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

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

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.

Some people have asked what might have been available to Joseph Smith when he translated the book. 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. Another book that he may have known of is the Book of Jasher. There is some documentary evidence that may indicate that Joseph had already completed up to Abraham 3:13 before the Book of Jasher was published and circulated in his vicinity. This, however, cannot be demonstrated definitively as there is disagreement over the translation timeline for the Book of Abraham. [1] The book 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 can be found below.

Seven traditions below have been documented (with details differing) in 6 different commentaries contemporary to Joseph Smith. Comparisons and contrasts will be listed in the footnotes[3] As far as can be determined by the author of this article at this time, none of the books below were owned and/or read by Joseph Smith except for (maybe) Josephus.[4] BYU Profesor Andrew Hedges has posited that the traditions below were unique for then contemporaneous views of Abraham. [5] It is unlikely that Joseph Smith would have had the time to find and crib so many sources, especially seeking minute details. Joseph was the founder of a new Church, a mayor, a general, and a politician. To expect that he would be able to eclectically aggregate such sources is quite unlikely, though of course not entirely forgone. Many of the following traditions were absolutely not known to Joseph Smith's time.

Following is a listing of the traditions along with a bullet point list of various lore that supports the tradition. These are all listed in "Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham" from FARMS. Page numbers will be listed on the sides of the titles so readers may find the traditions and read them for themselves in that volume. [6]


Abraham's fathers worshipped idols (Abraham 1:5-6) [7]

  • Abel and the 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 Jasher 9:6, 19; 11:45—46, pp. 138, 139, 142[8]
  • Book of the Bee 23, p. 272
  • Book of the Cave of Treasures 23a.1, pp. 189—90
  • Book of the Rolls 118b, pp. 207—8
  • Catena Severi 1, p. 241
  • Conflict of Adam 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
  • 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 Chronicle 10, pp. 228—29
  • Apocalypse of Abraham 1:2; 25:1, pp. 52, 59
  • Book of Jasher 9:6—8, 19; 11:32, 42—45, 47, pp. 138—39, 141, 142[9]
  • Book of the Cave of Treasures 23a.2, p. 190
  • Book of the Rolls 119a, p. 208
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 34:10, p. 132
  • Conflict of Adam 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) [10]

  • 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[11]
  • Cutenu Severi 5, p. 241
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 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 of Moses, p. 180
  • Story of Abraham . . . 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[12]
  • 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; Facsimile 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 Jasher 8:34, p. 138 [13]
  • Book of the Cave of Treasures 23b.2‚ pp. 190—91
  • Book of the 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 Muslim Traditions: Prophet Abraham 3, pp. 459—60
  • Story of Abraham . . . 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 Muslim 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; Facsimile 1, figure 3)[14]

  • 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 Jasher 12:6, 23, pp. 144, 145[15]
  • Bede, Hexaemeron 3—4, pp. 213—14 Bede (.7),
  • Quaestiones super Genesz'm, 214—15
  • Catena Severi 8, p. 242
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 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, commenting 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 Muslim 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, regarding 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) of Abraham 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[16]
  • 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, regarding Genesis 11:28, p. 125
  • Story of Abraham . . . 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 Jasher12:23, p. 145 [17]
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 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 _of Abraham . . . with Nimrod 29, p. 173
  • Study (Mz'drnsh) of Abraham Our Father 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 of Abraham . . . 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
  • 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

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 Jasher 12:24, 38, pp. 145, 146 [18]
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 33:6; 34:13, pp. 130, 133
  • Commentarium in Genesim, p. 205
  • Ethiopic Story of Joseph, 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 of Jasher 11:33—36, p. 141[19]
  • 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
  • Philo 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 Joannem 4, pp. 257—58
  • Story of Abraham 8, p. 177
  • Story of Abraham . . . with Nimrod 11, 32, p. 167, 174
  • Study (Midrash) of Abraham 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 of Jerahmeel 34:9, 11, p. 132
  • Conflict of Adam 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 Muslim 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, regarding 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 of Abraham . . . 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 of Abraham 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
  • Jubilees 12:14; 22:22, pp. 17, 20
  • Michael the Syrian 2.3.4, 2.6.6, pp. 262, 263
  • Other Muslim Traditions: Prophet Abraham 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 of Abraham . . . 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) [20]

  • 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 [21]
  • Book of the Bee 30, p. 273
  • Ibn al-Tayyib 7:3, p. 253
  • Jubilees 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 [22]
  • 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
  • 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

Abraham made converts in Haran (Abraham 2:15) [23]

  • ’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 Jasher 12:41—43; 13:2, 10, 21, 24, pp. 147, 149, 150, 151 [24]
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 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 Muslim Traditions: Prophet Abraham 11, p. 463
  • Pesikta Rabbati 43:6, p. 83
  • Qur’an 14:36, p. 293
  • Rashi, regarding Genesis 12:5, p. 126
  • Story of Abraham . . . with Nimrod 33, p. 174
  • Study (Midrash) of Abraham Our Father 5, p. 179
  • Targum Jonathan Genesis 12:5, p. 66
  • Targum Neofiti 1 Genesis 12:5, p. 69
  • Targum Onqelos 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 knowledgeable about astronomy, which he learned from ancient records and from God (Abraham 1:31, 3:1-18; Facsimile 2 and 3)[25]

  • 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 [26]
  • Book of the Cave of Treasures 25a.1, p. 192
  • Book of the Rolls 122a, pp. 209—10
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 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 Jews 1.7.1—2; 1.8.2, pp. 47-48, 49
  • Jubilees 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
  • Joannes Zonaras, p. 261
  • Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 1.8.2, p. 49
  • Zohar: Genesis 83a, p. 160
  • Contrast Chronicles of Jerahmeel 35:4, p. 134;
  • Mahbu‘b of Menbidj (Agapius) 4, p. 248

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

  • Book of Jasher 8:2, 10; 12:9, pp. 135, 136, 144 [27]
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 34:1, pp. 130—31
  • Story of Abraham 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 of Abraham 7:10—11; 19:9; 21:1—6, pp. 56, 57, 58
  • Chronicles of Jerahmeel 34:3, p. 131
  • Clementine Recognitions 33, p. 186
  • Ibn Isha‘q 4, p. 304
  • Ioannes Zonaras, p. 261
  • Jubilees 12:19, p. 17

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

  • Apocalypse of Abraham 22:2, p. 59

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

  • Apocalypse of Abraham 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 of Abraham 19:6—7; 21:7—22:5, pp. 57, 58—59
  • Book of Jasher 12:38, p. 146[28]
  • 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)[29]

  • 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
  • Jubilees 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 of the Cave of Treasures 22b2, p. 189
  • Book of the Rolls 118b, pp. 207—8
  • Conflict of Adam and 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 Jonathan 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

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

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

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

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

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[30]
  • 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
  • Jubilees 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 Muslim' 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
  • Jubilees 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

The Angel of the Lord (Figure 1)

Angels or heavenly messengers were frequently represented by birds in Egyptian literature. This is an element more contemporary to a later redactor and/or copyist of the Book of Abraham. The Egyptian word for angel is " 'ḫ". The Greek word for angel is "ἄγγελος". 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 [Egyptian 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 [Egyptian 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 terms are attempts to render the Egyptian term 'ḫ into Greek.[31]

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 sacrifice 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.[32]

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

Kerry Muhelstein 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. His quote: "[there is] indisputable evidence for the practice of human sacrifice in classical 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. There has also been another papyrus located that associates Abraham with a lion couch scene.

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. [33]

Another lion couch scene has been discovered which actually includes Abraham's name. It should be noted that it does not claim that Abraham is the figure on the lion couch, and notes that "[t]he figure on the lion couch in this papyrus is a woman." That is very clear from looking at the papyrus. However, the wording under the figure states "Abraham upon..." ("Abraham epi" in Greek) and then it becomes unintelligible so scholars are at a stand-still as to knowing if the circling of the name of Abraham in that phrase is the identification of the figure as Abraham. It is very arguable, however, that with the preposition ("epi" meaning things ranging from "at", to "near" to "upon") and the circling of Abraham's name that this is an identification of Abraham as the figure on the couch in some form. This can simply not be demonstrated conclusively. [34]

Photo appearing in John Gee, “Research and Perspectives: Abraham in Ancient Egyptian Texts,” Ensign, Jul 1992, 60 Caption "A lion couch scene appears in Leiden Papyrus I 384 (PGM xii). The outline marks Abraham’s name, written in Greek. (Courtesy of Rijksmuseum van Oudheden.)" (click to enlarge)

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

Kevin Barney:

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.[35]

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".

