Book of Abraham/Anachronisms

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Alleged anachronisms in the Book of Abraham

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Question: Why would the Book of Abraham contain anachronisms?

Anachronisms may simply mean that the text that we have now has a rich transmission history. All anachronisms in the Book of Abraham are problems only if we assume that the Book of Abraham must, in every instance, at this very moment, represent a holographic narrative of the prophet

Many critics speak about some supposed anachronisms in the Book of Abraham. Among those commonly cited are the scenes in the facsimiles, Egyptus, the name “pharaoh” given to an Egyptian king, and the mention of “Chaldeans”. Anachronisms in the Book of Abraham may not be everything that critics think they are. It may simply indicate that the manuscript has a rich textual history—with redactors, copyists, and other handlers adding their own interpolations to the text as they transmitted the data and found ways to explain their stories through the tools that they had available to them. In the case of the Book of Abraham, we can react to anachronisms in one of four ways:

  1. Deny that the anachronism exists and assert that, although it has not yet been attested in an extant source, the posited characteristic does indeed date back to the Middle Bronze Age.
  2. Acknowledge the anachronism, but assign it to Joseph Smith as a translator’s anachronism, which does not in and of itself compromise the Book of Abraham as a translation of an ancient source;
  3. Acknowledge the anachronism but assign it to an ancient redactor or copyist.
  4. Acknowledge the anachronism and assign it to Joseph Smith as the modern author of the text. This is generally the stance of our critics.

The Joseph Smith Papyri from which the Book of Abraham was translated date to about 200 B.C. during the Ptolemaic period in Egyptian history. To resolve this issue, it has been pointed out by many scholars that the Book of Abraham as we have it to date may very well be a later manuscript of an earlier text[1].

As is common of many texts, ancient redactors or copyists could have used contemporary tools and language to describe ancient elements that were contemporary to Abraham or to illustrate theological points. [2]:115-116. This is a challenge that scholars have today: what comes from Abraham’s time and what is more contemporary to redactors and copyists? By way of a small example, the Canaanite El was a deity more contemporary to Abraham and matches “the idolatrous God of Elkenah mentioned in Facsimile 1 Ex 1[3]. Conversely, elements such as an adaptation of Osiris to represent Abraham are more contemporary to a later copyist or redactor[4]. Though an earlier attestation of this isn’t entirely forgone, the more likely option seems to be that Joseph translated something that was more contemporary to a later copyist or redactor. This doesn’t mean that as researchers we should become complacent and not research the matters further, but that we simply recognize what explanation fits the data the best at this moment.

If we allow ourselves to keep our minds opened, we can discover new things that help us understand the nature of the text and its transmission history. Regardless of textual transmission and provenance of different elements found within the Book of Abraham, there is nothing that affects our core theology or compromises the validity of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. What should matter to us most, perhaps, is the ancient authenticity of the Book of Abraham and not the way in which the Book of Abraham is authentically ancient.


Question: Is the mention of "Ur of the Chaldees" in the Book of Abraham an anachronism?

The Chaldeens are mentioned a number of times in the Book of Abraham

The Chaldeens are mentioned a number of times in the Book of Abraham (Abraham 1:1, 8, 13, 20, 23, 29, 30, 2:4 and 3:1.) Abraham 3:1 states:

And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees

It is claimed that the mention of "Ur of the Chaldees" in the Book of Abraham is an anachronism. According to Stephen Thompson, "scholarly estimates for the age of the patriarchs range from 2200 to 1200 B.C." [5] The Chaldeans, on the other hand, did not appear until hundreds of years later. Thompson notes that, "anything occurring after 1500 B.C. is definitely anachronistic to Abraham's lifetime." [5]

An additional complication is that scholars today place "Chaldea" in southern Mesopotamia, which is too far away to have any Egyptian influence.

