Jeff Lindsay praises John Gee's book “Introduction to the Book of Abraham” as a tool to save his testimony

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Re: Jeff Lindsay praises John Gee's book “Introduction to the Book of Abraham” as a tool to save his testimony

Post by Res Ipsa »

I’m gonna sit in the corner and listen. It is kinda nice up here.
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Re: Jeff Lindsay praises John Gee's book “Introduction to the Book of Abraham” as a tool to save his testimony

Post by Philo Sofee »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:32 am
I’m gonna sit in the corner and listen. It is kinda nice up here.
You want part of my muffin? Don't even pretend yer gonna snatch my coffee however... :D
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Re: Jeff Lindsay praises John Gee's book “Introduction to the Book of Abraham” as a tool to save his testimony

Post by Res Ipsa »

Philo Sofee wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 12:43 pm
Res Ipsa wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:32 am
I’m gonna sit in the corner and listen. It is kinda nice up here.
You want part of my muffin? Don't even pretend yer gonna snatch my coffee however... :D
Thanks! I’ll find the coffee pot and pour my own cup of Joe.
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When I go to sea, don’t fear for me. Fear for the storm.

Jessica Best, Fear for the Storm. From The Strange Case of the Starship Iris.
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Re: Chronology and Dating

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Please, AGAIN, consider the solemn statement made by Joseph Smith concerning the age of the papyrus and the mummies because I have something further to add in order to help better understand the full implications of what Smith was expressing.

JOSEPH SMITH wrote:
TIMES AND SEASONS
"Truth will prevail."
Vol. IV. No. 24.] CITY OF NAUVOO, ILL. November 1, 1843. [Whole No. 84.

HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH.


Besides these tangible facts, so easily proven and demonstrated by simple rules of testimony unimpeached, the art (now lost) of embalming human bodies, and preserving them in the catacombs of Egypt, whereby men, women and children as mummies, after a lapse of near three thousand five hundred years, come forth among the living, and although dead, the papyrus which has lived in their bosoms, unharmed, speaks for them, in language like the sound of an earthquake: Ecce veritas! Ecce cadaveros. Behold the truth! Behold the mummies!

Let us refer to the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants which also included the Lectures on Faith published in Church canon until 1921 when they were removed. The Lectures of Faith was a source of information in which Smith taught biblical chronology and much of that is also still in the original canon of the D&C:

LECTURE SECOND. Of Faith. SECTION II. 53 wrote:We have now traced the chronology of the world, agreeably to the account given in our present bible, from Adam to Abraham, and have clearly determined, beyond the power of controversy, that there was no difficulty in preserving the knowledge of God in the world, from the creation of Adam, and the manifestation made to his immediate descendants, as set forth in the former part of this lecture, so that the students, in this class need not have any dubiety resting on their minds, on this subject; for they can easily see, that it is impossible for it to be otherwise; but that the knowledge of the existence of a God, must have continued from father to son, as a matter of tradition, at least. For we cannot suppose, that a knowledge of this important fact, could have existed in the mind of any of the before mentioned individuals, without their having made it known to their posterity.

LECTURE II gives a key point in understanding chronology particular to the dating of Abraham:

50 wrote:Reu died in the, 2026th year of the world, Serug in 2049th, Terah in the 2083rd, Arphaxed in the 2096th, Salah in the 2126th, 'Shem in the 2158th, Abraham in the 2183rd, and Eber in the 2187th: which was 4 years after Abraham's death. And Eber was the fourth from Noah.

Thus, according to the chronology, Abraham died 2,183 years after the world began through Adam. Joseph Smith was deeply interested in biblical chronology and how to date the time of the ancient Patriarchs. Consider this from an official Church publication in which Smith endorsed:

THE EVENING AND THE MORNING STAR Independence, Mo. August, 1832 wrote:
PRESENT AGE OF THE WORLD.

There are so many different opinions upon, as well as various periods to the age of the world, that we fear the truth of the matter will be believed by few. Whether by the commentators upon the sacred writings, or by the clergy, the term of four thousand and four years, was put down as the exact time from the beginning till the birth of the Savior, we shall not pretend to say, but content ourselves by stating, that 4004 years, which is the present Christian calculation, added to the current year of our Lord, makes but 5836 years since the commencement of time in this world. But upon collecting the passed periods that the Lord has been pleased to measure out to his servants, by the prophets, we find a very different amount of years from the beginning. We compute thus:

Chapters. Years.

Gen. 5 & 8 From Adam to the end of the flood, ... 1656

" 11. From the flood to Abram, .............. 292

" 21. From Abram to Isaac, .................. 100

" 25. From Isaac to Jacob, ................... 60

" 47. From Jacob's birth to his entering Egypt, 130

Ex. 12. The children of Israel in Egypt, ..... 430

From their departure out of Egypt till the birth of the Savior.

----------------------------------------------------------------- 1491

Years before Christ, ................. 4159

Since his birth, ..................... 1832

From the beginning till now, ......... 5991

Deduct, .............................. 5836

Difference, .......................... 155

Now, when Joseph Smith made his general statement that the papyrus and mummies were some 3,500 years old, we need to consider the year in which he made that statement.

