Book of Abraham/Evidences

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Evidences that support the Book of Abraham

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Question: What evidence does the Book of Abraham demonstrate to support its own antiquity?

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The stories and worldviews we find in the translated text of our Book of Abraham coincide nicely with what we find from ancient Abrahamic lore

The stories and worldviews we find in the translated text of our Book of Abraham coincide nicely with what we find from ancient Abrahamic lore. Joseph Smith demonstrated extensive knowledge of these areas, which he then integrated into a theologically rich whole. He could only have received this information through revelation, since there were no resources available to him on many of these traditions. The Book of Josephus was known to Joseph Smith and it is likely that he read it, although it has not been proven. The Book of Josephus would have only been useful to Joseph for identifying that Abraham knew astronomy and that he taught it to the Egyptians, however it would not have been useful in identifying the type of astronomy taught to them. Thus this becomes a strong evidence for the Book of Abraham. The other book that he may have known of is the Book of Jasher. However, documentary evidence shows that Joseph had already completed up to Abraham 3:13 before the Book of Jasher was published and circulated in his vicinity[1] Additionally, it was not published until 1840 in New York[2] and the details contained generally do not match the phraseology nor the exact conceptualizations expressed in the Book of Abraham. References comparing the Book of Jasher and Abraham are found below. Andrew Hedges has documented that the traditions below were very unique to for contemporaneous views of Abraham [3] As far as can be determined by the author of this article at this time, none of the books below were owned by Joseph Smith[4] Following is a listing of the traditions along with some of the Abrahamic lore that supports the tradition.

Abraham's fathers worshipped idols (Abraham 1:5-6)

  • Abel and the Other Pieces, p.
  • Abel and Other Pieces, p. 287
  • Abü al-Fida' 2, pp. 433—34
  • Al—Kisä’i 68—72, p. 388
  • Al-Mas‘u‘di, Meadows 4:2, p. 352
  • Al-Nisa‘bu‘ri 14:13; 16:4, pp. 400, 402
  • Al—Rabghu‘zi 28, p. 440
  • Al-_Tabar1' 220; 252—70:41, pp. 334, 343
  • Al-T‘arafi 1, 53—55, pp. 370, 374—75
  • Anonymous Christian Chronicle 10, pp. 228—29
  • Armenian Paraphrase of Genesis: after Genesis 11:30, version A, pp. 284—85
  • Bar Hebraeus 2, p. 274
  • Book of usher 9:6, 19; 11:45—46, pp. 138, 139, 142
  • Book ofthe Bee 23, p. 272
  • Book ofthe Cave ofTreasures 23a.1, pp. 189—90
  • Book ofthe Rolls 118b, pp. 207—8
  • Catena Severi 1, p. 241
  • Conflict ofAdam and Eve III, 24:1—7, pp. 220—21
  • Damascus Document, p. 30
  • Epiphanius, Panarion 1.1:
  • Anac. 1.3.1;
  • Proem 2.3.4, pp. 197, 198
  • Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 12:61—62, p. 72
  • .L‘U 5378 7° Traditions about the Early Lfie ofAbraham
  • Ibn al-Tayyib 7:1—2, p. 253 '
  • Ibn Kathir 11, p. 455
  • Ishäq ibn Bishr 161B:3, p. 312 John Chrysostom, p. 193
  • Jubilees 11:4, 7, 16, pp. 14, 15
  • Judith 5:7, p. 4
  • Kebra Nagast 1, p. 277
  • Mahbu’b of Menbidj (Agapius) 2, pp. 247—48
  • Michael Glycas 1, p. 265
  • Michael the Syrian 2.3.3, 2.5, p. 262
  • Midrush Rubbuh Numbers 2:12, p. 107
  • Qiqel and Yahya 2, pp. 488—89 Qu1°an 21:53; 26:70—76, pp. 293, 295
  • Symeon Logothetes 2, pp. 250—51
  • Syrzu'c Commentary on Genesis 7, p. 243
  • Targum Neofiti 1 Genesis 20:13, p. 69
  • See also Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer 26, pp. 45—46

Idols were made of wood and stone (Abraham 1:11)

  • Anonymous Christian Chrom‘cle 10, pp. 228—29
  • Apocalypse ofAbraham 1:2; 25:1, pp. 52, 59
  • Book of Jasher 9:6—8, 19; 11:32, 42—45, 47, pp. 138—39, 141, 142
  • Book of the Cave of Treasures 23a.2, p. 190
  • Book of the Rolls 119a, p. 208
  • Chronicles ofJerahmeel 34:10, p. 132
  • Conflict ofAdam and Eve III, 24:1, p. 220
  • Epiphanius, Panarion 1.1: Anac. 1.3.3;
  • Proem 2.3.5, pp. 197, 198
  • Hecataeus, p. 3
  • Kebru Nugust 12—13, pp. 277—78
  • Qiqel and Yahya 2, pp. 488—89

Terah, Abraham’s father, worshiped idols (Abraham 1:16—17, 27)

  • Abu‘ al—Fidä 2, pp. 433-—34
  • Al-Bukhäri 569, pp. 327—28
  • Al-Kisa'ü' 9, 41, pp. 382, 385
  • Al—Nisa‘bu‘ri 14:1; 15:2—3, pp. 397, 400—401
  • Al-Rabghu’zi 12, 17, 20, pp. 437—39
  • Al-Tabari 224—25; 252-70:11, 18, 41;
  • 346—47:1,pp. 334, 336—38, 343, 349
  • Al-T_arafi 27—29, p. 372
  • Al-Tha‘labi 2:3, p. 361
  • Al-Ya‘qu’bi 2, p. 330
  • Apocalypse of Abraham 1:1; 25:1; 26:1, pp. 52, 59, 60
  • Augustm'e, City of God 16.12, pp. 200—201
  • Book of Jasher 9:7; 11:20-22, 29, 32—33, 42—48, 53, pp. 138, 140—42
  • Cutenu Severi 5, p. 241
  • Chronicles ofJerahmeel 33:1, 5, pp. 129, 130
  • Conflict of Adam and Eve III, 24:9; IV, 1:2, pp. 221, 222
  • Epiphanius, Panarion 1.1:
  • Anac. 1.3.3;
  • Proem 2.3.5, pp. 197, 198
  • Falasha Story 3, p. 486
  • George Hamartolos, pp. 237—38
  • George Syncellus 1, 5, pp. 224, 225
  • Ibn al—Athir 6, pp. 423—24
  • Ibn Isha‘q 7, p. 305
  • Ibn Kathir 13, 16, pp. 455—56
  • Isha'q ibn Bishr 165B27—8, p. 318
  • Jacob of Edessa 4, p. 212
  • John Malalas, p. 206 Jubilees 11:16, p. 15
  • Ka‘b al-Ahba‘r 10, p. 300
  • Mz'drush Rubbuh Genesis 38:13, p. 91;Numbers 19:1; 29:33, p. 111
  • Pesiktu Rubbuti 33:3a—b, pp. 80—81
  • Qur’an 6:74; 19:42; 26:86; 60:4, pp. 292, 293, 295, 296
  • Revelation ofMoses, p. 180
  • Story ofAbraham . . . with Nimrod 14, p. 168
  • Symeon Logothetes 2, pp. 250—51
  • Tunnu debe Eliyahu 2, 5, pp. 74—75
  • Turgum Neofiti 1 Deuteronomy 6:4, p. 70
  • Zohar: Genesis 78b, pp. 157—58

Terah, after repenting, returned to his idols (Abraham 2:5)

  • Abü al-Fida' 2, pp. 433—34
  • Al—Kisä’i 72, p. 388
  • Al-T‘aban‘ 252—70241; 325—2621, pp. 343, 349
  • Apocalypse of Abraham 26:3, p. 60
  • Book of Jasher 12:68, p. 149[5]
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 35:1, p. 133
  • Ibn al-Tayyib 7:6, pp. 254-55
  • Qur'an 60:4, p. 296
  • Tanna debe Eliyahu 8, pg.
  • Zohar: Genesis 77b, 78b, pp. 155-56, 157-58

Abraham connected to Egyptian Idols (Abraham 1:6-7, 13,17,20,29; 2:13; 3:20; Facisimle 1, figures 4-9)

  • Bar Hebraeus 4, pp. 274-75
  • Kebra Nagast 82, pp. 279-80
  • Michael Glycas 1, p. 265

Children were sacrificed (Abraham 1:7-8, 10-11)

  • Al-Baida‘wi 2:4, 8, p. 428
  • Al-Biru’ni 2, p. 369
  • Al-Kisa"1' 32, 41, 43, 98, pp. 384, 385, 386, 390
  • Al-Maqdisi 48, p. 355
  • Al-Mas‘u‘di, Meadows 3:1, pp. 351—52
  • Al-Nisa'bu'ri 14:2, p. 397
  • Al-Rabghu‘zi 11, p. 436
  • Al-Tabari 204-521; 206, pp. 332—33
  • Al-Tha‘labi 1:2—3, pp. 358—59
  • Anonymous Christian Chronicle 10, pp. 228—29
  • Apocalypse of Abraham 2522—3, p. 60
  • Bakhayla Mikä’eAl (Zo‘srrn‘a‘s) 16b.2, p. 282
  • Book of [usher 8:34, p. 138
  • Book ofthe Cave of Treasures 23b.2‚ pp. 190—91
  • Book ofthe Rolls 120a, pp. 208-9
  • Conflict of Adam and Eve III, 24:15—17; 25:1, 8, pp. 221—22
  • Falasha Story 3, p. 486
  • Ibn al-Athir 3, p. 422
  • Ibn Ishäq 3, p. 304
  • Isha'q ibn Bishr 1628:6; 163A:6‚' 166A:1;
  • 166B210—11; 167A:8—9, pp. 313, 314, 319, 320, 321
  • Kebra Nagast 12, p. 277
  • Petrus Comestor, pp. 267-68
  • Philo of Alexandria, De Abrahamo 188, p. 41
  • Pseudo-Philo 4:16, p. 21
  • Other Musllm' Traditions: ProphetAbraham 3, pp. 459—60
  • Story ofAbraham . . . with Nimrod 3, 5, p. 165

Those who would not worship idols were killed (Abraham 1:11)

  • Al-Kisa"1' 85—87, 98, pp. 389, 390
  • Alcuin, Interrogationes et responsiones in Genesim 152, p. 217
  • Anonymous Christian Chronicle 6, 27, pp. 228, 230—31
  • Asatir 5:27, p. 469
  • Bede, Commentarium in Pentateuchem, p. 214 Bede (7.),
  • Quaestiones super Genesim, pp. 214—15
  • Commentarium in Genesim, p. 205
  • Expositio super septem vz’siones, commentm'g on Rev. 6:4, p. 218
  • Falasha Story 4, pp. 486—87
  • Freculphus Lexoviensis, pp. 234—35
  • Jerome, Quaestiones Hebraicrze in Genesim 11:28, pp. 194—96
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 44:7, p. 98
  • Other Mushm' Traditions: Prophet Abraham 7, p. 461
  • Rabanus Maurus, Commentaria in Genesim, pp. 232—33 Rupertus Tuitensrs‘,
  • Commentarium in Ioannem 4, pp. 257—58

Abraham was brought to be killed or sacrificed because he would not worship idols (Abraham 1:7, 12, 15; Facsimle 1, figure 3)

