thiis in and of itself presents a maajor hurdle for William's thesis because he wants people to believe as he does; that the papyri were irrelevant to the "cipher" project.

You've done nothing to address this data and it should be perfectly obvious to everyone reading that you had absolutely no idea about this until now. In response, you're not addressing these facts; instead you're making points that are irrelevant to these facts. It doesn't matter if the "author of JSP 1" specifically wrote "part' above each column. The point is, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that Joseph Smith interpreted each column to mean one of five "parts." Your being obtuse with these kinds of inane anecdotes.

What I was also speaking to is whether the person or people selecting the characters for the EA's, did so based on their belief that the characters in the respective JSP I columns represented an ancient Egyptian alphabet, rather than just a series of random characters in a certain location to be used by the selectors in creating a new "Egyptian" alphabet.

Stop the presses!

William argued that they were randomly using characters from a wide variety of sources to create a cipher key for the purposes of enciphering already produced English texts. And here you are saying they were trying to create a "new Egyptian alphabet." This is a different argument entirely. But how in the world does this even make sense? You have no textual, historical, or logical evidence to support such a conclusion that these men were desperately engaged in creating a new Egyptian alphabet. We know from history that Joseph Smith's intentions here were the same as they were when he suggested an alphabet from the Gold Plates, which he believed existed on the last page. And guess what, his intentions had nothing to do with a cipher.

The more I study the relationship between the EA/GAEL and the papyri, the more I am convinced that it is the latter. Did that compute?

What doesn't "compute" are your reasons for concluding this. It is one thing to constantly refer to your "studies" that lead you to believe XYZ. It is another thing to actually illustrate how the evidence analyzed in your "studies" actually leads to XYZ. You've only done the former. I've actually shown why the evidence supports our conclusions. While George and I are sharing information from bonafide scholarship, you're sitting there armed with William's presentation, repeating the same irrelevant questions as if they were of any significance while at the same time telling us that you've studied this stuff enough and have come to a different conclusion. Well, conclusions and opinions mean nothing without evidence or explanation.

The fact is there is no reason to believe these men believed these characters were anything but a legitimate Egyptian alphabet of ancient origin. You've given no evidence to suggest otherwise, other than to say that some of these characters weren't genuine Egyptian. Well, no kidding! That's because Joseph Smith couldn't really "restore" ancient Egyptain characters like he thought. It is not because these men never really believed these characters were Egyptian!

You see, Kevin, in your haste to appear indulging of what you think I don't understand, is in ironic actuality cases where YOU don't understand. LOL

Just for the sake of argument, let's say this is true. At best, all you did was show how I didn't understand what you were saying, whereas I've shown quite conclusively that you have absolutely no understanding of these documents. Nor do you have any understanding of the relevant scholarship. Within the past two weeks I've been contacted by several scholars who have published on these materials, two of whom are LDS. I had no idea they were following these threads, but they are. And they have all agreed with me, and encourage me to "keep up the good work." How many of them have contacted you?

I could go through the rest of you post and point out additional examples--as I have done on numerous occasions in the past, but what would be the point?

In other words, you've never done this, and you cannot do it now, so you'll just assert that it is something you've always done and hope it will be confused with an actual refutation of something. That sounds like something Schryver says all the time. Who do you think you're kidding wade?

Where I may part company, is, in part, whether the graphic and comments above have anything directly to do with the specific remark from Will that Kevin was supposedly rebutting, and to which I had responded. It doesn't, though it may factor into the overall Book of Abraham issue.

You appear to be arguing for the sake of arguing when in fact you do not even understand, yet again, what has been said. My rebuttal, as I have explained several times already, was in response to William's desperate attempt to divorce the papyri from the project. This has been the Golden Standard in Book of Abraham apologetics: divorce Joseph Smith from the papyri we now know had nothing to do with a Book of Abraham. This is why on several occasions he spoke as if they had nothing to do with the papyri and he would speak slowly with emphasis to pound home the point. (i.e. "let me repeat... they do not appear on the papyri").

What I have done is demonstrate that virtually all the characters in the Egyptian Alphabet derive from the papyri and those that do not, were believed to be on the papyri. This is determined by following the pattern laid out by Joseph Smith and his scribes. William avoids this problem by arbitrarily choosing to focus only on the "explained" characters, which means he fails to see the patterm. He doesn't even attempt to figure out how the "parts" are assigned to certain characters, and more importantly, why. Without that knowledge, he cannot properly understand what these men thought they were doing, which means he is a long ways away from being able to explain their "meaning and purpose." He's on a fishing expedition, but he is heading further out into the desert and he forgot his pole.

