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 Post subject: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 7:24 am 
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Will Schryver contiunues his legacy as a sciolist whose shoddy scholarship is second to none. What follows is the post I presented at MADB just before the moderators rushed to remove all evidence, thus liberating Will from scrutiny. Following this post I will present Will's response.

===================================================

Will Schryver concludes in his article:

Quote:
The contemporary eyewitness reports of a “long roll” are confirmed

He then scolds critics for questioning this:

Quote:
Critics don't like the Haven and Blanchard quotes (and others) that speak of the long roll.


I highlight the plural nature of his testimonies because Will is being disingenuous in a way that would make Gee and Nibley proud.

It appears Will hasn't bothered to read the Blanchard quotation he alludes to. One which he fails to provide for his audience. To be sure, it says nothing about its length. Incidentally, Will lifted that entire section of his article from John Gee's, "New Light on the Joseph Smith Papyri."

Quote:
"a quantity of records, written on papyrus, in Egyptian hieroglyphics,"32 including (1) some papyri "preserved under glass,"33 described as "a number of glazed slides, like picture frames, containing sheets of papyrus, with Egyptian inscriptions and hieroglyphics";34 (2) "a long roll of manuscript"35 that contained the Book of Abraham;36 (3) "another roll";37 (4) and "two or three other small pieces of papyrus with astronomical calculations, epitaphs, &c."38


Why is there no citation provided from Blanchard? Could it have something to do with the fact that nothing in the citation supports their assertion? Here is the relevant portion from the source, found in Relief Society Magazine, January, 1922:

Quote:
What fun we had with Aunt Emma's boys, Joseph, Frederick, Alexander and David. How we raced through the house playing hide and seek. My favorite hiding place was in an old wardrobe which contained the mummies, and it was in here that I would creep while the others searched the house. There were three mummies: "The old Egyptian king, the queen and their daughter. The bodies were wrapped in seven layers of linen cut in thin strips. In the arms of the Old King, lay the roll of papyrus from which our prophet translated the Book of Abraham"


Contrary to Will, there is nothing from this source to indicate the roll's length. Nothing.

So now let's move to the testimony of Charlotte Haven. I will do what Will fails to do by provding its context from Overland Monthly, "A Girl's Letters from Nauvoo," pp.623-624. What follows is a more detailed version of the testimony that you will not find in any apologetic treatment of the matter, for reasons soon to be obvious:

Quote:
...we called on Joseph's mother, passing the site of the Nauvoo House, a spacious hotel, the first floor only laid. It is like the Temple in being erected on the tithe system, and when finished will surpass in splendor any hotel in the State. Here Joseph and his heirs for generations are to have apartments free of expense, and they think the crowned heads of Europe will rusticate beneath its roof. Madam Smith's residence is a log house very near her son's. She opened the door and received us cordially. She is a motherly kind of woman of about sixty years. She receives a little pittance by exhibiting The mummies to strangers. When we asked to see them, she lit a candle and conducted us up a short narrow stairway to a low, dark room under the roof. On one side were standing half a dozen mummies, to whom she introduced us, King Onitus and his royal household, -- one she did not know.

Then she took up what seemed to be a club wrapped in a dark cloth, and said, "This is the leg of Pharaoh's daughter, the one that saved Moses." Repressing a smile, I looked from the mummies to the old lady, but could detect nothing but earnestness and sincerity on her countenance. Then she turned to a long table, set her candlestick down, and opened a long roll of manuscript, saying it was, "the writing of Abraham and Isaac, written in Hebrew and Sancrit," and she read several minutes from it as if it were English. It sounded very much like passages from the Old Testament. - and it might have been for anything we knew - but she said she read it through the inspiration of her son Joseph, in whom she seemed to have perfect confidence. Then in the same way she interpreted to us hieroglyphics from another roll. One was Mother Eve being tempted by the serpent, who - the serpent, I mean - was standing on the tip of his tail, which with his two legs formed a tripod, and had his head in Eve's ear. I said, "But serpents don't have legs."

