Comments about ‘What's new: BYU scholar shares latest research on book of Abraham’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 13 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Aurora, CO

Most egyptoplogist disagree with Kerry, but at least he is trying.

Salt Lake, UT

A balanced approach to this article would require discussion of the fact that only an extremely small minority of scholars consider the Book of Abraham to be an authentic historical document. It's illogical to ignore the available data just because it isn't in agreement with your opinion. This is largely a local perspective and our host here, to some degree at least, has a global audience. What I saw in this article was not necessarily a bad thing in its proper context. However, since this is a newspaper and we're not in the opinion section I struggle to justify calling it journalism.

Westland, MI

For the true story of the BOA see below:

Now, for the first time, the surviving papyri have been translated into English in their entirety. In analyzing and translating the ancient texts, Robert K. Ritner, foremost American scholar of Egyptology, has determined that they were prepared for deceased men and women in Thebes during the Greco-Roman period. They have nothing to do with Abraham, Joseph, or a planet called Kolob, as Joseph Smith had claimed.

“Except for those willfully blind,” writes Professor Ritner of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, “the case is closed.” His new book is titled, "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition."

Dr. Ritner concluded that the papyri are ordinary Egyptian funeral texts, with possibly a few interesting side notes. For example, one of the Smith papyri is the “Document of Breathing Made by Isis” and is the oldest known datable copy (pre-150 BCE). Otherwise, Ritner states, anyone investigating claims of ancient evidence for Joseph Smith’s translation should not “waste his time,” although he does admit “that the study of the Mormon period of Egyptomania is interesting by itself.”

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Though I recognize the issues here, I love the Pearl of Great Price including the Book of Abraham.

New Yorker
Pleasant Grove, UT

For heaven's sake, this is an article about the release of a set of CDs for which many in DNs readership will have interest. It's not an article about the merits of the Book of Abraham, so you trolls can go back to sleep under the bridge.

I'd be interested in a downloadable release because I'd only rip them and put them on my player device anyhow.

the truth
Holladay, UT


What about the papyri that didn't survive?

So-called experts can translated something into what ever they want it to mean, that doesn't make it them right.

And where is it written that the Book of Abraham came from the surviving the papyri?

So-called "learned men" have been proven wrong time and again.

Those so-called translation are at best educated guesses.

layton, UT

RE: Twin Lights,Though I recognize the issues here, I love the Pearl of Great Price including the Book of Abraham. I agree,
The first 6 chapters of Genesis(JST)contains 311 verses, the Septuagint and Masoretic texts contain 184 verses. JST creates 27 verses. And there over 120 N.T. quotes ,which support the Septuagint and Masoretic texts. Not the Book of Moses.

RE: the truth, Those so-called translation are at best educated guesses. True, a poor KJV tranlstion ie..,

(Jude 1:6 KJV) the angels which kept not their first estate= *achre, Grk 746 but left their own habitation,… See Abraham 3:26. *first place, principality, rule, authority, of Angels, Demons.

A modern translation(Jude 1:6 NIV) And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home… Fallen angels(devils) Nothing to with Ante-mortal being.

Houston, TX

In many instances, Joseph Smith used the word "translate" to mean bringing forth revelation of lost writings of prophets in ancient times. He may have been "translating" the Bible, for instance, but the lost writings may never have been in those documents. It would be an assumption that the revealed accounts were once in the ancient scriptures, but they didn't have to be for the revelation to be true.

Joseph Smith received the Book of Abraham while inspecting Egyptian Papyri. It was an assumption that the papyri directly related to the revelation, but that is irrelevant. Those with a testimony of this revelation are not concerned whether the papyri in the Church's possession was physically related to Abraham or not.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY


Alternate translations do not indicate that time was not part of the issue.

From the Wiki folks:

"In rabbinic literature, the souls of all humanity are described as being created during the six days of creation (Book of Genesis). When each person is born, a preexisting soul is placed within the body."


"A concept of pre-existence was advanced by Origen, a Church Father who lived in the second and third century AD. Origen believed that each human soul was created by God at some time prior to conception. Church Fathers Tertullian and Jerome held to traducianism and creationism, respectively, and pre-existence was condemned as heresy in the Second Council of Constantinople in AD 553."

You have quoted Origen previously as being definitive of some concepts, so I assume his thoughts (though later condemned) have at least some relevance to you.

But either way you have to acknowledge that the pre-existence was a well known concept in early Christianity.

layton, UT

RE “Rabbinic literature” VS the Bible
…the spirit shall return unto God who gave it(Ecc 12:7) God existed before time, implying he created time In (2Tim 1:9 & Titus 1:2) God who gives life to the dead and Calls into Being things that were not.(Romans 4:17 NIV).

