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What Is The Fuss About The Facsimilies?


Olavarria

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Earlier in this review I referred to the desire to know the answer to the question: Does the interpretation of Joseph Smith match the interpretation of the ancient Egyptians, or does X=Y? We know that the interpretations of the Egyptologists typically do not match either those of the ancient Egyptians (Z=Y) or Joseph Smith (Z=X) and so they are simply irrelevant to the issue. But the unquestioned assumption is that the interpretation of Joseph Smith has to match the interpretation of the ancient Egyptians (X=Y). This assumption is related to assumptions and theories (both formal and informal) about the nature of the facsimiles. Several such theories do not require Joseph Smith's interpretation to be the same or even close to that of the ancient Egyptians. For example, ancient Jewish interpretations for various Egyptian scenes are known that differ considerably from the ancient Egyptian interpretations and to which Egyptological methods give us no clue.11 Before any conclusions can be drawn from any comparisons between the two, one needs to have an answer to the question: why do Joseph Smith's interpretations need to match ancient Egyptian interpretations at all? I do not intend to answer the issue here but merely to raise it. Critics should note that unless they can answer this question satisfactorily they have no case.

Bro Gee makes some interesting points.

The questian is: why do Joseph's explanations have to match modern egyptological explanations?

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I think you can take from the paucity of comments here, that there really is no reason why they should correspond. If there are 38 different levels you can read "Moby ****" at, then why not a few options for the facsimilies.

I was told that 38 thing by a lit teacher in college. I have wondered if that was really true. I only though it was a depressing story about a whaling ship where everybody died except one person.

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I agree. The problem with ancient texts is that we don't have all the facts, and perhaps never will because they are ancient and info has definitely been lost.

An interesting quote I found, which is expresses my personal position on the papyri and facsimiles:

Non-Mormon Egyptologist Juan Castillos gracefully and succinctly said:

"If one day a statement is made that what Joseph Smith translated were concepts transmitted to him by God, not necessarily the ordinary understanding of such ancient documents, then there could be no further opposition between the readings made by scholars of these objects and that made by the Prophet since it would become strictly a matter of faith which would be outside our field of study".

http://www.myegyptology.net/file/id3.htm

As with all controversies regarding the church and its coming forth, faith is key.

Here is another good link:

With His Own Thoughts, Upon the Sources of Anti-Mormonism, Muddying Up the Issues on the Papyrus A Partial Review of Charles Larson's Book "By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus"

http://www2.ida.net/graphics/shirtail/withhis.htm

Basically, there is no reason that God would not use what might be construed by some to be pagan symbols etc. to bring his work about. In this article, it makes clear that Larson is pretty off about several of his assertions.

Anthony Spalinger in his wonderful article "Sovereignty and Theology in New Kingdom Egypt: Some Cases of Tradition," in "Saeculum," 47-48 (1996-1997): 230 notes: "such a depiction [of Nut with her head and arms to the northeast, and her rear to the southwest] serves a dual function naemly [sic], she represents the daily course of the sun as well as its yearly (longitudinal) motion." In other words, there can be more than one meaning to an art form or written description of the ancient Egyptian deities, animals, colors, whatever they symbolically and artistically represent on their buildings, in their tombs, sarcophagi, temples, etc. There is not only one meaning per situation, writing, or building in ancient Egypt, and there are plenty of Egyptologists who say exactly this, as Nibley noted so many decades ago, and which Larson, and his followers apparently are completely unaware.

Another excellent example of this is Janet Johnson and Robert K. Ritnerâ??s study, "Multiple Meaning and Ambiguity in the â??Demotic Chronicleâ??" in "Studies in Egyptology: Presented to Miriam Lichtheim, Vol. 1, Jerusalem 1990: 494-506. These two Egyptologists say of various statements written in the Demotic Chronicle, that "â?¦the author or compiler of the Chronicle chose a word which had more than one meaning where two (or more) of the meanings are appropriate in the given passage." (p. 497). They give examples of religious imagery and words which have both a "basic" meaning, and an "extended" meaning. (pp. 498-499). It is of more than passing interest to note these two Egyptologists agreeing that the verb the chronicler used has "several meanings." (p. 505). Their conclusion is important for those who would critique the idea that hidden meanings are not really what is going on in ancient Egyptian writings: "Thus, here it is within a passage with historically ambiguous references that the author or compiler of the Demotic Chronicle chose to use a word for both its basic and its extended meanings. The multiple meanings of the word blend well with the ambiguity of the historical reference; the text reflects careful craftsmanship." (p. 506).

Finally, one last example which astonished me to no end because of its repeated and insistent declaration that ancient Egyptian art clearly had multiple meanings, hidden meanings, ambiguous meanings, etc., is Richard H. Wilkinson, "Symbol & Magic in Egyptian Art," Thames & Hudson, 1994. This lavishly illustrated book deserves more attention than it has gotten. A truly remarkable read, especially for critics against the Joseph Smith Papyri who donâ??t believe there can be multiple meanings in ancient Egyptian thought. Wilkinson is the perfect cure for such hopeless myopia.

He opens up his book with a big bang of a statement: "Symbols themselves are often ambivalent. They frequently have several meanings and may openly contradict themselves in their expression, yet therein lay their value for the ancient Egyptians." (p. :P. Contradictions do not necessarily prove something is wrong in other words. Contradictions are part and parcel of the several meanings the ancient Egyptians had in their symbols, whether in writing, art, buildings, or otherwise. Wilkinson demonstrates this again and again and again and again and again! And I am not exaggerating one bit either. Wilkinson the Egyptian theology was fluid and allowed and encourage free association of ideas. (p. 11). This is vitally important to understand as we approach the Joseph Smith Papyri. "â?¦in a given work a good many symbolic dimensions may be present. Different aspects may be stressed in different words." (p. 11). Our particular problem in studying ancient Egyptian symbolism is that it is a vast subject which has literally been illustrated and used in the Egyptians buildings, the landscape, writings, colors, numbers, materials, locations, forms, hieroglyphs, actions, and gestures, just to name a few of the areas Wilkinson analyzes

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I think you can take from the paucity of comments here, that there really is no reason why they should correspond. If there are 38 different levels you can read "Moby ****" at, then why not a few options for the facsimilies.