  • Abu' al-Fida' 2, pp. 433-44
  • Al-Baida‘wi 4:8, p. 431
  • Al-Bukha‘n’ 579, p. 329
  • Al-Kisä’i 135, p. 393
  • Al-Maqdisi 53-54, pp. 355—56
  • Al-Mas‘u‘di, Meadows 4:2, p. 352; News 1, p. 353
  • Al-Nisäbu'ri 18:2; 19:2, pp. 404, 405—6
  • Al-Rabghuz‘i 31—43, 47, pp. 441—44, 445-46 Al-Tabari 252—70:4, 27—37; 316-17:1—2; 318—2421—2; 346—47zl—2, pp. 335, 340—42, 345, 346, 349—50
  • Al-Tarafi 88—93, pp. 377—78
  • Al-Tha‘labi 2:10, 12, pp. 364—65, 366
  • Al-Ya‘qübi 3, p. 331
  • Al-Zamakhshari 2:578, pp. 412—13
  • Alcum', Interrogationes et responsiones in Genesim 152, p. 217
  • Angelomus Luxoviensis, Commentarium in Genesim, pp. 239—40
  • Anonymous Christian Chronicle 6, p. 228
  • Asatz'r 5:27, p. 469
  • Augustine, City of God 16.15;
  • Quaestiones in Heptateuchum, pp. 202—3, 204
  • Babylonian Talmud ‘Erubin 53a, pp. 119—20;
  • Pesahz'm 118a, p. 120;
  • Sunhedrz'n 93a, pp. 121—22;
  • A‘bodah Zarah 3a, p. 122
  • Book of [usher 12:6, 23, pp. 144, 145
  • Bede, Hexaemeron 3—4, pp. 213—14 Bede (.7),
  • Quaestiones super Genesz'm, 214—15
  • Catena Severi 8, p. 242
  • Chronicles of Ierahmeel 33:4—5; 34:12, pp. 130, 132
  • Commentarium in Genesim, p. 205
  • De computo, p. 226
  • Expositio super septem vz'siones, commenting on Rev. 1:13, p. 218
  • Falasha Story 4, pp. 486—87
  • Freculphus Lexoviensis, pp. 234—35
  • Glossa ordz'naria, p. 236
  • Herveus Burgidolensis, p. 260
  • Hugh of St. Victor, p. 259
  • Ibn al-Athir 10, p. 425
  • Ibn al-Jawzi 2, pp. 419—20
  • Ibn Isha‘q 13, p. 307
  • Ibn Kathir 26, p. 457
  • Ioannes Zonaras, p. 261
  • Isha‘q ibn Bishr 168A:17; 1683:5—6, p. 323
  • Jacob of Edessa 8, p. 212
  • Jerome, Quaestiones Hebraicae in Genesim, commentm'g on Genesis 11:28; 12:4, pp. 194—96
  • Judith 8:27, p. 5
  • Ka‘b al-Ahba‘r 11, p. 300
  • Mz'drash Rabbah Genesis 34:9; 38:13; 39:3; 42:3, 7; 44:4, 7; 48:1, pp. 90, 91, 92, 96, 97, 98, 100; Exodus 44:5; 49:2, p. 104; Leviticus 11:7; 36:4, pp. 105, 106—7; Numbers 2:12; 12:8, pp. 107, 110; Deuteronomy 9:4, p. 112;
  • Ruth Proem 7:1, p. 112;
  • Ecclesiastes 4:81, p. 114;
  • Esther Proem 11; 6:2, pp. 114, 115; Song of Songs 1:13.1; 225.1; 326.2; 3:11.1; 8:8.2, pp. 115, 116—17, 118
  • Nicophorus Gregoras, p. 276
  • Other Mushm' Traditions: Yusuf, p. 463
  • Pesikta Rabbati 33:4a, p. 81 Petrus Comestor, pp. 267—68
  • Pseudo-Philo 6:16, p. 24
  • Qiqel and Yahya 11, p. 489
  • Qur’an 21:68; 37:97, pp. 294, 296
  • Rabanus Maurus, pp. 232—33
  • Rashi, regardm'g Genesis 11:28, p. 125
  • Ra'wandi 3, 8, 10, pp. 415, 416, 417
  • Rupertus Tuitensis, Commentarium in Ioamzem 4, pp. 257—58
  • Story of Abraham . . . with Nimrod 25, 29, pp. 172, 173
  • Study (Midrash) ofAbraham Our Father 3, p. 179
  • Tanna debe Eliyahu 1—3, 6, pp. 74—75, 76
  • Targum Ionatlzrm Genesis 11:28; 14:1; 16:5, pp. 66, 67
  • Targum Rishon of Esther 5:14, p. 71
  • Zohar: Genesis 77b, pp. 155—56; Leviticus 57a, pp. 162—63

Terah was behind the attempt to kill Abraham (Abraham 1:7, 30)

  • Al-Nisa'bu‘ri 15:4, p. 401
  • Book of Jasher 11:51, p. 143[6]
  • Falasha Story 3, p. 486
  • lsha‘q ibn Bishr 163828, p. 315
  • Qur’an 19:46; 26:86; 60:4, pp. 293, 295, 296
  • Rashi, regardm'g Genesis 11:28, p. 125
  • Story ofAbraham . . . with Nimrod 8, pp. 166—67

Abraham was fastened or bound (Abraham 1:15; Facsimile 1, figure 2)

  • Al-Baida‘wi 4:4, 7, pp. 430, 431
  • Al-Nisa'bu‘ri 18:2; 19:2, pp. 404, 405—6
  • Al-Rabghu‘zi 33—34, p. 442 Al-T_araf1' 109, p. 379
  • Al-Tha‘labi 2:10—11, pp. 364—66
  • Al-Zamakhshari 2:578, pp. 412—13
  • Book of [usher 12:23, p. 145
  • Chronicles of Ierahmeel 33:4, p. 130
  • Ibn Kathir 25, p. 457
  • Isha‘q ibn Bishr 168A:14; 168B26, pp. 322, 323
  • Philo the Epic Poet, p. 6
  • Ra'wandi 10, p. 417
  • Story _ofAbraham . . . with Nimrod 29, p. 173
  • Study (Mz'drnsh) of Abraham OurFather 3, p. 179
  • Tamza debe Eliyahu 4, p. 75

When his life was in danger, Abraham prayed (Abraham 1:15)

  • Al-Baidäwi 4:7, p. 431
  • Al-Kisä’i 138, p. 393
  • Al-T_abari 252—70:31, p. 341
  • Al—Tarafi 90—93, pp. 377—78
  • Al—Tha‘labi 2:10—11, pp. 364—66
  • Ibn al-Jawzi 2, pp. 419—20
  • Ibn Kathir 26, p. 457
  • Philo the Epic Poet, p. 6
  • Ra‘wand1‘4—5, pp. 415—16
  • Story ofAbraham . . . with Nimrod 11, 29, pp. 167, 173 Contrast al—Rabghu‘zi 39, pp. 443—44

An angel came to rescue Abraham (Abraham 1:15; 2:13; Facsimile 1, figure 1)

  • AI-Baidäwi 4:8, 11, pp. 431—32
  • Al-Kisa"i 52, 88, 138—39, 142, pp. 387, 389, 393, 394
  • Index A: Thematic 0 541
  • Al-Rabghu‘zi 35, 38, 42, pp. 443, 444
  • Al-Tabari 252—7031, 33—34, pp. 341-42
  • Al-Tarafi 93—96, p. 378
  • Al-Tha‘labi 2:10, pp. 364—65
  • Al-Zamakhshari 2:578, pp. 412—13
  • Babylonian Talmud Pesahim 118a, p. 120
  • Chronicles of Iorahmecl 34:13; 35:3, pp. 133, 134
  • Falasha Story 4, pp. 486—87
  • Ibn al—Athir 10—11, pp. 425—26
  • Ibn al-Iawzi 2, pp. 419—20
  • Ibn Isha’q 13—14, pp. 307—8
  • Ibn Kathir 27—30, p. 457
  • Isha’q ibn Bishr 168B23—4, 8, 11, p. 323
  • Ka‘b al-Ahbär 13, p. 301
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 44:13, p 99; Exodus 18:5, p. 103; Song of Songs 1:12.1; 3:11.1, pp. 116-17
  • Other Mushm' Traditions: Prophet Abraham 6, p. 461
  • Ra‘wandi 4, 6, pp. 415, 416
  • Story of Abraham . . . with Nimrod 32, p. 174
  • Study (Mz'drash) ofAbraham Our Father 4, p. 179

God rescued Abraham from death (Abraham 1: 16; 3:20)

  • Al-Kisa"i 139—41, p. 393
  • Al—Maqdisi 53—54, pp. 355—56
  • Al-Mas‘u‘di, Meadows 4:2, p. 352;
  • News 1, p. 353
  • Al-Nisa‘bu‘ri 18:3, p. 404
  • Al-Rabghu'zi 49, p. 446
  • Al-T,araf1' 112, p. 379
  • Al-Ya‘qu'bi 3, p. 331
  • Alcum’, Interrogationes et responsz'ones in Genesim, p. 217
  • Angelomus Luxoviensis, Commentarium in Genesim on Genesis 12:4, pp. 239—40
  • Asatir 5:27, p. 469
  • Babylonian Talmud Pesohim 118a, p. 120
  • Bede, Hexaemeron 3, 4, pp. 213-14
  • Bede (7.), Quaestiones super Genesim, pp. 214—15
  • Book of [asher 12:24, 38, pp. 145, 146
  • Chronicles of Ierahmeel 33:6; 34:13, pp. 130, 133
  • Commentarium in Genesim, p. 205
  • Ethiopic Story of loseph, p. 281
  • Asatir 5:16; 6:11, 24, pp. 467, 472, 473—74 (continued)
  • Bar Hebraeus 1, 7, pp. 274, 275
  • Freculphus Lexoviensis, pp. 234—35
  • Book oflas/1er 11:33—36, p. 141
  • Glossa ordiuarla', p. 236
  • Book of the Bee 23, 30, pp. 272, 273
  • Isha‘q ibn Bishr 1688:6—7, p. 323
  • Jerome, Commentarium in Isaiam;
  • Quaestiones Hebraicae in Genesim on Genesis 11:28; 12:4;
  • Vulgate Ezra, pp. 194—96
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 63:2, p. 102; Exodus15:12; 18:5; 23:4, p. 103; Numbers 12:8, p. 110; Deuteronomy 2:27, p. 111; Song of Songs 3:11.1, p. 117
  • Pesikta Rabbati 33:4a, p. 81
  • Phflo the Epic Poet, p. 6
  • Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer 26, pp. 45-46
  • Pseudo-Philo 6:9; 23:5; 32:1, pp. 22, 24—25
  • Rabanus Maurus, pp. 232—33
  • Ra‘Wandi 4, 8, pp. 415, 416
  • Rupertus Tujtensis, Commentarium in ]oannem 4, pp. 257—58
  • Story ofAbraham 8, p. 177
  • Story ofAbraham . . . with Nimrod 11, 32, p. 167, 174
  • Study (Midrash) ofAbraham Our Father 4, p. 179
  • Targum Jonathan Genesis 15:7, p. 67
  • Targum Neofiti 1 Genesis 15:7, p. 69
  • Book of the Cave of Treasures 23b.1; 24a.1, pp. 190, 191
  • Book of the Rolls 119b, 120a, pp. 208—9 Catena Severi 6—7, p. 242
  • Chronicles ofJerahmeel 34:9, 11, p. 132
  • Conflict ofAdam and Eve III, 24:8; 25:2, p. 221
  • Falasha Story 3, p. 486
  • George Hamartolos, pp. 237—38
  • George Syncellus 3, 5, pp. 224, 225
  • Ibn al-Athir 3, 6, pp. 422, 423—24
  • Ibn Isha‘q 2, 7, pp. 304, 305
  • Ibn Kathir 17, 19, p. 456
  • Isha‘q ibn Bishr 165B:11,' 166A:13—14, 17, pp. 318, 319
  • Jacob of Edessa 6—7, p. 212
  • John Malalas, p. 206
  • Jubilees 12:12, p. 17
  • Kebra Nagast 13, pp. 277—78
  • Michael the Syrian 2.3.4, 2.6.6, 3.1.1, pp. 262, 263
  • Other Mushm' Traditions: Prophet Abraham 5, pp. 460—61
  • Philaster of Brescia, p. 199

The altar (furnace) and the idols were destroyed (Abraham 1:20)

  • Pseudo-Philo 6:18, p. 24
  • Qur’an 21:57—58, p. 294
  • Rashi, regardm'g Genesis 11:28, p. 125
  • Al-Birüni 2, p. 369
  • Räwandi 10, p. 417
  • Al-Kisa"1‘ 41, 129, pp. 385, 392
  • Study (Midrash) of Abraham Our Father 1, p. 178
  • Al-Mas‘u‘di, News 1, p. 353
  • Story of Abraham 5, p. 176
  • Al-Nisa‘bu'ri 17:2, p. 402
  • Story ofAbraham . . . with Nimrod 23, p. 171
  • Al—Rabghüzi 6, 22, 43, 66, pp. 436, 439—40, 450
  • Symeon Logothetes 2, pp. 250—51
  • Al-T_abar1‘ 252—7026, 19—20; 318—2426, 9, pp. 335—36, 338—39, 347—48

The priest (or leader) was smitten and died (Abraham 1:20, 29)

  • Al-T_araf1‘ 60, 70, pp. 375, 376
  • Al-Tha‘labi 2:3, 6, pp. 361, 362—63
  • Al-Kisa‘h‘ 42, 159, pp. 385, 395
  • Al-Ya‘qu'bi 3, p. 331
  • Al-Mas‘u'di, News 1, p. 353
  • Al-Zamakhshari 2:576, p. 412
  • Al-Nisa‘bu‘ri 19:2, pp. 405—6
  • Anonymous Christian Chrom'cle 8, 23,
  • Al-Rabghu‘zi 60, p. 448 pp. 228, 230
  • Al-Tabari 252—7029; 318-2422, pp. 340, 342
  • Apocalypse ofAbraham 8:6, p. 57
  • Al-„Tarafi 99, p. 378
  • Bar Hebraeus 1, 7, pp. 274, 275
  • Catena Severi 6—7, p. 242
  • George Hamartolos, pp. 237—38
  • George Syncellus 3, 5, pp. 224, 225
  • Jacob of Edessa 6—7, p. 212
  • Iubilees 12:14; 22:22, pp. 17, 20
  • Michael the Syrian 2.3.4, 2.6.6, pp. 262, 263
  • Other Mushm' Traditions: ProphetAbraham 5, 9, pp. 473—74
  • Pseudo-Philo 6:9, 17 pp. 22, 24
  • Qur’an 37:98, p. 296
  • Ra'wandi 6, p. 416
  • Story ofAbraham . . . with Nimrod 28, p. 173
  • Symeon Logothetes 2, pp. 250-51

Abraham was heir to the priesthood of his fathers (Abraham 1:2-3, 18)

  • Ibn al-Tayyib 7:6, pp. 254—55
  • Midrash Rabbah Leviticus 25:6, p. 105; Numbers 4:8, p. 109
  • Mishnah Aboth 5:2, p. 62

Abraham held the priesthood (Abraham 1:2; 2:9, 11; Facsimile 2, figure 3; Facsimile 3, figure 1)

  • Al-Nisa'bu'ri 18:4, p. 404
  • Babylonian Talmud Nedarz'm 32b, pp. 120—21
  • Georgius Cedrenus 1, pp. 269—70
  • Kebra Nagast 105, p. 280
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 46:5; 55:6, pp. 100, 101; Leviticus 25:6, p. 105; Numbers 4:8; 10:1, p. 109; Song of Songs 5215.1, p. 117
  • Pesz‘kta Rabbati 40:6a, p. 81
  • Philo of Alexandria, De Abrahamo 98, p. 41

