The Twin BOA Manuscripts: A Window into Creation of the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language?

While I believe there is significant evidence showing that the twin manuscripts (Manuscript A and Manuscript B) of the Book of Abraham do not represent live dictation from Joseph Smith as he created new translated material (see my Interpreter article just published Friday and my “Twin Manuscripts” post),  there is still a good question that critics can ask: “If this is not a window into live dictation of a newly created ‘translation,’ then why would the scribes start their manuscripts at Abraham 1:4, exactly after the place where W.W. Phelps stopped in his Manuscript C?”

The argument is that the two scribes were continuing the live translation work that W.W. Phelps had already helped with. It would be strange, though, if Joseph had only been able to translate 3 verses during the months he had the papyri before the twin manuscripts are started sometime after Warren Parrish was hired on Oct. 29, 1835, probably in early November 1835. For a man who could dictate many hundreds of words per day when doing the Book of Mormon translation of reformed Egyptian, why would he slow to a frozen snail’s pace for the Book of Abraham? The issue of translation pace is an important consideration we have discussed previously, but that doesn’t deal with the question about why the twin manuscripts would start with verse 4 rather than verse 1.

I think it’s fair to assume there’s a connection between the twin manuscripts and the work that Phelps had done with Abraham 1:1-3 in Manuscript C. But what kind of connection?

If the twin manuscripts are simply copies for personal use, one would think the scribes would want to start at the beginning. But there’s an important clue or two suggesting that the purpose of these documents was something much different than just making copies to read for their own benefit.

The twin manuscripts begin with a puzzling statement at the top that has no analog in Manuscript C: “sign of the fifth degree of the Second​  part.” That label makes a clear reference to the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language (the GAEL), W.W. Phelps’ incomplete work, abounding in empty pages in a bound volume, that is split up into sections with titles based upon “degrees” and “parts”like “2nd part of the 3d degree.” So the twin documents are explicitly linked somehow to the GAEL. Even more puzzling, when you go to the pages labeled with “Second part 5th Degree” (link is to the first of several pages in that section), you won’t find the Egyptian (and non-Egyptian) characters there that are found in the margins of the twin manuscripts, and when you look at the “explanations” of the characters in that section, you won’t find concepts that seem related to the translated text. There are some concepts that fit Abraham 1:1-3, and some of the cosmological material about planets and starts perhaps derived from Facsimile 2, but precious little related to Abraham 1:4 to 2:6. What’s going on?

In fact, the characters in the margins of the twin manuscripts do not appear in the GAEL and certainly aren’t defined there. Not a single one of the 19 Egyptian characters, character clusters, or contrived characters in the twin manuscripts appear in the GAEL. What’s going on?

On the other hand, the characters and concepts in Phelps’ writing of Abraham 1:1-3 in Manuscript C are present in the GAEL, with many variations and lots of variant meanings in the different “degrees.”

Here’s a hypothesis to consider (may be wrong, but I wish to consider it for now): The purpose of these three manuscripts, A, B, and C, was not creation of the Book of Abraham translation, but creation (or more specifically, further fleshing out) of the GAEL, whatever its purpose was. It may be that Phelps already had a good start in making the GAEL after working with Abraham 1:1-3 and assigning various characters to portions of the text, but more work was needed to take additional translated text from Joseph’s prior translation work, and link it with additional characters that could be added with explanations and variants into his still highly incomplete effort. Phelps was now too busy to keep working on the intellectual pursuits related to the Book of Abraham/Egyptian (or “pure language”?) project, which is why Parrish was hired according to Bruce Van Orden in his outstanding book, We’ll Sing and We’ll Shout (the definitive biography of W.W. Phelps), so I propose that the two scribes teamed up to continue the work Phelps had begun, perhaps at his suggestion and/or under Joseph’s direction, who shared an intellectual interest in Egyptian as well as Hebrew. Their first step may have been to explore possible relationships between characters (largely taken from Joseph Smith Papyrus XI) and the translation, so they copied more characters and the next portion of the translation intending to support the insertion of further explanations and speculations in the GAEL, but the project fizzled out before those additional steps occurred.

The copies and the treatment of characters would be a first step to help the team select concepts to fill in some of the many blank pages left in the GAEL. There was no need to copy Abraham 1:1-3 because Phelps had already explored that thoroughly. But the new characters (some concocted) never made it into the GAEL.

This may help answer the question about why these manuscripts began at verse 4. It is consistent with the abundant evidence that the translation already existed and was being copied. If so, the twin manuscripts are not so much a “window into the translation of the Book of Abraham” as they are a “window into the creation of the Grammar and Alphabet” — from an already existing translation.