I was told that 38 thing by a lit teacher in college. I have wondered if that was really true. I only though it was a depressing story about a whaling ship where everybody died except one person.

38? Nawww. Sounds like Postmodernism to me. Given the variety and idiosyncrasy of human experience, any complex fictional work will have different nuances of meaning to different people, and will incite different feelings and reactions from the same, but I'm wary of theories that claim a text to be a tabula rasa upon which subjective perceptions, impressions, and ideologies can be cast wholesale as if the author did not have an original intent and as if we, as human beings, are not really very much the same, regardless of time and place of existence in this moral sphere, and do not respond in very much the same manner to the dynamics of the human condition.

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Non-Mormon Egyptologist Juan Castillos gracefully and succinctly said:

"If one day a statement is made that what Joseph Smith translated were concepts transmitted to him by God, not necessarily the ordinary understanding of such ancient documents, then there could be no further opposition between the readings made by scholars of these objects and that made by the Prophet since it would become strictly a matter of faith which would be outside our field of study".

http://www.myegyptology.net/file/id3.htm

Which is a polite way of saying, "Yeah, even if we admit that the translations don't match, they could be said to come from God and they would be matters of faith, now quit bothering me for my expertise on your religious issues".

That is great, but it goes against the claim that they were were from Egypt and Abraham and translated by Joseph Smith. If they were just "concepts", then Joseph could have received them just like he did for the D&C revelations, or he could have used spent tea leaves, tree bark or tail of a newt as the catalyst.

It was Joseph Smith that made the connection between specific and identifiable papyrus and ancient Egypt and Abraham. Sure, lets let him off the hook with a wink and just call it "concepts transmitted to him by God". Now the scientists can ignore it and go back to the things they can study.

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Now, my question regarding all of this is, why cannot he-who-must-not-be-named, Metcalf, and others who have cut their teeth attempting to bury the BofA admit to as much (the large uncertainties and problems of interpretation with ancient texts qua ancient texts) so we can at least have a discussion on the subject without one side lablelling the other as deluded fools or intellectually dishonest "apologists"?

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Which is a polite way of saying, "Yeah, even if we admit that the translations don't match, they could be said to come from God and they would be matters of faith, now quit bothering me for my expertise on your religious issues".

That is great, but it goes against the claim that they were were from Egypt and Abraham and translated by Joseph Smith. If they were just "concepts", then Joseph could have received them just like he did for the D&C revelations, or he could have used spent tea leaves, tree bark or tail of a newt as the catalyst.

It was Joseph Smith that made the connection between specific and identifiable papyrus and ancient Egypt and Abraham. Sure, lets let him off the hook with a wink and just call it "concepts transmitted to him by God". Now the scientists can ignore it and go back to the things they can study.

Please forgive the question of a humble non-expert on this subject. I just wonder if the papyri are facsimiles, or pictures (I've seen the pictures in the PoGP), and the written language is also a pictographic representation, why could there not be other interpretations? If the alphabet is phonetic, then it seems less likely that any other reading could be correct, but with a pictographic language, is it not possible that if a non-Egyptian (i.e., a Hebrew) created it, might it not say something other than the usual reading?

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Which is a polite way of saying, "Yeah, even if we admit that the translations don't match, they could be said to come from God and they would be matters of faith, now quit bothering me for my expertise on your religious issues".

That is great, but it goes against the claim that they were were from Egypt and Abraham and translated by Joseph Smith. If they were just "concepts", then Joseph could have received them just like he did for the D&C revelations, or he could have used spent tea leaves, tree bark or tail of a newt as the catalyst.

It was Joseph Smith that made the connection between specific and identifiable papyrus and ancient Egypt and Abraham. Sure, lets let him off the hook with a wink and just call it "concepts transmitted to him by God". Now the scientists can ignore it and go back to the things they can study.

I dont think thats what Gee is getting to at all.

Here is an article that explains how ancient Jewish interpretations for various Egyptian scenes are known that differ considerably from the ancient Egyptian interpretations and to which Egyptological methods give us no clue.

http://farms.byu.edu/publications/bookscha...&chapid=168

The fact is the greco-roman period of Egypt had alot of syncretism going on; Egyptians borrowing jewish concepts, and jews borrowing egyptian concepts.

Here are some examples

lbtt147.jpg

From left to right:

Osiris(muredred by his brother Set), Ammut(eats the heart if it weighs more than Maat's feather on the scale ie the heart is eaten if it is evil, thus game over), Thoth(god of magic and inventer of heirogyphics), Anubis(weighs the soul), Horus, Maat(goddes of "truth,justice and the egyptian way"), the dead who is being judged, Nephtys.