But you now say you agree with the pattern because the evidence we have presented is really that convincing. But seeing the pattern is one thing following it is another. If you followed it you would see William's argument is pure nonsense.

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As I carefully considered your graphic representation, it occurred to me that this is a clear case of confirmation bias. It looks to me that your theory is driving the data, rather than the other way around. Consequently, you have conflated two categorizing scheme. The two categories include: 1) the five parts that the EA declare of itself, and 2) the 1 part based on from whence the characters were derived.

Apparently, you do not understand what confirmation bias is, which is rather ironic. George and I, along with the relevant scholars, are letting the data drive our conclusions whereas you and William are beginning with an apologetic theory before you have any understanding of these documents. You then take whatever education you absorb through the course of our discussion, and try to mold it to fit Will's theory. But you're essentially trying to pound square pegs into round holes. We present the evidence explaining why this simply doesn't work in WIll's model, but you never deal with the evidence. All you do is raise irrelevant questions that do nothing but derail attention away from the fact that WIll has no earthly idea what he is talking about. No legitimate historian will ever take these journal entries to be references to a cipher project. There is simply zero evidence to support it. When he says he is working on an Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, well that is exactly what he means.

Let me make a slight correction to an otherwise meaningful observation. In none of the EA's are the hieroglyphs in Part 3 explained. Two of them are given sounds in EA WWP and EA JS, while only one is given a sound in EA OC.

You didn't correct George's observation, you only demonstrated your failure to read what he said, which was, "To the right are the hieroglyphs from EAJS taken in order. Only the hieroglyphs given neither a pronunciation or definition are shown, with the exception of the explained hieroglyphs in part 3." (emphasis mine)

Read the highlighted part again, slowly this time.

First, unlike some of the data you present above, Kevin didn't distinguish between explained and unexplained EA characters. He made the same mistake you did with your Figure #3, by speaking in terms of both (explained and unexplained), or both as a whole (the entire EA Parts).

Since they are all on the papyri, it doesn't matter which ones have been explained and which ones haven't. That is a distinction that is important only to William because he uses it to justify his neglect of the unexplained characters. Calling this a "mistake" on our part is just rhetoric, when in fact we've addressed both the explained and unexplained characters. William does not. He focuses only on the explained characters because only in this way can he dodge all the evidence connecting the project to the papyrus.

Second, I questioned it because the attributions were made in the context of a supposed "rebuttal"--a rebuttal that turned out to be directed at a straw man.

I'll let readers decide if that is true. You apparently need to keep repeating this nonsense without presenting evidence for it. Your only evidence that I'm beating a straw man is your say so. My evidence to the contrary rests in numerous statements from William's presentation. Statements you refuse to address. This is what we call confirmation bias, wade. When evidence is intentionally avoided because it disrupts a predetermined belief.

The space issue is only one of a series of issue I raised. I guess we will have to wait and see if you resolve them all in some potential future presentation. For now, they are unresolved and weigh against Kevin's so-called "rebuttal."

They only weigh against it if you fail to understand what these men were doing. Space is not a problem here. There is room for at least a half dozen characters in the non-extant portion. And as we have both tried to explain to you, one character would be dissected to represent multiple characters in the alphabet documents. You're looking at the dissected graphemes and instead of recognizing them for what they are, you assume they need to have been this way on the papyrus as well. But that isn't a requirement. We know this because the pattern was the same for some of the characters in the second part. We've tried to explain this to you, but all of this seems to be flying right over your head.

As you mentioned, all the matches you found in the 4 columns were of unexplained characters. You were not able to show a match with any of the explained characters. This logically suggests that the unexplained characters came from the 4 columns, while the explained characters did not. And, since all of the characters in EA Part 1 are explained, then it follows that those characters were not taken from columns on JSP I.

Your understanding appears to deteriorate the more you read these explanations. The fact is these men jumped all the way to the end of the alphabet to "explain" the last characers in the Grammar because of their importance to the Book of Abraham, and also because they were believed to be at the beginning (i.e Egyptian reads from right to left).This is a major oversight on your part and an insurmountable hurdle for William because now he has to explain why in the world these men were creating a cipher key and explaining characters as they took them from right to left, as if they were really trying to understand an Egyptian document. The fact that you would keep asserting over and over, what is obviously not the case, suggests there is something seriously wrong with your observations.

Again, that seems only natural that you would think so. You agree with him.