There is still the excellent question about the choice of Joseph Smith Papyrus XI for this GAEL-creation work. Doesn’t that mean that this is the scroll Joseph translated and that the text is his translation of each of the handful of characters? Not necessarily. The whole concept of translating hundreds of words from a single character doesn’t fit Joseph’s statements and actions, as we’ve previously discussed and as I discuss in my recent publication at The Interpreter.

There are several possibilities on the source and nature of the translation that others have raised. For example, the translation may have been given by revelation as it was with the Book of Mormon and other scriptures, meaning that it wasn’t based upon staring at a particular scroll or plate and translating in a conventional manner, but simply dictating translation through revelation. If so, Joseph and the scribes might not have known which characters from which scrolls (if any) had been the source of the revealed text. The papyri may even have been a catalyst rather than a source for the translation. Possible, I suppose. Alternatively, there may have been reasons to suspect a relationship between characters on the selected papyrus fragment and the Book of Abraham even if the Book of Abraham came from another source. Ed Goble, for example, proposes that the characters were used somehow as wordplays to key words or concepts in the text of another scroll and may have adorned the margins of the original BOA scroll as they do the three BOA manuscripts in question (see one of his articles here and a blog here). (While Ed has some very interesting points, I’m not convinced based on what I’ve been able to digest so far, and fear the relationships may be too convoluted to be practical.) Others have spoken about possible mnemonic relationships, etc., and then we have William Schryver’s interesting theory about a reverse cipher being at play, though there are still many questions about that, in spite of the fascinating and valid points he has made.

We clearly need more information to understand what the early Saints were doing with the GAEL and how it was supposed to be used. But it’s important to understand it was not the source for the Book of Abraham translation and in many ways appears to be a derivative of the translation, not a precursor. If the Book of Abraham Manuscripts A, B, and C were initially intended as tools to support creation of further entries in the GAEL, they would likewise be derivatives of the existing translation and would not necessarily give us any kind of window into Joseph’s live translation work.

We don’t know exactly how Joseph translated or even what he translated from, but many of us believe that the translation was through the power of God, a revelatory process, not an intellectual and relatively “conventional” translation effort based on a concocted alphabet applied one character at time to a text. We can also believe, with many reasons to support that belief, that the resulting text reflects ancient origins, complex as they may be, rather than merely a fanciful nineteenth-century perspective about mysterious papyri where a single character could be unraveled to give worlds of meaning. Understanding that the translation was the source of much of the strange work in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers rather than the fruit thereof is an important step in understanding these documents, and one of the reasons why I am frustrated with the editorial choices and biases reflected in related publication of The Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Volume 4: Book of Abraham and Related Manuscripts, edited by Robin Scott Jensen and Brian M. Hauglid (Salt Lake City, UT: Church Historian’s Press, 2018), the topic of my newly published review at The Interpreter.

This post is part of a recent series on the Book of Abraham, inspired by a frustrating presentation from the Maxwell Institute. Here are the related posts:

Author: Jeff Lindsay

103 thoughts on “The Twin BOA Manuscripts: A Window into Creation of the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language?

  1. Jeff, as I read this and thought about what you’ve been showing us over the past few months, I realized that I've missed some of the significance. By showing that the GAEL and “Twin Manuscripts” were almost certainly created after the relevant portions of the BofA, you’ve also shown that the KEP are not the translation. No wonder Dan and co. were trying so hard to get out of it (love ya Dan, but you have to admit that you were arguing against the evidence, and yourself :), and some were trying to bury info.).
    The BofA, with all of its profound ancient content, did not come from the characters in the margins of the manuscripts. So, where did the text come from? It obviously wasn’t fabricated. Too many accurate details for that.

    I think you're right, there are interesting clues in the characters.

    Thanks again.

