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The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus, Facsimile # 2 in the Book of Abraham Analyzed
Research by Kerry A. Shirts
In looking at various websites concerning the Book of Abraham I am astounded at the blatant misrepresentations and incorrect information on the Internet concerning the Book of Abraham, the Joseph Smith Papyri, the Facsimiles with the Book of Abraham, etc. It seems that this subject alone calls forth the critics to give their most dismal performances, and establish quick negative conclusions always based on inconclusive and incomplete data which is available to most folks, at least in the U.S. This research paper is an attempt at demonstrating that quick negative conclusions need not be taken too awfully serious, since the perpetrators of said conclusions obviously and deliberately ignore the fuller data and, of course, instead merely parrot each other as if that goo-gaw galore is convincing. It is, once again, as is my wont to do, time to grind the critics and take them to task for such insipidly shallow stuff. I specifically target the website of James David, called "A Close Look at Mormonism" http://www.mindspring.com/~engineer_my_dna/mormon/index.htm because I have made Internet friends with this fellow, yet I am completely amused at his vain ramblings and weak scholarly approach to the Book of Abraham, Joseph Smith Papyri, and the Facsimiles in the Book of Abraham. James is not a serious student of the Book of Abraham or the papyri, not by an infinitely long shot, on his own confession to me. While I am no Egyptologist, I do consider myself somewhat more than average as a student intent on knowing the issues, which I doubt very sincerely James is. Somehow or other he became disgruntled with Mormonism and now seeks through the most amateur methods and analysis to disprove the scriptures, Joseph Smith, and he seems to pride himself on being somewhat of an amateur expert on the Joseph Smith Papyri. He is not. In order for me to show how seriously deficient his analysis is, I include an article (which he claims I have failed to refute), for obvious reasons, to refute it! It is time James David decides to get much more serious and honest with his materials, update his website and quit spreading half truths around with such incomplete and obviously erroneous material as is on his site.
James David's article edited by Kerry A. Shirts for inclusion herein in order to see the full argument--------------------------
Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Abraham facsimile no. 2 was "A FACSIMILE FROM THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM". This claim is still displayed above the facsimile to this day in the Pearl of Great Price. But can this be true? Is the facsimile really from the Book of Abraham?
The Book of Abraham facsimile no. 2 has nothing to do with Abraham at all. Egyptologists have identified facsimile no. 2 as a hypocephalus. A hypocephalus is an Egyptian magic amulet that is placed under the head of the deceased mummy to keep the body warm. You can view nine different hypocephali at my web site for comparison purposes.
Joseph Smith published the hypocephalus (facsimile no. 2) in the Times and Seasons in 1842. In this publication Joseph not only claimed that the facsimile was "FROM THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM", but that he could interpret sections of it. He even had numbers placed on specific locations of the facsimile so that he could give his explanation of the figures. Who would have ever guessed that the figures and text that he would attempt to explain were not even from the hypocephalus in the first place?
The facsimile no. 2 as presented in the Times and Seasons shows what appears to be a complete hypocephalus. However, the drawing of the hypocephalus as shown in Joseph Smith's Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar shows significant missing portions, including parts of the outer ring, central figure, and much of the upper right quadrant. This indicates that Joseph Smith had the missing portions filled in.
How can one be so certain that Joseph Smith filled in the missing portions? It's really easy to know, like a jig-saw-puzzle, we can exam where the missing portions existed and see what Joseph Smith put in its place. In these location, we find that Joseph copied from the Book of Breathings and the Book of the Dead scrolls, showing a complete lack of understanding of the Egyptian language.
Joseph Smith used the "Small" Sensen Text of the Book of Breathings scroll (lines two, three and four, of the Joseph Smith Papyri IX) to copy and paste them into the outer ring. This not only shows that Joseph Smith didn't know Egyptian, but also that the papyri was not in "perfect preservation". Some Mormons have argued that because Joseph Smith did not provide an expanation of the outer ring that it was not necesary to have it restored correctly. To me, this argument is very weak. If Joseph Smith knew the Egyptian language and was divinely inspired he most certainly should have restored the hypocephalus to its original form. Furthermore, many of the missing portions were numbered and explanations were given to them.
Again, Joseph Smith clearly filled in the missing portion of the hypocephalus and he even numbered these areas so as to identify them for an explanation. In this case, Joseph Smith only noted that the explanation of these figures (12, 13, 14, 15) were to "given in the own due time of the Lord". If you are to examine the areas that were filled in closely you can determine that Joseph Smith once again copied from the Book of Breathings scroll, fourth line of the "Small" Sensen Text.
Joseph Smith not only used the Book of Breathings scroll for material to fill in the missing portions, he also used the Book of the Dead scroll. Furthermore, Joseph Smith provides an interpretation to this figure, as if it existed in the original. The fabrication doesn't stop there.... Even the central figure (Figure 1) which Joseph Smith associates with "Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the Celestial, or the residence to God." is restored incorrectly. Joseph Smith draws the head of the diety off of its shoulders. This is very easy to see when you compare the central figure of other hypocephali (numbered above as 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7) with the one shown in facsimile no. 1 (lettered M). But what source did Joseph Smith use to draw in the head because this piece was missing in the original? To fill in the head of the seated diety Joseph Smith simply copied from the standing diety in figure 2 of the same facsimile.
The original for facsimile no. 2 is certainly not from the Book of Abraham as Joseph Smith claimed. In fact, as I have shown, facsimile no. 2 is a combination of the hypocephalus, the Book of Breathings text, and the Book of the Dead figure. In my view, this not only shows that Joseph Smith did not know the Egyptian language, but that he made an effort to hide his lack of understanding by filling in the missing portions. What does this mean to you? I do not know. But, for me, it is just one more example where Joseph Smith acted as a charlatan.
END of James David's article on the Hypocephalus-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kerry A. Shirts's Rebuttal of James David's article:
James' first contention is asking how can these facsimiles be from the Book of Abraham? He then goes on to claim that they have absolutely nothing to do with Abraham. What James fails to realize is that they are real Egyptian documents which easily have been adapted to illustrate episodes in Abraham's life. Someone down the line in copying Abraham's book, found or else was given Egyptian documents and these were used in an out of original Egyptian context way to illustrate things happening to Abraham the Hebrew, as well as the revelations that God gave Abraham. Is this illegal or outrageous or ungodly to do though? We know ancient copies of the Book of Abraham were floating around as the Book of Jubilees assures as as well as the discovery of an Apocalypse of Abraham and a Testament of Abraham. James H. Charlesworth has demonstrated that in his fine texts The Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament.
And, as usual, James completely ignores Hugh Nibley (usually anti-Mormons do, since his materials constantly and thoroughly refutes their nonsense) discussion of just this thing.
Hugh Nibley, BYU Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, p.76
An Egyptian document, J. Spiegel observes, is like the print of an etching, which is not only a work of art in its own right but "can lay claim equally well to being the original . . . regardless of whether the individual copies turn out well or ill." Because he thinks in terms of types, according to Spiegel, for the Egyptian "there is no essential difference between an original and a copy. For as they understand it, all pictures are but reproductions of an ideal original." Being itself but a copy of "an ideal original," the first writing of a document enjoys no special superiority over later copies. Thus an Egyptian who handed us a writing or drawing of Abraham's would be nonplussed if we asked him whether Abraham really made it. Who else?
This concept was equally at home in Israel. An interesting passage from the Book of Jubilees recounts that Joseph while living in Egypt used to read to his sons "the words which his father Jacob used to read from among the words of Abraham." (39.6) Here is a clear statement that "the words of Abraham" were handed down in written form from generation to generation, and were the subject of serious study in Joseph's Egyptian family circle. The same source informs us that when Joseph died and was buried in Canaan, "he gave all his books and the books of the fathers to Levi his son that he might preserve and renew them for his children until this day." (45:15) Here "the books of the fathers" including "the words of Abraham" have been preserved for later generations by a process of renewal.
And when Abraham tells us, "That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning," we do not need to imagine the patriarch himself personally drawing the very sketches we have before us. In fact, the remark may well be the insertion of a later scribe. To the Egyptian or Hebrews mind the sketches could be twenty-seventh hand and still be the authentic originals, as long as Abraham originally ordered them and put his name to them. Still less are we to see in these helpful little diagrams anything pretending to be a supernatural or sacrosanct performance.
Thus, for James to say in 1997 what he does, when it has been already answered in 1968 is reason enough for us not to be overly concerned with his argument.
James next says the Hypocephali were used as magical amulets. This is Budge's old idea, and today's Egyptologists seldom use this approach. James then says he has other hypocephali to show for comparison purposes, yet he does not analyze them, merely shows them. However, they do prove the point I have contended, namely that there is no standard hypocephali to use as the one and correct way to draw these things. So we can thank him for that. Though I include here a much fuller collection and analysis than James attempts.