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. 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. A connection with K?reš the name of the Persian king Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28), is also possible. [36]

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. [37]

Hugh Nibley (framing his thought process in an imaginary dialogue) regarding how the four canopic jars could be both Mesopotamian gods and the four quarters of the earth (as found in Fac 2) argued:

. . . As far as the Egyptians were concerned, the four quarters of the earth were people. If the Book of Abraham wants to think of the four canopic jars as representing idolatrous gods and the four regions at the same time, this is entirely in keeping with the way the Egyptians thought about it. Now right here in the temple of Opet where we are so much at home "the genies of the four winds" enjoy a conspicuous display, and why are they there? The four winds, according to our handbook, head the list of more than fifty ritual appearances of the sacred four---it all began with the four winds and the four directions, represented as early as the Pyramid Texts by the four canopic vases[38]

[. . .]

It has been found that all these combinations have one thing in common--what Professor Constant de Wit calls the "quaternary principle"; he suggests that the whole business originally goes back to the four winds and probably started at Heliopolis.

Dick: Naturally

Mr. Jones: On good evidence. Even one of the Joseph Smith Papyri shows that.

Jane: Which one?

Mr. Jones: Fragment No. 8 in the Era listing, corresponding to chapter 5 of the Book of the Dead[39] Allen has rendered it: "His nose is open in Busiris. He rests in Heliopolis. . . . If north winds come, he sits in the south; if south winds come, he sits in the north; if west winds come, he sits in the east; if east winds come, he sits in the west[40]

[. . .]

Mr. Jones: The animal heads seem to have been borrowed by the Egyptians in the first place. Originally the canopic vases didn't have the animal heads; they were just plain jars[41] Scholars believe "that the theriomorphic vase in Egypt, as elsewhere can be traced to an origin in North Syria."[42] Yet the four heads are already canonically prescribed in the Pyramid Texts, so that it is suggested that their appearance in Egypt in the Nineteenth Dynasty was actually a return to the old idea.[43] The idea behind the canopic figures was certainly familiar to Canaan, where, according to the rabbis, the princes of the various nations were typified by animals, just as were the princes of Israel[44]

Dick: But only four of them?

Mr. Jones: That was a concession to the system. Thus, though from time immemorial the Egyptians spoke of the other nations as the "Nine Bows," they believed that at the judgement the four races of mankind would stand in their proper positions[45] Professor Georges Posener has shown that the Egyptians named the peoples and countries of the world after their directions and hence conceived of the four cardinal directions; to each of the cardinal directions they also gave cardinal colors--red, white, black, and green.</ref>Georges Posener, "Sur l'orientation et l'orde des joints cardinaux chex les Egyptiens," in Gottinger Vortrage vom Agyptologischen Kolloquium der Akademie am 25, un 26. August 1964</ref> They knew that there were many countries, of course, but they insisted on fitting everything into the system--a sort of cosmic plan that seems to have hypnotized many ancient people.[46]

Dick: So, nobody had to borrow from anybody.

Mr. Jones: So, the various ideas could easily meet and fuse--in Canaan, especially, the newly found Brooklyn Papyrus shows the people familiar with the same ideas: "The invoking of the four Babylonian deities is certainly evidence of the presence of a Babylonian cult in this area." The four gods in question happen to be Bel, Nabu, Shamash, and Nergal[47] corresponding closely to the four great gods of the Egyptian four directions.[48]

The idolatrous God of Pharaoh (figure 9)

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.” [49]

Abraham in Egypt (Figure 10)

Foreigners in Egpyt, like Abraham was, are often represented by a Lotus Flower (sometimes referred to alternatively as a water lily), the figure depicted here, as argued by Dr. Hugh Nibley. Nibley cites Waltraud Guglielmi, a non-LDS Egyptologist, to support 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.[50] 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[51]. [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 bullock-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[52]. 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.[53]. It would now seem that these tall and narrow Egyptian ritual stands originated in Canaan.[54]

[. . .]

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"[55] 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.[56] "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.[57] 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.[58].

[. . .]

The numerous studies of the Egyptian lotus 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 denoting high society, especially royal receptions, at which the presentation of a lotus to the host was obligatory [. . .]; to be remiss in lotus courtesy was an unpardonable blunder, for anyone who refuses 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, proffered by the king himself as guardian of the border.[59]

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’. [60]

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" with this figure. LDS Scholars have cited Non-LDS Egyptologist Erik Hornung whose work supports this. [61]

"Shamau" is presented as related to samayim, a dual form meaning "heaven(s)" "Shaumahyeem" using the Sephardic Hebrew transliteration Joseph learned from Joshua Seixas as opposed to the Ashkenazic method.

Louis Zucker, a Jewish scholar from the University of Utah wrote:

Another such word is Shaumahyeem [exactly the Seixas pronunciation], heavens, in the sense of Genesis 1; Shaumau is an invented singular, unknown to the Bible[62]

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 depicting 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. [63]

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.'"[64] 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.'"[65] 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.

Identification 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

Facsimile 2


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...First in government, the last pertaining to measurement of time

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

Figure one is the God Amun. As 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."[66].. . .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. But before all else we are dealing with creation and birth. So, it is enlightening to note that the Prophet Joseph begins his explanation of this figure as "the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the 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.

[. . .]

The central figure of most hypocephali has four rams' heads on one neck. Herodotus was intrigued by the representation of Amun with the head of a ram, as in our figures 1 and 2. First of all, he makes it clear that the Egyptians did not for a moment "think that is th way he really was"[67] And he proceeds to explain that Zeus was determined that not even Hercules should see his true appearance, but he at least granted him the indulgence of "displaying himself wearing the fleece of a ram which he had skinned and beheaded." And that is why the Egyptian images of Zeus have a ram's head. They got the idea from the Ammonite Egyptian colonists, whose name for Zeus was Amun. The center of his cult in Egypt was in Mendes[68] Because the Egyptian word for ram, ba, is the same as the wod for soul, the Ram at Mendes also became assocated with both Osiris and Re[69] There are also a four-headed ram-god was thought to combine the attributeds of Re, Shu, Geb, and Osiris, and thenw as extended to include "the ba of every god."[70]

Turning to the famous Mendes Stela, we view "the great god Mendes, the life of Re, the male potency of gods and mankind, who appears in the region of light (or as an akh), the divine issue of the Ran . . . elest son of the Creator of All, who sits on the throne of the first of the gods . . . a prince in the womb, a ruler at the breast whom the potency of his father, the Ram of Mendes, made strong as a king, victorious, etc."[71] This fulsome description is well summed up in Joseph Smith's economical explanation as "the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or residence of God. First in government." (Fac. 2, fig. 1 explanation).

We all know thathe ram is the bellwheter who leads out the flock. Aries the Ram leads out the year in the Zodiac--the god Janus (after whom the month January is named) has the horns of Aries the Ram (see p. 397, fig. 48). As Min he always has got's horns and as Min-Amun he is the rejuvenanted prowess of ram, got, and lion . . . he with the four faces on one neck, the 777 ears, millions of eyes, and hundreds of thousands of horns[72] As to the horns, Amun shares two types with Khnum as primal king and creator. There are the long, twisted horizontal horns of figure 2 and the new breed which appeared in the New Kingdom of he well-known curly horned beast associated with Amun. And yet the god continues to wear both types of horns together as he does on most of the hypocephali.(fig. 28).[73]


The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit.[75]

Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, "One Day to a Cubit"

Hollis R. Johnson,  Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, (2013)
An investigation of ancient astronomy shows that a cubit was used not only as the metric of length (elbow to fingertip) but also as a metric of angle in the sky. That suggested a new interpretation that fits naturally: the brightest celestial object—the sun—moves eastward around the sky, relative to the stars, during the course of a year, by one cubit per day!.

Click here to view the complete article

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

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

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 sorts of cycles. The whole Kolob concept suggests that "archaic order: which today is being retrieved through the serious study 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 framework of connections is revealed at many levels. One is inside an echoing manifold, where everything responds and everything has a place and a time assigned to it. This is a true edifice. . . a World-Image that first the many levels, and all of it kept in order by strict measure."[76]

The concept of unity and identity so prominent in the Egyptian text is well expressed in the Pearl of Great Price: "And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things which are in the heavens above and things which are of earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things 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 measurement is, according to de Santillana and von Dechend, "always some form of time."[77] And it is the same in the Prophet's explanation of the multileveled "firmament of the heavens" which "answers to the measurement of time"--that is, of the revolutions or orbits of the heavenly bodies.[78]

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

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

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[79]

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.[80] [. . .]

"The original letters of the Tetragrammaton," Phineas Mordell concludes, "were [Hebrew word] instead of [Hebrew word],"[81] which corresponds to Joseph Smith's j-a-o-e (yod, ayin, waw, aleph)[82]

Stands next to Kolob...the next grand governing creation near to...the place where God resides; holding the key of power (figure 2)

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

This figure, as Joseph Smith explains it, "stands next to Kolob . . . the next grand governing creation near to . . . the place where God resides" (Fac 2, fig. 2, explanation). Compare this to figure 1, which is "Kolob. . .the first creation, nearest to . . . the residence of God" (Fac 2, fig. 1 explanation). With this gradation of glory goes precedence in time, figure 1 "the first creation." and beyond that, steps in degrees of authority, with figure 2, "te next grand governing creation." Neither one is the center of everything. Figure 1, to be sure, is the center facing in all directions around whom all else revolves. Abraham is told that "Kolob is set. . . to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest" (Abraham 3:9). Moses was rebuked for wanting an immediate view of what the ancients and Paul called [Greek script] (pleroma)--absolutely everything (see Colossians 2:9); the Lord told him to hold on and be satisfied with this world, the only world which concerned him at present (Moses 1:30-36).

