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Joseph Smith, The Gods And The Corruption Of Scripture: A Case Study


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In the King Follet Discourse, the Prophet Joseph Smith makes two important claims about ancient Israelite theology: first, there exists a council of Gods that is headed by a "head God" and second, this fact was edited out of Genesis 1:1:

"I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible—Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith—in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh—the head, Sheit—grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council."

Though we cannot test the idea that an original of Genesis 1:1 read “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods”, we can show that editing out the Israelite pantheon did happen in other parts of the Hebrew Bible.

In Deuteronomy 32:8-9(KJV) we read: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." The Masoretic text(MT) reads bene Yišrael(בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל), children of Israel. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls version reads bene elohim(בני אלוהים), sons of God. The Septuagint has the same phrase as aggelon theoi(ἀγγέλων θεοῦ), angels of God. Both the MT's sons of Israel and the Septuagint's angels of God are likely derived from the Hebrew,bene elohim, for in each case, later editors required the change of only one word.

Deutoronomy 32:8-9 can thus be read: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the sons of God. For Yahweh's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." The title most High(Elyon) was originally applied to El(Genesis 14:18). El, most High, divides the nations according to the number of His sons and Yahweh, one of His sons, is given Israel. Now we can see that the MT version of Deutoronomy 32:8-9 is an anti-polytheistic revision, similar to a revision described by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

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The challenge here is that Joseph isn't really arguing for a corruption or change in the text of Genesis 1:1 (other than perhaps to remove the leading preposition). What Joseph Smith does is to reduce the first word of the Bible to its constituent parts - this is described in detail (for this specific verse) in the Hebrew manual published by Joseph's Hebrew instructor in 1834 (J. Seixas). Seixas, explains on page 85 (I am going to use transliterations following Seixas's Sephardic system instead of trying to reproduce the Hebrew):

be-ra-sheet in the beginning. For the prefix b see section 9, with the Note. For the termination eith see section 11. See Lexicon rosheith.

bau-rau he created see section 15.

e-lo-heem God; a sing. noun with a plur. form (eim see Section 11); see Lexicon elohim.

et see Sections 32, 71.

So, for the first word. We have a prefix, a termination, and a note to reference the Lexicon. The entry in Section 9 dealing with the prefix b reads (with the Note):

In, with, by, over, among, when, throughout, for, through, against, on, to, under, etc.

Note. The Article (h) is frequently supplied after some of the above Prefixes; as be-ra-sheet in the beginning; ....

For the termination, we turn to section 11 titled Gender and Number of Nouns.

There, eet is listed as the sing. fem. (and lists berosheit as an example). However, this word is also raised in the notes to Section 11. In Note 10, rosh is noted as anomalous - with the plural roshim.

Finally, we turn to the lexicon (Joseph Smith owned the 1832 Gibbs - a translation of Gesenius - but his version was the shorter student edition, the longer complete version that Seixas references was published in 1824 - I have copies of both). The difference between the two Gibbs lexicons is important because it causes some difficulties here. Ra-sheet is not in the 1832 edition as a separate entry. It only has an entry for Rosh. And it mentions rosheit as the plural of roshah. Both are on page 198. It is the entry for rosh that is the most interesting in this discussion:

Rosh a head; the best of its kind; a chief leader; a chief city, metropolis; the highest place, the first rank; the top or highest part, as of a mountain, pillar; the first, in number; the beginning; the sum, whole number; a company, multitude, host; a person, individual.

So, Joseph merely does what Seixas tells him (page 76) - he divests the first word of all of its adjuncts - the prefix, the termination, and comes up with the root Rosh. He then looks this up in the Lexicon.

So given this, we can take a look at the KFD:

I shall comment on the very first word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible, Berosheit. I want to analyze the word; Baith, in, by, through, in, and everything else. Rosh, the head. Sheit, grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. A man a Jew without any authority, though it too bad to begin to talk about the head. It read first, 'The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods,' that is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth.

There seems to me to be a parenthetical in there that doesn't translate through the notes - that is,

"the head one (of the Gods) brought forth the Gods." or rosh baurau elohim. That seems to me to be the simple explanation of what Joseph Smith was doing with the Hebrew of Genesis 1:1 - it comes right out of the Seixas grammar - including his definition of the prefix baith, and his use of the phrase "grammatical termination".

