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Book of Abraham entry in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism


dblagent007

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The Encyclopedia of Mormonism entry about the BOA facsimiles states "the prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices." http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/EoM,5528

What does it mean that his "explanations . . . accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices?" Does this mean that JS's explanations reflect accurate translations of the facsimilies? Doesn't this fly in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary?

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Whatever it means, why be concerned with it?

This is one person's opinion and is not doctrinal.

Heck, I could have written that, and nobody would blink. It's not worth a thread imo. In other words who cares what it says?

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Ok, I looked at the editorial board and I was wrong about it being one person's opinion. I was thinking of a different work. But my comment still stands. It is not doctrinal so who cares?

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The Encyclopedia of Mormonism entry about the BOA facsimiles states "the prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices." http://contentdm.lib...edu/u?/EoM,5528

What does it mean that his "explanations . . . accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices?" Does this mean that JS's explanations reflect accurate translations of the facsimilies? Doesn't this fly in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary?

That was written by Michael Rhodes, who most certainly should know better.

It is interesting that the section immediately preceding Rhodes' section was written by Stephen Thompson, who adamantly disagrees with Rhodes' comment.

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I'd lay off Rhodes. None of us are experts in Egyptology. A field where even the experts disagree amongst themselves.

Joseph wasn't as far fetched as most of his critics would like him to be. I for one, believe his interpretations are correct and that the experts will only approach his interpretations over time with the discovery of new information.

Here is an MP3 of a discourse given by Hugh Nibley in 1967 on the topic:

http://speeches.byu.edu/download.php/Nibley65.mp3

About 3/4 of the way through he mentions an interesting symposium held in the 1890's, a gathering of Egyptologist to discuss and interpret Egyptian hydrocephali. Notice how close many of their interpretations are to Josephs. Are we to assume that this is mere coincidence?

____________

I am Bic Pentameter.

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The Encyclopedia of Mormonism entry about the BOA facsimiles states "the prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices." http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/EoM,5528

What does it mean that his "explanations . . . accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices?" Does this mean that JS's explanations reflect accurate translations of the facsimilies? Doesn't this fly in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary?

Given the context of Rhodes' entire article, and given the many remarkable correspondences that have been, and continue to be, discovered between the various explanations given by Joseph Smith and the ever-evolving understanding of "Egyptian religious practices," I think the statement is defensible on many levels.

I recommend to all students of this topic Hugh Nibley's The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri and An Approach to the Book of Abraham. In addition, if you can get your hands on papers John Gee has published in Egyptological journals in the past few years, you will observe the growing case he is making for the extraordinary connections between Joseph Smith's explanations of the meaning of various aspects of the three "Facsimiles" and ever-expanding Egyptological knowledge.

One of the more remarkable things to emerge in recent years is the discovery and translation of the word shinehah in ancient Egyptian texts. Joseph Smith introduced this word in the Book of Abraham, and informs us that it means "the sun". What is the currently accepted understanding by Egyptologists of this newly-discovered word? It signifies the ecliptic, or the seasonally-changing path the sun takes in the sky.

How will critics of Joseph Smith explain such a remarkable correspondence?

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I think the statement is defensible on many levels.

I love how you use the word "defensible" rather than "true," or "correct," and then how you limit the scope of that term even further, by adding the phrase "on many levels."

Thus you create the impression to the lazy reader, that you agree that "the prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices" without actually having said so.

Brilliant use of language, Will.

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I love how you use the word "defensible" rather than "true," or "correct," and then how you limit the scope of that term even further, by adding the phrase "on many levels."

Thus you create the impression to the lazy reader, that you agree that "the prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices" without actually having said so.

Brilliant use of language, Will.

Then let me be more explicit, lest your "brilliant use of language" (such as it is) have the effect of nurturing doubt among those "lazy readers" towards whom you demonstrate such unbridled contempt.

As Nibley commenced to demonstrate at the end of his illustrious career, and as Professor Gee continues to demonstrate in mainstream Egyptological journals, the general thrust of Joseph Smith's explanations of all three of the facsimilies contained in the Book of Abraham do, in many respects, find remarkable parallels with the "present understanding of Egyptian religious practices." For those whose interest in these things is thereby piqued, I encourage again the reading of The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri and the newly-published An Approach to the Book of Abraham.

Incidentally, Mr. Jaybear, how might you explain the fact that Joseph Smith was able to pull the word "shinehah" out of thin air in 1835, claim it was Egyptian, provide it with a definition, and then have its Egyptian meaning confirmed over 150 years later?

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Then let me be more explicit, lest your "brilliant use of language" (such as it is) have the effect of nurturing doubt among those "lazy readers" towards whom you demonstrate such unbridled contempt.

As Nibley commenced to demonstrate at the end of his illustrious career, and as Professor Gee continues to demonstrate in mainstream Egyptological journals, the general thrust of Joseph Smith's explanations of all three of the facsimilies contained in the Book of Abraham do, in many respects, find remarkable parallels with the "present understanding of Egyptian religious practices." For those whose interest in these things is thereby piqued, I encourage again the reading of The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri and the newly-published An Approach to the Book of Abraham.

Incidentally, Mr. Jaybear, how might you explain the fact that Joseph Smith was able to pull the word "shinehah" out of thin air in 1835, claim it was Egyptian, provide it with a definition, and then have its Egyptian meaning confirmed over 150 years later?

Great. More lessons in equivocation.... "general thrust" ... "in many respects" ... "remarkable parallels" You are very good wordsmith.

I still can't tell from your choice of words whether you agree that: "the prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices." Yes, or no?