Abraham was linked to Noah (Abraham 1:19; Facsimile 2, figure 3)

  • Al-Kisa"1' 46, p. 386
  • Al-,Tabari 252—70z6, pp. 335—36
  • Augustin'e, City of God 16.12, p. 200
  • Book of Jasher 9:5—6, 10—11, 19; 12:61, pp. 138, 139, 148 [7]
  • Book of the Bee 30, p. 273
  • Ibn al-Tayyib 7:3, p. 253
  • Iubilees 21:10, p. 19
  • Qur’an 37:83, p. 296

Believers are the seed of Abraham and are blessed through him (Abraham 2:10-11)

  • Armenian Paraphrase of Genesis: after Genesis 11:30, versions A and B, pp. 284-85
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 14:6, pp. 89—90
  • Qur’an 14:36, p. 293

Abraham sought God earnestly (Abraham 2:12)

  • Al-Kisa‘fi' 51, pp. 386—87
  • Al-Mas‘u‘di, Meadows 4:1, p. 352
  • Al-Rabghu'zi 16, p. 438
  • Al-T_abari 252—7028—10, p. 336
  • Al-Tha‘labi 2:10, pp. 364—65
  • Apocalypse of Abraham 7:12; 8:3, pp. 56, 57
  • Armenian Paraphrase of Genesis: after Genesis 11:30, versions A and B, pp. 284—85 Augustine, City of God 10.32, p. 200
  • Book of Jasher 11:14, p. 140 [8]
  • Clementine Recognitions 33, p. 186
  • Falasha Story 2, pp. 485—86
  • George Hamartolos, pp. 237—38
  • Gregory of Nyssa, pp. 187—88
  • Ibn Isha‘q 5—6, pp. 304—5
  • [ubilees 11:17, p. 15
  • Kebra Nagast 14, pp. 278—79
  • Medieval Testament ofNaphtali 10:2, p. 128
  • Michael the Syrian 2.6.2, p. 263
  • Other Muslim Traditions: Prophet Abraham 5, pp. 460—61
  • Pcsikta Rabbati 3323a, p. 80
  • Philo of Alexandria, De Abrahamo 68, p. 39
  • Pirqe dc Rabbi Eliewr 26, pp. 45—46
  • Zohar: Genesis 76b, 86a, pp. 155, 160—61

Abraham made converts in Haran (Abraham 2:15)

  • ’Abot de Rabbi Nathan 12, version A, pp. 63—64,
  • Abu‘ al-Fida' 3, p. 434
  • AI-Kisa"1' 85, 121, 160, pp. 389, 391—92, 395
  • Al—Nisa‘bu‘ri 22:1, p. 410
  • Al-Rabghuz‘i 30, 61, 68—69, pp. 441, 449, 451—52
  • Al-Iabari 252—70:41, p. 343
  • Al-Tha‘labi 3:1, p. 367
  • Book of lasher 12:41—43; 13:2, 10, 21, 24, pp. 147, 149, 150, 151
  • Chronicles of [erahmeel 34:13, p. 133
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 39:14, 16; 48:2; 84:4, pp. 93—94, 100, 102; Numbers 14:11, p. 110; Esther 6:2, p. 115; Song of Songs 1.33, p. 115
  • Other Mushm' Traditions: Prophet Abraham 11, p. 463
  • Pesikta Rabbati 43:6, p. 83
  • Qur’an 14:36, p. 293
  • Rashi, regardm'g Genesis 12:5, p. 126
  • Story ofAbraham . . . with Nimrod 33, p. 174
  • Study (Midrash) ofAbraham Our Father 5, p. 179
  • Targum lonathan Genesis 12:5, p. 66
  • Targum Neofitz' 1 Genesis 12:5, p. 69
  • Targum anelos Genesis 12:5, p. 73
  • Zohar: Genesis 78b, 79a—b, 86b, 88b, pp. 157—58, 161; Exodus 129a, 147b, p. 162 Compare Sefer Yetzirah Gra-Ari 6:7, pp. 86—87

Abraham possessed the Urim and Thummim, by means of which he received revelation from God (Abraham 3:1,4)

  • Babylonian Talmud Baba Bathra 16b, p. 123
  • Bahir 190, 192, pp. 50—51
  • Compare George Hamartolos, pp. 237—38

Abraham was knowledgable about astronomy, which he learned from ancient records and from God (Abraham 1:31, 3:1-18; Facsimile 2 and 3)

  • 4 Ezra 3:14, p. 61
  • AI—Baidäwi 2:2, 13—14, 18, 20—21, pp. 427, 429—30
  • Al—Kisa"1‘ 51, pp. 386-87
  • Al—Maqdisi 53—54, pp. 355—56
  • Al-Nisa‘bu‘ri 1419—10, p. 399
  • Al-Rabghu’zi 4, 16, pp. 436, 438
  • A1—T_abari 252—7028—9, 16—17; 316—1721—5, pp. 336, 338, 345 A1—T.araf1‘ 31—32, 42—43, 52, pp. 373, 374
  • Al-Tha‘labi 2:1-2, pp. 360—61
  • Al-Ya‘qu'bi 1, p. 330
  • Alcuin, Epistola 83, p. 216
  • Anonymous Christian Chronicle 7, p. 228
  • Apocalypse of Abraham 19:3—9, p. 57
  • Armenian Paraphrase of Genesis: after Genesis 11:30, versions A and B, pp. 284—85 Babylonian Talmud Shabbath 156a—b, p. 119;
  • Yoma 28b, p. 120
  • Book of Jasher 9:17—18, p. 139 [9]
  • Book of the Cave of Treasures 25a.1, p. 192
  • Book of the Rolls 122a, pp. 209—10
  • Chronicles of[erahmeel 35:4, p. 134
  • Clementine Recognitions 32, pp. 185—86
  • De computo, p. 226
  • Eupolemus 3—4, p. 8
  • Falasha Story 2, pp. 485—86
  • Fimu'cus Matemus, Mathesis 4 Proem 5; 4.17.2, 5; 4.18.1; 8.35—84.14, pp. 478-84
  • George Hamartolos, pp. 237—38
  • George Syncellus 4, pp. 225
  • Gregory of Nyssa, pp. 187—88
  • Ibn al—Athir 4—5, pp. 422—23
  • Ibn a1~]awzi 1, pp. 418—19
  • Ibn Isha‘q 4—5, 7, pp. 304—5
  • lsha'q ibn Bishr 164A:13, 17; 164821—4, p. 316
  • Josephus, Antiquities of the Iews 1.7.1—2; 1.8.2, pp. 47-48, 49
  • luliilees 11:8; 12:17, pp. 15, 17
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 44:12; 48:6; 53:4, pp. 99, 100, 101; Exodus 38:6, p. 104; Numbers 2:12, 14, pp. 107—8
  • Orphica 27—29, pp. 12—13
  • Other Muslim Traditions: Turkish 5, p. 459
  • Pesikta Rabbati 11:4a; 43:1, pp. 78, 82
  • Philo of Alexandria, De Mutatione Nominum 67, 72, p. 36; De Sonmiis 53—54, p. 37; Quaestiones et Solutiones in Genesin 3.42—43, pp. 42—43
  • Pseudo-Philo 18:5, p. 24
  • Qiqel and Yahya 1, 7, pp. 488, 489
  • Qur’an 6:75, p. 292
  • Räwandi 2, p. 415
  • Sefer Yetzirah Gra-Ari 6:7; Short 6:4; Long 6:8, pp. 86—87
  • Sibylline Oracles 3218—28, p. 11
  • Symeon Logothetes 1—2, pp. 249—50 Vettius Valens, Anthologiae 2.29.1-6, pp. 476—77
  • Zohar: Genesis 80a, 86a, pp. 158, 160—61
  • Contrast Zohar: Numbers 148a, p. 163

Abraham taught astronomy to the Egyptians (Abraham Facsimile 3)

  • Anonymous Work, p. 10
  • Artapanus, p. 7
  • Eupolemus 8, p. 8—9
  • George Syncellus 5, pp. 225
  • Index A: Thematic 0 545
  • Ioannes Zonaras, p. 261
  • Josephus, Antiquities ofthe Jews 1.8.2, p. 49
  • Zohar: Genesis 83a, p. 160
  • Contrast Chronicles of lerahmeel 35:4, p. 134;
  • Mahbu‘b of Menbidj (Agapius) 4, p. 248

Earth has four quarters (Abraham Fac-simile 2, figure 6)

  • Book of lasher 8:2, 10; 12:9, pp. 135, 136, 144
  • Chronicles of Ierahmeel 34:1, pp. 130—31
  • Story ofAbraham 1, p. 175
  • Zohar: Genesis 78a, pp. 156-57

Abraham knew about the creation (Abraham 1:31; 4-5)

  • Al—Nisäbu’ri 14:10, p. 399
  • A1-T_araf1' 53—54, pp. 374—75
  • Al-Tha‘labi 2:1, pp. 360—61
  • Apocalypse ofAbraham 7:10—11; 19:9; 21:1—6, pp. 56, 57, 58
  • Chronicles ofIerahmeel 34:3, p. 131
  • Clementine Recognitions 33, p. 186
  • Ibn Isha‘q 4, p. 304
  • Ioannes Zonaras, p. 261
  • lubilees 12:19, p. 17

There was advance planning for the creation (Abraham 4:31-55; Moses 3:4-5)

  • Apocalypse ofAbraham 22:2, p. 59

The elements of the earth obeyed God (Abraham 4:9-12, 18, 21, 24-25, 31)

  • Apocalypse ofAbraham 19:9, p. 57

Abraham saw the premortal spirits (Abraham 3:21-24)

  • Al-Kisä’i 28, p. 384
  • A1-T.abar1‘ 216, p. 333
  • Al-T,araf1‘ 32, p. 373
  • Apocalypse ofAbraham 19:6—7; 21:7—22:5, pp. 57, 58—59
  • Book of Jasher 12:38, p. 146[10]
  • Clementine Recognitions 33, p. 186
  • Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis 4.18.1, p. 479
  • Medieval Testament of Naphtali 9:5, p. 127
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 14:6, pp. 89—90; Ecclesiastes 3:112, p. 113
  • Philo of Alexandria, De Cherubim 4, p. 35
  • Scfer Yetzirah Long 6:8;
  • Saadia 8:5, pp. 87—88
  • Symeon Logothetes 2, pp. 250-51
  • Vettius Valens,
  • Anthologla‘e 2.29.1—6, pp. 476—77

The Lord instructed Abraham to say that Sarah was his sister (Abraham 2:22—25)

  • Bakhayla M1k“a"él (Zo‘srm‘a‘s) 17b.1, p. 283
  • Genesis Apocryphon XIX, 14-21, pp. 26—27
  • Isha‘q ibn Bishr 169B:17—170A:1, p. 325
  • Zohar: Genesis 81b, 82a, p. 159
  • Contrast Zohar: Genesis 82a, p. 159; see al-Tarafi 115, pp. 379—80

Abraham possessed records from the fathers (Abraham 1:28, 31)

  • Al—Mas‘u’di, p. 353
  • Meadows 4:5, p. 353;
  • News 2,p. 353
  • Al-T_abari 350, p: 350
  • Al-Tha‘labi 1:2, p. 358
  • Book of Noah, versions B and C, p. 124
  • Eupolemus 8, pp. 8—9
  • Genesis Apocryphon XIX, 25, p. 27
  • Ibn al-T,ayyib 7:3, p. 253
  • jubilees 11:16; 12:27; 21:10, pp. 15, 18, 19
  • Midmsh Rabbah 39:10, p. 93
  • Zohar: Genesis 55b, p. 154

Abraham left a record of his own (Abraham 1:31)

  • Babylonian Talmud A‘bodah Zarah 14b, 25a, pp. 122, 123
  • Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis 4 Proem 5; 4.17.5; 4.18.1; 8.3.5, pp. 478, 479
  • Iubilees 39:6, p. 20
  • Qur’an 87:19—20, p. 297
  • Sefer Yetzirah Gra-Ari 6:7;
  • Short 6:4;
  • Long 6:8, pp. 86—87
  • Vettius Valens, Anthologiae 2.28.3, p. 476

The founding of Egypt (Abraham 1:21-27)

  • 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

Pharoah 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 ofAbraham . . . 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

Abraham was allowed to sit on a king's throne (Abraham Facsimile 3, figure 1)

  • Al-Kisa'i 170, p. 396
  • Al-Rabhguzi 64-65, 69, pp. 449-50, 451-52
  • Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 108b, p. 122
  • Book of Jasher 15:22, p. 153[11]
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 42:5, 55:6, pp. 97,101; Deuteronomy 2:33, p. 112; Ecclesiastes 4:14.1, p. 114
  • Tanna debe Eliyahu 8-9, p. 76

There was a famine in Abraham's homeland (Abraham 1:29-30; 2:1, 5)

  • Al-Kisa"1‘ 120, p. 391
  • Al-Rabghu'zi 29, 44, pp. 441, 445
  • Anonymous Christian Chronicle 26, p. 230
  • Bar Hebraeus 6, p. 275
  • Catena Severi 2, p. 241
  • Jacob of Edessa 2, p. 211
  • Iubilees 11:11—13, p. 15
  • Michael the Syrian 2.6.2, p. 263
  • Midrash Rabbah Genesis 25:3; 40:3; 64:2, pp. 90, 94, 102
  • Other Musllm' Traditions: Turkish 4, p. 459
  • Philo of Alexandria, De Abrahamo 91, p. 40

Abraham prayed that God would end the famine in Chaldea (Abraham 2:17)

  • Al-Kisa"1' 121, pp. 391—92
  • Al-Rabghu‘zi 44, p. 445
  • Catena Severi 3—4, p. 241
  • Jacob of Edessa 3, pp. 211—12
  • Iubilees 11:18—24, pp. 15—16

Haran died in the famine (Abraham 2:1)

  • Al-Rabghu’zi 21, 47, pp. 439, 445—46

Abraham was sixty-two years of age when he left Haran, not seventy five as Genesis says (Abraham 2:14)

  • Al-Mas‘u‘di, News 2, p. 353
  • Babylonian Talmud A‘bodalz Zarah 9a, p. 122
  • Genesis Commentary: 4QcommGen A, p. 31
  • Georgius Cedrenus 3, p. 270
  • Pesikta Rabbati 42:3a, pp. 81—82
  • Sa‘id ibn Batriq (Eutychius) 3, p. 246
  • Contrast Isha‘q ibn Bishr 169A216, p. 324

Abraham became like God (Doctrine and Covenants 132: 29, 37, 49)

  • Armenian Paraphrase of Genesis: after Genesis 11:30, version A, pp. 284—85
  • Midmsh Rabbah Genesis 43:7; 44:4, pp. 97—98; Numbers 14:2, p. 110; Song of Songs 1:3.3, pp. 115-16


Facsimile 1 explanations

Facsimile 1 is the most studied and best attested of the facsimiles. Below we list the evidences for Joseph's interpretations.