Joseph Smith is providing us with an analysis of the Hebrew primarily using the books on Hebrew that he had - this isn't some kind of revelation that is being given, or a restoration. It is pure commentary. Of course we run into the additional problem that the technical language - "grammatical termination" for example, isn't found in any of the original accounts of the sermon. Did Joseph use that term, or did it come from Phelps during the editing of the sermon for publication in the Times and Seasons? (I suspect it came from Phelps). After analyzing the first three words, Joseph then takes the interpretive step to move on to a grand council - but there is no suggestion in the sermon that Joseph believed that the "grand council" part was in the text originally and had been removed.

Now this isn't to say that there is no similarity between Joseph's teaching on a heavenly council or a divine assembly. But I do think that caution is good when we try to read our own theology backward onto these texts in the Old Testament. And I am not sure that Joseph's comments reflect anything at all like the revisionism that occurs in Deuteronomy 32.

Ben M.

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Respectfully, not being a life long Mormon, I am uneasy with the idea of pural God's. Isaiah 44:6, and Exodus 20:3, but then there is Gen 11:7. Who is "us"?

I don't actually have issue with multiple God's as long as there is one that is superior to the others. It is not surprising at all that there would be disagreement about the actual translation of the OT, or even the NT.

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Respectfully, not being a life long Mormon, I am uneasy with the idea of pural God's. Isaiah 44:6, and Exodus 20:3, but then there is Gen 11:7. Who is "us"?

I don't actually have issue with multiple God's as long as there is one that is superior to the others. It is not surprising at all that there would be disagreement about the actual translation of the OT, or even the NT.

I agree, I think the word "god" or "gods" has a different connotation than some people tend to think, some scriptures LDS use to say that it is proof that we'll be "Gods" really means "god" in the lower "g" form which would be something similar to a king possibly. IMO, there is only one God in upper "G".
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I agree, I think the word "god" or "gods" has a different connotation than some people tend to think, some scriptures LDS use to say that it is proof that we'll be "Gods" really means "god" in the lower "g" form which would be something similar to a king possibly. IMO, there is only one God in upper "G".

Yes, Ellen, Brother Brigham stated in April of 1852, in a sermon in Salt Lake City, that, of the various deities which exist, one "is our father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do" (Journal of Discourses, 1:50; cf. Paul in I Cor 8:5-6).

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In the King Follet Discourse, the Prophet Joseph Smith makes two important claims about ancient Israelite theology: first, there exists a council of Gods that is headed by a "head God" and second, this fact was edited out of Genesis 1:1:

"I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible—Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith—in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh—the head, Sheit—grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council."

Though we cannot test the idea that an original of Genesis 1:1 read “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods”, we can show that editing out the Israelite pantheon did happen in other parts of the Hebrew Bible.

In Deuteronomy 32:8-9(KJV) we read: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." The Masoretic text(MT) reads bene Yišrael(בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל), children of Israel. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls version reads bene elohim(בני אלוהים), sons of God. The Septuagint has the same phrase as aggelon theoi(ἀγγέλων θεοῦ), angels of God. Both the MT's sons of Israel and the Septuagint's angels of God are likely derived from the Hebrew,bene elohim, for in each case, later editors required the change of only one word.

Deutoronomy 32:8-9 can thus be read: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the sons of God. For Yahweh's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." The title most High(Elyon) was originally applied to El(Genesis 14:18). El, most High, divides the nations according to the number of His sons and Yahweh, one of His sons, is given Israel. Now we can see that the MT version of Deutoronomy 32:8-9 is an anti-polytheistic revision, similar to a revision described by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Joseph's funeral sermon for his friend King Follet is an extraordinary piece of theological reflection, even if we do not have a pristine and verbatim account of it (people have tried integrating the notes taken by various people who were there, and have published them).

Anyone editing it should of course insert the actual Hebrew words & letters into it. The suggestion that it entails the divine council is actually right on target, since a reasonable, scholarly translation would parse Gen 1:1-3 is a series of circumstantial clauses leading up to the first act of creation:

When the Gods set about to create heaven and earth, the world then being a formless waste, with darkness on the face of the deep, and the Divine Spirit sweeping over the waters, the Gods said "Let there be light," and there was light.

The use of plural "Gods" there is dictated not only by LDS and secular theological insights, but also by the plural verb and pronouns at 1:26, which the late Ephraim Speiser could not bring himself to leave unmolested. Otherwise, I follow Speiser's translation here, for the most part. His circumstantial translation is not only in keeping with Hebrew grammar, but also with the Babylonian Creation Epic, Enuma elish, "When on High," which follows the very same order of creation!! (Speiser, Genesis, Anchor Bible 1, 1964, pp. 9-10, citing A. Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, 129).

