Jump to content

The Gael/Papyri Relationship


Xander

Recommended Posts

Here are the four pages representing the Egyptian Alphabet Document in the Handwriting of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. The other two versions of this document (by Phelps and Cowdery) list the same exact characters in the same exact sequence.

EgMs4pageB.jpg

EgMs4pageT.jpg

EgMs4pageU.jpg

EgMs4pageV.jpg

Edited by Xander
Link to comment

Let me see if I have this correct, Will used the EA items with explanations to make a point that is relevant to those items, and Kevin used EA items without explanations supposedly to rebut Wills point and to showing the relationship between the papyri and the GAEL (many of the characters in Kevin's so-called rebuttal aren't' found in the GAEL)?

Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment
well, at first glance it seems like a bigger picture. the whole forest and not just some of the trees. but i'm interested to see both sides of the argument fleshed out.

Kevin presents another piece of the overall EA puzzle, but is it a rebuttal to Will's piece of the puzzle? Does it speak to the "big picture" relationship between the GAEL and the papyri?

I would have to say the answer to both questions is, no.

That doesn't mean that the information Kevin presented isn't of some interest and use. It is, though not as a rebuttal to Will's FAIR presentation. Rather, Kevin's so-called "rebuttal" is smoke and mirrors (he has simply set his straw man on fire)--more on this to follow.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment

Better yet, if the good folks here would really like to see whether Will was correct in what he said about the EA:

A few of the characters are Egyptian and can be found on the papyri, but not in any one place, and not in any order, and not with any discernible relationships. They appear to have been selected arbitrarily.

Let's zoom way out and look at the whole EA picture. Using the photocopies Kevin posted of EA JS, and starting at the top and working down through each page, number each of the characters from 1 to whatever (139 if I recall correctly).

Then, mark next to each character whether it shows up in one of the four columns in the papyrus fragment posted in the OP.

Once you have done that, notice the sequence, from left to right, of how Kevin has numbered the papyrus columns (5, 2,3,4, there is no column 1).

Now, armed with all this information (I would do the work for you, or rather post the work Will and I have already done, but I am away from my home computer that houses that work), see if you agree with Will's assessment.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment

Kevin presents another piece of the overall EA puzzle, but is it a rebuttal to Will's piece of the puzzle? Does it speak to the "big picture" relationship between the GAEL and the papyri?

I would have to say the answer to both questions is, no.

That doesn't mean that the information Kevin presented isn't of some interest and use. It is, though not as a rebuttal to Will's FAIR presentation. Rather, Kevin's so-called "rebuttal" is smoke and mirrors (he has simply set his straw man on fire)--more on this to follow.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Absolutely breathtaking how he does that, isn't it? Of course, this isn't the first time he has made this argument. His post above is simply another copy/paste job. Virtually every argument he has made in the past year in relation to my formally articulated theses is nothing but a strawman. This is one of his recurring talking points. He has copied/pasted this particular gem probably a dozen times, or more.

Needless to say, my quoted statement is correct:

A few of the characters are Egyptian and can be found on the papyri, but not in any one place, and not in any order, and not with any discernible relationships. They appear to have been selected arbitrarily.

Of course, it must be retained within its context: I'm speaking of the 69 characters to which explanations were given. And actually, I have since come to agree with Chris Smith and George Miller that close to 20 of the 69 (almost all of them from the "second part") do appear on the papyri. So my amended statement would be this:

A little less than 1/3 of the explained characters are Egyptian, or are "dissected" portions of bona fide Egyptian characters, and can be found on the papyri. The remaining 2/3 of the explained characters are not Egyptian and cannot be found on the extant fragments of papyri.
Edited by William Schryver
Link to comment

While I have a moment, let me save you some work. Of the first 23 characters in Part 1 of EA JS, all of which were given explanations, none of them are ancient Egyptian and none of the them are shown in the four columns in the papyri fragment Kevin posted in the OP.