The Angel of the Lord (Figure 1)

Angels or heavenly messengers were frequently represented by birds in ancient Egyptian literature. The Egpytian word for angel is " 'ḫ". The Greek word for angel is "ἄγγελος". Both terms are used. In the respective lore, they could potentially turn into birds and bring messages from God. Additionally, see above for traditions that mention the appearance of an angel to Abraham.

The Egyptian term for angel is 'ḫ. The term “designates entities or beings . . . [and] their

(spirit-)state and the power emanating from them.” It was part of a larger spiritual world. The Egyptian spirit world was generally divided into three classes: gods [egpytian and greek translation included], angels [Egyptian and greek translation included], and demons [Egyptian and Greek translation included]. The larger category of these beings was the spirit [Egyptian and Greek translation included]. When an individual died, his or her soul [Egpytian and Greek translation included] either became an angel [Egyptian and Greek Translation included] or a demon [Egyptian and Greek translation included] depending on whether the proper rites had been performed, and whether he or she had lived properly.

[. . .]

These are all features of the 'ḫ, who had power over the damned, and the living, could cause health, sickness, childbirth, financial distress, or general malady. They could also send dreams, lead men and women, do work, fight demons, light lamps, kill, move ships, transform themselves into lotuses, barley, falcons, phoenixes, herons, geese, swallows, ibises, vultures, other birds, bulls, crocodiles, snakes, spirits, gods, fire, air, whatever form desired, and in that form they could appear in various places, to whomever they wished.They open doors, travel through fire, loose bonds, drive away crocodiles, snakes, vultures, pigs, cockroaches, and other undesirable creatures, control water, winds, fire, and enemies, brings bread, water, beer, and other foods.

As shown in the following table, the descriptions overlap considerably showing that the Roman period

description is a continuation of previous pharaonic understandings, and that both ἄγγελος and [other Greek term] are attempts to render the Egyptian term 'ḫ into Greek.[12]

Human sacrifice for upsetting standing religious order (Figures 2, 3, and 4)

Human sacrifice is well attested in ancient Egypt. It was common to those who rejected the standing religious order as a human sacrifices to the Gods as form of capital punishment. This was virtually unknown during Joseph Smith's day. He could only have learned this information from revelation.

Kerry Muhlestein and John Gee, "An Egyptian Context for the Sacrifice of Abraham"

Kerry Muhlestein and John Gee,  Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture, (2010)
The existence of human sacrifice in ancient Egypt has been variously debated and denied. While Egyptologists generally admit that the practice existed in the formative periods of Egyptian society, opinions among Egyptologists for later time periods range from claiming that "there is no certain evidence for the practice of human sacrifice . . . from the Old Kingdom onwards" to asserting that there is "indisputable evidence for the practice of human sacrifice in classical ancient Egypt." However difficult it may be for modern societies to accept that a practice we detest, such as human sacrifice, occurred in past civilizations we admire, further research and discoveries necessitate a reassessment of the possibility of this practice within Egyptian culture. While there is not a universally accepted definition of human sacrifice, for the purposes of this paper we will define human sacrifice as the slaying of a person in a ritual context.

Click here to view the complete article

Of interest in this publication is the citation of Dr. Robert Ritner (the most vocal critic of the Book of Abraham) in support of human sacrifice in ancient Egypt.

Abraham fastened upon an altar (Figure 2)

Traditions about Abraham confirm that he was nearly sacrificed and that he was bound upon an altar. See above for the extrabiblical traditions that testify to this. Additionally, scholars have found links between Abraham and Osiris in Semitic adaptations of Egyptian lore.

Kevin Barney:

The adaptation of an Egyptian psychostasy vignette from chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead in the judgment scene of the Testament of Abraham, the adaptation of the Egyptian original underlying the Demotic Story of Setna in a Jewish popular version (replacing Osiris with Abraham), and the adaptation of a hypocephalus in the Apocalypse of Abraham provide a stunning glimpse of how J-red, living and working in the same era, may have adapted vignettes from a Book of Breathings and a hypocephalus as illustrations of the Book of Abraham, which had come under his care as a part of the ancient transmission of the text. In my view, the Semitic Adaptation theory turns the facsimiles and their interpretations from a perceived weakness of the Book of Abraham into a real strength.[13]

The idolatrous God of Elkenah and an association with sacrifice (Figures 3, 4, and 5)

We began by examining the Book of Abraham text to see what it tells us about the figure Elkenah. Based on an assumption that the El- element in the name is Semitic ʾel, we identified a number of possible linguistic structures for an ancient El combination. We then reviewed six concrete proposals for Elkenah, concluding that the strongest possibilities, “El of Canaan” and “El the Creator,” both point in the direction of the same deity: Canaanite El.

This deity compares favorably with the information set forth in the Book of Abraham text regarding Elkenah. In particular, the type of sacrifice described in Abraham 1 fits a cultic setting in Syro-Palestinian or Canaanite territory much more readily than it fits a Mesopotamian or AssyroBabylonian scenario. More to the point, the scene on Facsimile 1, with its representation of a human sacrifice on an Egyptian lion couch, fits extremely well with Egyptian Middle Kingdom evidence for

the cultic ritual of human sacrifice. Although there is much more work to be done (including similar studies of the other names in the Book of Abraham onomasticon), both the name Elkenah and the cult described in the text seem to point to a Syro-Palestinian context for Abraham 1. Consistent with Lundquist’s study, I believe that future research should focus on this region as a prime location for the possible setting of the text.[14]

The idolatrous Gods of Libnah, Korash, and Mahmackrah (Figures 6, 7, and 8)

The idolatrous Gods of Libnah, Korash, and Mahmakrah have been identified as Gods worshipped by ancient Mesopotamians. Along with the commentary of scholars below, Hugh Nibley has shown how the names of these deities would be associated with the canopic jars depicted here in his book "An Approach to the Book of Abraham". References for study will be posted shortly.

Michael Rhodes:

The names of the idolatrous gods mentioned in facsimile 1 provide another example of the validity of the Prophet Joseph’s explanations. If Joseph Smith had simply made up the names, the chances of their corresponding to the names of ancient deities would be astronomically small. The name Elkenah, for example, is clearly related to the Hebrew ttt ‘el q?n?h/ q?neh “God has created / the creator.” Elkenah is found in the Old Testament as the name of several people, including Samuel’s father (see 1 Samuel 1:1). The name is also found as a divine name in Mesopotamian sources as dIl-gi-na / dIl-kí-na / dÉl-ké-na.[21] Libnah may be related to the Hebrew leb?n?h “moon” (see Isaiah 24:23) from the root l?b?n “white.” A city captured by Joshua was called libn?h (see Joshua 10:29). The name Korash is found as a name in Egyptian sources.[22] A connection with K?reš the name of the Persian king Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28), is also possible. [15]

John Tvedtnes:

John Gee and others have more recently reexamined the names and come to similar conclusions. John M. Lundquist also noted that each of the gods or idols mentioned in Abraham 1:17 appears in the compilation of some 3,800 Mesopotamian deities published in 1950 by Anton Deimel. Many of these names are Akkadian a Semitic language related to Hebrew and more distantly to Egyptian.[16]

The idolatrous God of Pharoah (figure 9)

There is a close association with a God of Pharoah and a crocodile that dates to around Abraham's time.

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.”[17]

Abraham in Egypt (Figure 10)

Foreigners in Egpyt, like Abraham was, are often represented by a Lotus Flower, the figure depicted here, as argued by Dr. Hugh Nibley. Nibley cites Waltraud Guglielmi, a non-LDS Egyptologist whose work supports his assertion specifically referencing divine and human visitors in Egypt.

The lotus, perhaps the richest of all Egyptian symbols, can stand for the purest abstraction, as when it indicates nothing but a date in one tomb or a place in another.[18] In Facsimile 3 we are told that it points to two things, a man and a country, indicating the special guest-to-host relationship between them. Most of the time the lotus announces a party situation, adding brightness to the occasion; etiquette required guests to a formal party to bring a lotus offering to the host--hence the flower served as a token both of invitation and admission[19]. [E.A. Wallis Budge] observed how in the Kerasher Manuscript, in which the person being presented wears exactly the same peculiar lotus headdress as our Shulem (figure 5), "instead of the bullok-skin dripping with blood, which is generally seen suspended near the throne of the god, masses of lotus flowers are represented, giving a totally different aspect to the scene[20]. Yet, while the lotuses "seem to have figured prominently" in formal occasions, according to Aylward Blackman, we still do not understand the flower offerings, any more than we do the combination of lotus stands and small libation vessels such as our figure 3.[21]. It would now seem that these tall and narrow Egyptian ritual stands originated in Cannan.[22]

[. . .]

The lotus is definitely a welcome to Egypt from the king to human and divine visitors; the divinity who received the token reciprocated by responding to the king "I give thee all the lands of thy majesty, the foreign lands to become they slaves. I give thee the birds, symbols of thine enemies"[23] In receiving a lotus, the king in return ritually receives the land itself, while the god in accepting a lotus from the king promises him in return the reverent obedience of his subjects.[24] "The flowers are mostly heraldic plants . . . associated with the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt," for in some the main purpose of the lotus rites is to "uphold the dominion of the King" as nourisher of the land.[25] Moreover, its significance is valid at every level of society, the louts being a preeminent example of how mythological themes and religious symbolism were familiarly integrated into the everyday life of the Egyptians.[26].

[. . .]

The numerous studies of the Egyptian lots design are remarkably devoid of conflict, since this is one case in which nobody insists on a single definitive interpretation. The points emphasized are (1) The abstract nature of the symbol, containing meanings that are far from obvious at first glance (2) the lotus as denotin high society, especially royal receptions, at which the presnetation of alotus to the host was obligatory and whoed that the bearer had been invted; to be remiss in lotus courtesy was an unpardonable blunder; to be remiss in lotus courtesy was an unpardonable blunder, for anyone who refuests the lotus is under a curse, (3) the lotus as the symbol of Lower Egypt, the Delta with all its patriotic and sentimental attachments ; (4) the lotus as Nefertem, the defender of the border; (5) the lotus as the king or rule, defender, and nourisher of the land; (6) the lotus as the support of the throne at the coronation. It is a token of welcome and invitation to the royal court and the land, proferred by the king himself as guardian of the border.[27]

Pillars of Heaven (Figure 11)

Kevin Barney:

In Hebrew cosmology, the raqîa’ or “firmament” was believed to be a solid dome, supported by pillars.57 The raqîa’ in turn was closely associated with the celestial ocean, which it supported.58 In the lower half of Facsimile 1, we have the raqîa’ (1) connected with the waters, as with the celestial ocean, (2) appearing to be supported by pillars, and (3) being solid and therefore capable of serving itself as a support, in this case for the lion couch. The bottom half of Facsimile 1 would have looked to J-red very much like a microcosm of the universe (in much the same way that the divine throne chariot of Ezekiel 1—2, which associates the four four-faced fiery living creatures with the raqîa’ above their heads on which God sits enthroned, is a microcosm of the universe). The Egyptian artist’s perspective is not necessarily a limitation on J-red. The stacking effect of waters apparently both being supported and acting as a support would have suggested to J-red the Hebrew conception of the raqîa’.[28]

Firmament over our heads (Figure 12)

The Hebrew term "Raukeeyang" is a transliteration of the word "raqîa’". In Figure 12, Joseph Smith describes "Raukeeyang" as the firmament over our heads and a crocodile swims through it. This makes sense in light of modern scholarship that identifies Egyptian's conception of heaven as a "Heavenly Ocean". LDS Scholars have cited Non-LDS egyptologist Erik Hornung whose work supports this. [29]

Facsimile 1 Restoration

A number of points need to be made about the Restoration of Facsimile 1 to emphasize and clarify other evidences.

