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Facsimile 3, figures 2, 4, and 5


Expose

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My question is NOT about the apologetic explanations for the Book of Abraham generally, but much more specifically, apologetic responses to criticism of Facsimile No. 3, figures 2, 4, and 5. For reference see facsimile 3, on the church's website.

Fig. 2. King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head.

...

Fig. 4. Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand.

Fig. 5. Shulem, one of the kings principal waiters, as represented by the characters above his hand.

emphasis added.

Thus, JS clearly stated what certain Egyptian characters meant. Egyptologists can read the copied characters, and have stated that the characters on Facsimile 3 do not mean what JS said they mean. See, e.g., Robert Ritner, The Breathing Permit of Hor Among the Joseph Smith Papyri at 176.

There is no question here regarding the papyrus portion used, scroll length, etc., only a matter of translating specific Egyptian characters. I have looked and looked and have not found a single apologetic response to this particular, specific point. Not a single one.

My question is: How do you, or others, explain the difference between JS's and Egyptologists' interpretation for these specific, clearly identified characters?

If you have your own theory that explains this specifically, I'd love to hear it, and please feel free to fully explain yourself so there will be no confusion over what you mean. If you know of an apologetic source that has responded to this specifically, that would be great as well, but I respectfully request that you point me to specifically where this has been dealt with before, rather than shotgun linking or to an entire article without a pinpoint reference.

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Hi Expose,

Nothing to add to your OP other than to say a couple things.

1. Good to see you back, hope all is well with you and yours.

2. You are indeed persistent ( LOL ) Good luck with this thread, hope it goes better than the other one you were involved in.

Peace,

Ceeboo

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Check out the book - Written By the Finger of God: A Testimony of Joseph Smith's Translations by Joe Sampson. It gives some amazing insight on this subject.

Do you recall what the explanation was? Do you, or anyone else on here have a copy that you could quote from and share with us?

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Goodnes, Expose you are a stubborn little bugger to go down this road again ! LOL

But after all was said before on the other thread...Methinks there is nothing here anyone can say to satsify you. JMHO

You are sure desperate to get people to agree with you! Good luck.... you'll need it! :P

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"Egyptologists' interpretation for these specific, clearly identified characters"

And as we all KNOW, Egyptologists are inerrant and infallible and know EVERYTHING about ALL POSSIBLE meanings of ALL ancient Egyptian characters.

The science is settled and the debate is over.

Kind of like "Global warming". :P

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Do you recall what the explanation was? Do you, or anyone else on here have a copy that you could quote from and share with us?

I'm at work right now so I can't quote the book, but it goes into great detail explaining reformed egyptian - "a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians". It's basically an approach to looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics as if it were Hebrew, and interpreting through the various different systems "of the Jews" - Notarikon, Temurah, Gemetria, etc. I'll try to give a better reply when I have my book with me as it's very complicated stuff.

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I'm going to venture out on the limb here and throw out the following:

Could it be that the explanations in facsimile three are not translations of the hieroglyphic labels in and of themselves but are instead just Joseph Smith's general observation that they identify the figures? In other words, Joseph Smith is not actually translating the hieroglyphic labels in the vignette as " King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head", "Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand" and "Shulem, one of the kingâ??s principal waiters, as represented by the characters above his hand" but is instead merely pointing out that the figures are Pharaoh, Prince of Pharaoh and Shulem and that the labels above give their identity?

Allow me to use an example.

Let's say I'm in Japan. I don't speak or read Japanese. I go to a Japanese restaurant and above the building I see a sign with Japanese characters. I remark how that must be the sign that has the name of the restaurant on it, but I don't attempt to actual translate the sign itself.

Could this be what we see with Facsimile 3? Joseph Smith is not saying that the labels read or translate as such, but that the figures are Pharaoh, Prince of Pharaoh, Shulem, etc. and the hieroglyphic signs above them identify them as such.

Does that make sense? And what are the implications for this idea with the fact that Joseph Smith never gave any explanation for the bottom line of hieroglyphic text that he included in his reproduction of the vignette?

I'm just throwing these questions out in the air for others to investigate and mull around in their noggins.

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"Egyptologists' interpretation for these specific, clearly identified characters"

And as we all KNOW, Egyptologists are inerrant and infallible and know EVERYTHING about ALL POSSIBLE meanings of ALL ancient Egyptian characters.

The science is settled and the debate is over.

