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New Book of Abraham Discovery


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30 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Shinehah has the word shine in it too so obviously it is related to sunshine.

The ancient pronunciation was "Shinola". 

Nah just shining you on.  ;)

While He shines on you!

Edited by mfbukowski
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An important sentence from the article:

So while the Egyptian word for the sun itself is not the same as in the Book of Abraham,17 one of the Egyptian words for the sun’s ecliptic (the path of the sun through the sky) as attested in Abraham’s day is.

Apparently close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and LDS apologetics.

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6 minutes ago, Steve Thompson said:

An important sentence from the article:

So while the Egyptian word for the sun itself is not the same as in the Book of Abraham,17 one of the Egyptian words for the sun’s ecliptic (the path of the sun through the sky) as attested in Abraham’s day is.

Apparently close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and LDS apologetics.

I am hoping it applies on Judgement Day too or I am doomed.

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1 hour ago, Steve Thompson said:

An important sentence from the article:

So while the Egyptian word for the sun itself is not the same as in the Book of Abraham,17 one of the Egyptian words for the sun’s ecliptic (the path of the sun through the sky) as attested in Abraham’s day is.

Apparently close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and LDS apologetics.

The whole Abrahamic cosmological system is oriented around the motion of celestial bodies and specifically their relation to timekeeping. 

Quote

5 And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or agreater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years.

6 And the Lord said unto me: Now, Abraham, these atwo facts exist, behold thine eyes see it; it is given unto thee to know the times of reckoning, and the set time, yea, the set time of the earth upon which thou standest, and the set time of the greater light which is set to rule the day, and the set time of the lesser light which is set to rule the night.

7 Now the set time of the lesser light is a longer time as to its reckoning than the reckoning of the time of the earth upon which thou standest.

8 And where these two facts exist, there shall be another fact above them, that is, there shall be another planet whose reckoning of time shall be longer still;

- Abraham 3:5-8

The ecliptic forms the basis of our understanding of the year. It's what we use to determine timeframes longer than a day. In the context of timekeeping, which is what Abrahamic cosmology is all about, the ecliptic is the sun. It should also be mentioned that, while our modern understanding causes us to view the Sun as a discrete object in space, to pre-heliocentric societies the Sun was inextricably connected with the path that it followed. I think Dahle's find is actually rather significant. 

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7 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Shinehah has the word shine in it too so obviously it is related to sunshine.

Yes, and the "printing house" was code-named "Laneshine-house" in the D&C.  And "Shinelah" was the code-word for "print."  And "Shinelane" meant "printing."  The Community of Christ (RLDS) still use those code names, but the LDS D&C uses the actual meanings now.  The code-names appeared first in the 1835 D&C, which came out in Sept 1835 in bound form for sale.  https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/doctrine-and-covenants-1835/4#historical-intro .

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8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Yes, and the "printing house" was code-named "Laneshine-house" in the D&C.  And "Shinelah" was the code-word for "print."  And "Shinelane" meant "printing."  The Community of Christ (RLDS) still use those code names, but the LDS D&C uses the actual meanings now.  The code-names appeared first in the 1835 D&C, which came out in Sept 1835 in bound form for sale.  https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/doctrine-and-covenants-1835/4#historical-intro .

Hmm so we see JS using it in 1835 as "printing house" and I believe also "Kirtland" Nothing to do with "sun" there.Then "later on as part of the phrase Olah[a] Shinehah, allegedly the name of the plains near Adam-Ondi-Ahman." Nor there. "The first time Shinehah is assigned an English meaning is Abr. 3:13, where it is said to refer to the sun." So what happened between early 1835 and 1842 when Abr 3:13 is produced?  Maybe we should be looking at Seixas lexicon instead of ancient Egyptian for a more likely explanation.

Chris Smith post on this.

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I am a little unclear about the importance of this article.  Is anyone now claiming that Joseph Smith could actually read or interpret Egyptian?

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1 hour ago, california boy said:

I am a little unclear about the importance of this article.  Is anyone now claiming that Joseph Smith could actually read or interpret Egyptian?