Substitution of head of Anubis for head of a Priest

There is evidence to suggest that the original figure here would have been Anubis. Priests that were performing sacrifices could either remain without the head of Anubis or with it. It would not matter to the overall message of the scene portrayed. Theologically, it would not matter to scenes such as this one. Ancient art depcting religious situations such as this frequently had other people impersonating other Gods. The priest of Elkenah likely could have been wearing an Anubian headdress while performing this scene and the interpretation would still be correct. [30]

Placement of a knife being held in the priest's hand

One early Latter-day Saint who saw the papyri in 1841 described them as containing the scene of an altar with "'a man bound and laid thereon, and a Priest with a knife in his hand, standing at the foot, with a dove over the person bound on the Altar with several Idol gods standing around it.'"[31] Similarly, Reverend Henry Caswall, who visited Nauvoo in April 1842, had a chance to see some of the Egyptian papyri. Caswall, who was hostile to the Saints, described Facsimile 1 as having a "'man standing by him with a drawn knife.'"[32] See here for more information. The best explanation of the figure depicted as the priest sacrificing Abraham is that he is in the martial position, attempting to combat with the figure on the couch. This emphasizes the interpretation of Abraham being sacrificed.

Placement of hand instead of the wing of a bird

The placement of a hand at this portion of the lacuna is significant since it emphasizes the fact that the figure lying on the couch is alive. The best evidence suggests that this figure was indeed a hand. See here for more information

Facsimle 2

FIGURE 1 Many authentic and ancient motifs are related to the explanation of this figure.

Kolob...nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.

John Tvedtnes:

The star named Kolob, and it’s called a star, I know that there are some websites that say the Mormons are crazy they think God lives on a planet called Kolob. The passage never says it’s a planet and never says God lives there either; it says it’s closest to where he lives. Anyway the star named Kolob is so-called “because it is near unto me” (Abr. 3:3) or near “the residence” (Fac. 2, Fig. 1) or “throne of God” (Abr. 3:9). Facsimile 2, Fig. 1 describes it as “nearest to the celestial.” This explanation is attractive because it creates a wordplay in the Book of Abraham; a feature known from the underlying Hebrew of both the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon. The wordplay being between “near” and “Kolob” because in fact the word for Kolob can mean near; there are several possibilities to explain and I’m going to talk about those now.

Janne Sjodahl was the first to compare the name with the Arabic qalb “core, marrow, heart, intelligence”, however because ‘l’ and ‘r’ often interchange in Semitic languages, one should also note Arabic QRB “proximity, near, midst” which is cognate to Hebrew qārōb “near” or “close.” Robert F. Smith prefers the latter and notes that it appears in the sense of “near one” as a title of God in Psalm 119:151 where it parallels the word qedem which means the “primeval one” or the “ancient one” (that’s in verse 152). Smith notes that the cognate Ugaritic qurb often refers to the dwelling place of El, the chief God, in the Canaanite pantheon in the expression “midst of the source of the two deeps” where the word rendered “midst” is in fact this same word qurb meaning “near”. Another possible Hebrew etymology is the Hebrew KLB “dog” originally pronounced kalb just as it is in Arabic. This is used to denote the star Regulus in Arabic while the Syriac, which is also kalb denotes the star Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens. There’s a wonderful article that Dan Peterson, and John Gee, and Matt Roper (I think), were the three who (if I left something off that you can fill it in later) but they wrote a really nice article on Kolob and its place in the sky and what it meant for Abraham.4 In Arabic, this term KLB “dog” also denotes the constellation of Canis Major which is Latin meaning “Great Dog”, we call it the Big Dipper but that’s not what is was called anciently, as the brightest star in the constellation of the Big Dipper, Sirius is called Alpha Canis Majoris which is “number one big dog” or top dog I guess. Another name for the star is Canicula, a Latin word for ‘Little Dog’. Akkadian sources call Sirius (inaudible) the “dog of the sun”. In ancient Egypt the Nile began to rise at the helical rising of Sirius, that is when it came up just before the sun and bringing the annual torrent of Nile water laden with rich volcanic soil from the south and depositing it on the cultivated land. I should mention by the way you notice how the one has a ‘q’ the other has a ‘k’? That’s very important, at least in Arabic, it’s not as important in Hebrew but I always try to get my Hebrew students to pronounce the two differently. In Israel they pronounce the two ‘k’ just that- it’s just like a regular ‘k’ in English. But in ancient times they were pronounced quite differently. One is pronounced way in the back of the throat, the other is pronounced farther up and in Arabic they make a big distinction and my reasoning with my students was, if you don’t make the distinction and you speak in Arabic and you want to tell a girl, “I love you with all of my heart” which is the word that’s coming up next, you don’t want to end up saying “I love you with all of my dog.” (Laughter) I think that struck a note with most of them.

So, this is the other one I want to have QLB which is “heart” in Arabic. There are some Egyptian equivalents to that, I didn’t put them up here. There’s a couple of cognates that are related directly to that. In the Sumerian text known as the Descent of Inanna, one of the more ancient texts from the Middle East, the goddess Inana goes down into the Underworld to free her husband Dumuzi who is the god who brings rain during the season of rain, and on the way back to heaven she stops at a place called Kulab which is designated as a tree of some sort. We don’t know why this happens there but there Dumuzi gets to sit on his throne and puts on his royal apparel which he has not been wearing while he’s been in prison.

signifying the first creation

Hugh Nibley:

Figure one is the God Amun. As [non-LDS Egyptologist] Peter L. Renouf saw, "the great God, Lord of Heaven, the giver of light, lighting up the Heavens and earth with his rays . . . to give life to the universe."[33].. . .The staff held by figure 1, Amun, is a combination of the djed-column, signifying abiding firmness and stability, the was-scepter of power and authority, and he ankh-staff of life --the three things on which all certainty depends. BU before all else we are dealing with creation and birth. So it is enlightening to note that the Prophet Josep begins his explanation of this figure as "the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, te last pertaining to measurement of time," etc. It is not the celestial residence, but it is near to it, as the center of one great system, the large system known to Abraham, and though he is aware of the existence of worlds without number, he sees only a particular segment. Indeed, Moses was sharply rebuked when he asked to see it all: "Worlds without number have I created . . . for mine own purpose; . . . here is wisdom and it remaineth in me" (Moses 1:33,31). Moses is informed that he has all that he can handle in his own earthly mission and meekly apologizes, "Be merciful unto they servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, . . . and then they servant will be content" (Moses 1:36). The most sublime aspect of Amun is the way he brings all things together in one, just as science today looks for the Grand Unifying Theory (GUT). That is what Amun gives us and we should bear in mind that all the owners of hypocephali were priests and priestesses of Amun-RE, along with their associates. Abraham, viewing the tarry heavens, fund that he "could not see the end thereof" (Abraham 3:12); while Moses, who is given "only an account of this earth," is assured that worlds that now stand are "innumerable. . . unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them (Moses 1:35). As the doctrine of Min-Amun-RE, etc. proclaims, all the universe is full of life, sustained and rejuvenated in and by the One at the Center.[34]

One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth

Hugh Nibley:

Another statement of time--"one day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years" (Fac. 2, fig. 1)--demonstrates different times in different systems. That is the great year of the ancients. They worked out all sourts of cycles. The whole Kolob concept suggests that "archaic order: which today is being retrieved through the serious tudy of the oldest myths, monuments, and idols of the race. "As we follow the clues--stars, numbers," write de Santillana and von Dechend, "a huge iframework of connections is revelaed at many levesl. One is inside an choing manifold, where everything responds and everything has a place anda time assigned to it. This si a true edieice. . . a Wolrd-Image that first the many levels, nd al of it kept in order by strict measure."[35]

The conceptof unity and identityso prominent in the Egyptian text si wel expressedin the Pearl of Great Price: "And behod, all things have their likeness, and all things which are in the heavens above an things which are o earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: allthings bear record of me" (Moses 6:63). Such is the "echoing manifold," with Kolob in control

In this huge framework of connections, the unit of measurent is, according to de Santillana and von Dechend, "always some form o time."[36] And it is the same in the Prophet's explanation of the multileveled "firmament of the heavens" which "answers to the measurement f time"--that is,of he reveolitions or orbits of the heavenly bodies.[37]

….this earth which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh.

Hugh Nibley:

The Lord used this earth as the basis in the explanation of his creations to both Abraham and Moses (Abraham 3:4-7,9; Moses 1:35-36), "according to the measurement of the earth which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh" (Fac. 2, figs. 1,4, explanation). This, of course, suggests Jaoel, the angel who visits Abraham in the Apocalypse of Abraham who is easily identified by George H. Box as Jehovah[38]

What is that mysterious name, Jehovah, and its form? [. . .] The form we all know in common use, Jehovah or Yahweh, is held by the Jewish scholars to be "only meant for the masses" and not the true or real Tetragrammaton at al.[39] [. . .]

"The original letters of the Tetragrammaton," Phineas Mordell concludes, "were [Hebrew word] instead of [Hebrew word],"[40] which corresponds to Joseph Smith's j-a-o-e (yod, ayin, waw, aleph)[41]

the key of power (figure 2)

The Hebrew word for key (miptah), literally means "opener," while the Egyptian name of the god who bears this staff is Wp-w3.wt (Wepawet) = Opener of the Ways.[42] As Hugh Nibley has expressed :

The Egyptian is constantly concerned with being checked of blocked (h.sf) in his career. Only real power, the power of the key, can overcome his determined opponents. It shall become apparent that the key plays a major role both in the hypocephalus and in the Prophet's interpretation of it.[43]


Is made to represent God, sitting upon his throne, clothed with power and authority; with a crown of eternal light upon his head (figure 3)

Hugh Nibley:

Joseph Smith's critics have pointed out that his explanation of figure 3 so far--the throne, the sun-crown--would be an easy guess. "Clothed with power," however, is a palpable hit; for the big was-scepter that the king holds stands for "dominion," according to Raymond Faulkner[44] and for "dominion, lordship," according to Alan H. Gardiner; [45]

Answers to the Hebrew word Raukeeyang, signifying expanse, or the firmament of the heavens; also a numerical figure, in Egyptian signifying one thousand (Figure 4)

Regarding expanse or firmament of the heavens, we have discussed Raukeeyang above under Facsimile 1. Regarding the "expanse, or firmament of the heavens" and its relationship to Sokar, the God depicted here:

Our figure 4 goes back to the earliest Egyptian iconography, found on an ivory tomb belonging to King Djet (serpen) from the First Dynasty; on it has been drawn "a boat beneath which two wings representing te sky are spread."[46] It is "the sun-sip on the wings of the sky, . . . the two outstretched wings above the earth, the sheltering wings of the sky-god, from which was later derived the idea of the hawk as the sky-god"[47]The inscription with the relief from Edfu adds: "the expanse [circumference] of the heavens is beneath his wings; . . . your body . . . is the sky which is adorned with its stars[48] The bird in the boat is sometimes exchanged for the sky-goddess Nut, whose outstretched wings are the symbol of protection, [49]their purpose being to enfold and embrace everything (fig. 30)...for Hans Bonnet the wings show that the woman is the bird "which is usually put in place of her." The best known Egyptian symbol of the sky, she controls not only the cycle of the stars but also that of the sun.[50][51]

Regarding the numerical figure, Hugh Nibley, citing non-LDS Egyptologist Erik Hornung, made the following argument:

So far so good for Smith; all that seems quite obvious, but what about the next statement: "Also a numerical figure in Egyptian signifying 1000"? Professional Egyptologists have protested to the author that there is nothing known to them to justify attributing the number 1000 to figure 4. Yet here, if ever, the Joseph Smith explanation is right on target. The woman Nu, the sky-goddess of the outspread wings, has a peculiar epithet, and it is the same name as that given to the ship in figure 4, which means literally "a Thousand Are Her Souls," or "The One with a Thousand Souls,"[52] The Thousand Souls are stars, and she is so called because the stars are herchildren; a Pyramid Text says, "You (Nut) have taken to yourself ever god who has his own ship ([egyptian script] hb3) and have instructed them in the starry sky ([egyptian script] h3-b3=s) so that they will not depart from you as stars. Do not let NN be moved far from you in your name of 'Heaven' ([Egyptian script] hr.t) And this takes us to Abraham. Not only was he asked to count the stars as a metaphorical measure of his progeny, but he meets us in Genesis 15:5 as both an observer ([Hebrew script] habbet) and counter ([Hebrew script] li-spor) of the stars. We also see him, according to Facsimile 3, "reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the king's court" (Fac. 3, fig 1, explanation). Reasoning and counting are te same word in the famous stele of a great princess, a daughter of Psameticus II, which reads, "Behold ye Khabasu of Heliopolis . . . the God is born . .v. one who can take the helm. Osiris Anchnesneferibre (the princess) will reckon (calculate, reason, w3d) with you concerning the secret which is in the Great Hall (w3s.t, of the palace) of the gods and will take along Osiris in his Ship of a Thousand, even with the two heads, so that by it he can mount to heaven and to the counterheaven."[53] This is our figure 4. Even more impressive is the way the Joseph Smith explanation seems to parrot everything the Worterbuch says about the Khabasu. According to the Worterbuch, h3-b3. s means: "Literally, 'a thousand fold is her [the goddess of heaven] souls,' as a collective designation for the host of stars, the stars."[54][55]


...answering to the measuring of the time...