Of the 59 or so characters in EA Part 2, only 23 of them were given explanations. Of those 23, none of them are shown in the four columns in the papyri fragment Kevin posted in the OP. Of the remaining 36 or so characters, at best Kevin can point to 5 that are in the papyri's first column to the right of the loin couch scene. So, out of 59 or so characters in Part 2, one-twelfth of them are on the papyri in question. Those 5 characters are EA characters number 30, 32, 44, 47, 55. They supposedly correspond with the Papyrus second column characters, part of sets 1, 3, 4, 5, 12. So, here is the match-up of the 5 out of 59 characters: 30-1. 32-2, 44-4, 47-5. 55-12. (The lack of order and arbitrariness is made more apparent when looking more closely at the character sets in the second column of the papyri, but that may complicate things a bit beyond what is reasonable for this post)

So far, how does this square with Will's claim that "A few of the characters are Egyptian and can be found on the papyri,but not in any one place, and not in any order, and not with any discernible relationships. They appear to have been selected arbitrarily"?

Please keep in mind that EA Part 2 represents the best ratio of match-ups with the papyri in question. From here, the evidence will go down hill for Kevin's so-called "rebuttal".

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment
Of the 59 or so characters in EA Part 2, only 23 of them were given explanations. Of those 23, none of them are shown in the four columns in the papyri fragment Kevin posted in the OP. Of the remaining 36 or so characters, at best Kevin can point to 5 that are in the papyri's first column to the right of the loin couch scene. So, out of 59 or so characters in Part 2, one-twelfth of them are on the papyri in question. Those 5 characters are EA characters number 30, 32, 44, 47, 55. They supposedly correspond with the Papyrus second column characters, part of sets 1, 3, 4, 5, 12. So, here is the match-up of the 5 out of 59 characters: 30-1. 32-2, 44-4, 47-5. 55-12. (The lack of order and arbitrariness is made more apparent when looking more closely at the character sets in the second column of the papyri, but that may complicate things a bit beyond what is reasonable for this post)

See the following post:

Only five from this section are interpreted in the EA, but more like eighteenish in the GAEL.

Edited by Nemesis
Removed offensive site link
Link to comment
I would also like to know how much of his rebuttal originated with Marquardt, though conspicuously absent attribution.

Conspicuously absent attribution? That is a pretty, um, "interesting" comment. You weren't going to wait for your answer before jumping to this conclusion?

The images are from Marquardts book, yes. The anecdote concerning the "parts" as they correspond to columns in Facsimile 1, are universally understood by those who have studied these documents to any degree. So perhaps you and William will be able to benefit from this post more than most. I don't recall Marquardt pointing this out, though he may have. You said you have the book, so why don't you tell us? I received my scans of the GAEL from Kevin Mathie several years ago and the clear relationship between these characters and the papyri is obvious to anyone who has seriously studied these documents.

Let me see if I have this correct, Will used the EA items with explanations to make a point that is relevant to those items, and Kevin used EA items without explanations supposedly to rebut Wills point and to showing the relationship between the papyri and the GAEL (many of the characters in Kevin's so-called rebuttal aren't' found in the GAEL)?

Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?

What I said was perfectly clear, but the problem is you have a tendency to quickly scan what is said. Read what I said again, except this time read it slowly.

Once you have done that, notice the sequence, from left to right, of how Kevin has numbered the papyrus columns (5, 2,3,4, there is no column 1).

It isn't how I numbered it. It is numbered that way according to the Alphabet documents. This is what you and William do not understand. When you look at the documents you can clearly see them categorized according to "parts." Thus, when characters from the far right column are transcribed, each of the three Alphabet documents provide the heading "fourth part of the first degree." When characters from the far left column are being transcribed, they are immediately followed by the heading,"fifth part of the first degree." This isn't just a hunch of mine, it is a demonstrable fact. I provided scans to make the point clear but you're still not getting it. You also ignored my statement about column #1.

Column 1 was probably believed to exist above the extended arm of Anubis (the "priest" in black). So the first part of the first degree, which receive explanations in the Alphabet documents, were believed to have existed on the Egyptian papyri. This means the majority came from the papyri but all of them were believed to be Egyptian in origin! Otherwise, what would have been the purpose of painstakingly transcribing each and every character from the other four columns and carefully organizing them according to their columns as grammatical "parts." I'm repeating myself here. Please read what I posted. This time read it slowly.

Now, armed with all this information (I would do the work for you, or rather post the work Will and I have already done, but I am away from my home computer that houses that work), see if you agree with Will's assessment.

Will's "assessment" is one of obfuscation based on limited information.

