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Hi guys :)

I used to be pretty heavily involved in my own brand of armchair apologetics, and now I’m back - after a long hiatus :)

I’ve been trying to piece together an outline for a new Book of Abraham theory. Mostly it’s a bunch of loose notes I need to organize. I think my theory covers most of the central as well as peripheral issues. I will reveal more as I get time to organize. 

For now, if you guys could present your most seemingly intractable Book of Abraham problems for me to hold against my theory, it would help me a lot. 

Here’s a link to my blog. This is the one post I’ve released so far.
 

 

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At the bottom of your first blog entry, you have an illustration from the original of Fac 1.

hmm.jpg

It looks something like a flail held over the right shoulder, which is what Osiris or a king would often do (but with a crook over the left shoulder).  Min-Amun held it up much higher (raised arm), as in Fac. 2:7.  As to the image of Anubis, that would really be the image of an Anubis-priest, perhaps without his mask -- which would be very unusual.  Whatever the case, the illustration (Fac 1) should be interpreted in accordance with standard Egyptology, and let the chips fall where they may.
My approach is that a standard Egyptian illustration was used by a Jewish scribe passing on the BofA text, perhaps as an aide memoire.  It was merely typical of any Book of Breathings illustration, and not drawn especially for the BofA.  The original illus used by Abe (a Mesopotamian drawing) had long since been lost, as we can tell from the content of the text in Abr 1:12-14.
In your above collection of Lion Couch illustrations, you even include one which was adapted by Aramaean residents in Egypt, and has Aramaic writing on it (same as Hebrew).  I have a larger version in which the Aramaic is visible.

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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

At the bottom of your first blog entry, you have an illustration from the original of Fac 1.

hmm.jpg

It looks something like a flail held over the right shoulder, which is what Osiris or a king would often do (but with a crook over the left shoulder).  Min-Amun held it up much higher (raised arm), as in Fac. 2:7.  As to the image of Anubis, that would really be the image of an Anubis-priest, perhaps without his mask -- which would be very unusual.  Whatever the case, the illustration (Fac 1) should be interpreted in accordance with standard Egyptology, and let the chips fall where they may.
My approach is that a standard Egyptian illustration was used by a Jewish scribe passing on the BofA text, perhaps as an aide memoire.  It was merely typical of any Book of Breathings illustration, and not drawn especially for the BofA.  The original illus used by Abe (a Mesopotamian drawing) had long since been lost, as we can tell from the content of the text in Abr 1:12-14.
In your above collection of Lion Couch illustrations, you even include one which was adapted by Aramaean residents in Egypt, and has Aramaic writing on it (same as Hebrew).  I have a larger version in which the Aramaic is visible.

Hey, thank you for your thought-provoking reply. I hadn’t considered the flail idea, that’s very interesting.

 As far as the vignette being typical, what do you think of my main point in that post? Do you know of a lion-couch scene which shows an Anubis that would fit? It seems to me that this would have to be an “atypical” lion-couch Anubis, and then we would have to ask - what are the odds that Joseph Smith would get the one lion-couch scene where that particular lacuna would leave no remaining snout? 

Moreover, I think we would have to assume that any potential non-extant snout would need to have been even higher than the lacuna line, since it would be very strange for the lacuna to just happen to surgically remove the snout (unless any visible snout was intentionally torn out by Joseph or his contemporaries). 

As you probably already know, Fairmormon has documented a number of unique features of this vignette. What are your thoughts on that? For example, the hands above the head (even if only one hand was above the head, the fact that it is angled upward makes it one-of-a-kind, and if you grant both hands raised, then it is very unique). 

Also consider the crocodile - this is the only lion-couch scene to have a crocodile underneath. 

The figure on the couch being clothed, and the standing figure being positioned between the reclined figure and couch, are at least very rare. The arm of the standing figure also seems to extend far enough that the hand would intersect any alleged phallus. 

I don’t see a need to label this scene as ordinary. Am I missing something? 

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2 hours ago, Latter Day Data said:

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

 As far as the vignette being typical, what do you think of my main point in that post? Do you know of a lion-couch scene which shows an Anubis that would fit? It seems to me that this would have to be an “atypical” lion-couch Anubis, and then we would have to ask - what are the odds that Joseph Smith would get the one lion-couch scene where that particular lacuna would leave no remaining snout? 

