The Quincy Account

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Philo Sofee
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Philo Sofee »

Agreed Res Ipsa. Gathering all the other accounts and evidences of the literalness of Joseph Smith, the Signature of Abraham is seriously very probable of Joseph Smith to say that. Isolating one witness without all the background doesn't do it justice. I guess that is what I am telling Ryan as well. I do see your point, but the overall propensity is without question far greater that Joseph Smith said that is the signature of Abraham. After all, the official publication did say it was his book written by his own hand upon papyrus as well... And the unpublished account of Joseph Smith was that Abraham himself "penned" the book! H. Michael Marquardt has that on his website.
Ryan Larsen
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Ryan Larsen »

Shulem wrote:
Wed Mar 23, 2022 10:51 pm
Ryan Larsen wrote:
Wed Mar 09, 2022 2:53 pm
In his introduction, Quincy states:


I trust that all of us better understand or appreciate what Quincy may have meant by the “grace of expression” as he tendered his views to different parties whether it be his beloved wife, his own journal, or someone else. But the testimonials came from him as he saw fit to explain it and as it was understood by others.
I agree with much of what you're saying, but subtle nuances (like word choices) are relevant today in ways Quincy (and Quincy's friend who weaved together the book) may not have foreseen.
Ryan Larsen
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Ryan Larsen »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 2:16 am
Ryan Larsen wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 9:50 pm



You are definitely a tough cookie 🍪 you inspired me to do a little extra digging. Thank you.

It turns out that at least one relevant letter about his experience in Nauvoo has been found. It’s apparently quoted in full here:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/josi ... eph-smith/

It’s a letter to his wife, written one day after he met Joseph Smith.

It appears to contradict the book on at least a couple points. I’ll discuss one of them here.

The book says Joseph Smith blessed Adams but not Quincy:

“The greeting to me was cordial — with that sort of cordiality with which the president of a college might welcome a deserving janitor — and a blessing formed no part of it. ‘And now come, both of you, into the house…’”

The letter to his wife says Joseph blessed “us,” i.e. both.

“He however blessed us & requested us into his mansion…”

So, which account is to be believed? Which is more reliable, a letter to his wife written the next day, or an edited version of events put together almost 40 years later by someone else?
Hi Ryan and a belated welcome.

If there were a direct contradiction between the letter and the later account, all other things being equal, I’d place more weight on the letter. Given what we know about memory, the account written closer in time is more likely to be correct.

But I’m not seeing that type of contradiction here. The letter is a fairly brief summary of several events. I don’t think that the absence of any mention of the autograph is evidence that Smith didn’t say it. In Bayesian terms, I don’t see the absence of that specific detail from the letter as significantly changing whatever the prior was.

Interesting discussion. Carry on!
Thank you for the welcome! I do appreciate it.
Res Ipsa
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Res Ipsa »

Philo Sofee wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 2:41 am
Agreed Res Ipsa. Gathering all the other accounts and evidences of the literalness of Joseph Smith, the Signature of Abraham is seriously very probable of Joseph Smith to say that. Isolating one witness without all the background doesn't do it justice. I guess that is what I am telling Ryan as well. I do see your point, but the overall propensity is without question far greater that Joseph Smith said that is the signature of Abraham. After all, the official publication did say it was his book written by his own hand upon papyrus as well... And the unpublished account of Joseph Smith was that Abraham himself "penned" the book! H. Michael Marquardt has that on his website.
I obviously don’t know the source material as well as you folks, but the the later account’s claim with respect to Abraham’s signature is in no way inconsistent with Smith’s own claims about the scrolls. If we properly base out prior on all other evidence we have, I don’t think the Quincy account shifts the probability much on the issue of what Smith actually claimed about the Book of Abraham. I can guess why it might be an obstacle to an apologetic argument about what Smith really thought, but my thing is evaluation of evidence and not apologetics.
he/him
"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see."
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Ryan Larsen
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Ryan Larsen »

Philo Sofee wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 2:41 am
Agreed Res Ipsa. Gathering all the other accounts and evidences of the literalness of Joseph Smith, the Signature of Abraham is seriously very probable of Joseph Smith to say that. Isolating one witness without all the background doesn't do it justice. I guess that is what I am telling Ryan as well. I do see your point, but the overall propensity is without question far greater that Joseph Smith said that is the signature of Abraham. After all, the official publication did say it was his book written by his own hand upon papyrus as well... And the unpublished account of Joseph Smith was that Abraham himself "penned" the book! H. Michael Marquardt has that on his website.
I wouldn't say that my issue with the Quincy account is so much about the word "signature." I'm arguing that the account overall is not as reliable as we might have hoped or expected. It gets a number of facts wrong, and was written under circumstances which the casual reader of the account wouldn't naturally be aware of (almost 40 years later, etc). I'm not throwing the whole thing under the bus, but I'm saying that its weight should be adjusted according to these details.