  2. Anon,😊😍 OK/not-OK, etc. Hi. I’ve felt sorta bad that you’ve also started arguing with yourself. I’m glad you’re bringing fun back to the conversations, and even on topic! 🙂 It seems you’re aware that the evidence indicates that it would be impossible to fabricate the BofA.
    As with the BofM–for which there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of supporting facts and evidences (millions if we count the all important revealed evidences, lives changed for good, and testimonies), some of them being honestly undeniable (as you know, I really enjoy the connections between Indigenous Americans and Middle Eastern peoples (including a definite religious connection, and probable BofM symbolism, Geography, DNA, etc. etc. connections), others look at steel, compasses, the multitudes of fallen anachronisms, Bountiful, Nahom, words, names, personalities, discourses, doctrines, etc. etc. etc.—there is also abundant evidence for the BofA, including well over 100 ancient sources, not available to Joseph Smith, which confirm almost every extra-biblical detail in the BofA. They include Egyptian, Pagan, Jewish, Christian, Samaritan, Muslim, Mandaean, Falasha, and other sources. They are found on tablets, stones, scrolls, books, etc. describing: locations, sacrifices, gods, Egyptian influence in the Northern Ur, Abraham, Astronomy/Astrology, and so on.
    Critics are relegated to sweeping dismissal (without real examination) by simple reference to Ritner's self analysis, spelling (exmormon argues “The Akkadian place is not "Olishem" but "Ulisum." Not quite the same…” I’d guess the better funded IRR (since they don’t come across as a possible hate group) has bigger words, but no more substance), and etc.
    But, while Ritner might be OK at translating Egyptian, he seems to know very little about the rest and is generally wrong on the BofA, Church of Jesus Christ, and so on (probably because he relies on anti-Mormon coworkers for his research). And, the difference between Olishem and the recently discovered “Ulishem” (Professor Wood) (and quite probable Dan :)) is just as trivial as Nahom VS Nahim.
    In addition, the context is what really matters. Right time, right place, correct ancient meanings and optional spellings -e.g In his Blog titled "The Plain of Olishem and the Field of Abram: LDS Book of Abraham, Chapter One" Egyptologist Val Sederholm points out that Ulishem implies a high place. This would be a cosmic center, the Omphalos with the 4 gods, and crocodile tree (as with the Maya also :)) representing a pagan Eden, with a spacious field (as if it were a world), where the battle between good and evil takes place, and ends in sacrifice (as with the BofM Cumorah/Ramah (ram=high, as in rameumptom, and you should know Moreh, after all these years of learning with Jeff, etc.). Val, in response to critics (Ritner, etc.) asks- “besides the accidental phonetic similarity, are we also dealing with an accidental thematic correspondence?…Exactly how does a book of 14 pages produce dozens upon dozens of linguistic, cultural, thematic, theological, and literary points of comparison to the Ancient Near Eastern record? The numbers are no exaggeration. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with no hesitation whatsoever, not even a hint of abatement, continues to post the canonical Book of Abraham on line and to print copies by the tens of thousands in scores of languages. There is a lot of explaining to do.

    1. “dozens upon dozens of linguistic, cultural, thematic, theological, and literary points of comparison to the Ancient Near Eastern record“

      Joe,

      Why not list one of these dozens of “points of comparison” that you have compiled so they can be examined (and likely debunked)? And, though I shouldn’t need to ask but experience with you dictates that I do, please provide us with explanations as to how they relate.

    2. Just quoting you, and Dan and other critics. 😊
      So did Dan actually tell you that’s why he disappeared? I feel like I agreed with him way more than he dared admit he agreed with me. In fact, when I was agreeing with him most was when we last heard from him 🤔🤷🏽‍♂️

  3. left some things out–😊😍
    However, I've started reviewing Jeff's post and reading the links. I won't have time to finish today, but am excited to discuss Goble and Barney's BofA redactor, and the clues that the KEP may give to us (i.e. on topic stuff). My mind is open to new possibilities. In times past I've leaned toward a Jewish JRed. Where will it go? How did we get the BofA, etc.? I want to finish reading and hope that you will, too. You have over a decade of experience as a critic (full time?). Dan may not return, or might be focused on defending or editing his currently outdated videos….and we need a solid critic, one who thinks, but isn't afraid to stand by what he disbelieves, regardless of the evidence or consequences to others (or can't admit that he/she believes, in spite of evidence, never doubting his doubts). 😉 😉 So, if we all read this time, it will be like going to class with a pencil and everything :), and there will be no need for us to stay on the porch with the straw puppies. 😜 I include myself.

  4. I repeat a statement I made in another blog here because it deals with this subject and hasn't been noticed or commented on.

    Jeff: I haven’t discovered the meaning of the reference to degree and part at the beginning of what you call the twin documents. It might make more sense if it said fifth degree of the sixth part. WWP’s first two characters come from the beginning of column 1 of JSP XI, which if you follow the five parts of the Alphabets would be the sixth part. However, not all five parts deal with Abraham. They seem to be groupings that made sense to them. They didn’t even copy the characters from the columns of JSP I in order the columns were arranged on the papyri. I don’t know where the character came from, but it’s possible the first part and its change to the second part refer to a different but similar document as the Alphabets and GAEL, where the characters or parts of them that appear in the margins of the twin documents were developed in a similar fashion.

    The twin documents not only continued WWP’s three verses, but they continued using the characters from JSP XI. It seems to me that these characters were copied, along with the invented characters in the gaps, prior to being copied into the margins of the translation documents. It may be that the last two characters in the Alphabets, which are WWP’s first two characters, were transferred another booklet where they and the other characters were developed in five degrees similar to Ah-broam at the end of JS’s Alphabet.

