Topical Guide/Pearl of Great Price/Book of Abraham

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Book of Abraham

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The Book of Abraham. An inspired translation of the writings of Abraham. Joseph Smith began the translation in 1835 after obtaining some Egyptian papyri. The translation was published serially in the Times and Seasons beginning March 1, 1842, at Nauvoo, Illinois.
—Introduction, Pearl of Great Price (2013 edition). off-site

Origin of the Book of Abraham

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The Joseph Smith Papyri

Summary: Joseph Smith had in his possession three or four long scrolls, plus a hypocephalus (Facsimile 2). Of these original materials, only a handful of fragments were recovered at the Metropolitan Museum. The majority of the papyri remains lost, and has likely been destroyed. There are a number of criticisms related to the recovered fragments of the Joseph Smith papyri. These criticisms are addressed below. [1]

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The Kirtland Egyptian Papers

Summary: Among the early Book-of-Abraham-related-manuscripts that have survived from the days of Joseph Smith are a number of papers collectively referred to as the "Kirtland Egyptian Papers" (KEP). These pages were written while the Saints lived in Kirtland, Ohio, and were recorded in the general time frame that Joseph was translating the Book of Abraham. They are in the same handwriting of several of Joseph's scribes.

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Book of Abraham plagiarism accusations

Summary: It is claimed that contemporary sources were used by Joseph Smith as sources for the Book of Abraham.

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Astronomy and the Book of Abraham

Summary: The Book of Abraham makes several references to astronomy which draw criticism. These articles address specific issues related to Book of Abraham astronomical concepts.

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Doctrinal issues related to the Book of Abraham

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Evidences that support the Book of Abraham

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Alleged anachronisms in the Book of Abraham

Summary: Critics claim that a number of anachronisms present themselves in the text. These articles address such claims.

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Listing of Publications on the Book of Abraham from Official, Semi-Official, and Extra-Official Venues

Summary: The claim is sometimes made by critics that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has hidden critical information on The Book of Abraham. The following chronological database demonstrates conclusively that this is simply not the case. The various claims about the Book of Abraham have been widely acknowledged in LDS-authored sources from the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries.

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Maxwell Institute Articles

  • Michael D. Rhodes, "The Book of Abraham: Divinely Inspired Scripture (Review of By His Own Hand upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri by Charles M. Larson)," FARMS Review of Books 4/1 (1992): 120–126. off-site


The Book of Abraham: Dealing with the Critics, Michael Rhodes, 2003 FAIR Conference
ABCs of the Book of Abraham, Michael Ash, Kevin Barney, 2004 FAIR Conference
Authentic Ancient Names & Words in the Book of Abraham & Related Kirtland Egyptian Papers, John Tvedtnes, 2005 FAIR Conference
  • Criticisms regarding the Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith papyri are raised in the following publications: “Universalism in Ohio,” Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate (Utica, New York) (12 September 1835): 291. off-site; Edward H. Ashment, The Use of Egyptian Magical Papyri to Authenticate the Book of Abraham: A Critical Review (Salt Lake City: Resource Communications, 1993), 1–.; Charles M. Larson, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri, 2nd ed., (Grand Rapids, MI: Institute for Religious Research, 1992), 1–.; Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "Solving the Mystery of the Joseph Smith Papyri," Salt Lake City Messenger 82 (September 1992): 1–12.; Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Moody Press, 1979), Chapter 11.( Index of claims ); Watchman Fellowship, The Watchman Expositor (Page 3)