The point of my response isn't that William stated a falsehood which needed correction. If you read my original post above you will see that I made this perfectly clear. I explicitly stated that he was careful to word his statement in a way that would be true, while at the same time achieving his purpose, which was to downplay the significance of the papyri. Thus, instead of addressing the Alphabet characters as a whole and explaining where they come from and why they appear in the order that they do (a simple task for anyone vaguely familiar with these documents), he chooses to focus only on those which had corresponding "explanations," which allows him to make the misleading, although technically true statement, that most of them do not appear on the papyri. Take this excerpt from his presentation, for example:

One of the keys to this conclusion was my discovery that, of the 69 characters to which explanations were assigned, most of them are not even Egyptian and do not appear on the papyri!

Let me repeat: Most of the characters explained in the Egyptian alphabet documents are not Egyptian, and do not appear on the Egyptian papyri in question.

A few of the characters are Egyptian and can be found on the papyri, but not in any one place, and not in any order, and not with any discernible relationships. They appear to have been selected arbitrarily

Notice the emphasis he puts on the highlighted text. He even repeats it slowly as if it were the most crucial information to have, so naturally you'd think there was a point to his emphasis. So, what is it? Obviously he wants to give the impression that the papyri had little or nothing to do with this project, which is one of the many misleading things he does throughout his presentation in order to lead people down to the same conclusion he is driving at. A conclusion which says that it really didn't matter where these characters came from because no one involved in this project really believed they were dealing with the Egyptian language. No, according to Schryver, they were enciphering various English texts using any symbols that presented themselves at the time. So following Will's line of thought, they conveniently borrowed some symbols from Sanskrit, Masonic ciphers, Arabic numerals, and finally only a "few" from the Egyptian papyri. But in reality these men thought they were taking all characters from the papyri.

What he doesn't tell you, as I explained in my original post, is that virtually all of the Alphabet characters, including those that had yet to receive "explanations," derive from the papyri, and contrary to what Will's says, they appear in sequence. Who cares if they had yet to receive explanations? All this tells us is that they had not progressed that far into the project. This is something a minimally observant student could figure out because their "parts" in the GAEL are clearly determined according to their placement on the papyri. This is no minor point. It is a huge oversight on his part. It tells me he is digging into the details looking for things that he can use to prop up the cipher theory, but hasn't bothered to take a step back and look at the big picture which completely undermines it.

So my point is simply this. William misled his audience (whether or not he did so intentionally is irrelevant) and left them ignorant of the overall picture, which is important for him if he ever hoped to persuade anyone about his theories. Providing a quick education concering the relationship between these documents and the papyri would have been a fairly simple task, as I just demonstrated above, but to do so would undermine his purposes. Thus, for Will, the more irrelevant the papyri appeared, the better for his theory. However, as I have said repeatedly, properly understanding the relationship between the papyri and these documents is crucial for a proper understanding about what these men thought they were doing.

Subsequently, he tried to drive home this same point from a different angle by emphasizing that none of the "explained" Egyptian characters from the GAEL appear on any of the Book of Abraham manuscripts which the critics had argued were "dictated." I recently showed that this was simply false, and provided the following image as evidence.

mashy.jpg

For a year William ignored this refutation until I raised the point here on his home forum, at which point he finally responded by claiming the critics never argued this particular manuscript was "dictated," therefore his claim was technically correct.

But again this is false. The critics have always maintained that this particular text containing the first three Egyptian characters from the GAEL, was dictated. William's understanding of the critical arguments is woefully deficient, as is his understanding of these documents. The bulk of his entire presentation is focused on tearing down a straw man, which is the assumption that the "critics" have argued for "forty years" that the Book of Abraham was produced via the GAEL. A popular apologetic response is to say no, it was done by revelation. But what they're not understanding here is that the critics have always argued that the data in the GAEL came from "revelation" just the same. Even Chris Smith pointed this out in his JWH publication on the topic.

EDIT: I notice that William's only response here is to complain that I've repeatedly "cut and pasted" this argument from previous posts. That's an interesting statement since I don't ever recall pointing this out, ever. So maybe William would do us a kindness by linking us to just one of the "many" instances where I made this argument. Ultimately it doesn't really matter how many times I make the point, because Will is always going to ignore it.

If this thread is to remain open participants must address the topic and stop trying to analyze the poster.

Edited by Xander
Link to comment

Wade,

::: over the top and tired insults removed::::

If DCP has been able to finally break the message board addiction after all these years, then we can, too!