  5. I’ve only made it to pg 7- “William J. Hamblin notes: Joseph Smith’s interpretations of the facsimiles are iconotropic . . . Is it an ancient, Abrahamic/Jewish iconotropic reinterpretation of Egyptian symbolism? Or is it purely early nineteenth century American iconotropy invented by Joseph Smith?”

    But, I'm excited to read more. So far, I agree with most of it.
    The evidence may indicate that that old man wasn’t Hor, and that the BofA was part of a bundle of documents collected to tell the story of Abraham. And, clearly, evidence indicates that the BofA manuscript is missing. Rejecting that is to reject the evidence. At least the evidence that I've seen.

    I hope to have time to look into this further. : )

    dan, quietly, just want to say, you’re still wrong :). I think you know that. I’ll try to respond to your replies later (on Jeff's last Blog post) but, here are a few things to ponder:

    1-Joseph didn’t need a GAEL, others would.
    2-Translation began circa July 3-6, GAEL began late July.
    3-Joseph hadn’t yet studied Hebrew, Phelps had.
    4-Several others were trying their hand at deciphering languages.
    5-You have no explanation for signs of copying- 1 e.g: looking at handwriting, Royal could be read as regular, but would not be dictated as regular by President Smith, and corrected to royal.
    6-The order of the GAEL was clearly taken from the BofA, and aligned to existing text.
    Bethka was added on pg2, without a pause.
    7-You claim that “definitions of each character were developed from simple to more complex and then to text.” This contradicts the evidence- e.g. they went back and added Bethka in the “simple” forms. It wasn’t a development working towards text, but "should have" been added.
    8-The first degree is very similar to the 5th. It’s illogical to conclude that months of work produced such little change and then suddenly turned into the miraculous BofA.

    9-You say it has nothing to do with the BofA, or little, or etc. It has nothing to do with translating the BofA, but is clearly influenced by the BofA throughout.

    10-You agree that Hebrew, Katumin, the Bible, Josephus, etc. were translated first, and the GAEL was influenced by them. It’s illogical to reject the abundant evidence that the BofA was likewise translated first.

    11- You have no comprehensible explanation for the GAEL. The simple solution is that it was created "to" an existing BofA, and not for it. It is clearly related, but does not represent the development of the BofA.

    Still luv ya 🙂
    And, there’s more….but I think we should move on, at least on this post 🙂

  6. I would be very surprised if anyone reads your comments Joe. Pure drivel. Nonsense from top to bottom.

  7. Joe here are my quiet and short responses:

    1-Joseph didn’t need a GAEL, others would.

    Exactly, JS made it for them, not for himself.

    2-Translation began circa July 3-6, GAEL began late July.

    Preliminary translation to identify mummies and authors of the two scrolls. Anything more than that is speculation. The earliest translation text is WWP’s Abr. 1:1-3 in what was the translation book, which was made about the same time as GAEL. The text is choppy indicating that it probably relies on the Alphabets and/or bound Grammar and that a dictated longer text did not precede it.

    3-Joseph hadn’t yet studied Hebrew, Phelps had.

    The knowledge of Hebrew in the GAEL is pre-Seixas and rudimentary. On what grounds could WWP produce the Alphabets and bound Grammar? The whole project presupposes revelation and that was JS’s role, not WWP’s.

    4-Several others were trying their hand at deciphering languages.

    No one besides JS succeeded in deciphering an unknown laguage.

    5-You have no explanation for signs of copying- 1 e.g: looking at handwriting, Royal could be read as regular, but would not be dictated as regular by President Smith, and corrected to royal.

    Royal doesn’t look like regular. On the contrary, someone dictating might say “regular descent directly from the loins of Ham” and want to change it to “royal descent.”

    6-The order of the GAEL was clearly taken from the BofA, and aligned to existing text.
    Bethka was added on pg2, without a pause.

    7-You claim that “definitions of each character were developed from simple to more complex and then to text.” This contradicts the evidence- e.g. they went back and added Bethka in the “simple” forms. It wasn’t a development working towards text, but "should have" been added.

    You don’t know the content of the sources very well or you wouldn’t say that. Bethka appears in the discussions on grammar, whereas the definitions of the characters appear in the Alphabets and Alphabet portions of the GAEL. The Alphabets are in the first degree, which was transferred too the first degree in the GAEL and then developed in the remaining four degrees. The fifth degree is the most elaborate and closest to the text, that is, when the material is used in the text. As I mentioned, parts 1 and 2 don’t deal with the BofA directly. In his dictation of the BofA in November 1835, JS drew on some of the material in the GAEL, although the characters were from other places than JSP XI.