Note also that figure 2, the second in order, is "holding the key of power also pertaining to other planets." On some hypocephali this figure is labeled both Re and Amun-Re, the same power at different levels. He stands at the zenith of the year and the moon of the day at his greatest moment of power--the sun, the ruler of the solar system, but everything about him reminds us that he is motion. What about the rest of his journey, passing through the underworld from west to east? WE are referred to the ley, the Wepwawet, "Opener of the Ways," which lets us out of the underworld.

In the small Nash hypocephalus (see appendix 7A), figures 1 and 2 are combined and their identify clearly established: In the top panel, wearing the two tall feathers of Amun, the two-headed figure, but here he is situated on the throne, holding the scepters exactly like the four-headed Amun on other hypocephali [83] In this case proximity is the main idea; we are near the center but moving out from it. Among the ancients and moderns, proximity to Divinity both in place and time was a direct measure of blessedness. This "Kolob" ideas is set forth vividly in the Book of Abraham: "the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me." (Abraham 3:3). It is "nearest to the celestial, or residence of God" (Fac 2. fig 1, explanation). A most significant feature of figure 2 is the crown the god-figure is wearing combining both ram's horns and the two tall features. It is the Ta-Tjenen crown (see Fac. 3 fig. 1) with the ram's horns that bring Re and Osiris together in a symbol of eternal beginning.[84]

Striding forth boldly on his eternal rounds, figure 2 is designated on a bronze hypocephalus as "Amun Lord of Heaven in his aspect of coming forth."[85] You will notice that our figure 2 is not "residing" anywhere--he is on the move, right at the top of the circle. His feathers usually touch and often protrude above the confining edge to show him, as one scholar puts it, "here at the vertex of the universe, the Ram comes first of al in order, appearing at the head of the universe and the beginning of light."[86] He is by all accounts a true two-faced Janus figure; classical writers, as we have seen, associated Amun;s ram horns with the constellation Aries the Ram, the Opener of the Year[87] Let us recall further that some Egyptian inscriptions label our figure 2 as past and future, "I know," and "I shall know," explaining that "the one is Osiris who is Yesterday, and the other is Re who is Tomorrow."[88]

The holy Egyptian feather which Shu wears signifies light traversing the space between heaven and earth and is represented by the god of that name;[89] "Its filaments symbolized the rays of the sun."[90] It is te famous atef-crown, designated by Joseph Smith as "emblematical of the grand presidenc in heaven," and indeed the two feathers are the prime emblems of celestial light and spirit. Significantly, the shw-feather is not a theological but an astronomical symbol, as Rudolf Anthes sees it; the god's name is never written with the familiar divinity sign; rather it represents the actual sunshine or light and energy that traverses and fils the space between heaven and earth,[91] a light (to quote Joseph Smith) "pertaining to other planets." The sign of the two feathers enjoyed a very wide range of interpretation among the Egyptian scribes</ref>BD 17, English translation in Faulkner, Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, 44.</ref>

As to the staff and or scepter, which god carries as his staff of office and the emblem of his power, it is of the utmost importance. It signifies specifically the power o move or progress. It is the standard of the dog Wepwawet, whose image appears on it--the faithful dog who leads his majesty into the realm of the unknown. "The true character of Wepwawet is still far from being clearly difened, by the Pyramid texts shoe him intimately related to the mystery of the rising sun and the resurrection of the king. . . that is why he is in the prow of the solar bark and always leads the parade."[92] All these ideas come together in the figure on the staff of the character who bears it.

Staff and Key

Joseph Smith calls the staff a key, "the key of power". The Hebrew word for key [Hebrew script] (miptah), means literally "opener," while the Egyptian name of the god who bears this staff is Wp-w3.wt = Opener of the Ways. The Egyptian obsession with "the Way" as the course of life here and hereafter, eloquently expressed in the First Psalm and in the preaching of the great high priest Petosiris--"I will show you the Way of Life"--has been discussed at length by scholars such as Oswald Spengler and Gerturd Thausing[93] Peter is one who has the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19). Janus also is the god "who holds a staff in his left and a key in his right,"[94] "the one who holds the key (clavigerus),"[95] and the one who is "the gatekeeper of the heavenly courts (coelestins ianitor aulae)."[96] The Egyptian is constantly concerned with being checked or 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.[97]

Is made to represent God, sitting upon his throne, clothed with power and authority; with a crown of eternal light upon his head; representing also the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood, as revealed to Adam in the Garden of Eden, as also to Seth, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, and all to whom the Priesthood was revealed (figure 3)

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

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.[98] "Clothed with power," however, is a palpable hit; for the big was-scepter that the king holds stands for "dominion," according to Raymond Faulkner[99] and for "dominion, lordship," according to Alan H. Gardiner; [100][101]

Answers to the Hebrew word Raukeeyang, signifying expanse, or the firmament of the heavens; also a numerical figure, in Egyptian signifying one thousand; answering to the measuring of time of Oliblish, which is equal to Kolob in its revolution and in its measuring of time (Figure 4)

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

Our figure 4 goes back to the earliest Egyptian iconography, found on an ivory tomb belonging to King Djet (serpent) from the First Dynasty; on it has been drawn "a boat beneath which two wings representing the sky are spread."[102] 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"[103]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[104] The bird in the boat is sometimes exchanged for the sky-goddess Nut, whose outstretched wings are the symbol of protection, [105]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.[106][107]

[. . .]

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,"[108] The Thousand Souls are stars, and she is so called because the stars are her children; 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 the 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. . . 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 counter heaven."[109] 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."[110][111]

[. . .]

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.[112][113]

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

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

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[114]. As early as the Old Kingdom, the cow appears "as the female equivalent of Re."[115] 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[116]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. [117][118]

...which governs fifteen other fixed planes or stars...

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

In his discussion of the Book of the Cow in the royal tombs, Charles Maystre pays special attention to the Tutankhamun version, the most carefully executed of the Heavenly Cow pictures (see p. 324, fig. 38): “Along the belly of the cow are stars.” [119] These are set in a line; at the front end is the familiar solar-bark bearing the symbol of Shemsu, the following or entourage, and at the rear end of the line is another ship bearing the same emblem. Both boats are sailing in the same direction through the heavens. The number of stars varies among the cows; in the instructions contained in the tomb of Seti I, it is specified that there should be nine, though the three groups of three strokes each can, and often do, signify an innumerable host.[120]

The number here plainly belongs to the cow, but what about the fifteen stars? “The number fifteen cannot be derived from any holy number of the Egyptians,” writes Hermann Kees, and yet it presents “a surprising analogy” with the fifteen false doors in the great wall of the Djoser complex at Saqqara, which was designed by the great Imhotep himself, with the Festival of the Heavens of Heliopolis in mind, following the older pattern of the White Wall of the Thinite palace of Memphis.[121] Strangely enough this number fifteen keeps turning up all along, and nobody knows why, though it always represents passing from one gate or door to another. Long after Djoser, Amenophis III built a wall for his royal circumambulation at the sed-festival, marking the inauguration of a new age of the world; it also had fifteen gates.[122] In the funeral papyrus of Amonemsaf, in a scene in which the hawk comes from the starry heavens to minister to the mummy, “the illustration . . . is separated into two halves by the sign of the sky ” —the heaven above and the tomb below (fig. 31). Between the mummy and the depths and the hawk in the heaven, there are twelve red dots and fifteen stars.[123] Again, twelve is the best-known astral number, but why fifteen? One Egyptologist wrote years ago that “The author’s impression is that these [the fifteen stars] are purely theological features without astronomical significance.” [124] “The ‘great Ennead which resides in Karnak’ swelled to fifteen members.” [125] It was structured in three phases: one became two, two became four, four became eight, which is fifteen altogether. Étienne Drioton associates this with the dividing of eternity in the drama of Edfu into years, years into months, and months into fifteen units, these units into hours, and they into minutes.[126] Furthermore the idea of fifteen mediums or conveyors may be represented on the fifteen limestone tablets of the Book of the Underworld found by Theodore Davies and Howard Carter in the tomb of Hatshepsut.[127] Let us recall that the basic idea, as Joseph Smith explains it, is that “fifteen other fixed planets or stars” act as a medium for conveying “the governing power.” Coming down to a later time of the Egyptian gnostics, we find the fifteen helpers (παραστάται, parastatai) of the seven virgins of light in the Coptic Pistis Sophia, who “expanded themselves in the regions of the twelve saviors and the rest of the angels of the midst; each according to its glory will rule with me in an inheritance of light.” [128] In an equally interesting Coptic text, 2 Jeu, there are also fifteen parastatai who serve with “the seven virgins of the light” who are with the “father of all fatherhoods, . . . in the Treasury of the Light.” [129]. They are the light virgins who are “in the middle or the midst (μέσος, mesos),” meaning that they are go-betweens.[130] Parastatai are those who conduct one through a series of ordinances, just as the fifteen stars receive and convey light.