As soon as I have my EA/GAEL/EC transcription chapter done, I promise to make it available to you (as long as you keep it under wraps, of course). I guarantee you will find it immensely informative, and I'll bet you'll be able to identify things I have missed, in which case I will gladly credit you.

Edited by Minos
Link to comment

Continuing with my review...

Eighteen minutes into his presentation William attempts to demonstrate the dependency of the GAEL on a preexisting text. What he did next surprised several critics because he tried to use Abr 1:1-3 to support his claim for dependency. He essentially took an argument Christopher Smith had already made in his previous publication, "The Dependence of Abraham 1:1–3 on the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar," and just inverted the conclusion, saying the GAEL was dependent on a "preexisting" translation of these three verses. Chris's paper was published more than two years ago and it sparked a lively discussion on this forum. I highly recommend reading the paper, and unless I'm mistaken, I believe he has provided his paper online somewhere (though I may be confusing this with his paper that was co-authored by Andrew Cook)

Anyway, Chris demonstrated a high degree of correspondence between the GAEL and Abr 1:1-3. The relationship is obvious and nearly a word for word exact copy. The correspondence is indisputable. But while Chris argued effectively for direction, William never managed to demonstrate dependency or direction. In fact, he doesn't even make an argument for direction. He directs our attention to the clear parallels and tells us which one he thinks came first. That's not much of an argument for direction.

The interesting thing about William's argument is that he postulates that all verses of the Book of Abraham can be "substantially attested" in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar. So naturally he continues with more examples in sequence, from Abr 1:4 onward, right? Well, surprisingly, no. Instead, he avoids the next twenty verses and starts talking about Abr 1:23-26. Why did he do this, if, as he asserts, all the verses in the Book of Abraham contain "substantial attestation"? Well, only William can answer that for us, but I will just say that it is interesting that Abr 1:23-26 is also the second example of correspondence that was previously established in Chris Smith's article. Incidentally, Michael Marquardt wrote an essay on the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar that will be published in next month's volume, the Joseph Smith Papyri a Complete Edition, by Robert Ritner. Michael focuses on these same verses as well, but obviously comes to very different conclusions.

For the sake of clarity, I just want to say that the critics have never argued that the EAG were used to translate the entire Book of Abraham, which is a point William confronts throughout his presentation. At best, I think it could be said that the GAEL was consulted, in a few isolated examples (the same way the GAEL was consulted for Joseph Smith's translation of the Kinderhook Plate, as Don Bradley recently demonstrated) and so the critics have always argued that Abr 1:13, 23-26 and explanations from Facsimile 2, correspond to the revelations Joseph Smith recorded in the GAEL. Beyond this, I don't think there have been any critical arguments for further correspondence.

Anyway, back to the presentation; William then presents a third example of correspondence from Abraham 2:11. This example does not appear in Chris's paper, but neither does it present a strong case for dependency in either direction because the relationship is uncertain at best. After this example, he abandons the Book of Abraham and jumps to the explanations for Facsimile 2, which again, is something the critics have been pointing out for years. The degree of correspondence therein is striking; indeed, word for word. I've mentioned this on a number of occasions in recent threads. But in William's view, all this means is that the "preexisting" explanations for Facsimile 2 were subsequently applied to the GAEL; not vice versa.

So the question I want to ask is this.

If, as William asserts, every Book of Abraham verse can be "substantially attested," in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, then why does he only provide the few valid examples which the critics had already provided?

These are examples which critics had used to argue for translation going the other way. Clearly he wanted to persuade his audience by presenting striking parallels, but when all is said and done, he didn't explain the context of any of this, nor did he explain why he is relying heavily on these examples and not other supposed examples from verses in the other chapters. I suspect that the reason is probably because his thesis is untenable. Contrary to Schryver's claim, every verse doesn't contain "substantial attestation" in the GAEL. If he had evidence to demonstrate this amazing new find, then I see no reason why he would choose to restate the same examples that had already been established by the critics.

His conclusion in the first video is that there is too little information in the GAEL to have produced the story of the Book of Abraham, and that there is too much of the story for it not to be dependent on the rest of the story. The first part of this statement proves our point that he has been beating a straw man since no one ever argued that the entire Book of Abraham owes it's translation to the GAEL. The second part of his statement is based on an unproved premise.