Moreover, I think we would have to assume that any potential non-extant snout would need to have been even higher than the lacuna line, since it would be very strange for the lacuna to just happen to surgically remove the snout (unless any visible snout was intentionally torn out by Joseph or his contemporaries). 

I don't see any jackal-snout problem, since such snouts vary in length, and the original of Fac 1 likely came to Kirtland already damaged.  There seems to me to be plenty of room for a snout to have been there at one time.  In any case, the reconstructions are not nearly as important as the interpretations.

2 hours ago, Latter Day Data said:

As you probably already know, Fairmormon has documented a number of unique features of this vignette. What are your thoughts on that? For example, the hands above the head (even if only one hand was above the head, the fact that it is angled upward makes it one-of-a-kind, and if you grant both hands raised, then it is very unique). 

Also consider the crocodile - this is the only lion-couch scene to have a crocodile underneath.

What is actually important in each case is that the Joseph Smith explanation is accurate.  We must take such illustrations as we have them.

2 hours ago, Latter Day Data said:

The figure on the couch being clothed, and the standing figure being positioned between the reclined figure and couch, are at least very rare. The arm of the standing figure also seems to extend far enough that the hand would intersect any alleged phallus. 

I don’t see a need to label this scene as ordinary. Am I missing something? 

You may be making too much of this particular illustration as unique.  Most such illustrations have not survived at all, and those few that have are not a scientific sampling of them anyhow.  Since there is plenty of variation in such illustrations, it would seem odd to too readily find something unique.  What we have may have been well within the normal range of variation in such illustrations.  Unless we have very good reason for thinking otherwise.  For example, an Egyptologist at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada reported "a coffin from Roman times with unusual iconography in a standard scene: there is an image across the chest of the coffin of a mummy lying on a bier with the canopic jars underneath, as usual.  The bed, however, has the head of Horus, crowned with the double-crown rather than the usual lion or the sometimes-seen Roman period 'human' head.  The 'ba' which hovers over the mummy is in the form of a winged cobra." (report to EEF,  Feb 3, 2014)  Nibley even has a scene in which Anubis has a big fish on the lion couch (Message of the JSP, 2nd ed., 140, fig 34).

Moreover, as John Gee observes, some such illustrations (like Fac 1) were used for a New Kingdom festival in Khoiak, the 4th month of the Inundation season,* which features the Mysteries of Osiris (his interment & resurrection).**  As you probably know, the person on the bier in Fac 1 is the Osiris-Hor, i.e., Hor is being resurrected just like Osiris, the dying-and-rising-god -- the equivalent of Jesus in ancient Egyptian religion.

* Gee, Introduction to the Book of Abraham, 150, citing Mark Smith, Traversing Eternity

** F. Coppens, “Temple Festivals of the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods,” version 1, January 2009, UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, online at http://escholarship.org/uc/item/4cd7q9mn , 5-7, and figures 9-10. 

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8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I don't see any jackal-snout problem, since such snouts vary in length

Thanks for responding again. 

Remember, I asked you in regards to the point I made in my post. So, how does the fact that Anubis snouts in lion-couch scenes vary in length diminish my point that such snouts always extend to at least the middle of the shoulder (in every available example we have that I can find)? You seem to be presenting that as though it nullifies my point, when I would argue it strengthens my point: if scribes had some liberty in how long they could make the snout, yet they consistently kept it at least a certain length, then there doesn’t seem to be any basis for casually asserting that the snout could have been however short we need it to be. 

8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

and the original of Fac 1 likely came to Kirtland already damaged

Yes, but as I tried to argue, this bolsters my point further. We wouldn’t expect the lacuna to perfectly snip out the snout with cosmetic precision. Therefore, any snout which supposedly existed on the figure would have had to be even higher than the lacuna line. 

8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

We must take such illustrations as we have them.

Yes, but what we have then is not necessarily Anubis. So, when people say, “that’s just Anubis,” the burden is on them.

