Stephen O. Smoot: "The added geographical (Olishem/Ulišum) and cultural details (an Egyptian presence at Abraham’s homeland) in the Book of Abraham make a northern location for Ur essentially inescapable"

FairMormon Answers Wiki Table of Contents

Stephen O. Smoot (2017): "The added geographical (Olishem/Ulišum) and cultural details (an Egyptian presence at Abraham’s homeland) in the Book of Abraham make a northern location for Ur essentially inescapable."

Stephen O. Smoot

Unlike the vague and contradictory details provided in Genesis, the Book of Abraham appears to ground Abraham’s Ur in Syria. The added geographical (Olishem/Ulišum) and cultural details (an Egyptian presence at Abraham’s homeland) in the Book of Abraham make a northern location for Ur essentially inescapable. At the same time, however, problems persist for the Book of Abraham. For one thing, its text’s mentioning of the Chaldeans, as with Genesis, is, according to our presently available evidence, probably anachronistic. Perhaps future findings will overturn this, but as things stand at the moment, this remains a problem for the Book of Abraham’s historicity (although not a fatal one). Latter-day Saints approaching the historicity of the Book of Abraham should therefore be cautious and nuanced in how they evaluate the text’s historical claims. On the other hand, the explicit naming of Olishem/ Ulišum in the Book of Abraham, as well as the depiction of an Egyptian presence in the northern Levant during the time of Abraham, reinforces its historicity. These added details missing from the Genesis narrative about the life of Abraham not only draw our attention to the north as we search for Abraham’s homeland, but they also complicate attempts to dismiss the Book of Abraham as pseudepigrapha. [1] —(Click here to continue)

Notes

  1. Stephen O. Smoot, "'In the Land of the Chaldeans' The Search for Abraham’s Homeland Revisited" BYU Studies Quarterly Vol. 53, Num. 3 (2017)