    8-The first degree is very similar to the 5th. It’s illogical to conclude that months of work produced such little change and then suddenly turned into the miraculous BofA.

    You need to look at the development of each character, because often the character has a different meaning in the Alphabets and first degree in the GAEL but then becomes something new in the fifth.

  8. 9-You say it has nothing to do with the BofA, or little, or etc. It has nothing to do with translating the BofA, but is clearly influenced by the BofA throughout.

    What does Katumin have to do with the BofA? What does part 2 have to do with Abraham? As I keep explaining, the only part borrowed for the BofA is the discussion of the Egyptian claim to priesthood and patriarchal governance, which is a problem because it didn’t originate with the BofA.

    10-You agree that Hebrew, Katumin, the Bible, Josephus, etc. were translated first, and the GAEL was influenced by them. It’s illogical to reject the abundant evidence that the BofA was likewise translated first.

    I have eight videos that say otherwise. While there was probably some overlap, everything fits smoothly with the general progression of Valuable Discovery > Alphabets > GAEL > Book of Abraham. When you put the Abraham first, everything becomes a mess, which necessitates the creation of several ad hoc speculations that are themselves more problematic than what is being rejected.

    11- You have no comprehensible explanation for the GAEL. The simple solution is that it was created "to" an existing BofA, and not for it. It is clearly related, but does not represent the development of the BofA.

    Attempting to assign the GAEL to WWP is incomprehensible. As I said, who can create such a thing without claiming revelation? Besides, WWP was working on the History of the Church in 1843 when it claimed JS was responsible for creating them with his scribes.

  9. I haven’t made it far in my reading of Edwin Goble, I really enjoyed some of it, but disagree with much. I don’t have a problem with the so called “Pure Revelation” theory, which implies that there was nothing about Abraham among the Egyptian material purchased in 1835. I know that, throughout History, God has worked through the cultures and ideas of imperfect humans. Many faithful believe that the Lord revealed the BofA directly, and the papyri were simply a stimulus. However, I still believe there is more evidence for the Missing Record theory. This evidence includes eyewitnesses and textual evidence and etc. I haven’t seen any serious rebuttal to this evidence, not by Dan and Co., or anyone else, but I haven’t read everything. If anyone has anything other than "what are the chances", I’d love to consider it, otherwise I’m left to believe that rejection of the missing scroll is based on conjecture. : )

  10. Dan,❤💖 my quiet replies :).

    (Thanks Dan. I do appreciate your thoughts and agree with some things that you’ve said. I still hope the true scholar within you will have the courage to abandon the misleading theories of the Tanners, Ritner, Metcalfe? (sp?), etc. and any mistakes from your past. We can all move upward together. 😊 Yes, even anons.
    Again, when I remember, I will put my new responses in (parentheses), and leave my previous comments numbered, or as you left them.)

    1-Joseph didn’t need a GAEL, others would.
    “Exactly, JS made it for them, not for himself.”
    (If so, to do what? To impress Phelps by interrupting BofA translation for 5 months to repeatedly align the same words with concepts that would eventually surprise them all when they showed up in the BofA in the same order? Less Bethka of course which, fortunately, had been in the alphabet all along with a perfectly fitting BofA meaning and, since it just showed up in the dictated BofA, they went ahead and reverse translated that one word for 5 degrees back into the GAEL so it, too, could influence Joseph in creating future BofA copies-although, at this point, the meaning had luckily showed up in the BofA?

    And, about this time, Oliver, has this idea to try to reverse translate. He takes verses from the previously translated Book of Mormon and tries to reverse them back into pure reformed Egyptian “Hebrew”. Still, even though they had actual Egyptian papyri, and even though Joseph had already translated some BofA material from it, no one thinks to have him give them a bit more of the BofA so they could have Phelps, the linguist, help to crack ancient Egyptian? Oliver, Joseph, and Parrish, are all much too busy trying to impress Phelps by having him do it all backwards?
    Dan, the BofA-first model has a logical explanation for the time they put into the GAEL.
    I know that truth and reason don’t generate funds from IRR, but I’m sure you can see it. They were no less intelligent than you or I. Clinging to this theory is not scholarship.
    The evidence indicates that WWP at least guided this more mundane “research” but, either way, it seems you’re insisting that JS created it for others, unknowingly aligning it to a yet to be revealed BofA story, and was THEN the only one influenced by his own random work, and was fortunate enough to come up with a complex ancient record in the same order as the Abraham GAEL material. This isn’t reasonable. And the idea that no one would question any of this "is incomprehensible". Why would anyone put in all that time when JS could give them a BofA that they could all use as a type of Rosetta to hopefully decipher the pure language that they were already working on?
    As I examine the evidence (in what little free time I have) it increasingly supports the idea that he did, in fact, give them the Book of Abraham first, even if in stages.)