I think William's theory needs more work before it effectively addresses Chris Smith's argument for dependency. And it has a long way to go before it effectively refutes it.

Edited by Xander
Link to comment
While I have a moment, let me save you some work. Of the first 23 characters in Part 1 of EA JS, all of which were given explanations, none of them are ancient Egyptian and none of the them are shown in the four columns in the papyri fragment Kevin posted in the OP.

And....so?

You're simply repeating Will's thesis word for word without addressing anything I said. Why would we expect them to be in the "four columns" when I already demonstrated that each part was assigned to a single column, and they appear in sequence when the fall on the extant portion. Those that do not appear on the papyrus fell in the nonextant portions.

Of the 59 or so characters in EA Part 2, only 23 of them were given explanations

Which is irrelevant to anything I've said. Again, you're repeating this anecdote from Will's presentation as if it weighs on this subject at all. It doesn't.

Of those 23, none of them are shown in the four columns in the papyri fragment Kevin posted in the OP.

Again, why would we expect them in the "four columns"? Each character pertains to a single "part" and each part pertains to only one column from the papyrus. Please reread my argument again.

Of the remaining 36 or so characters, at best Kevin can point to 5 that are in the papyri's first column to the right of the loin couch scene. So, out of 59 or so characters in Part 2, one-twelfth of them are on the papyri in question.

Well, you don't accept anything I demonstrate, even with big bright pictures proving the point. Maybe now that William has conceded the point, you'll change your mind accordingly (i.e William said, "I have since come to agree with Chris Smith and George Miller that close to 20 of the 69 (almost all of them from the "second part") do appear on the papyri.") The illustration I prepared above effectively refutes your assertion. Every single character in that column is presented in the Alphabet section designated "second part of the first degree." To say there are only "five" is just wrong. Please familiarize yourself with the argument and the evidence before commenting.

So far, how does this square with Will's claim that "A few of the characters are Egyptian and can be found on the papyri,but not in any one place, and not in any order, and not with any discernible relationships. They appear to have been selected arbitrarily"?

Again, my post takes issue with what William didn't say, not so much with what he said. I think I made myself clear on this several times already.

Please keep in mind that EA Part 2 represents the best ratio of match-ups with the papyri in question. From here, the evidence will go down hill for Kevin's so-called "rebuttal".

Such rhetoric won't change the fact that what I've said is true.

Link to comment

Wade,

::: over the top and tired insults removed::::

If DCP has been able to finally break the message board addiction after all these years, then we can, too!

As soon as I have my EA/GAEL/EC transcription chapter done, I promise to make it available to you (as long as you keep it under wraps, of course). I guarantee you will find it immensely informative, and I'll bet you'll be able to identify things I have missed, in which case I will gladly credit you.

Believe it or not, for several reasons I am glad that these issues are being raised here. First, because it draws attention to your FAIR presentation and rightly keeps it elevated in importance within the overall BoA question. And, second, it gives us yet another chance to clear up confusion and to advance the discussion, if not also separate the credible from the incredible. I see it as an opportunity rather than a nuisance. But, I can understand if you see it differently.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment

Given Kevin's clarifications, if I now understand his supposed "rebuttal" better, it isn't that he disputes the accuracy of what Will said regarding the explained portion of the EA. Right? Rather, Kevin believes that by taking into consideration all of the EA, and not just the explained portion, then Will's statement no longer holds true, and thus his conclusion doesn't follow. Right?

To see if Kevin or Will is correct, then we need to know Will's conclusion--since that is the determining factor. Here it is (please keep in mind that the statement from Will that Kevin quoted in the OP, is only one of several premises/arguments that Will set forth as leading to this conclusion):

Simply put, the evidence strongly suggests that these documents were never designed as a tool to translate the Book of Abraham. Joseph Smith did that by revelation.

Okay, with this conclusion now in mind, let's do as Kevin suggests and look at the unexplained portion of the EA's to see if rebuts Will's conclusion.

Of the 135 or so sets of character listed in the left-hand column of the EA's, about 91 of them are unexplained. And, only about 20 of those are given sounds. So, there are 71 EA entries for which all we have are the characters.

Do we know from just the characters, themselves, whether they have anything to do with the Book of Abraham? No, we don't. They are just characters. All those characters can tell us, in light of what we know about ancient Egyptian and the papyri, is whether they are ancient Egyptian, whether they came from the papyri scrolls and fragments, and if so from which scroll or fragment and where on a given papyrus, and were they chosen in such an order to establish a meaningful relationship of some sort.

