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Saints Unscripted on the Book of Abraham


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4 hours ago, webbles said:

I watched the link.  The JSPP doesn't connect those glyphs the same way.  It just says those glyphs are not on the papyrus.  I'm going to have to find that other "Book of Breathing for Horos" and see what the missing glyphs are and if they look similar to what is in the manuscripts.

I would trust what experts who have looked at many variations on how they were drawn rather than my own guesses, people educated in the language.  It is I expect like trying to read old scripts.  That is a skill that takes time and effort to develop.

Edited by Calm
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10 hours ago, Calm said:

So what are the implications of this?  This is where I don’t do well because I look at stuff one at a time (most BoA articles that I remember deal with one issue and do not do big picture very well)  and find it difficult to pull everything together. I don’t want to overstate implications, but I don’t want to understate them either. 

 

9 hours ago, Calm said:

Just to be clear, one would naturally assume if the text of the BoA came from the glyphs, the glyphs would proceed one after the other or at least the text would follow the same order as the placement of the glyphs on the scroll.  But some later glyphs in the KEP are placed  scrollwise before some of the earlier KEP glyphs. One does not write a translation of glyphs by randomly selecting whatever glyph appeals on a section of a scroll, but proceeds across the page or down/up I suppose if one believe the glyphs were written in that direction.

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

 If Joseph assumed a direct correspondence between glyph and text, then why the randomness for later glyphs?

If Joseph and his scribes had been trained, systematic scholars, one would expect them not to make those mistakes.  Had he been so sloppy in his assumptions and procedures, Champollion could never have deciphered the Rosetta Stone.

Joseph and his scribes lived in a world in which they were well aware that all Presbyterian ministers (for example) actually went to seminary, learning Hebrew, Greek, and theology, before they could be licensed to preach.  Sidney Rigdon could have made that clear to them in short order.  That must be one of the reasons why Oliver Cowdery acquired a variety of Hebrew grammars (not simply that by J. Seixas), and why the School of the Prophets was founded at Kirtland.

Joseph and his scribes were certainly confused, but the mistakes they made don't make sense unless they were based on an already extant translation of the BofA (we do not have that translation MS) already in 1835.  That MS may have been added to or enhanced with Seixas-style Hebrew words later, and the explanations for the vignettes added in 1842, but those are merely ancillary to the original MS.  Conclusion:  Joseph and his scribes were trying to create a grammar and alphabet of Egyptian.  That they failed is beside the point.

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6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

 

If Joseph and his scribes had been trained, systematic scholars, one would expect them not to make those mistakes.  Had he been so sloppy in his assumptions and procedures, Champollion could never have deciphered the Rosetta Stone.

Joseph and his scribes lived in a world in which they were well aware that all Presbyterian ministers (for example) actually went to seminary, learning Hebrew, Greek, and theology, before they could be licensed to preach.  Sidney Rigdon could have made that clear to them in short order.  That must be one of the reasons why Oliver Cowdery acquired a variety of Hebrew grammars (not simply that by J. Seixas), and why the School of the Prophets was founded at Kirtland.

Joseph and his scribes were certainly confused, but the mistakes they made don't make sense unless they were based on an already extant translation of the BofA (we do not have that translation MS) already in 1835.  That MS may have been added to or enhanced with Seixas-style Hebrew words later, and the explanations for the vignettes added in 1842, but those are merely ancillary to the original MS.  Conclusion:  Joseph and his scribes were trying to create a grammar and alphabet of Egyptian.  That they failed is beside the point.

So are you arguing that the entire english Book of Abraham text was translated in 1835?

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1 hour ago, Rivers said:

So are you arguing that the entire english Book of Abraham text was translated in 1835?

Yes, but as I say, the Sephardic style Hebrew words added later, along with the explanations for the facsimiles.  We have no translation manuscript from early or late.  The thing has disappeared.  And we know that the Times & Seasons had to have had a manuscript to work from.  That's how printing works.

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Posted (edited)

I just looked on the JSPP website. There are three BOA manuscripts from 1835 and two from 1842.  

Edited by Rivers
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1 hour ago, Rivers said:

I just looked on the JSPP website. There are three BOA manuscripts from 1835 and two from 1842.  