  11. Dan, before I respond to the rest, I think I’ll spend a little extra time here, on #1, 2, and ?, to help avoid repeating- Still hope we can all work together, and come up with an honest theory that will best explain all the evidence. 🙂 As it is, it seems that you’re forcing concepts that defy logic and contradict what we know about the people involved. Only you can decide what your motivation is for sacrificing scholarship for whatever you’re trying to accomplish.
    The evidence supports the idea that Cowdery, Phelps, and Parrish, were each seeking to translate, with Joseph. Joseph sincerely believed, and knew, that he personally had specific gifts (and there is abundant evidence that his translation gifts were very real). He recognized that others had gifts which differed from his own. Joseph, Paul, and etc. encouraged them to seek individual gifts from books, by study, and through faith, and thereby to receive testimonies, revelation, and knowledge of mysteries, and to commune with angels together, interpret, heal, etc. They were also to seek an enlightening, connecting, “pure language,” and believed this was related to ancient Hebrew and Egyptian. As you know (but don’t admit), during the learning phases of the restoration, others sought to be like Joseph, instead of developing gifts in their own unique ways: “SECTION 6 to Oliver Cowdery.”…Behold thou hast a gift…(so OC has a gift already–but seeks another). 25 And, behold, I grant unto you a gift…to translate, even as my servant Joseph….if you have good desires—a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven—then shall you assist..” So, the Lord says go ahead, if you do it right. But, Oliver, who had received much, failed at this one, and so- SECTION 9 …be content to write, for the time being, at the dictation of the translator, rather than to attempt to translate. 1–6, Other ancient records are yet to be translated…”

    Phelps was considered a linguist, and was also interested in hidden languages and translating. He sent some unknown characters to Sally (his way of keeping a journal), which appear to have been reverse aligned to some of Joseph’s revealed “pure language”. He tried his hand at translating and his Blessings, like that of WP, included “…he shall have the desires of his heart in the gift that pertaineth to writing the law of God…The Lord will chasten him because he taketh honor to himself…have understanding in all sciences and languages…” . So, if he humbled himself, his unique gift would be understanding languages.

    Evidently, around the time that the Egyptian papyri came to Kirtland, Cowdery was again trying to develop by “reverse translating” portions of the BofM back into an ancient original, closer to Adamic. JS had already translated the text (Jacob 5) and- quoting Matthew J. Grey- “Around 1835—probably a few months before he had actually studied Hebrew (OC attempted to reverse translate) Jacob 5:13 (“for it grieveth me that I should lose this tree & the fruit thereof”) was “fin Zemin ezmon E. Zer Oms. Ifs veris exzer ens. vonis vinesis,” …For the two documents containing Cowdery’s reverse translation efforts see…” JSP Appendix 2, Characters Copied by Oliver Cowdery.

    Hold those thoughts and I'll return….

  12. K, I'm back for a bit…
    Ok/Not-OK, 😊😍Anonymous, 6:36 PM, July 26, 2019

    Says "Joe, Why not list one of these dozens of “points of comparison” that you have compiled so they can be examined (and likely debunked)?"

    I actually listed several in that comment :), you could start there. And, if you read it carefully, you'll see that the "dozens" part was a quote from Val Sederholm–

    In addition, the context is what really matters. Right time, right place, correct ancient meanings and optional spellings -e.g In his Blog titled "The Plain of Olishem and the Field of Abram: LDS Book of Abraham, Chapter One" Egyptologist Val Sederholm points out that Ulishem implies a high place. This would be a cosmic center, the Omphalos with the 4 gods, and crocodile tree (as with the Maya also :)) representing a pagan Eden, with a spacious field (as if it were a world), where the battle between good and evil takes place, and ends in sacrifice (as with the BofM Cumorah/Ramah (ram=high, as in rameumptom, and you should know Moreh, after all these years of learning with Jeff, etc.). Val, in response to critics (Ritner, etc.) asks- “besides the accidental phonetic similarity, are we also dealing with an accidental thematic correspondence?…Exactly how does a book of 14 pages produce dozens upon dozens of linguistic, cultural, thematic, theological, and literary points of comparison to the Ancient Near Eastern record? The numbers are no exaggeration. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with no hesitation whatsoever, not even a hint of abatement, continues to post the canonical Book of Abraham on line and to print copies by the tens of thousands in scores of languages. There is a lot of explaining to do.