Yeah, what's the significance? Can someone give a summary of the "find" and why it matters?

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3 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Hmm so we see JS using it in 1835 as "printing house" and I believe also "Kirtland" Nothing to do with "sun" there.Then "later on as part of the phrase Olah[a] Shinehah, allegedly the name of the plains near Adam-Ondi-Ahman." Nor there. "The first time Shinehah is assigned an English meaning is Abr. 3:13, where it is said to refer to the sun." So what happened between early 1835 and 1842 when Abr 3:13 is produced?  Maybe we should be looking at Seixas lexicon instead of ancient Egyptian for a more likely explanation.

Chris Smith post on this.

Bill Hamblin immediately replied to Chris Smith with a timeline and asking the obvious question:  Why not consult the Hebrew lexicon he had just obtained?  Instead of inventing Shinehah, which is not Hebrew.  John Gee and others argue persuasively that the text of the BofA had already been produced before a bunch of words had been grabbed from a grab bag of terms to use as code-words.  The Seixas books are available online, by the way.  

Seixas, Joshua, Manual Hebrew Grammar for the Use of Beginners, 1st ed. (Andover: Flagg, Gould & Newman, 1833), online at https://ia800604.us.archive.org/30/items/manualhebrewgram01seix/manualhebrewgram01seix.pdf. 

Seixas, Joshua, Manual Hebrew Grammar for the Use of Beginners, 2nd rev. and enlarged ed. (Andover: Gould & Newman, 1834), online at  https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hn7lal;view=1up;seq=8  ; (reprint SLC: Sunstone Foundation, 1981).

Seixas, Joshua, Supplement to J. Seixas' Manual Hebrew grammar: For the Kirtland, Ohio, Theological Institution, ed. Oliver Cowdery. (New York: West & Trow, 1836), online at  https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/NCMP1820-1846/id/12412 .  BYU Library Special Collections 492.4 Se45s 1836 .  Published as supplement to manual for "Kirtland Theological Institution," there being only a few copies of his grammar in the country.; p. 28-32 is a reproduction for the first chapter of Genesis. Paged from rear p. 1-5; Flake, C.J. Mormon bib., 7619; Crawley, P. Mormon Church, 28; Preface signed by O. Cowdery.

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19 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

The whole Abrahamic cosmological system is oriented around the motion of celestial bodies and specifically their relation to timekeeping. 

The ecliptic forms the basis of our understanding of the year. It's what we use to determine timeframes longer than a day. In the context of timekeeping, which is what Abrahamic cosmology is all about, the ecliptic is the sun. It should also be mentioned that, while our modern understanding causes us to view the Sun as a discrete object in space, to pre-heliocentric societies the Sun was inextricably connected with the path that it followed. I think Dahle's find is actually rather significant. 

I've always thought, based on the Astronomy course I once took, was that the ecliptic was the path the earth followed around the sun, i.e., strictly Copernican, not the alleged path of the sun around the earth.  If there was a pre-Copernican meaning for ecliptic that fits the latter meaning, fine.  Otherwise, this is a significant error in the article.

Checking from an earth-centric point of view, the daily 'path' of the sun across the sky does define the ecliptic plain relative to the earth, so you could say this path is the ecliptic, describing the intersection of the ecliptic plain with the celestial sphere.

Edited by blarsen
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27 minutes ago, blarsen said:

I've always thought, based on the Astronomy course I once took, was that the ecliptic was the path the earth followed around the sun, i.e., strictly Copernican, not the alleged path of the sun around the earth.  If there was a pre-Copernican meaning for ecliptic that fits the latter meaning, fine.  Otherwise, this is a significant error in the article.

The conversation on the ecliptic's relevance for timekeeping is my addition, not Pearl of Great Price Central's. I am the only one to be blamed if it is indeed an error. 

However, I believe that a pre-Copernican outlook is more appropriate for interpreting Pearl of Great Price cosmology. The Egyptians, from what Egyptology tells us, viewed Ra's barque as moving through the sky, as opposed to the Earth moving around it. 