Yes,  those are short items copied from the original manuscript and glyphs placed in the left margin.  That's what we have been discussing in this thread.  However, it is a fact that we have no original manuscript from which the BofA was printed in the 1842 Times & Seasons.  I keep emphasizing that there must be a complete MS, else the printing could not have taken place.  No one knows what happened to that MS.

That fact leaves us with the 1842 printing as the earliest complete source, and the primary basis for a critical text.

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18 hours ago, webbles said:

I watched the link.  The JSPP doesn't connect those glyphs the same way.  It just says those glyphs are not on the papyrus.  I'm going to have to find that other "Book of Breathing for Horos" and see what the missing glyphs are and if they look similar to what is in the manuscripts.

The only help the other versions of the Sensen text provide is the nature of the glyphs in the original Hor Sensen text before it was damaged.  As Gee's presentation shows graphically, and in order, it is the sequence of the glyphs on the Hor Sensen, and their jumbled sequence in the BofA manuscripts which is of concern (and which Hauglid should have noted).  That was the point Gee made, and it is easily followed in the photos of the BofA manuscripts with glyphs in the left column.  It doesn't matter whether you follow Hauglid's original publication with photos, or the JSP Project photos.  The result is the same:  Slapdash and slipshod.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Yes,  those are short items copied from the original manuscript and glyphs placed in the left margin.  That's what we have been discussing in this thread.  However, it is a fact that we have no original manuscript from which the BofA was printed in the 1842 Times & Seasons.  I keep emphasizing that there must be a complete MS, else the printing could not have taken place.  No one knows what happened to that MS.

That fact leaves us with the 1842 printing as the earliest complete source, and the primary basis for a critical text.

Got it.  Thanks!

 

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The only help the other versions of the Sensen text provide is the nature of the glyphs in the original Hor Sensen text before it was damaged.  As Gee's presentation shows graphically, and in order, it is the sequence of the glyphs on the Hor Sensen, and their jumbled sequence in the BofA manuscripts which is of concern (and which Hauglid should have noted).  That was the point Gee made, and it is easily followed in the photos of the BofA manuscripts with glyphs in the left column.  It doesn't matter whether you follow Hauglid's original publication with photos, or the JSP Project photos.  The result is the same:  Slapdash and slipshod.

I rewatched the video and compared his characters to what the JSPP says.  And I think Gee is wrong about it being a jumbled sequence.  There are 27 characters that the video talks about.  In the JSPP, the first three are numbered 5.27, 5.28, and 3.11, and the rest are numbered 2 through 25.

As the video mentions, the first 12 characters (5.27, 5.28, 3.11, and 2 through 10) are in order.  But he points out that 5 of those are not on the papyrus.  They are instead lost in the gap in the papyrus.  This shows that Joseph might have seen more characters on the papyrus than we currently have.

After that, Gee is saying that the next 4 (11 through 14) are taken from random places in the papyrus.  But they could also have been taken from the gap in the papyrus.  There is enough space in there to fit those missing 4.

Gee then says that the next 6 (15 through 20) are taken in order from the papyrus.

The last character that isn't taken in order, according to Gee, is 21.  But the JSPP actually says it is taken in order.  There is a gap after 20 but it has some characters on the left side of it.  Those partial characters appear to match up with the left side of the glyphs on the BoA manuscript.

The remaining 4 characters continue in order.

So the only characters out of sequence, according to Gee, are 11-14 and 21.  And they all also happen to occur where there are gaps in the papyrus.  11-14 would be in the gap in the second line and 21 would be partially in the gap in the third line.  It looks like it actually wasn't a jumbled sequence.

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2 hours ago, webbles said:

So the only characters out of sequence, according to Gee, are 11-14 and 21.  And they all also happen to occur where there are gaps in the papyrus.  11-14 would be in the gap in the second line and 21 would be partially in the gap in the third line.  It looks like it actually wasn't a jumbled sequence.

Interesting possibility.  Is this your idea or the JSPP to be clear?

 

Is it possible to ‘read’ the characters   in that placement to see if it would make sense?  Does Egyptian work enough like that some glyphs just don’t make sense next to other ones or is there enough variation in meaning anything can work?  Not sure how one could effectively communicate in such a way, so something must be able be said this is a valid reading and this isn’t. 
 

Do the JSPP say anything about how it would be translated if done by someone who can translate Egyptian?

Link please?  Because I am really lazy today...actually it is more I get very frustrated easily because my head spins, but still curious. (Yes, I am trying to play on your sympathy, is it working?)