In all this we never get away from cosmology and astronomy. In the Old Slavonic Secrets of Enoch, “four great stars, each having one thousand stars under it,” go with “fifteen myriads of angels,” <re>Secrets of Enoch 11:4–5.</ref> all moving, to quote Joseph Smith, together with “the Moon, the Earth, and the Sun in their annual revolutions.” In the Book of Gates, one of those mystery texts reserved for the most secret rites of the greatest kings, we see, as Gustave Jéquier describes it, “a long horizontal bar with a bull’s head at either end, supported by eight mummiform personages, and carrying seven other genies” (fig. 32).[131]These fifteen figures are designated as carriers or bearers (f.w), and the bar is the body of the bull extended to give them all room. A rope enters the bull’s mouth at one end and exits at the other, and on the end of this rope there is a sun-bark being towed by a total of eight personages designated as stars.[132] Just as the ship travels through the fifteen conveyor stars on the underside of the cow, the two heads of the bull make him interchangeable with the two-headed lion Aker, or Ruty, who guards the gate. “Aker,” writes Jéquier, “is a personification of the gates of the earth by which the sun must pass in the evening and in the morning.” [133] He is the same as the two-headed Janus, the gate-god, whom we have already met.[134]

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. As he wrote:

The four children of Horus played a very important role in the funeral works of the early dynasties; they originally represented the four supports of heaven, but very soon each was regarded as the god of one of the four quarters of the earth, and also of that quarter of the heavens which was above it.[135]

LDS Scholars have also cited Maarten Raven, a non-LDS Egyptologist whose work also supports Joseph's explanation. [136]

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 God Min appears to have been "made to represent God sitting upon his throne" while the wedjat eye was used to represent the power of the Priesthood, and Nehebkau, the bird-like/serpent-like God being made to represent the Holy Ghost. See John Gee's discussion above for the adaptation of birds to represent angels or other heavenly messengers:

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

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[137] They are also signs of procreation. Min was intimately related to the god Amun, and Amun was probably derived from him.[138]. "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."[139] The Greeks and Romans associated him with Pan and Priapus [140] 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."[141]

[. . .]

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 heaven. [142] The eye was, according to Griffiths, the Eye of Horus[143]

The eye fills the king completely;[144] it purifies him[145] it gives him special knowledge, visionary power. [146] It exalts the king and places him at the head of the Greater and Lesser Councils.[147] [. . .] 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 through the middle chamber of stars into a room in which heaven was scenically depicted."[148] It is the ultimate supreme power over men and gods [149] Its power is especially protective, encircling the king[150] [. . .] 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[151] and as the very precious oil used in the ordinances of anointing the brow or breast, specifically to bestow authority ad power.[152] It is the anointing which transforms the nature of the individual.[153] All this is in the wedjat eye itself, which by anointing imparts soul and body, restoration, joy, and thankfulness with its obligation of obedience.[154]

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.[155] It is the strength given by sacramental food.[156] [. . .]

By now it should be clear to any Latter-day Saint reader that the elusive wedjat-eye, intimately familiar yet strangely elusive, is a symbol of that equally common all-but-indefinable power called the priesthood.[157]

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

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

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 hieroglyphs 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[158] from the time of (10) the creation.[159] O Mighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, (9) of the hereafter, and of his great waters,[160] (8) may the soul of Osiris[161]Shishaq[162] be granted life.

As stated above, this is a prayer or plea of Shishaq, the owner of the hypocephalus, to Osiris, the god of the dead, who is the Lord of all things, to grant him eternal life.[163]

Figures 16, 17...will be given in the own due time of the Lord

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

There are other such sentiments, but none of them at all like that in the Joseph Smith hypocephalus. These two passages take the form of half a dozen formulae in the various hypocephali consistent with their position at the very bottom of the world: (1) The theme of light coming into the darkness, the best known of all; (2) a warning to one in danger; (3) the assurance “you are secure” (written with the djed-column); (4) the stock flame-under-the-head statement; (5) snatches from conventional statements found in hypocephali in general such as “you go where you want,” etc. (6) But the Joseph Smith readings are the most interesting, backed up as they are by the carefully composed Leiden and Ashmolean hypocephali.

The clue to these two lines is a recent study by Hans Goedicke. Most of line 17 is taken up by the significant expression b pn ḥnʿ nb=f. This particular formula, as Goedicke points out, citing examples, emphasizes “the continuous company between man and his ba . . . [and] reflects a continuous link.”[164] For example: “When I hurry to the caves, may my ba be still with me”[165]and “While I sleep my ba watches over my body.”[166] Just so Re watches over the sleeping Osiris. The idea of course is that the ba continues after death “to remain in contact with its former lord.” To achieve that unbroken contact between spirit and body against the moment of resurrection is of course the main purpose of the hypocephalus; or as Goedicke puts it, “the implicit motive for the desired contact between ba and corpse is the hope for a reunification of the disintegrated person in a physical rebirth.” [167] The subject of Goedicke’s special study is the famous “Lebensmüde,” or as Goedicke renders it, “The Report about the Dispute of the Man with his Ba” —perhaps the most impressive of all Egyptian theological compositions. Though the idea here treated “occurs repeatedly in all periods of Egyptian culture,” the “Lebensmüde” is the earliest and most moving exposition.[168] But the Joseph Smith version carries the theme farther. The whole inscription reads: (17) (16) (17) ḥ.t th.t, n, (16) nn tḥ.tw b pn ḥnʿ nbf m dw.t ḏ.t (17) May this tomb never be desecrated,[169] (16) and may this soul and its owner never be desecrated in the hereafter.

The word ḥ.t refers to the tomb [170] or, more precisely, the tomb shaft.[171]Most hypocephali bear the name of their owner at least once, and it is his tomb that this passage is supposed to protect. The next word is thἰ, to overstep, transgress; desecrate.[172] The concern here is that the deceased body which is in the tomb as well as his spirit (ba) which is in the netherworld, not be disturbed or desecrated, which would prevent their ultimate reuniting in a resurrection. As Coffin Texts explain, all the parts of the physical body will be brought together with the soul, and the person will be “reestablished” in his original form.[173] The eternity motif means that the person is not stuck in the netherworld forever, but rather the body and spirit are reunited, and the person can “live forever.” [174][175]

Figure...18...will be given in the own due time of the Lord

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

Another tradition suggested by the rim is the significance of the solar circle as the year-circle or shenen, the course of the sun in his rounds. Alan H. Gardiner explains, “Strictly speaking, the loop would be round. . . . The Egyptians called the cartouche šnw from a verb-stem šnἰ, ‘encircle,’ and it seems not unlikely that the idea was to represent the king as ‘ruler of all that which is encircled by the sun,’ a frequently expressed notion.”[176]

The commonest Egyptian sign for eternity is read nḥḥ , a solar disk between two twisted hanks of hemp. ḥḥ is the common root for “many,” “very many,” “a million”; with the sun-disk (the time element) added it means eternal and eternally in the end formula of countless inscriptions, nḥḥ ḥnʿ ḏ.t, “for time and eternity.”[177] The point of all this is that the combination of šn and ḥḥ with vowels supplied can be read as Shinehah, which according to Joseph Smith designates “Shinehah, which is the sun,” with reference to its motion relative to that of the other heavenly bodies (Abraham 3:13) and signifies “one eternal round.”

The Amun inscriptions encircling the hypocephali deal with the transmission of heat, light, and power. In the Meux hypocephalus rim inscription Amun states, “I have come forth from the wedjat-eye. . . . I have come forth from the netherworld with Re (the sun),” [178] the hypocephalus itself being the means by which light and heat are transmitted from their celestial source to the individual whose head rests upon it. Amun is commonly implored in the rim inscriptions to “turn his face toward the body of so-and-so,” [179] to warm and preserve it through the virtue of Re. The hypocephalus as a transmitter of both heat and light was to make available to one in the netherworld the life-giving force of the sun.[180]

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

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

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. [181]

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.[182]

This planet receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam, the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob.

Hugh Nibley (and Michael Rhodes):

Inseparable from our figure 1 are the reverential apes on either side of him—figures 22 and 23 (see appendix 2). On other hypocephali they are sometimes two in number, sometimes four, six, or eight; sometimes standing and sometimes seated. They are identified as stars. As early as the Pyramid Texts, they are designated as “the Beloved Sons” of Sothis/Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.[183]. It is assumed that the position of the apes shows them warming their hands as they greet the rays of the rising sun after the cold desert night and seeming to shield their eyes from the glory of the sunrise. So they are stars receiving light from a greater star, as Joseph Smith’s explanation declares. There was nothing to indicate to Joseph Smith that they are stars, yet along with the Pyramid Texts we have a vignette in the 17th chapter of the Book of the Dead in which each of these apes is preceded by a star (fig. 22).[184]

[. . .]

