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 Post subject: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:47 am 
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I recently had a discussion with a couple LDS scholars for whom I have a lot of respect. We briefly spoke about the Book of Abraham and during the discussion one individual mentioned that there's a lot of evidence contemporary to the time that the papyri were very long, on the order of 60 feet or so.

I challenged that claim, but admitted that I don't think I'm familiar with all of the evidence on the matter. However, I didn't recall there being a lot of evidence contemporary to the time that the papyri were very long. When I got home I did some searching but couldn't find much, and the 60 feet idea seems to have come from a recollection many, many decades after the fact by somebody who would have been pretty young at the time.

Will somebody with more expertise on this topic help me out? I'd really like to see in one place all the statements made about the scrolls and their length. Are there a lot of them? Do many of them indicate that the scrolls were long (approaching 60 feet)?


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:31 am 
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I believe that the 60' scroll length references are to blank scroll rolls.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:37 am 
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You need to read the paper by Chris Smith on this. I think you will find that pretty definitive.

Does anybody have a link?

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:46 am 
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Chap wrote:
You need to read the paper by Chris Smith on this. I think you will find that pretty definitive.

Does anybody have a link?


Oh please, it is FAR from definitive. He makes a lot of assumptions that just are not required, demanding that things fit in a box so he can discredit the possibility.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:51 am 
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Chap wrote:
You need to read the paper by Chris Smith on this. I think you will find that pretty definitive.

Does anybody have a link?


I've skimmed through Chris' paper. I'd like to read through Gee's as well. But these papers deal with using some modern methodology to make estimates about the scroll length. What I'm after are statements contemporary to the time of translation (or thereabouts) that suggest that any of the scrolls in Joseph's possession approached 60 feet, or even more than, say, 20 feet.


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:00 am 
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jskains wrote:
Chap wrote:
You need to read the paper by Chris Smith on this. I think you will find that pretty definitive.

Does anybody have a link?


Oh please, it is FAR from definitive. He makes a lot of assumptions that just are not required, demanding that things fit in a box so he can discredit the possibility.

JMS



You're an idiot. His paper isn't based on "assumptions" and if you read it you'd know this. Can't you at east try to come up with something besides the same apologetic boilerplate?

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:01 am 
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brade wrote:
Chap wrote:
You need to read the paper by Chris Smith on this. I think you will find that pretty definitive.

Does anybody have a link?


I've skimmed through Chris' paper. I'd like to read through Gee's as well. But these papers deal with using some modern methodology to make estimates about the scroll length. What I'm after are statements contemporary to the time of translation (or thereabouts) that suggest that any of the scrolls in Joseph's possession approached 60 feet, or even more than, say, 20 feet.


See for instance here:

http://pacumenispages.yuku.com/forum/vi ... 7J8vb8WW7c

Note the bolded portion.

Quote:
Quote:
As President Joseph F. Smith stood in the front doorway of the Nauvoo House with some of the brethren in 1906, the tears streamed down his face as he told how he remembered "as if it were yesterday" his "Uncle Joseph" down on his knees on the floor with Egyptian manuscripts spread out all around him, peering at the strange writings and jotting things down in a little green notebook with the stub of a pencil. When one considers that the eleven fragments now in our possession can be easily spread out on the top of a small desk, without straining the knees, back, and dignity, it would seem that what is missing is much more than what we have [H. Nibley, "Judging and Prejudging the Book of Abraham"].


Joseph F.'s reminiscence most closely resembles what Nibley describes in Dialogue. If I'm correct, then we can conclude that in Dialogue Hugh misidentified the Nauvoo House as the "Mansion House" and mistakenly depicted the papyri running through two rooms rather than scattered on the floor of one room. If I'm not correct, then I have no idea what Nibley is referring to in his undocumented remark.

In the Improvement Era, Hugh informs readers that Preston Nibley had supplied the Joseph F. Smith account. Preston published his 1906 encounter with Joseph F. in the early 1940's (if memory serves), but omitted the recollection about the Book of Abraham papyri. According to Preston, in 1906 Joseph F. was recalling an event that occurred over six decades earlier when Smith was 5 years old, or younger. Four years later, in 1910, Hugh was born. Before Preston died (in the mid 1960's?) he related Joseph F.'s recollection to Hugh. Finally, Hugh published the reminiscence in the mid/late 1960's. Given this transmission history, scholars would be reckless to uncritically appeal to Joseph F.'s story as an unblemished depiction of the Book of Abraham papyri.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:11 am 
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brade wrote:
Chap wrote:
You need to read the paper by Chris Smith on this. I think you will find that pretty definitive.

