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So I’m super new to the what the Kirtland Egyptian Papers consist of. I know that it was some kind of attempt to present translations to characters lifted from some Papryi. Whether it’s inspired, reverse engineered, or if Joseph had anything to do with it is obviously hotly debated it would seem.

So 1) I was wondering what all is “included” in what we consider the KEP?

and 2) Has anyone attempted at just assuming the translation was super accurate and reconstructing what they could of the BoA with it? 

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1 hour ago, SettingDogStar said:

So I’m super new to the what the Kirtland Egyptian Papers consist of. I know that it was some kind of attempt to present translations to characters lifted from some Papryi. Whether it’s inspired, reverse engineered, or if Joseph had anything to do with it is obviously hotly debated it would seem.

So 1) I was wondering what all is “included” in what we consider the KEP?

and 2) Has anyone attempted at just assuming the translation was super accurate and reconstructing what they could of the BoA with it? 

I don't know that much myself, but this seems to be a good intro: FAIRMormon: The Kirtland Egyptian Papers

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To date, by far the best source for  the KEP and its relationship to the BofA is Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, V. 4: Book of Abraham and Related Manuscripts. It is pricey and since it has only been out a few months, there aren't any good used copies for sale yet that I could find. There are older and cheaper books out there that deal with, to some extent, the same subject but are severely lacking when compared to this volume. This is what faithful scholarship, can and does look like.

I have not finished reading it yet and I hardly think I am qualified to do it justice in a review but this review from Amazon seems to sum it up nicely.

Quote

This may be the thinnest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers thus far, but it is packed with fascinating documents and interesting historical background and information. This volume contains photos and transcriptions of all documents related directly to the papyrus scrolls that Joseph Smith purchased with several mummies from Michael Chandler in Kirtland, Ohio in 1835. The types of documents in this book span the early documents containing characters that Joseph Smith and others copied from the papyri, to the "Egyptian Alphabet" and "Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" created in an apparent effort to decipher the characters on the papyri in a systematic way, and the manuscripts of the Book of Abraham itself, at least portions of which appear to be the original copies scribes wrote as Joseph dictated his "translation." The book even includes pictures of the surviving portions of the papyri containing the images from which the facsimiles appearing in the Book of Abraham were taken, as well as the printing plates used when publishing those facsimiles. The introductions for each of these types of documents are very informative, providing clear explanations of what historians know about what Joseph Smith and his associates were attempting to do when creating the documents and acknowledging the gaps in that knowledge. In fact, there is much that we simply do not know about these documents, particularly the "Alphabet" and the "Alphabet and Grammar."

But this book provides a solid foundation on which historians and other scholars may begin to fill in those gaps with more than just speculation. Most helpful in that effort is a chart at the end of the book that collects all of the appearances of each unique character throughout the volume. Each character is assigned a number, and the chart provides the definition or explanation, if any, that the Joseph or his associated provided for the character. The transcription of each document identifies each of the characters with the number it is assigned in the chart, making it easy to track a particular character's appearance through the documents, from the alphabet to the early transcripts of the Book of Abraham. I look forward to reading what scholars are able to find with this book as a resource.

The pictures in the book are very high quality, and the annotations are top-notch, as with all of the prior volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers. My only complaint is that the editors apparently were not able to find a way to keep the footnotes on the same page as the text the footnotes are annotating. I had to use two bookmarks to keep track of where I was in the text of the document and to review footnotes describing variant readings or alternate wording in similar texts. In a volume of this size, flipping back and forth between the pages could get a little cumbersome. Other than this minor complaint, I found the book to be yet another outstanding entry in this ongoing series

 

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On 1/12/2019 at 12:53 PM, SettingDogStar said:

So I’m super new to the what the Kirtland Egyptian Papers consist of. I know that it was some kind of attempt to present translations to characters lifted from some Papryi. Whether it’s inspired, reverse engineered, or if Joseph had anything to do with it is obviously hotly debated it would seem. 

The question isn’t whether JS had anything to do with it, just whether he led the effort and if the process involved revelation. At least one copy of one of the alphabet or grammar documents is in JS’ hand writing, an interesting rarity. Don Bradley found an account where JS calls for his Egyptian Grammar and Alphabet document to aid examining the Kinderhook plates, which as Don’s argument goes exonerates JS from an inspired/prophetic translation of the Kinderhook plates. However, it also illustrates JS had some kind of close tie to the KEP. Entries in JS’ journal make it clear he was involved as well. He records working on the Alphabet or Grammar more than once.

