Book of Abraham Playlist

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Scholarship relating to the Book of Abraham is a relatively new field. Already there have been many discoveries that change what was not long ago assumed by the critics to be evidence that condemns Joseph Smith, to be evidence in his favor. When Egyptologists first attempted to decipher the facsimiles in the Book of Abraham, they assumed they had an advantage over Joseph Smith because Joseph Smith, nor anyone living at his time, could read Egyptian and they could. They thought that was all they needed to know to show that Joseph’s interpretation was a fraud. They did not stop to consider the possibilities that the Joseph Smith Papyri could have been a Jewish document in Egyptian or using Egyptian images. They didn’t realize the possibility of a Jew having Egyptian influences or an Egyptian priest with Jewish influences.

They simply read the straight language and interpreted it based on whatever limited Egyptian culture they had been exposed to through the limited snippets of ancient documents they had been exposed to. What if an archaeologist a thousand years from now was basing their knowledge of American culture on promotional materials written to sell Chinese products to Americans? What kind of assumptions would they make about the inferences of certain words and phrases? If they found a part of a diary of a man who lived in Pittsburgh who was discussing his experience at a football game and didn’t know he had spent some time in London, what kind of football would they assume he was talking about? Think about the meaning of English words today compared with just 100 years ago. How about just 30 years ago. Remember the humorous confusion of certain word meanings in the movie Back to the Future when Marty asked for a Tab or a Pepsi Free? Now think of the possible false assumptions looking at a culture 3000 years ago being written about 2000 years ago by someone of another culture.

Critics like to think that modern scholars can simply read an ancient language and know if someone else’s interpretation of a particular document is accurate or not. Do you really think such an opinion should be considered conclusive with all these possible problems?

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