Biblical scholars now see Gen 1 as an iterative, catechetical temple drama, just as was the case for Enuma elish -- which was performed annually in Babylon on New Year's Day (during the Akitu Festival) at the Esagila Temple. Moreover, Heaven & Earth (Sumerian An & Ki) are not only the first gods created, but the terms can be taken as a hendiadys representing the divine council/heavenly host.

As to Joseph being quite correct about the creation being about organizing pre-existent material, Speiser virtually admits that this does not comport with ex nihilo Judeo-Christian creation dogma. But, he says, "the text should be allowed to speak for itself" (Genesis, 13).

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Respectfully, not being a life long Mormon, I am uneasy with the idea of pural God's. Isaiah 44:6, and Exodus 20:3, but then there is Gen 11:7. Who is "us"?

I don't actually have issue with multiple God's as long as there is one that is superior to the others. It is not surprising at all that there would be disagreement about the actual translation of the OT, or even the NT.

Ellen I sent you a PM a couple of days ago. If you don't mind would you send me a reply.

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You left out the Holy Spirit, at the very least. And how about the rest of us -- the premortal sons of God, who shouted for joy at the dawn of creation, at the plan of salvation? Are you saying that we were not involved?

Yes. I'm convinced that we humans, the sons of God, took part in the creation. The Father was the supreme or ultimate head of all who created all things through Jesus Christ who used Michael as a chief angel in the creation. From there I'm sure the heavenly hosts took part in the creation. And there is definitely scripture which includes the Holy Spirit in the creation.

Edited by Darren10
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The challenge here is that Joseph isn't really arguing for a corruption or change in the text of Genesis 1:1 (other than perhaps to remove the leading preposition). What Joseph Smith does is to reduce the first word of the Bible to its constituent parts - this is described in detail (for this specific verse) in the Hebrew manual published by Joseph's Hebrew instructor in 1834 (J. Seixas). Seixas, explains on page 85 (I am going to use transliterations following Seixas's Sephardic system instead of trying to reproduce the Hebrew):

"When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.”

That's how I read Joseph here. He saying that there was an original and that what appears in the masoretic text is an alteration.

So, for the first word. We have a prefix, a termination, and a note to reference the Lexicon. The entry in Section 9 dealing with the prefix b reads (with the Note):

For the termination, we turn to section 11 titled Gender and Number of Nouns.

There, eet is listed as the sing. fem. (and lists berosheit as an example). However, this word is also raised in the notes to Section 11. In Note 10, rosh is noted as anomalous - with the plural roshim.

"the head one (of the Gods) brought forth the Gods." or rosh baurau elohim. That seems to me to be the simple explanation of what Joseph Smith was doing with the Hebrew of Genesis 1:1 - it comes right out of the Seixas grammar - including his definition of the prefix baith, and his use of the phrase "grammatical termination".

Joseph Smith is providing us with an analysis of the Hebrew primarily using the books on Hebrew that he had - this isn't some kind of revelation that is being given, or a restoration. It is pure commentary.

There seems to be a misunderstanding here as to the nature of the OP. The OP is not taking the position that Joseph's Hebrew, and by extension the Hebrew in the Book of Abraham, came out of a vacuum and that what we are witnessing in the KFD is magic. It should go without saying that Joseph's Hebrew came from his studies with Seixas and that "Joseph Smith is providing us with an analysis of the Hebrew primarily using the books on Hebrew that he had".

Now, the assertion that this isn't revelation or restoration raises some interesting questions:

  • Is revelation independent of academic study?
  • How much of "study it out in your mind" requires actual study?

Correct me if I am wrong but Joseph's "Book of Moses" lacks explicit mention of "the Gods", while the Book of Abraham does not. The Book of Moses was translated before Joseph studied Hebrew, while the Book of Abraham was translated after Joseph studied with Seixas. I think it is possible that Joseph's study of Hebrew words, from Seixas's materials, probably opened his mind to the revelation that is the Book of Abraham's reworking of P, or the derivation of some symbolism from masonry for the endowment.