Testament of Abraham

While he was yet saying these things to me, behold two angels, fiery in aspect, and pitiless in mind, and severe in look, and they drove on thousands of souls, pitilessly lashing them with fiery thongs. The angel laid hold of one soul, and they drove all the souls in at the broad gate to destruction. So we also went along with the angels, and came within that broad gate, and between the two gates stood a throne terrible of aspect, of terrible crystal, gleaming as fire, and upon it sat a wondrous man bright as the sun, like to the Son of God. Before him stood a table like crystal, all of gold and fine linen, and upon the table there was lying a book, the thickness of it six cubits, and the breadth of it ten cubits, and on the right and left of it stood two angels holding paper and ink and pen. Before the table sat an angel of light, holding in his hand a balance, and on his left sat an angel all fiery, pitiless, and severe, holding in his hand a trumpet, having within it lead to life and to destruction. This man that sits between them is Adam, the first man whom the Lord created, and set him in this place to see every soul that departs from the body, seeing that all are from him. When, therefore, thou seest him weeping, know that he has seen many souls being led to destruction, but when thou seest him laughing, he has seen many souls being led into life. Seest thou how his weeping exceeds his laughter? Since he sees the greater part of the world being led away through the broad gate to destruction, therefore his weeping exceeds his laughter seven-fold.

And Abraham said, And he that cannot enter through the narrow gate, can he not enter into life? Then Abraham wept, saying, Woe is me, what shall I do? for I am a man broad of body, and how shall I be able to enter by the narrow gate, by which a boy of fifteen years cannot enter? Michael answered and said to Abraham, Fear not, father, nor grieve, for thou shalt enter by it unhindered, and all those who are like thee.

And as Abraham stood and marveled. behold an angel of the Lord driving sixty thousand souls of sinners to destruction, And Abraham said to Michael, Do all these go into destruction? And Michael said to him, Yea, but lat us go and search among these souls, if there is among them even one righteous. And when they went, they found an angel holding in his hand one soul of a woman from among these sixty thousand, because he had found her sins weighing equally with all her works, and they were neither in motion nor at rest, but in a state between; but the other souls he led away to destruction. Abraham said to Michael, Lord, is this the angel that removes the souls from the body or not? Michael answered and said, This is death, and he leads them into the place of judgment, that the judge may try them.

And Abraham said, My lord, I beseech thee to lead me to the place of judgment so all-consuming fire with which to try the sinners. The wondrous man who sat upon the throne himself judged and sentenced the souls, and the two angels on the right and on the left wrote down, the one on the right the righteousness and the one on the left the wickedness. The one before the table, who held the balance, weighed the souls, and the fiery angel, who held the fire, tried the souls. And Abraham asked the chief-captain Michael, What is this that we behold? And the chief-captain said, These things that thou seest, holy Abraham, airs the judgment and recompense. And behold the angel holding the soul in his hand, and he brought it before the judge, and the judge said to one of the angels that served him, Open me this book, and find me the sins of this soul. And opening the book he found its sins and its righteousness equally balanced, and he neither gave it to the tormentors, nor to those that were saved, but set it in the midst.

XIII. And Abraham said, My lord chief-captain, who is this most wondrous judge? and who are the angels that write down? and who is the angel like the sun, holding the balance? and who is the fiery angel holding the fire? The chief-captain said, "Seest thou, most holy Abraham, the terrible man sitting upon the throne? This is the son of the first created Adam, who is called Abel, whom the wicked Cain killed, and he sits thus to judge all creation, and examines righteous men and sinners. For God has said, I shall not judge you, but every man born of man shall be judged. Therefore he has given to him judgment, to judge the world until his great and glorious coming, and then, O righteous Abraham, is the perfect judgment and recompense, eternal and unchangeable, which no one can alter. For every man has come from the first-created, and therefore they are first judged here by his son, and at the second coming they shall be judged by the twelve tribes of Israel, that I too may see how they are judged. Then Michael took Abraham upon a cloud, and led him into Paradise, and when he came to the place where the judge was, the angel came and gave that soul to the judge. And the soul said, Lord have mercy on me. And the judge said, How shall I have mercy upon thee, when thou hadst no mercy upon thy daughter which thou hadst, the fruit of thy womb? Wherefore didst thou slay her? It answered, Nay, Lord, slaughter has not been done by me, but my daughter has lied upon me. But the judge commanded him to come that wrote down the records, and behold cherubim carrying two books. And there was with them a man of exceeding great stature, having on his head three crowns, and the one crown was higher than the other two. These are called the crowns of witness. And the man had in his hand a golden pen, and the judge said to him, Exhibit the sin of this soul. And that man. opening one of the books of the cherubim, sought out the sin of the woman's soul and found it. And the judge said, O wretched soul, why sayest thou that thou hast not done murder? Didst thou not, after the death of thy husband, go and commit adultery with thy daughter's husband, and kill her? And he convicted her also of her other sins, whatsoever she had done from her youth. Hearing these things the woman cried out, saying, Woe is me, all the sins that I did in the world I forgot, but here they were not forgotten. Then they took her away also and gave her over to the tormentors.

XI. And Abraham said to Michael, Lord, who is this judge, and who is the other, who convicts the sins? And Michael said to Abraham, Seest thou the judge? This is Abel, who first testified, and God brought him hither to judge, and he that bears witness here is the teacher of heaven and earth, and the scribe of righteousness, Enoch, for the Lord sent them hither to write down the sins and righteousnesses of each one. Abraham said, And how can Enoch bear the weight of the souls, not having seen death? or how can he give sentence to all the souls? Michael said, If he gives sentence concerning the souls, it is not permitted; but Enoch himself does not give sentence, but it is the Lord who does so, and he has no more to do than only to write. For Enoch prayed to the Lord saying, I desire not, Lord, to give sentence on the souls, lest I be grievous to anyone; and the Lord said to Enoch, I shall command thee to write down the sins of the soul that makes atonement and it shall enter every breath and every creature. But the third time they shall be judged by the Lord God of all, and then, indeed, the end of that judgment is near, and the sentence terrible, and there is none to deliver. And now by three tribunals the judgment of the world and the recompense is made, and for this reason a matter is not finally confirmed by one or two witnesses, but by three witnesses shall everything be established. The two angels on the right hand and on the left, these are they that write down the sins and the righteousness, the one on the right hand writes down the righteousness, and the one on the left the sins. The angel like the sun, holding the balance in his hand, is the archangel, Dokiel the just weigher, and he weighs the righteousnesses and sins with the righteousness of God. The fiery and pitiless angel, holding the fire in his hand, is the archangel Puruel, who has power over fire, and tries the works of men through fire, and if the fire consume the work of any man, the angel of judgment immediately seizes him, and carries him away to the place of sinners, a most bitter place of punishment. But if the fire approves the work of anyone, and does not seize upon it, that man is justified, and the angel of righteousness takes him and carries him up to be saved in the lot of the just. And thus, most righteous Abraham, all things in all men are tried by fire and the balance."

