Book of Abraham/Plagiarism accusations/Genesis

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Did Joseph Smith plagiarize Genesis?

Summary: Some have questioned if Joseph plagiarized the creation account in Genesis as well as the narrative about Abraham in the Book of Genesis in his translation of the Book of Abraham. We address these questions on this page.

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Question: What are the differences between Genesis 11-12 and Abraham 2?

There are a number of significant differences between the two texts, differences supported by Abrahamic lore in many cases, that make an accusation of simple plagiarism farfetched

Some critics have claimed that Abraham 2 is simply a copy of Genesis 12. There are a number of differences between the two texts, supported by ancient Abrahamic lore in many cases, that make an accusation of simple plagiarism farfetched. Below we list the differences:

  • The Book of Abraham is cast in the first-person. This changes a lot of the textual correspondence between the two books significantly.
  • The Book of Abraham refers to him by his covenant name with the added “ha”
  • The Book of Abraham records that Haran died in the famine (2:1)
  • The Book of Abraham records that he and his family named Haran (2:4)
  • The Book of Abraham records that Terah, after repenting of his idolatry, went back to it. (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[1]
    • 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
  • The Book of Abraham emphasizes that Abraham sought God diligently (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 [2]
    • 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
    • Jubilees 11:17, p. 15[3]
    • Kebra Nagast 14, pp. 278—79
    • Medieval Testament of Naphtali 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
  • The Book of Abraham records that God saved Abraham by an angel from the priest of Elkenah (2:13)
    • AI-Baidäwi 4:8, 11, pp. 431—32
    • Al-Kisa"i 52, 88, 138—39, 142, pp. 387, 389, 393, 394
    • 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 Muslim Traditions: Prophet Abraham 6, p. 461
    • Ra‘wandi 4, 6, pp. 415, 416
    • Story of Abraham . . . with Nimrod 32, p. 174
    • Study (Mz'drash) of Abraham Our Father 4, p. 179
  • The Book of Abraham records that Abraham was 62 years old instead of 75 years old when he left Haran (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
  • The Book of Abraham records that, prior to entering Canaan, his family passed through the land of Jershon. This connection to Jershon is not contained in the Bible. (2:16)
  • The Book of Abraham records that Abraham built an altar in the land of Jershon and made an offering (2:17)
  • The Book of Abraham records that Abraham offered sacrifice in the plains of Moreh (2:18)
  • The Book of Abraham records that the Lord was the one to command Sariah to tell the Egyptians that she was Abraham’s sister. (2:22)
    • 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

By simply sampling the differences, we can see the accusations of plagiarism here are going to be stretched. Below is a word for word reproduction of the two accounts with changes in bold. Since there are far more textual differences, mainly the narratological elements will be highlighted for convenience:

Genesis 11-12 Abraham 2
31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

Chapter 12 1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

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

5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

6 ¶ And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

10 ¶ And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:

12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.

13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

14 ¶ And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.

15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.

16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.

18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?

19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.

20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

1 Now the Lord God caused the famine to wax sore in the land of Ur, insomuch that Haran, my brother, died; but Terah, my father, yet lived in the land of Ur, of the Chaldees.

2 And it came to pass that I, Abraham, took Sarai to wife, and Nahor, my brother, took Milcah to wife, who was the daughter of Haran.

3 Now the Lord had said unto me: Abraham, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.

4 Therefore I left the land of Ur, of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and I took Lot, my brother’s son, and his wife, and Sarai my wife; and also my father followed after me, unto the land which we denominated Haran.

5 And the famine abated; and my father tarried in Haran and dwelt there, as there were many flocks in Haran; and my father turned again unto his idolatry, therefore he continued in Haran.

6 But I, Abraham, and Lot, my brother’s son, prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord appeared unto me, and said unto me: Arise, and take Lot with thee; for I have purposed to take thee away out of Haran, and to make of thee a minister to bear my name in a strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice.

7 For I am the Lord thy God; I dwell in heaven; the earth is my footstool; I stretch my hand over the sea, and it obeys my voice; I cause the wind and the fire to be my chariot; I say to the mountains—Depart hence—and behold, they are taken away by a whirlwind, in an instant, suddenly.

8 My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee.

9 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations;

10 And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;

11 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.

12 Now, after the Lord had withdrawn from speaking to me, and withdrawn his face from me, I said in my heart: Thy servant has sought thee earnestly; now I have found thee;

13 Thou didst send thine angel to deliver me from the gods of Elkenah, and I will do well to hearken unto thy voice, therefore let thy servant rise up and depart in peace.

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

15 And I took Sarai, whom I took to wife when I was in Ur, in Chaldea, and Lot, my brother’s son, and all our substance that we had gathered, and the souls that we had won in Haran, and came forth in the way to the land of Canaan, and dwelt in tents as we came on our way;

16 Therefore, eternity was our covering and our rock and our salvation, as we journeyed from Haran by the way of Jershon, to come to the land of Canaan.

17 Now I, Abraham, built an altar in the land of Jershon, and made an offering unto the Lord, and prayed that the famine might be turned away from my father’s house, that they might not perish.