The phrase "Ur of the Chaldees" appears in the Old Testament in connection with Abraham (Abram) and his father Terah

The phrase "Ur of the Chaldees" appears in the Old Testament in Genesis 11:26-28 in connection with Abraham (Abram) and his father Terah:

26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
27 ¶Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

The location of "Ur of the Chaldees" is not known

The location of "Ur of the Chaldees" is not known, although that has been much speculation among religious scholars concerning its possible location. It is noted by the Church that "Most scholars today locate “Chaldea” (or Ur) in southern Mesopotamia, removed from the area of Egyptian influence, but cogent arguments have been made for a northern location, within the realm of Egyptian influence." [6]


Paul Hoskisson (1991): "I will suggest an alternate location for the Ur of the Chaldees in the story of Abraham"

Paul Y. Hoskisson, "Research and Perspectives: Where Was the Ur of Abraham?", Ensign (July 1991)

Most people have an interest in the material settings of the scriptural accounts they hold sacred. Beyond this interest, physical settings become particularly important when scholars locate scriptural sites on present-day maps, because on this basis scholars augment and supplement our body of scriptural knowledge with facts from the indicated sites. For instance, many scholars place the site of Abraham’s Ur in southern Mesopotamia, and on that basis suggest that Abraham had contact with and was influenced by the dominant cult of that Ur, the cult of the moon god. With the aid of the book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, I will suggest an alternate location for the Ur of the Chaldees in the story of Abraham.[7] —(Click here to continue)


John Gee: "If Oylum Hoyuk is Olishem, the Ur of the Chaldees should be one of the dozens of Middle Bronze II sites in the Kilis plain"

John Gee,

If indeed tablets from Hittite from the site identify it as Ullis, the it is probably the Ulisum that Naram-Sin attacked and is a likely candidate for Olishem. If Oylum Hoyuk is Olishem, the Ur of the Chaldees should be one of the dozens of Middle Bronze II sites in the Kilis plain. We await further discoveries and publications. At present, given the many uncertainties, we can regard this identification as promising but not proven.[8] —(Click here to continue)


Stephen O. Smoot (2017): "The added geographical (Olishem/Ulišum) and cultural details (an Egyptian presence at Abraham’s homeland) in the Book of Abraham make a northern location for Ur essentially inescapable."

Stephen O. Smoot:

Unlike the vague and contradictory details provided in Genesis, the Book of Abraham appears to ground Abraham’s Ur in Syria. The added geographical (Olishem/Ulišum) and cultural details (an Egyptian presence at Abraham’s homeland) in the Book of Abraham make a northern location for Ur essentially inescapable. At the same time, however, problems persist for the Book of Abraham. For one thing, its text’s mentioning of the Chaldeans, as with Genesis, is, according to our presently available evidence, probably anachronistic. Perhaps future findings will overturn this, but as things stand at the moment, this remains a problem for the Book of Abraham’s historicity (although not a fatal one). Latter-day Saints approaching the historicity of the Book of Abraham should therefore be cautious and nuanced in how they evaluate the text’s historical claims. On the other hand, the explicit naming of Olishem/ Ulišum in the Book of Abraham, as well as the depiction of an Egyptian presence in the northern Levant during the time of Abraham, reinforces its historicity. These added details missing from the Genesis narrative about the life of Abraham not only draw our attention to the north as we search for Abraham’s homeland, but they also complicate attempts to dismiss the Book of Abraham as pseudepigrapha. [9] —(Click here to continue)


Question: Are the scenes contained in the facsimiles anachronistic to the time of Abraham?

Only if we assume that the Book of Abraham, in every respect, is holographic in nature does this become a problem for it

Reverend Franklin S. Spaulding of the Utah Episcopal Church was the first to make the claim of the scenes portrayed in the facsimiles being anachronistic to the Abraham of 2000 B.C. in his pamphlet “Joseph Smith jr. as translator” in the year 1912[10]. It is true that the very existence of the scenes upon which the facsimiles are based are, at this moment[11], anachronistic to the contemporaries of Abraham. However, this is only a problem if we assume that the Book of Abraham absolutely must, in every respect, represent a holograph from the prophet at this very moment.

