The major reason I never bothered to respond to much of what Graham has to say on this topic is that he is almost completely ignorant of the historical information as well as the physical properties of the papyri. The historical references he does cite are almost always misrepresented. In addition, he is simply not aware of other historical references, some of which have surfaced only recently, and at least one of which will be cited in my recently completed paper (The Interminable Roll – Calculating the Original Length of the Scroll of Hôr
) which will be published later this year in The Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture
, having been, just three days ago, approved by the First Presidency.
As many others, even on this message board, have learned over the years, engaging Graham in a discussion on any
topic requires more stamina and commitment than is possessed by the average person. This is not due to the volume and merit of his arguments, but because of his extraordinary talent for obfuscation and unremitting (and mind-numbingly frustrating) misrepresentation of the counter-arguments presented by his opponents.
I will, however, address a few things that I noted while quickly scanning through this thread:
… the comparison to birch bark suggests a fairly thick papyrus; thicker, anyway, then the thinner-than-onion-skin-paper Gee's length estimate requires.
John is planning to soon publish a formal retraction/correction of his originally published winding length measurements, correcting them to more closely correspond to those I will soon publish. Even so, the fact remains that the Joseph Smith Papyri are written on a very, very thin stock of papyrus. The scroll of Hôr is of a different, thicker stock than the scroll of Tshemmin, but both are very thin. The undamaged portions of the scroll of Hôr that we measured (on February 5, 2010) averaged between 100 – 125 μm, which is just about the thickness of ordinary printer/copier paper. (Contrary to Dr. Shades’ continuing disbelief, I was
“in the same room” with the Joseph Smith Papyri [and have been on two separate occasions] and the measurements were conducted according to my directions, utilizing a rigorous methodological approach.) The undamaged portions of the scroll of Tshemmin we measured were even thinner—in some cases much
thinner. There were several places on the scroll (like around the image of the serpent with legs speaking to the woman) that were as thin as 70 – 80 μm, which is not much thicker than “onion skin” paper, or the paper used in deluxe versions of the LDS scriptures. It is beautifully manufactured material, the quality of which cannot be replicated today.
But is a message board the best place to present arguments in scholarship?
No scholars of whom I'm aware seem to think so.
Wise counsel I have taken to heart.
… please send me Will's article that you mention in the OP—I'm interested in considering how he applies the available sources (I'm under no illusion that Schryver has discovered any new sources).
I do not claim to have discovered any “new sources” when it comes to eyewitness testimony of the papyri. However, my good friend Matthew Roper has
, and I will cite at least one of those findings in my upcoming paper.
In addition, I understand Kerry Muhlestein (sp?) will soon be publishing a paper that will consist of an exhaustive compilation of all known historical references to the Joseph Smith Papyri.
… quick reminder or [of?] Schryver's shoddy research and refusal to ever admit being wrong.
I haven’t seen anything in my quick reading of this thread where I was
“wrong” about anything. In fact, I can’t think of any case, right off the top of my head, where Graham has been “right” in claiming I was “wrong” about anything. I’ve recently talked about the visual copying error in Ab2 (Metcalfe’s BA1a) as well as the interlinear insertion at Abr. 1:12 in the same document. In addition, I have argued that the emendations in Ab2 and Ab3 (BA1a and BA1b) are almost exclusively secondary
; Ab1 (the Abr. 1:1-3 portion of Metcalfe’s “BA2”) is a visual copy of a predecessor text; and most recently that the presence of “Koash” in Ab3 (BA1b) is an evidence (among many) that Ab3 is also a copy of a predecessor text.
All of these arguments are correct. They have been confirmed by several others with text-critical and other appropriate expertise. They will be formally published in an upcoming volume in the Studies in the Book of Abraham
And, consistent with Dan Peterson’s wise counsel cited above, I no longer have interest in debating these issues with people whose knowledge of the material is fragmentary at best, and who are seemingly incapable of engaging in anything approaching a “scholarly” discussion. Henceforth, I will publish my findings in appropriate venues. If people like Brent Metcalfe, or Kevin Graham, or Paul Osborne (or anyone else) desire to contest my arguments, they will have to find someone willing to publish their
findings and arguments, too. Otherwise, they will have to content themselves with the kind of posturing and meaningless rhetoric that passes for scholarly argumentation (and is universally acclaimed, regardless of its merit) in places such as this.