18 And then we passed from Jershon through the land unto the place of Sechem; it was situated in the plains of Moreh[4], and we had already come into the borders of the land of the Canaanites, and I offered sacrifice there in the plains of Moreh, and called on the Lord devoutly, because we had already come into the land of this idolatrous nation.

19 And the Lord appeared unto me in answer to my prayers, and said unto me: Unto thy seed will I give this land.

20 And I, Abraham, arose from the place of the altar which I had built unto the Lord, and removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched my tent there, Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east; and there I built another altar unto the Lord, and called again upon the name of the Lord.

21 And I, Abraham, journeyed, going on still towards the south; and there was a continuation of a famine in the land; and I, Abraham, concluded to go down into Egypt, to sojourn there, for the famine became very grievous.

22 And it came to pass when I was come near to enter into Egypt, the Lord said unto me: Behold, Sarai, thy wife, is a very fair woman to look upon;

23 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see her, they will say—She is his wife; and they will kill you, but they will save her alive; therefore see that ye do on this wise:

24 Let her say unto the Egyptians, she is thy sister, and thy soul shall live.

25 And it came to pass that I, Abraham, told Sarai, my wife, all that the Lord had said unto me—Therefore say unto them, I pray thee, thou art my sister, that it may be well with me for thy sake, and my soul shall live because of thee.

As can be seen, the narrative of the Book of Abraham contains key textual and narratological differences that make accusation of simple plagiarism farfetched.

Aside from the differences, why might there be similarities between the KJV textual rendering of the Abraham account and the Book of Abraham?

Four possibilities exist:

  1. The account we have in Genesis is generally a clean rendition of the account left by Abraham, and scribal errors/interpolations have not entered the account.
  2. The Genesis writers and the scribes/editors/redactors of the Book of Abraham may have been contemporary to one another
  3. Joseph/The Lord decided that the KJV rendering of the text was sufficient to render the general meaning left in the Book of Abraham.
  4. Some combination of 2 to all 3 of the above.

Further text critical research of the Book of Abraham will need to be performed to establish what might come from which. Until then, FairMormon remains neutral as to how members see the text as currently canonized.


Question: What are the differences between the Genesis account of creation and that of the Book of Abraham?

There are several key differences in the accounts.

Many critics posit that the Book of Abraham creation account is the same as that found in the Bible. Just a few key differences include

  1. The Genesis account frames the creator of the earth as “God”. In the Book of Abraham it is “Gods”. The audience for this account was the ancient Egyptians, who actually worshipped multiple gods, and whose creation accounts typically featured multiple gods. This is strengthened by the council of Gods motif.
  2. The Genesis account and the Abrahamic account differ in terminology to describe the creative periods-“days” in Genesis and “times” in the Book of Abraham. Wording describing the periods differs between the two accounts.
  3. The two scriptural accounts differ in how each deal with the end of every division of time. In Genesis, most divisions contain a statement like “And God saw the light, that it was good” (Genesis 1:4). Only once does the Book of Abraham say that the Gods saw “that their plan was good” (Abraham 4:21). Instead, the Book of Abraham contains a parallel statement about obedience: “And the Gods saw that they were obeyed.” (Abraham 4:18). This implies that they had to observe the heavenly bodies for an extended period of time to determine if they were actually following their ordered motions which determined “the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time” (Abraham 3:9)
  4. The two accounts differ in how they depict matter. The Genesis account states that it was “created” whereas the Book of Abraham is clear about it being “organized”. The Book of Abraham is careful to specify this.
  5. The two accounts differ in views of creation. The Genesis account seems to read as spontaneous creation of life where as the Book of Abraham states that God prepared the earth to bring forth different forms of life. This difference has been noted for its openness to the possibility of biological evolution.
  6. The Genesis account states that God created the “firmament” whereas the Book of Abraham states that they formed the “expanse” (The facsimile 1 explanations do mention the "firmament over our heads").
  7. The Book of Abraham account includes Abraham’s observation about reckoning. This is illuminated more by reading the work of Hugh Nibley on facsimile 2.
  8. The Genesis account states that god called the waters which he had made “Seas” whereas the Book of Abraham calls them the “Great Waters”.
  9. The Book of Abraham is consistent in using the future tense to describe the actions of the Gods in creation.
  10. The Book of Abraham account ties themes of pre-existence into the account (Abraham 3). There are traditions about Abraham which state that he saw the premortal spirits:
  • Al-Kisä’i 28, p. 384
  • Al-T'abari‘ 216, p. 333
  • Al-T'arafi‘ 32, p. 373
  • Apocalypse of Abraham 19:6—7; 21:7—22:5, pp. 57, 58—59
  • Book of Jasher 12:38, p. 146[5]
  • 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


Even more differences can be noted as one compares the accounts. Below is a side by side comparison of the Genesis and Abraham creation accounts:

Genesis 1-2 Abraham 4-5
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 ¶ And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 ¶ And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 ¶ And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 ¶ And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 ¶ And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

[Chapter 2]

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

4 ¶ These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

8 ¶ And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;

12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.