In the case of the Book of Abraham, we should review our options for how we can react to anachronisms:

A) Deny that the anachronism exists and assert that, although it has not yet been attested in an extant source, the posited characteristic does indeed date back to the Middle Bronze Age.

B) Acknowledge the anachronism, but assign it to Joseph Smith as a translator’s anachronism, which does not in and of itself compromise the Book of Abraham as a translation of an ancient source;

C) Acknowledge the anachronism but assign it to an ancient redactor or copyist.

D) Acknowledge the anachronism and assign it to Joseph Smith as the modern author of the text. This is generally the stance of our critics.

In the case of the existence of facsimiles, we have options A and C since B only relates to translation and not to the mere existence of scenes such as those depicted in the facsimiles in Abraham’s time. Option C, at this moment, seems to be the best explanation for what we have going on with the Facsimiles. This requires some explanation.

The Joseph Smith Papyri from which the Book of Abraham was translated date to about 200 B.C. during the Ptolemaic period in Egyptian history. To resolve this issue, it has been pointed out by many scholars that the Book of Abraham as we have it to date is a later manuscript of an earlier text[12].

As is common of many texts, ancient redactors or copyists could have used existing scenes and the narrative from Abraham as they had it to describe ancient elements that were contemporary to Abraham [2]:115-116. This is the challenge that scholars have today: what comes from Abraham’s time and what is more contemporary to redactors and copyists? Should we interpret the facsimiles as coming from Ptolemaic Egyptians or Middle Bronze Age Egyptians? By way of a small example, the Canaanite El was a deity more contemporary to Abraham and matches “the idolatrous God of Elkenah mentioned in Facsimile 1 Ex 1[13]. Conversely, elements such as the adaptation of Osiris as Abraham are more contemporary to a later copyist or redactor[14]. Though an earlier attestation of this isn’t entirely forgone, the more likely option seems to be that Joseph translated something that came from sometime post-dating the life of Abraham.

The anachronistic nature of the scenes contained in the facsimiles to Abraham could be something similar. Option A could lead us to continue a path of more exploration until we can attest the scenes at an earlier time. Option C, at the moment, best explains the data and is something that we can be open to without feeling threatened since we can have an authentic translation with an authentic phenomenon that is commonly found in many ancient texts.


Question: Is the name "Pharaoh" anachronistic to the time of Abraham?

The office or function of pharaoh goes back to the time of Abraham, the name “pharaoh” does not. Only if we assume that the Book of Abraham must, under every circumstance, be a holographic narrative of the prophet’s life does this become problematic for its authenticity

It is claimed by many that the mention of pharaoh is anachronistic to the Book of Abraham. The first thing we should do is review our options about assessing anachronisms in the Book of Abraham.

A) Deny that the anachronism exists and assert that, although it has not yet been attested in an extant source, the posited characteristic does indeed date back to the Middle Bronze Age.

B) Acknowledge the anachronism, but assign it to Joseph Smith as a translator’s anachronism, which does not in and of itself compromise the Book of Abraham as a translation of an ancient source;

C) Acknowledge the anachronism but assign it to an ancient redactor or copyist.

D) Acknowledge the anachronism and assign it to Joseph Smith as the modern author of the text. This is generally the stance of our critics.

Options B and C, in light of current evidence[15] seem more likely.

As the Wikipedia article addressing “Pharoah” writes:

Pharaoh (/ˈfɛəroʊ/, US also /ˈfeɪroʊ/;[1] Arabic: فرعون Phar'aon or Fir'aun Coptic: ⲡⲣ̅ⲣⲟ Pǝrro) is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty (c. 3150 BCE) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE,[2] although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.

Under scenario “B”, Joseph could have simply used the title of pharaoh to describe the then-king. Under scenario “C” an ancient copyist or redactor could have used the word for pharaoh to describe the then-king and then Joseph could have translated it as such. This view is strengthened by Abraham 1:20 which states “…and also in the court of Pharaoh; which Pharaoh signifies king by royal blood.” A curious thing to need to explain.

