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Evidence for the Book of Abraham

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8 minutes ago, cinepro said:

I hope I'm not the only one that is really, really glad that it's the first claim that's been proven true and not the second.

Cursing is underrated. Waiting for the day the Priesthood’s power to curse is allowed generally.

Until then I have to resort to alternate methods. Halfway through the course. Looking forward to the results:

ready-for-a-new-career-in-just-10-short-

 

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15 hours ago, cinepro said:

I hope I'm not the only one that is really, really glad that it's the first claim that's been proven true and not the second.

Off topic.......

Do you have a problem with being cursed?  I am cursed with diabetes, and other physical ailments.  As you can see from my avatar, I am cursed with incredible good looks. We are all  cursed with a ticking clock leading to death.

You just learn to suck it up and live with it.  Being under a curse is just part of life -- no big deal.

Edited by cdowis
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2 hours ago, cdowis said:

Off topic.......

Do you have a problem with being cursed?  I am cursed with diabetes, and other physical ailments.  As you can see from my avatar, I am cursed with incredible good looks. We are all  cursed with a ticking clock leading to death.

You just learn to suck it up and live with it.  Being under a curse is just part of life -- no big deal.

So you think the curse that is being referred to might be diabetes?

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On 12/4/2018 at 11:58 AM, cinepro said:

So you think the curse that is being referred to might be diabetes?

 

 

 

 

 

 I attempted to remove this graphic,  but was unable to do so.  So please ignore it.

image.png

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On 12/2/2018 at 11:02 AM, cdowis said:

Abraham 1: 23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;

24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.

 

The Sahara did have some huge lakes, but imho those preceded the time of Noah by a few thousand years. I interpret that scripture to mean that the Nile was in a state of spring flood, and the agricultural land was temporarily under water when Egyptus "discovered" the land. Didn't the Lehites "discover" their promised land? Yet, imho, the Americas were already well peopled. Same principle for how Columbus "discovered" the Americas. It certainly falls within the scope of our language usage even if Egypt already had people in it when the descendants of Ham moved there.

In short I don't consider this to be evidence to support the Book of Abraham. However, the period when those lakes dried up was a period when droughts become more severe in Egypt, and we are seeing the tail end of that in 2000 BC - 4000 YBP - in the story of Joseph. 

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2 hours ago, RevTestament said:

The Sahara did have some huge lakes, but imho those preceded the time of Noah by a few thousand years. I interpret that scripture to mean that the Nile was in a state of spring flood, and the agricultural land was temporarily under water when Egyptus "discovered" the land. Didn't the Lehites "discover" their promised land? Yet, imho, the Americas were already well peopled. Same principle for how Columbus "discovered" the Americas. It certainly falls within the scope of our language usage even if Egypt already had people in it when the descendants of Ham moved there.

In short I don't consider this to be evidence to support the Book of Abraham. However, the period when those lakes dried up was a period when droughts become more severe in Egypt, and we are seeing the tail end of that in 2000 BC - 4000 YBP - in the story of Joseph. 

Huh?  I didn't say what you think i said.

I said nothing about Noah and the Great Flood.   I personally do not think this verse in Abraham refers to that event at all., but as I see it,  this refers to a significant event beyond the periodic flooding of the Nile since it triggered a new period of habitation. 

Neither Noah's flood nor just a normal period of flooding but the  retreat of a large body of water.

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On 12/3/2018 at 5:46 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Nearly all biblical archeologists agree that the approximate time of Abraham had to be ca. 2,000 B.C., in the Middle Kingdom.  The term "eponym" assumes mythical tales of origin, and are not intended to reflect professional historiography. Moreover, Abraham himself was not a professional historian.  Josephus associates the Hyksos with the Israelite Exodus under Moses, and all historical indicators point to that same period.  Around 500 years after Abraham.

The issue isn't Abraham but the origin of the Egypt he's referring to in Abraham 1. I certainly recognize most archeologists, if they treat Abraham as anything more than a fictional legend, tie it to the 2cd millennium. Most manuals follow the traditional Protestant dating, largely based upon Usher's treatment of the chronology of Genesis. The problem with the Usher-like chronology is of course skipping generations in genealogies. Working backwards from Exodus (typically seen as legendary fiction by scholars as well) is the ambiguity of Exodus 12:40 for dating. The greek texts apply it to the period from Abraham to Moses and not just the time in Egypt. So there's lots of complexities. Typically the positive reception of Joseph and perhaps Abraham is seen as due to the Hyksos influence. But you get pretty prominent scholars dating Abraham from the middle bronze, middle bronze II, or even Amarna period of late bronze.

