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Evidence for the Book of Abraham

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

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 

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.

You appear to be working hard for a "like" point. While I do like you Robert, I am constrained to point out that even in our D&C 107 those long life dates appear to be supported. See D&C 107 (for instance: "Mahalaleel was four hundred and ninety-six years and seven days old when he was ordained by the hand of Adam." This seems to put a kink in your theory that the dating of the Masoretic OT is not accurate. Further, D&C speaks of a temporal history for the earth of only 7000 years. Thus, Adam could not have been living in 6000. 7000 BC or earlier yet.

Just this year a hurricane hit Omar. In 2500 BC a hurricane in that region would probably be more powerful. Two of those and a trip around the Indian ocean could probably account for the flood story.  I see no reason to try to rewrite the chronology of the OT and D&C as well.... Thanks for your response.

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

You appear to be working hard for a "like" point. While I do like you Robert, I am constrained to point out that even in our D&C 107 those long life dates appear to be supported. See D&C 107 (for instance: "Mahalaleel was four hundred and ninety-six years and seven days old when he was ordained by the hand of Adam." This seems to put a kink in your theory that the dating of the Masoretic OT is not accurate. Further, D&C speaks of a temporal history for the earth of only 7000 years. Thus, Adam could not have been living in 6000. 7000 BC or earlier yet.

Not sure what a "like" point is, but there is no reason to read D&C 107 any differently than we must read the long years of the Ante-Diluvian Patriarchs, according to their sexigesimal meaning -- which (as you no doubt know) is normative for Mesopotamia (Sumer & Akkad) whence Abraham came with his cultural baggage.  As David Bokovoy commented:

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If the total years connected with the names in Genesis 5 are calculated, the list covers a span of 6,695 years.  Then, if we convert this number to a sexigesimal number (the form used by the Sumerians), the result is 241,200 – the exact total of the Sumerian King List.  Bokovoy, Authoring the Old Testament, I:108, citing John Watson, Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 130; cf. Carol A. Hill, “Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 55/4 (2003):239-251, online at https://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2003/PSCF12-03Hill.pdf .

If you consider that sort of remarkable coincidence of no importance, I can provide more such systematic oddities.  What is more, the numbers which are quoted in Sunday School with such confidence are not even agreed upon in the various biblical versions.  A reasonable conclusion might be that such numbers are highly symbolic, as is much else in Scripture -- which was never intended as professional historiography anyhow.

1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

Just this year a hurricane hit Omar. In 2500 BC a hurricane in that region would probably be more powerful. Two of those and a trip around the Indian ocean could probably account for the flood story.  I see no reason to try to rewrite the chronology of the OT and D&C as well.... Thanks for your response.

I vary that with a trip by ocean from the Carolinas to some powerful storm surges up the Shatt al-Arab.  The distance is less important than the impressions of those on board.

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

...there is no reason to read D&C 107 any differently than we must read the long years of the Ante-Diluvian Patriarchs, according to their sexigesimal meaning -- which (as you no doubt know) is normative for Mesopotamia (Sumer & Akkad) whence Abraham came with his cultural baggage.

So you see D&C 107 as explicit quoting/paraphrasing of Genesis even though the symbolism of the dates is lost? I ask because like RevTestament I'm not quite sure how to take that portion of D&C 107. It's not an exact quote of Genesis nor the JST of Genesis. So I confess it's flummoxed me for a while how to take it. Had it been an explicit quote then I'd make the move that the ages don't matter. It's a strange passage that is one of the few in modern revelation I'm unsure about.

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That one LDS Egyptologist who does work for FAIR (can't remember the name) talks about some evidences for the BoA. He presents some pretty interesting things although they are mostly far-stretched theories. Unfortunately it has been very hard to find credible evidences for something that has been so discredited by pretty much everyone.

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5 hours ago, 10THAmendment said:

That one LDS Egyptologist who does work for FAIR (can't remember the name)

No one works for FairMormon besides the bookstore manager, everyone else is a volunteer.  I was the 'membership clerk ' for FM for a few years a few years ago.  There was no Egyptologist on the list at that time (professional, there are a few members who have studied the scholars as a hobby).  I don't know of any that have joined since then.

If you mean someone who spoke at our conference, lots of scholars in different fields  do that.  No monetary compensation given.