Osiris=Abel,

Ammut=Hell

Thoth=Enoch

Anubis=Dokiel

Horus=Puroel

Maat=angel

Nephtys=angel

Lotus+4 sons of Horus=Book(?)

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1007.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testament_of_Abraham

George W. E. Nickelsburg Jr., "Eschatology in the Testament of Abraham: A Study of the Judgment Scene in the Two Recensions," in Studies on the Testament of Abraham, ed. George W. E. Nickelsburg Jr. (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1976), 23â??64.

In The Old Testament Psuedepigrapha:Apocalyptic Literature & Testaments Vol 1, edited by James H. Charlesworth,New Translations from Authoritative Texts with Introductions and Critical Notes by an International Team of Scholars, Testament of Abraham translator E.P. Sanders said:

"If the Testament of Abraham is regarded as having been originally written in Greek, the most likely place of origin is Egypt. The evidence of this may be summarized as follows: The vocabulary, especially of A, shows strong similiarity to that of the late books of the Septuagint and other Jewish books written in Greek in Egypt (e.g. 3Mac); the motif of the weighing of souls is most closely paralleled in late Egyptian depictions; the three levels of judgement may reflect the three levels of government in Egypt. These argumets are desicive only for recension A. Since it appears that the story as it is found in recension A, especially the account of the judgement scene, more accurately reflects the ultimate common ancestor, it is best to postulate Egyptian provenance for the story."

I think the ToA provides a very useful paradigm with which to view the BoA facsimilies thru. It has been said that Joseph's interpretations of the vignettes dont match the original,funerary context. Well Duhh!!!!! The BoA is not using the vignettes in their original, funerary context, rather, as a book written by semites for semites it is adopting common egyptian motifs to tell an Abrahamic story, just like the ToA.

We can say, that in the case of the ToA, a semetic understanding of BoD chap. 126 runs parrallel to, but not identical to the egyptian understanding of the scene. The questian then becomes, how much do the BoA adaptations rely on egyptian concepts?

Other Stuff

lpext.jpg

AIDIO ORICH THAMBITO, Abraham who at... PLANOIEGCHIBIOTH bind them and the whole soul for her, NN [whom NN bore]... the female body of her, NN [whom NN bore], I conjure by the... [and] to inflame her, NN whom [NN bore] [Write these] words together with this picture [the lion couch vignette] on a new papyrus.

Lieden I 384 shows us:

1)At least 1 ancient egyptian priest from the greco roman period knew about the biblical Abraham*

2) At least 1 ancient egyptian priest from the greco roman period connected the biblical Abraham with a lion couch, an Anubis and a mummy.

3) Joseph Smith Jr. was the the first modern to connect Abraham with a lion couch, an Anubis and a mummy.

Resistance is futile

OK, I confess, Im lazy.

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/167911.ctl

*The same guy who made Leiden 384 made leiden 384

Leiden papyrus 383

" ....O god hohos, cause to be sealed, be satisfied, be satisfied, Jehovah. I never appear appear without causing awe, soul of souls., Jehovah Ariaha, Ariaha, act for her, while they turn the face of the rebel, four sided one, Ianian; we act while I initiate the four-sided one. Send me the god in whose hand is the command so that he may tell me the answer to everything about which I inquire here today. Come in this multitude, O fury of Re! O creator who caused creation to come into being, Abraham, the pupil of the wedjat-eye, four fold creator, the great creator, who caused creation to be created, great verdant creation."

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Bro Gee makes some interesting points.

The questian is: why do Joseph's explanations have to match modern egyptological explanations?

My preliminary question would be, What specific documents is Gee referring to here:

For example, ancient Jewish interpretations for various Egyptian scenes are known that differ considerably from the ancient Egyptian interpretations and to which Egyptological methods give us no clue.

He cites another FARMS author in his footnote--

Kevin L. Barney, "The Facsimiles and Semitic Adaptation of Existing Sources," in Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant, ed. John Gee and Brian M. Hauglid (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2005), 107â??30.

--but doesn't give any examples.

Who knows what he even wants us to take as his examples? He provides none.

If you have the Barney book, HA, I'd be curious to know what examples Gee isn't sharing here.

CKS

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As for studying the facsimilies from an egyptological perspective......

Step 1. If we wish to understand the iconography of the facsimiles,

we must pay careful attention to those instances in which the ancientEgyptians actually identify a figure. As a result, we must gather various

examples of parallels to the facsimiles and determine when, if

ever, the figures are identified. All the various parallels need to come

from the time period of the facsimiles and not thousands of years earlier

in the New Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, or Old Kingdom. The

parallels should be as close as possible, preferably having at least half

of the figures in common with the facsimiles. If, after gathering various

parallels to the facsimiles, some figures are still unidentified, any

identifications we assign them will be merely guesses.