Horopollo tells us that the special office of the apes was to function as timekeepers or time-reckoners.[185]The sitting cynocephalus, according to him, at each equinox urinates twelve times a day and twelve times a night; during the rest of the year he gives a cry twelve times a day on the hour, every hour.[186]The seated ape, then, is in charge of both the water clock and scales (fig. 24). In the Ptolemaic period the Egyptians wrote the determinative of the word for “hour,” wnw.t , by a heart-shaped plumb bob suspended from a carpenter’s square (see p. 253, fig. 26).[187]. The purpose of this was to make sure that the post supporting the scale was perfectly upright, as is shown in Joseph Smith Papyrus IV. This new element suggests that the apes which face each other, worshipping the central figure both on the morning side and the evening side on all hypocephali (Fac. 2, figs. 22 and 23), establish among other things a sense of perfect balance in the universe—time, space, and matter are all measurably related. Finally, each of our apes is crowned with a disk and a crescent, the meeting of the sun and the moon at the New Moon marking the beginning of the month; the best-known office of the cynocephalus apes is in representing Thoth as the moon-god (see color plate 2).[188]

Hah-Ko-kau-beam (Fig 23)

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.

Abraham and the Temple Endowment (Themes of Facsimile 2 and especially figures 8-20)

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 the 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 [189]

Facsimile 3

Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh’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.

Click here to view the complete article

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. [190]

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[191]

Egyptus (Abraham 1:22,25)

John Tvedtnes:

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

When the Greeks came to Egypt in the time of Alexander the Great, they had to modify the name in order to pronounce it in their own language. Greek had no ‘h’ sound so they simply dropped the consonant at the beginning and the end of the name itself.

The ‘t’ had already been dropped from the end of the word for ‘residence’ which is how it is in Coptic—it’s ‘a’—often the feminine ending dropped off of those in later forms of the Egyptian language. Instead of unvoiced ‘k’ the Greeks used its voiced equivalent the ‘g’ sound. Finally, they added the masculine singular suffix ‘os’, this gave them the form Aigyptos which became Aegyptus in Latin. And this is the origin of course of the name Egyptus as used in the printed versions of the Book of Abraham and the English form of the name of the country itself Egypt. Ptaú whose name appears as the last element in the Egyptian form was the creator god in the story told of the ancient city of Memphis. Zeptah, the form used originally by Joseph Smith, likely means “Son or daughter of Ptaú.” The Egyptian has it as, here I’ve written it as the masculine on the upper left-hand side there you can see, (inaudible) which would be the feminine. The feminine however later on dropped the ‘t’ so it’s easier to pronounce it and they both look alike or both sound alike in later forms of Egyptian. But the Hebrew- if it has a Hebrew meaning it would’ve been understood as Zeh Ptaú “This is Ptaú”—in other words this is the god Ptaú or the discoverer of Egypt.

Indeed, earlier Egyptologists translated the ‘s’ as a ‘z’ and so if we pronounce this as the Egyptian, ‘zeh’ instead of ‘sa’ that would fit with the way they used to transliterate it.

As in most Hebrew words, the feminine suffix was often dropped in later forms of Egyptian. In the Egyptian text known as Astarte and the Sea the goddess Astarte, corresponding to the Egyptian goddess Isis or Isis(?), is actually called (inaudible) in other words “the daughter of Ptaú” so she has that very title.

The Semitic verb Ptah means to open, to discover. The Egyptians held that the Temple at Memphis was constructed on the first piece of land rising from the floodwaters and the same tradition was attached to various other spots where temples were built along the Nile.

An Armenian text attributed to the 4th century A.D. Christian historian Eusebius declares that ‘Egypt is called Mizraim(?) by the Hebrews’—which is close, in Hebrew it’s Mitzraim but he came close considering that it was Greek translated into Armenian—‘and Mizraim lived not long after the flood for after the flood, Ham son of Noah begat Egyptus or Mizraim who was the first to set out to establish himself in Egypt at the time when the tribes began to disperse this way and that.’ Here we have Egyptus then being a man.

A similar account is found in Abraham 1:23-24 except that here it’s a woman:

23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; 24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race.

So, I should make one point here before we move on though because somebody is probably going to look at this and then say, ‘Well why is it that you said then- why does the Book of Abraham say that it means ‘forbidden’ in Chaldean? Well my guess is that it’s analogous to what happens in Russia. Does anybody know how the word ‘Mormon’ is used in Russia? They heard about the Mormons in the United States and these were bad people because all the books they ever had on it were anti-Mormon. We start sending missionaries to Russia, the Soviet Union almost- after 1989. These missionaries come in and they said, ‘We’re Mormons’ and people say, ‘Oh you’re those awful people.’ But other people in Russia have been called Mormons for some time, it’s a group of evil-doers they say and so they’ve used the term ‘Mormon’ meaning evil-doers instead of “more good” if some of you like that better explanation.

Hugh Nibley has dealt with the Egyptian traditions about the goddess who discovered Egypt rising out of the floodwaters. In one text she is called ‘the daughter of Ptaú’ which, as noted above, is one possible meaning of the name ‘Zeptah’. In some accounts she is Isis, sister-wife to Osiris—both sister and wife—and mother of Horus the first king of Egypt making one wonder if Egyptus married her own brother, Mizraim who is the son of Ham mentioned in the Bible and after whom Egypt takes its name in Hebrew.

Nibley draws attention to the account of Herakleides, which was unavailable to Joseph Smith, who wrote “It was first a woman named Aegyptia who established her son and introduced weaving. Because of her, the Egyptians set up an image of Athena,” the Greek goddess, “as Ephorus says in his work on Europa.”1

About 440 B.C. the Greek historian Herodotus wrote that the Egyptian priests “told me that the first man who ruled over Egypt was Min, and that in his time all Egypt, except the Thebaic canton,” that’s Thebes, “was a marsh, none of the land below Lake Moeris then showing itself above the surface of the water.”2

In his Chronicle, the 6th century A.D. Christian historian John Malalas wrote that, “the first king of Egypt belonged to the tribe of Ham, Noah’s son, he was pharaoh who was called Neko.” While Malalas evidently confused the pharaoh of Abraham’s time with the pharaoh Neko of the 6th century B.C.—the time of King Josiah—it is interesting that Abraham 1:20-21 notes that “Pharaoh signifies king by royal blood. Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.”

One of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers notes that Abraham “was forewarned of God to go down into Ahmehstrah, or Egypt, and preach the gospel unto the Ahmehstrahans.” The word may be related to the Hebrew Mizraim—it sounds a bit like it. The name for Egypt and for one of Ham’s sons who is the eponymous ancestor of the Egyptians in Genesis 10 and 1 Chronicles 1.

The Hebrew is actually a dual form, as reflected by the suffix ‘aim’—so Mizraim really means two Egypts if you will due to the fact that ancient Egypt was considered to be comprised of two parts—Upper and Lower Egypt—that were subsequently united.

Eusebius declared that Mizraim was indeed the founder of the Egyptian race and from him the first Egyptian dynasty must be held to spring.

As noted earlier, Eusebius also identified Egyptus with Mizraim. If, as the Book of Abraham says, Egyptus was a daughter of Ham rather than a son, it is possible that she married her brother just as the Egyptian traditions have. Isis marries her brother Osiris; and from them would derive the Hebrew name of Egypt. This would explain the Egyptian myths about Osiris the god who actually ruled Egypt anciently marrying his sister and that was followed by some of the pharaohs.

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

Rhaleenos (Abraham 1:14)

John Tvedtnes:

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)

John Tvedtnes:

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.

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


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.[192]

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.[193]

Abraham 3:22-23

Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, "A Note on Chiasmus in Abraham 3: 22-23"

Julie M. Smith,  Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, (2014)
Chiasmus, or inverted parallelism, is well-known to most students of Mormon studies; this note explores one instance of it in Abraham 3:22-23.