Perhaps you are thinking of John Gee, who is a BYU prof?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gee

Edited by Calm

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9 hours ago, aussieguy55 said:

Will the longer scroll argument for the Book of Abraham ever bee settled.?

 

 

 

I think it already is if one is willing to rationally look at what Mr. Vogel says in this video.

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45 minutes ago, Exiled said:

I think it already is if one is willing to rationally look at what Mr. Vogel says in this video.

It really doesn’t matter to me bc my view on the BOA doesn’t change no matter the answer to the question of a missing scroll or length

 But while I am not well verse enough to comment on particulars, I know people who know Mr. Vogel’s arguments and the documents, and don’t think it is settled and I wouldn’t smugly say that they weren’t “rationally” looking at the evidence. 

 

But I guess I don’t study enough by wandering around posting message board remarks or memes

Edited by Steve J
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5 hours ago, Exiled said:

I think it already is if one is willing to rationally look at what Mr. Vogel says in this video.

Vogel does not understand the difference between science and reigion.

As Galileo might have said the Book of Abraham teaches us how to go to heaven not how the heavens go or how to translate Egyptian.

The papyri were a catalyst for inspiration for Joseph like looking into a flame or watching the ocean. They were a visual stimulus to receive inspired prose.

Those who don't understand how that works will never understand the Book of Abraham.

Those who do understand it will never understand the critics who are fundamentalist literalists.

Critics like Vogel are just as literalist as people who believe in a worldwide flood.

They are unified in fundamentalism but just have different religions, Vogel's being fundamentalist scientific positivism, and the other being fundamentalist Christianity.

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On 12/16/2018 at 12:18 AM, aussieguy55 said:

Will the longer scroll argument for the Book of Abraham ever bee settled.?

 

 

 

I saw this quote listed on Bill Reel's FB feed. I wonder how true.

"For the record, I no longer hold the views that have been quoted from my 2010 book in these videos. I have moved on from my days as an "outrageous" apologist. In fact, I'm no longer interested or involved in apologetics in any way. I wholeheartedly agree with Dan's (Dan Vogel) excellent assessment of the Abraham/Egyptian documents in these videos. I now reject a missing Abraham manuscript. I agree that two of the Abraham manuscripts were simultaneously dictated. I agree that the Egyptian papers were used to produce the BoA. I agree that only Abr. 1:1-2:18 were produced in 1835 and that Abr. 2:19-5:21 were produced in Nauvoo. And on and on. I no longer agree with Gee or Mulhestein. I find their apologetic "scholarship" on the BoA abhorrent. One can find that I've changed my mind in my recent and forthcoming publications. The most recent JSP Revelations and Translation vol. 4, The Book of Abraham and Related Manuscripts (now on the shelves) is much more open to Dan's thinking on the origin of the Book of Abraham. My friend Brent Metcalfe can attest to my transformative journey." ~ Brian Hauglid

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It is under Hauglid's FB name, so probably him.

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There's a discussion of this over in the comments at Dan's blog from a while back.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2018/11/the-joseph-smith-papers-project-and-the-book-of-abraham.html#disqus_thread

Given the tone by Hauglid sounds like something is up. I should add that it does seem like Cooke's data on the scroll length has the weight behind it. That Gee hasn't responded is problematic. While the missing manuscript still has some plausibility, I think it's lost most of the plausibility it once had. At least from what I can see from the arguments.

On the other hand being much more open to Dan's thinking and referring to a vague "transformative journey" seems more than a little problematic. Doesn't speak well for his role at MI.

On 12/16/2018 at 3:20 PM, mfbukowski said:

Vogel does not understand the difference between science and reigion.

As Galileo might have said the Book of Abraham teaches us how to go to heaven not how the heavens go or how to translate Egyptian.

The papyri were a catalyst for inspiration for Joseph like looking into a flame or watching the ocean. They were a visual stimulus to receive inspired prose.

Those who don't understand how that works will never understand the Book of Abraham.

Those who do understand it will never understand the critics who are fundamentalist literalists.

Critics like Vogel are just as literalist as people who believe in a worldwide flood.

They are unified in fundamentalism but just have different religions, Vogel's being fundamentalist scientific positivism, and the other being fundamentalist Christianity.