What is so natural about an LDS scholar agreeing with me? He has every apologetic reason not to, but he agrees because the evidence is just too overwhelming.

However, when subjected to a greater level of scrutiny by someone, like myself, who doesn't have a vested interest in supporting Kevin's theory, then Kevin's arguments, particularly as he stated them and in the context of a supposed "rebuttal," have been rationally found to be problematic.

Calling your "responses" rational doesn't make them so, and I am humored by your attempt to imply that you have no dog in this fight. Over the past year you have invested more time and effort than anyone (including Schryver) trying to vindicate William's baseless theories. As I said, if you want to talk about objective observers in the know, then talk about LDS scholars, like the ones who have contacted me as of late to encourage me to keep educating the forum, despite the apologetic resistance. George Miller is one of three LDS scholars who have contacted me to tell me they support what I've said on this forum. Hopefully the others will make their presence in the near future.

Again, I have no problem with EA Parts 3 - 5 being attributed to corresponding columns in the JSP I. Where I take issue is with the first two parts. And, those first two parts are what are relevant to Will's FAIR statement and conclusion.

But William cannot simply throw the unexplained characters in the trash as if they were never intended to be explained. They were included and it is perfectly clear these men intended to "explain" them in the same way they explained the previous characters. Divorcing the papyri from the GAEL project was crucial to his thesis. That you do not understand this is unfortunate, but I'll just keep repeating it as you deny it.

Again, for all intents and purposes, for EA Parts 3 - 5, I am only really questioning whether the last two characters came from JSP I. I believe they were made up so as to fill in missing pieces of JSP XI. It turns out you agree.

OK, so if you agree, then the next question should be obvious:

Why in the world were they trying to "restore" genuine Egyptian characters on a genuine Egyptian papyrus, for the purposes of producing a cipher key, using characters that - according to Schryver - didn't necessarily have anything to do with genuine Egyptian?

This is one of many questions that I have asked you which you have repeatedly ignored.

And, I can certainly be faulted for not being on top of all the current scholarship. However, from what little you have presented of the scholarship here, it doesn't really alter my criticism in any meaningful way. So, in relation to this discussion, your concern in moot.

It isn't moot. It cuts right to the heart of the matter, which is simply the fact that you keep rasing irrelevant questions, presenting them as "challenging" to our arguments, when in fact these questions have been rendered moot by scholarship.

Edited by Xander

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I was asked by various people to support my claim that Joseph Smith believed the Gold Plates also contained an alphabet page.

In 1827, according to Joseph Smith's mother:

"It soon became necessary to take some measures to accomplish the translation of the record [the Book of Mormon] into English but he [Joseph Smith] was instructed to take off a facsimile of the alphabet Egyptian characters <composing the alphabet which were called reformed egyptian> Alphabetically and send them to all the learned men that he could find and ask them for the translation of the same"

Lavina Fielding Anderson, ed., Lucy’s Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001), 393.

A few years later Joseph Smith's father tells us the last engraved plate of the Book of Mormon contained an alphabet of the Reformed Egyptian language:

The remaining pages [of the golden plates] were closely written over in characters of some unknown tongue, the last containing the alphabet of this unknown language.”

“The Mormons,” Historical Magazine 7 (May 1870): 307. See Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents, 5 vols. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1996–2003), 1:462–63.

According to Charles Anthon, when he received the "alphabet," he described it as being presented in columns:

"This paper. . .consisted of all kinds of crooked characters disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets."

As I said before, this looks like a typical alphabet you'd find in any grammar book on any language. It looks nothing like a cipher key, which we wouldn't expect to contain "sounds."

So the first thing Joseph Smith did once he received the Book of Mormon plates, was to organize an alphabet to be deciphered. Thus, this fits perfectly with what we see in his 1835 project, the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language. So when the "critics" say the evidence supports the idea that he believed JSP 1 contained an Alphabet of the Egyptian language, well on top of the mountain of text evidence, there is also historical precedent for this, as we now know he believed the same thing concerning the "reformed" Egyptian record he once received. There is no precedent for Will's convoluted theory about a cipher. We're just following the evidence where it leads.

Edited by Xander

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Granted, it may prove useful in one sense for me to be more aware of the current scholarship--I could certain save myself some time. My hesitance in doing so is because I don't wish to have my thinking unduly influenced by past or contemporary thinking, but I prefer instead to mostly let that data take me where it will. That is how new and innovative insights often occur.