Of course we run into the additional problem that the technical language - "grammatical termination" for example, isn't found in any of the original accounts of the sermon. Did Joseph use that term, or did it come from Phelps during the editing of the sermon for publication in the Times and Seasons? (I suspect it came from Phelps). After analyzing the first three words, Joseph then takes the interpretive step to move on to a grand council - but there is no suggestion in the sermon that Joseph believed that the "grand council" part was in the text originally and had been removed.
Agreed.
Now this isn't to say that there is no similarity between Joseph's teaching on a heavenly council or a divine assembly. But I do think that caution is good when we try to read our own theology backward onto these texts in the Old Testament

Agreed, I mean, how do we deal with Resheph being part of Yahweh's retinue in Hababkkuk 3:5? Oi!

And I am not sure that Joseph's comments reflect anything at all like the revisionism that occurs in Deuteronomy 32.

That seems to be the crux of it all. I read Joseph saying: "When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.”

, as evidence that Joseph believed Genesis 1;1 was purposefully altered to reflect something more akin to how it is read in the KJV than an ancient Israelite polytheism.

The sermon at the grove seems to support this.

An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James' translators, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; Sheit, a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth;Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim, it renders it Gods. It read first, "In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods," or, as other have translated it, "The head of the Gods called the Gods together." I want to show a little learning as well as other fools.

The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me. In the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth. Now the learned priests and the people rage, and the heathen imagine a vain thing. If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, "Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits." -- "The head one of the Gods said, Let us make a man in our own image," I once asked a learned Jew, "If the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?" He replied, "That is the rule with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible." He acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believe them. Hear and judge for yourselves; and if you go away satisfied, well and good.

ps.

Are there any online resources that have the books Seixas from teaching Joseph from? Thanks:)

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There seems to be a misunderstanding here as to the nature of the OP. The OP is not taking the position that Joseph's Hebrew, and by extension the Hebrew in the Book of Abraham, came out of a vacuum and that what we are witnessing in the KFD is magic. It should go without saying that Joseph's Hebrew came from his studies with Seixas and that "Joseph Smith is providing us with an analysis of the Hebrew primarily using the books on Hebrew that he had".

Now, the assertion that this isn't revelation or restoration raises some interesting questions:

  • Is revelation independent of academic study?
  • How much of "study it out in your mind" requires actual study?

Correct me if I am wrong but Joseph's "Book of Moses" lacks explicit mention of "the Gods", while the Book of Abraham does not. The Book of Moses was translated before Joseph studied Hebrew, while the Book of Abraham was translated after Joseph studied with Seixas. I think it is possible that Joseph's study of Hebrew words, from Seixas's materials, probably opened his mind to the revelation that is the Book of Abraham's reworking of P, similar to Joseph's derivation of some symbolism from masonry for the endowment.

Now this isn't to say that there is no similarity between Joseph's teaching on a heavenly council or a divine assembly. But I do think that caution is good when we try to read our own theology backward onto these texts in the Old Testament.

Agreed, I mean, how do we deal with Resheph being part of Yahweh's retinue in Hababkkuk 3:5? Oi!

And I am not sure that Joseph's comments reflect anything at all like the revisionism that occurs in Deuteronomy 32.

That seems to be the only disagreement we have. I read Joseph saying: "When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” , as evidence that Joseph believed Genesis 1;1 was purposefully altered to reflect something more akin to how it is read in the KJV than an ancient Israelite polytheism.

The sermon at the grove seems to support this:

An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James' translators, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; Sheit, a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth;Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim, it renders it Gods. It read first, "In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods," or, as other have translated it, "The head of the Gods called the Gods together." I want to show a little learning as well as other fools

.

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Sermon in the Grove

The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me. In the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth. Now the learned priests and the people rage, and the heathen imagine a vain thing. If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, "Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits." -- "The head one of the Gods said, Let us make a man in our own image," I once asked a learned Jew, "If the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?" He replied, "That is the rule with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible." He acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believe them. Hear and judge for yourselves; and if you go away satisfied, well and good.

In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The wordEloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through -- Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take [that] view of the subject, its sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. All I want is to get the simple, naked truth, and the whole truth.

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Is there anyway to edit a post after it's been posted. The font and quotes on my response are messed up.

You will be able to do so when you hit 25 posts...four more, but I don't know if you will be able to go back and edit posts you made before you hit 25.
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Now, the assertion that this isn't revelation or restoration raises some interesting questions:

Is revelation independent of academic study?

How much of "study it out in your mind" requires actual study?