"They did before the fall," she asserted with perfect confidence. The Judge slipped a coin in her hand which she received smilingly, with a pleasant, "Come again," as we bade her goodby.


Amazingly, Will assures us that critics just, "want to diminish their reliability on the basis of the fact that these were young women who probably weren't really paying close attention to what was going on. I find that attitude condescending and naïve."

As is so often his wont, Will misrepresents the arguments from critics and LDS scholars alike. Yes, you heard me correctly. According to LDS scholar, Jay M. Todd:

Quote:
One wonders if Charlotte is reporting accurately. Until more evidence is gathered, the sum and value of Charlotte's report remains clouded on several issues." (The Saga of the Book of Abraham, by Jay M. Todd, page 249)


The reason her testimony is considered questionable by reasonable standards of evidence, isn't because she was just a "young woman," but because we know her memory was clouded and she did not properly describe the material.

1) She says they were written in Sanscrit, which we know is false.

2) She says it included records of Isaac, which we know is false.

3) She mentions a roll with two records on it, which from the more reliable account of William I Appleby, we know to be false.

4) She also fails to correctly describe the snake with legs (it wasn't standing on its tail).

But William is certain her use of the word "long" must be dead accurate, assuming her perception of long is more than several feet.

It seems more likely that the papyri slides or sheets were laid out on the table back to back, appearing as one long roll. It is unrealistic to think Granny Smith would be constantly "rolling" and "unrolling" an eroding ancient document that was to be shown to strangers on a regular basis. The whole idea was to keep the collection preserved, and they were cut and glued to slides for preservation.

The reason apologetic versions of the Haven account never include the context probably has something to do with the fact that what Haven describes is clearly part of the extant material. This completely undermines any attempts to prove she was referencing missing material. These anecdotes throw cold water on apologetic hopes of establishing a missing source for the Book of Abraham, because she claims to be looking right at it!

Schryver continues:

Quote:
when you stop to consider what kinds of things an 18-year-old woman would most notice in such an experience, it would be the kinds of elements we read in Haven's account: the length of the roll and the nature of the illustrations on the papyrus itself.


This is apologetic subterfuge at its finest! Will says Haven has given us the length of the roll! She hasn't. "Long" doesn't tell us the length anymore than "heavy" gives us the weight.

The last apologetic hope, it seems, is to hang onto the word "long" for dear life. So how long is long? By what method does Will propose in determining Haven's usage of the word "long"? He doesn't say. It seems he's just content to imply long means extremely long or maybe outrageously long, when it could very well be just a few feet. That seems more likely since a few feet would appear long by comparison to the other scraps.

Will is clearly unaware of the fact that the Haven account has been address on numerous occassions over the past three decades, and only recently has the Blanchard reference been thrown into the mix, leading impressionable and naïve folks to believe it somehow counts as a second independent witness for the supposed, "long" description. But it gets worse. Will also refers to "others" who testify to a "long" roll. He wants us to believe that there are at least four independent eye-witnesses who explicitly say "long" roll, and that he is providing only one of them for the sake of brevity. The fact is there exists only one! It simply doesn't get anymore deceptive than this.

But since Will wants to accuse critics of being afraid of these so-called devastating eye-witness accounts, I suppose this would be a good time to ask him why John Gee finally got around to acknowledging the William I. Appleby account in 1999, but failed to provide the context that essentially refuted the argument he was trying to make. What follows is the full context of this statement from his journal entry of May 5, 1841:

Quote:
To day I paid Br Joseph a visit. Saw the Rolls of papyrus and the writings thereon, taken from off the bosom of the Male Mummy, having some of the writings of ancient Abraham and of Joseph that was sold in Egypt. The writings are chiefly in the Egyptian language with the exception of a little Hebrew. I believe they give a description of some of the scenes in Ancient Egypt, of their worship, their Idol gods, etc. The writings are beautiful and plain, composed of red, and black inks. There is a perceptible difference, between the writings. Joseph, appears to have been the best scribe.