    If you don't see how they relate, you should try reading the BofM and BofA :). If you can't do that anymore, I'll try to return to respond to this: "…provide us with explanations as to how they relate."

    For starters, all of this would already be understood if you had diligently studied the Books of Mormon and Abraham (but, if you had, you probably wouldn't be doing this 😉 luv ya anon):

    "This would be a cosmic center, the Omphalos with the 4 gods, and crocodile tree (as with the Maya also :)) representing a pagan Eden, with a spacious field (as if it were a world), where the battle between good and evil takes place, and ends in sacrifice (as with the BofM Cumorah/Ramah (ram=high, as in rameumptom)"

    I'll try to return to explain the relationship that Joseph Smith couldn't have been making up, no one could in the 19th Century : )… It was Nibley who opened our minds to all of this. He was a giant, regardless of what you and Dan say. 😊

    1. “And, if you read it carefully, you'll see that the ‘dozens’ part was a quote from Val Sederholm”

      Quotation marks. Ever heard of ‘em? They indicate where you are quoting someone else’s ideas. They aren’t just for looks. . .

    2. “all of this would already be understood if you had diligently studied the Books of Mormon and Abraham”

      I have most of my life. I don’t see the connections you’re trying to make. How about explaining your ideas in your own words rather than just throwing out improperly quoted quotes? As I’ve told you before, just because you think something makes sense doesn’t mean a) that it does, or b) that its significance is readily apparent to all. Maybe instead of repeatedly telling Dan that he’s wrong (with no supporting evidence) try observing his writing style and attempt to emulate it. If, as you have stated, your goal is to become a better person, start with your communication style. Copying and pasting quotes over and over again doesn’t help—it only shows your obstinance and inability to think outside of your own box. Luv ya!!!

    3. I just thought of a better explanation that may make more sense to you. Quotation marks indicate where someone else’s thoughts begin and end—they aren’t eyelash emojis.

  13. Dan ��❤,

    Now, let’s add that to what we already know, and then present a more likely outline, which we can test against the evidence, and complete with a much “better explanation” vs tired critical scholarship:

    Some of this is based on Gee’s timeline, yours, etc.

    Joseph began translating July 3-6.
    The idea that they recorded none of this isn't reasonable. So, it makes sense that the 2 scribes at least recorded portions of the BofA and BofJ. You acknowledge that Joseph was capable of translating many pages in a day, as shown by other translations. You also say you’re OK with a July translation, but force yourself to reject early July, in spite of the record and that it doesn’t make sense that he’d read through enough of the text to find that both Abraham and Joseph had purportedly written on them, and the scribes wouldn't record that, especially since they are quoting and referring to Abraham in the GAEL, Blessings, and D&C, all before your translation session in Nov.

    July 14 JS goes to Cleavland.

    Someone, at an unknown point, painstakingly copied many lines of varied Egyptian characters and then recorded what they thought was a partial translation of them in ‘Valuable Discovery”, etc. which briefly speaks of princess Katumin. This isn’t Joseph’s reported July 3-6 translation, since it doesn’t mention Abraham or Joseph. It also isn’t his style to copy multiple characters and give a translation. And, I think we can all agree that actual Egyptian characters were never dictated by Joseph or anyone, only copied from the papyri which he had access to. But, since the alphabets and GEAL contain variants of the name Katumin, we can assume this was before July 19 (even though this is not certain, since her name, etc. could have been elsewhere on the papyri that Joseph had already translated, and this could be a first reverse attempt….but let’s go with it…).

    Joseph’s History records:
    July 19 “The remainder of this month, I was continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language….”

    Note- Dan, it seems that the scribe’s comment of “translating an alphabet” and your comment asking “who else would translate, only Joseph received revelation?” (not an exact quote, but gist) are your primary evidence that Joseph was solely responsible for the GAEL. However, note that they were translating the Alphabet, but arranging a grammar. If the scribe's "grammar" is accurately referring to the GAEL, and if you’re right that the Alphabets were created first, then Joseph was only a scribe during this development part of the project, AND they arranged the GAEL "to" an existing BofA. As you also know, his scribes sometimes used the word “translating” for activities that we wouldn’t think of as being translation. The Alphabet project is clearly not all revelation, and others did try to receive and give revelation, and Joseph trusted them.

    Ultimately, assuming Joseph was there for the GAEL "arranging" to the BofA,the Alphabets were still developed with Joseph as scribe, and by someone with a more mundane knowledge of Hebrew, which was likely beyond Joseph’s knowledge. The Alphabets also contain elements of the BofA, katumin, and etc. which were already translated, and so the use of Katumin adds to the evidence that this was a reverse translation aligned to texts that were translated before July 19.

