“King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head”

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Shulem
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Written in the Stars

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Shulem wrote:
Sat Oct 02, 2021 11:26 pm
The scene takes place in heaven or the afterlife among gods and immortals. It’s not even an earthly scene! The stars in the upper frieze bear witness that the scene is taking place in heaven.
Shulem wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:36 pm
It is a heavenly scene taking place among immortals. The scene is not occurring on planet earth as we know it. It’s heaven and Isis is standing behind her beloved husband, Osiris, Judge of the dead.
Shulem wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 6:52 pm
According to Egyptologists, the scene of Facsimile No. 3, takes place in the netherworld, the afterlife, and is a ceremonious event for the character Hôr (Fig. 5). But Smith and the Mormons, erroneously claim that the scene takes place in Egypt in a mortal setting, which is the furthest from the truth because in reality the persons in the scene are in heaven and are immortal. Smith obviously recognized the frieze containing a row of stars in the upper section of the vignette and likely associated them with his erroneous introduction of the Asiatic biblical character of Abraham “reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the king’s court.” But the stars in the upper register or frieze have nothing to do with biblical Abraham reasoning with Egyptians about astronomy whether on earth or in heaven. I assert that Dr. Gee is well aware of this and knows that the stars in the vignette are designed for the very purpose of identifying the scene as heavenly in nature -- a part of the afterlife.

Dr. Gee is well aware that the persons in the Facsimile are “dwellers in the netherworld” (dwAt ii w), and that the characters are immortal gods and goddesses who welcome Hôr (a dead man) into the afterlife to live forever in the divine presence of the gods. The scene is NOT earthly! Joseph Smith’s interpretation is wrong and the Church continues to mislead new converts in telling them that Smith translated the papyrus correctly.

Dr. Gee knows full well that Egyptologists know the Facsimile scene as a funerary spell and ritual that takes place in the “starry sky” (xAbAs), in the very heavens whereby each “star” (sbA) in the frieze serves as a testament that the scene is not of this earth.

It’s important to understand that the foundation of the Facsimile No. 3 scene is built upon the premise that this representation is based upon gods and immortals living in heaven, not earth. The upper frieze of the stars signify the starry sky overhead. The hieroglyphic spell at the bottom serves as a base upon which all things in heaven reside. An Egyptian translation of the bottom text reads as thus:

O gods of the necropolis, gods of the caverns, gods of the south, north, west and east, grant salvation to the Osiris Hôr, the justified, born by Taikhibit.

Thus we see, there is no place for a mortal Abraham sitting on an earthly throne where worldly things exist. Facsimile No. 3, transcends death and is the immortal place of glory in which Egyptians hoped to ascend and live forever. Here, we are able to witness in full splendor, Queen Isis standing in the presence of her beloved husband whereupon the caption above her says, “Isis the great, the god’s mother.”

Amen
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Trick Questions from John Gee

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A Method for Studying the Facsimiles, John Gee, 2007

John Gee wrote:We want to know: does X (the interpretation of Joseph Smith) equal Y (the interpretation of the ancient Egyptians)? But in reality the question is usually modified slightly by asking: does X (the interpretation of Joseph Smith) equal Z (the interpretation of modern Egyptologists)?

Gee asked two questions and the second is designed to blur everything as if a definite answer can’t be ascertained because of disagreeing interpretations. But not in the case of the question I am asking which is:

“What’s the king’s name in Facsimile No. 3, in the characters above the head of Fig. 2?”

That is a very simple question in which ALL Egyptologists will agree in unison. The answer:

THERE IS NO KING’S NAME!

Thus, we may conclude that Joseph Smith’s interpretation (X) does not equal the interpretation of the ancient Egyptians, nor does it equal the interpretation of modern Egyptologists (Y)!