Wade - It is expected that when one engages in scholarly discourse that one is conversant in most of the scholarship on the subject. To ignore the work of multiple scholars working independently or semi-independently over long periods of time to piece together the historical past is frankly inconsiderate. I understand that you don't want your "thinking unduly influenced" but you should be able to read the scholarly material, understand the complex arguments, dissect the arguments, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the data, and see where the conclusions are sound and unsound. To simply ignore the published (often peer reviewed) literature and the reasoned arguments made therein leads one to misunderstand and mischaracterize the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments. My own assessment of your past postings on the subject suggest this is exactly what you have done.

Edited by George Miller

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You agree with Kevin, and so it makes sense that you would see it that way. When people are in agreement, it is more difficult for them to bring a level of objectivity and critical review that may be needed. That is why it is good to have opposing eyes look over our work because they may see things that we may have inadvertently overlooked. I post my work here for that very reason. And, you and Chris and Brent have been of great help to me in correcting some of my mistakes and causing me to rethink some of my conclusions.

It is not that I agree with Kevin that has led me to my conclusions that Kevin's analysis is correct. It is that my own analysis of the data shows that Kevin has in a good scholarly manner examined the data, honestly presented the data, and that his conclusions are based on sound logical reasoning. That I and other have all come to almost identical conclusions based on the same data also argues strongly that the conclusions are valid. Additionally, the conclusions presented by others like Chris, Brent, Kevin, Marquardt not only adhere nicely together, but their conclusions also agree with other material to which they have not yet examined.

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    • By Xander
      It is important to point out that William Schryver committed himself to this notion that the entire KEP can be understood via a proper understanding of the two pages called the "Egyptian Counting" document. He claims there has been "no explanation" proposed for this document, and so he goes to great lengths to "explain" it for us. I've been told that the critics have never provided an explanation, therefore Schryver's is the first. However, the explanation for this document is found in the document itself; the critics just never felt the need to argue otherwise..
      The Egyptian Counting document was intended to be... (drum roll)... an Egyptian Counting document.
      Mystery solved.
      The best way to approach this is by allowing the document to define itself. There is no need to complicate it further with superfluous brain-storms.
      To those familiar with these documents, it is quite obvious what this particular document was intended to be. But Schryver claims it is something else entirely; a cipher key which he asserts to supports his thesis that these men were engaged in an enciphering project, and not literal translations. Will is privileged in that he has been granted access to images of the documents, and he shares a few of them in his presentation. However his commentary accompanying the images is riddled with errors and baseless assumptions that are essential to his conclusion.
      First and foremost,
      Assertion #1:
      William tells us that when the text refers to Egyptian, it doesn't really mean to be referring to the Egyptian language (despite the fact that the "EL" in the acronym GAEL refers to "Egyptian Language," as the first page identifies itself). But his only evidence for this is the fact that none of the characters are genuine Egyptian characters. This is what we call a circular argument. He begins with the premise that these men would only believe real Egyptian characters were really Egyptian, and so he proceeds to argue in a circle that since these were not really Egyptian, then they never believed they were. So it is important that Schryver establish the premise that these men never really believed these Egyptian characters were Egyptian. Unfortunately, he never even tries to establish this. Instead, he asserts that it is true and leaves it at that.
      Assertion #2:
      According to William, this wasn't a "translation" at all, despite the fact that the document claims to contain Egyptian characters along with an English "explanation." William tells his audience that we should dispense with this description and call the English explanation a "substitute value." Presumably because that makes it sound more like a cipher.
      Assertion #3:
      He then says that these men would not have called a cipher a cipher, but instead they would have called it a "translation." This is how he accounts for the word "translation" being used, by claiming these men used it to mean the exact opposite ("Decipher" is synonymous with translate, but "encipher," as Will proposes was their purpose, is the opposite). So the argument here seeks to turn this document on its head by making it say the exact opposite of what it is.
      So in this short two page document, William manages to rid himself of three crucial pieces of evidence with no justification. His argument's underlying premise requires that Egyptian must not really mean Egyptian, translation really means the opposite of translation, and explanation really refers to a cipher-like "substitute value." Without all three of these assumptions, his entire argument collapses. So the million dollar question is simple. Does William justify these assumptions with evidence? The answer is no.
      But let's delve deeper into this so we can see further why Will's proposed explanation is not reasonable, and contrary to his repeated claim, has no explanatory power.
      The document contains the numbers 1-79 represented by mysterious characters along with their English names. To me - and I speak with experience teaching languages - this document has all the symptoms of a translated numbering system from one language to another. Something similar to this can be found in just about any Grammar book on any language. That this is what they were trying to do is further demonstrated by the manner in which these English explanations were represented.
      For example, why would a couple of characters be said to mean "Twice ten and two is twenty-two"? If it were merely a cipher as William asserts, then we'd begin with a coherent English concept and encrypt it into a symbol. We wouldn't begin with a symbol and extract from it redundant or ambiguous English phrases. In this case, there would be no reason to represent the number 22 with a phrase of seven words. One would simply say "twenty-two" or more to the point, "22," But Joseph Smith felt the need to spell out the literal translation.
      Moreover, the way in which these men rendered these Egyptian numbers in English tells us everything we need to know about what they thought they were doing, because this looks just like a typical 'word for word" translation from one language to another. A perfect example of this can be demonstrated in basic translations of Portuguese numbers. For instance, the number nineteen is represented in the Portuguese language as "dezenove." Literally translated it says "ten (dez) and (e) nine (nove)." This is very similar to the literal translation that appears in the Egyptian document, "Twice ten and two is twenty-two". So there should be no question that this was intended to be an Egyptian numbering system translated for English readers. I've taught this to literally hundreds of students, so when I read the Egyptian Counting document this jumped out at me and I knew exactly what this was trying to say.
      Will asserts, with no evidence, that none of these men really believed the symbols they used had any relationship to genuine Egyptian. This is easily refuted, and as I explained to Will and his defenders a year ago, many of the characters used to represent the Egyptian numbers can be found on the Anthon Transcript, which is a document containing characters that were derived from the "Gold Plates" written in "Reformed Egyptian." Here are a sample of the characters found on the Egyptian Counting document, alongside the Anthon transcript:

