Week 7: The Book of Abraham
28 October 2021
Quotes from Church Leaders
“The Latter-day Saints maintain that while there was some difference between the methods of translation used by the prophet in the translation of the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon; that while he applied his own mind as far as he could, in all his work, (and his mind expanded in intelligence as he grew in age and experience,) yet in all his work he was divinely inspired—in his translations, his revelations, and his wonderful personal direction in the establishment of the work of God known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,the marvelous work and a wonder’ predicted by the ancient prophets that should be founded upon the earth in the latter days.…
“Not only do we testify that Joseph Smith was inspired when he gave to the world the Pearl of Great Price, but we declare that it was by the inspiration and power of God that he translated the Book of Mormon, organized the Church of Christ, and gave mankind the precious revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants; and it is our firm belief that scientific investigation and discovery will confirm our testimony, rather than weaken or repudiate it.”
—President Joseph F. Smith, “Joseph Smith, Jr., as a Translator,” Improvement Era 16, no. 4 (February 1913): 379–80.
Photographs and transcripts of the complete collection of Kirtland Egyptian Papers produced by Joseph Smith and his scribes in late 1835, available on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
“Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham,” Gospel Topics Essays. This article on the Church’s website addresses some of the issues concerning the Joseph Smith Papyri.
John Gee. An Introduction to the Book of Abraham. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University / Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2017.
Kerry Muhlestein, “Assessing the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Introduction to the Historiography of their Acquisitions, Translations, and Interpretations,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 22 (2016): 17–49.
John Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri (Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2000); and “Some Puzzles from the Joseph Smith Papyri,” FARMS Review 20, no. 1 (2008): 113–37.
Michael D. Rhodes, “A Translation and Commentary of the Joseph Smith Hypocephalus,” BYU Studies 17, no. 3 (Spring 1977): 1–13; and “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus…Twenty Years Later” (1997).
“Explanation to Accompany Facsimile 2, circa 15 March 1842,” The Joseph Smith Papers. The earliest known copy of Facsimile 2 is a hand-drawn document that indicates there were lacunae (portions that were missing) in the original Egyptian manuscript. These lacunae were filled in—probably using other portions of Joseph Smith’s papyrus—when Reuben Hedlock created the woodcut that was published in Times and Seasons 3, no. 10 (15 March 1842). Hedlock’s woodcut became the source of Facsimile 2 in all subsequent publications of the Book of Abraham, including the one in the current edition of the Pearl of Great Price.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at the Joseph Smith papyri, the Book of Abraham manuscripts, and the original Times and Seasons newspaper that first published the Book of Abraham. Historian Robin Scott Jensen gives a hands-on tour of these rarely-seen artifacts.
Produced by FAIR, A Most Remarkable Book: Evidence for the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Abraham addresses some of the criticisms of the Book of Abraham and puts forth evidence for its divine authenticity.