As I said my question is more about the Egyptus figure and when she or her son lived. That's far more ambiguous. The argument against it being tied to Egyptus you alluded to. The hyksos are 1650 - 1542. If Abraham lives around 2000 then that's too late. If you follow the dating of say Ephraim Speiser though for Abraham this is more plausible since that puts it as late as the 1550 BC for Abraham. Again I'm not saying we know. The textual evidence is pretty non-existence and there's obviously no archaeological evidence. At best we take inferences from the text that are themselves speculative and weak.

My whole argument wasn't to give a single answer but to note those favoring the reference in Abraham 1 as the hyksos aren't out of the range of possibility. It's definitely not the most popular view though. My own position is that we don't have enough information to say much so we should keep open to all the possibilities.

On 12/3/2018 at 5:46 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Egyptologists put the unification of Egypt under one king at around 3100 B.C., during dynasty zero.  It is clearly to that period which the BofA refers when it refers to the first pharaoh.  I'm talking archeology, not scripture reading and sunday school.

That's certainly possible. The problem is there's nothing in the text that states that is what is being referred to or that the Pharoah & Egyptus of Abraham 1 are tied to this unification. Again the fact we're dealing with papyri from the 1st century with an unknown connection between that papyri and the text of the Book of Abraham complicates things. We know that subjective elements we'd likely deem as false, such as the astronomy, are in the text and refer to the beliefs of the people in question rather than objective astronomy in the sense of a god's eye view. Whether the Pharoah and Egyptus passage is legend that the author believed but not meant to be taken as something we should take as truth isn't clear. If one takes it as objective truth then of course the unification of Egypt makes a lot of sense. But that's certainly not the only way to read the text even from a faithful perspective.

On 12/3/2018 at 5:46 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

The BofA facsimiles are Ptolemaic (Snsn text of Hor and the Hypocephalus).  These are facts not in dispute, and the Testament of Abraham and the Apocalypse of Abraham are from the same period and have many of the same contents.

The question is whether the text of Abraham is from the Roman era or possibly earlier Ptolematic era. i.e. not the papyri but our text. It's of course quite possible to have a pseudopigraphal text from the 1st century in a corrupt form that was copied and sold by scribes in Thebes for funerary use. Our text might then be more about 1st century views of Abraham, often erroneous, and perhaps with inspired commentary or correction much like the JST does for Enoch or Melchezedek passages. It's also possible that there was discussion of Abraham in passing in a funerary text and Joseph was given more objective history of the actual historic personage of Abraham. It's not really clear. Of course as many have noted the Joseph Smith treatment of fac. 2 incorporates elements/terminology of Thomas Taylor's translation of Proclus's works. Proclus is a 5th century AD neoplatonist, but many of the elements of his thought and cosmology go back much earlier into Roman and Ptolematic eras. That suggests that at least elements of the commentary/translation are indeed Ptolematic in nature.

But I don't think at this time we really can say much about the nature of the text, let alone how to take Egyptus and her son Pharoah.

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1 hour ago, cdowis said:

Huh?  I didn't say what you think i said.

I said nothing about Noah and the Great Flood.   I personally do not think this verse in Abraham refers to that event at all., but as I see it,  this refers to a significant event beyond the periodic flooding of the Nile since it triggered a new period of habitation. 

Neither Noah's flood nor just a normal period of flooding but the  retreat of a large body of water.

That scripture speaks of the descendants of Ham moving into Egypt. I believe that did happen. A light-skinned people moved into lower Egypt, and began to rule it. Ham is a descendant of Noah per the Bible. That seems to tie that story to post Noahic-flood events. You disagree?

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On 12/3/2018 at 4:46 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Nearly all biblical archeologists agree that the approximate time of Abraham had to be ca. 2,000 B.C., in the Middle Kingdom.  The term "eponym" assumes mythical tales of origin, and are not intended to reflect professional historiography. Moreover, Abraham himself was not a professional historian.  Josephus associates the Hyksos with the Israelite Exodus under Moses, and all historical indicators point to that same period.  Around 500 years after Abraham.

Egyptologists put the unification of Egypt under one king at around 3100 B.C., during dynasty zero.  It is clearly to that period which the BofA refers when it refers to the first pharaoh.  I'm talking archeology, not scripture reading and sunday school.

Didn't the kings begin to be called pharaohs in the eighteenth dynasty? I'm not sure when the word pharaoh entered the picture, but I think it was well after the first unification of the crown. That implies some invasion of a foreign rule somewhere along the line that perhaps introduced the word. There were several of these in Egypt's history: the Nubians, the Hyksos, etc. When the first Asiatics came into Egypt is not known, but we do begin to see it in Egyptian art around the time of Abraham.