Thus, 1843 AD - 3,500 years = 1657 BC which is the time of the Patriarchs, in particular Joseph of Egypt.

We know that Joseph Smith often used the Adam Clarke Commentary in the Joseph Smith translation of the bible. This has been firmly established as a fact and the evidence to that is incontrovertible. Smith spent a lot of time revising the Book of Geneses and moreover chapter 50. Now let us look in the Adam Clarke Commentary and see what dating is available in a table he presents that pertains to the Patriarchs in question, especially JOSEPH of Egypt:

Please note that the first date represents A.M. and the second is B.C., whereby Clarke states, “The first year of the world, answering to the 710th year of the Julian period, and supposed to be 4004 before the vulgar era of the birth of Christ.”

Adam Clarke Commentary Geneses 50
Adam Clarke wrote:2259 Joseph is born, Genesis 30:23-24. 1745
Adam Clarke wrote:2276 Joseph, aged seventeen years, falling under the displeasure of his brothers, they conspire to take away his life, but afterwards change their minds, and sell him for a slave to some Ishmaelite merchants, who bring him to Egypt and sell him to Potiphar, Genesis 37:0 1728
Adam Clarke wrote:2285 Joseph, through the false accusation of his mistress, is cast into prison, where, about two years after, he interprets the dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker, Genesis 39:0, Genesis 40:0. 1719
Adam Clarke wrote:2289 Joseph interprets the two-prophetic dreams of Pharaoh, Genesis 41:0. 1715
Adam Clarke wrote:2300 Joseph sells corn to the Egyptians, and brings all the money in Egypt into the king's treasury, Genesis 47:14. 1704
Adam Clarke wrote:2315 Jacob, having blessed his sons and the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, dies, aged 147 years. He is embalmed and carried into Canaan, and buried in the cave of Machpelah, Genesis 49:1. 1689
Adam Clarke wrote:2369 Joseph dies, aged 110, having governed Egypt fourscore years. 1635

The point of this entire exercise demonstrates HOW Joseph Smith may have been influenced in dating the papyrus and the mummies and we clearly see that this dating *IS* dated to the very lifetime of JOSEPH who possessed his great grandfather’s book entitled “The Book of Abraham” as well as his own book that he wrote called “The Book of Joseph” which Joseph Smith promised to someday translate when he had the time.

Now to tie it all together we only need confirm that Joseph Smith provided this particular information (3,500 years) as part of his prophetic calling and did so through the mantle of being President of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood and sealing it up in the name of Jesus Christ. Clearly, this has been established in this thread by the reference cited in the Times and Seasons. So with that taken, let it be understood that the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that the Books of Abraham & Joseph in his possession were physically as old as the Patriarchs themselves, original autographs written by their own hands.

You will note that the commentary provides a date of 1635 BC for the death of Joseph of Egypt and the 3,500 year reference to the age of the records and mummies is placed at 1657 BC which implies that the records were entombed with pious Egyptians shortly before Joseph passed away or, thereabouts

All this is very, very, telling! Wouldn’t you say, MG?

What do you think, Philo? Is Shulem hitting another grand slam?

RFM, are you there?

;)
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C. Webb

Post by Shulem »

Quoted by MG:
C. Webb, Joseph Smith as a Translator (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1936), p.73 wrote:During the entire process of translation of the Book of Abraham, Joseph never claimed direct inspiration of God. Apparently it was produced through application of his acquired knowledge, rather than with any claim to extraordinary [divine] assistance.

I own that old book -- but it’s not with me at present but is on my home bookshelf. I can tell you straight out that the author is dead wrong and doesn’t know what he’s talking about and does not have all the facts. Webb’s deck of cards were somewhat scant and his access to the historical records was limited in scope. His statement is just dead wrong. Very outdated material coming from a nonmember apologists want-to-be.

I was not impressed with his description about Anubis in Facsimile No. 3, although he recognized something was highly out of order.

I find it somewhat amusing that a nonbeliever (Webb) would begin to tell the Church about what Smith considered revelation and think he can pontificate in making such broad statements to that effect.
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Re: Jeff Lindsay praises John Gee's book “Introduction to the Book of Abraham” as a tool to save his testimony

Post by Xenophon »

What a fascinating thread, thanks for the great read everyone.

To the topic of the Book of Abraham being a case of mistaken canonization. Trying to put my member glasses back on for a second it provides more questions for me than answers. If you accept this as true as a believer doesn't it then call into question every subsequent testimony, devotional, and declaration about it as canonized and inspired work from countless leaders through the years? I've sat through too many testimony bearings as to its authenticity to be able to sweep it under the rug that easily. Heck, what does it do to you if you've received your own witness to it and then have it labeled as effectively a subtier scripture? If effectively every leader post Joseph Smith is wrong about the nature of the Book of Abraham what else could they be off about? There is also enough connection to temple symbolism to make it a difficult sell on that front as well.

I think Shulem lays out an excellent case for why Joseph Smith likely did believe it to be scripture from God but even if he didn't it feels like the average LDS member I know what balk heavily at this idea for a wide range of reasons.