Hugh Nibley:

The third most significant thing about figure 4, according to Joseph Smith, is its office in "answering to the measure of time," namely by the cycles and revolutions of the heavens. Since all these figures mark both the completion and initiation of various life cycles, time is of the essence and the figure of the Sokar-ship is the most important agent of coordination. It was at the sed-festival or jubilee that the bird was borne forth in procession on his ship. It is specifically figure 4 that coordinates the funereal with the astral them by virtue by its "calendrical" significance--that is, as the primordial measurement of time.[56][57]

...and is said by the Egyptians to represent the Sun (Fig 5)

Hugh Nibley:

But Joseph Smith tells us that figure 5 is the Sun. No problem. From being the mother of the Sun with the new born disk rising between her horns--a design in evidence in prehistoric times--it was an easy step to becoming the Sun itself[58]. As early as the Old Kingdom, the cow appears "as the female equivalent of Re."[59] At Opet in Luxor, where the Mother-Cow was worshiped as Hathor of Coptus, she was called the Sun of the Two Worlds--that is, both of Horus the son of Osiris and Amun-Re the Sun of Thebes[60]Her horns, flanked by the same two feathers that our figure 2 wears as the Sun at the zenith, showing that the cow resurrects the Sun as well as the human race. [61]

Kokaubeam (Fig 5)

John Tvedtnes:

Abraham 3:13 defines Kokob as “star” and Kokaubeam as “stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.” When first published in the Times & Seasons, the passage read “Kolob” in error. They’d written Kolob so many times that the typesetter thought that’s what belonged here. The manuscripts however have Kokob corresponding to the Hebrew word that we have written here kōkāb and denotes in the one singular and the other in the plural. The plural is also found two other times in the Book of Abraham and it’s called in Facsimile 2, Fig. 5 and also Abraham 3:16 it lists Kokaubeam or kōkābīm in Hebrew. The correct pronunciation (inaudible) means “the” so it’s “the stars.” Lundquist noted that one of the deities in Deimel’s list was Kakob meaning “star”. Similar, Kakkab is the name of one of the god’s mentioned in the Ebla records discovered in northwestern Syria.

Earth in its four quarters (Fig 6)

Joseph correctly identified the four canopic jars in figure 6 as the earth in its four quarters. Non-LDS Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge has translated it in the same way. LDS Scholars have also cited Maarten Raven, a non-LDS Egyptologist whose work also supports Joseph's explanation. [62]

Represents god sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood; as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove (Figure 7)

The epithet of Min is "He of the upraised hand," and his identification is the flail and the erect phallus with which he appears in the oldest known Egyptian statue--he is always in human form[63] They are also signs of procreation. Min was intimately related to the god Amun, and Amun was probably derived from him.[64]. "Amun is the other self of Min; . . . his high priest was called 'The Opener of the Gates of Heaven,' while the high priest of Min at Letopolis was the 'Opener of the Mouth upon the Earth,' i.e., the mortals here on earth upon whom the heavenly power was conferred."[65] The Greeks and Romans associated him with Pan and Priapus [66] Min is the "Creator god who made the heaven and brought forth the gods, who made the earth and created men . . . and who keeps all things alive."[67]

Birds are frequently used as messengers in Egyptian inscriptions. See under Facsimile 1 for our discussion of it.

The wedjat eye that is between the birds hands and being passed to Min is representative of power. Hugh Nibley:

But most especially the eye belongs to the king and to kingship. Osiris gets the eye back after Horus has rescued it for him; he needs it to rule the kingdom below as Horus and Re need it to rule on earth and in haven.[68] The eye was, according to Griffiths, the Eye of Horus[69]

The eye fills the king completely;[70] it purifies him[71] it gives him special knowledge, visionary power. [72] It exalts the king and places him at the head of the Greater and Lesser Councils.[73] [. . .] In the Pyramid Texts the fusion of his king's nature with God of heaven takes place when his statue is crowned with the moon-eye of Upper Egypt and the sun-eye of Lower Egypt, and then is anointed, passing throuhg the middle chamber of stars into a room in which heaven was scenically depicted."[74] It is the ultimate supreme power over men and gods [75] Its power is especially protective, encircling the king[76] [. . .] With all its power, the wedjat is an important element in the ordinances. The functions of the wedjat-eye are combined in the anointing oil, both as the oil of heating that revives the smitten hero[77] and as the very precious oil used in the ordinances of anointing the brow or breast, specifically to bestow authority ad power.[78] It is the anointing which transforms the nature of the individual.[79] All this is in the wedjat eye itself, which by anointing imparts soul and body, restoration, joy, and thankfulness with its obligation of obedience.[80]

In other ordinances it is the food of the sacrament, the wedjat-eye is the power of the bread which fills, revives, and strengthens the king.[81] It is the strength given by sacramental food.[82] [. . .]

By now it should be clear to any Latter-day Saint reader that the elusive wedjat-eye, intimately familar yet strangely elusive, is a symbol of that equally common all-but-indefinable power called the priesthood.

Joseph's explanation fits nicely with these symbols.

Contains writings that cannot be revealed unto the world; but is to be had in the Holy Temple of God; Also; Also; If the world can find out these numbers, so let it be. Amen (Figures 8-11)

Hugh Nibley:

Joseph Smith explained that the three lines of text, figures 8-11, contain "writings that cannot be revealed unto the world; but is to be had in the Holy Temple of God" and "ought not to be revealed at the present time." These lines contain a prayer to Osiris, the god of the dead, to grant life to the owner of this hypocephalus. A common theme of all Egyptian funerary literature is the resurrection of the dead and their glorification and deification in the afterlife, which is certainly a central element of our own temple ceremony.

There follows a transcription, transliteration, and translation of figures 8-11. (11)[Series of Egyptian hieroglyphs from figure 11] (10) [Series of Egyptian hieroglyphs from figure 10] (9) [Series of Egyptian hieroglyps from figure 9] (8)[Series of Egyptian hieroglyphs from figure 8] (11) I ntr sdr. m sp (10) tpy, ntr '3 nb p.t, t3, (9) dw3.t, mw=f '3, (8) d3 'nh b3 Wsir Ssq. (11) O God of the Sleeping Ones[83] from the time of (10) the creation.[84] O Mighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, (9) of the hereafter, and of his great waters,[85] (8) may the soul of Osiris[86]Shishaq[87] be granted life.

As stated above, this is a prayer or plea of Shishaq, the ownder of the hypocephalus, to Osiris, the god of the dead, who is the Lord of all things, to grant him eternal life.[88]

Figures.....19, 20, and 21 will be given in in the own due time of the Lord

Hugh Nibley:

The text found in figures 19-21 are as follows: (21)[Egyptian hieroglyphs] (20)[Egyptian hieroglyphs] (19)[Egyptian hieroglyphs]

(21)iw wnn=k (20) m ntr pf (19) dd.wy.

(21) You shall ever be (20) as that God, (19) the Busirian.[89]

This continues the overall theme of the hypocephalus, and indeed Egyptian funerary literature in general. The deceased is promised that he will be like Osiris--he will be resurrected and live eternally as a god.[90]

Abraham and the Temple Endowment (Themes of Facisimile 2)

Hugh Nibley likened the temple endowment to the version of the Book of Breathings Made by Isis contained in the Joseph Smith papyri. The document is organized as follows:

  • The purpose of the document is given.
  • The individual is pronounced clean and enters the hall of justice
  • The individual enters the underworld with the setting sun and is divinized
  • The individual is resurrected and given personal permission to live among the gods.
  • The individual is assured of a fully functioning body and proceeds on the way of God.
  • The individual is given a name and allowed to partake of the offerings.
  • The gods escort the individual to various sacred places.
  • Various gods protect the individual from sickness
  • The individual is allowed to fellowship with the Gods
  • The individual is inducted into a chapel in the temple to celebrate a festival.
  • The individual will live by the fellowship permit he has received, and his enemies will no longer exist.
  • The gods tell the individual that because he is among the followers of god, his soul will live forever
  • The gods command that all doors be open to the individual
  • An offering formula is recited
  • Different gods are addressed, and the individual states that he is free from various sins. "He gave bread to te hungry, water to the thirsty, and clothing to the naked.
  • The individual is commanded to enter the next life with all the privileges of the gods.
  • Instructions for the deposition of the document are given [91]

Facsimile 3

Abraham sitting upon Pharoah's throne (Fig 1)

See above for ancient traditions discussing this aspect of Abraham. Also, see above under Facsimile 1 for evidences of Semitic adaptation of Osiris to be Abraham.

With a crown upon his head, representing the Priesthood (Fig 1)

See above for ancient traditions discussing Abraham holding the priesthood.

Signifies Abraham in Egypt as given also in Figure 10 of Facsimile No. 1 (Figure 3)

The lotus flower frequently symbolized foreigners in Egypt. See above for Hugh Nibley's discussion of it.

Abraham reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the king's court (Bottom of explanations)

See above for ancient traditions discussing this. Important to remember is not only his knowledge of astronomy but his passing of the astronomy to the Egyptians and the type of astronomy being taught, tiered firmaments with earth at the center of the universe.

Shulem, one of the king's principal waiters (Fig 5)

Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, "Shulem, One of the King’s Principal Waiters"

John Gee,  Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, (2016)
Shulem is mentioned once in the Book of Abraham. All we are told about him is his name and title. Using onomastics, the study of names, and the study of titles, we can find out more about Shulem than would at first appear. The form of Shulem’s name is attested only at two times: the time period of Abraham and the time period of the Joseph Smith papyri. (Shulem thus constitutes a Book of Abraham bullseye.) If Joseph Smith had gotten the name from his environment, the name would have been Shillem.

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Astronomy of the Book of Abraham

The astronomy in the Book of Abraham is characteristic of the astronomy as would have been understood by Abraham himself.

Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant:

One of the major features of the Book of Abraham is its treatment of ancient astronomy, an aspect of Abraham’s teachings not recounted in the biblical narrative but one that does appear in noncanonical traditions about the Patriarch. William J. Hamblin, associate professor of history, and Daniel C. Peterson, professor of Islamic studies and Arabic, both at BYU, along with Gee, situate the astronomical accounts in the Book of Abraham among ancient geocentric astronomies, while Rhodes and J. Ward Moody, professor of physics and astronomy at BYU, use conceptions from contemporary physics to elucidate the same subject. E. Douglas Clark, an attorney and the international policy director of United Families International, examines the metaphor of stars and cedars in various ancient accounts about Abraham. Jared W. Ludlow, associate professor of history and religion at BYU—Hawaii, discusses Abraham’s reputation as an astronomer as found in a variety of ancient sources. Finally, Draper analyzes the role of the Book of Abraham in Latter-day Saint discussions about whether various scriptural creation accounts are allegorical.[92]

Onomasticon and other Textual Evidences

The Book of Abraham Onomasticon has a number of authentic Egyptian names. John Tvedtnes outlined many in a 2005 presentation at the FairMormon conference. Some, like the name Egyptus, have authentic traditions to accompany them.

By the hand of Abraham (Book of Abraham heading)

John Gee and Hugh Nibley have documented how many ancient authors considered their texts to be divinely written and that a number of cases state that the document was written "In the hand" of a religious figure in question[93]

Egyptus (Abraham 1:22,25)

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 Papsers 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.

Rhaleenos (Abraham 1:14)

The term ‘Rahleenos’ is found in Abraham 1:14 and indicates that it means ‘hieroglyphics’ referring to one of the writing systems used in ancient Egypt. The word ‘hierogluphikos’ is Greek and means sacred or priestly writing. Perhaps it equates to Egyptian ‘Ra-nes’ which would mean the “tongue/language or speech of Ra”—Ra being the Egyptian sun god and head of the pantheon in the city of On or Heliopolis ‘Sun city’ (not Arizona—Egypt). (Laughter)

(I should apologize for those who know how Egyptian is written but the fonts I use will not let me stack these properly so you have to read it all the way across the line.)

The Egyptian ‘n’ often corresponds to the Semitic ‘l’. The same is true also of the ‘r’; the Egyptian ‘r’ is sometimes used for the Semitic ‘l’ when it transliterates Semitic words, Hebrew, Canaanite, whatever. And, in fact, sometimes the two are used together to denote an ‘l’.

So when we look at ‘nes’ here from the Egyptian it could easily be ‘las’ ‘ras’ any of those, lāšōn (Hebrew), lisān (Arabic), I believe to be cognate with the Egyptian word. On the surface this Egyptian explanation does seem to fail because

Abraham 1:14 says that the system of Egyptian characters called ‘figures’ in that passage “is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics.” So according to the Book of Abraham these are actually Chaldean, this is a Chaldean name not the Egyptian name but one of the manuscripts of the Book of Abraham says it was called that by the Egyptians and then the word Egyptian is crossed out and Chaldean is written above it. So it seems to me that originally it was perhaps intended to denote Egyptian.

Shagreel (Abraham 1:9)

Here’s one of my favorites, funny guy, funny name. The god Shagreel is mentioned only in Abraham 1:9 where he is said to be “the sun.” In this connection, one may perhaps compare the Egyptian hawk-headed god Sokar who is a form of the sun as depicted in fig. 4, facsimile 2, with the addition of the Semitic term El at the end—El meaning of course “God.” More likely, in my opinion, is Robert F. Smith’s identification with the Canaanite (inaudible) “the gates of El” “the gates of God”, a title of the Canaanite god (inaudible) who in the Ugaritic text is called in fact “gate of the sun.” An Akkadian seal impression has Shamash, the sun god, rising between two mountains on each side of which are hinged doors mounted by lions. The Egyptian Sokar is sometimes accompanied by a pair of lion guards and it’s (inaudible), we see them here, that’s the sun god rising between the mountains- between these two- actually they look more like, to me, they look more like cheetahs because they have spots but the face is more like a lion. I think they have a lion’s mane there. Anyway the name (inaudible) means “twin lions” or “twin gates.” The twin lions guarding city gates were known amongst other Ancient Near Eastern peoples including the Hittites who did a lot of that and these later made their way into Western Europe and even into the United States where today they flank the entrances of libraries, museums and other public buildings and of course in Salt Lake City, the human-headed lions that guard the entrance to the Masonic Temple.