So, these 71 unexplained characters without sounds, neither confirm nor deny Will's conclusion--which is likely why Will didn't logically mention them in relation to his conclusion. In other words, at best they don't rebut Will's conclusion, contrary to what Kevin suggests, and at worst they may support it (see below).

Besides, these 71 characters are irrelevant in terms of the GAEL (the topic of the thread) since they are nowhere represented in the GAEL.

In short, what Kevin thought was a rebuttal, really wasn't. It was neutral at best, and irrelevant. In terms of the 71 characters, as well as the all the characters with explanations, Kevin was wrong.

-continued-

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment

-continued-

Okay, this leaves us with the 20 or so unexplained characters with sounds as Kevin's last hope of a rebuttal.

Do we know from the sounds for these 20 characters whether they have anything to do with the Book of Abraham?

Well, at least five of them are mentioned in the facsimiles and/or the Book of Abraham text. That is at least something to consider.

However, do the sounds, themselves, tell us whether they were intended to be used to translate the Book of Abraham? No, not at all. They are neutral when it comes to translating whatever (the sounds, themselves, do not indicate direction of translation. In fact, they aren't a translation, but rather an "Egyptian" sound assigned to an "Egyptian" character). Beyond that, all we can tell from these 20 characters with sounds is whether they came from the papyri (if I recall correctly, Chris has suggested that several of the 20 characters may have been derived from an astrological calendar), and if so, which scroll or fragments and where on those scrolls and fragments they may be found, and whether they were culled in such a way as to indicate some kind of order relationship.

In other words, at best these 20 characters with sounds, along with the 71 characters without sounds or explanations, neither confirm nor deny Will's conclusion--which is likely why he logically didn't mention them in relation to his conclusion, and at worst they may support it, contrary to what Kevin suggests.

Essentially, all the 20 characters with sound do is alter the proportion of non-Egyptian characters to Egyptian character for those EA characters that have explanations and or sounds. It doesn't change the fact that there are non-Egyptian and non-papyri characters in the EA. And, because there are non-Egyptian and non-papyri characters, that suggest that the EA were not intended to translate the papyri, let alone translate the Book of Abraham from the papyri.

This means that when we take the EA as a whole, it does not rebut Will's conclusion. And, in part, it may even support Will's conclusion. So, Kevin is wrong and Will is right.

Of course, had Kevin correctly understood Will's argument, he may have known this already. Hopefully, he understands it now, and he can lay to rest at least this one non-issue.

Also, since Will is right about the EA's, and since the GAEL is an extension of the EA's--it is a part of the same project, then it is reasonable to assume that if the EA's weren't intended to translate the Book of Abraham, then the same is true for the GAEl.

Mystery solved. :)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment

I say "at worst, they may support Will's conclusion" because, to the extent that some of the 91 unexplained characters are not Egyptian and are not derived from the papyrus, then this logically suggests that they were not intended to translate the papyri, let alone translate the Book of Abraham from the papyri.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment

Okay, looking past what may now rightly be viewed as a non-rebuttal, let's consider Kevin's borrowed point about the "grammatical function" relationship between the 5 parts in the EA/GAEL and the 4 columns and 1 Lacuna in JSP I (Kevin at one point mistakenly refers to "Facsimile #1 when talking about the columns, whereas Facsimile #1 doesn't contain the columns, just the lion couch scene).

Let's start with the characters in EA Part 1. Here is an image posted by Kevin:

EgMs4pageB.jpg

For obvious reasons, Kevin didn't provide a graphic showing the alleged matches with JSP I,, but here is what he had to say:

Most of the characters that are given explanations come from the "first part", which were apparently believed to derive from the deteriorated column ending at the joint of Anubis' extended arm. You can see two or three characters preserved before the papyrus becomes damaged. In fact, many characters were restored in some of the other columns ("parts") as lacunae presented the need for restoration via revelation, particularly the column representing the fifth and second parts.