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14 hours ago, california boy said:

I am a little unclear about the importance of this article.  Is anyone now claiming that Joseph Smith could actually read or interpret Egyptian?

Depends on what sort of mojo is attributed to Joseph.  He certainly had no scholarly translation skills, and no one has claimed that.  So, if he obtains correct translations of anything, the question is where did that come from?  A faithful Mormon might claim that he got it via the Holy Ghost.  Another might claim that he got it just by chance.  Still another might say that Joseph was a magician, as has been done with Jesus:

Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician (HarperCollins, 1981).

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On 10/31/2019 at 11:09 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

Seixas, Joshua, Manual Hebrew Grammar for the Use of Beginners, 1st ed. (Andover: Flagg, Gould & Newman, 1833), online at https://ia800604.us.archive.org/30/items/manualhebrewgram01seix/manualhebrewgram01seix.pdf. 

Seixas, Joshua, Manual Hebrew Grammar for the Use of Beginners, 2nd rev. and enlarged ed. (Andover: Gould & Newman, 1834), online at  https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hn7lal;view=1up;seq=8  ; (reprint SLC: Sunstone Foundation, 1981).

Seixas, Joshua, Supplement to J. Seixas' Manual Hebrew grammar: For the Kirtland, Ohio, Theological Institution, ed. Oliver Cowdery. (New York: West & Trow, 1836), online at  https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/NCMP1820-1846/id/12412 .  BYU Library Special Collections 492.4 Se45s 1836 .  Published as supplement to manual for "Kirtland Theological Institution," there being only a few copies of his grammar in the country.; p. 28-32 is a reproduction for the first chapter of Genesis. Paged from rear p. 1-5; Flake, C.J. Mormon bib., 7619; Crawley, P. Mormon Church, 28; Preface signed by O. Cowdery.

I believe the 1833 edition is the one brought back by Cowdery from New York. Were the other two you listed also used and or owned by Joseph? And we should not forget the Stuart and Gibbs Hebrew Grammar/Lexicons. They were also in use at the time by Joseph and others..

On 10/31/2019 at 11:09 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

The Seixas books are available online, by the way.  

The Seixas books are also available as "Modern Reproductions" for a very cheap price at Amazon and elsewhere. I picked up a modern repo version of the 1st Seixas book your list the other day. And I have originals of the Stuart Lexicon (from 1838)  and Gibb's Lexicon (from 1832) though I have both of them loaned out to a person doing research on them.

In the thread I linked, Bill responded to Chris Smith by asking:

Quote

Of course, we already noted in earlier posts the possible relationship between shinehah and Hebrew.

Two questions: 1- Are the code names in the original manuscripts, or only in the 1835 printed version? 2- What month was the 1835 edition printed?

Using the basic principle of subjecting the theories of the critics to just as much skeptical scrutiny as they subject the theories of believers, we should note the following.

1- JS began his translation of the papyri in July 1835. (HC 2:238)

2- He received a Hebrew Bible and lexicon on 20 Nov 1835. (HC 2:318)

3- Rabbi Sexias arrived to teach Hebrew on 26 Jan 1836. (HC 2:385)

Now, if JS decided to put Hebrew words into the BOA to provide verisimilitude, he had a Hebrew Bible, lexicon and ultimately a Rabbi to help him.

So, why in the world would he make up a "nonsense word" Shinehah and stick it in the BOA? It would be extraordinarily easy for him to learn that the standard Hebrew word for sun was

To be corrected....

Chris immediately replied:

Quote

The code names are not in the original manuscripts. They were added sometime in the months leading up to the August printing of the 1835 D&C. (The purpose of the code-names was to disguise the United Order revelations as ancient revelations to Enoch. This was done to mislead creditors who might try to go after the persons named in the revelations. When Orson Pratt explained all this in 1852, he referred to them as "fictitious names".) Seixas began teaching Hebrew in January, 1836. He seems to have permanently departed Kirtland at the end of March of the same year. Chapter 3 of the Book of Abraham was not translated until 1842. To clarify what I am saying, here is what I see as the progression here:

1) In 1835, when Joseph inserts the term as a code word for "Kirtland" in Sections 82 and 104, it is basically a made-up word that is designed to sound like an authentic Adamic term.