Does anybody have a link?


I've skimmed through Chris' paper. I'd like to read through Gee's as well. But these papers deal with using some modern methodology to make estimates about the scroll length. What I'm after are statements contemporary to the time of translation (or thereabouts) that suggest that any of the scrolls in Joseph's possession approached 60 feet, or even more than, say, 20 feet.

Here is a link to Gee's article. He quotes Charlotte Haven about the scrolls. (The same Charlotte Haven whose reliability is dismissed when it comes to the Kinderhook Plates)

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=20&num=1&id=699

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:25 am 
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Here's the Sunstone article discussing the length:

https://dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/ ... of-Hor.pdf

The Original Length of the Scroll of Hôr
Andrew W. Cook and Christopher C. Smith
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought
Winter, 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:44 am 
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The missing scrolls are at least 60 feet long. They might even be 100 feet long, or 200. Since they're "missing" they can be whatever apologists want them to be.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:53 am 
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DarkHelmet wrote:
The missing scrolls are at least 60 feet long. They might even be 100 feet long, or 200. Since they're "missing" they can be whatever apologists want them to be.


They're just long enough to contain the real Book of Abraham text, as well as that missing fax.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:07 am 
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There are basically three accounts that can reasonably be construed as supporting a long scroll:

1) A story attributed to Joseph F. Smith says that one of the papyrus scrolls, “when unrolled on the floor, extended through two rooms of the Mansion House.” But this quote is known only from a casual comment by Hugh Nibley, who heard it from Preston Nibley, who heard it from President Smith, who was recalling a time when he was five years old or younger. And in addition to its rather incredible provenance, it differs substantially from Hugh Nibley’s own earlier telling of the story, which had President Smith remember “Uncle Joseph” seated on the floor of the Nauvoo House (not the Mansion House) with “Egyptian manuscripts spread out all around him.” Like the “one that got away”, this tale seems to have taken on new proportions in Hugh Nibley’s memory.

2) Charlotte Haven’s account is stronger, but still not definitive evidence. Haven wrote to her mother about being shown the mummies and papyrus by Lucy Mack Smith in March, 1843. Haven related that Lucy “opened a long roll of manuscript” that she identified as “the writing of Abraham and Isaac.” Since Klaus Baer’s estimate of 60 cm for the interior portion of the Hôr scroll is hardly “long” by Egyptological standards, Haven’s report seems to imply the presence of another text following the Document of Breathing on the scroll. What we must keep in mind, however, is that Charlotte was completely ignorant of Egyptological standards. She had no referent against which to judge what constituted a “long roll”. Indeed, her use of the term “manuscript” to describe the papyrus may indicate that she evaluated the scroll’s length relative to typical nineteenth-century paper manuscripts rather than to typical Ptolemaic papyrus scrolls.

3) In my paper I provide a third piece of evidence, which as far as I know has not been cited by apologists. An 1857 summary of the contents of Wyman’s Museum mentions “papyrus scrolls,” then clarifies, “some large fragments of Egyptian papyrus scrolls, with pieratic (priestly) inscriptions, and drawings representing the judgment of the dead, many Egyptian gods and sacred animals, with certain chapters from the old Egyptian sacred books.” This reference, however, is vague, and it's unclear how large or fragmented the "scrolls" described are supposed to be.

This evidence would be enough to persuade me of the length of the missing papyrus if not for the contrary data. Several lines of evidence appear to contradict the hypothesis of a large missing Hor scroll. Briefly, they are as follows:

1) An early Egyptologist named Gustavus Seyffarth viewed the missing papyrus in 1856 and described only the Hor text and Facsimile 3. He gave no indication of another text on the scroll, and in fact explicitly denied that the scroll contained a record of Abraham.

2) Klaus Baer predicted that the missing portion of the Hor text would be around sixty centimeters. When Andrew Cook and I did our analysis of scroll geometry, our estimate of the missing length agreed almost exactly with Baer's estimate. We were actually rather shocked at how closely the two figures agreed. In fact, based on the Haven accounts and the museum catalog, I had actually expected to find the missing portion was longer than that.

I know some readers have felt I'm being too dismissive of the accounts that are favorable to a longer missing scroll, but I'm being only as dismissive as I feel the better part of the evidence requires me to be. The close agreement of Baer's estimate with our geometric analysis, coupled with Seyffarth's scholarly report on the scroll's contents, is far more specific and concrete than the vague nineteenth century references to a "long" roll or "large" fragments.