Next James notes that Joseph Smith restored some of the writing and figures in the hypocephali and asks "Who would have ever guessed that the figures and text that he would attempt to explain were not even from the hypocephalus in the first place?" This is a blatant misrepresentation at best. Joseph Smith attempted to explain a lot of the figures that were on the hypocephalus, as I have already shown in other articles.
Next James talks about the incomplete hypocephali in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, the one below. As we can see, the rim is partly missing, as are parts of the upper right hand corner and some of the middle figure. These are the areas James is talking about. Since the Times and Seasons Hypo is complete, obviously Joseph Smith had this filled in. James says this shows a complete lack of understanding of the Egyptian language. What he fails to note is that it definitely shows a rather sound and healthy understanding for Egyptian art form in the hypocephalus however!
James' next argument is interesting...
"Joseph Smith used the "Small" Sensen Text of the Book of Breathings scroll (lines two, three and four, of the Joseph Smith Papyri IX) to copy and paste them into the outer ring. This not only shows that Joseph Smith didn't know Egyptian, but also that the papyri was not in "perfect preservation". Some Mormons have argued that because Joseph Smith did not provide an expanation of the outer ring that it was not necesary to have it restored correctly. To me, this argument is very weak. If Joseph Smith knew the Egyptian language and was divinely inspired he most certainly should have restored the hypocephalus to its original form. Furthermore, many of the missing portions were numbered and explanations were given to them."
The idea James is contending about is illustrated below:
The outer rim was filled in with hieratic taken from other parts of the Joseph Smith Papyri. Now I am the one that James says claims that Joseph Smith did not comment on the rim of the hypo. Then James misses the entire point. He says "If Joseph Smith knew the Egyptian Language..." Well. we know he didn't, and he never claimed to have either. The Rosetta Stone wasn't translated and utilized until 1948, four years after Joseph was dead. The issue is a red herring. We have never claimed Smith knew the language! And the claim that if Smith was inspired he certainly would have restored the hypo to its original form is false also. Why does it have to be in its original form? Joseph Smith was working with what he had. It is the same thing with all the scriptures and even the example of the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon. He was the one who had to go as far as he could go with what he had, the stones, then climbing up the mountain until he literally could go no more. Then and only then, when he had literally exhausted his efforts, did he call on God, and then and only then did God come around and help him out. The original form of the Hypocephalus is irrelevant compared to Joseph Smith's comments on what the symbols mean. Joseph Smith worked with what he had and included the pertinent parts which he felt was necessary at the time. Nothing is complete, finished or thorough though. Joseph Smith never said it was, rather the contrary, he felt in the future things would be more fully understood concerning these strange and wonderful Egyptian objects. James ignores Smith's explanations and instead dwells on seemingly trivialities. Then James blatantly misinterprets the next part of the argument. He says Smith numbered those portions he included that were missing, and that "explanations were given to them." This is simply false.
Joseph Smith never commented on the rim! Yet this was partly filled in, so James is wrong.
Joseph Smith in putting in the writing in the middle four sections on the right hand side, numbered 12-15 simply said "will be given in the own due time of the Lord." Now, most interestingly, Joseph Smith prophesied this exactly correct! They have now been read, and shown what they say. You didn't get that impression from reading James' argument though did you! These numbered items are not anywhere described such as the other numbered items such as 1-8. Joseph Smith declined in describing them. Yet he also claimed they would be given. And they now, in our day, have been given. James, in trying to make Joseph Smith look like a dunderhead, has only proven his own silly bias, and ignored the fuller ramifications of this most interesting prophecy of Joseph Smith.
James then claims that because the head of the central figure is drawn crookedly it is incorrect! Huh? How's that again? Look, the figure is drawn sloppily, as anyone will admit, but does sloppy prove incorrectness??? James says other hypo's show the figure drawn straight, therefore Joseph Smith restored this incorrectly. Would a straightened head on the figure as opposed to a crooked head mean that this figure is not involved with the creation or something? How would a straight head make Joseph's Smith explanation for it different? James never says. Well, if he must quibble, then I won't argue. However, the thing James totally ignores is that the central idea of Joseph Smith's explanation (Yes, this time he did explain it, instead of putting it off like the other parts with the Sen-sen writings in them) is essentially correct. Notice James completely ignores the idea of the measurement of time here! James ignores the latest information on this for obvious reasons. Michael Dennis Rhodes noted that this central figure is identified as either Amon-Re, or Khnum, Creator gods. (Rhodes, The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus...After 17 Years, FARMS, 1994, p. 7). And of course, Joseph Smith, right on target, in the very first sentence of his explanation is discussing the creation! Interestingly, as a multi-headed God, this figure "represented the primeval creative force." (Rhodes, p. 7). Interestingly, Hans Bonnet in his Reallexicon mentions this primeval force (pp. 137f).
(Es ist vereinigt aus vier Göttern, die man die vier lebenden Bas nennt (Ba = Widder und Seele): dem Herrn der Anfangsstadt (Elephantine) als Ba des Re, dem ba des Schu als Herrn von Esne, dem ba des Osiris als Herrn von Hypselis, dem ba des Geb an der Spitze von Herur. So sind die Chnum götter der vier großen Kultstätten zu einem Chnum gott verwoben. In ihm, der darum vierköpfig dargestellt wird, ist ihrer aller Wesensfülle gesammelt, und diese umspannt die ganze Weite des Kosmos. Denn indem die Chnum götter Bas der großen kosmischen Mächte sind, sind diese selbst in ihnen gegenwärtig. Die Brücke zu ihnen ist nicht erst ad hoc geschlagen; längst hatte man die Chnum mit den kosmischen Göttern verbunden.)
Which shows us some interesting ideas here. The four Bas of Re, Osiris, Schu, and Geb are united in with the Ba of Chnum, the Creator God, hence one reason why the central figure in the hypocephalus is four headed! Most interesting... Their complete natures were collected in one, namely Chnum's, and we are told that this "encompassed the whole wideness of the cosmos! (und diese umspannt die ganze Weite des Kosmos.) Why? Because as he said in the last sentence, the Chnums are Bas of the big cosmic powers God, these themselves being present in Him. And we see also that it was long ago that Chnum was connected with the cosmic God, as Bonnet indicates in the last sentence (längst hatte man die Chnum mit den kosmischen Göttern verbunden.)
Joseph Smith called this the "first creation" which is "nearest to the celestial, or residence of God." This is certainly the Egyptian idea of god endowed with the primeval force seated in the center of the universe. You didn't get any of this from reading James' argument did you!
James says Smith obviously just copied the head of the upper figure onto the central one, and crookedly at that, so it is incorrect, yet he totally ignores the real Egyptian meaning of this figure which Joseph Smith correctly identified. And what's more, the Walter Nash Hypo now demonstrates rather effectively that two headed figures are used in hypocephali, so James is wrong again in saying Smith blew it. See the Nash hypo and discussion at the front of my "Mormonism Researched" page. Also see my discussion at Facsimile #2, the Hypocephalus, Figure # 1 - Two Headed Ram is Correct, And Archaeologically Verified
James contends that Smith was trying to hide his lack of understanding the Egyptian language by filling in the hypo with parts of the other papyri he possessed. I have already, however, discussed just this issue, which James has apparently never bothered to understand. See my discussion at Abraham on the Lion Couch or Osiris, Pagan Egyptian God on the Lion Couch? I have also had another discussion on my site since its inception over a month ago in late October which deals with James argument concerning the connection with the Book of the Dead at The Egyptian Book of the Dead & the Book of Abraham This James has ignored as well, and Ostler's study was done many years ago. James is simply out of date because he merely follows the anti-Mormon party line.
James has nothing to say about the ship in the upper right hand corner, though I have covered it in explicit detail at Boat of God, Figure 3 in the Hypocephalus as Throne of God wherein I note, among other things, that not only did Joseph Smith correctly put a boat up in the right corner (How would he have known to do that? His was the only hypo in America for years, even decades after he had died. There is no evidence whatsoever that Smith ever saw another hypo. And James quibbles about this? Joseph Smith was absolutely correct in putting a boat up there and he even outdid every other hypo by putting the correct hieroglyphics identifying that ship as the ship of the God, which now in our day, other Egyptologists have also done. You never did get that from reading James did you!!! Yes, I think it is James, rather than Joseph Smith who doesn't know much about Egyptian! James thinks Smith a charlatan for correctly putting a ship there, and identifying it correctly? Well James is certainly on his own there to be sure.
But what's more, other hypo's have this ship as I will now gladly demonstrate.