This proves that Joseph Smith was wrong, incorrect, or provided a false answer to the hieroglyphic text in question. Nonetheless, Dr. Gee continues to find ways to question the relevance of an answer when it doesn’t support his cause:

John Gee wrote:Earlier in this review I referred to the desire to know the answer to the question: Does the interpretation of Joseph Smith match the interpretation of the ancient Egyptians, or does X=Y? We know that the interpretations of the Egyptologists typically do not match either those of the ancient Egyptians (Z=Y) or Joseph Smith (Z=X) and so they are simply irrelevant to the issue. But the unquestioned assumption is that the interpretation of Joseph Smith has to match the interpretation of the ancient Egyptians (X=Y). This assumption is related to assumptions and theories (both formal and informal) about the nature of the facsimiles. Several such theories do not require Joseph Smith’s interpretation to be the same or even close to that of the ancient Egyptians. For example, ancient Jewish interpretations for various Egyptian scenes are known that differ considerably from the ancient Egyptian interpretations and to which Egyptological methods give us no clue. Before any conclusions can be drawn from any comparisons between the two, one needs to have an answer to the question: why do Joseph Smith’s interpretations need to match ancient Egyptian interpretations at all? I do not intend to answer the issue here but merely to raise it. Critics should note that unless they can answer this question satisfactorily, they have no case.

This astounding remark made by John Gee shies away from what Joseph Smith literally said and denies that ALL Egyptologists can agree on particular points. No need to bring up the Jews! What do the Jews have to do with this funerary vignette of Osiris in heaven? Nothing! It’s smoke and mirrors on John Gee’s part. We fully expect that Joseph Smith’s interpretation should match that of the Egyptians when he said a king’s “name is given in the characters” or written within the hieroglyphic text. This was not an assumption made by Joseph Smith but a revelation and if that revelation is true then there is a king’s name in those characters and there better be a Cartouche in which to enclose it!

I think the most pernicious part of Dr. Gee’s analysis is when he asks his readers “why do Joseph Smith’s interpretations need to match ancient Egyptian interpretations at all?” What kind of silly question is that? Who in Kirtland or Nauvoo would have ever posed such an asinine question to the prophet Joseph Smith? The question deserves zero respect, nor should it be posed, and is completely without any basis in what Smith claimed. Gee is posing an illogical and ridiculous apologetic because he knows Smith was wrong and can’t face it. He concludes that nobody can really determine whether Smith’s interpretations match that of modern Egyptologists, let alone the Egyptians. But try applying this to the Explanation given for Fig. 2., and Smith’s house of cards collapses on that alone.

John Gee wrote:Much more work needs to be done before we can understand the facsimiles in their ancient Egyptian setting, and only then will it be meaningful to ask whether that understanding matches that of Joseph Smith (to the extent that we understand even that).

What’s the king’s name, John? Where is the Cartouche?
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Re: Kerry Muhlestein has Questions but no Answers

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Egyptian Papyri and the Book of Abraham: Some Questions and Answers,
Kerry Muhlestein, 2010



Kerry Muhlestein echoes John Gee’s apologetic expressed in the previous thread by telling his readers to think that nobody really understands everything there is to understand about Egyptology, therefore Joseph Smith’s interpretations can’t be disproved.

Kerry Muhlestein wrote:What about the facsimiles, with their mysterious explanations provided by Joseph Smith? The possible interpretations of the facsimiles are complicated and numerous. What are we to make of them? Typically people have asked what the Egyptians would say these drawings meant, and how this compares with what Joseph said they meant. Here a distinction must be observed, for when this question is asked, it is answered not by ancient Egyptians but by modern Egyptologists. This is, of course, understandable because we do not have access to any ancient Egyptians, and we assume modern Egyptologists are reliable replacements. But we know that Egyptologists are often wrong regarding what Egyptians would have said on the subject.

Laying all things aside, I pose the same questions to Muhlestein that I do for Gee:

1) “What’s the king’s name in Facsimile No. 3?”
2) “Where is the royal Cartouche?”

Kerry Muhlestein wrote:Furthermore, we cannot be sure that we should be looking to the Egyptians to know how to interpret these symbols in the Book of Abraham. What if Abraham’s descendants took Egyptian elements of culture and applied their own meanings to them?

And if “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts then everyone would have a merry Christmas? Seriously, how do I respond to your statement, Kerry? It’s so off the charts and out in left field that it practically doesn’t deserve a response because it’s so blatantly deceptive. I’m sorry, but I can’t read your article! It’s just unreal and I can’t fathom a single Egyptologist outside the Mormon faith who would find your apologetic and analysis of the papyrus as credible. Surely, this is a ruse and this kind of scholarship needs to stop.