In defense of Dan, I had an interesting extended discussion with him and Alan Goff over at my old blog. I think things are a bit more complex. While he definitely has positivist aspect, I'm not sure that's a bad thing, and he's completely willing to say he's looking at things from a naturalistic perspective. I don't think that necessarily undermines his arguments, although it certainly changes how one looks at the data. But he's pretty forthright on that point.

The issue is much more the history of the papyri in Nauvoo and claims various apologists have made. In particular one of the main theories is the missing papyri theory which is in tough straits at the moment. I'm not saying people might not find data or arguments to rehabilitate it. Just that right now no one has.

Edited by clarkgoble
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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

There's a discussion of this over in the comments at Dan's blog from a while back.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2018/11/the-joseph-smith-papers-project-and-the-book-of-abraham.html#disqus_thread

Given the tone by Hauglid sounds like something is up. I should add that it does seem like Cooke's data on the scroll length has the weight behind it. That Gee hasn't responded is problematic. While the missing manuscript still has some plausibility, I think it's lost most of the plausibility it once had. At least from what I can see from the arguments.

On the other hand being much more open to Dan's thinking and referring to a vague "transformative journey" seems more than a little problematic. Doesn't speak well for his role at MI.

In defense of Dan, I had an interesting extended discussion with him and Alan Goff over at my old blog. I think things are a bit more complex. While he definitely has positivist aspect, I'm not sure that's a bad thing, and he's completely willing to say he's looking at things from a naturalistic perspective. I don't think that necessarily undermines his arguments, although it certainly changes how one looks at the data. But he's pretty forthright on that point.

The issue is much more the history of the papyri in Nauvoo and claims various apologists have made. In particular one of the main theories is the missing papyri theory which is in tough straits at the moment. I'm not saying people might not find data or arguments to rehabilitate it. Just that right now no one has.

By coinicidence I was just reading about CI Lewis,  a prominent pre-war Pragmatist who was quite influential.  I was reading the Stanford Encyclopedia because I was not as familiar with his work as I would like to be. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/lewis-ci/

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At the same time, Lewis (1946, 9–11, 254–9) also laid down a framework of assumptions, most explicitly in (Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation), within which analytic epistemology flourished in the last half of the 20thcentury: (1) knowledge is sufficiently justified (warranted, rationally credible) true belief , (2) a belief may be justified without being true and true without being justified, and (3) epistemology seeks to elicit criteria or principles of justification or rationally credibility.

Oddly, because of this discussion earlier,  I thought of Dan Vogel who has no concept of this "framework of assumptions within which analytic epistemology flourished in the last half of the 20th Century"

I guess that leaves him about 80 years at least behind in his positivism.

But those lines in that article again affirm that the course of philosophy is leaving behind the major arguments of anti-Mormon positivists like Vogel looking for "empirical evidence" where of course it cannot be found and needs not to be within this context of "true" though possibly not justified,  belief.

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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Oddly, because of this discussion earlier,  I thought of Dan Vogel who has no concept of this "framework of assumptions within which analytic epistemology flourished in the last half of the 20th Century"

I guess that leaves him about 80 years at least behind in his positivism.

But those lines in that article again affirm that the course of philosophy is leaving behind the major arguments of anti-Mormon positivists like Vogel looking for "empirical evidence" where of course it cannot be found and needs not to be within this context of "true" though possibly not justified,  belief.

Part of the point I was making is that I don't think Vogel is as naive here as you portray. It's clearly not his interest, but he's fine situating his thought in a more Kuhnian context and simply adopting a range of naturalistic stances. Put an other way he fully acknowledges his biases and presuppositions he brings and owns that. He just thinks that many of those who don't share those naturalistic stances don't engage the evidence well even from their own paradigm.

We can of course disagree with him, but I don't think he's making a philosophical fallacy the way some portray him.

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17 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Part of the point I was making is that I don't think Vogel is as naive here as you portray. It's clearly not his interest, but he's fine situating his thought in a more Kuhnian context and simply adopting a range of naturalistic stances. Put an other way he fully acknowledges his biases and presuppositions he brings and owns that. He just thinks that many of those who don't share those naturalistic stances don't engage the evidence well even from their own paradigm.

We can of course disagree with him, but I don't think he's making a philosophical fallacy the way some portray him.