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

That scripture speaks of the descendants of Ham moving into Egypt. I believe that did happen. A light-skinned people moved into lower Egypt, and began to rule it. Ham is a descendant of Noah per the Bible. That seems to tie that story to post Noahic-flood events. You disagree?

I suspect he means that it's not clear how to take Genesis as history given what we know of the possible corruption of the text (1 Nephi 13 not to mention the history of how the Old Testament was compiled). Abraham 1 just doesn't refer to the earlier narrative beyond mentioning Ham. But if one sees the flood as more local, then both Ham and Shem would have been people moving into indigenous populations much like apologists typically see the Nephites doing. That's why some have trouble with Robert's view since the question then becomes how these small interlopers into an already ancient culture in Egypt able to usurpt and centralize authority without any historic echo. We do see that somewhat with the hyksos who come out of Canaan much later. But then as Robert points out that runs into problems with traditional dating of Abraham. I personally think the Canaanite based movement into Egypt makes much more sense relative to the text of the Book of Abraham. It's reconciling that with history that's problematic. Although one can also just see this as an ahistoric legend Abraham believed which I think Robert suggested earlier.

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3 hours ago, RevTestament said:

That scripture speaks of the descendants of Ham moving into Egypt. I believe that did happen. A light-skinned people moved into lower Egypt, and began to rule it. Ham is a descendant of Noah per the Bible. That seems to tie that story to post Noahic-flood events. You disagree?

I think that is what I said.  It could have occurred centuries after the Flood -- just a natural post Flood event, not directly tied to the Flood.

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10 hours ago, RevTestament said:

Didn't the kings begin to be called pharaohs in the eighteenth dynasty? I'm not sure when the word pharaoh entered the picture, but I think it was well after the first unification of the crown. That implies some invasion of a foreign rule somewhere along the line that perhaps introduced the word. There were several of these in Egypt's history: the Nubians, the Hyksos, etc. When the first Asiatics came into Egypt is not known, but we do begin to see it in Egyptian art around the time of Abraham.

The term Pharaoh is an Egyptian word first meaning "great house, dynasty."  It becomes a word for king only in the mid-2nd millennium B.C.  The Bible reflects contemporary usage, as does the Ptolemaic period Book of Abraham.

Canaanites always came into Egypt to escape droughts, and had a thriving colony there in the Delta by Middle Kingdom (Abrahamic) times.  In fact we have a famous painting depicting the entry of Canaanites into Egypt then in a tomb at Beni Hasan:

Image result for tomb painting at beni hasan

That is how Abraham and his retinue would have appeared.

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11 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

The issue isn't Abraham but the origin of the Egypt he's referring to in Abraham 1. I certainly recognize most archeologists, if they treat Abraham as anything more than a fictional legend, tie it to the 2cd millennium. Most manuals follow the traditional Protestant dating, largely based upon Usher's treatment of the chronology of Genesis. The problem with the Usher-like chronology is of course skipping generations in genealogies. Working backwards from Exodus (typically seen as legendary fiction by scholars as well) is the ambiguity of Exodus 12:40 for dating. The greek texts apply it to the period from Abraham to Moses and not just the time in Egypt. So there's lots of complexities. Typically the positive reception of Joseph and perhaps Abraham is seen as due to the Hyksos influence. But you get pretty prominent scholars dating Abraham from the middle bronze, middle bronze II, or even Amarna period of late bronze.

I can think of no reason to confuse Abraham with either the El Amarna period or the Hyksos period.  Neither makes any sense.

11 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

As I said my question is more about the Egyptus figure and when she or her son lived. That's far more ambiguous. The argument against it being tied to Egyptus you alluded to. The hyksos are 1650 - 1542. If Abraham lives around 2000 then that's too late. If you follow the dating of say Ephraim Speiser though for Abraham this is more plausible since that puts it as late as the 1550 BC for Abraham. Again I'm not saying we know. The textual evidence is pretty non-existence and there's obviously no archaeological evidence. At best we take inferences from the text that are themselves speculative and weak.

My whole argument wasn't to give a single answer but to note those favoring the reference in Abraham 1 as the hyksos aren't out of the range of possibility. It's definitely not the most popular view though. My own position is that we don't have enough information to say much so we should keep open to all the possibilities.

That's certainly possible. The problem is there's nothing in the text that states that is what is being referred to or that the Pharoah & Egyptus of Abraham 1 are tied to this unification. Again the fact we're dealing with papyri from the 1st century with an unknown connection between that papyri and the text of the Book of Abraham complicates things. We know that subjective elements we'd likely deem as false, such as the astronomy, are in the text and refer to the beliefs of the people in question rather than objective astronomy in the sense of a god's eye view.

