Question: How does the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language (GAEL) relate to the Book of Abraham?

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Question: How does the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language (GAEL) relate to the Book of Abraham?

The exact relationship between the documents referred to as the "Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language" and the Book of Abraham have not yet been determined

Professor Brian M. Hauglid of Brigham Young University is currently undertaking a critical text edition of the so-called "Kirtland Egyptian Papers," or, more properly, the "Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language" (or GAEL), in conjunction with scholars at the Joseph Smith Papers. [1] Professor Hauglid has published some preliminary thoughts on his research, in addition to comments made by other Mormon scholars. [2]

Before we pass judgment on the GAEL, including it's relationship to the Book of Abraham text, we should be patient and see what Professor Hauglid and other scholars will release in the future, per Richard Turley's advice. This remains a relatively under-studied area of the Book of Abraham debate, and it would be foolish to jump to conclusions before all the relevant data is presented for scholarly scrutiny.

"Again, this concept of translation if you look at the 7th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, it’s a translation of a parchment sent up by the apostle john in the new testament. There’s no evidence it was anywhere around Joseph at the time that he translated it. OK, so again, translation is not character for character translation like you and I think about it, OK?"


  1. These documents are free to view online at the Joseph Smith Papers website.
  2. Brian M. Hauglid, A Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions (Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2010), 1–20, 225–231; “Thoughts on the Book of Abraham,” in No Weapon Shall Prosper: New Light on Sensitive Issues, ed. Robert L. Millet (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2011), 245–258; Gee, "Eyewitness, Hearsay, and Physical Evidence," 195–203; Hugh Nibley, "The Meaning of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers," reprinted in An Approach to the Book of Abraham, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 18, ed. John Gee (Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2009), 502–568.