Maybe I am missing something, but wouldn't such accusations of philosophical fallacies be equally applicable to Dr. Gee and Dr. Muhlestein when they defend the missing scroll or the original length of the Hor scroll?

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24 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Maybe I am missing something, but wouldn't such accusations of philosophical fallacies be equally applicable to Dr. Gee and Dr. Muhlestein when they defend the missing scroll or the original length of the Hor scroll?

I don't see how that's a philosophical fallacy. It seems an empirical debate about how to calculate lengths from a rolled up scroll.

The philosophical fallacy in positivism is that positivism tried to more or less universalize the methods of physics for all knowledge. That is everything was seen as tied to verifying experience. Anything that wasn't (including music, art, and ethics) was simply not knowledge. One of many problems for them is that the claim that all knowledge is verifiable the way they wanted couldn't itself be verified. This led to a rather big change in philosophy even though positivist like positions had already been criticized in the 19th century.

More or less the issue is that for any argument we bring premises that themselves haven't been proven as knowledge. Typically these are epistemological or ontological premises although they needn't be. The stance an interpreter, especially a philosopher makes, depends essentially upon these presuppositions yet the presuppositions are themselves hidden, ignored or even denied as presuppositions.

My point is that Dan Vogel isn't doing this since he'll fully admit to his premises and that many active Mormons won't agree with them. That is he concedes the point Alan Goff and others, such as myself, raise.

For empirical questions though typically you get the same answer regardless of what premises you bring to bear. (Not always - but usually the cases where a conclusion doesn't hold rest upon such controversial premises that most don't accept them) That's the case with the papyri scroll length. It's hard to see how that rests upon any premises unique to Mormons.

Edited by clarkgoble
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See below no time to fix the formatting. 

Edited by mfbukowski

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Part of the point I was making is that I don't think Vogel is as naive here as you portray. It's clearly not his interest, but he's fine situating his thought in a more Kuhnian context and simply adopting a range of naturalistic stances. Put an other way he fully acknowledges his biases and presuppositions he brings and owns that. He just thinks that many of those who don't share those naturalistic stances don't engage the evidence well even from their own paradigm.

We can of course disagree with him, but I don't think he's making a philosophical fallacy the way some portray him.

Thanks Clark.  I don't get mfbukowski's attack here.  He didn't address anything that Vogel says but just generally says something like "Vogel does not understand the difference between science and reigion" which is nonsense.   Make an argument for this statement if you think it true.  

The linked video does a good job at poking holes in some of the arguments by Gee and Muhlestein it seems to me.  I would be interested to see some responses.  

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32 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Thanks Clark.  I don't get mfbukowski's attack here.  He didn't address anything that Vogel says but just generally says something like "Vogel does not understand the difference between science and reigion" which is nonsense.   Make an argument for this statement if you think it true.  

The linked video does a good job at poking holes in some of the arguments by Gee and Muhlestein it seems to me.  I would be interested to see some responses.  

I just don't have time to watch videos and I truly wish he'd put the transcripts in a blog or the like. That'd make it easier to reference as well. For the life of me I'll never understand this move towards YouTube for such things.

All that said, I obviously do disagree with Vogel on many things. I just think we'd do better explaining why a different interpretation makes more sense rather than these metadiscussions which (IMO) usually fail. Certainly we should keep raising that angels, revelation and so forth are possibilities and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. However if we stop there we'll fail at understanding why these arguments are so persuasive to some. Usually it's because we're not giving a better narrative even in terms of our own beliefs. To the degree apologetics avoids addressing central questions in a clear fashion I think it's bad apologetics. Now I'd add that I think there's lots of good apologetics. Those who argue that all apologetics are bad typically are really just avoiding central questions the way they accuse apologists of doing. (IMO)

I can't speak too much to the Egyptian stuff since I just don't know that much there. The missing scroll theory is, of course, only one of several apologetic models although I thought it was the strongest. But the main attack on the missing scroll was always length issues. The main apologetic response was early Mormon accounts of the scrolls that certainly prima facie made it seem like there was more there. However some arguments, such as the color of the writing, quickly fell apart. The scroll winding argument appears to have fallen apart. As I said that doesn't mean one can't make an argument for missing material, but I think at minimum the arguments need to be made. And made as clearly and concisely as possible.