Click here to view the complete article



  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 the 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. For differing views on translation chronology see Muhelstein and Hansen “The Work of Translating: The Book of Abraham’s Translation Chronology” in Let Us Reason Together: Essays in Honor of the Life’s Work of Robert L. Millet, ed. J. Spencer Fluhman and Brent L. Top (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: 2016), 139–62; Gee, John “An Introduction to the Book of Abraham” (Deseret Book: Salt Lake City, UT, 2018) 15-16; Jensen, Robin Scott; Hauglid Brian M. "The Joseph Smith Papers Revelations and Translations Volume 4: Book of Abraham and Related Manuscripts" (Church Historian's Press: Salt Lake City, UT, 2018) Introduction. The reason for the discrepancy is disagreement over validity of W.W. Phelps' letter of July 1835 indicating that they had begun translation, textual evidence that shows by October 1835 the translated Egyptian term "Shinehah" was found in Abraham 3:13, and the presence of Hebrew terminology in early manuscripts of the Book of Abraham which suggests that some revision was done to Abraham 3 based on revelatory insights to Joseph.
  2. See last reference
  3. See "Extra-Biblical Details in the 'Book of Abraham' Compared with Parallels in Published Sources Available to Joseph Smith in Early 19th Century America" on the Mormons in Transition website for more details. This list comes from an unpublished paper written by Wesley P. Walters. It was published on on June 24, 2011. It was accessed by the author of this article on 10/19/2018.
  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 possessed 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. 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. 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]
  6. See "Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham" edited by John Gee, Brian Hauglid, and John Tvedtnes. Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship: Provo, UT (2001) print; online [2].
  7. Mormons in Transition attempted to use a Patrick commentary to discredit this (Symon Patrick, et. al., A Critical Commentary and Paraphrase on the Old Testament, 1809, on Joshua 24:2). There quote from the commentary read: "“Abraham himself also, most agree, was bred up in the same idolatry." Nothing more. It's ambiguous language could refer to Terah or anybody else. There is no evidence that Joseph saw this work.
  8. The Book of Jasher does contain explicit mention that Abraham's father's worshipped idols and that idols were made of wood and stone. The Book was not published until 1840 in New York and this chapter was completed in 1835. See translation timelines cited above
  9. The Book of Jasher is explicit in idols being made of wood and stone. The chapter in the Book of Abraham, however, was translated before publication of the Book of Jasher in 1840
  10. This detail does receive mention in Joshua 24:2. Mormons in Transition has also documented at least one biblical commentary which mentions that Terah was involved in idolatry. That commentary was Symon Patrick, et. al., A Critical Commentary and Paraphrase on the Old Testament, 1809, on Joshua 24:2. There is, however, no evidence that Joseph owned this work nor any of his associates. There is no clear evidence that a bible was employed during the translation process of the Book of Abraham.
  11. The Book of Jasher is explicit that Abraham's fathers worshipped idols. The chapter in the Book of Abraham, however, was translated before the publication of the Book of Jasher in 1840
  12. 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.
  13. The Book of Jasher reads, And the Lord was with Terah in this matter, that Nimrod might not cause Abram's death, and the king took the child from Terah and with all his might dashed his head to the ground, for he thought it has been Abram; and this was concealed from him from that day, and it was forgotten by te king, as it was the will of Providence not to suffer Abram's death." Not the exact wording nor conceptualization as the Book of Abraham (1:7-8; 10-11) nor any similar wording. This detail in te Book of Abraham was also translated before the publication of the Book of Jasher in 1840.
  14. Mormons in Transition has documented that two commentaries one from Matthew Henry (An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments ..., London, 1811, on Daniel 3:6) and the other from Adam Clarke (Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible ... Commentary and Critical Notes, New York, 1832, on Daniel 3:6) that speak about Abraham being sacrificed because he would not worship idols. Both of these commentaries, however, state that Abraham was about to be thrown into a fiery furnace for his disobedience. The Book of Abraham states that he was bound on an altar and about to be sacrificed by the priest of Elkenah. Continue reading for details on being bound and a priest of Elkenah sacrificing Abraham. There is evidence that Joseph owned a copy of Clarke's commentary when doing his revision of the Bible in 1832 However it is unclear if he still had access to it at the time of the translation of the Book of Abraham.
  15. In the Book of Jasher, Abraham is brought to be sacrificed in a furnace: "If it pleaseath the king to do this, let him order his servants to kindle a fire both night and dayin they brick furnace, and then we will cast this man into it." The Book of Abraham states that he was bound on an altar for this sacrifice
  16. 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.
  17. The Book of Jasher states that the king's servants took "Abram" and his brother "Haran" and "bound their hands and feet with linen cords, and the servants of the king lifted them up and cast them both into the furnace." The Book of Abraham states that only Abraham was bound to an altar for this sacrifice
  18. The detail from 1:16 is saved since the Book of Jasher was published in English in 1840, 5 years after the translation of 1:16. 3:20 states that Abraham was delivered by God through an angel, the Book of Jahser does not state this. There is also some (much weaker) evidence that may indicate that Joseph and associates had translated up through 3:20 by 1835, five years before the publication of the Book of Jasher in English.
  19. This part of the Book of Jasher states that Abraham took a hatchet and broke his father's idolatrous gods, to then afterwards place the hatchet in the hands of the God "that was there before him". Not close to the narrative of the Book of Abraham
  20. Mormons in Transition documented this commentary (Symon Patrick, et. al., A Critical Commentary and Paraphrase on the Old Testament, 1809, on Joshua 24:2). The commentary states: “The Jews, in Schalsch Hakka-bala, say he was a priest”. Nothing more. It states that it was said by the Jews that Terah held the priesthood, not that it was passed to Abraham.
  21. The Book of Jasher frames this as Abraham 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 use the same phraseology at all. This detail was also translated before the Book of Jasher was published in 1840.
  22. 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;"
  23. Mormons in Transition points to the Patrick commentary (Symon Patrick, et. al., A Critical Commentary and Paraphrase on the Old Testament, 1809, on Genesis 12:5) to discredit this evidence. There is no evidence that Joseph owned this work. However, the detail is in the Genesis 12:5. There is no clear evidence that a bible was employed in Joseph's translation of the Book of Abraham.
  24. This portion was translated before the publication of the Book of Jasher in New York of 1840.
  25. Mormons in Transition has pointed to the Book of Josephus, an Adam Clarke commentary (Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible ... Commentary and Critical Notes, New York, 1832, on Daniel 2:10), and a scientific excurses done by John Butler (John Butler, Astrology, A Sacred Science London: N.p.,1680, “Preface”) to try and discredit this tradition. First, the evidence that Joseph read Josephus is not conclusive that he was familiar with this. There is no evidence to support that he saw the John Butler excursus. He may have seen the Adam Clarke commentary, though this cannot be proven. Second, as indicated above, it is important to remember that the argument should not be based simply upon the fact that Abraham knew astronomy, but should also try and account for the type of astronomy Abraham taught. The astronomy is undoubtedly an evidence for the Book of Abraham and should be taken into account when wanting to address the argument thoroughly. Also, it should be noted that the Book of Abraham posits that Abraham taught that astronomy to the Egyptians. This is not present in the commentaries. It is present in the Book of Josephus, though it cannot be shown conclusively that Joseph read this work (even though it is likely that he did).
  26. 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.
  27. The Book of Jasher contains nothing that would link the four quarters of the earth with the four sons of Horus. It contains reference to the "four sides of heavens" and "four stars". Some may quibble here about it being "four sides of heavens". "That isn't four quarters!" The words of E.A. Wallis Budge were born in mind: "The four children of Horus played a very important role in the funeral works of the early dynasties; they originally represented the four supports of heaven, but very soon each was regarded as the god of one of the four quarters of the earth, and also of that quarter of the heavens which was above it.
  28. 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.
  29. Mormons in Transition has documented three works to attempt to show that Abraham left a record. They are the Patrick commentary on Genesis 12:5 (Symon Patrick, et. al., A Critical Commentary and Paraphrase on the Old Testament, 1809, on Genesis 12:5), a work by author Thomas Vaughan (Thomas Vaughan, Magica Adamica, 1650, 171-72) and another by William Enfield (William Enfield, History of Philosophy, 1791, 2:212). There is no evidence that Joseph Smith nor his associates owned any of these works.