Now in these three hypo's, we clearly see a ship in the upper right quadrant! The 2nd and 3rd hypo's are upside down, oops! The ship in the first hypo is badly damaged but certainly discernible. How would Joseph Smith have guessed so correctly to put a ship in just the right spot? I mean considering he had other papyri with many other figures, why not use one of them? What are the chances of him pulling out the correct figure out of dozens available to him from the papyri and putting it in the correct spot? He could see there was already one ship on this thing, why put another? He had a really groovy looking walking snake with legs in the papyri fragments, which would have looked cool in this weird circular image, why not use that? Yet he would have blundered terribly with ANY other figure available to him, so the critics contend he incorrectly placed the ship from Fragment 4 into the hypocephalus? Here is fragment 4 of the J.S. Papyri to show what the critics are talking about.
Yet he did put the ship in there, and that is strictly, according to the conventions of other hypo's correct. James never acknowledges this. Yet his own hypo's on his own webpage demonstrate this exactly. Above left is J.S. Pap. 4 with a seated person in a boat. The right side is the J.S. Hypocephalus in the Book of Abraham, upper right hand quadrant with identifying hieroglyphics behind the head of the seated figure, identifying this as the boat of the God, which I have also noted is correct Boat of God, Figure 3 in the Hypocephalus as Throne of God These hieroglyphics are on no other hypocephali, so what are we to make of them? That Joseph Smith after putting the boat with the seated figure there said "Oh hey, lets forge in some hieroglyphics that say 'The boat of the God'"?
Here are three more hypo's which are instructive to look at. The same sort of sloppiness in these are seen as in the J.S. Hypo. The middle one here is upside down, but notice how poorly the four heads are drawn on the upper central upside-down seated figure! Can't hardly see them. Notice on this one at the far right, the entire upper third of the hypo is a ship with several figures in it. Now granted, the one on the far left has two ships in the upper right quadrant, but the point is, either one or two ships there is the correct procedure, and Joseph Smith did it right. A cow put there would have been a terrible blunder. The Four sons of Horus wouldn't have been exactly correct either, but a ship is what most other hypos have in that exact area.
Again, the left one has the ships. Notice the baboon worshipping the Khepra Beetle in the far left hypo upper right quadrant. The Khepra is very important meaning basically a changing of your identity while keeping your form. Notice the differing number of compartments in the middle one. Just three as opposed to other hypocephali. Interestingly, the baboon in it has the "moonschiebe" (moondisc) on his head as they do in the J.S. Hypo. And again, the far right has writing in between sections which are not in the other two, again demonstrating that no two hypocephali are the same at all, the variations within figures, and emphasis is different with each, because as Edith Varga has already noted, they were made for individuals. Notice how the cow dominates this hypo. The cow causes the resurrection, being one of the most important figures on the hypos.
Notice most hypo's are not perfectly preserved either. Also some have 2 apes, some 4, some 6, and some 8, usually in the middle sections and usually with their hands raised in adoration or praise or worship of some deity or other. Again, variation is the idea, so that when the Egyptologists of 1912 argued that Smith was wrong because the figures did not match other hypocephali, they were way out of bounds.
Again, note the single ship in the right hand upper quadrant on the far left hypo. The Khepra beetle is above it. Exactly where Joseph Smith placed his correctly. Note this middle one. It's just a cow! Yet it is the cow that gets you resurrected according to the Egyptians. She is a most important figure, and is usually in most of the hypo's. Also, notice the weird way the central figure is drawn in the hypo on the far left. And James ridicules the Joseph Smith Hypo for having a crooked head. This one only has one leg to sit on. And note the central figure in this black hypo on the far right. Are his heads exactly centered? Would that change his meaning if they were? Would it honestly matter if both his legs were drawn proportional instead of the left one being shorter than the right one? James is simple quibbling over nothing when he contends Smith was wrong because this or that figure is drawn crookedly. Can he supply any Egyptologists who say it changes the meaning of the figure if its head is crooked?
These 2 dozen samples of hypocephali demonstrate many things that critics apparently are totally in the dark on.
1. There is no standard hypocephali, all of them differing from each other sometimes by great degrees of difference
2. Joseph Smith correctly restored the boat of the God, as is evidenced by other hypocephali
3. Joseph Smith was not incorrect in identifying the central figure with the creation, nor is it such a really big deal that the heads are drawn crookedly, as compared to the correctness of the meaning Joseph Smith ascribed to this figure, which critics ignore.
4. Sloppiness can now be seen to be a problem many of the ancient Egyptian artists apparently had with these things.
5. Joseph Smith putting a ship in his hypo in the upper right hand corner was correct, while any other figure, such as the cow, or something else would have been blatantly incorrect. He had many dozens of Egyptian pictures to choose from in the papyri and unerringly included the correct one, in the correct place, with the correct identification of the figure.
6. James no longer has the largest collection of hypocephali on the Internet, nor has he begun to analyze those he has, nor understand the true characteristics, meanings, and intentions of Joseph Smith.
I have one final bone of contention to pick with critics for their inane sloppiness and zeal in hastily incorrectly drawn conclusions. Charles Larson in his totally inept book By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus blunders in saying that Egyptologists of 1912 noted there were problems with the J.S. Hypo. They said the changes do not correspond with other Egyptian Hypocephali. (p. 104f) His footnote acknowledges that Deveria said changes were deliberately made, with the distinct impression that it was Joseph Smith who made those incorrect changes. However, the copy that Spaulding sent to the experts was changed from the official one in the church! And Spaulding made those changes. See my study Various Editions of the Hypocephalus in the Pearl of Great Price Compared The arm is not drawn in the upper central figure. The staff does not reach the ground, the dots in the ship on the left side are not there, etc., etc. But Larson does not know this, nor does James David, nor any other anti-Mormon site on the Internet. The evidence shows that the J.S. Hypo does correspond to other hypocephali, even though Spaulding's copy did not. The critics always cheat when dealing with this subject. I have yet to find an exception. If they have to cheat to defeat Mormonism they have nothing to offer in return, absolutely nothing.
CONTINUING THE DISCUSSION AS OF 9/29/1998
Further Conversations with James David on the Joseph Smith Papyri
I'll preface James points with JAMES:
My old points with KERRY HAD SAID:
My new points (as of 9/29/98) with James as NEW:
KERRY HAD SAID:
>James' first contention is asking how can these facsimiles be
>from the Book of Abraham? He then goes on to claim that they have
>absolutely nothing to do with Abraham. What James fails to
>realize is that they are real Egyptian documents which easily
>have been adapted to illustrate episodes in Abraham's life.
This response suggests that any Egyptian document can be "adapted to
illustrate episodes in Abraham's life". Is this a reasonable argument? I do
not think so. In simple terms, here is Kerry's argument:
The hypocephalus is a real Egyptian document.
Real Egyptian documents have been adapted to illustrate episodes in
Therefore, the hypocephalus illustrates episodes in Abraham's life.
Let's look at the first premise. Is the hypocephalus a "real Egyptian
document"? As I have pointed out in my own arguments, Joseph Smith altered
the original hypocephalus by cutting and pasting from other Egyptian
documents. Is it possible to cut and paste from one document, let's say
Darwin's Origin of Species and paste those pages into the Bible then to
suggest that the final product is the real Bible? I do not think so.
James surely jests.........come now, I expect a better argument, truly. I have never once said that since real Egyptian documents have been used by whoever to illustrate events in Abraham's life that this proves the hypocephalus illustrates episodes of Abraham's life! That is simply NOT my premise. It is my premise that REAL Egyptian documents HAVE been used to illustrate episodes in Abraham's life, namely Facsimile No. 1. Abraham on the lion-couch.
And further, does James really want to go on record as saying that the hypocephalus is NOT a real Egyptian document??? Better rethink this one James, you are way out of bounds with that claim.
Now let's look at the second premise. Just because a document can be
adapted to illustrate episodes in Abraham's life does not mean that the
document is related to Abraham. This response may be difficult for Kerry
Shirts and others to understand, so I will illustrate this example with
something I learned from my work with epidemiologists and statisticians.
It's commonly referred to as the "Texas target shooter" approach. As the
story goes, a "Texas target shooter" will aim at the side of a barn and fire
his gun off. After the shot has been made he goes to the barn and draws the
"bullseye" around the bullet hole. He then declares that what he shot was a
"bullseye". Anyone that looks at the side of the barn and the target would
agree the bullet hole fits nicely within the bullseye. BUT, is the "Texas
Target Shooter" an accurate shot? Or, is the "Texas Target Shooter" only
good at drawing the target around the bullet hole after the shot had already
I have never claimed the document is related to Abraham. I have claimed that the interpretation of Facsimile No. 1, as Abraham on the lion-couch is valid, especially since Abraham can be an Osiris (the Egyptologists view of Facsimile No. 1).
I think Kerry Shirts and some other Mormon apologists take the "Texas Target
Shooter" approach. One good example of this is Tvedtnes work on the
correlation of the Book of Breathings text with the Book of Abraham.