Kind of like "Global warming". :P

I didn't say Egyptologists are inerrant or infallible, nor was it implicit in my question. What I'm saying is that they CAN indisputably read Egyptian. Does that mean they always know every possible meaning of everything, no, but they can read it, and a consensus of egyptologists have agreed that JS's interpretations of these characters is incorrect.

If your answer to my question is that all the Egyptologists are wrong, I'd be interested to know your basis for that other than armchair skepticism of academia as a whole. I'm not sure I get the "global warming" reference, perhaps you're referring to the fact that a minority of scientists disagree that the current climate change is caused by humans. No scientist I am aware of, however, disagrees with the fact that the planet is actually getting warmer, they simply dispute the cause and implications of the warming, and human influence therein. I would analogize the Egyptian characters here to be DATA, similar to temperature data, in as much as they are actual written language. I also know of no Egyptologist who has ever stated that JS's explanations of the Egyptian characters in question were remotely correct.

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No scientist I am aware of, however, disagrees with the fact that the planet is actually getting warmer . . .

Depends on your frame of reference. No scientist I know of disagrees with that. Over the last ten years the earth has cooled (the earth is cooler than it was ten years ago). I won't even say anything about the implications this has for the models that predict the earth will warm dramatically. Over last thirty years the earth has warmed (the earth is warmer today than it was thirty years ago). Over the last 30 to 500 million years, the earth has cooled dramatically. In fact, we live in one of the coldest periods that earth has ever experienced.

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I'm going to venture out on the limb here and throw out the following:

Could it be that the explanations in facsimile three are not translations of the hieroglyphic labels in and of themselves but are instead just Joseph Smith's general observation that they identify the figures? In other words, Joseph Smith is not actually translating the hieroglyphic labels in the vignette as " King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head", "Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand" and "Shulem, one of the kingâ??s principal waiters, as represented by the characters above his hand" but is instead merely pointing out that the figures are Pharaoh, Prince of Pharaoh and Shulem and that the labels above give their identity?

A theory I suspected would be advocated by some.

I must respectfully disagree with this idea. This explanation seems to infer that JS wasn't claiming to read or interpret the Egyptian characters themselves. You're basically saying that JS had revealed to him the correct interpretation of the identities of the people in facsimile 3, and then figured the characters above their heads were their labels and explained them as such without actually being able to read them. To me there is a mountain of powerful evidence to suggest just the opposite, that not only was he claiming to be able to understand who these figures were and that they were labeled but actually being able to read the characters themselves contained in the labesl. Not only his frequent references to "translating" Egyptian characters, but also the work entitled "Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar," and holding himself out as being able to read and translate Egyptian characters, etc. This explanation makes no sense to me given the fact that the Book of Abraham text itself was translated from Egyptian characters, and if he could read and interpret those correctly then why wouldn't he be able to read these?

Also, your theory would mean that JS's interpretation of the characters, if proper, contradicts the labels actually in the characters themselves. This is also my issue with some of the above explanations regarding the disputability of the identity of figures. I could accept the theory that a male could be depicted as Isis, or that figures in Egyptian scenes could represent various people and are not always depicted identically, that is fine, but would they be labeled wrong as well? There seems to be a logical gap here, meaning that if men can sometimes be depicted as women, the picture look like a woman but shouldn't the label, if any, be that of the MALE person that the female figure is meant to represent? If it is a picture of Isis, with a label of Isis, I have a hard time believing it is anyone but Isis. Accepting JS's explanation of the identity of the figure, whether he could read the characters or not, means you have to believe that the picture of Isis, labeled Isis, actually was meant to represent a male, not Isis. Ditto for the other figures...

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Also, your theory would mean that JS's interpretation of the characters, if proper, contradicts the labels actually in the characters themselves. This is also my issue with some of the above explanations regarding the disputability of the identity of figures. I could accept the theory that a male could be depicted as Isis, or that figures in Egyptian scenes could represent various people and are not always depicted identically, that is fine, but would they be labeled wrong as well? There seems to be a logical gap here, meaning that if men can sometimes be depicted as women, the picture look like a woman but shouldn't the label, if any, be that of the MALE person that the female figure is meant to represent? If it is a picture of Isis, with a label of Isis, I have a hard time believing it is anyone but Isis. Accepting JS's explanation of the identity of the figure, whether he could read the characters or not, means you have to believe that the picture of Isis, labeled Isis, actually was meant to represent a male, not Isis. Ditto for the other figures...

