Question: Would Egyptian be too lengthy and bulky on the plates to account for the Book of Mormon?

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Question: Would Egyptian be too lengthy and bulky on the plates to account for the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon makes it clear that reformed Egyptian had been adapted by them for concise writing

It has been claimed that Egyptian would be too lengthy and bulky on the plates to account for the Book of Mormon:

[Egyptian would take] "perhaps four times, or even more than four times, as much room as the English, and it is quite certain that, as the Book of Mormon is 600 pages thick, it would take at least a thousand plates to hold in the Egyptian language, what is there written." (italics in original)[1]

One hears little of this critique today; linguistic "fact" has caught up with the Book of Mormon, the critics have largely abandoned this approach.

At the time that this assertion was made, knowledge of Egyptian was in its infancy. Critics of the era knew little about Egyptian, because no one knew very much. The critics were probably thinking of Egyptian hieroglyphics. However, the Book of Mormon makes it clear that reformed Egyptian had been adapted by them for concise writing. As discussed in the main article, variant Old World forms of Egyptian (such as Demotic) were quite compact, and well-suited for writing with space constraints.

Notes

  1. A Little Talk, Between John Robinson and his Master about Mormonism, Shewing its Origin, Absurdity, and Impiety (Bedford: W. White, 1840), 1–8. off-site