Tvedtnes suggests that the Book of Breathings text acted as some sort of
mnemonic device for the Book of Abraham. I suggest that any scholar who
thinks that Tvedtnes's logic is valid to look at two unrelated books, such
as Darwin's Origin of Species and the Holy Bible's Genesis and compare the
two. Should we be surprised about the similarity in the words used in these
completely different texts? I suggest that if these same scholars apply a
similar methodology to these two unrelated books there will be some apparent
correlations. For instance, the first verse in Genesis speaks of the
"earth", and Darwin's book speaks of "plants and animals" and the "state of
nature". Should one then suggest from this information that the Holy Bible
was a mnemonic device for Darwin's Origin of Species? Is this valid? I
think not, yet some Mormons would like us to believe that such logic is not
only reasonable, but evidence for a divine source for the Book of Abraham.
What James has misunderstood is that there is not a correlation here and there and sparsely in-between with the mnemonic device theory, but that EACH AND EVERY SINGLE WORD is accounted for, thus demonstrating a very GOOD Mnemonic device. I would suggest James re-reads Tvedtnes' idea as well as what makes a mnemonic device. And John Tvedtnes has already discussed James contention, and issued the challenge to show the BofAbr. can be correlated with ANY other text, than the Sen-Sen Papyrus. Will James take the challenge?
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Someone down the line in copying Abraham's book, found or else
>was given Egyptian documents and these were used in an out of
>original Egyptian context way to illustrate things happening to
>Abraham the Hebrew, as well as the revelations that God gave
>Abraham. Is this illegal or outrageous or ungodly to do though?
>To the Egyptian or Hebrews mind the sketches
>could be twenty-seventh hand and still be the authentic
>originals, as long as Abraham originally ordered them and put his
>name to them. Still less are we to see in these helpful little
>diagrams anything pretending to be a supernatural or sacrosanct performance.
I find this type of reasoning difficult to follow. One cannot argue that the
"real Egyptian document" can illustrate episodes in Abraham's life while at
the same time suggesting that the original can maintain it's authenticity
while being distorted by errors in copying. The bottom line is we
(Egyptologists or anyone else) cannot tell from the hypocephalus itself that
it was originally ordered by Abraham.
We have never contended that the hypocephalus itself is what Abraham commissioned. Abraham in the Book of Abraham refers to Facsimile No. 1, not to the hypocephalus. And I already have illustrated just what James refuses to understand, that indeed, books CAN and HAVE BEEN originally commissioned by ancient authors, to later be copied and re-copied, and even have materials ADDED to them or TAKEN AWAY from them, yet it is still the ancient authors book! Nibley demonstrated that masterfully as I showed with his portion of article called "By His Own Hand Upon Papyus."
On the contrary, the hypocephalus
comes from a different time period that is inconsistent with the time that
Abraham would have lived.
We don't say that the hypocephalus HAS to date to Abraham's day to be an authentic Egyptian document, nor to be later adapted to fit something with the Book of Abraham at all. We don't say that about Facsimile Nos. 1 or 3 either. The Egyptian documents could very well have been LATER adapted to the story of Abraham from a scribe who added the pictures to the book of Abraham which he was copying.
Furthermore, Kerry is creating a self proving argument, suggesting that the
hypocephalus has been distorted over the years so we cannot see Abraham's
"signature" so to speak, but nonetheless the original Egyptian document was
ordered by Abraham. If Kerry's logic holds then he must accept the argument
that basically all Egyptian documents can be used to illustrate the episodes
in Abraham's life. Is this valid? I think not.
James has completely misunderstood my take on this. It is NOT the Hypocephalus which I have ever contended as being Abraham's signature so to speak. The ORIGINAL Egyptian document??? I have been contending that it is the ORIGINAL Book of Abraham that Abraham commissioned, not some original Egyptian document. Perhaps I have been too unclear about that in the past, for which I apologize for causing confusion.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>James next says the Hypocephali were used as magical amulets.
>This is Budge's old idea, and today's Egyptologists seldom use this approach.
Budge is not the only one that refers to the magical properties of the
hypocephali. Carol Andrews in her book titled "Egyptian Mummies", states
that "[d]uring the Late Period a flat disc made of bronze or plaster
stiffened linen called a hypocephalus was placed under the mummy's head and
the spell upon it, Chapter 162 of the Book of the Dead, ensured that the
deceased would be kept warm in the Other World".(Page 71, Harvard University
Press, 1984.) Also, "Mummies and Magic" published in 1988 states that
"[t]he hypocephalus, placed under the head of the mummy during the Late and
Ptolemaic periods, was inscribed with Spell 162 of the Book of the Dead, the
'the spell for providing heat under the head' of the deceased". (page 228).
If today's Egyptologists seldom use this approach then why are books on
Egyptian hypocephali still publishing this information?
You will note that the idea of Egyptian MAGIC is not discussed, as I contended. Sure they are still trying to describe what hypocephali were for, but it has now become clear that instead of voodoo, hocus pocus, there is a real RELIGIOUS reason for using these things with the mummies.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>James then says he has other hypocephali to show
>for comparison purposes, yet he does not analyze them, merely
>shows them. However, they do prove the point I have contended,
>namely that there is no standard hypocephali to use as the one
>and correct way to draw these things.
Kerry is correct in stating that there is no standard hypocephalus. But I
do not see how this helps Kerry's argument at all. When looking at the
other hypocephali one can see many of the same elements in them as one sees
in the Book of Abraham facsimile no. 2. This means that almost any other
hypocephali can be used in the same place, such that the one Joseph Smith
claimed was from the Book of Abraham has no significant unique identity from
the others. The clear deduction that then follows is that all hypocephali
are related to the Book of Abraham which clearly has not been supported by Egyptologists.
Wowie! James hit that one so far out of bounds we'll never find it. His deduction of all hypocephali being related to the Book of Abraham is, of course, way too erroneous not to smile at! My point in saying there is no standard hypocephalus is that James has contended because the Joseph Smith hypocephalus is drawn wrong, Joseph Smith is a false prophet. Since there is no right or wrong way to draw these things, how can Smith be wrong for drawing it differently than the others? ALL of them are different from each other. Granted Smith incorrectly added Hieratic to the rim, but again, since Joseph Smith NEVER COMMENTED ON THE RIM AT ALL, why is it a big deal? Again, we DON'T claim the DRAWINGS themselves are inspired, but the explanations of the Prophet is what we are looking at. After all, many hypocephali are incomplete, having lost much through the ravages of time, the Joseph Smith hypocephalus included. Again, my contention is not that Smith was trying to fool anyone because he threw in Hieratic on the rim of the hypocephalus, but merely trying to make it look more complete. Since Smith never said anything about the rim, I find it hard to believe he was lying. How can you lie if you don't make comments on the thing?
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Next James notes that Joseph Smith restored some of the
>writing and figures in the hypocephali and asks "Who would
>have ever guessed that the figures and text that he would attempt
>to explain were not even from the hypocephalus in the first
>place?" This is a blatant misrepresentation at best. Joseph
>Smith attempted to explain a lot of the figures that were on the
>hypocephalus, as I have already shown in other articles.
Again, I cannot follow Kerry's logic here. Joseph Smith does not understand
Egyptian, yet Joseph Smith can explain the figures? I do not think the
Kerry should be able to argue it both ways. Either Joseph Smith understood
Egyptian or he did not.
And yet once again, as ever and always, Joseph Smith did NOT understand Egyptian on his own learning. However, uh, since we believe he was a Prophet, and he certainly could have been inspired by, guess who? GOD, I'd dare say James has missed a THIRD possibility, namely that since Smith knew nothing of Egyptian (who did in America in the 1840's?), GOD through inspiration told Smith what the figures meant on the hypocephalus to the ancient Egyptians. THAT is how Smith got so much correct, in my opinion.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Next James talks about the incomplete hypocephali in the
>Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, the one below. As we can see, the
>rim is partly missing, as are parts of the upper right hand
>corner and some of the middle figure. These are the areas James
>is talking about. Since the Times and Seasons Hypo is
>complete, obviously Joseph Smith had this filled in. James says
>this shows a complete lack of understanding of the Egyptian
>language. What he fails to note is that it definitely shows a
>rather sound and healthy understanding for Egyptian art form in
>the hypocephalus however!
Kerry, I will repeat it again. Joseph Smith's placement of the Egyptian
text from the Book of Breathings scroll onto the outer rim of the
hypocephalus shows a complete lack of understanding Egyptian. I do not see
how you can get around this significant point. It's absolutely wrong to
place the Book of the Breathings text in the outer rim of the hypocephalus.
You know it, and I know it. To suggest that Joseph Smith had a "rather
sound and healthy understanding of the Egyptian art form in the
hypocephalus" when he mutilated the rim is a rather tenuous argument, in my opinion.