Under either scenario, neither the core story of the Book of Abraham, its authenticity, our theology, nor the validity of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith are threatened.

Other traditions speak about a man named “Pharaoh” as the Book of Abraham does

Other traditions having to do with Abraham speak about a man named “Pharaoh” similarly.

Pharaoh was a descendant of Ham but also of Canaan (Abraham 1:21-22, 24-25, 27)

  • Al-Baida’wi 2:1, p. 427
  • Al-Tarafi 4, 35, pp. 371, 373
  • Al-Tha‘labi 1:1, pp. 357—58
  • Eupolemus 9, p. 9
  • Jubilees 22:20-21, p. 20
  • Peskita Rabbati 21:22, p. 80
  • Story of Abraham . . . with Nimrod 7, p. 166

The first pharaoh, a good man, was blessed by Noah (Abraham 1:26)

  • Ibn al-Tayyib 6:1-2, pp. 252-53
  • Other Muslim Traditions: Turkish 1-2, pp. 458-59

The idolatrous God of Pharaoh (Facsimile 1 Fig 9)

Daniel C. Peterson has talked about "the idolatrous God of Pharaoh" and its inclusion in Joseph Smith's interpretation of Facsimile 1 (this may explain its presence in Abraham 1):

Daniel C. Peterson:

One noteworthy element of the religious situation portrayed in the Book of Abraham is the identification of a crocodile as the idolatrous god of Pharaoh, right there underneath the lion couch. That’s a kind of odd thing to come up with if you’re a yokel farm-boy from upstate New York. Is that the first thing that comes to your mind? “Oh, idolatrous god of Pharaoh!”

Although this may have seemed strange in Joseph Smith’s day, discoveries in other ancient texts confirm this representation. Unas or Wenis, for example, was the last king of the fifth dynasty, around 2300 B.C., and his pyramid still stands at Saqqara, south of modern Cairo. Utterance 317, Unas’ pyramid texts, includes the following: “The king appears as the crocodile god Sobek, and Unas has come today from the overflowing flood. Unas is Sobek, green plumed, wakeful, alert….Una arises as Sobek, son of Neith. One scholar observes that “the god Sobek is … viewed as a manifestation of Horus, the god most closely identified with the kingship of Egypt” during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom era (around 2000 B.C., maybe a little later), which includes the time period that tradition indicates is Abraham’s time.

Intriguingly, Middle Kingdom Egypt saw a great deal of activity in the large oasis to the southwest of modern Cairo known as the Faiyum. Crocodiles were common there. You know what the name of the place was to the Greeks? The major town there was called “Crocodileopolis.”[16]


Question: Is the mention of Egyptus anachronistic to Abraham?

The name is actually attested in founding myths of Egypt, though it is anachronistic to the time that Abraham is claimed to live. Only if we assume that the Book of Abraham must be, in all instances, a holographic narrative of the prophet’s life does this become problematic for its authenticity.

The Book of Abraham contains a founding myth of Egypt. A woman named Egyptus is claimed to have discovered Egypt while under water. The name Egyptus is more contemporary to a later redactor/copyist working on the Book of Abraham. The Joseph Smith papyri date to this time (around 200 B.C.) and founding myths such as these were common. In all instances in which a supposed anachronism appears in the Book of Abraham, we have one of four options to choose from when reacting to them:

A) Deny that the anachronism exists and assert that, although it has not yet been attested in an extant source, the posited characteristic does indeed date back to the Middle Bronze Age.

B) Acknowledge the anachronism, but assign it to Joseph Smith as a translator’s anachronism, which does not in and of itself compromise the Book of Abraham as a translation of an ancient source;

C) Acknowledge the anachronism but assign it to an ancient redactor or copyist.

D) Acknowledge the anachronism and assign it to Joseph Smith as the modern author of the text. This is generally the stance of our critics.

