Joseph smiths translation of the biblea history and commentary provo, utah. Did joseph smith actually translate what was written on the papyrus. Lds egyptologist doubts joseph smith translated the book. The main body of the book begins with images of the surviving papyri that were purchased by joseph smith and other church leaders and that smith used for his inspired translation of the book of abraham. Book of abraham translation englishfinnish dictionary. The joseph smith translation of the bible and his false claim to prophethood. As with the book of mormon and other translation projects that joseph smith worked on, the book of abraham cannot be defended in any way as the result of provable or scientific information about abraham or the ancient world. Its only been within the past decade or so ive noticed a change in the usage of the word to mean a figurative translation, not literal. An example of what i am talking about is the recent discovery of the papyrus scrolls from which joseph smith was presumed to have translated the book of abraham in the pearl of great price. Urim and thummim places the book of mormon translation on trial, presenting the latest research in one of the most comprehensive treatments of the translation process to date providing encouragement for latterday saints who fear they have been betrayed by the translation history taught by the church for over 190 years did joseph smith study and. Joseph smith began translating the papyri in early july 1835, with oliver cowdery and william w.
Disproves lds claims that joseph smith received the book of abraham through revelation and proves that joseph smiths source for his translation was a pagan egyptian text, the book of breathings. Joseph smith s pure language project david golding 15. How the book of abraham exposes the false nature of. Smiths translation is now accepted as scripture by the lds church, as part of its pearl of great price. Book of abraham and related manuscripts robin scott jensen. Book of abraham kirtland egyptian papers the kirtland egyptian papers kep are working documents of joseph smith s translation of egyptian papyri, of which is a source for his book of abraham. Ive been seeing a lot of apologetic references lately, so lets make a quick, easy to reference list of quotes about the book of abrhams translation. The church later admitted these facts in its october 2015 ensign, where they include a photograph of the actual rock that joseph smith used to place in his hat for the book of mormon translation. Thousands of mormons left the church as the result of this discovery, while thousands more are completely unaware of this important piece of evidence.
New joseph smith papers volume published book of mormon central. We are unable to directly examine joseph s translation of reformed egyptian. New joseph smith papers volume published book of mormon. The false translation of the book of abraham, therefore, casts serious doubt on the book of mormon as well, forever debilitating joseph s claim he was a true, inspired prophet of god. The editors are to be praised for their impressive handling and publication of this fascinating material that opens the door to not only smiths book of abraham, but also the. Official lds quotes and sources showing joseph smiths. Critical appraisal of the book of abraham wikipedia. To summarize, the theory that the egyptian alphabet and grammar represent an attempt, led by w. An inspired translation of the writings of abraham. The book of abraham is a work produced between 1835 and 1842 by joseph smith based, he said, on egyptian papyri purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition. He got followers to donate the money so he could buy them, hence the inflated price didnt sting so much. We have a word already for how joseph smith translated the book of abraham. Jan 26, 2012 in a paper given at the 1993 sunstone symposia in salt lake city august and boston november dr. Later that year and in early 1836, joseph smith and his scribes spent considerable time engaged in two separate but related endeavors.
The similarity between the two brings joseph smiths translation within the realm of transcreation and adaptation. Thus, smith lied about the book of abraham because he did not get the translation right. Explores the joseph smith papyrus and demonstrates that joseph smith s claim that he had translated the book of abraham from it was a fabrication. The book of abraham is a work produced between 1835 and 1842 by the latter day saints lds movement founder joseph smith that he said was based on egyptian papyri purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition. The following essay is the official lds released essay entitled translation and historicity of the book of abraham. Feb 27, 2020 im adding an ex post facto preface here to show that symbol interpretation is seldom an exact science. The book of abraham papyri were thought to have been lost in the 1871 great chicago fire.