In my view, Joseph Smith simply followed symmetry when he filled in the
blanks of the hypocephalus. This does not take a genius. He noticed that
text was around the outside of other portions of the hypocephalus so he
placed text from the Book of Breathings scroll into the missing portions.
And isn't that MY point also? So Smith filled in some missing portions? Did he comment on them? No. Did he TRY to deceive people saying these were something they weren't? No. He simply tried to make it look more complete it seems. So what? Does this prove the Hypocephalus is NOT a real Egyptian document? No.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>The outer rim was filled in with hieratic taken from other
>parts of the Joseph Smith Papyri. Now I am the one that James
>says claims that Joseph Smith did not comment on the rim of the
>hypo. Then James misses the entire point. He says "If Joseph
>Smith knew the Egyptian Language..." Well. we know he
>didn't, and he never claimed to have either.
Hmmm... Even at Kerry Shirts web site Kerry quotes John Tvedtnes who
1. Joseph Smith, according to his own testimony, was working on a
2. This translation was later published as the Book of Abraham, the
text of part which appears in English symbols or writing in the
'Alphabet and Grammar'
3. The Book of Abraham was supposedly being translated from the Egyptian
papyri. Historical documentation found with the recently-aquired papyri
prove that the 'Small Sen Fragment' was among those used by Joseph Smith.
4. The 'Small Sen-Sen Fragment' attaches to and follows (as described in
Abraham 1:12-14) the papyrus fragment which depicts Facsimile 1.
For historical references relevant to Joseph Smith's claim of "translating"
the papyri visit:
James STILL does not explain that Joseph Smith did NOT know the language, and therefore it was through inspiration from God that Smith made his comments on the papryi.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>The Rosetta Stone
>wasn't translated and utilized until 1948, four years after Joseph was dead.
You are right that the study of Egyptology was at an early stage in Joseph
Smith time, however Egyptologists did publish on the language during Joseph
Smith's lifetime. In 1838, Birch published "Sketch of a Hieroglyhphical
Dictionary. Part I. Hieroglyphs and English. Division I. Phonetical
Symbols. Vowels." Also, Champolian's "Dictionnaire Egyptien en ecriture
hieroglyphique" was published in 1841. Both these publications occurred
prior to Joseph Smith publishing his "explanation" of facsimile no. 2.
O.K., so you have to do 2 things with this info. then.
1. SHOW that Smith had access to these works.
2. SHOW that these works included the ideas related to Egyptian documents such as the three facsimiles, you know, the various Gods and their names, the various figures of the Hypocephali, etc. SHOW how they influenced Smith's ideas, and then and only then will your point be valid. It is one thing to say something was available, and an entirely different thing to show it influenced Joseph Smith's ideas and comments. Who got them to Smith? Did Smith get them himself, or did someone bring them to him? Who did? Could Smith read French? If not, who then could? Did that someone translate French for the Prophet to help him with his explanations? If so in what year? Where were they? How long did they take? etc., etc., etc. Your theory brings up myriads of questions you blithely ignore. They are ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT for you to answer in order to prove your point.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>The issue is a red herring. We have never claimed Smith knew the language!
We? What about John Tvedtnes's statements that you have transcribed for
him? Also see references above.
Tvedtnes never claimed that Smith KNEW Egyptian, only that he worked on a translation (inspired - yes, I know this because I talked to Tvedtnes myself, and even he says Smith did not go about this as a scholar, using dictionaries, linguistic apparati, etc.).
KERRY HAD SAID:
>And the claim that if Smith was
>inspired he certainly would have restored the hypo to its original form is false also.
What type of logic is this? If Joseph Smith need not restore the
hypocephalus correctly then why do you attempt to point out that in some
places of the hypocephalus Joseph Smith "got it right"? Kerry you cannot
reasonably argue the hypocephalus both ways.
O.K., lookie here see. Lets get this straight and quit trying so hard to find problems. The drawing of the Hypocephalus is NOT inspired, so it is not all so crucially important to have it exactly correct down the the nth millimeter of line lengths or figures accurately drawn (Although many of them certainly are). The DRAWING is not the inspired part. O.K.? Do you have that down? O.K., now then, step number 2. Lets keep this simple James.......In Smith's explanation of the various figures (NOT THE RIM JAMES, NOT THE RIM, SMITH SAID NOTHING ABOUT THE RIM, SO QUIT TALKING ABOUT WHAT SMITH DID NOT TALK ABOUT PLEASE), In his various explanations, such as the one figure signified the expanse of heaven, etc., etc., THAT is what Smith got right, as my numerous other articles have discussed. Figure No. 1 IS correlated to the Creation, as one of my articles show. Smith got that correct. In fact, the number 1,000 is also correct as I have also noted. Another figure IS the ship of the God, as I have noted. Another figure IS the sun, namely the cow, as I have noted, etc. THAT is what I mean when I say Smith got things correct. It's that simple James. The cow (no matter how weirdly drawn!) IS correlated to the sun in ancient Egyptian thought, and that is what Joseph Smith said. THAT is what I mean when I say Smith got it right. The hawk with the outspread wings IS equated with the expanse of the heavens, as the ancient Egyptians thought, and Joseph Smith said. THAT is what I mean when I say Smith got it right. Whether Smith drew a cow with one horn or two is irrelevant to his explanation of the cow being equated with the sun James. Joseph Smith through divine inspiration from God (who happens to KNOW what the ancient Egyptians thought after all, right?) described what the figures meant, at least those he commented on.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Why does it have to be in its original form?
Joseph Smith completely messed up when he added text from the Book of
Breathings scroll. There is clearly no place for the Book of Breathings text in the hypocephalus.
That part of his restoration was his muff up, as I have already noted. Now why don't you honestly see my point that while he incorrectly put it in the rim (from an ancient Egyptian stand point), it really doesn't matter, since Smith never described what the rim was supposed to be, or what it was supposed to represent. Smith DID comment on many of the other figures, which, as it has turned out, he got correct. I agree that the Book of Breathings has no place on the hypocephalus, but since Smith NEVER commented on the rim, what does this prove? That Smith couldn't read Egyptian? I HAVE ALREADY SAID AS MUCH. SMITH COULDN'T READ EGYPTIAN, the Lord GAVE it to him through inspiration when he described the other various figures. God allows men to make mistakes and work things out on their own as far as they are able to. The hypocephalus is not a perfect drawing. Did you get that? The hypocephalus is NOT a perfect drawing. So how do you explain the many figures that Smith apparently got right then?
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Joseph Smith was working with what he had.
No, Joseph Smith went beyond what he had. In my opinion, he corrupted the
original document by adding pieces from both the Book of the Dead scroll and
Book of Breathings scroll. I do not see how you can argue differently.
No, Joseph Smith did NOT corrupt it. It was already corrupt. Smith merely added parts of texts that did not belong there. I am NOT arguing differently. Now then, that we see eye to eye on this, lets get to point 2. HOW did Smith get his explanations of the various figures that he DID comment on so correct?
KERRY HAD SAID:
>It is the same thing with all the scriptures and even the example of
>the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon. He was the one who
>had to go as far as he could go with what he had, the stones,
>then climbing up the mountain until he literally could go no
>more. Then and only then, when he had literally exhausted his
>efforts, did he call on God, and then and only then did God come
>around and help him out. The original form of the Hypocephalus is
>irrelevant compared to Joseph Smith's comments on what the
>symbols mean. Joseph Smith worked with what he had and included
>the pertinent parts which he felt was necessary at the time.
The bottom line is that you have set no valid standard to evaluate the hypocephalus.
Wrong. We have MANY hypocephali and Egyptologists comments on these days. We also have a gatrillion Egyptologists writings and articles of their research on the various animals, deities, Pharaohs, etc., in ancient Egypt and what they were, who they were, what they did, etc. We have PLENTY to test Smith's explanations of the figures on the Facsimiles.
If Joseph Smith incorrectly placed an item on the hypocephalus you say that
it does not matter. If Joseph Smith places a boat on the hypocephalus from
the Book of the Dead scroll you claim that Joseph Smith was inspired. I do
not see how you can make these two arguments at the same time. They are
mutually exclusive, either Joseph Smith knew Egyptian or he did not.
He did NOT know Egyptian from a scholarship stance (no one did in his day). But he most CERTAINLY had INSPIRATION for which to comment on what the ancient Egyptians believed the figures represented, and he got many of them correct. And you have NOT demonstrated that the boat Smith put on the hypocephalus is the SAME boat from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Behind the boat in the Hypocephalus is the hieroglyphic words "The ship of the God." Those words are NOT in the Book of the Dead. So then, how do YOU explain Smith putting in the CORRECT Hieroglyphics in the correct spot, with the ship of the God on the Hypocephalus??? Hmmmmm? I say God gave him the inspiration, and Smith is correct.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Nothing is complete, finished or thorough though. Joseph Smith
>never said it was, rather the contrary, he felt in the future
>things would be more fully understood concerning these strange
>and wonderful Egyptian objects. James ignores Smith's
>explanations and instead dwells on seemingly trivialities. Then
>James blatantly misinterprets the next part of the argument. He
>says Smith numbered those portions he included that were missing,
>and that "explanations were given to them." This is
>simply false. </p>
><p>Joseph Smith <em>never </em>commented on the rim! Yet this was
>partly filled in, so James is wrong.</p>
The fact that Joseph Smith filled in the Book of Breathings text into the
hypocephalus is clearly wrong. You can't get around this major flaw. Also,
Joseph Smith numbered and commented on other parts of the original
hypocephalus that were missing.