In this instance, only A and C are possible since this is addressing a specific person and what the Book of Abraham is trying to communicate about Egypt’s founding. Option C seems more likely given the evidence currently[17]

John Tvedntes spoke about Egyptus at the 2005 FairMormon Conference addressing how this is actually evidence of the Book of Abraham’s authenticity:

Abraham 1:23 and 25 notes that the founder of Egypt was the daughter of Noah’s son Ham named Egyptus. It has long been noted that in the earliest handwritten manuscripts the name is written Zeptah which you can see here. As A. Richards Durham noted some years ago both forms derive from one of the Egyptian names for the capital city of Lower Egypt Memphis which was ît-kA-Ptaú ' (if you don’t put in the right vowels) meaning the “Residence of the spirit of Ptaú”—the name appears even in that form on a Ugaritic tablet.

When the Greeks came to Egypt in the time of Alexander the Great, they had to modify the name in order to pronounce it in their own language. Greek had no ‘h’ sound so they simply dropped the consonant at the beginning and the end of the name itself. The ‘t’ had already been dropped from the end of the word for ‘residence’ which is how it is in Coptic—it’s ‘a’—often the feminine ending dropped off of those in later forms of the Egyptian language. Instead of unvoiced ‘k’ the Greeks used its voiced equivalent the ‘g’ sound. Finally they added the masculine singular suffix ‘os’, this gave them the form Aigyptos which became Aegyptus in Latin. And this is the origin of course of the name Egyptus as used in the printed versions of the Book of Abraham and the English form of the name of the country itself Egypt. Ptaú whose name appears as the last element in the Egyptian form was the creator god in the story told of the ancient city of Memphis. Zeptah, the form used originally by Joseph Smith, likely means “Son or daughter of Ptaú.” The Egyptian has it as, here I’ve written it as the masculine on the upper left hand side there you can see, (inaudible) which would be the feminine. The feminine however later on dropped the ‘t’ so it’s easier to pronounce it and they both look alike or both sound alike in later forms of Egyptian. But the Hebrew- if it has a Hebrew meaning it would’ve been understood as Zeh Ptaú “This is Ptaú”—in other words this is the god Ptaú or the discoverer of Egypt. Indeed earlier Egyptologists translated the ‘s’ as a ‘z’ and so if we pronounce this as the Egyptian, ‘zeh’ instead of ‘sa’ that would fit with the way they used to transliterate it. As in most Hebrew words, the feminine suffix was often dropped in later forms of Egyptian. In the Egyptian text known as Astarte and the Sea the goddess Astarte, corresponding to the Egyptian goddess Isis or Isis(?), is actually called (inaudible) in other words “the daughter of Ptaú” so she has that very title. The Semitic verb Ptah means to open, to discover. The Egyptians held that the Temple at Memphis was constructed on the first piece of land rising from the floodwaters and the same tradition was attached to various other spots where temples were built along the Nile. An Armenian text attributed to the 4th century A.D. Christian historian Eusebius declares that ‘Egypt is called Mizraim(?) by the Hebrews’—which is close, in Hebrew it’s Mitzraim but he came close considering that it was Greek translated into Armenian—‘and Mizraim lived not long after the flood for after the flood, Ham son of Noah begat Egyptus or Mizraim who was the first to set out to establish himself in Egypt at the time when the tribes began to disperse this way and that.’ Here we have Egyptus then being a man. A similar account is found in Abraham 1:23-24 except that here it’s a woman: 23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; 24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race. So, I should make one point here before we move on though because somebody is probably going to look at this and then say, ‘Well why is it that you said then- why does the Book of Abraham say that it means ‘forbidden’ in Chaldean? Well my guess is that it’s analogous to what happens in Russia. Does anybody know how the word ‘Mormon’ is used in Russia? They heard about the Mormons in the United States and these were bad people because all the books they ever had on it were anti-Mormon. We start sending missionaries to Russia, the Soviet Union almost- after 1989. These missionaries come in and they said, ‘We’re Mormons’ and people say, ‘Oh you’re those awful people.’ But other people in Russia have been called Mormons for some time, it’s a group of evil-doers they say and so they’ve used the term ‘Mormon’ meaning evil-doers instead of more good if some of you like that better explanation. Hugh Nibley has dealt with the Egyptian traditions about the goddess who discovered Egypt rising out of the floodwaters. In one text she is called ‘the daughter of Ptaú’ which, as noted above, is one possible meaning of the name ‘Zeptah’. In some accounts she is Isis, sister-wife to Osiris—both sister and wife—and mother of Horus the first king of Egypt making one wonder if Egyptus married her own brother, Mizraim who is the son of Ham mentioned in the Bible and after whom Egypt takes its name in Hebrew. Nibley draws attention to the account of Herakleides, which was unavailable to Joseph Smith, who wrote “It was first a woman named Aegyptia who established her son and introduced weaving. Because of her, the Egyptians set up an image of Athena,” the Greek goddess, “as Ephorus says in his work on Europa.”1 About 440 B.C. the Greek historian Herodotus wrote that the Egyptian priests “told me that the first man who ruled over Egypt was Min, and that in his time all Egypt, except the Thebaic canton,” that’s Thebes, “was a marsh, none of the land below Lake Moeris then showing itself above the surface of the water.”2 In his Chronicle, the 6th century A.D. Christian historian John Malalas wrote that, “the first king of Egypt belonged to the tribe of Ham, Noah’s son, he was pharaoh who was called Neko.” While Malalas evidently confused the pharaoh of Abraham’s time with the pharaoh Neko of the 6th century B.C.—the time of King Josiah—it is interesting that Abraham 1:20-21 notes that “Pharaoh signifies king by royal blood. Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.” One of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers notes that Abraham “was forewarned of God to go down into Ahmehstrah, or Egypt, and preach the gospel unto the Ahmehstrahans.” The word may be related to the Hebrew Mizraim—it sounds a bit like it. The name for Egypt and for one of Ham’s sons who is the eponymous ancestor of the Egyptians in Genesis 10 and 1 Chronicles 1. The Hebrew is actually a dual form, as reflected by the suffix ‘aim’—so Mizraim really means two Egypts if you will due to the fact that ancient Egypt was considered to be comprised of two parts—Upper and Lower Egypt—that were subsequently united. Eusebius declared that Mizraim was indeed the founder of the Egyptian race and from him the first Egyptian dynasty must be held to spring. As noted earlier, Eusebius also identified Egyptus with Mizraim. If, as the Book of Abraham says, Egyptus was a daughter of Ham rather than a son, it is possible that she married her brother just as the Egyptian traditions have. Isis marries her brother Osiris; and from them would derive the Hebrew name of Egypt. This would explain the Egyptian myths about Osiris the god who actually ruled Egypt anciently marrying his sister and that was followed by some of the pharaohs.