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2 hours ago, Latter Day Data said:

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

Remember, I asked you in regards to the point I made in my post. So, how does the fact that Anubis snouts in lion-couch scenes vary in length diminish my point that such snouts always extend to at least the middle of the shoulder (in every available example we have that I can find)? You seem to be presenting that as though it nullifies my point, when I would argue it strengthens my point: if scribes had some liberty in how long they could make the snout, yet they consistently kept it at least a certain length, then there doesn’t seem to be any basis for casually asserting that the snout could have been however short we need it to be. 

Yes, but as I tried to argue, this bolsters my point further. We wouldn’t expect the lacuna to perfectly snip out the snout with cosmetic precision. Therefore, any snout which supposedly existed on the figure would have had to be even higher than the lacuna line. .....................

I just don't see the problem as you define it.  To my mind, there is plenty of room for a snout (if there was one), even a long one.  The already extant lacuna line does not interfere with the snout.  There is no reason to believe that someone in Kirtland snipped something off.  If you want to demonstrate the contrary, (1) have a papyrologist examine the ends of the papyrus at the lacuna line, and (2) present a formal set of such illustrations with Anubis always having his snout low and not possibly above the lacuna line in Fac 1.  The burden is on you to prove that in a forensic manner, and to cite others who have made such an examination already.

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35 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I just don't see the problem as you define it.  To my mind, there is plenty of room for a snout (if there was one), even a long one.  The already extant lacuna line does not interfere with the snout.  There is no reason to believe that someone in Kirtland snipped something off.  If you want to demonstrate the contrary, (1) have a papyrologist examine the ends of the papyrus at the lacuna line, and (2) present a formal set of such illustrations with Anubis always having his snout low and not possibly above the lacuna line in Fac 1.  The burden is on you to prove that in a forensic manner, and to cite others who have made such an examination already.

When you say “already extant lacuna line,” which line are you referring to? If you didn’t have time to carefully read my post, you may want to go back to see the argument I’m making.

I’m not arguing that someone in Kirtland snipped anything off. That’s not a premise of my argument. 

The burden is not on me, because I’m simply saying that we have no obligation to assume the figure is Anubis. Those who assert that we have such an obligation carry the full burden. 

 

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1 hour ago, Latter Day Data said:

When you say “already extant lacuna line,” which line are you referring to? If you didn’t have time to carefully read my post, you may want to go back to see the argument I’m making.

I’m not arguing that someone in Kirtland snipped anything off.

You need to recall that you said that the "snout would need to have been even higher than the lacuna line, since it would be very strange for the lacuna to just happen to surgically remove the snout (unless any visible snout was intentionally torn out by Joseph or his contemporaries)."  Which line are we referring to?  What might have been torn out?

You also said:   "the lacuna (that big torn area of the papyrus) in the vignette for facsimile 1 seems to snip out where the snout of Anubis is alleged to have been drawn."

Quote

That’s not a premise of my argument. 

The burden is not on me, because I’m simply saying that we have no obligation to assume the figure is Anubis. Those who assert that we have such an obligation carry the full burden. 

In scholarship, when an assertion is made, it is requisite to cite formal sources, and to provided a demonstration.  You have made claims about the original of Fac 1 which don't make any sense to me, but maybe I am an idiot and simply don't understand that a jackal snout could not have been present in the lacuna area (according to you).  Maybe I am blind, deaf and dumb not to see things the way you do, but you haven't actually bothered to demonstrate graphically how your theory applies.  Why are you putting the burden on others?

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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24 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You need to recall that you said that the "snout would need to have been even higher than the lacuna line, since it would be very strange for the lacuna to just happen to surgically remove the snout (unless any visible snout was intentionally torn out by Joseph or his contemporaries)."  Which line are we referring to?  What might have been torn out?

You also said:   "the lacuna (that big torn area of the papyrus) in the vignette for facsimile 1 seems to snip out where the snout of Anubis is alleged to have been drawn."

In scholarship, when an assertion is made, it is requisite to cite formal sources, and to provided a demonstration.  You have made claims about the original of Fac 1 which don't make any sense to me, but maybe I am an idiot and simply don't understand that a jackal snout could not have been present in the lacuna area (according to you).  Maybe I am blind, deaf and dumb not to see things the way you do, but you haven't actually bothered to demonstrate graphically how your theory applies.  Why are you putting the burden on others?