There are representations of men, beasts, Birds, Idols and oxen attached to a kind of plough, a female guiding it. Also the serpent when he beguiled Eve. He appears with two legs, erect in form and appearance of man. But his head in the form, and representing the Serpent, with his forked tongue extended. There are likewise representations of an Alter erected, with a man bound and laid thereon, and a Priest with a knife in his hand, standing at the foot, with a dove over the person bound on the Altar with several Idol gods standing around it. A Celestial globe with the planet Kolob of first creation of the supreme being - a planet of light, - which planet - makes a revolution once in a thousand years, - Also the Lord revealing the Grand key words of the Holy Priesthood, to Adam in the garden of Eden, as also to Seth, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, and to all whom the Priesthood was revealed.

Abraham also in the Court of Pharaoh sitting upon the King's throne reasoning upon Astronomy, with a crown on his head, representing the Priesthood as emblematical of the grand Presidency in Heaven. And King Pharaoh, standing behind him, together with a Prince - a principle waiter, and a black slave of the King. A genealogy of the Mummies, and the Epitaphs and their deaths, etc., etc., are also distinctly represented on the Papyrus which is called the "Book of Abraham."

The Male mummy was one of the Ancient Pharaohs of Egypt, a Priest, as he is embalmed with his tongue extended, representing a speaker: The females were his wife and two daughters, as a part of the writing has been translated, and informs us, who they were, also whose writing it is, and when those mummies were embalmed, which is nearly four thousand years ago.


Appleby goes into strenuous detail in explaining what exactly it was he saw. He confirms that there is a "perceptible difference" between the writings of Abraham and Joseph, pointing out that "Joseph was the better scribe." This clearly points to the Horus scroll as the source for the Book of Abraham, which, as Ed Ashment pointed out nearly two decades ago:
Quote:
despite Nibley, the evidence indicates that the Book of Abraham was developed from "that badly written, poorly preserved little text, entirely devoid of rubrics, which is today identified as the [Breathing Permit of Hor]."

Contrary to Will's assertion, the abundance of eye-witness testimony describing the Joseph Smith Papyri collection points us directly to extant portions that we can clearly identify. But I guess it is easy to make these arguments when you're only showing a fraction of the testimonies, divorced from their contexts.

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Last edited by Kevin Graham on Sat May 30, 2009 2:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 7:30 am 
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Will quickly responds only to out me to the mods:

Quote:
Kevin "Cracker" Graham,

I'll reply to your problematic post as soon as time permits. I will only note at present that source criticism does not appear to be one of your strengths.

And exactly how did you manage to complete a post of that size without once uttering the word "idiot"? Color me impressed.

I do smell a Metcalfe and/or Vogel behind [Kevin's] sudden acquisition of historical minutia. It's good to know this is turning into a "team effort." That's how it should be.

Anyway, more later ...


Well, how much later is later? It has been two weeks. He has not explained his deception, nor has he corrected his article's mistakes.

I responded:

Quote:
Paranoia already, eh?

Will is apparently upset that I managed to obtain copies of the primary sources for his article without help from Vogel or Metcalfe. Something beyond his ability, apparently (He requires help from six different apologists for that silly little piece, and he still couldn't provide the original source!).

PS: Don't try pretending you are interested in debating this Will, because you refuse to debate on the other forum. Why would it be different here? You always come running back here where you know you're safe from serious criticism. The fact that you felt you had to "out" me, as your first response, tells me you want me off the forum immediately so you can continue to lecture on that which you know nothing about. We all know perfectly well I will be banned as soon as you manage to hunt down the nearest mod (which you are doing right now, no doubt). This is hardly indicative of someone who thinks he really has the truth on his side.