Step 2. â??Identification of the figure will not tell us what the ancient

Egyptians understood by the figure. That understanding will only

come as we assemble information from ancient Egyptian sources of

the proper time. Sources from the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom,

and New Kingdom are only of secondary value to understanding what

is meant by Egyptian of Saite or Greco-Roman times of the same figures.â?

As most handbooks on iconography and religion deal principally

with the New Kingdom or earlier periods, they are of little to no

use in understanding the facsimiles.

Step 3. The various figures are placed in relationship to each other

for a reason. One ought, therefore, to pay attention to the placement of

the figures. In this regard, explanations in Greco-Roman sources that

mention relationships between the figures might be of some importance.

We should strive not only to be able to identify a particular

figure but also to be able to understand why two figures are placed in

a particular relationship in the facsimiles.

Step 4. One should endeavor, where possible, to match the identified

figures with the texts that relate to them, whether adjoining or not.

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/pdf.php?fi...p;type=cmV2aWV3

Thats a pretty air tight test. It sure isnt something I've seen other people do; I know its something I never did with my other posts about the facsimilies.

The questian that should be asked is WHAT DID THESE THINGS MEAN TO THE EGYPTIANS OF THE RELEVANT TIME PERIOD.

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My preliminary question would be, What specific documents is Gee referring to here:

He cites another FARMS author in his footnote--

--but doesn't give any examples.

Who knows what he even wants us to take as his examples? He provides none.

If you have the Barney book, HA, I'd be curious to know what examples Gee isn't sharing here.

CKS

its in the link I attached to Barney's paper

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publicatio...&chapid=168

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I think you can take from the paucity of comments here, that there really is no reason why they should correspond. If there are 38 different levels you can read "Moby ****" at, then why not a few options for the facsimilies.

I was told that 38 thing by a lit teacher in college. I have wondered if that was really true. I only though it was a depressing story about a whaling ship where everybody died except one person.

Let's see, Charity: HA posted his thread at 12:54 PM. Exactly nine minutes later, at 01:03 PM, you suggest that the paucity of comments (yours being the first) indicates that there is no reason "they should correspond." That's sort of ridiculous.

Trigger happy?

CKS

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Which is a polite way of saying, "Yeah, even if we admit that the translations don't match, they could be said to come from God and they would be matters of faith, now quit bothering me for my expertise on your religious issues".

That is great, but it goes against the claim that they were were from Egypt and Abraham and translated by Joseph Smith. If they were just "concepts", then Joseph could have received them just like he did for the D&C revelations, or he could have used spent tea leaves, tree bark or tail of a newt as the catalyst.

No, it argues that different people can (and historically have) interpreted things like the facsimiles in different ways. That's the point.

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its in the link I attached to Barney's paper

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publicatio...&chapid=168

Got it. Thanks.

I'm perusing Barney's article now.

First, I think we can safely omit discussion of the Spaulding material. It's irrelevant to the question at hand.

Second, the suggestion that Proverbs parallels the Instructions of Amenemope is largely irrelevant ,as Barney is suggesting here merely a textual or thematic dependence--not that it has been shown that extant Egyptian facsimiles (like Joseph Smith's) were worked into the biblical Proverbs.

This example doesn't really speak to BoA vis-a-vis Joseph Smith's facsimiles.

I'm still reading.

CKS

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Let's see, Charity: HA posted his thread at 12:54 PM. Exactly nine minutes later, at 01:03 PM, you suggest that the paucity of comments (yours being the first) indicates that there is no reason "they should correspond." That's sort of ridiculous.

Trigger happy?

CKS

Wow, look at CK following charity around, calculating post times, etc. Obsessed much?

Now run along and report our little exchange!

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From Barney's article:

First, a brief introduction to the Testament is in order. The Testament of Abraham was probably composed in Greek...

We're already noticably not dealing with an Egyptian facsimile.

...and most likely dates to first century (A.D.) Egypt.

The text exists in two main recensions, the longer called Recension A and the shorter Recension B. Both recensions exist in a handful of Greek manuscripts and a Romanian version; Recension B also exists in Slavonic, Coptic, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions.

Barney refers here to extant texts in Greek, etc., rather than Egyptian facsimiles like those possessed by Joseph Smith.

This scene is significant because it is widely recognized as having been influenced by an Egyptian psychostasy ("soul weighing") papyrus, which is related to chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead. It may even be that the author was gazing on such a psychostasy papyrus as he penned this account.

Note that Barney is merely hypothesizing that "it may be" that the author was utilizing a psychostasy papyrus. I take it that there is no extant evidence that he was actually doing so.

Note also that Barney is referring to the author's having been "influenced" by an Egyptian psychostasy, that is related to chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead--not, pointedly, that he was translating an Egyptian facsimile as Joseph Smith purported to do. Thus, as I take Barney's phrase (and I could be wrong), we're already talking about a tertiary relationship of the Testament of Abraham to chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead. Even if he means that the typical Egyptian psychostasy is taken directly from chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead, we're still not talking about anyone's translation of such into Greek.

Unlike Barney, I don't find this at all to be a suitable paradigm from within which to view Joseph Smith's purported translations of Egyptian facsimiles.

Still reading.

CKS

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From Barney's article:

We're already noticably not dealing with an Egyptian facsimile.

Barney refers here to extant texts in Greek, etc., rather than Egyptian facsimiles like those possessed by Joseph Smith.

Note that Barney is merely hypothesizing that "it may be" that the author was utilizing a psychostasy papyrus. I take it that there is no extant evidence that he was actually doing so.