As for your question, can you direct me to a nonLDS Egyptologist that has stated unequivocally that Shinehah is Egyptian for Sun. Its not that I don't trust apologists, its just that... well okay, I don't trust apologists.

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There has been some debate about the word shinehah.

Shinehah In Abraham 3:13 Joseph Smith Shines Through.

Yes, that was a classic example of critics shouting, all together, "Is not!"

And yet, "shinehah" is a bona fide Egyptian term signifying the ecliptic; the seasonally changing circuit of the sun through the sky.

Of course, as many of us have observed, if an inscription were discovered in Guatemala which contained a toponym transliterated as "Tsaraxemla," the critics of Joseph Smith and his work would wag their fingers in unison and confidently assure us that it has no possible relationship to the Book of Mormon "Zarahemla."

That's just the nature of the beast.

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Jaybear:

As for your question, can you direct me to a nonLDS Egyptologist that has stated unequivocally that Shinehah is Egyptian for Sun. Its not that I don't trust apologists, its just that... well okay, I don't trust apologists.

I don't know of any LDS Egyptologist that has ever published anything on the issue. However, I do know that it was the respected German Egyptologist Rolf Krauss who first published on the topic, probably 10 - 15 years ago. Professor Gee only recently discovered Krauss' references to shinehah. But it's not a disputed interpretation, if that's what you're suggesting. As I understand it, Professor Gee has just recently submitted a paper wherein he ties together Krauss' findings with the Book of Abraham reference to "shinehah." So you can scoff all you'd like, and imply that LDS apologists are dishonest, but the fact remains that "shinehah" is a bona fide Egyptian term signifying the solar ecliptic.

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For those whose interest in these things is thereby piqued, I encourage again the reading of The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri and the newly-published An Approach to the Book of Abraham.

I've read both Message and Abraham in Egypt (though not An Approach. What material in An Approach do you think is particularly convincing?

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That the Book of Abraham represents an accurate translation of an authentic, ancient document that was in the possession of Joseph Smith.

What about whether it is an accurate translation of authentic, ancient document whether or not it was in the possession of Joseph Smith?

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What about whether it is an accurate translation of authentic, ancient document whether or not it was in the possession of Joseph Smith?

Are you saying that despite his claims, JS was actually translating a document that he did not have? That really casts doubt on its authenticity.

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Are you saying that despite his claims, JS was actually translating a document that he did not have? That really casts doubt on its authenticity.

I'm saying it's possible that when he looked at those documents for the purpose of "translating" something that God wanted given to His people (viz. The Book of Abraham) that it's relevant only insofar as it was the impetus for the revelation.

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I'm saying it's possible that when he looked at those documents for the purpose of "translating" something that God wanted given to His people (viz. The Book of Abraham) that it's relevant only insofar as it was the impetus for the revelation.

So you're a fan of the catalyst theory?

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The Encyclopedia of Mormonism entry about the BOA facsimiles states "the prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices." http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/EoM,5528

What does it mean that his "explanations . . . accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices?" Does this mean that JS's explanations reflect accurate translations of the facsimilies? Doesn't this fly in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary?

The statement addresses the correlation between Smith's explications of the facsimiles and what we understand about ancient Egyptian theology and soteriology, not necessarily what we understand about the texts whence they derive. While his translations may not square with the texts, they are remarkably insightful considering what we now know about their ideologies.

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That was written by Michael Rhodes, who most certainly should know better.

It is interesting that the section immediately preceding Rhodes' section was written by Stephen Thompson, who adamantly disagrees with Rhodes' comment.

Thanks for pointing out that article. From past discussions, I just took it as a given that no one believes that "the prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices." That is why this statement in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism is so perplexing. Has Rhodes, or someone else, explained how they arrived at the conclusion that JS's translation accords with the present understanding of Egyptian religious practices?

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Sorry, had to delurke just to remind people how ridiculous this all is. Joseph was clear in his claims.

The Papyrus was written by the hand of Abraham. There was also a portion written by Joseph.

Neither of these things are true.

On Facsimile 3, Joseph clearly indicated that the individuals shown were Abraham, Pharoah, a Prince of Egypt, a slave and a butler. None of this is true. Joseph also clearly states that the names of these individuals is written in the characters above their heads or hands. Also patently untrue.

Joseph was wrong. The catalyst theory is really the only one left that makes any sense, and even that is flawed because it indicates that either Joseph was lying (the names above their hands are not correct) or that he was self deceived, and believed he was making a true translation when he really wasn't.

The Facsimiles are referenced in the text of the BOA, so belong to it. They cannot be divorced. And while he may have got lucky and used a word for sun that is similar to an egyptian one for ecliptic, he was wrong on many many others.

Sigh, the BOA is only defensible with the catalyst theory. The facsimiles clearly are not what Joseph claimed them to be.

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The statement addresses the correlation between Smith's explications of the facsimiles and what we understand about ancient Egyptian theology and soteriology, not necessarily what we understand about the texts whence they derive. While his translations may not square with the texts, they are remarkably insightful considering what we now know about their ideologies.

Hmmm, interesting. Did JS think he was actually translating the facsimiles or just providing general insights into ancient Egyptian theology and soteriology (did Egyptians believe in salvation through Jesus?)?

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Hmmm, interesting. Did JS think he was actually translating the facsimiles or just providing general insights into ancient Egyptian theology and soteriology (did Egyptians believe in salvation through Jesus?)?

This is a false dichotomy. Bro. Rhodes' statement isn't addressing the accuracy of his translations, he's addressing how well the translation squares with Egyptian ideologies. Many of them are remarkably similar. Some are not.

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