Former BYU professor Brian Hauglid said:

Brian Hauglid wrote:I no longer agree with Gee or Mulhestein. I find their apologetic “scholarship” on the Book of Abraham abhorrent.

Nonetheless, Kerry, I do agree with this statement:

Kerry Muhlestein wrote:As I translate these hieroglyphs, they do not match Joseph’s interpretations.

I don’t believe it when you say, “I am not disturbed by Joseph labeling Figure 2 as a male when the picture and text identify a female.” This flies in the face of what Smith claimed and demeans the goddess Isis and her relationship to her husband! Am I not right about that? You can read the text and you know it applies to Isis, a woman.

Kerry Muhlestein wrote:Yet this does not fully satisfy my questions about how I understand the labels Egyptologically as opposed to how Joseph Smith understood them. While I am not satisfied with the answer thus far, I am not concerned.

You’re not concerned that there is no king’s name in the text when Joseph Smith’s revelation declared there was such a name?

Kerry Muhlestein wrote:During more than a decade of research on this subject, I have often found that I have misunderstood the Book of Abraham and made incorrect assumptions about it. Even more frequently I have found mistakes and inaccuracies in my own professional discipline, Egyptology. We are a fairly young discipline, and just as research on the Book of Abraham is a work in progress, so is Egyptology as a whole. Our history as a discipline is full of gaffes, mistakes, stumbles, and wonderful discoveries and corrections. Many of these corrections have been immensely helpful in my efforts to understand the Book of Abraham.

I’ll remind you sir, you are fully able to decipher the person of Fig. 2, and read the writing ascribed to her in the text above her head. You can thank the pioneers of Egyptology who made this possible wherein you could come to this knowledge and understand the truth. As you can see, you won’t get that from Joseph Smith’s interpretations and translations because unlike you he couldn’t read Egyptian and didn’t know what it meant.
Last edited by Shulem on Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: “King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head”

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Joseph Smith wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 8:52 pm
Now let me ask one for facts: was there ever such a place on the earth as Egypt? Geography says yes; ancient history says yes; and the Bible says yes. So three witnesses have solved that question.

Indeed, there was an ancient Egypt and multiple records testify of that fact. Smith was well informed by the biblical account. He was also familiar with other sources that provide information about ancient Egypt such as Josephus and the book of Jasher. He fully understood two specific things about Egypt:

1) Pharaoh was the most preeminent person in Egypt
2) The Egyptians worshipped many gods

The Book of Abraham recognizes these factors as typical characteristics of Egypt and are included in the Book of Abraham account, including the Facsimiles. In Facsimile No. 1, we are introduced to the gods of Egypt by the representations of those gods under the lion bed as described in Fig. 4., more particularly, we are informed that the crocodile of Fig. 9., is the idolatrous god of Pharaoh. Finally, in Facsimile No. 3, we are formerly introduced to what Smith said is “King Pharaoh”, not just in word only but in a personal manifestation, an actual drawing of the king of Egypt as he stood in his royal court. What could be more grand than to stand in the very hall of audiences where the king and his courtiers reside in the presence of a majestic throne in which the king ruled?

Smith’s Book of Abraham satisfied the most basic criteria, namely that Egypt had a king and their religion was based on polytheism. But what goes awry is the introduction of that king in Facsimile No. 3, and the inscription of what is supposed to be his name. The most important and fundamental characteristics in defining this illustration are completely wrong. What may have been classified as the first articles of Egyptian faith is seriously misrepresented by Smith’s false interpretations. Egyptology has proven that Fig. 2, is not the king of Egypt and neither is a Pharaoh’s name above the head. Two strikes!! But even worse is when Smith places Asiatic Abraham on the throne where he himself holds the crook and flail, divine instruments held only by kings and gods as they symbolize their right to rule. Nothing could be more out of place than Abraham sitting on the throne in the presence of the court. There are no ancient scenes from native Egyptian dynasties in all the corpus of existing records that depict such an awful sight as a foreigner sitting on the throne with crook and flail in hand simulating the god Osiris!