Note also that Barney is referring to the author's having been "influenced" by an Egyptian psychostasy, that is related to chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead--not, pointedly, that he was translating an Egyptian facsimile as Joseph Smith purported to do. Thus, as I take Barney's phrase (and I could be wrong), we're already talking about a tertiary relationship of the Testament of Abraham to chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead. Even if he means that the typical Egyptian psychostasy is taken directly from chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead, we're still not talking about anyone's translation of such into Greek.

Unlike Barney, I don't find this at all to be a suitable paradigm from within which to view Joseph Smith's purported translations of Egyptian facsimiles.

Still reading.

CKS

As for Greek, if Im not mistaken, greek was the lingua franca of the eastern roman empire, so I dont see why that would be a problem.

What I think Barney is getting at is the idea that Jews have taken egyptian ideas and reworked them to suit their own religious needs. If the judgement in the Testament of Abraham is derived from BoD chap 125 pshycoextacy and rabbinic tales about being in the bosum of Abraham are reworkings of the legend of Si-Osiris, then using vignettes as visual aids for the BoA isnt so strange after all. In other words, jews had adopted egyptian motifs in the past in other contexts, why would the BoA facsimilies be any different?

Blake Ostler, who I disagree with profoundly on Heavenly Father related matters, has a good piece on his webpage:

http://www.blakeostler.com/docs/Abraham.pdf

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It seems to me that the only reason this discussion is even necessary is due to the fact that Joseph's alleged translation is obviously in serious error. If he simply would have provided the same translation Egyptologists do then he would have shown himself to have been a true prophet or at least well ahead of his time in terms of interpreting Egyptian. As it is, the defenses Joseph Smith defenders are forced to come up with begin to boggle the mind. What's so difficult about admitting that, on more than one occasion, Joseph said he was translating but got the translation wrong? If he would have gotten it right, true-believing Mormons would be proclaiming it from the rooftops, would they not?

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(1) As for Greek, if Im not mistaken, greek was the lingua franca of the eastern roman empire, so I dont see why that would be a problem.

(2) What I think Barney is getting at is the idea that Jews have taken egyptian ideas and reworked them to suit their own religious needs. If the judgement in the Testament of Abraham is derived from BoD chap 125 pshycoextacy and rabbinic tales about being in the bosum of Abraham are reworkings of the legend of Si-Osiris, (3) then using vignettes as visual aids for the BoA isnt so strange after all. In other words, jews had adopted egyptian motifs in the past in other contexts, why would the BoA facsimilies be any different?

(1) Absolutely. My point here is that, if one were to demonstrate dependence, then what one is claiming is that there was a Hebraic knowledge of and conscious borrowing from a Greek-written, Egyptian-deriving document. For the sake of argument, I'm perfectly happy conceding that. This is not a patently-incorrect mistranslation of Egyptian facsimiles, but mere textual-thematic borrowing.

(2) Again, for the sake of argument, I'll concede the matter. In the material I've reviewed so far (and I stopped when it seemed the thread was not being responded to--and figured I'd pick up again when you had some free time to come back to it), Barney has not shown other than textual borrowing. He hasn't shown any examples of Hebraic mistranslations of Egyptian facsimiles. He suggests that the author may have been looking at an Egyptian psychostasy when writing, but that's nothing more than mere supposition. There is no evidence for the proposition.

(3) But there is no evidence of Hebraic authors using Egyptian visual aids. That hasn't been shown. The BoA facsimiles are different because we have, not an instance of textual-thematic borrowing (from an Egyptian-derived, Greek-written document), but documented evidence that Joseph Smith was manifestly looking at an Egyptian visual aid when authoring BoA and that he mistranslated it. He didn't borrow themes a Greek textual document. He looked at Egyptian vignettes and simply mistranslated them, as he didn't know how to read Egyptian.

It's a far stretch from arguing that Hebraic authors borrowed thematic elements from a Greek-written document to suggesting that Hebraic authors were in possession of Egyptian vignettes and authoritatively pronounced upon how the Egyptian characters were to be translated into Hebrew, while, at the same time, actually mistranslating them. Now, that would be analogous.

Only if we subsume obvious, yet assumed-to-be authoritative, mistranslations of Egyptian facsimiles in the category of "borrowing" does Joseph Smith's usage of the Egyptian papyri become analogous to Barney's examples.

Otherwise, it's apples and oranges, as far as I can see.

The argument seems to be:

( A ) Hebraic authors were influenced by Egyptian writings

( B ) Joseph Smith claimed to translate Egyptian facsimiles

( C ) Therefore, Joseph Smith's purported translation of Egyptian writings is similar to the case of ancient Hebraic authors being merely influenced by Egyptian writings derived (in one notable case) from a Greek MS, not an Egyptian facsimile.

I wouldn't for a moment agree that that is a valid argument.

And, yet, this seems to be the thrust of the LDS argument at this point.

I'll continue reading Barney's article and hope that something more germane presents itself, but, at this point, I'm just not seeing the legitimacy of the comparison.

Best to you this chilly evening (it's 20 degrees here with snow/rain/slush/ice predicted again for tonight).

CKS

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The argument seems to be:

( A ) Hebraic authors were influenced by Egyptian writings

( B ) Joseph Smith claimed to translate Egyptian facsimiles

( C ) Therefore, Joseph Smith's purported translation of Egyptian writings is similar to the case of ancient Hebraic authors being merely influenced by Egyptian writings derived (in one notable case) from a Greek MS, not an Egyptian facsimile.

Rather, I think the argument is:

A) Hebrew authors sometimes adapted Egyptian vignettes to tell Hebraic stories

cool.gif Joseph Smith translated Egyptian vignettes as illustrations of Hebraic stories

C) Therefore, Joseph Smith might have been translating a Hebraic adaptation of the vignettes in the Book of Breathings rather than translating them in their original Egyptian context

I think there are problems with both A and C.

