By Kerry Muhlestein
Many people often ask about how Joseph Smith’s explanations of the Facsimiles compares to those of Egyptologists. This is a question worth asking. As with all things regarding history, symbolism, and interpretations, those who want a simple answer will find themselves unsatisfied with an accurate answer. Sadly, many times people opt for simple answers in order to avoid the messy, complicated situations of which history is made. Here we will not delve into all the complexities, but we will at least consider enough factors to answer the question accurately.
First, we must be clear that we do not know for sure that Joseph Smith authored the explanations of the facsimiles that were printed in the Times and Seasons, (on the acquisition of the papyri and publication of the Book of Abraham, see column 2,) which eventually became part of the Pearl of Great Price. While we do not know if Joseph Smith is the original author of these interpretations, we know he participated in preparing the published interpretations and gave editorial approval to them.
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