The fact is plainly manifest that Smith got the most basic things wrong. The first article of Egyptian faith is that Egypt is governed by a king who is considered by his people to be a god. And now we see Smith thinking to supplant that god-king by placing one of his favorite biblical characters on his throne? Nothing could be further from truth. Furthermore, nothing could be further from the truth than identifying Queen Isis as a mortal king of Egypt and falsely labeling an inscription to her glory. It is wrong and there is no justification or way to defend Smith’s debacle. He messed up. Why can’t apologists admit that? Why does the Church continue to perpetuate these lies?

I don’t mean to sound rude, but lying is to knowingly claim something true when you know it is not.
Last edited by Shulem on Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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“MORMONISM IN ITS TRUE LIGHT”

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Those who are following this thread may find the link below very enlightening. It highlights Smith’s belief that the Book of Abraham (including the Explanations of Facsimile No. 3) is “Mormonism in its true light”.

“MORMONISM IN ITS TRUE LIGHT”


Now, with that said, what happens when something is enlightening? You understand it! The mystery begins to evaporate and the mind perceives things exactly how they really are. You and I have to have light in order to read the text on the page of a book. Joseph Smith had to have divine light to decipher the hieroglyphic text on Abraham’s roll. Smith told the Church that the roll was the very handiwork of Abraham although it was noted that his penmanship was not as good as the other roll written by Joseph. Nonetheless, Abraham was said to have drawn the representation of the altar at the beginning of the record and mentions that in Abraham 1:12. The same hand that penned the Book of Abraham upon papyrus also drew the altar. That same hand drew the vignette for Facsimile No. 3, to include King Pharaoh. The mummies were dated by Joseph Smith to have been on the order of 3,500 years old and the papyri were the very handiworks of Abraham & Joseph who lived prior to the interment. From that point the mummies and the papyri had not seen the light of day for 3,500 years.
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Re: “King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head”

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Here’s the deal:

If Egyptologists John Gee and Kerry Muhlestein had a credible case in defending Joseph Smith’s interpretation of Fig. 2., then that case would be supported by their professional colleagues. As it remains, these two Egyptologists are paid by BYU to defend the Book of Abraham using methods that are not acceptable or credible to their colleagues. What Egyptologist outside the Mormon faith embraces their ideas or lend credibility to Smith’s interpretations and translations? There are none!

Gee and Muhlestein base everything on their testimony that Smith was a true prophet so therefore his revelations must somehow be true but they are unable to come to terms or means on how those things are true other than it’s a mystery they can’t explain let alone solve. I can imagine these gentlemen would love to ask the prophet exactly what he meant and how he came to those Explanations with regard to the vignette! That would be the million dollar question. Coincidently, the Church spends far more than a million paying BYU employees to defend the Facsimile No. 3, and produce what seems like authentic and authoritative articles in order to save testimonies. But it’s really too late for that because testimonies of the Book of Abraham need to be broken! Why? Because faith based on things that have been proven false is not good. The Explanations of Facsimile No. 3 are untrue and nobody should have faith in them.
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Leave the Jews out of it!

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Egyptologists (Gee & Muhlestein) are both on record for suggesting the Book of Abraham may have Jewish influences which are not understood by the current discipline or understood by modern Egyptology. They suggest there may be something wonderfully mysterious about the Book of Abraham that involves the Jews and therefore Smith was somehow unlocking the mystery through a Jewish connection between the papyrus and his own interpretations and translations. All of this is nothing more or less than pure fantasy as desperate apologists attempt to instill doubt in one hand and hope in the other. In other words, it’s an apologetic trick and a dead-end street.

Here is a sampling of this apologetics from the articles posted and examined earlier:

John Gee wrote:Several such theories do not require Joseph Smith’s interpretation to be the same or even close to that of the ancient Egyptians. For example, ancient Jewish interpretations for various Egyptian scenes are known that differ considerably from the ancient Egyptian interpretations and to which Egyptological methods give us no clue.
Kerry Muhlestein wrote:Thus, is it not possible that we should look for a Jewish interpretation of the Egyptian drawings, rather than for an Egyptian interpretation? Or what if the drawings were originally done in Jewish/Israelite artistic style, but when they were recopied in the second century BC by an Egyptian, the Egyptian artist redrew them according to his artistic customs? Where should we then look to know how to interpret these drawings? It is apparent that there are serious problems with trying to verify or disprove Joseph’s explanations of the facsimiles by comparing them to Egyptological explanations.