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Hi Chris--

Rather, I think the argument is:

A) Hebrew authors sometimes adapted Egyptian vignettes to tell Hebraic stories

I haven't seen yet evidence that this situation has actually been shown to have obtained. Barney suggests this might have been the case in at least one of his examples. Otherwise, he seems to point to textual-thematic borrowing of an extant text, which to my mind is much more dissimilar to the case of BoA than it is similar.

B) Joseph Smith translated Egyptian vignettes as illustrations of Hebraic stories

The evidence doesn't commend this supposition, to my mind. Perhaps he used Egyptian pictorial representations as a catalyst for retelling Hebraic stories. But, it certainly doesn't appear that he "translated" Egyptian vignettes.

C) Therefore, Joseph Smith might have been translating a Hebraic adaptation of the vignettes in the Book of Breathings rather than translating them in their original Egyptian context

Perhaps, as long as we're just supposing. But, then we're left to wonder how to connect the extant papyri with a hypothetical Hebraic adaptation of BoB.

I think there are problems with both A and C.

As do I, of course. But, I think (B) is just as much playing the sticky wicket as either (A) or (C ).

Best.

Chris

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Which is a polite way of saying, "Yeah, even if we admit that the translations don't match, they could be said to come from God and they would be matters of faith, now quit bothering me for my expertise on your religious issues".

That is great, but it goes against the claim that they were were from Egypt and Abraham and translated by Joseph Smith. If they were just "concepts", then Joseph could have received them just like he did for the D&C revelations, or he could have used spent tea leaves, tree bark or tail of a newt as the catalyst.

No, it argues that different people can (and historically have) interpreted things like the facsimiles in different ways. That's the point.
Well I'm sure glad JS--er, I mean Abraham--didn't provide us with nonsense theories for gravity, atomic particles, behavior of light, etc. But of course, had he done so, the "different people interpret things in different ways" line is very convenient.
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Rather, I think the argument is:

A) Hebrew authors sometimes adapted Egyptian vignettes to tell Hebraic stories

cool.gif Joseph Smith translated Egyptian vignettes as illustrations of Hebraic stories

C) Therefore, Joseph Smith might have been translating a Hebraic adaptation of the vignettes in the Book of Breathings rather than translating them in their original Egyptian context

I think there are problems with both A and C.

I understood it this way:

1) Hebrew authors sometimes adapted Egyptian motifs to tell Hebraic stories

2) Joseph Smith translated Egyptian vignettes as illustrations of Hebraic stories

3) Therefore, Joseph Smith might have been translating a Hebraic understanding of the vignettes in the Book of Breathings rather than translating them in their original Egyptian context

...just two word changes

Remember, there are versions of the book of the dead which dont contain vignettes, yet describe what is on the vignettes in every detail. In fact the earliest versions of the Book of the Dead didnt have vignettes.

Also, Barney uses examples of jewish lifting of egyptian motifs which dont have vignettes.

I was reading Gee's paper on fac3 the other day and this stuck out at me:

Though Book of the Dead 125 first appeared early in the reign of the Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh, Thutmosis III (1479â??1425 B.C.),19 it had no vignette, or picture, accompanying it. The earliest papyrus copies of the Book of the Dead had no vignettes of any sort. Vignettes on Book of the Dead papyri did not appear until after the reign of Thutmosis III, following an iconographic movement that took place during his reign, when many cultic scenes (such as the depiction of the divine royal birth, tree goddesses and their cult, the Opet festival, the canonical lists of the nine bows, and the presentation of Maat) first appear in the iconography.20 The judgment scene does occur in the Eighteenth Dynasty (1552â??1401 B.C.), but when it originally appeared it was associated with Book of the Dead 30B, not Book of the Dead 125.21 The connection of Book of the Dead 125 with the judgment of the dead appears first in manuscripts that have been dated, though not securely, to the reign of Amenhotep II (1425â??1401 B.C.),22 but there is no consistent association of the vignette depicting the judgement of the dead with Book of the Dead 125 until after the Nineteenth Dynasty (1295â??1188 B.C.). Taken as a whole, only a minority of Eighteenth Dynasty vignettes associate the judgment scene with Book of the Dead 125, and almost as many associate the judgment scene with Book of the Dead 30B.23 The switch in vignettes has caused many Egyptologists to identify examples of Book of the Dead 30B incorrectly as Book of the Dead 125 because they apparently looked only at the vignette and did not read the text.24

Book of the Dead 30B is a famous text, which reads as follows: "O my heart of my mother, O my heart of my mother, O my heart of my forms, do not stand up as a witness against me! Do not oppose me in the council. Do not go against me in the presence of the keeper of the balance."25 In later times, the vignette associated with Book of the Dead 30B was a picture of a heart scarab, but the heart scarab occurs in the Eighteenth Dynasty only rarely.26 The association of the judgment of the dead with 30B makes sense because Book of the Dead 30B mentions the judgment and the weighing of the heart, whereas Book of the Dead 125 does not. After the 26th Dynasty, the judgment of the dead vignette is consistently attached to Book of the Dead 125 in copies of the Book of the Dead. From this, we can conclude that vignettes can be used for texts other than those with which they were originally associated. Thus, the argument usually advanced by critics of the Book of Abraham, that because a vignette from a text is similar to a vignette from a funerary text it must therefore retain its full funerary meaning, is an invalid argument.