The astronomical statements in the BofA have been taken to be late and Ptolemaic by some, but early and profound by others. I recommend a contextual and scientific analysis, such as I provide in my paper cited below.

11 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Whether the Pharoah and Egyptus passage is legend that the author believed but not meant to be taken as something we should take as truth isn't clear. If one takes it as objective truth then of course the unification of Egypt makes a lot of sense. But that's certainly not the only way to read the text even from a faithful perspective.

The question is whether the text of Abraham is from the Roman era or possibly earlier Ptolematic era. i.e. not the papyri but our text. It's of course quite possible to have a pseudopigraphal text from the 1st century in a corrupt form that was copied and sold by scribes in Thebes for funerary use. Our text might then be more about 1st century views of Abraham, often erroneous, and perhaps with inspired commentary or correction much like the JST does for Enoch or Melchezedek passages. It's also possible that there was discussion of Abraham in passing in a funerary text and Joseph was given more objective history of the actual historic personage of Abraham. It's not really clear. Of course as many have noted the Joseph Smith treatment of fac. 2 incorporates elements/terminology of Thomas Taylor's translation of Proclus's works. Proclus is a 5th century AD neoplatonist, but many of the elements of his thought and cosmology go back much earlier into Roman and Ptolematic eras. That suggests that at least elements of the commentary/translation are indeed Ptolematic in nature.

But I don't think at this time we really can say much about the nature of the text, let alone how to take Egyptus and her son Pharoah.

We can let our imaginations run riot and come up with endless proposals.  It might be better to practice some self-restraint and exercise careful critical scholarship -- which is what I try to do in my “Brief Assessment of the LDS Book of Abraham,” version 9 online Feb 20, 2018, online at  http://www.scribd.com/doc/118810727/A-Brief-Assessment-of-the-LDS-Book-of-Abraham .

Egyptus is merely a Latin form of the ancient name of Egypt, featuring the name of the god Ptah.  Likewise, the variant Zeptah means "Daughter-of-Ptah," and fits the context like a glove.

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12 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The term Pharaoh is an Egyptian word first meaning "great house, dynasty."  It becomes a word for king only in the mid-2nd millennium B.C.  The Bible reflects contemporary usage, as does the Ptolemaic period Book of Abraham.

Interesting. I didn't know that. Thanks. Although as I said given there's so many ways to read the Book of Mormon that's not necessarily relevant for all readings.

11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

We can let our imaginations run riot and come up with endless proposals.  It might be better to practice some self-restraint and exercise careful critical scholarship

I agree but I think the very nature of the Book of Abraham and related texts makes it much more open to numerous reasonable interpretations even if one is more cautious. While I usually have preferred readings of various scripture, I also strongly think that was should be very open to the justifiable ways of reading passages given the limited data we're interpreting out of. I certainly don't deny yours is a good reading. Hopefully I've never indicated otherwise. I just don't think it the only justifiable reading.

11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Egyptus is merely a Latin form of the ancient name of Egypt, featuring the name of the god Ptah.  Likewise, the variant Zeptah means "Daughter-of-Ptah," and fits the context like a glove.

It's worth noting that in the prepublication manuscripts the text read Zeptah. (Wasn't sure if that's what you were referring to but figured it was worth making it explicit for those not familiar with it)

Not sure how that makes your preferred context stronger though. Wouldn't a name like that fit many other settings as well?

Edited by clarkgoble

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3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

.....................................

It's worth noting that in the prepublication manuscripts the text read Zeptah. (Wasn't sure if that's what you were referring to but figured it was worth making it explicit for those not familiar with it)

Not sure how that makes your preferred context stronger though. Wouldn't a name like that fit many other settings as well?

image.png.129b121fbb4e1fb4c8a6fa674f79c476.png

ZEPTAH is clearly Egyptian ZЗt-Ptḥ, SЗt-Ptḥ, "Daughter-of-Ptah" (the -t- in SЗt is silent),[1] as is Astarte the "Daughter of Ptah" in the Late Egyptian Hieratic story of "Astarte and the Sea"[2]  (which may be later reflected in the name of the Babylonian or Jewish Sibyl Sambethe/ Sambathis, the daughter or daughter-in-law of Noah, who also came to Egypt after the Flood[3]).