@Twin Lights,”pre-existence was a well known concept in early Christianity”.
Tertulllian wrote against the Platonic doctrine the Pre-existence of the soul and the Pythagorean(occult) doctrine of transmigration, re-incarnation. (200 A.D. On Souls).

Greek philosophy is the origin of this type of philosophy, not the Bible. The Bible teaches in 1Cor. 15:46-47: “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second is man is from heaven.”

For in him we live and move and have our Being...(Acts 17:28)Creation is dependent on God for it’s very existence

Bountiful, UT

The papyri that Joseph translated the BOA from didn't survive the Chicago Fire. What is being discussed is something less than 3% of the total papyrus that Joseph had and a part that Joseph never translated. This has no bearing on the Book of Abraham or Joseph's calling as a Prophet, Seer and Revelator.

The Scientist
Provo, UT


You keep telling yourself that.

Real Egyptologists know better.

Anytown, KY

@The Scientist

When you say “Real Egyptologists know better,” are you saying that they “know” the contents of the missing papyri? And if so, what scientific method did they use to “know” the unknowable? Or are you saying that they “know” these things in a similar way LDS testimony bearers “know” things—a statement of faith based on strong belief, experience, observation?

I’m sure you cry foul when Mormons say they “know” something to be true, yet somehow, you accept that Egyptologists “know” what was in the missing papyri.

the truth
Holladay, UT

@The Scientist

If you were a true scientist you would have provided evidence, or scientific research or proofs, and real contribution to the dialogue and not snarky statements which are of no value to anyone.

There are no "Real Egyptologists" just imperfect men who study what other imperfect men believed and added their "educated" opinion and research.

The "Real Egyptologists" died thousands of years ago.

Whether the Pearl of Great Price is correct about the included facsimiles of the papyri or these so called "educated" men will only wrongly accept their secular interpretation as correct is immaterial to the truthfulness of the Book of Abraham.

Daniel L.
Murray, UT

I would love to read or listen to this book. The Book of Abraham to me is a fascination and faith promoting book. I also think in not good science for any Egyptologist to make a claim of complete understanding of ancient Egyptian religion and cultural practices. A lot of things happen within cultures that many of the participants in latter generations do not understand and do not know the why's and what's about their original cultural practices.

A prime example of this in our modern day would be the Jewish tradition. As guardians of the so called "Old Testament" of the bible, they certainly do not read it through the lens and with the same understanding of either Christians or Muslims. So while stories of one generation may carry specific meanings, It is also highly probable and most likely that Egyptians suffer from similar generational changes in the meanings of these ancient stories.

Salt Lake City, UT

" Those with a testimony of this revelation are not concerned whether the papyri in the Church's possession was physically related to Abraham or not." But for those us with doubts, we are left with little to base an opinion on. For example the BOM, it turns out that for the most part it was not translated from the plates. It was an inspiration. We are left scratching our heads. So it all comes down to the willingness to believe, or suspend disbelief. If so, why all of the fuss about papyri and plates?

Many of us are left believing and doubting at the same time.

Westland, MI

The BOA (in reality the pseudo-BOA) crumbles to the dustbin of historical veracity based upon its internal evidence - the false doctrine of plurality of Gods.

Portland, Oregon

It's so entertaining when men argue over things that will only truly be revealed through revelation. Man pretends to know so much yet actually knows so very little.

Patience and faith will always win out over impatience and doubt.

When the Lord is ready for us to know the truth, he will show it to us.
Then nothing will keep it hidden.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

"Whether the Pearl of Great Price is correct about the included facsimiles of the papyri or these so called "educated" men will only wrongly accept their secular interpretation as correct is immaterial to the truthfulness of the Book of Abraham."

I think when many Mormons use the word "truthfulness" they really mean "truthiness".

The BOA certainly has a touch of "truthiness" to it.

sandy, ut

the truth

Maybe you are right and the part of the papyri that is gone is the real translation that can never be inspected. Maybe they were also taken up to heaven with angel moroni so they could never bee analyzed...

But a more plausible explanation is that Joseph tried to translate them, but he was blatantly wrong. If the small part of the papyri that does exist has been found by any credible student of egyptian to be a false translation by Smith, what would lead you to believe that the rest is correct? Wouldn't you assume if he couldn't even get that small portiion correct that the rest that is missing is wrong too??

Yes, maybe Joseph did get the papyri and the translation wasn't really a translation but a revelation - if so he wouldn't have needed the papyri in the first place. This explanation isn't only a stretch, it is an excuse for those who have nowhere else to go. Yes it was a translation, but it came through the spirit of revelation, not from the papyri. Right.

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