From reading them alone, most members of the church arent even aware of the fact that there are some serious problems regarding the translation joseph smith claimed to make of the book of abraham. Revelations and translations, volume 4 presents three sets of documents. Disproves lds claims that joseph smith received the book of abraham through revelation and proves that joseph smith s source for his translation was a pagan egyptian text, the book of breathings. Spaulding published a 31page booklet entitled joseph smith, jun. Joseph smith made a claim that he could translate ancient documents. The previous description of the book of abraham read, a translation from some egyptian papyri that came into the hands of joseph smith in 1835, containing writings of the patriarch abraham. After joseph smith examined the papyri and commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, his history recounts, much to our joy we found that one of the rolls contained the writings of abraham. Smith said the papyri described abrahams early life, his travels to canaan and egypt, and his vision of the cosmos and its creation. Book of abraham and egyptian material the joseph smith.
All concluded that smith s translation was erroneous. But while joseph smith and others used the word translation to describe the production of the book of abraham, the means or methods joseph used to translate ancient scripture were unique. Pure language, the book of abraham, and the kinderhook plates 14. An introduction to the book of abraham, by john gee. Since the day of joseph smith, ancient book after ancient book has been discovered and translated into english that says the same thing as the book of abraham. The heading above chapter one of the book of abraham reads. Though none of the documented statements from joseph smith or his close associates indicate precisely what process was used to translate the book of abraham, we are given to know from joseph s journal that the translation of the book of abraham coincides with the acquisition of the egyptian papyri purchased from michael chandler. An accessible singlevolume overview of the book of abraham and the joseph smith papyri can be found in john gee, an introduction to the book of abraham religious studies center, 2017. Phelps but aided by joseph smith, to figure out an egyptian grammar using at least something of joseph smith s translation, is supported by the fact that it fits in well with what we know of joseph smith s other activities.
Did joseph smith study and master the nephite language. These manuscripts were used by joseph smith as his translation notes and several had a mysterious set of symbols located in the left margin. Nov 30, 2019 christian heimburger and robin scott jensen discuss the process that gave us the book of abraham, giving background on joseph smiths translation processes and his interest in ancient languages. The book of abraham translation may have already been on its way or even fully complete through pure inspiration or using the urim and thummim.
The translation was called the book of abraham and incorporated into the pearl of great price which became the fourth foundational scripture of the lds church. The book of abraham had always been taught to me at least to be a literal translation the way we use the term normally. Joseph also originally published the book of abraham in the times and seasons newspaper which he owned in different parts. The writings of abraham while he was in egypt, called the book. The book of joseph is not known to have been translated by smith. However, if his translation is inaccurate, then he is a false prophet who perpetuated a fraud. Seven years after the initial purchase of papyri, joseph smith translated additional material from the book of abraham and published all that he is known to have translated, along with three illustrations from the ancient documents, in the church newspaper times and seasons. Jensen and hauglid both expressed their hope that their work with this new volume will move the scholarly conversation about the book of abraham and joseph smiths other translation projects forward. Joseph smith and the lds church for over 170 years have claimed that the book of abraham is a translation of a portion of the papyri scrolls purchased by the church in 1835 kirtland, ohio, and that this portion contains the writings of abraham written by abraham s own hand. Mormon church issues new essay on book of abrahams. Joseph smith and the lds church for over 170 years have claimed that the book of abraham is a translation of a portion of the papyri scrolls purchased by the church in 1835 kirtland, ohio, and that this portion contains the writings of abraham written by abrahams own hand.
Dec 09, 2010 labeled as facsimiles 1 through 3, smith claimed they too were part of the book of abraham. First of all, joseph didnt buy the mummies with his own mummy. A translation of some ancient records that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of egypt. The specific source of the book of abraham is the breathing permit of hor, misunderstood and mistranslated by joseph smith. John gee is an egyptologist who wrote in the introduction to this 2000 book published by farms, this guide has been prepared to provide basic information about the joseph smith papyri and an overview of the discussion about the connections that they may have with the book of abraham for those who have no knowledge of ancient egypt and perhaps little. Debunking fairmormon letter to a ces director book of abraham. Complete translation of the joseph smith papyri published.