Why is it a major flaw? Does it invalidate Smith's interpretation of Figures 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9? Does it PROVE that Joseph Smith was wrong in saying the central figure was involved in creation? Does it prove that Joseph Smith was wrong in saying the hawk with outspread wings signifies the expanse? HOW is this a MAJOR flaw? It is a flub that does NOTHING against Smith's interpretations and you know it. It is a triviality you love to dwell on because it is the ONLY minor point you have, so you will never go beyond it come hell or high water because then you'll be soundly refuted. But I AGREE with you on YOUR POINT. So now then, LETS MOVE ON SHALL WE? (Please don't misquote me out of context on this, I know the Tanners would, but you are above such childish usage aren't you?)
KERRY HAD SAID:
><p>Joseph Smith in putting in the writing in the middle four
>sections on the right hand side, numbered 12-15 simply said
>"will be given in the own due time of the Lord." Now,
>most interestingly, Joseph Smith prophesied this exactly correct!
You are right that Joseph Smith never elaborated on this portion (12-15) of
the hypocephalus. BUT, the fact that he mixed the two different Egyptian
texts shows a lack of understanding what would be appropriate to a
hypocephalus. Therefore, Joseph Smith's inability to understand the
Egyptian language contradicts the assertions made by him and by other Mormon
leaders that he was "translating" the papyri.
Contradicts? Not likely. Now you are dealing with two mutually exclusive matters. Smith's Hypocephalus was the ONLY one in America even after his death for another 50 years. So sure, Smith shouldn't have put the Bk of Breathings text in the rim. But he did. And you say that proves he couldn't translate? What do you mean by translate? Remember Nibley and others have shown that the word "Translate" can mean a broad variety of meanings. So you need to define "translate" and then see how Smith used the term. Then you might have something......
KERRY HAD SAID:
<p>James then claims that because the head of the central figure
is drawn crookedly it is incorrect! Huh? How's that again? Look,
the figure is drawn sloppily, as anyone will admit, but does
sloppy prove incorrectness???
If the issue is whether Joseph Smith could restore a hypocephalus correctly
I think there is only one answer. NO. The manner in which the central
figure is drawn is unlike any hypocephalus I have ever seen (and I have
looked at all of the hypocephali Kerry posted at his web site). It's
apparent to me, that Joseph Smith copied the standing figure (2) and pasted
him in the center of the hypocephalus. BUT, because Joseph Smith did not
understand the Egyptian language or even art, he misplaced the head of the
deity because this portion of the original hypocephalus was missing.
IF the issue is whether Joseph Smith could restore a hypocephalus correctly? We already have discussed that he DIDN'T. So why the strawman??? The issue......I say, THE ISSUE, is ***DID JOSEPH SMITH INTERPRET THE FIGURES CORRECTLY???*** He did, through inspiration. I have shown this in many of my articles right here on my website. Facsimile 2, Figures 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, I contend ARE CORRECTLY UNDERSTOOD AND DISCUSSED in Joseph Smith's interpretations. REFUTE THAT. I say again, we have acknowledged your single point that the hypocephalus was incorrectly added to with other Egyptian writings. Now then can we move onto the REALLY signficant area of Joseph Smith's interpretations, or do you want to stay here and scream victory forever more on one point, while ignoring the other dozen or so Smith got correct? Your choice.
KERRY HAD SAID:
> James says other hypo's show the
>figure drawn straight, therefore Joseph Smith restored this
>incorrectly. Would a straightened head on the figure as opposed
>to a crooked head mean that this figure is not involved with the
>creation or something?
The head of the deity is not on its shoulders. I believe this error is
obvious to anyone familiar with reading basic Egyptian hieroglyphics or art.
I already agreed and said as much, now then you have yet to answer does this prove the figure is NOT involved in the creation, or the number 1,000??? Does sloppy drawing prove Smith's interpretations incorrect, and if so how? You have STILL failed to answer THE ISSUE, i.e., Smith's interpretations.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>How would a straight head make Joseph's
>Smith explanation for it different? James never says. Well, if he
must quibble, then I won't argue.
Kerry you will argue at every point and turn. You will even argue when you
say you won't argue!!!
You still have not answered THE ISSUE HERE. DOES SLOPPY DRAWING PROVE THAT THE CENTRAL FIGURE IS NOT INVOLVED WITH CREATION OR THE NUMBER 1000, as Smith said?
KERRY HAD SAID:
> However, the thing James
>totally ignores is that the central idea of Joseph Smith's
>explanation (Yes, this time he <em>did explain it, </em>instead
>of putting it off like the other parts with the Sen-sen writings
>in them) is essentially correct. Notice James completely ignores
>the idea of the measurement of time here! James ignores the
>latest information on this for obvious reasons.
Kerry you have argued that Joseph Smith couldn't read Egyptian yet you want
me to evaluate his explanation of figures? Where will this lead us? I
think no where.
No doubt, since you CANNOT refute Smith's explanations of the figures. It's easy to do James, just got get into the Egyptological literature and see what Egyptologists think about the figures in ancient Egyptian thought. I did.
In fact, I think Joseph Smith's explanations are so
non-significant one can randomly place the numbers on the hypocephalus and
come up with some Egyptian connection. Remember the "Texas Target Shooter"?
Do you understand what I am suggesting? For instance, I am suggesting you
take number 1 and replacing it with number 3. I you then search volumes of
Egyptian books, anyone can match up some sort of weak Egyptian correlation.
Yes weak correlations are the back door out of your quandary all right. Now then Smith SPECIFICALLY said figure 1 was involved with the number 1000, and it is. Oh I see, just coincidence. He drew it wrong, so nothing he says matters right? Figure two specifically has the key of power, which in ancient Egyptian is the Wepwawet staff, A KEY OF POWER indeed! But, another just weak coincidence. Figure 3 represents the grand key words of the priesthood and is the ship of the God, which in ancient Egyptian significance is the resurrection! Grand key words of priesthood any way you look at it! Smith even threw in the CORRECT Egyptian hieroglyphs which read "THE SHIP OF THE GOD"!!!! But, a mere weak Egyptian link right? Figure 4 the hawk with outspread wings signifying the expanse, which it does to ancient Egyptian thought, but oh hey, just a weak link. Figure 5, the COW as the SUN (oh sure, sure, just everyone in Smith's day went running around squealing with delight that the ancient Egyptians thought cows were the sun to be sure, I am quite sure you can find at least a dozen references out of France on the subject, which Smith himself certainly read). Just another weak link. Figure 6 the 4 quarters of the earth, which is strictly correct again, but no, you wouldn't consider it at all. Just another weak link. In other words James, you can toss it all off, but you wouldn't convince me. If this is the shotgun approach, how do you explain that not just one or two of those little b.b.'s hit their target, but ALL of them did?! Oh, just dumb luck. Heavens whenever you critics can't explain anything you resort to the same ole explanation, oh for the sheer luck of the draw........Nice, but uh, you need to be convincing, especially since NO ONE in Smith's day KNEW ANY OF THIS EITHER.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>James says Smith obviously just copied the head of the upper
>figure onto the central one, and crookedly at that, so it is
>incorrect, yet he totally ignores the real Egyptian meaning of
>this figure which Joseph Smith correctly identified.
As I have said earlier Joseph Smith's explanations are not significant to
According to whom? You? Can you explain WHY they are not significant?
Even Budge, which you rely heavily on in many of your articles, has stated
that Joseph Smith's explanations were of no archeological value.
And I have also noted this and AGREE! James you are saying the same thing over and over and I agree with you! You said this over a year ago already! Smith's remarks have NO ARCHAEOLOGICAL signficance. But is that the ONLY significance that counts? Religiously they are POWERFULLY significant. i.e., creation, space, time, God, priesthood, cosmos, sun, moon, stars, our relationships thereunto, etc. And after all, Smith wasn't exactly into the science of archaeology so much as the RELIGIOUS significance of the ancients after all...........It might help you out in understanding this to read the Book of Abraham once or twice and see what I mean. The Book of Moses will KNOCK YOU OUT for its RELIGIOUS significance, but won't convince a flea as to the archaeological value. So what? However, much of the Hypocephalus HAS been archaeologically verified as I have demonstrated at length HERE. Also HERE. Incidentally, I do NOT rely on Budge HEAVILY in MANY of my articles. I use him as I need to, but there are far better available, and of which I have yet to see YOU make use of.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>James contends that Smith was trying to hide his lack of
>understanding the Egyptian language by filling in the hypo with
>parts of the other papyri he possessed. I have already, however,
>discussed just this issue, which James has apparently never
>bothered to understand. See my discussion at Abraham on the Lion Couch or
>Osiris, Pagan Egyptian God on the Lion Couch?