      Obviously, many of these characters preexisted this project, and it is worth noting that several Masonic cipher symbols bear strong resemblance to a number of the characters found in the Anthon transcript. So despite the fact that many of these symbols derive from the "reformed Egyptian," William asserts that there is absolutely no reason to believe these men thought these characters had anything to do with the Egyptian language. I mean the fact that they called them Egyptian, and the fact that some of them were clearly present on a document containing "reformed" Egyptian, makes this a dubious claim.
      Further evidence against Will's assertion can be found in Joseph Smith's explanations of Facsimile #2, which appear in the GAEL and are to some extent, dependent on the Egyptian Counting document. You see, Will does a good job of showing flashy images and complicating a rather simple document, but what he never does is test the proposed english explanations with other examples in which these Egyptian numbers were used. This is because he rejects out of hand the obvious fact that this was believed to be a literal translation from Egyptian to English.
      The Egyptian number one is called "eh" in the Egyptian Counting document. Phrases pulled from the GAEL reveal that this same "eh" is used to denote the meaning of one, first or beginning. The same is true for the Egyptian number "veh" which means five. The former LDS apologist Paul Osborne, provided an online article explaining how these words consistently correspond to their assigned translations.
      But the real coffin nail here is the fact that Facsimile #2 was worked on in the GAEL, and the translation produced is now canonized alongside the Book of Abraham.
      From Joseph Smith's explanation of Figure 1:
      Notice that Joseph Smith mentions "Jah-oh-eh" and explains what it meant to the Egyptian people. This term is found in the GAEL with an accompanying symbol. This proves three points that effectively dismiss Schryver's thesis:
      1. The Facsimile explanations produced by Joseph Smith, not W.W. Phelps, use a word derived from the GAEL. There is nothing in LDS history or canon to suggest the source for the Facsimile explanations was W.W. Phelps. The Facsimile explanations also refer to GAEL terms, "Kolob" and "Floees," along with their corresponding definitions. The latter appearing in Cowdery's Alphabet document, but not in Phelps's.
      2. This word along with the corresponding definition establishes the critical argument regarding the meaning and purpose of the Egyptian Counting document. There is no evidence of enciphering. It was clearly used to decipher, to demonstrate a literal translation.
      3. This word was understood to have been used, not by the "Ancients" (as William asserts blindly) but more specifically, the "Egyptians."
      And yet William argues, without a shred of evidence of support, that those involved with this project never believed they were dealing with anything that had to do with the Egyptians or the Egyptian language. Will's thesis relies on a rejection of all three points listed and proved above.
      So why in the world are they publishing something William claims was being enciphered?
      The entire point to enciphering is to encrypt data. To keep it hidden. But Joseph Smith freely demonstrated these documents and their translations to whomever wanted to view them. Continued...
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