We should also compare the title Shagreel with the name Sheariah which in fact means the “gates of Jehovah” ‘yah’ in this case where ‘yah’ is substituted for ‘El.’ Sheariah is in fact found in the Bible, in 1 Chronicles 8:38 and 9:44. So the Hebrew form of the plural, which is not in those two passages, it has the singular

there, would be Sheariel. The Semitic name for ‘gate’ is also known in Egypt by the way in later text because it was borrowed from Canaanite.

Kolob (Abraham 3:3; 3:9; Fac 2 Fig 1)

The star named Kolob, and it’s called a star, I know that there are some websites that say the Mormons are crazy they think God lives on a planet called Kolob. The passage never says it’s a planet and never says God lives there either; it says it’s closest to where he lives. Anyway the star named Kolob is so-called “because it is near unto me” (Abr. 3:3) or near “the residence” (Fac. 2, Fig. 1) or “throne of God” (Abr. 3:9). Facsimile 2, Fig. 1 describes it as “nearest to the celestial.” This explanation is attractive because it creates a wordplay in the Book of Abraham; a feature known from the underlying Hebrew of both the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon. The wordplay being between “near” and “Kolob” because in fact the word for Kolob can mean near; there are several possibilities to explain and I’m going to talk about those now.

Janne Sjodahl was the first to compare the name with the Arabic qalb “core, marrow, heart, intelligence”, however because ‘l’ and ‘r’ often interchange in Semitic languages, one should also note Arabic QRB “proximity, near, midst” which is cognate to Hebrew qārōb “near” or “close.” Robert F. Smith prefers the latter and notes that it appears in the sense of “near one” as a title of God in Psalm 119:151 where it parallels the word qedem which means the “primeval one” or the “ancient one” (that’s in verse 152). Smith notes that the cognate Ugaritic qurb often refers to the dwelling place of El, the chief God, in the Canaanite pantheon in the expression “midst of the source of the two deeps” where the word rendered “midst” is in fact this same word qurb meaning “near”.

Another possible Hebrew etymology is the Hebrew KLB “dog” originally pronounced kalb just as it is in Arabic. This is used to denote the star Regulus in Arabic while the Syriac, which is also kalb denotes the star Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens. There’s a wonderful article that Dan Peterson, and John Gee, and Matt Roper (I think), were the three who (if I left something off that you can fill it in later) but they wrote a really nice article on Kolob and its place in the sky and what it meant for Abraham.4

In Arabic, this term KLB “dog” also denotes the constellation of Canis Major which is Latin meaning “Great Dog”, we call it the Big Dipper but that’s not what is was called anciently, as the brightest star in the constellation of the Big Dipper, Sirius is called Alpha Canis Majoris which is “number one big dog” or top dog I guess. Another name for the star is Canicula, a Latin word for ‘Little Dog’. Akkadian sources call Sirius (inaudible) the “dog of the sun”. In ancient Egypt the Nile began to rise at the helical rising of Sirius, that is when it came up just before the sun and bringing the annual torrent of Nile water laden with rich volcanic soil from the south and depositing it on the cultivated land.

I should mention by the way you notice how the one has a ‘q’ the other has a ‘k’? That’s very important, at least in Arabic, it’s not as important in Hebrew but I always try to get my Hebrew students to pronounce the two differently. In Israel they pronounce the two ‘k’ just that- it’s just like a regular ‘k’ in English. But in ancient times they were pronounced quite differently. One is pronounced way in the back of the throat, the other is pronounced farther up and in Arabic they make a big distinction and my reasoning with my students was, if you don’t make the distinction and you speak in Arabic and you want to tell a girl, “I love you with all of my heart” which is the word that’s coming up next, you don’t want to end up saying “I love you with all of my dog.” (Laughter) I think that struck a note with most of them.

So, this is the other one I want to have QLB which is “heart” in Arabic. There are some Egyptian equivalents to that, I didn’t put them up here. There’s a couple of cognates that are related directly to that. In the Sumerian text known as the Descent of Inanna, one of the more ancient texts from the Middle East, the goddess Inana goes down into the Underworld to free her husband Dumuzi who is the god who brings rain during the season of rain, and on the way back to heaven she stops at a place called Kulab which is designated as a tree of some sort. We don’t know why this happens there but there Dumuzi gets to sit on his throne and puts on his royal apparel which he has not been wearing while he’s been in prison.

Olea (Abraham 3:13)

It should be noted that this term more closely resembles Hebrew than Egyptian.

The term Olea is used to denote the moon in Abraham 3:13. It resembles the Hebrew term yārēaú which is just one of two words meaning “moon” or “month.” Even in English month comes from the word moon by the way, as does Monday— Moon’s Day. The Egyptian word for moon is Iah which is cognate to the Semitic term. In Facsimile 2, Fig. 1, the moon’s name is given differently however, it’s called Floeese. This name is similar to the Kli-flos-is-es that we find in some of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. Kli makes a lot of sense. Kli is a good Hebrew word, it means a vessel in the sense of a plate or a bowl or even a spoon or a tool, a tool of any kind, a hammer or whatever. The word looks like it is finishing in the name of the Greek goddess, or the Greek form I should say, of the Egyptian goddess Isis;

Shinehah (Abraham 3:13)

Shinehah is an interesting one (Abr. 3:13) calls the sun Shinehah which seems to be related to the Hebrew word šānāh which means “year.” The year is defined by the annual circuit of the earth about the sun and to the ancients was determined by where the sun rose each day during the year. The Semitic verbal form means “to change,” that is to change seasons and other changes, or “to repeat” and is the source of the numeral two because you start over—once you finish a cycle you start over again so it’s the second cycle. The Egyptian cognate is the verb šni which is “to encircle, enclose or surround” and the noun from that is šnw which means “circuit or circumference”. From this also we get the name of the ring (inaudible) which is depicted with the little (I don’t think I did that one up there did I? No, I didn’t. Sorry you won’t see that one.) Hugh Nibley followed by Robert F. Smith and Kerry Shirts have suggested that the name Shinehah derives from the Egyptian term plus the Egyptian word ‘heh’ or ‘nhh’ meaning “eternity, or eternal” and so that would be then the “eternal circuit” or as Nibley put it “one eternal round” which book we hope to see soon.

Janne Sjodahl suggested that the name Olaha Shinehah mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants 117:8, from July 8, 1838, is related to the terms for “moon” Olea which we saw a moment ago and Shinehah for the “sun.” These were used as code words in early days of the Church beginning with the first Doctrine and Covenants in 1835.

There are several other terms that are related to the sun in the Book of Abraham materials, I just don’t have time to go into all those and they are not as certain as some of these that I’m looking at.

Kokaub/Kokaubeam (Abraham 3:13)

Abraham 3:13 defines Kokob as “star” and Kokaubeam as “stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.” When first published in the Times & Seasons, the passage read “Kolob” in error. They’d written Kolob so many times that the typesetter thought that’s what belonged here. The manuscripts however have Kokob corresponding to the Hebrew word that we have written here kōkāb and denotes in the one singular and the other in the plural. The plural is also found two other times in the Book of Abraham and it’s called in Facsimile 2, Fig. 5 and also Abraham 3:16 it lists Kokaubeam or kōkābīm in Hebrew. The correct pronunciation (inaudible) means “the” so it’s “the stars.” Lundquist noted that one of the deities in Deimel’s list was dKakob meaning “star”. Similar, Kakkab is the name of one of the god’s mentioned in the Ebla records discovered in northwestern Syria.

Kae-e-vanrash (Fac 2, Fig 5)

Kae-e-vanrash there’s an interesting one, I’m still scratching my head over parts of this. In Facsimile 2, Fig. 5, we read about Kae-e-vanrash “which is the grand Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, as also Floeese or the Moon, the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions.” The element Kae may here be the Egyptian word kA which we saw earlier meaning “spirit” and the element rash at the end looks very much to me like it’s a Semitic term. In Hebrew rō’š but in Arabic Rās and ra’as (it doesn’t have the should, it has a (inaudible) sound for the cognates in Arabic) and that word means “head, or chief” and so I’m suspecting that that’s what is going on here. Now if I can only figure out what this is in the middle, so if any of you have suggestions send me email.


Onitah (Abraham 1:11)

Abraham 1:11 describes Onitah as “one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham” whose three daughters were sacrificed because they would not worship the Egyptian gods. The name may be the same as Onitos and Onitas in the Valuable Discovery notebook where there is an ‘s’ at the end instead of the ‘h.’ there he is said to have been king of Egypt

while the chapter 1 of Abraham says he was of the “royal descent.” It may correspond to the name Wenis (or usually pronounced Unas by those who transliterate it from the Egyptian). He was a pharaoh of the 5th dynasty of Egypt. He is not our man however because Unas lived long before Abraham’s time, he lived a few centuries before that, but there is an Egyptian text that indicates that the pharaoh Unas ate the boiled body parts of gods by which most Egyptologists have assumed that it means he was a cannibal—he was eating not gods, but humans and if that be the case it does make it look a little suspicious if this is the guy in whose day his daughters are being offered in sacrifice.

Two related Egyptian terms may give us clues about the meaning of the name Unas. The first is wnwt meaning “priesthood” and the second wnwty meaning “astronomer” both of which play an important role in the Book of Abraham which describes Abraham’s teachings of astronomy to the Egyptians and the rival claims of Abraham and Pharaoh to patriarchal priesthood authority.

The name Katumin also appears in the Valuable Discovery notebook, and the first passage reads, “Katumin, Princess, daughter of On-i-tas [Pharaoh] King of Egypt, who began to reign in the year of the World 2962.” The second reads, “Katumin was born in the 30th year of the reign of her father, and died when she was 28 years old, which was the year 3020.” I’m presuming she was sacrificed but the text doesn’t say that. It also appears in the form of Kah tou mun as an alternative. It may derive from the Egyptian KA-tA-Mn which would be the “spirit of the land of Min.” Min was one of the Egyptian gods; he was a fertility god in fact, who is closely associated with the land. Various classical writers claim that the first king of Egypt was named Mēnēs and that name has often been tied in with the name of the god Min.

Olishem (Abraham 1:10)

Here, we’ll look at two important place names associated with Abraham that are not in the Bible because neither place is in Egypt, these names are not derived from the Egyptian language. The plain of Olishem is named in the Abraham 1:10 as the place in Ur of the Chaldees where the Egyptians had erected an altar on which they sacrificed human beings. John L. Lundquist has noted that the name is attested in a record of Naram Sin, a 23rd century B.C. king of Akkad as Ulisum and is listed with the (inaudible) mountains and the city Ebla in northwest Syria not far from Abraham’s homeland.

John Gee has also published on this in Journal of Book of Mormon and other Restoration Scripture through the Maxwell Institute

Abstract:

News reports from 2013 identify the site of Oylum Höyük with both the city of Abraham and the ancient city of Ulišum. The latter has been identified with the Olishem of Abraham 1:10. While the preliminary reports are encouraging, the evidence upon which the archaeologists base their identifications has not yet been published. So while there is nothing against the proposed identifications, they are not proven either.[94]

Kalsiduniash (KEP)

The Kirtland Egyptian Papers include this name that is authentic

Here’s one I kind of like- Kalsiduniash. The name Kalsiduniash is spelled in various ways in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. In one it appears as chalsidon hish(sp?) and is identified as the land of the Chaldeans. This meaning is also given in another of the text where it is spelled as Za Ki-oan hiash, and also chalsidon hiash(sp?). It appears in other spelling forms as well in those documents.

The ending ‘iash’ is interesting to me. It is known from the name of the Cassite (inaudible) and the names of the Cassite kings of Babylon (inaudible). The Cassites controlled Mesopotamia during the 17th century B.C. This of course postdates the time of Abraham—he was 20th century B.C.—but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Cassites called Mesopotamia Kar-Duniash which closely resembles the name found in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers with the interchange of the ‘l’ and the ‘r’ again which are common between Semitic languages and those in the broader language family which includes Egyptian called Afro-asiatic.