Actually, if you pursue the links I gave referencing Kerry Shirts and Hugh Nibley you would discover that there is no problem with Joseph Smith identifying female goddesses as male royalty. Why? Because that is exactly what the Egyptians themselves did. I mean, a two year old could recognize that these are females. So Joseph Smith was so stupid? Not really. I recommend you take a look at the links.

Further, it must be remembered that for Joseph Smith translation=revelation. Hence, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Joseph didn't use any biblical manuscripts or Greek or Hebrew texts but, by revelation, was able to produce his own "translation". The same with D&C 7 and D&C 91.

So, yes, I tentatively suggest the following:

Joseph Smith, by revelation, identifies the figures as Abraham, Pharaoh, etc. (not so much a gender problem thanks to the research by Messers. Shirts and Nibley) and by either inspiration or natural assumption realizes that the hieroglyphic labels above the figures must identify the figures but doesn't offer a translation of the labels other than saying that they identify the figures that he has already identified. Sorry if that is unclear, I'm trying my best to articulate my thoughts.

It is only tentative, and I am open to other possibilities. However, I see that as the best explanation.

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E:Does that mean they always know every possible meaning of everything, no, . . .

Now we are getting somewhere.

E: . . . but they can read it, . . .

So? Lots of people can read English, but that doesn't mean that they fully understand all of the possible meanings of all of the word that they can read.

E: . . . and a consensus of egyptologists have agreed that JS's interpretations of these characters is incorrect.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the old "consensus" argument. Remember what I said about "global warming"!

E: If your answer to my question is that all the Egyptologists are wrong, . . .

Well, if they don't know everything then it is possible that they are wrong. Are you arguing that "they" can't possibly be wrong because they all happen to disagree with JS.

E: I'd be interested to know your basis for that other than armchair skepticism of academia as a whole.

Are you not skeptical about anything academic/scientific when the word "consensus" is used? It usually means that questioning the scholarship is not wanted.

E: I'm not sure I get the "global warming" reference, perhaps you're referring to the fact that a minority of scientists disagree that the current climate change is caused by humans.

So you buy into the BS that is "man made global warming". The true believers continue to ignore facts like the global temperatures have been going down since 1998. (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/74019.html) The latest mime is that this is just a temporary phenomenon. True believers must press on.

E: No scientist I am aware of, however, disagrees with the fact that the planet is actually getting warmer, they simply dispute the cause and implications of the warming, and human influence therein.

Not even the ones I just linked too.

E: I would analogize the Egyptian characters here to be DATA, similar to temperature data, in as much as they are actual written language. I also know of no Egyptologist who has ever stated that JS's explanations of the Egyptian characters in question were remotely correct.

Analyzing data we have tells us about the data we have and NOTHING about the data we don't have.

All hail to the infallible, inerrant, omniscient Egyptologists!!!!!

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I'm at work right now so I can't quote the book, but it goes into great detail explaining reformed egyptian - "a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians". It's basically an approach to looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics as if it were Hebrew, and interpreting through the various different systems "of the Jews" - Notarikon, Temurah, Gemetria, etc. I'll try to give a better reply when I have my book with me as it's very complicated stuff.

Even the FARMS Review wasn't very impressed with Samson's book.

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must identify the figures but doesn't offer a translation of the labels other than saying that they identify the figures that he has already identified.

I suppose one could argue that for Figure 2, the explanation of which reads "Fig. 2. King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head." (But note that if "Pharaoh" is not intended to be a proper name, the title "King Pharaoh" is redundant.)

But how can you say that Joseph "doesn't offer a translation" of the labels for Figures 4 and 5? "Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand." "Shulem, one of the kingâ??s principal waiters, as represented by the characters above his hand." These strike me as unambiguous, the Figure 4 explanation particularly so.

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My question is NOT about the apologetic explanations for the Book of Abraham generally, but much more specifically, apologetic responses to criticism of Facsimile No. 3, figures 2, 4, and 5. For reference see facsimile 3, on the church's website.

emphasis added.

Thus, JS clearly stated what certain Egyptian characters meant. Egyptologists can read the copied characters, and have stated that the characters on Facsimile 3 do not mean what JS said they mean. See, e.g., Robert Ritner, The Breathing Permit of Hor Among the Joseph Smith Papyri at 176.

There is no question here regarding the papyrus portion used, scroll length, etc., only a matter of translating specific Egyptian characters. I have looked and looked and have not found a single apologetic response to this particular, specific point. Not a single one.

My question is: How do you, or others, explain the difference between JS's and Egyptologists' interpretation for these specific, clearly identified characters?