Kerry I took a look at your above article and you do not discuss the filling
in of the hypocephalus parts, nor do you go into detail in explaining the
filling in of the Lion Couch scene either. You are doing a clear bait and
switch here, suggesting to the reader that you have addressed an issue when
in fact you have not. You are simply trying to change the subject, that
Joseph Smith filled in missing portions of the hypocephalus, significantly
altering it from the original.
Woops! For the first time you have something significant here! I gave the wrong reference, mea culpa! CLICK HERE
KERRY HAD SAID:
>I have also had another discussion on my site since its
>inception over a month ago in late October which deals with James
>argument concerning the connection with the Book of the Dead at
>The Egyptian Book of the Dead & the Book of Abraham This James
>has ignored as well, and Ostler's study was done many years ago.
>James is simply out of date because he merely follows the
>anti-Mormon party line.
Kerry I think after reading your article you could make any "connection"
with Abraham in any scene. Joseph Smith could have used a "cow" to
symbolize Abraham and you would be able to find some sort of Egyptian
correlation if you look through enough Egyptian books.
Not so. Now with the SUN, I can and HAVE shown the ancient Egyptian idea is correct. And you bring up something very powerful to help out here. That is, CAN just ANYTHING be found and correlated? NOT BY A LONG SHOT. Smith would have blown it terrifically had he replaced ANY other figure in the upper right hand portion of the hypocephali, other than the SHIP OF THE GOD. On most other Hypocephali the ship is in the right upper quadrant, EXACTLY as it was restored CORRECTLY in the Joseph Smith Hypocephali. You say he stole it from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. And suppose for the sake of argument I agree. Smith STILL PUT IT IN THE RIGHT SPOT on the Hypocephali! Had he put it ANYWHERE else, it would have been obviously wrong. I mean, according to the other hypocephali we have to look at, MOST of them put the ship right where Smith put his. Had he put that groovy looking snake on legs there he would have REALLY had a significant difference! But no, he just coincidentally puts the right symbol in the right spot on his hypocephali, and of course, you'll downplay this as oh just nothing to note.
I think you deserve the title of the "Idaho Target Shooter".
Yeah it's fun when I hit it so well.........GRIN!
KERRY HAD SAID:
>James has nothing to say about the ship in the upper right hand corner,
Not so at all. I have pointed out that Joseph Smith copied the boat from
the Book of the Dead scroll. Joseph Smith simply followed symmetry in placing
the boat on the right hand side when he saw the boat on the left side.
Ignoring the fact though that Smith put in CORRECT EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHS NOWHERE ELSE ON ANY OF THE OTHER PAPYRI HE HAD IN HIS POSSESSION, IN THE RIGHT SPOT WITH THE SHIP, WHICH READS "THE SHIP OF THE GOD." And again, I note that Smith, following the general conventions of other hypocephali put the ship in the correct part of the hypocephalus, the upper right hand quadrant.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>though I have covered it in explicit
>detail at </font><a href="boatof.htm"><font color="#FF0000"
>size="3">Boat of God, Figure 3 in the Hypocephalus as Throne of
>God</font></a><font color="#FF0000" size="3"> </font><font
>color="#000000" size="3">wherein I note, among other things, that
>not only did Joseph Smith correctly put a boat up in the right
>corner (How would he have known to do that? His was the only hypo
>in America for years, even decades after he had died. There is no
>evidence whatsoever that Smith ever saw another hypo. And James
>quibbles about this? Joseph Smith was absolutely correct in
>putting a boat up there and he even outdid every other hypo by
>putting the <em>correct hieroglyphics</em> identifying that ship
>as the ship of the God, which now in our day, other Egyptologists
>have also done. You never did get that from reading James did you!!!
Kerry do you think you know how to read the Egyptian language?
Nope, never claimed otherwise, although I am learning to read it.
Are you self taught? Did you get any other Egyptologist to publish on
your own "translation" of the scribbles next to the boat figure? I carefully
read your article and I do not see how you can come up with that translation
at all. Please explain what you did, and the reasoning you used to come up with your translation.
I used Budge's Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, and scanned in the VERY WORDS AND HIS TRANSLATION ITSELF. You simply CANNOT have missed that. click here
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Yes, I think it is James, rather than Joseph Smith who doesn't know much about Egyptian!
You mentioned earlier that Joseph Smith didn't know the Egyptian language.
Here you are shifting your argument again. How convenient!!!!
And I'll say it yet once again, JOSEPH SMITH DID NOT KNOW EGYPTIAN BY SCHOLARLY MEANS, BUT THROUGH INSPIRATION FROM GOD. And, I KNOW that James hasn't a clue about Egyptian. No offense intended, it's just something you don't know. No big deal, I don't know Japanese, so what?
KERRY HAD SAID:
>James thinks Smith a charlatan for correctly putting a ship there, and identifying it correctly?
I think Joseph Smith is a charlatan because he claimed to have known the
Egyptian language when it's very clear that he did not know it at all. No
one with any real knowledge of the Egyptian language
would have placed the text from the Book of the Breathing scroll into the hypocephalus like he did (IMO).
Oh? WHERE did Smith claim he KNEW EGYPTIAN? I wanna see HIS source. And just because he muffed a picture, is not logically proven that he couldn't have known the language. He didn't anyway, by scholarly means or his own studies, the Lord helped him with his understanding.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Well James is certainly on his own there to be sure.</font></p>
Joseph Smith simply placed the boat in the missing portion out of symmetry,
just as Joseph Smith filled in the missing portions in the outer ring
because it makes practical sense. If one sees a boat on the left hand side
of the hypocephalus one could easily guess that a boat should exist on the right hand side.
Which explanation does NOTHING against the CORRECTNESS of Smith to have done so. He had a lot of other groovy figures he could have put in that blank space, but he unerringly put the ship of the God, WITH the explaning EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Notice on this one at the far right, the entire upper third of the hypo is a ship with several
>figures in it. Now granted, the one on the far left has two ships
>in the upper right quadrant, but the point is, either one or two
>ships there is the correct procedure, and Joseph Smith did it
>right. A cow put there would have been a terrible blunder. The
>Four sons of Horus wouldn't have been exactly correct either, but
>a ship is what most other hypos have in that exact area.
How does this really matter in terms of your argument? When something is
completely out of place you have already argued that it does not matter,
thus if something seems to at least fall within the typical trend, you say
that Joseph Smith was correct? You are apparently applying a different
standard when Joseph Smith is correct than when Joseph Smith was wrong.
Not at all. Egyptologists have long recognized that the hypocephali are usually neated divided in upper and lower hemispheres, the upper having MALE components, the lower having FEMALE components. The COW is a FEMALE component and hence would have been a blunder to have put it in the upper MALE sphere of the Hypocephali. Here again, Smith UNERRINGLY put it in the CORRECT spot, not only in the upper MALE part, but in the upper male RIGHT quadrant, where ships belong in the other hypocephali as well! Now THAT IS PRECISE. The ship of course, is the ship of the God Re, the MALE sun.......
I think I have adequately addressed this issue simply by stating that Joseph
Smith used symmetry to put the boat on the right. I think my reasoning is
much more valid than yours on this issue. There is a boat in the left
quadrant, therefore someone without any Egyptian knowledge could easily
guess that a boat need by on the right quadrant.
Yet of all the figures Smith had before him on all the other papyri, he used the ship. AND put a real EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS word in there saying this is specifically "the ship of the God." WHICH IT IS! Not some fisherman on the Nile or something, no! THIS ship is the GOD'S ship. ANOTHER point Smith got correct. And my reasoning comes via EGYPTOLOGY, yours doesn't, so my reasoning may be weaker, but it IS EGYPTOLOGICAL.
KERRY HAD SAID:
> And again, the far right has writing in between
>sections which are not in the other two, again demonstrating that
>no two hypocephali are the same at all, the variations within
>figures, and emphasis is different with each, because as Edith
>Varga has already noted, they were made for individuals. Notice
>how the cow dominates this hypo. The cow causes the resurrection,
>being one of the most important figures on the hypos.
Kerry you admit now that a hypocephalus was made for an individual.
I have never admitted otherwise. Anyone with elementary knowledge of the Hypocephali realize they were written for individuals.
Do you think this hypocephalus was made for Abraham?