This is quite telling, as both Facsimile 1 and Facsimile 3 are assumed to belong to the Book of Breathings Made by Isis because they accompanied the text in the Joseph Smith Papyri. Yet the contemporary parallel texts of the Book of Breathings Made by Isis belonging to members of the same family have different vignettes associated with them. Instead of a scene like Facsimile 3, most Books of Breathings Made by Isis show a man with his hands raised in adoration to a cow. This indicates that the facsimiles of the Book of Abraham do not belong to the Book of Breathings.

http://farms.byu.edu/publications/bookscha...&chapid=167

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No, it argues that different people can (and historically have) interpreted things like the facsimiles in different ways. That's the point.Well I'm sure glad JS--er, I mean Abraham--didn't provide us with nonsense theories for gravity, atomic particles, behavior of light, etc. But of course, had he done so, the "different people interpret things in different ways" line is very convenient.

The problem with LoaP's suggestion is that no one is translating the specific Egyptian papyri known to Joseph Smith in "different ways." The suggestion that some interpret the JS papyri in ways other than as reflecting their proper translation means, functionally, that LDS apologists interpret Joseph Smith's usage of the papyri in ways different than non-LDS Egyptologists. But, no non-LDS Egyptologist, that I'm aware of, suggests something like, "Here's how the facsimiles are to be translated; but, I'm interpret Joseph Smith's usage of them to be reflective of a Hebraic adaptation."

No one's saying that other than, perhaps, LDS apologists for BoA.

CKS

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The problem with LoaP's suggestion is that no one is translating the specific Egyptian papyri known to Joseph Smith in "different ways."

I dont know about that. In the Review of Book article on the facsimilies, Gee gives one nice example of how the figures on Fac 2 are interpreted differently by "non-lds" egyptologists, an apologist and the ancient egyptians.

See the chart on page 350

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/pdf.php?fi...p;type=cmV2aWV3

Oh, and just for fun look at how the British Museum interprets figures 3,4,1,22 and 6.

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highl...temple_mus.aspx

The suggestion that some interpret the JS papyri in ways other than as reflecting their proper translation means, functionally, that LDS apologists interpret Joseph Smith's usage of the papyri in ways different than non-LDS Egyptologists.

The way I see it, there is the interpretations of Joseph Smith, the Egyptians and the Egyptologists.

Gee's little paper helps us see the difference between the later two.

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/pdf.php?fi...p;type=cmV2aWV3

But, no non-LDS Egyptologist, that I'm aware of, suggests something like, "Here's how the facsimiles are to be translated; but, I'm interpret Joseph Smith's usage of them to be reflective of a Hebraic adaptation."

Its only a possibility.

To even countanance the thought would recquire someone to acknowledge the possibility that he recieved his interpretations from God.

Besides, when did egyptologists get divided into religious camps? I always thought that we should base our judgements on the merits of the argument not the faith of the argue-er.

No one's saying that other than, perhaps, LDS apologists for BoA.

Ture, but again lets stick with the message and not shoot the messengers. Since when is truth democratic?

It seems to me that the only reason this discussion is even necessary is due to the fact that Joseph's alleged translation is obviously in serious error. If he simply would have provided the same translation Egyptologists do then he would have shown himself to have been a true prophet or at least well ahead of his time in terms of interpreting Egyptian.

No, he would have only showed himself as being in agreements with egyptologists. The questian is, would the ancients agree with him?

As it is, the defenses Joseph Smith defenders are forced to come up with begin to boggle the mind. What's so difficult about admitting that, on more than one occasion, Joseph said he was translating but got the translation wrong? If he would have gotten it right, true-believing Mormons would be proclaiming it from the rooftops, would they not?

Again, this assumes that what is offered to us by modern-egygptology is synonymous with what was understood in the greco-Roman period by the ancient egyptians.

Interestingly enough, the scenes in facsimilie 1 and 2 were seen as being connected to Abraham during the Greco-ROman period by the ancient egyptians.

References to Abraham Found in Two Egyptian Texts

After years of going unnoticed, significant references to Abraham have recently surfaced in two Egyptian texts. They provide important links between father Abraham and Facsimiles 1 and 2 in the Pearl of Great Price. The two references are found in papyri catalogued as Leiden I 383 and I 384. Both texts come from Thebes and date to about the same time as the Joseph Smith papyri.

This illustration of a lion couch scene with Anubis standing over a person comes from Leiden I 384. The next to the last column of this papyrus contains a text in Demotic and Greek entitled "The sacrifice (or burning) of so-and-so," in which the person cries out, "Quickly, quickly, I adjure you, gods of the dead, against the dead, the god Balsamos, the jackal-headed god and the gods who are with him." Immediately below the scene are written the Greek words, "Let Abraham who . . . upon . . . wonder marvelously (orichthambito abraam ho epi . . .)" The text is broken at that point, and many endings are possible (for example, "who lies upon the altar" or "who calls upon God" are both possibilities). Much of this compares closely with Joseph Smithâ??s indication that Facsimile 1 from the Book of Abraham is an illustration of "Abraham fastened upon an altar" to be sacrificed by idolatrous priests.

The similarity between Leiden papyrus I 384 and Facsimile 1 was first noticed a few years ago by David Cameron, a theology student at the University of Toronto, but assuming that this was common knowledge he did nothing at first with the find. During the summer of 1990 while visiting at Brigham Young University, he communicated his discovery to several of the scholars and students there.

Further investigations into this papyrus reveal that it has been around a long time without being given much notice. In 1828, the Rijksmuseum acquired 132 papyri from Signor dâ??Anastasi (who had Egyptian antiquities dealings with Antonio Leboloâ??the man through whom the Joseph Smith papyri came). One of these was Papyrus Leiden I 384, a large papyrus (13 columns) with a variety of texts (animal fables in Demotic on the front and a heterogeneous collection of so-called magical texts in Greek and Demotic on the back). C. J. C. Reuvens published the first notice of this document and Leiden I 383 in 1830 in his Lettres

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