13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

18 ¶ And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.

2 And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.

3 And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.

4 And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.

5 And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening until morning they called night; and from the morning until the evening they called day; and this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night.

6 And the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.

7 And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered.

8 And the Gods called the expanse, Heaven. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and this was the second time that they called night and day.

9 And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered;

10 And the Gods pronounced the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, Great Waters; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.

11 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass; the herb yielding seed; <and> the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed <is> in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered.

12 And <the> the Gods organized the earth to bring forth grass from its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.

13 And it came to pass that they numbered the days; from the evening until the morning they called night; and it came to pass, from the morning until the evening they called day; and it was the third time.

14 And the Gods organized the lights in the expanse of the heaven, and caused them to divide the day from the night; and organized them to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years;

15 And organized them to be for lights in the expanse of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.

16 And the Gods organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; with the lesser light they set the stars also;

17 And the Gods set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to cause to divide the light from the darkness.

18 And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.

19 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that it was night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that it was day; and it was the fourth time.

20 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life; and the fowl, that they may fly above the earth in the open expanse of heaven.

21 And the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters were to bring forth abundantly after their kind; and every winged fowl after their kind. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good.

22 And the Gods said: We will bless them, and cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas or great waters; and cause the fowl to multiply in the earth.

23 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and it was the fifth time.

24 And the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so, as they had said.

25 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after its kind; and the Gods saw they would obey.

26 And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.

28 And the Gods said: We will bless them. And the Gods said: We will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And the Gods said: Behold, we will give them every herb bearing seed that shall come upon the face of all the earth, and every tree <in the> which shall have <there is> fruit upon it; yea, the fruit of the tree yielding seed to them we will give it; <to you> it shall be for their meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, behold, we will give them life, and also we will give to them every green herb for meat, and all these things shall be thus organized.

31 And the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and they numbered the sixth time.

[Chapter 5]

1 And thus we will finish the heavens and the earth, and all the hosts of them.

2 And the Gods said among themselves: On the seventh time we will end our work, which we have counseled; and we will rest on the seventh time from all our work which we have counseled.

3 And the Gods concluded upon the seventh time, because that on the seventh time they would rest from all their works which they (the Gods) counseled among themselves to form; and sanctified it. And thus were their decisions at the time that they counseled among themselves to form the heavens and the earth.

4 And the Gods came down and formed these <are> the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were formed in the day that the Gods formed the earth and the heavens,

5 According to all that which they had said concerning every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Gods had not caused it to rain upon the earth when they counseled to do them, and had not formed a man to till the ground.

6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man’s spirit), and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

8 And the Gods planted a garden, eastward in Eden, and there they put the man, whose spirit they had put into the body which they had formed.

9 And out of the ground made the Gods to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the tree of life, also, in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

10 There was a river running out of Eden, to water the garden, and from thence it was parted and became into four heads.

[The narrative about the names of the rivers is removed here]

11 And the Gods took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it.

12 And the Gods commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,

13 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord’s time, which was after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning.

14 And the Gods said: Let us make an help meet for the man, for it is not good that the man should be alone, therefore we will form an help meet for him.

[Verses 19 and 20 from the Genesis narrative are placed at the end of the Abraham narrative.]

15 And the Gods caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and he slept, and they took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof;

16 And of the rib which the Gods had taken from man, formed they a woman, and brought her unto the man.

17 And Adam said: This was bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; now she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man;

18 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.

19 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

20 And out of the ground the Gods formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that should be the name thereof.

21 And Adam gave names to all cattle, <and> to the fowl of the air, <and> to every beast of the field; and for Adam, there was <not> found an help meet for him.

As can be seen, the Book of Abraham contains several key narratological, theological, and textual differences.

Aside from the differences, why might there be similarities between the KJV textual rendering of the Abraham account and the Book of Abraham?

Three or more possibilities exist:

  1. The account we have in Genesis is generally a clean rendition of the account left by Abraham, and scribal errors/interpolations have not entered the account.
  2. The Genesis writers and the scribes/editors/redactors of the Book of Abraham may have been contemporary to one another
  3. Joseph/The Lord decided that the KJV rendering of the text was sufficient to render the general meaning left in the Book of Abraham.
  4. Some combination of the 2 to 3 of the above.

Further text critical research of the Book of Abraham will need to be performed to establish what might come from which. Until then, FairMormon remains neutral as to how members see the text as currently canonized.

Notes

  1. 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. This part of the Book of Abraham was also translated before the publication of the Book of Jasher in 1840.
  2. ref>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;"
  3. This verse in the Book of Jubilees states that Abraham "...began to pray to the Creator of all so that he might save him from the straying of the sons of men," and so that his portion might not fall into straying after the pollution and scorn."
  4. Some have claimed that the “plains of Moreh” is a mistranslation of the original Hebrew text and should instead read “oak” of Moreh or something similar. Both would be acceptable here. This has been addressed well in a Wikipedia article.
  5. 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.