[1] Egyptian S(З.t)-ptḥ in Middle Kingdom (H. Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen I.288.22); cf. Phoenician transcription as ספתח and Neo-Babylonian transcription Isi-ip-ta-ḫu (Vittmann, Göttinger Miszellen 70, p. 65), cited in Y. Muchiki, Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords in North-West Semitic, SBL dissertation series 173 (Atlanta: SBL, 1999), 29.

[2] "Astarte and Yam" in the Papyrus Amherst in Pritchard, ed., ANET, 3rd ed., 17-18; Gardiner, Late-Egyptian Stories, 76-81; Gardiner, "The Astarte Papyrus," in Studies Presented to F. Ll. Griffith, 74-85; Lexikon der Ägyptologie, I:500-510. Albright showed how Astarte is the same as Atargatis-Cybele, Qudshu, Baˁalat, Juno, Virgo, etc., Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, chapter III; see also C. H. Gordon in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., 24:91-127; and A. R. Durham, “Zeptah-Egyptus,” Sept 1958 in R. Christensen, ed., Papers of the Fifteenth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures, 12-16.

[3] H. C. Youtie, "Sambat­his," Harvard Theological Review, 37:213-217; Cf. Charlesworth, OTP, I:318, citing Rosenstiehl & Heinz, "De Sibtu, la reine de Mari, à Sambethe," Revue d'histoire et de philosophie religieuse, 52 (1972):13-15; Sibylline Oracles, Prologue:33; I:289, III:809,823-827 (J. Charlesworth, OTP, I:317-318, 327, 341, 380; R.H. Charles, APOT, II:392-393), from the oldest and most certainly Jewish section of OrSib.

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49 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

ZEPTAH is clearly Egyptian ZЗt-Ptḥ, SЗt-Ptḥ, "Daughter-of-Ptah" (the -t- in SЗt is silent),[1] as is Astarte the "Daughter of Ptah" in the Late Egyptian Hieratic story of "Astarte and the Sea"[2]  (which may be later reflected in the name of the Babylonian or Jewish Sibyl Sambethe/ Sambathis, the daughter or daughter-in-law of Noah, who also came to Egypt after the Flood[3]).

Right, I get that. I don't see how it points to whether this is a narrative of the 4th millennia, the 2cd millennia, the period from Moses to the exile, or the Ptolemaic period.

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Right, I get that. I don't see how it points to whether this is a narrative of the 4th millennia, the 2cd millennia, the period from Moses to the exile, or the Ptolemaic period.

I was merely discussing the etymology of the word, and its connection to the daughter of Noah.  The Sibylline Oracles and other literature of late antiquity fit the pseudepigraphic scenario quite well, and not before.

I could have added that, in Appollodorus (Bibliotheca, 2:1:4-5), Egyptus is the eponym­ous son of Belus & Anchinoe, and it is he who first conquers Egypt.  There is no dearth of such connections, all based on standard scholarship.

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9 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I was merely discussing the etymology of the word, and its connection to the daughter of Noah.  The Sibylline Oracles and other literature of late antiquity fit the pseudepigraphic scenario quite well, and not before.

I could have added that, in Appollodorus (Bibliotheca, 2:1:4-5), Egyptus is the eponym­ous son of Belus & Anchinoe, and it is he who first conquers Egypt.  There is no dearth of such connections, all based on standard scholarship.

Ah, OK, I misunderstood what you were arguing. Thanks.

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On 12/5/2018 at 9:15 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

The term Pharaoh is an Egyptian word first meaning "great house, dynasty."  It becomes a word for king only in the mid-2nd millennium B.C.  The Bible reflects contemporary usage, as does the Ptolemaic period Book of Abraham.

Canaanites always came into Egypt to escape droughts, and had a thriving colony there in the Delta by Middle Kingdom (Abrahamic) times.  In fact we have a famous painting depicting the entry of Canaanites into Egypt then in a tomb at Beni Hasan:

Image result for tomb painting at beni hasan

That is how Abraham and his retinue would have appeared.

Pardon a stupid question from someone totally uneducated in these matters but I noticed that the Canaanites  here appear to be lighter skinned than the Egyptians-  where did we get the idea that they would be darker skinned?   Or was that just in my uneducated brain??

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I'm far from well versed in matters Egyptian, but I believe Egyptian males are always portrayed with a reddish brown color. Egyptian women often are portrayed with a more yellowish color. Gods are portrayed in gold. A few other colors pop up with specific meanings (green, black, etc.) Osiris as I recall was usually black due to his association with the underworld although in some scenes he's other colors such as green related to the event in question such as resurrection.  I'm not sure why they'd paint canaanites as women - presumably to differentiate them from Egyptian men.