In fact some of the pharaohs in order to make sure that they were marrying into the royal line married not only their sisters but sometimes their daughters and I know of at least one case where one married his mother. It’s really a strange idea from our point of view but it was perfectly normal in their days, they wanted to preserve this particular line.[18]

Other traditions regarding Abraham that speak of the founding of Egypt

  • Al-Kisä’i 59—60, p. 387
  • Al-Mas‘u‘di, Meadows 3:1, pp. 351—52
  • Al-Rabghu’zi 9, p. 436
  • Al—T_abar1' 215; 216; 252—7025, 42, pp. 333, 335, 343
  • Al-Tha‘labi 1:1; 3:1, pp. 357—58, 367
  • Anonymous Christian Chronicle 16, p. 229
  • Armenian Question, p. 286
  • Artapanus, p. 7
  • Book ofthe Cave of Treasures 22b2, p. 189
  • Book of the Rolls 118b, pp. 207—8
  • Conflict ofAdam und Eve III, 23:4—8, pp. 219—20
  • Genesis Apocryphon XIX, 13, p. 26
  • Ibn al-T_ayyib 6:2, p. 253
  • Mahbüb of Menbidj (Agapius) 3, p. 248
  • Other Muslim Traditions: Turkish 1, p. 458
  • Targum Ionathan Genesis 1621, 5, p. 67
  • Zohar: Genesis 73a, pp. 154—55 Contrast Abu' al—Fida‘ 3, p. 433;
  • al-T‚abari 325—26:1, p. 349


Question: Why does the age when Abraham left Haran in the Book of Abraham differ from the Bible?