  30. The Book of Jasher reads "...and the king ordered Abram to be brought, 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.
  31. 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
  32. In his review of the Gospel Topics Essay, Robert Ritner walks back from these comments and makes a distinction between "human sacrifice" and "capital punishment". The truth is that they were often one and the same.
  33. Barney, Kevin L. "Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant > The Facsimiles and Semitic Adaptation of Existing Sources" see
  34. See John Gee, Research and Perspectives: Abraham in Ancient Egyptian Texts on (July 1992)
  35. Barney, Kevin L. "On Elkenah as Canaanite El," Journal of Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 19, no. 1 (2010)
  36. Michael D. Rhodes, “Teaching the Book of Abraham Facsimiles,” Religious Educator 4, no. 2 (2003): 115–123
  37. Tvedtnes, John "Authentic Ancient Names and Words in the Book of Abraham and Related Kirtland Egyptian Papers". FairMormon Conference 2005 Tvedtnes 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).
  38. Constant De Wit, "Les genies des quartre vents au temple d'Opet," CdE 32 (1957):35-37.
  39. IE 71 (February 1968): 40-G.
  40. De Wit, "Les genies des quatre vents au temple d'Opet," 39; cf. IE 71 (February 1968): 40-G; translated by Wilson, "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri," 75.
  41. Kurt Sethe, Zur Geschichte der Einbalsamierung bei den Agypten und einiger damit verbunderer Brauche (Berlin: Akaemie der Wissenschaften, 1934), 217.
  42. S.R.K. Glanville, "Egyptian Theriomorphic Vessels in the British Museum," JEA 12 (1929): 57.
  43. Adolf Rusch, Die Entwicklung der Himmelsgottin Nut zu einer Totengottheit (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1922), 46.
  44. Leopold Cohn, "An Apocryphal Work Ascribed to Philo of Alexandria," JQR 10 (1898): 316-17
  45. Eugene Lefebure, "Les quatre races au jugement denier," Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 4 (1876): 44-48.
  46. A bibliography of works relevant to this subject may be found in the footnotes in Hugh Nibley "Tenting, Toll, and Taxing," in The Ancient State, CWHN 10: 41-46, 76-83. See also Werner Muller, Die heilge Stadt Roma quadrata, himmlisches Jerusalem und die Mythe vom Weltnabel (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1961).
  47. Emil G. Kraeling, The Brooklyn Museum Aramaic Papyri (New York: Arno, 1969), 86; cf. De Wit, "Les genies des quarte vents au temple d'Opet," 31.
  48. Nibley, Hugh "An Approach to the Book of Abraham" (Provo, UT: FARMS) 2009. Print. [3]. Nibley's discussion of this is much longer--occupying 38 pages. Represented here are only parts that stood as the most prominent in reading the first few pages and the most useful to readers in the opinion of the author of this article. Readers are encouraged to see Nibley's entire discussion as it is very enlightening.
  49. Daniel C. Peterson, "Some Reflections on That Letter to a CES Director," 2014 FairMormon Conference
  50. Kurt H. Sethe, Urkunden des alten Reichs, 4 vols. (Leipzig:Hinrichs, 1932)1:111
  51. Nibley, "A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price," IE 72 (September 1969: 89-93)
  52. Budge, Book of the Dead (Papyrus of Hunefer)34.
  53. Aylward H. Blackman, "A Study of Liturgy Celebrated in the Temple of Aton at El-Amarna," in Recuel d'etudes Egyptologiques dediqué a la memoire de Jean Francois Champollion (Paris: Champion, 1922), 517, 521.
  54. Samuel Yeivin, "Canaanite Ritual Vessels in Egyptian Cultic Practices," JEA 62 (1976): 114.
  55. Waltraund Guglielmi, "Zur Symbolik des 'Dargringes des StrauBes der sh.t'" ZAS 103 (1976): 108.
  56. Ibid., 110-11
  57. Ibid., 111-12
  58. Ibid
  59. See Nibley, Hugh "Abraham in Egypt" FARMS: Provo, UT (1981) PRINT p.444-450
  60. Barney, Kevin L. " Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant > The Facsimiles and Semitic Adaptation of Existing Sources"
  61. 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.
  62. "Joseph Smith as a Student of Hebrew," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 3, no. 2 [Summer 1968]: 41-55, here, p. 51, emphasis added. The Hebrew (MT) does not use both "name" and "heavens" but rather "his name" alone. For instance, we read in the 1985 JPS Tanakh: "Sing to God, chant hymns to His name; extol Him who rides the clouds; the LORD is his name. Exult in His presence." Michael Dahood, then-Professor of Ugaritic and Phoenician Languages and Literature at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, rendered this verse as follows in his translation/commentary on the Psalter: "Sing, o gods, chant, O his heavens [note: not "his name] pave the highway for the Rider of the Clouds! Delight in Yahweh, and exult before him!" While it is true that some dispute the vocalization of this word in this verse, it is disputed due to grammatical/contextual reasons for preferring "his name" no a rejection of samaw being a true archaic singular form of "heavens". Instead of Joseph Smith simply cribbing from the Hebrew he studied under Joshua Seixas (and later, Alexander Neibaur) and blundering along the way (per Zucker), something more is going on as coincidence for this and many other issues is an unlikely explanation, especially in light of modern biblical scholarship and philology.
  63. 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 statuary 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 'dance of the youths.' As in the Herculaneum fresco more than two millennia later, a priest masked as Bes performs at a ritual dance."; See also Gee, John "A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri" (FARMS: Provo, UT 2000). Gee includes pictures of a bald priest at the Temple in Dendara being given a mask of the God Anubis
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. Renouf "Two-sided Hypocephalus," 144-46, plate 2
  67. Herodotus, Histories 2.46
  68. Ibid., 2.42
  69. Bonnet, Reallexikon, 870.
  70. Ibid., Kurt Sethe, Hieroglyphische Urkunden der griechisch-romischen Zeit, Urkunden des agyptiscen Altertums 2 (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1904-16), 51.
  71. Mendes Stela, in Sethe, Hieroglyphische Urkunden der griechisch-romischen Zeit, 28
  72. Das Buch von der Abwehr des Bosen, in Seigfried Schott, Urkunden mythologischen Inhalts, Urkundedn des agyptiscen Alterums 6 (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1929), 74-75.
  73. Bonnet, Rallexikon, 868.
  74. Nibley, Hugh "One Eternal Round" pp. 236, 238; Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship: Provo, UT. Edited by Michael Rhodes (2010) PRINT.
  75. Robert Ritner has called the linking of one day to a cubit "specious" (See A Complete Guide to the Egyptian Papyri pg. 221). This was written before this article from Hollis Johnson. Perhaps this may satisfy some skepticism
  76. De Santilana and von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill, 8
  77. Ibid.
  78. Nibley "One Eternal Round" p. 256
  79. 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.
  80. Eliyahu Rosh-Pinnah, "The Sefer Yetzirah and the Original Tetragrammaton," JQR 57 (1967): 223.
  81. Phineas Mordell, "The Origin of Letters and Numerals According to the Sefer Yezirah," JGR 2 (1912): 567.
  82. Nibley "One Eternal Round" 256-258; Ritner has disputed this thusly: "Apologists Michael Rhodes and John Gee have sought to defend Smith's xplanation of "Jah-oh-eh" as "O the earth", although this is impossible both by phonetics (with three hs) and sense (3ht "arable field" is not used to indicate the whole earth),..." Ritner's assessment seems to lack room for assessing what system of transliteration Joseph is using for this. If we see the figure again it reads "called by the Egyptians" not "meaning, in ancient Egyptian." What Egyptians are we using as a reference point? What language are they speaking? Regarding his comments specifically about "arable land", what else does Joseph have to render it as? These exacting standards make most of Ritner's critique here weak. The etymology proposed is not impossible. It is not infallible, but only plausible. This etymology from Hugh Nibley disregards Egyptian entirely and proposes one in Semitic roots.
  83. Renouf, "Two-sided Hypocephalus," 144-46.
  84. Henri Fankfort, Kingship and te Gods: A Study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), 202-3
  85. BM 37330
  86. Gasto Maspero, "Sur l'ennéade: Bulletin critique de la religion égyptienne," Revue de l'histoire des relgions 25 (1892): 1.
  87. August von Pauly and Georg Wissowa, Paulys Real-Encyclopodiae der classichen Altertumswissenschaft, 1st and 2nd ser., 33 vols. (Stuttgary; Metzler, 1893-1978), 1.2:1855
  88. BD 17, English translation in Faulkner, Ancient Egptian Book of the Dead, 44.
  89. Rudolf Anthes, ". . . in seinem Namen und im Sonnenlicht. . .," ZAS 90 (1963):4.
  90. Alexandre Moret, Le ritual du culte divin journalier en Egypte d'apres les papyrus de Berlin et les textes du temple de Seti ler, a Abydos(Paris: Leroux, 1902), 148-9.
  91. Anthes, ". . . in seinem Namen und im Sonnenlich. . .," 4.
  92. Renouf "Two-Sided Hypocephalus," 144-46, plate 2.
  93. Oswalrd Spengler, Der Unergang des Abendlandes: Umrisse eitnerMorphologie der Weltgeschichete, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Braumuller, 1918-22); Gertrud Thausing and Traudl Kertszt-Kratschmann, Das grosse ayptische Totenbuch (Papyrus Reinish) der Papyrussammling der osterreichischen Nationalbibliothick (Cairo: Osterreichisches Kulturinstitut, 1969), 19-22.
  94. Ovid, Fasti 1:99
  95. Ovid, Fasti 1:228
  96. Ovid. Fasti 1:139
  97. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 268