Nope. Never claimed it was. It certainly was later adapted to the Book of Abraham somehow, somewhere, somewhen though. Nibley talks about this in his book "The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri," SOON to be republished......
If not, then why does Joseph
Smith claim the hypocephali is "FROM THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM". If this
hypocephali is from the Book of Abraham what makes it so much different from
other hypocephali that one could not conclude that they too are "FROM THE
BOOK OF ABRAHAM". In other words, what make the hypocephali Joseph Smith
claimed was from the Book of Abraham so unique than other hypocephali that
one would attribute it to illustrate episodes from Abraham's life?
See above. And another for instance, a mere coincidence to you remember. The Book of Abraham is overly concerned with the creation and the cosmos, hence the hypocephalus, also concerned with creation and cosmos was adapted to the BofAbr.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Also, notice the weird way the central figure is drawn in the hypo on the far left.
This is not uncommon at all. I encourage you to look at more Egyptian art
But when we see the same weirdness in Joseph Smith's all the sudden it is damning then eh? My how convenient.......
KERRY HAD SAID:
>And James ridicules the Joseph Smith Hypo for having a crooked head. This one only has one leg to sit on.
Kerry, I believe you are seriously mistaken here. The manner in which the
figure is drawn is correct. You are not seeing just one leg, you are seeing
a sitting deity with its legs bent up pulled closer to the body. There is
nothing unusual about this at all.
Oh so when the central figure is drawn a little differently, all the sudden this is proof in your eyes for Smith's chicancery, but it's O.K. and normal for all other hypocephali? How so?
KERRY HAD SAID:
>And note the central figure in this black hypo on the far right. Are
>his heads exactly centered?
The heads are centered and attached to the body of the seated deity. This
is no way compares to what Joseph Smith did to the hypocephalus.
But I also demonstrated how Smith's drawing is understandable based on what he had to work on in the original hypocephali in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar. It's sloppy, NOT wrong, as you contend. The SAME sort of sloppiness, you have agreed right here, is on other hypocephali, so why is it so damning on Joseph Smith's? It is an Egyptian sort of sloppiness in their drawing to be sure, not Smith's goofiness.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Would that change his meaning if they
Yes, if the heads were detached as shown in Joseph Smith's hypocephalus
illustrates a lack of the Egyptian art.
So the way the figure stands (or sits) in Smith's hypocephalus PROVES that it is not correlated with Creation or the number 1000? Can you PROVE this using Egyptological materials? I have demonstrated such using them that Smith's interpretations were correct James. Your call. Lets see your sources.
Again, I find your reasoning tenuous. You claim that Joseph Smith is so
talented that he can write and understand hieroglyphics but he cannot
properly place the head of the deity on its shoulders!!!! Your reasoning
here is flawed.
Smith CAN write and understand ANYTHING with INSPRIATION, not scholarly means. And there is a perfectly logical explanation for why the head was drawn on crookedly as I have shown on my website. Can you show that the crooked head is proof this figure should NOT be associated with creation, government, or the number 1000?
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Would it honestly matter if both his legs were drawn
>proportional instead of the left one being shorter than the right
>one? James is simple quibbling over nothing when he contends
>Smith was wrong because this or that figure is drawn crookedly.
Joseph Smith's representation of the sitting deity does not make any sense
from what I have seen in all the Egyptian art that I have looked at over the
years. What is so compelling about this mistake and the others is that they
occur always where missing portions existed in the original as shown in the Joseph Smith Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar.
And I have ALSO written on JUST THIS THING, EXTENSIVELY and EXHAUSTIVELY comparing the original with Smith's restoration right here on my website. Refute that article then.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>Can he supply any Egyptologists who say it changes the meaning of
>the figure if its head is crooked?</p>
Can you supply any Egyptologist who says that Joseph Smith correctly
restored the hypocephalus? Can you supply any Egyptologist that would state that Joseph Smith's
explanations are of archeological value?
Can you find any Egyptologists who have bothered looking at Joseph Smith's hypocephalus and shown that his interpretations DO NOT MATCH? Archaeological value is worthless. We are looking at a religious document. Again, YOU have claimed the crooked head proves Smith false. I say PROVE the crooked head PROVES Smith's explanation of what this symbol is representing as false. SHOW how CHNUM-RE is NOT ASSOCIATED WITH CREATION, GOVERNMENT, etc. I can prove that CHNUM-RE ***IS*** associated with creation, government, and the number 1000 and have done so on my website.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>These 2 dozen samples of hypocephali demonstrate many things
>that critics apparently are totally in the dark on.
>1. There is no standard hypocephali, all of them differing
>from each other sometimes by great degrees of difference
You are certainly making over generalizations regarding your critics. I
have pointed out that hypocephali are different. Nevertheless, the manner
in which Joseph Smith restored the hypocephalus is incorrect under any
standard. Joseph Smith incorrectly copied and pasted from the Book of
Breathings scroll and the Book of the Dead scroll and placed these portions
into the damaged hypocephalus to make it look complete. There is no
question that Joseph Smith inappropriately represented the hypocephalus in
facsimile no. 2.
And I have agreed from time immemorial with you. However, I notice you stop far short of examining the implications of Smith's inspired and correct interpretations, not refuting them, but merely tossing them away with a flick of your hand. While convenient for you to do, hardly convincing to the rest of us Mormons.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>2. Joseph Smith correctly restored the boat of the God, as is
>evidenced by other hypocephali</p>
Yes, Joseph Smith was smart enough to use symmetry, noticing that a boat was
on the left and placing a boat on the right. To me, this is not all that
surprising at all.
AND correctly putting in Egyptian Hieroglyphics AND having the ship in the right area of the Hypo, and noting it belongs to a god, not a mere fisherman on the Nile. It does not matter HOW Smith did it in your mind, the point is, that you finally see, SMITH DID IT RIGHT.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>3. Joseph Smith was not incorrect in identifying the central
>figure with the creation, nor is it such a really big deal that
>the heads are drawn crookedly, as compared to the correctness of
>the meaning Joseph Smith ascribed to this figure, which critics
Nearly everything Egyptian is related to creation or the After World. If
Joseph Smith attached the cow figure to creation I am sure one can draw some
Egyptian correlation. If Joseph Smith attached the boat to creation I am
sure one can draw some Egyptian correlation. Remember the "Texas Target
or should I say "Idaho Target Shooter"????
Irrelevant. Was this known in SMITH'S DAY? Can yo prove it if you say it was? How would he have known this? We're talking 1840's here James, not the 1990's!!! My what a wonderful concession you make here. It's about blinkin time! GRIN! But out of the INFINITE amounts of numbers Smith could have come up with, he picks 1000, a PERFECTLY EGYPTIAN correlation with CREATION. RIGHT.........ON.............TARGET! I mean in his day the number 3 of the trinity, or the number 7 (the planets, etc.) were probably floating around, but 1000??? Was 1000 correlated with government at all anywhere near Smith? 1000 Senators, Presidents, U.S. Marshalls?
KERRY HAD SAID:
>4. Sloppiness can now be seen to be a problem many of the
>ancient Egyptian artists apparently had with these things.
Yes, many of the hypocephali are sloppy, but Joseph Smith's restoration is
the worst I have ever seen. I have never seen another hypocephali contain
two unrelated text from different works that were written hundreds of years
You have a point. One point. Congrats.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>5. Joseph Smith putting a ship in his hypo in the upper right
>hand corner was correct, while any other figure, such as the cow,
>or something else would have been blatantly incorrect. He had
>many dozens of Egyptian pictures to choose from in the papyri and
>unerringly included the correct one, in the correct place, with
>the correct identification of the figure.
Joseph Smith simply used symmetry to place the boat figure, it's as simple
as that, in my opinion.
Regardless how, the point is that Smith was correct to do so. You notice that symmetry is NOT to be had on the bottom though. And symmetry actually is NOT to be had on the top either. Had Smith been thinking like James clarevoyantly tells us, why did he not include some 3 sections of writing with the ship of the God to make it really symmetrical? It's that way on the left ya know. The central figure, which was largely missing in the original, is not symmetrical either! But then, we must allow the non-Egyptologists among us their latitude so they'll fell comfortable rejecting Smith no matter what.
Now regarding your own interpretation of the "boat of the Gods". I think
you must be dreaming if you think your translation comes from Budge's
dictionary? How did you read his dictionary? Please explain.
I even scanned the figures James. Knock off the act of being so unknowing. LOOK IT UP YOURSELF YOU HAVE THE BOOKS. I even showed where in the columns.
KERRY HAD SAID:
>6. James no longer has the largest collection of hypocephali
>on the Internet, nor has he begun to analyze those he has, nor
>understand the true characteristics, meanings, and intentions of
So Kerry, yours is bigger than mine! Does this make you any better? I
LAUGH! Finally one GOOD POINT! GRIN!