I was banned a few minutes later.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 7:58 am 
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No surprise there, Kevin. When one spouts off like one knows something, and one doesn't really know much of anything, one runs for cover when someone who actually does know something shows up on the scene.

I thought Pundits was supposed to be for the learned and erudite, so they could have calm scholarly conversations without interference from the lowlifes. Why does Will have posting rights there? He takes lowlife to an entirely new low.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 8:02 am 
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harmony wrote:
No surprise there, Kevin. When one spouts off like one knows something, and one doesn't really know much of anything, one runs for cover when someone who actually does know something shows up on the scene.

I thought Pundits was supposed to be for the learned and erudite, so they could have calm scholarly conversations without interference from the lowlifes. Why does Will have posting rights there? He takes lowlife to an entirely new low.


The important thing to remember here is that Will's posts are never about the issue at hand. Will's posts are always about Will.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 8:03 am 
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Runtu wrote:
harmony wrote:
No surprise there, Kevin. When one spouts off like one knows something, and one doesn't really know much of anything, one runs for cover when someone who actually does know something shows up on the scene.

I thought Pundits was supposed to be for the learned and erudite, so they could have calm scholarly conversations without interference from the lowlifes. Why does Will have posting rights there? He takes lowlife to an entirely new low.


The important thing to remember here is that Will's posts are never about the issue at hand. Will's posts are always about Will.


I suspect because Will is the brightest star in Will's universe.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 8:08 am 
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I just thought it was funny that Will spent weeks working on that silly piece (months?) and required the help of six other apologists (as well as several critics he failed to mention!) and couldn't manage to come up with the sources for his primary pieces of evidence. He didn't even do any measurements or calculations himself, but simply borrowed everything from Gee's ridiculously tiny sample of two windings and then regurgitated the same flawed, assumption based conclusion.

In response to me, all he could do was offer a back-handed comment about how little I know about "source criticism" (again proving he doesn't know what the hell he is talking about). He won't address his disability when it comes to source acquisition.

It took me all of about two hours to get these sources in hand, and when he found out I had acquired them, he thought it must have been a conspiratorial plot between Vogel, Metcalfe and Myself.

What a d***a**.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 9:41 am 
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This guy is a real piece of work. I just loved the utter non-response he gave to your post.

It's one thing to falsely imply that there's something wrong with your source-critical skills. It's quite another to respond to what you actually said.

But, that's pretty much standard operating procedure at MA&D.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 9:44 am 
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I am struck repeatedly by our apparent lack of knowledge concerning the papyri as they were when Chandler brought them to Kirtland. Mortal Man has raised the idea of storage of these papyri in a leather case, but this seems completely hypothetical. Now, it is true that in Egyptian papyri were stored in this way, but do we have any reference to such cases in any of the eyewitness testimony for the JSP?

I have even more basic questions. Do we have any idea of the precise relationship between these particular mummies and the papyri? Could it be that Chandler simply sold them as a package because he had a buyer? Do we know that he kept papyri with the respective mummies that they were originally made for? Appleby mentions that the papyri were placed in the folded arms of the male mummy, but we know that one roll was prepared for a female. So, here we see a lack of correspondence between mummy and roll.

The Painesville Telegraph reported papyri with three of the mummies (I think before Joseph ever laid eyes on them). From Marquardt's Rise of Mormonism, p. 388: "Three were three female mummies and one male mummy. Rolls of writing were with three of them." The male mummy was described as having a single roll, just like two of the females had. The description of the male mummy suggests that the roll was placed in the mummy's arms: "...arms crossing on the breast, each hand on its opposite shoulder; had roll of writing as No. 1 & 2...."

It might be important to know precisely how and where they were stored as we try to arrive at some conclusions about the length. Mortal Man's post suggests as much to me.

It seems to me that Chandler probably showed Joseph the affidavit from these Philadephia doctors who examined the mummies, since their description of the papyri is very similar to the ones we get on the LDS side. And, the doctors say something about the age of the papyri being over 3,000 years. Might that not have helped Joseph arrive at a conclusion about authorship?