Edited by Calm
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3 hours ago, webbles said:

I rewatched the video and compared his characters to what the JSPP says.  And I think Gee is wrong about it being a jumbled sequence.  There are 27 characters that the video talks about.  In the JSPP, the first three are numbered 5.27, 5.28, and 3.11, and the rest are numbered 2 through 25.

As the video mentions, the first 12 characters (5.27, 5.28, 3.11, and 2 through 10) are in order.  But he points out that 5 of those are not on the papyrus.  They are instead lost in the gap in the papyrus.  This shows that Joseph might have seen more characters on the papyrus than we currently have.

Yes, that is Gee's point, and by referring to another version of the Sensen he is able to provide the glyphs in sequence, with their proper meanings.  The Hor Sensen included those glyphs before it was damaged.  That is how Egyptologists read damaged documents.

3 hours ago, webbles said:

After that, Gee is saying that the next 4 (11 through 14) are taken from random places in the papyrus.  But they could also have been taken from the gap in the papyrus.  There is enough space in there to fit those missing 4.

Gee then says that the next 6 (15 through 20) are taken in order from the papyrus.

The last character that isn't taken in order, according to Gee, is 21.  But the JSPP actually says it is taken in order.  There is a gap after 20 but it has some characters on the left side of it.  Those partial characters appear to match up with the left side of the glyphs on the BoA manuscript.

The remaining 4 characters continue in order.

So the only characters out of sequence, according to Gee, are 11-14 and 21.  And they all also happen to occur where there are gaps in the papyrus.  11-14 would be in the gap in the second line and 21 would be partially in the gap in the third line.  It looks like it actually wasn't a jumbled sequence.

If Gee is wrong, it should be a simple matter to show that a restored version of the Hor Sensen provides the proper glyphs in sequence, with their proper meanings.  Did Jensen and Hauglid do that?  Did Robert Ritner do that?

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8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Yes, that is Gee's point, and by referring to another version of the Sensen he is able to provide the glyphs in sequence, with their proper meanings.  The Hor Sensen included those glyphs before it was damaged.  That is how Egyptologists read damaged documents.

If Gee is wrong, it should be a simple matter to show that a restored version of the Hor Sensen provides the proper glyphs in sequence, with their proper meanings.  Did Jensen and Hauglid do that?  Did Robert Ritner do that?

I would love to see a restored version of the Hor Sensen.  Unfortunately, I can't find it.  Gee doesn't do it in the video and the JSPP doesn't do it.  So I can't see what should be in the missing gaps.

Do you know where someone has done that comparison?

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9 hours ago, Calm said:

Interesting possibility.  Is this your idea or the JSPP to be clear?

It is my idea but based on the rebuttal that I had read long time ago.  I don't remember where I had read the rebuttal nor do I remember who had written it so I don't know how to find it online.  The JSPP just doesn't match those characters with anything on the papyrus.

In the printed JSPP, there is a table on pages 350-380 titled "Comparison of Characters".  That is what I've been using to match up the characters.  I can't find that table on the online version, yet.  So I can't give you a link.

At the beginning of the table, it does say "It is not always clear whether a character on the papyri was the precise source for a character copied into the Egyptian Alphabet documents or the Grammar and Alphabet volume.  Such cases are marked with an asterisk in this chart."  None of the jumbled characters that Gee shows a source have an asterisk in the JSPP table.  The JSPP just has it blank and makes it appear that there is no source on the papyrus.

9 hours ago, Calm said:

Is it possible to ‘read’ the characters   in that placement to see if it would make sense?  Does Egyptian work enough like that some glyphs just don’t make sense next to other ones or is there enough variation in meaning anything can work?  Not sure how one could effectively communicate in such a way, so something must be able be said this is a valid reading and this isn’t. 
 

Do the JSPP say anything about how it would be translated if done by someone who can translate Egyptian?

Link please?  Because I am really lazy today...actually it is more I get very frustrated easily because my head spins, but still curious. (Yes, I am trying to play on your sympathy, is it working?)

Here's a link to the papyrus that the characters are taken from: https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/egyptian-papyri-circa-300-bc-ad-50/19

Here's a link to the manuscript C which has the copied characters: https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/book-of-abraham-manuscript-circa-july-circa-november-1835-c-abraham-11-218/ There's also a manuscript A and B but they have don't have the first three characters or the last 6 characters.