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16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Pardon a stupid question from someone totally uneducated in these matters but I noticed that the Canaanites  here appear to be lighter skinned than the Egyptians-  where did we get the idea that they would be darker skinned?   Or was that just in my uneducated brain??

Skin pigmentation was often conventionalized, women being depicted much lighter than men,

Image result for colorful egyptian paintings

although Nubians were always depicted as quite dark (here from the 18th dynasty tomb of Anen, Thebes ),

0*Fp66t0H9ZXcuKdVJ.jpg

Image result for medinet habu royal palace paintings

Enamel brick from royal palace at Medinet Habu, Egypt, showing Nubian and Semitic prisoners.

A recent DNA study gives us results,

Quote

suggesting that Egyptian mummies may have been more closely related to individuals in present day Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, and other sites in the Near East than to populations residing in Egypt today..............

They sequenced mitochondrial genomes from 90 Egyptian mummies at an archaeological site called Abusir el-Meleq.

The findings, reported in Nature Communications, said the remains which ranged in age from nearly 1,600 to more than 3,400 years, provided a look at populations that moved through the region and transitions between Pre-Ptolemaic, Ptolemaic, and Roman Periods. Generally, the results suggest that such samples can yield useful genetic information, despite conditions considered sub-optimal for DNA preservation.  http://www.frontlinegenomics.com/news/12310/researchers-sequence-genome-data-egyptian-mummies/ .

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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On 12/5/2018 at 6:31 AM, RevTestament said:

The Sahara did have some huge lakes, but imho those preceded the time of Noah by a few thousand years. I interpret that scripture to mean that the Nile was in a state of spring flood, and the agricultural land was temporarily under water when Egyptus "discovered" the land. Didn't the Lehites "discover" their promised land? Yet, imho, the Americas were already well peopled. Same principle for how Columbus "discovered" the Americas. It certainly falls within the scope of our language usage even if Egypt already had people in it when the descendants of Ham moved there.

I think that you are on the right track here, since we know that people had occupied the Nile Valley for millennia before it was unified by a single king at around 3100 B.C.  Abr 1:25 refers to that "first government."

On 12/5/2018 at 6:31 AM, RevTestament said:

In short I don't consider this to be evidence to support the Book of Abraham. However, the period when those lakes dried up was a period when droughts become more severe in Egypt, and we are seeing the tail end of that in 2000 BC - 4000 YBP - in the story of Joseph. 

The basic shift in climate and environment had long since taken place by pharaonic times.

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44 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Skin pigmentation was often conventionalized, women being depicted much lighter than men,

Image result for colorful egyptian paintings

although Nubians were always depicted as quite dark (here from the 18th dynasty tomb of Anen, Thebes ),

0*Fp66t0H9ZXcuKdVJ.jpg

Image result for medinet habu royal palace paintings

Enamel brick from royal palace at Medinet Habu, Egypt, showing Nubian and Semitic prisoners.

A recent DNA study gives us results,

 

Thanks Bob, you are amazing!

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18 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I think that you are on the right track here, since we know that people had occupied the Nile Valley for millennia before it was unified by a single king at around 3100 B.C.  Abr 1:25 refers to that "first government."

That scripture is expressly referring to the first government of "Egypt" under the Noahic line, so it appears I have to disagree with you. Back in the days of the first unified king the kingdom was known as Kemet, which means "Black Land" apparently so called after the agricultural land along the Nile. Later the name was expanded into one reflecting more of a nationality, ie Misr, which means "country." But surely you know that. Scholars presently hold that the name Egypt comes from the Greek Aegyptos, which they say is the Greek pronunciation, Aί-γυ-πτoς (Ai-gy-ptos), of the ancient name for the temple in the city of Memphis, "Hwt-Ka-Ptah" ("Mansion of the Spirit of Ptah"). This is more your expertise. Do you have anything to offer about that? Is it possible that the name had a Semitic origin from people which settled in the Delta? Connecting the name to the Egyptian god Ptah seems problematic to me. It seems that root is common with ancient Semitic, thus confusing the picture more. My research indicates to me Memphis was never called by that name or anything similar. In Noah's day, assuming c. 2500 BC, Memphis was called Inbu-Hedj (translated as "the white walls", and possibly Djed-Sut ("everlasting places"). The city was also at one point referred to as Ankh-Tawy (meaning "Life of the Two Lands"), stressing the strategic position of the city between Upper and Lower Egypt. This name appears to date from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1640 BCE). 

This all leaves the name Egypt available in Noah's or Abraham's day, and possibly derived somehow from an amalgamation from Asiatics arriving in the land. To them the name would possibly mean something like the house of the spirit of the opener, which could reference back to the discovery or opening of the land to the Hamites. This all gets kinda speculative though. 