If you have your own theory that explains this specifically, I'd love to hear it, and please feel free to fully explain yourself so there will be no confusion over what you mean. If you know of an apologetic source that has responded to this specifically, that would be great as well, but I respectfully request that you point me to specifically where this has been dealt with before, rather than shotgun linking or to an entire article without a pinpoint reference.

Who say's that one groups interpretation of a facsimile back then is the same as another groups interpretation back then?

I don't know where you get the idea that there is only "one way" to interpret symbols, etc. Of the same facsimiles there were likely at least 5 different interpretations of the various objects in the pics back in the time they were created. So, who says that the most "popular" view, later discovered by scholars is the "only" interpretation? Especially when we are speaking about those who wrote or had the Book of Abraham back then, and who apparently were using the facsimiles for their own ideological purposes. In other words, what makes you think that Joseph was "mis-interpreting" THEIR identification of the facsimiles??? Sure, his may not be exactly the same as the "greater" Egyptian usage, but, you have no idea at all whether Joseph was simply interpreting how those who had the BOA was interpreting. Especially given the fact that we know that there are different views on these kinds of things.

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But how can you say that Joseph "doesn't offer a translation" of the labels for Figures 4 and 5? "Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand." "Shulem, one of the kingâ??s principal waiters, as represented by the characters above his hand." These strike me as unambiguous, the Figure 4 explanation particularly so.

From where did Joseph Smith get the name Shulem?

Bernard

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I didn't say Egyptologists are inerrant or infallible, nor was it implicit in my question. What I'm saying is that they CAN indisputably read Egyptian. Does that mean they always know every possible meaning of everything, no, but they can read it, and a consensus of egyptologists have agreed that JS's interpretations of these characters is incorrect.

If your answer to my question is that all the Egyptologists are wrong, I'd be interested to know your basis for that other than armchair skepticism of academia as a whole. I'm not sure I get the "global warming" reference, perhaps you're referring to the fact that a minority of scientists disagree that the current climate change is caused by humans. No scientist I am aware of, however, disagrees with the fact that the planet is actually getting warmer, they simply dispute the cause and implications of the warming, and human influence therein. I would analogize the Egyptian characters here to be DATA, similar to temperature data, in as much as they are actual written language. I also know of no Egyptologist who has ever stated that JS's explanations of the Egyptian characters in question were remotely correct.

You write as if there was an indisputable concensus, which there is not, on what the writing means.

Aside: You also write as if there was an indisputable concensus on global warming. That conclusion is no better than the one on the translation of the Egyption writing. Better look at the latest. It seems that the earth now seems to be cooling.

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I think there are two ways to go about this issue:

1)Say Joseph was wrong and use this as evidence for a catalyst theory and Ostler's expansionist theory.

2)Say Joseph was right for reasons we don't know;"King Pharaoh=X=Isis the God's Mother".

I favor 1.

Who cares if he was "wrong" about what they said? That is not the point!

Expose, I think your fundamentalist assumptions just don't hold water.

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Who say's that one groups interpretation of a facsimile back then is the same as another groups interpretation back then?

I don't know where you get the idea that there is only "one way" to interpret symbols, etc. Of the same facsimiles there were likely at least 5 different interpretations of the various objects in the pics back in the time they were created. So, who says that the most "popular" view, later discovered by scholars is the "only" interpretation? Especially when we are speaking about those who wrote or had the Book of Abraham back then, and who apparently were using the facsimiles for their own ideological purposes. In other words, what makes you think that Joseph was "mis-interpreting" THEIR identification of the facsimiles??? Sure, his may not be exactly the same as the "greater" Egyptian usage, but, you have no idea at all whether Joseph was simply interpreting how those who had the BOA was interpreting. Especially given the fact that we know that there are different views on these kinds of things.

You are failing to grasp the concept being put forth in this thread. The Egyptologists are infallible, inerrant, AND OMNISCIENT!!!!

You are just not getting it!!!! :P

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That's an important part of the puzzle isn't it. We don't have the corresponding text of the BoA with which to interpret Joseph's indentifications. We are essentially comparing a known(the Egyptian context) with an unknown(Book of Abraham context).

And this is the whole issue. That is why there is so much focus (from the critics) on making the JS papri that the church has, be the BoA. If that were indeed the case the BoA would most definatly be false. We just don't have all of the pieces to the puzzle and unless we can recover all of the scrolls that JS did have this debate sometimes seems so pointless.

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