As an aside I second(triple, quadruple?) the notion that it is lovely up here. I don't have the scholarly brain to keep up with some of you heavy weights but I'm loving the content.
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Re: Jeff Lindsay praises John Gee's book “Introduction to the Book of Abraham” as a tool to save his testimony

Post by Philo Sofee »

A truly fascinating exposition my dear Shulem. My how you help show the pieces falling right into place...
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Re: Jeff Lindsay praises John Gee's book “Introduction to the Book of Abraham” as a tool to save his testimony

Post by Shulem »

MG 2.0 wrote:
Thu Sep 09, 2021 6:55 pm
Although at times Joseph referred to the ancient records as "sacred", he never referred to the Book of Abraham as scripture.

Correct, Smith could not have called it scripture unless it was presented to the Church for that purpose and sustained by the body of the Church. Bear in mind that Smith had not yet translated the other scroll: The Book of Joseph, and was prevented from doing that for whatever reasons or obstacles that hindered him. The third and final installment of the Book of Abraham was published in the May 1842 edition of the Times and Seasons. Between that time and his death at Carthage Illinois, Smith was quite busy, on the run, and even in jail. It wasn’t the best of circumstances for Smith. There was no time to translate the remainder of the papyri. Smith’s main concern and almost all his energy was involved with the construction of the Nauvoo temple and the Nauvoo House which was never finished as promised by the Lord.
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Re: Jeff Lindsay praises John Gee's book “Introduction to the Book of Abraham” as a tool to save his testimony

Post by Shulem »

MG 2.0 wrote:
Thu Sep 09, 2021 6:55 pm
Although at times Joseph referred to the ancient records as "sacred", he never referred to the Book of Abraham as scripture. In the Doctrine and Covenants, there are many references to the Bible and the Book of Mormon. There was no reference in the 1844 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants to the Book of Abraham even though the Book of Abraham had been purchased 9 years prior and had been published 2 years before the death of Joseph Smith.

To this end I agree. Never at any time did Smith or his associates specifically state that the Book of Abraham published in the Times and Seasons was called “scripture”. However, the records were referred to as “sacred”, notably all scripture is considered sacred, even the gold plates were called “sacred”. So, in this respect, the Book of Abraham papyrus was on a very high level, highly esteemed of the Lord.

Today, we don’t even refer to teachings of Presidents of the Church as “sacred” per se. Their teachings are generally respected and some are considered more important or meaningful than others. Members of the Church are counseled to read and ponder the various talks given in General Conference and to prayerfully ponder the implications and apply them into their lives. But, to my knowledge, talks or writings of General Authorities are never called “sacred” as were the records Joseph Smith recovered from the mummies and the Hill Cumorah. The only other thing that comes to mind other than scripture are the sacred hymns sung by the Church.

Let none of us forget the admonition the Lord gave to Oliver Cowdery: “therefore you cannot write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me.” D&C 9:9

And, if he writes something that is “sacred” (hint, hint) then it is given of God!

AND, if the papyrus record is “sacred” then it too is given of God.
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Re: “Purporting to be”

Post by Shulem »

MG 2.0 wrote:
Thu Sep 09, 2021 6:55 pm
The first part of the translation of the Book of Abraham was finally published in Times and Seasons [vol 3, No.9 (March 1,1842), pg 703-706]. The title and preface read as follows: "Of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands, from the Catacombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus." The use of the words "purporting to be" would seem to indicate at least some degree of doubt on the part of Joseph Smith, Jr. regarding its authenticity. This same preface as written above is repeated verbatim in the LDS History, vol 4, p 524. The original 1851 edition of the Pearl of Great Price carried the same inscription. In the later editions of the Pearl of Great Price, as published by the LDS Church, the preface is also given, however, without the words, "purporting to be."

The use of the word “purporting” may not have quite the same connotation as it did in Smith’s day in which implied doubt is automatically assumed as a general rule in order to use the word in a sentence. How can we say that Joseph Smith doubted the Abrahamic papyrus was Abraham’s writings? That just makes no sense at all given everything Smith and his associates ever said on the subject. I think that detractors make a big deal out of the word “purporting” in looking for some way to lessen the impact of what was originally claimed. But does the word mean the same thing *then* as it does today? Perhaps not as much.

Let’s therefore appeal to the Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary:

Noah Webster 1828 wrote:
PUR'PORT, noun

1. Design or tendency; as the purport of Plato's dialogue.

2. Meaning; import; as the purport of a word or phrase.

PUR'PORT, verb transitive To intend; to intend to show.

1. To mean; to signify.

PUR'PORTING, participle present tense Designing; intending; importing.


It seems clear enough to me that Smith believed the papyrus was in fact written by Abraham’s own hand just as it was purported to be. Here is another example of the use of that word in Smith’s journal:

President Joseph Smith’s Journal

April 17. Monday— walked out in the city. with Claytn . called on brother Taylor. handed him the letter purporting to be from the Attorney Gen of the U State and gave him instrctions abot it.
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