 

Robert, 

Let’s just slow down and break things down. 

You ask, “why are you putting the burden on others?”

It’s their assertion, so the burden naturally falls on them. People who claim that the figure is Anubis can’t just demand that others treat that as an objective fact. It’s their burden to demonstrate it. 

Why would the burden be on me, when all I’m doing is challenging them to find a lion-couch Anubis that would fit? That seems like the bare minimum they should do if they want to call the figure Anubis. Anyone can look at it for themselves, just resize a lion-couch Anubis image so the dimensions of the body are the same, and see if the snout would be visible if we were to substitute that Anubis in place of the Joseph Smith one.

My point with the lacuna line snipping out the snout is that (assuming no one intentionally removed the snout) even if someone finds a lion-couch Anubis whose snout would barely fit completely outside the extant papyrus - for instance, it runs exactly along the lacuna, that still would not fully count, unless we provide for the big coincidence that there was originally a snout but the random lacuna surgically took out the snout. 

 

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4 hours ago, Latter Day Data said:

...............................You ask, “why are you putting the burden on others?”

It’s their assertion, so the burden naturally falls on them. People who claim that the figure is Anubis can’t just demand that others treat that as an objective fact. It’s their burden to demonstrate it. 

Why would the burden be on me, when all I’m doing is challenging them to find a lion-couch Anubis that would fit? That seems like the bare minimum they should do if they want to call the figure Anubis. Anyone can look at it for themselves, just resize a lion-couch Anubis image so the dimensions of the body are the same, and see if the snout would be visible if we were to substitute that Anubis in place of the Joseph Smith one.

My point with the lacuna line snipping out the snout is that (assuming no one intentionally removed the snout) even if someone finds a lion-couch Anubis whose snout would barely fit completely outside the extant papyrus - for instance, it runs exactly along the lacuna, that still would not fully count, unless we provide for the big coincidence that there was originally a snout but the random lacuna surgically took out the snout. ........

Once again, Ryan.  It is always inappropriate to make assertions without providing support for them (you can demonstrate it graphically, which you refuse to do, or you can cite others who have done so, which you have also failed to do).  After all, you initiated this discussion and made a number of assertions.  I am merely responding to your assertions, which I regard as baseless.  However, demonstrate that I am wrong and I'll go along with what you have claimed.

As you may recall, when someone challenges your claims on this board, they can ask for a CFR, and you are required to deliver, or confess that you cannot.  Please CFR, Ryan.

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46 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Once again, Ryan.  It is always inappropriate to make assertions without providing support for them (you can demonstrate it graphically, which you refuse to do, or you can cite others who have done so, which you have also failed to do).  After all, you initiated this discussion and made a number of assertions.  I am merely responding to your assertions, which I regard as baseless.  However, demonstrate that I am wrong and I'll go along with what you have claimed.

As you may recall, when someone challenges your claims on this board, they can ask for a CFR, and you are required to deliver, or confess that you cannot.  Please CFR, Ryan.

I don’t even know wha cfr stands for. But in my blog post, I provided every Anubis lion couch scene I can find. 

Are you trying to say that you think one of the Anubis figures in the images I provided  would fit without any of the snout showing on the extant papyri? 

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CFR is the board's shorthand for "calling for references", meaning documentation.  Since the board has an academic and also debate tilt to it, it is a rule you have to support your claim or withdraw it.  Some people use it to find ways to study a claim more because they are curious, others to challenge claims.

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8 hours ago, Latter Day Data said:

I don’t even know wha cfr stands for. But in my blog post, I provided every Anubis lion couch scene I can find. 

Are you trying to say that you think one of the Anubis figures in the images I provided  would fit without any of the snout showing on the extant papyri? 

I used the word "graphically," Ryan, which is a hint that actually providing a geometric illustration of your assumptions might be helpful.  That might entail a geometric overlay on a photo of the original of Fac 1, showing why your claim is sound, i.e., that no snout could possibly fit.  Empty assertion is simply not the same as a graphic demonstration.  Measurements and lines might be very helpful.  We have had claims about the BofA supported by such geometric illustrations and comparisons in the past on this board.  Perhaps you could find one which supports your claim.

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