A few evidences for the ancient roots of the Book of Abraham are provided in an interesting new video from the Pearl of Great Price Central. It doesn’t include some that we have discussed here before, such as the apparent Egyptian wordplay behind Abraham’s discourse on stars and souls in Abraham 3, the accuracy of some of the comments for Facs. 2 such as the four sons of Horus representing the four quarters of the earth, the simple observation that the posture of Osiris/Abraham in Facs. 1 matches the hieroglyph for prayer or supplication (rotated 90 degrees), or the numerous parallels to specific elements in the Book of Abraham that can be found in various ancient traditions and texts, most of which could not have been accessed by Joseph (though Josephus mentions Abraham’s fascination with astronomy, for example). But it does raise some important topics.
One of the presented evidences given can be challenged by noting that Joseph learned about the plural nature of “Elohim” in his Hebrew studies and so could have revised his translation of Abraham 5 to refer to “the Gods.” But the bull’s eye for the ancient concept of the council of the gods still strikes me as impressive and not something Joseph would have picked up from his local library or itinerant preachers, but in Joseph’s secret study of world literature, when he turned to the Iliad, he might have noticed the ancient Greek concept of “the council of the gods” among pagan gods. Bingo — that explains it! Or maybe Hebrew study helped lead to that concept. But its origin for Joseph may have started with what he learned in his translation of the Book of Abraham, however that was done.
For more insight on just how interesting, ancient, and appropriate that concept is, be sure to see Stephen O. Smoot, “Council, Chaos, and Creation in the Book of Abraham,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 22/2 (2013): 28–39.
It’s an easily digested video just under 10 minutes, but hopefully it will lead some to further study on these topics. There are links below the video on the PGP Central page that can take you into the supporting details for the evidences presented.