The character 21 (I'm using the JSPP numbering) can be seen at the top of page 8 in manuscript C (https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/book-of-abraham-manuscript-circa-july-circa-november-1835-c-abraham-11-218/8).  If you look at the papyrus, on the far right of the third line, you'll see two characters.  Those map to character 20 (both JSPP and Gee agree on that).  Then there is a gap.  On the left of that gap, there is two characters that appear to be the start of character 21.  The JSPP says that.  But Gee said that character 21 is actually on the second line about half way in (look for glyph that looks like an L).

The other missing characters (11-14) aren't on the papyrus, according to the JSPP.  But if you look at the gap in the second line, they'd probably fit.  Character 11 is on page 4 (https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/book-of-abraham-manuscript-circa-july-circa-november-1835-c-abraham-11-218/4).  Charters 12-14 are on page 5.

 

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17 hours ago, Rivers said:

I just looked on the JSPP website. There are three BOA manuscripts from 1835 and two from 1842.  

The BOA manuscripts from 1835 are only for the beginning of Abraham.  Manuscript A is Abraham 1:4 - 2:6.  Manuscript B is Abraham 1:4 - 2:2.  Manuscript C is Abraham 1:1 - 2:18

The 1842 manuscripts also don't contain the entire text.  The first manuscript has Abraham 1:1 - 2:18 (the JSPP says that it appears to be an edited version of Manuscript C with heavy revisions in the first 200 words).  The second manuscript is Abraham 3:18-26.

There are no manuscripts for Abraham 2:19 - 3:17 and Abraham 3:26 - 5:21

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2 hours ago, webbles said:

I would love to see a restored version of the Hor Sensen.  Unfortunately, I can't find it.  Gee doesn't do it in the video and the JSPP doesn't do it.  So I can't see what should be in the missing gaps.

Do you know where someone has done that comparison?

This isn't something that one does overnite, on a whim.  The Hor Sensen has been translated by Egyptologists a dozen or more times since the first in 1968.

Non- Mormon Egyptologist Klaus Baer used italics for the restored portions of his translation -- Baer, “The Breathing Permit of Hor: A Translation of the Apparent Source of the Book of Abraham,” Dialogue, 3/3 (Autumn 1968):109-134, online at https://dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V03N03_111.pdf .

Hugh Nibley used highlighting to show the differences between the Joseph Smith Papyrus XI translation and that of Louvre Papyrus 3284.  He also provided the full hieratic texts. Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, 2nd ed.(FARMS, 2005).

Gee's presentation is easy to follow, provided you have photos of the BofA manuscripts 1 - 4.  I'm sure that you know how to stop a video while turning pages to find the next glyph.  There is nothing mysterious about it.  It would be the same exercise in filling in the blanks of a damaged or incomplete English text.  We are not talking about throwing mud at a wall.

JSPProject doesn't do it because no one there reads Egyptian.

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46 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

JSPProject doesn't do it because no one there reads Egyptian.

Dr Gee was paid to review the BoA volume. Multiple other Egyptologists were consulted on it. This is simply not true.

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57 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Dr Gee was paid to review the BoA volume. Multiple other Egyptologists were consulted on it. This is simply not true.

Peer review is nice.  I suppose neither one of us has a problem with that.  However, suggesting that Gee's views were heeded or had anything to do with the actual content of the BofA volume is extremely naive.  That goes for any other peer reviewers as well.  By the way, most peer reviewers are unpaid.

I know of multiple instances in which the LDS bosses have asked for reviews and then ignored them.  One particularly egregious example was the time John Tvedtnes was actually in charge of a review committee on the Hebrew translation of the Book of Mormon.  Despite his official position and expertise, and regardless of the reasonable nature of his objections, the translation was foolishly published.

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Peer review is nice.  I suppose neither one of us has a problem with that.  However, suggesting that Gee's views were heeded or had anything to do with the actual content of the BofA volume is extremely naive.  That goes for any other peer reviewers as well.  By the way, most peer reviewers are unpaid.

I know of multiple instances in which the LDS bosses have asked for reviews and then ignored them.  One particularly egregious example was the time John Tvedtnes was actually in charge of a review committee on the Hebrew translation of the Book of Mormon.  Despite his official position and expertise, and regardless of the reasonable nature of his objections, the translation was foolishly published.