In my blog post (linked in the opening post), I address the word "signature" as someone else used it. I'll try to add a screenshot here.

Thanks all you guys. I may need a little break from things, to address health issues and such, but I'll still be around!
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Res Ipsa
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Res Ipsa »

Ryan Larsen wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 3:44 am
Philo Sofee wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 2:41 am
Agreed Res Ipsa. Gathering all the other accounts and evidences of the literalness of Joseph Smith, the Signature of Abraham is seriously very probable of Joseph Smith to say that. Isolating one witness without all the background doesn't do it justice. I guess that is what I am telling Ryan as well. I do see your point, but the overall propensity is without question far greater that Joseph Smith said that is the signature of Abraham. After all, the official publication did say it was his book written by his own hand upon papyrus as well... And the unpublished account of Joseph Smith was that Abraham himself "penned" the book! H. Michael Marquardt has that on his website.
I wouldn't say that my issue with the Quincy account is so much about the word "signature." I'm arguing that the account overall is not as reliable as we might have hoped or expected. It gets a number of facts wrong, and was written under circumstances which the casual reader of the account wouldn't naturally be aware of (almost 40 years later, etc). I'm not throwing the whole thing under the bus, but I'm saying that its weight should be adjusted according to these details.

In my blog post (linked in the opening post), I address the word "signature" as someone else used it. I'll try to add a screenshot here.

Thanks all you guys. I may need a little break from things, to address health issues and such, but I'll still be around!
Thanks for the clarification and I hope you are feeling better soon.
he/him
"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see."
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Ryan Larsen
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Ryan Larsen »

Thanks! I just wish there was more time and energy in the day lol
Philo Sofee
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Philo Sofee »

Yeah hey its all good and we have no time table to keep, so get feeling better and hope its not anything serious!
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Shulem
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Shulem »

Ryan Larsen wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 3:44 am
In my blog post (linked in the opening post), I address the word "signature" as someone else used it. I'll try to add a screenshot here.

Image

The Webster 1828 Dictionary server is still down. I therefore refer to my earlier post which I’m pretty sure is the No. 2 definition which is the one relevant to the discussion at hand that I had previously copied from the old dictionary:

Noah Webster 1828 wrote:SIGNATURE, noun [Latin signo, to sign.] Sign manual; the name of a person written or subscribed by himself.

Hence, the sign in this case *is* the name written by the hand of the person who makes a confirmation.

Ryan Larsen wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 3:25 am
I agree with much of what you're saying, but subtle nuances (like word choices) are relevant today in ways Quincy (and Quincy's friend who weaved together the book) may not have foreseen.

Ryan,

I am willing to make a concession. I recognize that the account in “Figures of the Past” is a later work in collecting data about what occurred during that brief period in May of 1844 just one month before the prophet died. You have made the following point in your opening post that the “grace of expression” has to be taken into consideration whereby we may not be getting a literal carbon copy of exactly what was said between Joseph Smith and Josiah Quincy. I totally get that and can appreciate the implications that there may be more to it than meets the eye.

Therefore, I am willing to concede that it’s possible that Joseph Smith never actually said the word “signature” during the conversation in which he was describing Abraham’s connection to the papyrus. It’s also possible that Quincy never actually said the word “autograph” in his reply. It’s entirely possible that the later account is using these words to best describe the conversation that took place between both parties and that “word choices” through the “grace of expression” were later employed to provide added detail in explaining the verbal transaction between Smith and Quincy.

With that said, however, I still maintain that Joseph Smith claimed the papyrus was an original manuscript written by the very hand of Abraham himself. Everything we know about what was said by Smith, Cowdery, and others, shows that the saints believed they had a 3,500 year old document and that it was an original artifact produced by the patriarch himself.

Taking into consideration that I am willing to concede that the words signature & autograph may be an afterthought later on in describing what took place, I hereby offer this alternative to describe what may have been said and implied:

SMITH: “My time has hitherto been too much taken up to translate the whole of them, but I will show you how I interpret certain parts. There, that is the name of the patriarch Abraham.”

QUINCY: “It is indeed a most interesting observation, and doubtless the only one extant. What an ornament it would be to have these ancient manuscripts handsomely set, in appropriate frames, and hung up around the walls of the temple which you are about to erect in this place.”
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Shulem
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Shulem »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 3:51 am
Thanks for the clarification and I hope you are feeling better soon.

Yes, get well soon, Ryan.
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