A Falasha text called Teezaza Sanbat (Commandment of the Sabbath), Falasha by the way, those are the Black Jews of Ethiopia, in describing Nimrod’s attempt to kill Abraham because he would not worship the idols noted regarding the furnace into which he was tossed, ‘From that day until today it is called (inaudible)’ (which sounds very much like these two- not identical but it’s similar. The name is evidently to be tied to the Akkadian term (inaudible), a people identified with the biblical Chaldeans, or Kasidim in Hebrew, in whose land Abraham lived at the time he was brought for sacrifice. According to the conflict of Adam and Eve, and early Christian texts, among the magi who came to visit the newborn Jesus, one account names Karsundas, king of the East. I have his name at the bottom of the list but look how closely it corresponds to the others. There’s something below the surface here and I’m not quite sure what it is but we’ll continue to work on it.[95]


Notes

  1. As John Gee documents in "An Introduction to the Book of Abraham", Joseph Smith visited Church members in Michigan in August of 1835. While he was gone, W.W. Phelps published the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants using the term "Shinehah." taken from Abraham 3:13, as a code word for Kirtland, Ohio, in sections 86 and 98 (sections 82 and 104 in he current edition). This indicates that the Book of Abraham had at least reached Abraham 3:13 before Joseph Smith left for Michigan. P. 16 of the book contains the reference. Additionally, the Book of Jasher as listed in this collection of lore was first published in New York 1840. The appearance of the English translation was noted by the church's Times and Seasons 1 (June 1840): 127 (see also 2 [15 May 1841]: 421), which also published extracts. Ibid., 5 (15 Dec. 1844): 745-46. It was duly noted, however, that the biblical Book of Jasher had not yet been found; ibid., 6 (14 Feb. 1845):800.
  2. See last reference
  3. See Hedges, Andrew H. "A Wanderer in Strange Land" published in "Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant" Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (2010) ONLINE. [1]
  4. See "A Note on the Nauvoo Library and Literary Institute," Brigham Young University Studies 14 (Spring 1974):386-89 for a list of books actually possed by Joseph Smith. One can find the list reproduced at this link; See also "Joseph Smith and the Manchester (New York) Library" BYU Studies 22/3 (1982), 333 at this link for information of the Manchester Library that was close to Joseph's home in Palmyra. From that article: "Even though Joseph Smith and others involved in the early years of the Restoration could have had access to the Manchester Library (insofar as anyone who paid the necessary membership fees could participate fully in the activities of the library), none of the principal individuals—including Joseph—became a member nor made direct use of its resources. None of the library’s secretary books, of which there are three extant at the Ontario County Historical Society, lists any patron who affiliated himself with the new church.20 Moreover, if Joseph had wished to explore the literary materials of the day, it would have been unnecessary to travel the five miles to Manchester when in Palmyra, only two miles distant, there were several book-stores and at least one library, the contents of which he would have been free to peruse."
  5. Like the Book of Abraham, the Book of Jasher mentions as well that Haran was the only place suitable for raising livestock. In the Book of Jasher it reads that the land was exceedingly good for "pasture" while the Book of Abraham reads that "there were many flocks in Haran". Regarding Terah's repentance, the Book of Jasher records that Abram spoke to Terah. It has a 4 verset quadrant where Abram exhorts Terah to repentance. The Book of Abraham only has a passing reference to this.
  6. The Book of Jasher frames the attempt with Terah first pleading with the king to take Abraham's life. The king then sends men to get Abram. He is brought before the king and Abram is questioned. The Book of Abraham only contains the passing reference to Abraham being sought for not by the king but by "his fathers" and then it states that Terah repented of the evil. Diametrically different stories.
  7. The Book of Jasher frams this as Abrahm living with Noah for a period of 39 years. It also stated that Noah and Shem taught him the ways of the Lord. The Book of Abraham does not contain these details and does not usethe same phraseology at all.
  8. The Book of Jasher reads "And Abram knew the Lord, and he went in his ways and instructions, and the Lord his God was with him". The Book of Abraham reads "Now, after the Lord had withdrawn from speaking to me, and withdrawn his face from me, I said in my heart: They servant has south thee earnestly; now I have found thee;"
  9. The Book of Abraham frames astronomy in a completely different way than the Book of Jasher. The Book of Jasher simply describes how god showed Abram his creations including the sun, moon, and stars. Abram worships the moon at night. When the sun rises, Abram sees more creations of God. The Book of Abraham's astronomy is completely different with a tiered heaven, different powers reaching through the cosmos, and so forth.
  10. The Book of Jasher reads only that "...and it is he who created the souls and spirits of all men..." It does not give any more detail.
  11. The Book of Jasher reads "...and the king ordered Abrahm tobe brough, and he sat in the court of the king's house, and the king greatly exalted Abram on that night." No more detail is given.
  12. Gee, John "'There Needs No Ghost, My Lord, Come from the Grave to Tell Us This' Dreams and Angels in Ancient Egypt'; Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts Brigham Young University
  13. Barney, Kevin L. "Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant > The Facsimiles and Semitic Adaptation of Existing Sources" see https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1098&index=10.
  14. Barney, Kevin L. "On Elkenah as Canaanite El," Journal of Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 19, no. 1 (2010)
  15. Michael D. Rhodes, “Teaching the Book of Abraham Facsimiles,” Religious Educator 4, no. 2 (2003): 115–123
  16. Tvedtnes, John "Authentic Ancient Names and Words in the Book of Abraham and Related Kirtland Egyptian Papers". FairMormon Conference 2005 https://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2005-John-Tvedtnes.pdf. Tvednes cites this paper in support of his assertion: John Lundquist, “Was Abraham in Ebla?” in Studies in Scripture II: The Pearl of Great Price, ed. Robert L. Millet and Kent Jackson (Salt Lake City: Randall, 1985).
  17. Daniel C. Peterson, "Some Reflections On That Letter To a CES Director," 2014 FairMormon Conference
  18. Kurt H. Sethe, Urkunden des alten Reichs, 4 vols. (Leipzig:Hinrichs, 1932)1:111
  19. Nibley, "A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price," IE 72 (September 1969: 89-93)
  20. Budge, Book of the Dea (Papyrus of Hunefer)34.
  21. Aylward H. Blackman, "A Study of Liturgy Celebrated in the Temple of Aton at El-Amarna," in Recuel d'etudes Egyptologiques dediees a la memoire de Jean Francois Champollion (Paris: Champion, 1922), 517, 521.
  22. Smuel Yeivin, "Canaanite Ritual Vessels in Egyptian Cultic Practices," JEA 62 (1976): 114.
  23. Waltraund Guglielmi, "Zur Symbolik des 'Dargringes des StrauBes der sh.t'" ZAS 103 (1976): 108.
  24. Ibid., 110-11
  25. Ibid., 111-12
  26. Ibid
  27. See Nibley, Hugh "Abraham in Egypt" FARMS: Provo, UT (1981) PRINT p.444-450
  28. Barney, Kevin L. " Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant > The Facsimiles and Semitic Adaptation of Existing Sources" https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1098&index=10
  29. Erik Hornung (non-LDS), “Himmelsvorstellungen,” Lexikon der Ägyptologie, 7 vols. (Wiesbaden: Harrassowit, 1977–1989), 2:1216. For these and other examples, see Peterson, “News from Antiquity”; Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Abraham (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2009), 115–78; Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 236–45; John Gee, “A New Look at the Conception of the Human Being in Ancient Egypt,” in “Being in Ancient Egypt”: Thoughts on Agency, Materiality and Cognition, ed. Rune Nyord and Annette Kjølby (Oxford, U.K.: Archaeopress, 2009), 6–7, 12–13.
  30. See Robert K. Ritner "Osiris-Canopus and Bes at Herculaneum". As Ritner writes herein: "Although the Herculaneum dancer probably represents a masked participant impersonating the god, the matter is theologically unimportant. The British Museum Bes statue, noted above, has been assumed to be a masked man because of his kilt, moderate belly and flattened face, but no clear cords or fittings indicate that the face is a mask. A Middle Kingdom mask of Bes does survive from Kahun proving the existence of Bes—masked priests, but statue ary of masked humans is more problematic than masked figures in religious scenes. A potentially more relevant sculpture derives from a far earlier period in Egyptian history, on a Fifth Dynasty relief also in the British Museum. Defying the general taboo on representing gods in Old Kingdom tombs, this relief (EA 994) includes a leonine Bes in profile carrying a wand within a scene of the 'd‘ance of the youths.' As in the Herculaneum fresco more than two millennia later, a priest masked as Bes performs at a ritual dance."
  31. William I. Appleby Journal, 5 May 1841, ms. 1401 1, pp. 71–72, LDS Church Archives; as quoted in Gee, "Eyewitness, Hearsay, and Physical Evidence," 184.
  32. Rev. Henry Caswall, The City of the Mormons: Or, Three Days at Nauvoo in 1842 (London: Rivington, 1842), 71-72., LDS Church Archives; as quoted in Gee, "Eyewitness, Hearsay, and Physical Evidence," 184.
  33. Renouf "Two-sided Hypocephalus," 144-46, plate 2
  34. Nibley, Hugh "One Eternal Round" pp. 236, 238; Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship: Provo, UT. Edited by Michael Rhodes (2010) PRINT.
  35. De Santilana and von Decehdn, Hamlet's Mill, 8
  36. Ibid.
  37. Nibley "One Eternal Round" p. 256
  38. George H. Box, ed. and trans., The Apocalypse of Abraham (New York: Macmillan, 1918), 16; but this angel was also called Metatron or Enoch; see Hugh Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, 2nd ed., CWHN 14 ( Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 2000), 44, fig 4.
  39. Eliyahu Rosh-Pinnah, "The Sefer Yetzirah and the Original Tetragrammaton," JQR 57 (1967): 223.
  40. Phineas Mordell, "The Origin of Letters and Numerals According to the Sefer Yezirah," JGR 2 (1912): 567.
  41. Nibley "One Eternal Round" 256-258
  42. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 268
  43. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 268
  44. Raymond O. Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), 54.
  45. Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed. rev. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), 559.
  46. Rudolf Anthes, "Egyptian Theology in the Third Millennium B.C.," JNES 18 (1959): 171; a full-scale photo is in Reginald Engelbach, "An Alleged Winged Sun-disck of the First Dynasty," ZAS 65 (1930): 115-16, plate opposite page 114; see Hugh Nibley, "A Pioneer Mother," in Abraham in Egypt, CWHN 14:509, fig. 86.
  47. Hermann Kees, Der Gotterglaube im alten Agypten (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1941) 42-43
  48. Notice the reference to stars here. This ties with Abraham and his covenant seed.
  49. Alexandre Piankoff, the Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon (New York: Pantheon Books, 1955), 96-98
  50. PT 434 (SS784-85)
  51. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 279-81
  52. Erik Hornung, Tal der Konige, 135; see Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, CWHN 14:65, fig. 12
  53. Constantin E. Sander-Hansen, Die relgiosen Texte auf dem Sarg der Anchenesferibre (Cop enhagen: Levin and Munksgaard, 1937), 36-37.
  54. Wb 3:230, 1.
  55. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 282-83
  56. Philippe Derchain, "La peche de l'oreil et les mysteres d'Osiris a Dendara," RdE (1963): 13-14
  57. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 283"
  58. Bonnet, Reallexikon der agyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 281.
  59. Ibid., 280
  60. Maxence de Rochemonteix, "Le temple d'Apte ou est engendre l'Osiris thebain," in Oeuvres diverses, ed. Gaston Maspero, BE 3 (Paris:Leroux, 1894),258.
  61. Gustave Jequier, Considerations sur les religions egyptiennes (Neuchatel: Baconniere, 1946),219.
  62. Maarten J. Raven, “Egyptian Concepts of the Orientation of the Human Body,” in Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Egyptologists (2007), 2:1569–70.
  63. Bonnet, Reallexikon der agyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 461.
  64. Gerald A. Wainwright, "The Emblem of Min," JEA 17 (1931): 185
  65. Wainwright, Emblem of Min," 170.
  66. Ibid., 464.
  67. Ibid., 463
  68. PT 356 (579)
  69. Griffiths, "Remarks on the Mythology of the Eyes of Horus," 191.
  70. PT 198 (114)
  71. PT 258 (308); 259 (312).
  72. PT 638 (1805)
  73. PT 468(901); 523 (1231).
  74. Spiegel "Das Auferstehungritual der Unaspyramide," 389-93; PT 301 (451); see Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, CWHN 16:119, fig. 30.
  75. PT 200-221 (195)
  76. PT 200-221 (195)
  77. PT 74-76 (51)
  78. PT 621 (1754); 637 (1803); 639 (1809)
  79. PT 72-73 (50); 74-76 (51); 77 (52)
  80. PT 687 (2074-77)
  81. PT 199 (115)
  82. PT186-90 (107-8) and PT 197 (113)
  83. I.e., the dead; see Wb 4:392, 9.
  84. Literally "the first time." See Wb 3:438, 1.
  85. The primeval ocean from which the sun rose on the day of creation and which surrounds the earth. See Henri Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1961),114. A similar phrase is found in one of the Demotic magical papyri, r-wn n=y p3 t3 r-wn n=y t3 tw3.t r-wn n=y p3 nwn, "Open the earth for me, open the netherworld for me, open the primeval waters for me." F. Llewellyn Griffith and Herbert Thompson, The Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden (London: Grevel, 1905), line I 5.
  86. On the identification of the dead with Osiris, see Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 103-5
  87. Shishaq or Sheshonq was the name of several Egyptian pharaohs of the Twenty-first Dynasty, the Libyan Dynasty.
  88. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 327
  89. dd.wy is a disbe adjective formation of Dd.w, Busiris, a cult center of Osiris in the Dleta, and thus used as an epithet of Osiris. Cf. Wb 5:630, 7.
  90. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 345
  91. Nibley, Hugh The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri': An Egyptian Endowment. 2d ed. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002
  92. Preface to "Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant" Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship: Salt Lake City, UT (2005) PRINT [{{{url}}} off-site]
  93. John Gee, “Were Egyptian Texts Divinely Written?”, Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Egyptologists, ed. J. C. Goyon, C. Cardin (Paris: Uitgeverij Peeters en Departement Oosterse Studies Leuven, 2007), 806. See also Hugh Nibley, Abraham in Egypt (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981), 4–7.
  94. Gee, John (2013) "Has Olishem Been Discovered?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Vol. 22 : No. 2 , Article 10. Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/vol22/iss2/10
  95. Tvedtnes, John "Authentic Ancient Names and Words in the Book of Abraham and Related Kirtland Egyptian Papers"; FairMormon Conference, 2005. Full paper may be read here