Quote:
Having examined with considerable attention and deep interest, a number of Mummies from the catacombs, near Thebes, in Egypt, and now exhibited in the Arcade, we beg leave to recommend them to the observation of the curious inquirer on subjects of a period so long elapsed; probably not less than three thousand years ago. The features of some of these Mummies are in perfect expression. - The papyrus, covered with black or red ink, or paint, in excellent preservation, are very interesting....


Edit: this might be important. Marquardt (p. 389) writes:

Quote:
Another Cleveland newspaper [Cleveland Whig] said the four mummies were three males and one female but this does not appear to be correct. The article describes the writing found in "the arms of the old man" being in length about "10 or 12 inches, and three or four in width."


Another interesting tidbit from Marquardt (389) is that Chandler had a placard suggesting that the mummies "may have lived in the days of Jacob, Moses, or David".

Now it makes so much more sense to me how Joseph came to identify these papyri with a parabiblical account of some kind. Some doctors in Philadelphia had speculated that the mummies and papyri were at least 3,000 years old or more, and then Chandler comes to town with a handout advertising an age based on Biblical figures!

Cool.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Hey Trev, just so you know, that reference from Marquardt s referrng not to the scroll, but rather the individual leaves. Here is the context:

"There was found deposited in the arms of the old man referred to above, a book of ancient form and construction, which, to us, was by far the most interesting part of the exhibition. Its leaves were of bark, in length some 10 or 12 inches, and 3 or 4 in width. The ends are somewhat decayed, but at the centre the leaves are in a state of perfect preservation. It is the writing of no ordinary penman, probably of the old man near whose heart it was deposited at the embalming. The characters are the Egyptian hieroglyphics; but of what is discourses none can tell....There is also another book, more decayed, and much less neatly written - its character and import involved in like mystery."(Cleveland Whig, March 25, 1835)

A couple of years ago pointed out how Jeff Lindsay misuses this reference as evidence for the missing scroll. According to Lindsay, "The physical description of the well preserved "book" on "bark" leaves - probably papyrus - does not fit either the Book of Breathings or the Book of the Dead from the Joseph Smith Papyri."

However, I beg to differ:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 2:22 pm 
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Kevin Graham wrote:
A couple of years ago pointed out how Jeff Lindsay misuses this reference as evidence for the missing scroll. According to Lindsay, "The physical description of the well preserved "book" on "bark" leaves - probably papyrus - does not fit either the Book of Breathings or the Book of the Dead from the Joseph Smith Papyri."

However, I beg to differ:


So you would argue that these particular papyri were already in fragments of those dimensions before they reached Kirtland?

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 2:25 pm 
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Yep.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 2:29 pm 
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Kevin Graham wrote:
Yep.


So it would seem fairly likely that Chandler had already messed around with these papyri quite a bit. Perhaps he stuffed them into the arms of the mummies for display purposes.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 2:54 pm 
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This is fascinating stuff. Cook and Smith provided some interesting accounts that strongly suggest an umbilicus was absent.

Accordng to Rhodes' translaton of the text, it refers to being contained by an outer wrapping.

"...after his two hands have been clasped to his heart. The Document of Breathing which <Isis> made shall (also) be buried, which is written on both the inside and outside of it, (and wrapped) in royal linen, being placed <under> his left arm near his heart..."

Luman Shirtliff:

"They were rolled up, put in a gum case and laid on the breast of one of the leading men of the Egyptians, when the Mummy or body was found this record was on his breast."

William S. West:

"These records were torn by being taken from the roll of embalming salve which contained them..."

Embalming salve was used to layer the linen strips over the mummy. It is a gooey substance used like a glue. Since the text was buried with a mummy, what purpose would there be for an umbilicus? It isn't like they expected the dead mummy to open it up later for reading. It was wrapped up along with the mummy.