Anyway, the length of the missing portion of the scroll is pretty irrelevant from an apologetic standpoint, since there are also several lines of evidence agreeing that the extant fragments were the ones used to translate the Book of Abraham. I briefly describe that evidence in my JWHA paper.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:20 am 
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CaliforniaKid wrote:

Anyway, the length of the missing portion of the scroll is pretty irrelevant from an apologetic standpoint, since there are also several lines of evidence agreeing that the extant fragments were the ones used to translate the Book of Abraham. I briefly describe that evidence in my JWHA paper.


And in a twist irony, the apologetic value of the missing scroll is not based on how long it is purported to be but rather that it is missing. The last thing they want to do is actually find it.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:23 am 
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Thanks, Chris. That is a very lucid and succinct argument that strikes me as being very strong.

CaliforniaKid wrote:
There are basically three accounts that can reasonably be construed as supporting a long scroll:

1) A story attributed to Joseph F. Smith says that one of the papyrus scrolls, “when unrolled on the floor, extended through two rooms of the Mansion House.” But this quote is known only from a casual comment by Hugh Nibley, who heard it from Preston Nibley, who heard it from President Smith, who was recalling a time when he was five years old or younger. And in addition to its rather incredible provenance, it differs substantially from Hugh Nibley’s own earlier telling of the story, which had President Smith remember “Uncle Joseph” seated on the floor of the Nauvoo House (not the Mansion House) with “Egyptian manuscripts spread out all around him.” Like the “one that got away”, this tale seems to have taken on new proportions in Hugh Nibley’s memory.

2) Charlotte Haven’s account is stronger, but still not definitive evidence. Haven wrote to her mother about being shown the mummies and papyrus by Lucy Mack Smith in March, 1843. Haven related that Lucy “opened a long roll of manuscript” that she identified as “the writing of Abraham and Isaac.” Since Klaus Baer’s estimate of 60 cm for the interior portion of the Hôr scroll is hardly “long” by Egyptological standards, Haven’s report seems to imply the presence of another text following the Document of Breathing on the scroll. What we must keep in mind, however, is that Charlotte was completely ignorant of Egyptological standards. She had no referent against which to judge what constituted a “long roll”. Indeed, her use of the term “manuscript” to describe the papyrus may indicate that she evaluated the scroll’s length relative to typical nineteenth-century paper manuscripts rather than to typical Ptolemaic papyrus scrolls.

3) In my paper I provide a third piece of evidence, which as far as I know has not been cited by apologists. An 1857 summary of the contents of Wyman’s Museum mentions “papyrus scrolls,” then clarifies, “some large fragments of Egyptian papyrus scrolls, with pieratic (priestly) inscriptions, and drawings representing the judgment of the dead, many Egyptian gods and sacred animals, with certain chapters from the old Egyptian sacred books.” This reference, however, is vague, and it's unclear how large or fragmented the "scrolls" described are supposed to be.

This evidence would be enough to persuade me of the length of the missing papyrus if not for the contrary data. Several lines of evidence appear to contradict the hypothesis of a large missing Hor scroll. Briefly, they are as follows:

1) An early Egyptologist named Gustavus Seyffarth viewed the missing papyrus in 1856 and described only the Hor text and Facsimile 3. He gave no indication of another text on the scroll, and in fact explicitly denied that the scroll contained a record of Abraham.

2) Klaus Baer predicted that the missing portion of the Hor text would be around sixty centimeters. When Andrew Cook and I did our analysis of scroll geometry, our estimate of the missing length agreed almost exactly with Baer's estimate. We were actually rather shocked at how closely the two figures agreed. In fact, based on the Haven accounts and the museum catalog, I had actually expected to find the missing portion was longer than that.

I know some readers have felt I'm being too dismissive of the accounts that are favorable to a longer missing scroll, but I'm being only as dismissive as I feel the better part of the evidence requires me to be. The close agreement of Baer's estimate with our geometric analysis, coupled with Seyffarth's scholarly report on the scroll's contents, is far more specific and concrete than the vague nineteenth century references to a "long" roll or "large" fragments.

Anyway, the length of the missing portion of the scroll is pretty irrelevant from an apologetic standpoint, since there are also several lines of evidence agreeing that the extant fragments were the ones used to translate the Book of Abraham. I briefly describe that evidence in my JWHA paper.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:29 am 
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
Anyway, the length of the missing portion of the scroll is pretty irrelevant from an apologetic standpoint, since there are also several lines of evidence agreeing that the extant fragments were the ones used to translate the Book of Abraham. I briefly describe that evidence in my JWHA paper.