Edited by clarkgoble
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3 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I just don't have time to watch videos and I truly wish he'd put the transcripts in a blog or the like. That'd make it easier to reference as well. For the life of me I'll never understand this move towards YouTube for such things.

Agreed, actually.  And as per  Dan, gotta love him, his videos are difficult to slog through sometimes.  I'd rather read what he has to offer.  

Quote

All that said, I obviously do disagree with Vogel on many things. I just think we'd do better explaining why a different interpretation makes more sense rather than these metadiscussions which (IMO) usually fail. Certainly we should keep raising that angels, revelation and so forth are possibilities and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. However if we stop there we'll fail at understanding why these arguments are so persuasive to some. Usually it's because we're not giving a better narrative even in terms of our own beliefs.

Thanks.  A very respectable approach.  

Edited by stemelbow

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On ‎12‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 5:20 PM, mfbukowski said:

Vogel does not understand the difference between science and reigion.

As Galileo might have said the Book of Abraham teaches us how to go to heaven not how the heavens go or how to translate Egyptian.

The papyri were a catalyst for inspiration for Joseph like looking into a flame or watching the ocean. They were a visual stimulus to receive inspired prose.

Those who don't understand how that works will never understand the Book of Abraham.

Those who do understand it will never understand the critics who are fundamentalist literalists.

Critics like Vogel are just as literalist as people who believe in a worldwide flood.

They are unified in fundamentalism but just have different religions, Vogel's being fundamentalist scientific positivism, and the other being fundamentalist Christianity.

 

This is totally incoherent nonsense and ad hominem masquerading as scholarship. It in no way responds to my videos. The anonymous critic doesn’t understand my position, which has nothing to do with denying the BOA is inspired. Scholarship can’t determine that. What scholarship can determine is that JS was involved with deception. If JS’s translation had no connection to the papyrus, why are there two references to Facsimile 1 in the first chapter if not by deception? The Valuable Discovery notebooks, Egyptian Alphabets, bound Grammar, and explanations of the Facsimiles are evidence of deception.

 

While scholars can’t talk about whether JS was inspired by God, they can discuss if JS believed he was inspired in some way while at the same time using deception. At the end of the video I raised the possibility that JS believed he was an inspired pseudepigraphist, which could be justified by the BOA itself.

 

So the anonymous apologist should agree with my criticisms of Gee’s and Muhlestein’s long-roll theory; he should also see that the catalyst theory is just a theory and isn’t privileged and as such needs to account for all the documentation, particularly the evidence for deception. In other words, the anonymous apologist can’t immunize his catalyst theory against scholarly investigation by calling it religion. JS didn’t simply dictate the BOA, his translation is tied to the Egyptian papyri. If the apologist wants to ignore that evidence, he doesn’t espouse a religious explanation—he espouses a bad theory.

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On 12/16/2018 at 2:18 AM, aussieguy55 said:

Will the longer scroll argument for the Book of Abraham ever bee settled.?

 

 

 

There are larger issues.

If Authentic, Wouldn't There be Evidences in Favor of the Book of Abraham

https://youtu.be/oRzU6C5Wb8U

So Why Don't Other Egyptologists Join the Mormon Church?

https://youtu.be/jT8odgSJOPQ

The Three Facsimile Translations Wrong?

https://youtu.be/gCH529IgDrY

Facsimile 1 Not About Abraham?

https://youtu.be/0rC2VxeRL0w

 

 

Edited by cdowis

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Chris Smith gave me permission to post a message he sent me. I was asking him about the issue of positivism.  "Yeah, I got into an argument about this with Alan Goff a few years ago. He's using positivism as a synonym for unreflective naturalism. Dan may or may not be a positivism in that sense, but truth be told I could really care less, because naturalism happens to be the correct philosophy, so if Dan is an unreflective naturalist then good for him for stumbling into a fruitful way of thinking."

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Just a point on the facsimile 3. Why are the "Prince" and "slave"   holding onto the "waiter". Did Abraham complain about the service?    Paul Osbourne (aka Shulem )   has shown from the printer's plate that the nose on anubis/slave  has been chiseled out. When you look at it closely  why is Shulem's face curved inward.   Have you see the plate ?

https://book-of-abraham-facsimile-no-3.my-free.website/      I am open to any other plausible explanation.

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