One journal entry in particular points towards revelation being involved in the process of developing the Alphabet and Grammar. The following comes from a BYU publication linked below:

On October 1, 1835 Joseph Smith’s journal records, “This after noon labored on the Egyptian alphabet, in company with brsr O[liver] Cowdery and W[illiam] W. Phelps: The system of astronomy was unfolded.”[33] It is difficult to determine precisely what this entry means, but since the entry appears within the context of the study of the Egyptian alphabet it seems unlikely that it refers to a specific translation session. More likely it has to do with Joseph and associates attaining some kind of (astronomical) epiphany through their study of the Egyptian alphabet and then recording their findings in the “Grammar and A[l]phabet of the Egyptian Language,” which later may have been expanded into the astronomical explanations for Facsimile 2 (especially fig. 5).” https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/approaching-antiquity-joseph-smith-and-ancient-world/book-abraham-and-egyptian-project

The portions of the KEP papers that JS’ journal entry reference are self evident. There are various discussions of planets, stars, governing powers and other astronomy-related aspects in pages 24-34 of the “Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language” document. https://josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/grammar-and-alphabet-of-the-egyptian-language-circa-july-circa-november-1835/94

The word “unfolded” from JS’ journal entry suggests not just an epiphany, but revelation.

Other content from the Grammar/Alphabet  document suggests revelation. There are narrative aspects about Ham and his lineage that are not found anywhere else except in the Grammar/Alphabet, for example. There are also details about priesthood in the document that may be unique. While this isn’t conclusive evidence, it is suggestive. 

Edited by Benjamin Seeker

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14 hours ago, CA Steve said:

To date, by far the best source for  the KEP and its relationship to the BofA is Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, V. 4: Book of Abraham and Related Manuscripts. It is pricey and since it has only been out a few months, there aren't any good used copies for sale yet that I could find. There are older and cheaper books out there that deal with, to some extent, the same subject but are severely lacking when compared to this volume. This is what faithful scholarship, can and does look like.

One need not purchase any of these volumes.  They are all readily available online.

14 hours ago, CA Steve said:

I have not finished reading it yet and I hardly think I am qualified to do it justice in a review but this review from Amazon seems to sum it up nicely.

The review which appears in Amazon is inaccurate.  One should depend rather on the scholarly explanations provided in the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

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8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

One need not purchase any of these volumes.  They are all readily available online.

The review which appears in Amazon is inaccurate.  One should depend rather on the scholarly explanations provided in the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

Thanks Robert. I love the Joseph Smith Papers project but at times I find it difficult to navigate directly to the section which I want. Having a real book in front of me is much easier for me to study. The volume in question, as the inaccurate Amazon reviewer noted, has 30 pages of character comparisons which shows "the instances a character and its associated information across all the documents in which that character appears." I don't seem to be able to find this on the JS Papers site outside of a mention in the index. Can you provide me a link to those pages?

 

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1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

Thanks Robert. I love the Joseph Smith Papers project but at times I find it difficult to navigate directly to the section which I want. Having a real book in front of me is much easier for me to study.

Same for me, Steve.  I just cannot afford these volumes.

1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

The volume in question, as the inaccurate Amazon reviewer noted, has 30 pages of character comparisons which shows "the instances a character and its associated information across all the documents in which that character appears." I don't seem to be able to find this on the JS Papers site outside of a mention in the index. Can you provide me a link to those pages?

As far as I can tell, those comparison pages should begin on page 350 of the printed edition, but are not available online.  Thanks for making me realize that everything isn't there online.  I put in a query to the JSP Project about that.  Will let you know what they say.

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Same for me, Steve.  I just cannot afford these volumes.

Nor can I but at least my wife knows what I want for my next dozen or so birthday and Xmas presents.

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22 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Nor can I but at least my wife knows what I want for my next dozen or so birthday and Xmas presents.

The Church Historical Dept replied to my query:  They do hold back on some items in the volume, at least for the first year or so after publication.  Later they put it all online.

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The Church Historical Dept replied to my query:  They do hold back on some items in the volume, at least for the first year or so after publication.  Later they put it all online.

Thanks Robert. Hopefully my wife does not find out that the books are/will be online. Otherwise I may be back to sweaters and ties for gifts.

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