This brings up the interesting corollary. Why the need to see this part of the KFD as revelation or restoration (as opposed to speculative knowledge gained in some other way)? This is an interesting issue because, of course, it crops up all over the place in the 1835 time frame. Sometimes this sort of knowledge is incorporated back into scripture even (in places, intellectual knowledge - incorrect intellectual knowledge - is edited into Sections of the D&C in the 1835 edition, modifying sections from the Book of Commandments in 1833). Quite a bit earlier, we have adjustments to the KJV in the JST that are clearly out of place (i.e. not plausible as restorations or emendations to the text based on revelation - rather they are theological harmonizations), making it more difficult to understand the underlying textual narrative. In that sense I don't particularly see any need at all to recognize these statements as some sort of restoration or revelation.

>>Correct me if I am wrong but Joseph's "Book of Moses" lacks explicit mention of "the Gods", while the Book of Abraham does not. The Book of Moses was translated before Joseph studied Hebrew, while the Book of Abraham was translated after Joseph studied with Seixas.<<

There is a shift, yes. But, any chronology that tries to frame the writing of the Book of Abraham is debated. Consider the statement from the wikipedia article: "Joseph Smith ostensibly translated the majority of the Book of Abraham text in July and a few days in November 1835 and did some minor revisions in March 1842." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Abraham ). This isn't an endorsement of that dating (just so you know). Joseph Smith doesn't begin his study with Seixas until January 26, 1836. It was in November, 1835 that Oliver returned from New York with a collection of texts including a Hebrew Grammar (one of the editions published by Stuart - maybe the 1830 edition - the edition in this case is reasonably important since Stuart's earlier editions were significantly different from each other - but I have never tried to identify which version he may have used) and the Gibb's student lexicon (I believe it was the 1828 edition but it could have been the expanded 1832 - I seem to remember being more confident in the 1828 edition for some reason, but I am not going to dig through my notes - I have both, and I don't recall there being any difference in the places which I would be concerned about). He also brought with him a copy of Josephus (relevant for the references to Egypt). Joseph begins trying to learn Hebrew without an instructor in December of 1835, and bits from these books work their way into the EAG documents (in particular, we see evidence of Oliver Cowdery's EA document engaging the Gibb's lexicon when they are working through the Genesis material). Some of these issues would suggest the formal teaching of Seixas (as the KFD comments do), some of them do not.

So parts of the EA work definately post-dates the November 1835 time frame. And probably some of the BoA does as well. But, we don't see clear relationships to the Seixas grammars until we get the facsimiles, which not only contain Hebrew words, which in places (particularly in Facsimile 2) follow the visual style of Seixas transliterations as well as following the Sephardic spelling of the Hebrew words (consider, for example, Raukeeyang in the Book of Abraham - consistently transliterated as "rau-kee-ang" by Seixas). So while some of the Book of Abraham material postdates the Seixas studies, there is nothing close to a general consensus that all of the BoA material comes after the encounter with Seixas, including the references to "the Gods".

For a couple of links:

1834 Seixas Grammar: books.google.com/books?id=wkRAAQAAIAAJ

1832 Gibbs Hebrew Lexicon: books.google.com/books?id=OXxFAAAAcAAJ

I have a personal copy of the 1832 Seixas grammar, but I am not sure you can get a copy of that on the internet.

Ben M.

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  • 2 weeks later...
This brings up the interesting corollary. Why the need to see this part of the KFD as revelation or restoration (as opposed to speculative knowledge gained in some other way)?

I don't think there is a need. Like I said in the OP, there is no way of knowing whether this is a restoration or not. I said "Though we cannot test the idea that an original of Genesis 1:1 read...". Even if Joseph's view is purely speculative knowledge, devoid of a divine help, it doesn't invalidate the fact that the sort of thing he describes DID happen in other scripture. That's the only point I was trying to make.

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Respectfully, not being a life long Mormon, I am uneasy with the idea of pural God's. Isaiah 44:6, and Exodus 20:3, but then there is Gen 11:7. Who is "us"?

I don't actually have issue with multiple God's as long as there is one that is superior to the others. It is not surprising at all that there would be disagreement about the actual translation of the OT, or even the NT.

Depending on whose semantics one is using the first vision is proof of plurality of Gods. We have the head of the Gods, God the Father and we have another God, Jesus Christ.

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I agree, I think the word "god" or "gods" has a different connotation than some people tend to think, some scriptures LDS use to say that it is proof that we'll be "Gods" really means "god" in the lower "g" form which would be something similar to a king possibly. IMO, there is only one God in upper "G".

So Lucifer rebelled over a capitalization issue wanting the upper case title? ;)

Yes. I'm convinced that we humans, the sons of God, took part in the creation.

And I would like to apologize for creating Black Death. It was much funnier when I created it before the world was.

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