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The basic shift in climate and environment had long since taken place by pharaonic times.

I agree. The lakes had apparently essentially dried up by 4000-3500 BC. However, the climate of N. Africa and Arabia is on a 23,000 year continuum, so has continued to get drier as the earth's axis has continued to rotate away from its position in 4000 BC. Thus, Joseph's day was the tail end of that wet cycle - leading into the extreme dry cycle of the Sahara we see today. Given another 8000 years N. Africa would become a tropical paradise again as we pass by the peak of the dry period in 2000 years.

The climate change is surely a main reason for the rise of Egypt, as populations of N. Africa were huddled into this land around the Nile for dependable food supplies. The same is true for the rise of civilization in Sumeria as the highlands of Mesopotamia dried out, and prompted the invention of irrigation. This leaves the question "how do you discover a "land" which is under water? At that point it is not land. It is obvious that when it was "discovered" it had "risen" out of the water. This fits the annual cycle of the Nile Delta, which would have grown less prone to flooding in that day. The Egyptians do connect the name Ptah to that region of Egypt, so that is a geographical fit. So we have a etymological connection to Semitic, and a geographical connection to the delta region for the name Egypt, as well as its use after Abraham's day. That is at least enough to not reasonably exclude the version of history presented by the Book of Abraham, but is far from proving it.

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

That scripture is expressly referring to the first government of "Egypt" under the Noahic line, so it appears I have to disagree with you......In Noah's day, assuming c. 2500 BC ............. 

Perhaps reckoning according to Archbishop Ussher, or according to McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (though I haven't read it), or according to testimony at the Scopes Monkey Trial, 2500 BC is taken as a legitimate date for Noah & Co.  However, no scholar would ever accept that date, nor anywhere in the neighborhood of that late date.  Even the LDS "Bible Dictionary" does not place a date on the Great Flood, and states that Ussher made some errors.  Instead it states that 

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For the earliest parts of Old Testament history we rely entirely on the scripture itself; but the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint or Greek translation, and the Samaritan Pentateuch do not agree together, so that many dates cannot be fixed with certainty.  https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bible-chron?lang=eng .

As David Bokovoy and other scholars have noted, when taken as the reflex of sexagesimal dating, the long years of the Ante-Diluvian Patriarchs match those of the Sumerian King List.  That throws all the normal assumptions about the early OT dates into a cocked hat.

Indeed, some BYU scholars have taken a more scientific approach, arguing that Earth is billions of years old, and that the Great Flood may be associated with the great Pluvial Rains at the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 B.C.  See M. D. Rhodes & J. W. Moody, "Astronomy and the Creation in the Book of Abraham," in J. Gee & B. Hauglid, eds., Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant (FARMS/ISPART, 2005), 17-36.

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Back in the days of the first unified king the kingdom was known as Kemet, which means "Black Land" apparently so called after the agricultural land along the Nile.

It is true that the land along the Nile was called Kmt "Black-land, Egypt," and the wilderness beyond the Nile was called Dšrt "Red-land, Desert;  Red-Crown, Honey-bee (logo)."  But those are generic, descriptive terms, only indirectly related to the polity.

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Later the name was expanded into one reflecting more of a nationality, ie Misr, which means "country."

Arabic Mir is a later form of Semitic "Border," as in Hebrew eponymous GN Mizraim = Hebrew miṣrayîm “Egypt, Two-borders” (Genesis 10:6,13-20),[1] which is a dual form reflecting ancient Egyptian duals as names for Egypt, TЗwy “The-Two-lands,” and ʼIdbwy “The-Two-shores” (cf. Babylonian matMi-ṣir, Ugaritic Mṣrm).


[1] LDS “Bible Dictionary,” 660-661, 733.

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But surely you know that. Scholars presently hold that the name Egypt comes from the Greek Aegyptos, which they say is the Greek pronunciation, Aί-γυ-πτoς (Ai-gy-ptos), of the ancient name for the temple in the city of Memphis, "Hwt-Ka-Ptah" ("Mansion of the Spirit of Ptah"). This is more your expertise. Do you have anything to offer about that? Is it possible that the name had a Semitic origin from people which settled in the Delta? Connecting the name to the Egyptian god Ptah seems problematic to me. It seems that root is common with ancient Semitic, thus confusing the picture more.