This is an essay on the book of abraham s translation chronology. Lucy mack smith, josephs mother, charged tourists a quarter to view the egyptian antiquities. It was released by the church to help explain how it can be possible that joseph smith s translation of the book of abraham does not match what we now know egyptian to mean, and how it can still be the word of god when even the church itself admits in this. Joseph smith apparently used his translation of the book of abraham to derive this explanation about katumin and onita, and then matched it up with this egyptian content. James king bible, book of mormon, doctrine and covenants, the pearl of great price, hymns, joseph smith translation, maps, and photographs by joseph smith and lds church 4. Joseph smith said that the papyrus contained the records of the ancient patriarchs abraham and joseph. In sum, volume 4 of the joseph smith papers, revelations and translation series, book of abraham and related transcripts, is an extraordinary scholarly accomplishment. With the resurfacing of the same papyri he used to do his book of abraham translation and the fact that he did not in any way do it correctly should be proof enough that joseph smith lied about his abilities from god. The book of abraham boa is joseph smiths translation of some egyptian papyrus scrolls that came into his possession in 1835. Here then is final evidence that joseph smith created the book of abraham by guesswork translation in the usual sense from the signs on the egyptian papyri that he owned. While joseph smith s work on the egyptian language and the book of abraham does not comport with a modern scholarly approach to translation, woodruff and other latterday saints viewed the creation of the book of abraham text as a revelatory process rather than an academic one. Aug 30, 2018 christian heimburger and robin scott jensen discuss the process that gave us the book of abraham, giving background on joseph smiths translation processes and his interest in ancient languages.
The recently modified description creates ambiguity regarding the origin and nature of the text. The writings of abraham while he was in egypt, called the book of abraham, written by his own hand. These facts are now officially confirmed in the churchs december 20 book of mormon translation essay. But joseph smith indicated he was concerned with translating a record of joseph in egypt as well as abraham, and maybe it wasnt working out for the joseph record. However, in 1966 several fragments of the papyri were found in the archives of the metropolitan museum of art in new york and in the lds church archives. Joseph smith s interest in the collection stemmed from his observation that one of the rolls contained the writings of abraham, another the writings of joseph of egypt. Alma 5 and the book of mormons plagiarism of the new testament. Joseph smith later translated those plates into what is now known as the book of mormon. We do not claim to know why the text of the book of abraham or the missing book of joseph is not in evidence on the fragments of papyrus that were recovered.
Official lds quotes and sources showing joseph smith s book of abraham translation was a literal attempt. The translation was published serially in the times and seasons beginning march 1, 1842, at nauvoo, illinois. In 1842, joseph smith published what he said was the first part of the translation of the book of abraham. You have to keep these things in historical context to understand them. According to smith, the book was a translation of some ancient records purporting to be the writings of abraham, while he was in egypt, called the book of abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus. Mar 26, 2020 the material presented in the book of abraham on the creation and preexistence is a central part of our own temple liturgy, which serves a similar purpose. Dec 23, 2015 even before the original papyri were rediscovered, the mormon church had been in possession of a series of original book of abraham translation manuscripts. Modern scholars, looking at the scrolls, found nothing they considered to be similar to that book. The manuscripts are written by joseph smith and his scribes. For a century now, professors and lds students from this leading institute of egyptian studies have analyzed and debated the papyri and its relationship to joseph smith s translation. I mean, there is a mountain of evidence that correlates the book of abraham. Joseph smith and the papyri religious studies center.
If joseph smith received the book of abraham by revelation. He stated that one of the scrolls was written by the biblical abraham by his own hand. Joseph smith used the papyri that he claimed related to the book of abraham to earn his family money. Mormon handbook the book of abraham verifying josephs translation if josephs translation of the papyri is accurate, it would confirm his claim that he possessed a supernatural gift. With the book of abraham, the narrative was that joseph smith based his translation on papyri fragments that have since been recovered and were found to have nothing to do with abraham. Joseph smith worked on the translation of the book of abraham during the summer and fall of 1835, by which time he completed at least the first chapter and part of the second chapter. Explores the joseph smith papyrus and demonstrates that joseph smiths claim that he had translated the book of abraham from it was a fabrication. He also gave a prophecy of himself that he was a translator. Even lds egyptologists acknowledge there are serious problems with the book of abraham and joseph s claims.