As you can see from the image posted above, there are 23 characters in EA Part 1. Kevin would have us believe that these 23 characters were taken from a non-extant portion of JSP 1, a column that he speculates inexplicably extends down into the lion couch scene (is there any known lion couch scenes where this is the case?). Aside from the question whether 23 characters could fit in a column extending from the upper edge of the papyri down to into the lion couch scene, and as baseless and dubious as this speculation is, let's go ahead and assume for the sake of argument, that it is true. The first question that pops into my mind is: If Joseph or whomever thought the characters in the columns in JSP 1 contained the Egyptian Alphabet, and given their understanding that Egyptian is read from right to left and from top to bottom, how is it that they figured that the first part of the alphabet didn't begin in the far right column, or the second column from the far right, or the third column from the far right, but a non-existent speculative 4th column from the right, though not the fifth column from the right?

Beyond those questions, since the alleged column #1 is pure speculation, it really can't be argued for or against, and thus it has no probative value. So, nothing more needs to be said.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Link to comment

Let's now look at EA Part 2. Here are the images Kevin posted earlier:

EgMs4pageB.jpg

EgMs4pageT.jpg

EgMs4pageU.jpg

Here is the image Kevin posted showing the character matches with JSP I:

p2.jpg

As you can see from the images above, there are approximately 58 characters in EA Part 2. Kevin would have us believe that these characters are considered as Part 2 of the alphabet because he can show where 5 of those 58 characters are in the third column from the right on JSP 1.

However, there are 16 characters in the extant portion of that column, and only five of those characters match up with EA Part 2.

In short, only 5 out of 58 EA characters (about 1/11th) in Part 2 match up with 5 out of 16 (1/3rd) extant characters in JSP 1, 3rd column from the right. And, while the 5 JSP 1 characters are below each other in order from 1st to 5th, they are not sequential, contrary to what Kevin said earlier. Rather, counting from top to bottom, here is the order in which they fall: 1, 3, 4, 5, 11.

Again, this is the bases upon which Kevin wishes us to believe that EA Part 2 is a "grammatical function" of JSP 1, third column from the right?

And, then there is the small matter of why EA Part 2 is supposedly taken from the third column from the right rather than the second column (or the third column from the left if Kevin is to be believed about the speculative column descending into the lion couch scene).

Besides, we know that at least 5 of the characters in EA Part 2 predate the arrival of the papyri in Kirtland, and thus must have been derived from elsewhere than JSP I, third column from the right. Also, 5 or 6 other characters are believed to have been taken from an astrological calendar, about 28 of the character haven't been accounted for, which leaves about 18 to 20 that have been found on extant fragments of papyri, though only five of which that have been matched to JSP 1, third column from the left.

Does anyone else see a problem with all of this?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment

I should mention that while EA Part 1, itself, has at best probative-neutral value in regards to Kevin's speculation about column 1 of JSP I, when you add GAEL Part 1 into the mix as well as the two KEP notebooks, things go way south for Kevin.

Here is why: First, we discover in GAEL Part 1 that at least two of the 23 characters in EA Part 1 ("iota" and "zub zool oan") aren't from the imagined column 1 of JSP1, but are pieces (graphemes) of a composite characters listed in EA Parts 5 ("Za ki on hiash"). So, according to Kevin's logic, these two graphemes ought to be from column 5 in JSP 1. Yet, the composite character is nowhere to be found in column 5 because it is a "made up" character. So, two of the characters in EA Part 1 aren't from Kevin's imagined column 1, but are pieces taken from a made-up character.

Second, we learn from GAEL Part 1 that several composite characters ("Ki ah broam kiah brah oam zub zool oan," "Iota ni tah veh ahque," and "Za ki on hiash") come from EA Part 3 and 5, and several graphemes ("Beth" and "Beth Ka") come from EA Part 2. This means that characters Kevin hypothesized as derived from JSP columns 2, 3, and 4, in the GAEL were supposedly given the "grammatical function" of Part 1. In other words, these characters and graphemes in GAEL Part 1, didn't come from Kevin's imagined column 1, but two of the composite characters are at best possibly from JSP I column 4, and one of the composite characters from EA Part 5, and the two graphemes from EA Part 2, are made up.

Third, when we examine the two KEP notebooks, we find the possible grapheme given the sound "Kah tu mun," which is one of the characters listed in EA Part 1. This means that at least one more character in EA Part 1 wasn't derived from Kevin's imagined column 1 of the JSP I, but from the notebooks. Chris Smith has surmised that much of the content of EA Part 1 comes from missing papyri fragments that were not a part of the scroll containing JSP I. If he is correct, then much of EA Part 1, while derived from papyri, came from a different papyri scroll than the one Kevin speculates as housing the imagined column 1.