This business of associating the Jews with the Egyptians is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It’s a magician’s trick or an illusion. It’s an apologetic trick designed to influence readers into thinking that there are things about the Book of Abraham that are so mysterious and deep that nobody can really know or understand the hidden mysteries of Smith's papyrus. The apologists are simply trying to deceive their readers into considering the possibility of things not proven in order to disprove things that have been proven. It’s quite the trick!

Leave the Jews out of it! There is nothing Jewish in the Facsimile No. 3 and the bible has absolutely nothing to do with the incantations and spells of the so-called Abrahamic roll. The vignettes and fragments that are currently extant are proof of that. It’s Egyptian funerary theme and is wholly attributed to the Egyptian religion in that it glorifies THEIR gods. The key to knowing that there is nothing Jewish about Facsimile No. 3 is in knowing that this very vignette glorifies the principles of IDOLATRY! Idolatry was Anathema to Jews and their religious books. Jewish influence is not found in Facsimile No. 3. Looking for some kind of connection from the Jews in Facsimile No. 3 is like mixing oil and water and is a convoluted means to invent things that don’t exist and create a paradigm that has no place in the papyri Smith translated. The apologists would have us think there is invisible Hebrew written on the Facsimiles and nobody can ever understand the mysteries of things they themselves can’t explain, let alone comprehend.

Facsimile No. 3 has four Egyptian deities on its face. It glorifies the polytheistic religion of ancient Egypt. It’s a tribute to the gods of Egypt. It has nothing to do with the Jews or the bible. The inscription in the lower registry is a testament to that FACT:

O gods of the necropolis, gods of the caverns, gods of the south, north, west and east, grant salvation to the Osiris Hôr, the justified, born by Taikhibit.
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Kerry Muhlestein Hits a Bullseye!

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Kerry Muhlestein wrote: Joseph Smith and Egyptian Artifacts: A Model for Evaluating the Prophetic Nature of the Prophet’s Ideas about the Ancient World; Kerry Muhlestein, 2016

For those who approach the subject from a nonbelieving starting point, the answer is simple. Joseph Smith, like so many in his day, was excited about ancient artifacts and was imaginative in his approach to them. He freely assigned his imaginative ideas to inspiration and touted them as absolutely true, which was then accepted by his followers. Thus, in this paradigm, Joseph Smith received no revelation at all. This perspective would be equally applied to the canonized interpretations of the Facsimiles and the text contained in the Book of Abraham.


This is exactly my point! This is the position of everyone who is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including me. The Explanations of Facsimile No. 3 bear witness that Smith’s ability to decipher and translate the vignette in the manner in which *he* claimed is reason enough for anyone to reject the Book of Abraham. The apologetic folly of defending the Explanations of this Facsimile go beyond the pale and lack any common sense from an Egyptological point of view. Obviously, Smith was “imaginative” in describing each of the characters of the vignette. His imagination was so wild that he was even willing to hack off the nose of Anubis in order to transform him into what he wanted him to be. Smith absolutely “touted” his ability to interpret the characters and hieroglyphs on that papyrus just as he was able to translate characters from the gold plates and he claimed he was the only person alive that could read ancient hieroglyphs. I’m 100% convinced and absolutely know with all my mind and heart that Joseph Smith was not receiving revelation from God and that the Explanations of Facsimile No. 3 are utterly wrong.

Everything Smith said about the textual, geographic, and historical points of the funerary vignette are all the proof one needs to confirm that Smith’s interpretations were totally inaccurate -- therefore false. This is all the proof I need to verify Smith did not receive revelation in translating that document.
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Re: “King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head”

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What if Professors Gee and Muhlestein were able to get members of some Rabbinical college to claim ownership of these Egyptian papyri?
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THE BACKYARD PROFESSOR

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A new 1 hour podcast from former apologist known as the Backyard Professor. Kerry takes matters in hand and provides an interesting and articulate review of the latest apologetic methods employed in defending Facsimile No. 3.

Click the link below (Rated PG for some strong language)

Book of Abraham Facsimile #3 of the Joseph Smith Papyri: What Mormonism is STILL not Saying

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https://backyardprofessor.org/
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