All Will can do now (and he is) is try to claim some kind of credit by suggesting they just came up with this theory shortly after he told them their measurements required the absence of an umbilicus. Yeah, as if they didn't already know that. They let ther measurements determine whether or not an umbilicus was present, whereas he and Gee make ther measurements according to their assumpton that an umbilicus needed to be present. And now after all his blather about "historical accounts", we see several testimonies, including that of the papyrus' author, imply that the roll was contained by some kind of wrapping. And guess how many eye-witness accounts support the umbilicus theory? Zero!

This guy is amazingly stupid.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 3:08 pm 
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Hi Trevor,

As you note, there are two newspaper reporters who reported at some length about the Chandler collection before Smith ever saw it. One casually refers to three rolls, only one of which (the one interned with the male mummy) he describes at any length. The other describes only two rolls, and gives lengthier descriptions of each. But there is a problem here in that although all of his details apply to one or the other of the extant Joseph Smith rolls, he seems to assign certain characteristics to the wrong roll. It's possible that both authors just got mixed up in some respects.

Although Kevin is correct that the fragments of the Ta-shere-min roll fits the dimensions of the "leaves" seen by the reporter, I should add that JSP XI + I (which were a single fragment before Joseph Smith cut them into two pieces) and JSP X also more or less fit those dimensions. So the comment about the "leaves" could apply to either roll.

Kevin,

As I mentioned to MM on the other board, I've read (I think in Ritner) that that quote from the papyrus is a ritual formulation left over from old royal papyri that likely does not reflect the disposition of this particular roll.

Best,

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Last edited by CaliforniaKid on Fri May 29, 2009 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 3:15 pm 
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
As you note, there are two newspaper reporters who reported at some length about the Chandler collection before Smith ever saw it. One casually refers to three rolls, only one of which (the one interned with the male mummy) he describes at any length. The other describes only two rolls, and gives lengthier descriptions of each. But there is a problem here in that although all of his details apply to one or the other of the extant Joseph Smith rolls, he seems to assign certain characteristics to the wrong roll. It's possible that both authors just got mixed up in some respects.


What do you make of the word "bark" to describe it? Was there perhaps some kind of mounting job on some of these already?

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 3:26 pm 
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These people were unfamiliar with Egyptian papyri, they didn't know what the hell the material was, so I think they just used "bark" to describe it.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 3:54 pm 
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Fascinating thread. Thanks to al involved for typing all this stuff out. Great information.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:04 pm 
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Kevin Graham wrote:
These people were unfamiliar with Egyptian papyri, they didn't know what the hell the material was, so I think they just used "bark" to describe it.


Ahhh. OK. Sounds right.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:08 pm 
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Trevor wrote:
What do you make of the word "bark" to describe it? Was there perhaps some kind of mounting job on some of these already?

No, they weren't mounted until the Kirtland period. The papers they were mounted on were an early draft of the Kirtland Temple plans. I think Kevin is right; these people just didn't know what papyrus was. One witness speculates that it was fine linen starched with some kind of gum and then ironed. One of the newspapers says it was "of bark"; the other says it had "a little resemblance to birch bark". Perhaps the comparison to birch bark is one that Chandler himself was making.

Incidentally, the comparison to birch bark suggests a fairly thick papyrus; thicker, anyway, then the thinner-than-onion-skin-paper Gee's length estimate requires.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:22 pm 
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Quote:
Incidentally, the comparison to birch bark suggests a fairly thick papyrus; thicker, anyway, then the thinner-than-onion-skin-paper Gee's length estimate requires.


Yep, I was just thinking the same thing. If they weren't alluding to thickness, then what? It certainly doesn't have the color of bark, which is usually dark brown or grey. Maybe stiffness and texture, but probably thickness as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Will Schryver's Deception in Pundits
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:46 pm 
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
Incidentally, the comparison to birch bark suggests a fairly thick papyrus; thicker, anyway, then the thinner-than-onion-skin-paper Gee's length estimate requires.

Birch bark:
Image

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