I am afraid this all spells disaster for Kevin's speculation about the "grammatical function" between EA Part 1 and his imagined column 1 of the JSP I.

When we combine this with what was determined about EA Part 2 and JSP I column 2, we find that the first two out of five supposed "grammatical functions" are countered by the evidence. The relationship that Kevin hypothesized between EA Parts 1 & 2 and JSP I columns 1 & 2, while seemingly plausible at first glance, are nothing more than coincidence. We will see if the same holds true for EA Parts 3, 4, and 5 and there hypothesized "grammatical function" relationship with the same columns in JSP I. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. :)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
Link to comment
Anyway, Chris demonstrated a high degree of correspondence between the GAEL and Abr 1:1-3.

However, what Chris and any other serious critic of the argument that the EA/GAEL were dependent upon an already existing text must do, but which, as of yet, has quite conspicuously never been achieved, is to demonstrate that the correspondence between the GAEL and ABr 1:1-3, or any other correspondence attending any other portions of the KEP, are indicative of a causal connection between themselves and the BofA moving from the KEP to the BofA.

Wade makes this clear:

Of the 135 or so sets of character listed in the left-hand column of the EA's, about 91 of them are unexplained. And, only about 20 of those are given sounds. So, there are 71 EA entries for which all we have are the characters.

Do we know from just the characters, themselves, whether they have anything to do with the Book of Abraham? No, we don't. They are just characters. All those characters can tell us, in light of what we know about ancient Egyptian and the papyri, is whether they are ancient Egyptian, whether they came from the papyri scrolls and fragments, and if so from which scroll or fragment and where on a given papyrus, and were they chosen in such an order to establish a meaningful relationship of some sort.

So, these 71 unexplained characters without sounds, neither confirm nor deny Will's conclusion--which is likely why Will didn't logically mention them in relation to his conclusion. In other words, at best they don't rebut Will's conclusion, contrary to what Kevin suggests, and at worst they may support it (see below).

Besides, these 71 characters are irrelevant in terms of the GAEL (the topic of the thread) since they are nowhere represented in the GAEL.

In short, what Kevin thought was a rebuttal, really wasn't. It was neutral at best, and irrelevant. In terms of the 71 characters, as well as the all the characters with explanations, Kevin was wrong.

This is perhaps the best overall decoction of the entire text-critical problem, and its present state of development, that I've seen here, at least of late. I've been making a very similar point in this forum for years, albeit without the level of detail Wade commands on the finer points of the problem, in an attempt to bring a degree of clarity and balance to what the critics portray as a closed case. The fact of the matter is that, whether one tends towards Will's recent theory, or those of a few other late 20th century LDS scholars who have wrestled with the issue, at the end of the day the text-critical evidence, and what can with the most honest and judicial inferential rigor be brought to bear on the it, is, as to casting any certain light on the origin and meaning of the KEP, really no closer to the actual truth of the matter than it was 40 years ago. As Wade has pointed out, at best Kevin has failed to refute Will's points, and at worst, Will may be on to something. We just don't know.

The state of affairs of the evidence we have, so fragmentary, incontextual, and lacking large quantities of the original documentation, hasn't changed since the 1960s, and, barring the discovery of new documentary evidence, has run its course as to what can be extracted from it. Claims by the most prominent critics (and especially Mr. Graham) that the case is closed, the conclusions obvious to any but the grossly ignorant, and that anyone who leaves open the possibility of a dependence causal relations run in the opposite direction (from the BofA to the KEP) from those claimed by critics is either utterly unfamiliar with the primary sources or - lying and misrepresenting the evidence - seem at best, in my view, to have traditionally been inserted as bluster intended to psychologically shore up the critic's against the very real limitations of their own position, and at the same time demoralize, less actual evidential strength - the pro-LDS side of things.

This has been the state of KEP argumentation for a long time now, the critics claiming clear, obvious, certain knowledge of the KEP's origin and meaning, and the defenders of the church talking about plausibility, inferential tentativeness, and restraint in making claims of bold certitude where nothing of the kind exists.

I assume this will continue to be the general state of affairs well into the future.

Edited by Loran Blood
Link to comment
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...