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The God Of Korash

Chris Smith

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The current Book of Abraham identifies the deities in facsimile 1 as follows:


Fig. 4. The altar for sacrifice by the idolatrous priests, standing before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and Pharaoh.

Fig. 5. The idolatrous god of Elkenah.

Fig. 6. The idolatrous god of Libnah.

Fig. 7. The idolatrous god of Mahmackrah.

Fig. 8. The idolatrous god of Korash.

Fig. 9. The idolatrous god of Pharaoh.


Notice that the gods are named from right to left. The text of the BoA follows the same pattern whenever it lists the deities that stood before the altar (e.g. Abr. 1:6):

"For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt..."

Curiously, though, the name Korash doesn't appear in any of the BoA manuscripts till manuscript 1. In previous manuscripts, the list included only four deities. So continuing with Abr. 1:6 as our example,

MS 2:

for their hearts wer{e} set to / do evil

and were wholly turned to the {G}od of

Elk=kener and the / God of Zibnah and the

God of Mah-ma{c}{k}rah [ ] and / the God

of Pharoah King of Egypt

MS 3:

for their hearts were set to do / evil

and were wholly turned to the / God of

Elkkener and the god of / Zibnah and the

god of mah = / machrah [ ] and the god

of Pharo / {a}h, King of Eg{y}{p}t.

MS 1:

for their hearts were set to do evil, and / were wholly turned to the god of Elkkener / and

the god of Zibnah and the god of // Mahmackrah and the god of Koash / and the

god of Pharaoh King of Egypt,

(Transcription courtesy of Brent Metcalfe's handout from the 2006 Exmormon conference.)

Notice that Will's theory that MS 2 and 3 were copied from a common source doesn't change anything; since both of them omit any mention of Korash, so presumably would their source document. Notice also that this isn't a simple mistake; we find the same pattern in 1:13 and 1:17. And finally, recall that the gods are listed from right to left.


That would mean that, according to the earlier manuscripts, these gods from left to right are

Pharaoh, Mahmackrah, Zibnah, and Elkkeener

Notice that the one on the far left looks exactly like a pharaoh! This confirms, in my view, that Korash is a later addition.

So I pose to you two questions:

1) Why was Korash added? and

2) What is the proper methodology for studying possible ancient parallels? Do we revert to the earliest manuscripts as Dr. Skousen would undoubtedly have us do, or do we study Joseph's final, presumably inspired redaction? Or do we throw consistency to the wind and go with whichever version produces the most faith-promoting results?


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My general rule is to go with current official publications, since we have living prophets and go by whatthey sanction. Ill have to chew on this cud for awhile. It does however remind me of a certain BY quote:

"Should the Lord Almighty send an angel to re-write the Bible, it would in many places be very different from what it now is. And I will even venture to say that if the Book of Mormon were now to be re-written, in many instances it would materially differ from the present translation. According as people are willing to receive the things of God, so the heavens send forth their blessings. If the people are stiff-necked, the Lord can tell them but little.â? (Journal of Discourses 9:311)

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â?¦ Will's theory that MS 2 and 3 were copied from a common source â?¦

I donâ??t necessarily believe that Mss. #2 and #3 were copied from a common source. Iâ??ve tried to be quite consistent in making that clear. Indeed, I have made reference to the possibility that Ms. #3 was prepared as a â??proofâ? copy of Ms. #2 â?? an attempt to create an exact facsimile of Ms. #2. If that were the case, then Ms. #2 is a copy of an earlier document, and then Ms. #3 is a copy of Ms. #2.

However, Iâ??m not committed to either of these theories. And, despite the fact that you will no doubt make fun of me for it, I donâ??t see why I should be required to commit to any theory at this juncture. If I thought there was sufficient evidence to support any one theory, I would commit to it. But the way I see it, there is conflicting evidence. I can see the strength of the Metcalfe thesis, but I also see holes in it; things for which it cannot adequately account. Therefore I look to other possibilities to explain the evidence I see.

In the final analysis, I am prepared to live with the possibility that Metcalfeâ??s essential interpretation of the evidence is correct â?? that Joseph Smith produced the Book of Abraham from the Breathing Permit of Hor.

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