  98. Nibley wasn't referring to Ritner, but as a fun example, Robert Ritner wrote the following in "A Complete Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri": "Smith's statement that Amon (Fig 7.) is 'God sitting upon his throne' was an easy guess." In his references attached to it we read "Also used in the explanation of the intrusive "Fig. 3"
  99. Raymond O. Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), 54.
  100. Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed. rev. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), 559.
  101. Ritner protests that Nibley may not have known that the figure was copied from either papyri on page 219 of his book "A Complete Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri". Yet, Nibley addressed it first thing as part of his discussion of Figure 3 in "One Eternal Round". While it may be true that Nibley did not acknowledge this in his early work, he most certainly did in later work.
  102. 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-disk 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.
  103. Hermann Kees, Der Gotterglaube im alten Agypten (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1941) 42-43
  104. Notice the reference to stars here. This ties with Abraham and his covenant seed.
  105. Alexandre Piankoff, the Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon (New York: Pantheon Books, 1955), 96-98
  106. PT 434 (SS784-85)
  107. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 279-81;
  108. Erik Hornung, Tal der Konige, 135; see Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, CWHN 14:65, fig. 12
  109. Constantin E. Sander-Hansen, Die relgiosen Texte auf dem Sarg der Anchenesferibre (Cop enhagen: Levin and Munksgaard, 1937), 36-37.
  110. Wb 3:230, 1.
  111. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 282-83; This argument has been disputed by Robert Ritner. He rebuts thusly "Nibley sought to defend Joseph Smith's 'explanation' of this figure by reference to the solar boat (not the depicted Sokar barque) as being 'a ship of 1000 cubits' and thus 'a numeral figure, in Egyptian signifying a thousand' Neither barque, however, is used in Egyptian texts as a 'numeral figure' and the more common designation of the solar boat is in fact 'the barque of millions'--not 1000. As elsewhere, Nibley did not evaluate Smith's statements objectively; but sought out any possible defense, no matter how farfetched." Ritner's assessment did not take in Nibley's statements about Nut even though "One Eternal Round" is cited here where Ritner makes his counterargument. Here we have examples from Nibley where the barque is used as a numeral figure to mean "A thousand.." in Egyptian texts.
  112. Philippe Derchain, "La peche de l'oreil et les mysteres d'Osiris a Dendara," RdE (1963): 13-14
  113. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 283"
  114. Bonnet, Reallexikon der agyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 281.
  115. Ibid., 280
  116. 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.
  117. Gustave Jequier, Considerations sur les religions egyptiennes (Neuchatel: Baconniere, 1946),219.
  118. Nibley "One Eternal Round"
  119. Charles Maystre, “Le Livre de la Vache du Ciel dans les tombeaux de la Vallée des Rois,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 40 (1941): 109.
  120. Naville, “La destruction des hommes par les dieux,” plate B, col. 45.
  121. Hermann Kees, “Die 15 Scheintüren am Grabmal,” ZÄS 88 (1963): 110–11.
  122. Ibid., 111.
  123. Alexandre Piankoff, “The Funerary Papyrus of the Shieldbearer Amon-m-saf in the Louvre Museum,” Egyptian Religion 3 (1935): 134
  124. Herbert Chatley, “Egyptian Astronomy,” JEA 26 (1941): 125.
  125. W. J. Murnane, United with Eternity: A Concise Guide to the Monuments of Medinet Habu (Cairo: Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, 1980), 61–62.
  126. Étienne Drioton, Le texte dramatique d’Edfu (Cairo: IFAO, 1949), 23.
  127. Described by Siegfried Schott, Die Schrift der verborgenen Kammer in Königsgräbern der 18. Dynastie: Gliederung, Titel und Vermerke (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1958), 323.
  128. Pistis Sophia, 86, 194.
  129. Second Jeu 44, in Carl Schmidt, The Books of Jeu and the Untitled Text in the Bruce Codex (Leiden: Brill, 1978), 105.
  130. Pistis Sophia, 86, 194.
  131. Jéquier, Considérations sur les religions égyptiennes, 172–73.
  132. Ibid.
  133. Ibid., 173; see Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, 2nd ed., CWHN 16 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 2005), 394, fig. 126.
  134. Nibley, "One Eternal Round"
  135. E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic (New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1958),90-91
  136. 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. Ritner has sought to dismiss this explanation thusly "In keeping with Smith's interpretation of the hypocephalus as an astronomical document, he explains the four sons of Horus (Fig. 6) as simply "the earth in its four quarters." While any group of four can have directional relevance, that is hardly the pivotal significance of these protectors of the embalmed viscera (lungs, liver, stomach, and intestines). Ritner recognizes that many, if not most, Egyptologists recognize that these four can have directional significance. The Four sons of horus were associated with cardinal direction points , so that Hapi was the north, Imsety the south, Duamutef the east and Qebehsenuef the west. (Lurker, Manfred (1974). Lexikon der Götter und Symbole der alten Ägypter (in German). Bern: Scherz. ) [4] It seems that he is doing everything possible to not give Joseph Smith any credit.
  137. Bonnet, Reallexikon der agyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 461.
  138. Gerald A. Wainwright, "The Emblem of Min," JEA 17 (1931): 185
  139. Wainwright, Emblem of Min," 170.
  140. Ibid., 464.
  141. Ibid., 463
  142. PT 356 (579)
  143. Griffiths, "Remarks on the Mythology of the Eyes of Horus," 191.
  144. PT 198 (114)
  145. PT 258 (308); 259 (312).
  146. PT 638 (1805)
  147. PT 468(901); 523 (1231).
  148. Spiegel "Das Auferstehungritual der Unaspyramide," 389-93; PT 301 (451); see Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, CWHN 16:119, fig. 30.
  149. PT 200-221 (195)
  150. PT 200-221 (195)
  151. PT 74-76 (51)
  152. PT 621 (1754); 637 (1803); 639 (1809)
  153. PT 72-73 (50); 74-76 (51); 77 (52)
  154. PT 687 (2074-77)
  155. PT 199 (115)
  156. PT186-90 (107-8) and PT 197 (113)
  157. Nibley "One Eternal Round"
  158. I.e., the dead; see Wb 4:392, 9.
  159. Literally "the first time." See Wb 3:438, 1.
  160. 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.
  161. On the identification of the dead with Osiris, see Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 103-5; Robert Ritner in his translation renders "soul" as "ba-spirit" (See "A Complete Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri" pg. 222) the translation is accurate, yet distinction does not bare significant weight to interpretation. "Ba" was simply apart of the Egyptian pronunciation for "soul". The ancient Egyptians believed that a soul (kꜣ/bꜣ; Egypt. pron. ka/ba) was made up of many parts[5].
  162. Shishaq or Sheshonq was the name of several Egyptian pharaohs of the Twenty-first Dynasty, the Libyan Dynasty.
  163. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 327
  164. Hans Goedicke, The Report about the Dispute of a Man with His Ba, papyrus Berlin 3024 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1970), 33.
  165. CT 249 in Adriaan de Buck, The Egptian Coffen Texts, 7 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1935-61), 3:323g-324a
  166. CT 229, in de Buck, Egyptan Coffin Texts, 3:296i
  167. Goedicke, Report about the Dispute of a Man with His Ba, 33
  168. Ibid. 58
  169. Emending o nn h3.t tn. Similar passages, but even more garble, are found in th British Museum hyocephalid BM 35875 (8445c), BM 37908 (3445f), and BM 37909(8445d).
  170. Wb 3:12, 19; Faulkner, Concise Dictionary of MIddle Egytian, 160.
  171. Rainer Hannig, Grosses Handworterbuch Agyptisch-Beutsch: Die Sprache der Pharaonen (2800-950 v. Chr.) (Mainz: von Zabern, 1995), 503.
  172. Ibid., 937
  173. CT 20, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Txts, 1:56-58
  174. PT 11 (8)
  175. Nibley "One Eternal Round"
  176. Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957),74.
  177. See Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papri, CWHN 16:228-32; 229, fig 68.
  178. Burssels E 6319
  179. E.g., Florence hyocepalus, Bologna B2025, BM 36188 (8445e), P. Louvre AF 1936
  180. Nibley "One Eternal Round"
  181. dd.wy is a disbe adjective formation of Dd.w, Busiris, a cult center of Osiris in the Delta, and thus used as an epithet of Osiris. Cf. Wb 5:630, 7.
  182. Nibley "One Eternal Round" pg. 345; This translation is kept in Ritner "A Complete Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri" pg. 220.
  183. PT 569 (1437)
  184. BD 17; see vignette in Raymond O. Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Book of he Dead, rev. ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1985)
  185. Horapollo, Hieroglyphica 1.16
  186. Ibid.
  187. Wb 1:316; see Ludwig Borchardt, Die altagyptische Zeitmessung, Band 1, Liefeung B of Die Geschicht der Zeitmessung und derUhren, hrg. Ernst von Bassermann-Jordan (Berlin: de Gruyetr, 1920), 52B, Abb. 24 (plumb bob glyphs).
  188. Nibley "One Eternal Round"
  189. Nibley, Hugh The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri': An Egyptian Endowment. 2d ed. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002
  190. Preface to "Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant" Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship: Salt Lake City, UT (2005) PRINT [{{{url}}} off-site]
  191. 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.
  192. Gee, John (2013) "Has Olishem Been Discovered?" Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Vol. 22 : No. 2 , Article 10. Available at:
  193. 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
  194. This page was last edited on 11/16/2018