2) In 1838 Joseph identifies the plains of Shinehah Olah[a], thereby identifying the fictitious toponym with a real Adamic/Enochian locale.

3) In his study of Hebrew, Joseph has come across a Hebrew word that seems to answer to Shinehah. He includes the word and its (approximate) Hebrew meaning in the astronomical portion of the BoA in 1842.

In light of the above, I hope you'll see why your following question does not accurately understand what I am suggesting:

Bill responds:

Quote

Using the basic principle of subjecting the theories of the critics to just as much skeptical scrutiny as they subject the theories of believers, we should note the following.

1- JS began his translation of the papyri in July 1835. (HC 2:238)

2- He received a Hebrew Bible and lexicon on 20 Nov 1835. (HC 2:318)

3- Rabbi Sexias arrived to teach Hebrew on 26 Jan 1836. (HC 2:385)

Now, if JS decided to put Hebrew words into the BOA to provide verisimilitude, he had a Hebrew Bible, lexicon and ultimately a Rabbi to help him.

So, why in the world would he make up a "nonsense word" Shinehah and stick it in the BOA? It would be extraordinarily easy for him to learn that the standard Hebrew word for sun was

Then Chris:

Quote

As I noted above, the GAEL refers repeatedly to celestial bodies (including the sun) "in their annual revolutions". I don't think it's that much of a stretch to suggest that, rather than using the more standard Hebrew word, JS took this opportunity to invest one of his made-up "Adamic" words with a legitimate meaning. We should also remember that while JS thought of Adamic, Egyptian, and Hebrew as closely related languages, he was not technically translating the BoA from Hebrew. It was supposedly a hieroglyphic text. He therefore had some room for liberty in inserting words and assigning meanings. One of the things that I think is clear from my study of JS's revelations is that there are varying degrees of logic to their various aspects. He was combining reasoned study of language, Bible, and history with sheer intuition and imagination. I think "creative syncretism" would be the best term for the project he was engaged in. The situation with Shinehah accords well with that pattern. I don't doubt that you'll disagree, but, well, that's your prerogative

For anyone not invested in a supernatural explanation of how Joseph produced the text, Chris Smith's explanation of the evolution of Shinehah is clearly more parsimonious. In my view, reasonable contemporary explanations for how Joseph produced texts should be heavily favored over those that required divine assistance especially when asserting that scholarship is being used.

On 10/31/2019 at 11:09 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

John Gee and others argue persuasively that the text of the BofA had already been produced before a bunch of words had been grabbed from a grab bag of terms to use as code-words. 

I am sure Dr Gee is quite competent in his field but when it comes to textual and historical questions, I believe Dr Gee's timeline theories have been more that adequately responded to by those more qualified in the appropriate fields like Jensen, Hauglid, Vogel, Smith,  and others. The later part of the Book of Abraham was definitely produced in Nauvoo. When Matt Grey publishes his work on the Hebrew lexicon(s) influence in the Book of Abraham, I think that will be additional evidence of a Nauvoo timeline. Unfortunately  we will have to wait a few months for that.

 

On edit.To fix quotes.

 

Edited by CA Steve
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4 hours ago, CA Steve said:

I believe the 1833 edition is the one brought back by Cowdery from New York. Were the other two you listed also used and or owned by Joseph? And we should not forget the Stuart and Gibbs Hebrew Grammar/Lexicons. They were also in use at the time by Joseph and others..

I believe that a Hebrew grammar by Hyman Hurwitz (1835, 1837), was also used in Kirtland and Nauvoo.

4 hours ago, CA Steve said:

..............................

For anyone not invested in a supernatural explanation of how Joseph produced the text, Chris Smith's explanation of the evolution of Shinehah is clearly more parsimonious. In my view, reasonable contemporary explanations for how Joseph produced texts should be heavily favored over those that required divine assistance especially when asserting that scholarship is being used.