The BoA volume in the JSPP is not a translation. I fail to see your point.

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1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

The BoA volume in the JSPP is not a translation. I fail to see your point.

My point was that peer review can easily be ignored.  After all, those writing the volume under review need only tell an otherwise ignorant LDS boss what they want him to hear, and he is likely to go along with it.  That's what happened in the BofM Hebrew translation case.  One need only lie to the bosses and he is home free.  The volume can be of any sort, but especially in cases of a specialized kind it is easy to pull the wool over someone's eyes.

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8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Gee's presentation is easy to follow, provided you have photos of the BofA manuscripts 1 - 4.  I'm sure that you know how to stop a video while turning pages to find the next glyph.  There is nothing mysterious about it.  It would be the same exercise in filling in the blanks of a damaged or incomplete English text.  We are not talking about throwing mud at a wall.

I followed Gee's presentation.  And if you watch it, you'll notice that all of the scrambled characters are only when there is missing papyrus.  He doesn't give any explanation on why he picks random parts of the papyrus.  The only time he references another version of the Hor Sensen is when he talks about the 3rd character (JSPP numbers it 3.11).  This is a character that doesn't exist in the existing papyrus as well.  Interesting enough, the JSPP assigns this character to a completely different papyrus.

I'd love to see a presentation or anything where someone actually shows what the hieratic characters would be and then compares them to the characters in the BoA manuscript.  It appears that either no one has actually done that.  Gee's presentation doesn't do that, nor does the JSPP.  I don't have access to the books you mentioned but your description makes it seem that they are more focused on translating the text and not doing a comparison between the characters.

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20 minutes ago, Calm said:

Previous conversation on marginal characters 

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/56526-kep-sequence-of-characters/

 

That's the rebuttal that I remember reading.  Thanks for finding it.

Reading that and going through the JSPP again and watching the video again, I see that both groups (JSPP and Gee) are actually arguing for random characters.  Just different characters.

Gee argues that characters 13-16 (using Xander's numbering from the linked thread or 11-14 using the JSPP numbering) are from random places on the papyrus.  The JSPP doesn't assign those characters to any locations in the papyrus and Xander (in that linked thread) says they come from the gap.

JSPP argues that character 3 (using Xander's numbering from the linked thread or 3.11 using the JSPP numbering) is from a completely different papyrus.  Gee argues that it is from the gap in the papyrus and uses a reference text to argue that.

So, if you agree with Gee, you have 4 characters that were randomly selected.  And if you agree with JSPP (or Xander), you have 1 character that was randomly selected.

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22 minutes ago, webbles said:

That's the rebuttal that I remember reading.  Thanks for finding it.

A friend who is also trying to help this make sense for me found it, I had completely forgotten about it.

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2 hours ago, webbles said:

I followed Gee's presentation.  And if you watch it, you'll notice that all of the scrambled characters are only when there is missing papyrus.  He doesn't give any explanation on why he picks random parts of the papyrus.  The only time he references another version of the Hor Sensen is when he talks about the 3rd character (JSPP numbers it 3.11).  This is a character that doesn't exist in the existing papyrus as well.  Interesting enough, the JSPP assigns this character to a completely different papyrus.

I'd love to see a presentation or anything where someone actually shows what the hieratic characters would be and then compares them to the characters in the BoA manuscript.  It appears that either no one has actually done that.  Gee's presentation doesn't do that, nor does the JSPP.  I don't have access to the books you mentioned but your description makes it seem that they are more focused on translating the text and not doing a comparison between the characters.

As I already said, this isn't something you do offhand, without the proper materials.  That is why it is so sad to see Jensen and Hauglid failing to provide at least a modicum of aid to those who do not have access to those materials.  Of course, why would they bother if their view is that it is all phony anyhow.  Apriorism again.

This goes back to the stark distinction between testimonies and science.  Belief as testimony is perfectly acceptable.  Science is a very different matter, requiring years of hard core commitment and effort, some of it very specialized.  Science isn't just like falling off a log.

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I will probably regret this, as the BA mss and JS Egyptian papers are not my area of expertise, but ....

image.png.09196be3e27e65dff8daf85f6cc9a94b.png

I leave it up to the reader to determine if the characters in mss. C derive from what would have originally been in the papyrus after characters labeled #10.  Whether characters 11-14 occur elsewhere in the JS Papyri I cannot say.

image.png

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