Aristotle Smith wrote:
I took yesterday off from following the KEP soap opera. From the level of comments, it looks like most people took the day off from following the KEP soap opera. I'm glad that that I took the day off, it was a good chance to remember the big picture about BofA apologetics: that there is no theory which accounts for all of the data.
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But let's just suppose for a second that either Willy or young maklelan can make their case with 100% certainty and everyone, apologist and critic, agrees that their theory is rock solid and correct. Yes, this is sheer fantasy, but so are having missing Q documents appear and disappear whenever convenient, so I feel a bit justified in indulging in fantasy. So, everyone agrees that the KEP provide no evidence that Joseph Smith thought he could translate Egyptian. Therefore that proves that Joseph Smith did not think he could translate Egyptian, right? Nope, as Paul O. is always pointing out, the facsimiles clearly show that he thought he could. And last time I checked, the facsimiles were in the LDS scriptures, while the KEP were safely locked away in the 1st Presidency's vault. So, even if they convince everyone about KEP they still have not accomplished the real goal, which is to separate Joseph from any hint of thinking he can translate Egyptian.
And that's the real problem for BofA apologists, there is just too much interlocking evidence and no theory I am aware of can account for all of the evidence. Now, I'm not expecting every last detail to be accounted for, hence I am not a hypocrite for telling young maklelan to prefer believability to explanatory power. But, I do think that there are several big pieces that should be accounted for:
1) The mistranslation of the facsimiles
2) The misinterpretation of the facsimiles
3) The botched restoration of the facsimiles
4) The dependence of the BofA on the KJV version of the Bible.
5) The anachronisms in the text BofA
6) The fact that that the papyri are dated at least 1000 years too late to have been written by a historical Abraham
7) The fact that the papyri have nothing to do with Abraham and there is no good reason to think that a common late Egyptian funerary text would have anything to do with Abraham.
8) The KEP looking very much like someone thought he/she could translate Egyptian
And there are others which I am too lazy to look up right now. So, do any of the theories to date account for these things? No, they don't, at least not that I am aware of. The catalyst theory, the Jewish redactor theory, the mnemonic device theory, the scribes did it theory, the cipher theory, and the dictation + copying + missing Q source theory don't explain all of these things. Some account for more than others, but none that I am aware of are able to explain everything.
Aristotle, I think the mopologetic playbook for Abr goes like this:
1-Break the tie-in that the KEP makes between the Hor Breathing Permit papyri and the English text of Abr. Most problematic is the hieratic characters in the left hand margin of the Abr Mss scribed by Phelps, Williams and Parrish. Tactically speaking, Will and mak are trying to establish this by arguing that (a) there was a parent text, although it is missing, and (b) there were no hieratic characters on the missing parent text. They will use the dittograph at the end of Abr Ms 2 (Williams scribed) as their chief evidence for both--and that is why it is, for them, a hill worth dying on (sacrificing credibility, if need be). If they succeed, the hieratic characters on the Abr Mss we have were obvious insertions after the original translation, and should not be expected to correlate as a translation of one language into another.
2-Without that tie-in between the Hor Breathing Permit papyri and the English text of Abr, the "missing" scroll theory--one you did not mention--becomes viable again. How can Egyptologists say Joseph Smith was wrong, or worse a fraud, if they have no Egyptian characters that were the source to compare against the translated English text. Since we do not have the missing papyri, we're back to pre-1967.
3-As Will has suggested, he can see the Facsimiles being taken out of the LDS canon. The excuse might be that scripture needs to be just verbiage, not images. Joseph Smith was just musing with images. Only text has ever been intended by God to be sacred scripture, something the Saints of the late 19th Century did not appreciate when canonizing the images. What God was really wanting canonized was just the verbiage text of Abr.