I am sure Dr Gee is quite competent in his field but when it comes to textual and historical questions, I believe Dr Gee's timeline theories have been more that adequately responded to by those more qualified in the appropriate fields like Jensen, Hauglid, Vogel, Smith,  and others. The later part of the Book of Abraham was definitely produced in Nauvoo. When Matt Grey publishes his work on the Hebrew lexicon(s) influence in the Book of Abraham, I think that will be additional evidence of a Nauvoo timeline. Unfortunately  we will have to wait a few months for that..............................

A lot of apriori question-begging has gone on in both POVs.  The problem is that LDS theology is not supernatural (although that is a view held by those who don't know the theology), and the timeline of publication does not negate the Gee claim.  In fact it allows it credence, but it doesn't prove it one way or the other.  Moreover, the Egyptian etymologies offered for Shinehah are very well-based and reasonable.  Which means that we will have to find a less tendentious way to sort this matter out.  There has not been much new light thrown on this matter since the Chris Smith and Bill Hamblin discussion.  Let's hope that Matt Grey can break the logjam.

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6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The problem is that LDS theology is not supernatural (although that is a view held by those who don't know the theology), and the timeline of publication does not negate the Gee claim.

So much here that is ambiguous and perhaps much of that is my fault. By supernatural I meant claims of  God's involvement in the production of the text, feel free to use what ever term you want to describe that. Such a claim should, in my view, be given less weight than ones that provide a secular (for lack of a better term) explanation without the need to invoke divine assistance.

Also perhaps we need to define more clearly which claim of Gee we are talking about. My focus was on the 1842 Nauvoo timeline in relation to the GAEL As far as I know the timeline question is critical to why/how the GAEL was produced. If I understand Dr. Gee correctly, it is important for  the entire current text of the Book of Abraham (and more) to be finished before the GAEL so the GAEL can be explained as a reverse translation project. Is that not so?

Edited by CA Steve
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5 hours ago, CA Steve said:

So much here that is ambiguous and perhaps much of that is my fault. By supernatural I meant claims of  God's involvement in the production of the text, feel free to use what ever term you want to describe that. Such a claim should, in my view, be given less weight than ones that provide a secular (for lack of a better term) explanation without the need to invoke divine assistance.

It is crucial to distinguish between means and ends.  Science is results-oriented.  Any anti-religious or anti-supernatural bias must not be allowed to color our thinking.  Why?  Because that is apriori thinking, which by its nature is fallacious.  Moreover, supernatural thinking is irrational and based on abrogation of natural law -- which is not helpful in any rational, science-based analysis.  Normative Judeo-Charistian-Muslim theology revels in supernatural thought.  LDS theology claims that everything is based on natural law.  The two orientations could not be more different.

5 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Also perhaps we need to define more clearly which claim of Gee we are talking about. My focus was on the 1842 Nauvoo timeline in relation to the GAEL As far as I know the timeline question is critical to why/how the GAEL was produced. If I understand Dr. Gee correctly, it is important for  the entire current text of the Book of Abraham (and more) to be finished before the GAEL so the GAEL can be explained as a reverse translation project. Is that not so?

Yeh.  Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?  Are we going to decide that based on evidence, or through apriorism?  Let's hope that Matt Grey does a good job in laying it out for us.

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:
Quote

Also perhaps we need to define more clearly which claim of Gee we are talking about. My focus was on the 1842 Nauvoo timeline in relation to the GAEL As far as I know the timeline question is critical to why/how the GAEL was produced. If I understand Dr. Gee correctly, it is important for  the entire current text of the Book of Abraham (and more) to be finished before the GAEL so the GAEL can be explained as a reverse translation project. Is that not so?

Yeh.  Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?  Are we going to decide that based on evidence, or through apriorism?  Let's hope that Matt Grey does a good job in laying it out for us.

There is no chicken or egg problem here since the GAEL is not directly related to the Book of Abraham. The Gael deals with characters from the Amenhotep and Ta-sherit-Min papyri and then the columns next to Fac. 1 on the Hor Book of Breathings. Whereas the Book of Abraham characters come from JSP XI, not JSP I. The whole reverse translation theory needs to be thrown out. 

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