Indeed, it just doesn't matter how long the scroll was or what's missing. Everything regarding the papyrus that Joseph Smith had was funerary literature in nature. Every single example and scrap of evidence in investigating the Mormon truth claims of translating Egyptian texts indicates Joseph Smith was handling and translating funerary spells, and so forth.

Now, need I mention Facismile No. 3 for an example or, have I done that ample times? The point is, the writing surrounding the orginal Facsimile No 1 was indeed the Abrahamic source for Joseph Smith's translation. Also, the writing in Facsimile No. 3 is the source of the Explanations of Facsimile No. 3. The writing of Facsimile No. 3 is NOT lost and it's not 100 feet long. We can see it clearly and know what it really says. Sadly, for Mormons, Joseph Smith had no idea how to properly translate. So he made it all up and Mormons bought it, hook, line, and sinker!

:mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:37 am 
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Thank you, Chris. Very helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 12:17 pm 
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Kevin Graham wrote:
You're an idiot. His paper isn't based on "assumptions" and if you read it you'd know this. Can't you at east try to come up with something besides the same apologetic boilerplate?


I have read it, Kevin. Can you come up with something other than childish namecalling and insults? Boy your apostasy has made you such a great person.

JMS

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 12:22 pm 
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
Anyway, the length of the missing portion of the scroll is pretty irrelevant from an apologetic standpoint, since there are also several lines of evidence agreeing that the extant fragments were the ones used to translate the Book of Abraham. I briefly describe that evidence in my JWHA paper.


If we ignore the possibility KEP was an after-project. KEP was not very important in the grand scheme of things, nor was it touted in any way, shape, or form. It was not canonized, or used in any exciting way.

You also ignore scroll length accounts simply because it's convenient to make them as small as possible to ignore any possibility other than the Church is a fraud.

JMS

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 12:31 pm 
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jskains wrote:
If we ignore the possibility KEP was an after-project. KEP was not very important in the grand scheme of things, nor was it touted in any way, shape, or form. It was not canonized, or used in any exciting way.


When was the Book of Abraham canonized, Josh? And, why would a grammar be something considered worthy of canonization in the first place? I am having difficulty seeing why you think the matter of canonization has any bearing on this issue.

jskains wrote:
You also ignore scroll length accounts simply because it's convenient to make them as small as possible to ignore any possibility other than the Church is a fraud.


LOL! I am sorry that this is your conclusion, Josh. I am sure that historical fact is another possible and desired outcome of figuring out the actual length of the scrolls versus the sketchy evidence we have from the few vague statements regarding that in the sources.

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 12:32 pm 
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jskains wrote:
Kevin Graham wrote:
You're an idiot. His paper isn't based on "assumptions" and if you read it you'd know this. Can't you at east try to come up with something besides the same apologetic boilerplate?


I have read it, Kevin. Can you come up with something other than childish namecalling and insults? Boy your apostasy has made you such a great person.

JMS


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Bottom line Scratch, your a pussy and a bully. As MANY have said, you are a pussy, cause you do the crap you do hidden behind a mask. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=23861&start=42&hilit=pussy&p=586808&view=show#p586808

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 Post subject: Re: Book of Abraham Scroll Length
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 12:35 pm 
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Shulem wrote:
Now, need I mention Facismile No. 3 for an example or, have I done that ample times? The point is, the writing surrounding the orginal Facsimile No 1 was indeed the Abrahamic source for Joseph Smith's translation. Also, the writing in Facsimile No. 3 is the source of the Explanations of Facsimile No. 3. The writing of Facsimile No. 3 is NOT lost and it's not 100 feet long. We can see it clearly and know what it really says. Sadly, for Mormons, Joseph Smith had no idea how to properly translate. So he made it all up and Mormons bought it, hook, line, and sinker!

:mrgreen:

Paul O


Now I know Paul keeps on and on about Facsimile no. 3. But there is a good reason for that. It is sitting there in front of us, and Egyptologists can easily read what the writing on it says. The text of Facsimile 3 is completely straightforward stuff, as are the images, repeated on many funerary scrolls.

Yet Joseph Smith's detailed explanation of who the people are, and what the labels over their heads mean, and what is going on in the scene, are all completely wrong.

Game over, really.

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Last edited by Chap on Tue May 15, 2012 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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