Question: What is the publication history of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers?

Table of Contents

Question: What is the publication history of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers?

High resolution scans are available on the Joseph Smith Papers website

A critical text analysis of the KEP not yet been formally published, however, high resolution scans of the documents are now available on the Joseph Smith Papers website. (see "Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language, circa July–circa December 1835").

Jerald and Sandra Tanner obtained a microfilm copy of most of them and informally published them as Joseph Smith's Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar.[1] An improved informal compilation was prepared by H. Michael Marquardt under the title The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers in 1981. This informal edition is still available from Marquardt's website. Both of these editions are photocopies made from microfilm.

The late Steven F. Christensen, before he was murdered by Mark Hofmann, commissioned the photographing of the KEP at the LDS Church archives. From those negatives, at least four sets of color prints were made, including copies now in the possession of George D. Smith, Edward Ashment and Brent Metcalfe. Metcalfe has long indicated that he intends to formally publish the KEP, with high quality color photographs on the left side of the page and an improved transcription on the right side of the page—thus far, however no publication has appeared, or progress on the work announced.

It is also possible that the Maxwell Institute at BYU will eventually produce its own critical edition of the KEP as part of its Studies in the Book of Abraham series, although no formal announcement of such a publication has been made.


  1. Joseph Smith's Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm Company, 1966).