The etymology of Egyptus is variously from Babylonian syllabic cuneiform ḫikuptaḥ “Egypt” (Ugaritic ḥkpt), from the Egyptian name for Memphis, the old capital of Egypt, Ḥwt-kЗ-Ptaḥ "House-of-the-Spirit-of-Ptah" (i.e., the Temple of Ptah) ➔ "Egypt/­ Aegyptus/ Egyptus" (E-gy-pt; Coptic ekepta), and Greek Αἴγυπτος in Homer as both Nile River and country,[1] and in Appollodorus (Bibliotheca, 2:1:4-5), as the eponym­ous son of Belus & Anchinoe, who first conquers Egypt. 


[1] Lexikon der Ägyptologie, I:77, IV:25-26; Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs: An Introduction, 1-2.

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My research indicates to me Memphis was never called by that name or anything similar. ...................., Memphis was called Inbu-Hedj (translated as "the white walls", and possibly Djed-Sut ("everlasting places"). The city was also at one point referred to as Ankh-Tawy (meaning "Life of the Two Lands"), stressing the strategic position of the city between Upper and Lower Egypt.

Egyptologigst John Gee has proposed an etymology for Nephi derived from ancient Egyptian Nfr “Beautiful, Fair, Good” (pronounced nafi = Demotic nfy), a well-known Egyptian proper name, often used in combination with other words or theophoric terms.  This proposal may even suggest to us that Nephi was born in the Egyptian capital city, Memphis, and was first named Nōfy “The Memphite”!![3]  Later, this name may have been dissimilated to the last part of the name, Nfr, since the etymology of this place-name was Mn-nfr “Memphis; Firm-and-Fair” (= Coptic Mnfe, Mefi, Hebrew Mōp, Nōp [Hosea 9:6, Isaiah 19:3], Akkadian Mi-im-pi, Greek Memphis, Menophreōs),[5]


[1] John Gee in JBMS, 1/1 (1992):189-190, and n. 11, citing Ranke, Ägyptische Personennamen, I:194.

[2] Cf. Ilin-Tomich, PNM.

[3] Indeed, as Donald Redford points out, “With the Egyptian Empire of the New Kingdom, Memphis had become the seat of a Canaanite community of merchants and mercenaries centered upon the temples of Baˁal and Astarte (Helck 1966).  During the final days of Judah, Memphis received exiles fleeing the advance of the Babylonians (Jer 44:1),” in Freedman, ed., ABD, IV:690; Westendorf, KHw, 477.  

[4] Redford, “Memphis,” in Freedman, ed., ABD, IV:689.

[5] Y. Muchiki, Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords in NW Semitic, 231.

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This name appears to date from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1640 BCE). 

The Middle Kingdom should cover only the 11th & 12th dynasties (2125-1773 B.C.), not the Second Intermediate Period as well (dynasties 13-17), so it should terminate by 1773 B.C.

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This all leaves the name Egypt available in Noah's or Abraham's day, and possibly derived somehow from an amalgamation from Asiatics arriving in the land. To them the name would possibly mean something like the house of the spirit of the opener, which could reference back to the discovery or opening of the land to the Hamites. This all gets kinda speculative though. 

We used to refer to the Hamito-Semitic language family, but now we call it Afro-Asiatic (at one time all one language), with ancient Egyptian very similar to Akkadian -- the two earliest written forms of this phylum.  Those speaking it at one time were likely of the same genetic extraction, which is what the BofA claims: Verena J. Schuenemann, et al., “Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods,” Nature Communications, May 30, 2017, online at https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15694

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I agree. The lakes had apparently essentially dried up by 4000-3500 BC. However, the climate of N. Africa and Arabia is on a 23,000 year continuum, so has continued to get drier as the earth's axis has continued to rotate away from its position in 4000 BC. Thus, Joseph's day was the tail end of that wet cycle - leading into the extreme dry cycle of the Sahara we see today. Given another 8000 years N. Africa would become a tropical paradise again as we pass by the peak of the dry period in 2000 years.

The climate change is surely a main reason for the rise of Egypt, as populations of N. Africa were huddled into this land around the Nile for dependable food supplies. The same is true for the rise of civilization in Sumeria as the highlands of Mesopotamia dried out, and prompted the invention of irrigation. This leaves the question "how do you discover a "land" which is under water? At that point it is not land. It is obvious that when it was "discovered" it had "risen" out of the water. This fits the annual cycle of the Nile Delta, which would have grown less prone to flooding in that day. The Egyptians do connect the name Ptah to that region of Egypt, so that is a geographical fit. So we have a etymological connection to Semitic, and a geographical connection to the delta region for the name Egypt, as well as its use after Abraham's day. That is at least enough to not reasonably exclude the version of history presented by the Book of Abraham, but is far from proving it.

Yes, Ptah likely comes from a common Afro-Asiatic root meaning "open."

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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