The age at which Abraham departed out of Haran is stated to be 75 years old in Genesis, and 62 years old in the Book of Abraham

"So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." Genesis 12:4


"So I, Abraham, departed as the Lord had said unto me, and Lot with me; and I, Abraham, was sixty and two years old when I departed out of Haran." Abraham 2:14

Other non-Biblical ancient documents found since Joseph Smith's day indicate Abraham left Haran earlier than 75 years old

There exist other, non-Biblical, ancient documents found since Joseph Smith's day which indicate that Abraham left Haran earlier than 75 years old[19] Which year is most accurate? We do not know.

Both dates may be correct: One indicating Abraham's exit from the city, and the other from the greater area

However, the more likely possibility is both dates are correct. If one was mentioning an earlier exit from the city, and the other the greater general area of Haran (Los Angeles city vs. Los Angeles-Southern California area), Abraham could have left the city, then later, the greater area. Hugh Nibley explains that in the ancient "Sepher ha-Yasher" or "Book of Jasher", "Avram" (Abraham) left Haran twice.[20]

Notes

  1. name="gee">:28As Dr. John Gee (PhD, Egyptology, Yale) notes, "some of the texts in the Book of the Dead manuscripts from the same time as the Joseph Smith Papyri (and even later) are also attested in manuscripts that go back before the time of Abraham." This was a personal communication to FairMormon Answers Wiki editors, 10 August 2007, cited with permission.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kevin L. Barney, “The Facsimiles and Semitic Adaptation of Existing Sources,” in John Gee and Brian M. Hauglid (editors), Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 2006).
  3. Barney, Kevin L. (2010) "On Elkenah as Canaanite El," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Vol. 19: No. 1, Article 5. Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/vol19/iss1/5
  4. Barney, “Semitic Adaptation”
  5. 5.0 5.1 Stephen E. Thompson, "Egyptology and the Book of Abraham", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Spring 1995)
  6. "Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham," Footnote 35, Gospel Topics, LDS.org. off-site
  7. Paul Y. Hoskisson, "Research and Perspectives: Where Was the Ur of Abraham?", Ensign (July 1991)
  8. John Gee, "Has Olishem Been Discovered?," Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture Vol. 22, Num. 2 (2013)
  9. Stephen O. Smoot, "'In the Land of the Chaldeans' The Search for Abraham’s Homeland Revisited" BYU Studies Quarterly Vol. 53, Num. 3 (2017)
  10. See Franklin S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr., as a Translator (Salt Lake City: Arrow, 1912).
  11. This article was redacted 11/10/2018 and edited the same date
  12. <name="gee">:28As Dr. John Gee (PhD, Egyptology, Yale) notes, "some of the texts in the Book of the Dead manuscripts from the same time as the Joseph Smith Papyri (and even later) are also attested in manuscripts that go back before the time of Abraham." This was a personal communication to FairMormon Answers Wiki editors, 10 August 2007, cited with permission.
  13. Barney, Kevin L. (2010) "On Elkenah as Canaanite El," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Vol. 19: No. 1, Article 5. Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/vol19/iss1/5
  14. Barney, “Semitic Adaptation”
  15. This article was redacted 11/10/2018 and edited on the same date
  16. Daniel C. Peterson, "Some Reflections On That Letter To a CES Director," 2014 FairMormon Conference
  17. This article was redacted 11/10/2018
  18. John Tvedtnes "Authentic Ancient Names and Words in the Book of Abraham and Related Kirtland Egyptian Papers" FairMormon Conference 2005. Paper may be read in full here
  19. https://www.lds.org/topics/translation-and-historicity-of-the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng
  20. http://www.bookofmormonpromisedland.com/Abraham%20in%20Egypt.htm