    So, there is no valid evidence showing that the GAEL came before the BofA. There is no valid evidence that the extant GAEL was developed progressively to the BofA, since they added Bethka’s “simple” BofA element later and BofA concepts existed first.

    1. Joe,

      In this “it doesn’t make sense that he’d read through enough of the text to find that both Abraham and Joseph had purportedly written on them” you’re making a huge and incorrect assumption. None, repeat, none of the papyri mention Abraham nor Joseph, nor were they written by either one of them. We know this because we have the actual, physical original funerary documents. To assume that Joseph had read enough of the text to discover that they were written by either one or both of them is preposterous.

      Another large and seemingly incorrect assumption (though there’s not iron clad proof that it is incorrect) is “Joseph was only a scribe during this development part of the project, AND they arranged the GAEL ‘to’ an existing BofA.” Translating an alphabet and arranging a grammar does not presuppose an existing text. Translation implies creation of new text—grammar first. The text and narrative of Abraham is then woven from the details of the grammar. As Dan has repeatedly pointed out—the grammar was Joseph’s chance to try out his ideas. He followed a similar workshopping pattern with his family in the creation of the BoM, although he had no scribes to help him out then—it was all verbal. Your assumptions are critical flaws in your logic, and your theories then crumble for lack of a foundation.

  14. This wouldn’t fit but, in summary on July 19- The Alphabets and GAEL, degrees 1-5, (at least) contain concepts taken from the BofA as shown by references to: Abraham, Land of Chaldees, possessor of greater knowledge, follower of righteousness, fathers, false gods of Elkener, Zibnah (the white god), and son on, Noah blessing Ham, transgressions of Ham, blessing fell upon Shem from under the hand of Noah, back to Adam, right to priesthood, governed according to the pattern or order given to the patriarchs, Egypt underwater discovered by a woman, Eve, virgins, Pharaoh, Katumin, Onitas, father of faithful, first right, seeing greater happiness, traveling to land of Canaan, creation, women sought to settle her sons in that land, she being the daughter of Ham, etc.
    Much of this is repeated in each degree, and the fact that Bethka “should have” been added in each degree is also repeated (so didn’t just show up), but was already in the Alphabets, and “should have been” in the GAEL in the appropriate spot to align it with preexisting Abrahamic text. This, with everything else, shows that at least some of the BofA had been translated by Joseph before he….goes to Michigan to visit Church members.
    That was in early August. While he is gone, Phelps publishes the first edition of the D&C, which uses code words from the BofA. In September and October, Cowdery has been assigned to record Blessings. He adds references and quotes from the BofA and the BofJ in Blessings, as you report in your videos (claiming that they hadn’t yet reported the priesthood restoration and saw the papyri as a vehicle to establish priesthood, even though they had already reported this 5 years earlier).

    Sept. 11 WWP notes that no translation work had been done for a long time. This seems to indicate that GAEL/Alphabet (sometimes used interchangeably?) Degrees 5-1 had already been translated and arranged, and Phelps was waiting for more original BofA text before continuing.

    October 1, JS is doing “research” for the Egyptian Alphabet with Cowdery and Phelps. I’d say that he was examining (by translation) papyri for additional material to add to the GAEL and alphabets “…and during the research, the principles of astronomy as understood by Father Abraham and the ancients unfolded to our understanding, the particulars of which will appear hereafter.” So, astronomy was revealed, and apparently recorded.
    Oct. 7 “this afternoon recommenced translating the ancient records (Diary of JS). Again, more than is on any of our extant manuscripts could be translated in a day. This predates your November date for the Twin Manuscripts. It’s illogical to claim that these multiple translation sessions (July 3-6, July 19?, Oct. 7) produced nothing more than Abr. 1:1-3, when the GAEL contains excerpts from much of the twin manuscripts..

    October 29 Parrish is hired as a Scribe.
    The GAEL began on about pg 19-22 with the 1st degree and works forward to pg. 1 with the 5th degree.
    I’d say, at some point, after the end of October, they start the 5th degree 2nd part on pg. 23. This is where the astronomy sections begin, and Parrish’s handwriting starts on pg. 25, discussing Kli flos Isis, Kolob’s motion measured in cubits, etc.

    19 Nov. JS records that he spent the day in translating. This, or any session following (Nov. 20, 24, or 25.) could be where Parrish reported “I have set by his side and penned down the translation of the Egyptian Hieroglyphicks as he claimed to receive it by direct inspiration of Heaven.” This doesn’t sound like it was translating or arranging from the GAEL. And, if I’m allowed to speculate, I’d say that, if Joseph used the GAEL to translate, Parrish, as an angry critic (over accusations of dishonesty in the Bank failure), would have jumped on that in the letter quoted above.