Book of Abraham

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the original facsimile with Joseph's writing in the lacunae
The Book of Abraham is the second book in The Pearl of Great Price. The book is comprised of five chapters and three facsimiles.

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  • The Facsimilies (MP3) (from the Pearl of Great Price Series on BYU Broadcasting)


[edit] History

Joseph Smith bought the papyrus from a traveling salesman while he was in Kirtland, OH in 1835. Smith claimed that the Egyptian document was an original autograph that Abraham had written upon.

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[edit] Recovery of the papyri

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[edit] LDS views on the translation

Most Mormons tend to believe that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Abraham from the Egyptian papyri sold to Smith by Michael Chandler. They believe it was the same papyri that has been recovered today. Mormon apologists, however, take a different view:

"From the evidence that we have today, it’s quite safe to say that Joseph Smith did not have the Book of Abraham or the Book of Joseph in front of him in the form of these papyri because they bear no relationship to the contents of the stories or to his translation." -Lanny Bell [1]

That is, apologists do not believe that the "extant papyri making up the Book of Breathings must be the original text of the Book of Abraham". [2] "[It] is doubtful that the Book of Abraham was translated from the Joseph Smith papyri that has been recovered." [3] One Mormon blogger puts it like this: "[T]here is a enormous gulf between what ordinary members believe about the BoA and the reality that the papyri force us to consider." [1]

A minority take the position that Joseph Smith possessed the scrolls and used them as inspiration, rather than a direct source of content. "Joseph used the papyri as a springboard for his revelation." [4]

". . . the discovery [of the Egyptian papyri in 1967] prompted a reassessment of the Book of Abraham. What was going on while Joseph "translated" the papyri and dictated text to a scribe? Obviously, he was not interpreting the hieroglyphics like an ordinary scholar. As Joseph saw it, he was working by inspiration—that had been clear from the beginning. When he "translated" the Book of Mormon, he did not read from the gold plates; he looked into the crystals of the Urim and Thummim or gazed at the seerstone. The words came by inspiration, not by reading the characters on the plates. By analogy, it seemed likely that the papyri had been an occasion for receiving a revelation rather than a word-for-word interpretation of the hieroglyphs as in ordinary translations. Joseph translated Abraham as he had the characters on the gold plates, by knowing the meaning without actually knowing the plates' language" (Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, p. 192).

[edit] Criticisms

[edit] Quotes

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. Comment by a Mormon named "Ronan" at "By Common Consent". Accessed 8/22/2006. URL:

[edit] External links

[edit] Non-Mormon

[edit] Mormon

[edit] Ensign articles

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