In it he included the findings of eight scholars who had examined the facsimiles or drawings which are found in the book of abraham. Joseph smith claimed that the book of mormon is his translation of reformed egyptian. The joseph smith papers welcomes engagement with its work and gratefully acknowledges the important work of various scholars on the book of abraham. Im adding an ex post facto preface here to show that symbol interpretation is seldom an exact science.
The current published text of the book of abraham, and probably more, seems to have been translated by the end of july 1835. Did joseph smith correctly translate facsimile 3 in the book. How the book of abraham exposes the false nature of mormonism. Was joseph smiths egyptian alphabet his translation. Joseph smith claimed to have translated the book of abraham from some egyptian papyri purchased in 1835 along with several mummies from an exhibit which had them on display in kirtland, ohio. The papyri used by joseph smith to produce the book of abraham were thought to be lost until some of them were discovered in the archives of the metropolitan museum of art in new york in 1966. Lds egyptologist doubts joseph smith translated the book of. No amount of scientific testing would convince the antimormons, i think. This translation was done by the power of god through special means. Joseph smith worked on the translation of the book of abraham during the summer and fall of 1835, by which time. Joseph smith claimed that the papyri contained the writings of abraham and joseph of egypt, but modern egyptologists have confirmed that it is a totally inaccurate translation, entirely unrelated to abraham or joseph of egypt. Did joseph smith translate even a single word correctly in. Matthewss work was a groundbreaking examination of the manuscripts and was the starting point for later research that led to the 2004 and 2011 publications of the new. Also worth consulting is the churchs gospel topics essay translation and historicity of the book of abraham.
Book of abraham learning about the book of abraham. Joseph smiths polytheism the book of abraham teaches polytheism, which is the belief in or worship of more than one god. Joseph smith began the translation in 1835 after obtaining some egyptian papyri. Did the church admit joseph smiths book of abraham. Joseph smith papers, revelations and translations, v. The book of abraham is a book of lds scripture that joseph smith translated from a collection of ancient egyptian papyri the church purchased. Did joseph smith correctly translate facsimile 2 in the book. Joseph smith, being the lords chosen instrument, became the prophet of the mormon church and held the office of seer. Joseph smith s study of the egyptian language and his translation of the book of abraham brian m. How did joseph smith translate the book of abraham. The book of abraham typifies joseph smiths experience as revelator and translator, jensen and hauglid observe. Joseph smith was the means, in the hands of the lord, of translating and publishing the book of mormon. There are many proofs that joseph smith was a false prophet, but mormons typically will not accept them. Rather than utilizing dictionaries, grammar books, and lexicons, joseph translated scripture through revelation.
A translation of some ancient records, that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of egypt. Salt lake city ap the book of abraham is inspired scripture and probably not a literal translation from ancient egyptian scrolls by mormon founder joseph smith, the utahbased church said in a new essay the article suggests god may have helped smith, who never claimed to speak the language it was in, to understand what was in the scrolls. Translation and historicity of the book of abraham a. Urim and thummim places the book of mormon translation on trial, presenting the latest research in one of the most comprehensive treatments of the translation process to date providing encouragement for latterday saints who fear they have been betrayed by the translation history taught by the church for over 190 years. Thompson presented his reasons for concluding that joseph smith did not produce the book of abraham by translating it, as he claimed, from an egyptian papyrus scroll he had obtained in 1835. They are now referred to as the joseph smith papyri. The book of abraham translation watchman fellowship, inc. For both books of the book of mormon and book of abraham, skeptics generally with a big first narrative that trickles down to further narratives. Numerous articles have appeared in the ensign over the years regarding the book of abraham.1483 1546 935 616 544 323 73 1204 880 95 1087 472 1292 707 658 539 986 775 997 1476 752 1328 322 1479 593 1571 1450 986 1224 866 147 1102 1015 1198 748 665