Friday, March 02, 2012

Complete translation of the Joseph Smith Papyri published

 The relationship between the Book of Abraham and the Joseph Smith Egyptian papyri continues to receive scholarly attention from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. For a century now, professors and LDS students from this leading institute of Egyptian studies have analyzed and debated the papyri and its relationship to Joseph Smith's translation. The translation was called "The Book of Abraham" and incorporated into the Pearl of Great Price which became the fourth foundational scripture of the LDS church.

Considered one of the country's foremost Egyptian scholars, Dr. Robert Ritner is the latest University of Chicago Egyptologist to turn his attention to the papyri. His book, The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition, includes the first ever complete translation of the papyri.


The papyri, which were thought to have been lost in the Chicago fire, were rediscovered and donated to the LDS church by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1967. The subsequent publication of photographs of the papyri by the LDS church(1) kicked off a period of scholarly analysis that has continued, more or less, to the present. An initial scholarly analysis in 1968 found the papyri consisted of Egyptian funeral texts called The Book of Breathings and The Book of the Dead. Until now, only a portion of the papyri and the hypocephalus (Facsimile #2) had been translated.

Dr. Ritner says the publisher (Smith-Pettit Foundation) provided him with high resolution scans of the papyri making it possible to embark on a several year project studying the papyri. In providing his own translation, he includes an analysis of previous translations by other scholars for comparison. Some patches of the fragile papyri which had broken off had been haphazardly glued back onto a card backing. Ritner spent a half a year identifying, analyzing and reassembling 47 misplaced patches allowing the remaining papyri to be translated for the first time.


A sample of misplaced fragments in the Joseph
Smith  papyri. Dr. Ritner spent 6 months analyzing
and correctly reassembling these fragments. 
See also: Missingparts of the hypocephalus 

In addition to Ritner, several other authors contributed essays to the book. These include:

H. Michael Marquardt (a historian and author of over 45 articles and books on Mormon historical topics) who provides a history of the acquisition of the papyri, and translation by Joseph Smith and the subsequent publishing history of the book.

Dr. Marc Coenen (Egyptian Studies PhD., University of Leuven, Belgium) discusses the dating and original ownership of the papyrus used for the Book of Abraham  by the "prophet" Horos. Coenen includes an eight generation genealogy tree of the Horos family (!) and even includes information about his family. For example, his mother Chibois was a musician who played the sistrum (rattle) for the god Amon-Re. Coenen dates the papyrus to the first half of the second century B.C.E., noting the papyrus is the oldest known dateable "Document of Breathing Made by Isis." The Book or Document of Breathings gradually took the place of the Book of the Dead in Egyptian culture.

Christopher Woods (Associate Professor of Sumerology) discusses the likelihood that the practice of Egyptian religion took place in Ur of Chaldea (c.f. Abraham 1:8).


Michael Marquardt and Dr. Robert Ritner were kind enough to answer some questions about the book.

--
Interview: Michael Marquardt 
(authored chapter "Joseph Smith's Egyptian Papers: A History")
--

How did the Papyri come into the hands of Joseph Smith?

(Marquardt) Antonio Lebolo located a cache of 11 mummies in Thebes, Egypt between 1817 and 1822.  After his death in 1830, the 11 mummies (one of the largest shipments of mummies to America) were shipped to the U.S.  By 1835, Michael H. Chandler exhibited four Egyptian mummies in Cleveland, Ohio near Kirtland. A promotional flyer (a copy which was included in the LDS Times and Seasons paper) stated the mummies may have come from the time of Jacob, Moses or David. The papyri were purchased for $2,400 [$60,000 today] in July, 1835.

What did Joseph Smith do with the papyri?

(Marquardt) Joseph Smith determined the papyri included the writings of Abraham and Joseph.  Working with the papyri, Joseph Smith, W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery produced three manuscripts and a bound volume that makes up what was called the "Egyptian Alphabet."  It listed characters & symbols from the papyri (and some additional symbols) which were given names with short interpretations, most characters having up to five degrees, with each degree expanding the definitions of the earlier degrees.

After the Egyptian Alphabet was completed, they worked on the Book of Abraham translation.  The translation stopped in late November 1835 (Abraham 1:1 – 2:18) and was published in March, 1842. Joseph Smith then continued translating the rest of the Book of Abraham (Abraham 2:19 - 5:21) also published in March 1842, with Facsimile #3 published in May.

How are the Egyptian Alphabet and the Book of Abraham related?

(Marquardt) Two of the three 1835 Book of Abraham manuscripts contain the notation "sign of the fifth degree of the second part" pointing to the degrees of definitions of the characters in the Egyptian Alphabet. Character/Symbols and their meanings from the Egyptian Alphabet correspond to text in the Book of Abraham.  For example a character in the Egyptian Alphabet with the sound "Ah brah-oam" is defined in these five degrees:
  1. The Father of the faithful. The first right – the elder
  2. A follower of righteousness
  3. One who possess great knowledge
  4. A follower of righteousness a possessor of greater knowledge
  5. A father of many nations a prince of peace, one who keeps the commandments of God. A patriarch a rightful heir, a high priest
The matching text from the Book of Abraham reads:

Having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I [Abraham] became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.

This pattern continues. The symbols are in the left-hand margins with the text of the Book of Abraham on the right.
Inline image 2
Facsimile #1, Book of Abraham

What is in the 1842 translation?

(Marquardt) Joseph Smith picked up translation where he left off editing Genesis in his translation of the Bible. This material parallels the story of Abraham before he travels to Egypt.  This is followed by a discussion of intelligences and astronomical terms based on Hebrew words. The text then parallels Genesis 1-2 using "Gods" instead of "God" in line with Smith's teachings since 1838/1839 of a plurality (and council) of Gods. A three member council of Gods would be part of the endowment introduced two months later.

This damaged vignette from the Joseph Smith papyri was
the source for Facsimile #1. It was glued to paper backing
and a knife, arms and head manually drawn in.

Also included are explanations of three facsimiles based on drawings from the papyri. The papyrus from which Facsimile #1 is based was damaged, and the missing portion was restored. Hieroglyphs from the papyri are omitted, possibly due to sizing concerns in the Times and Seasons. This scene is referred to in the Book of Abraham where Abraham is nearly sacrificed (Abraham 1:12).
Inline image 4
Facsimile #2. Damaged areas were
filled in with  portions of the papyri



Facsimile #2 is based on a damaged hypocephalus (which would have been placed under the head of the mummy). Missing portions of the hypocephalus are filled in from other portions of the papyri.(2) The explanatory text by Joseph Smith explains principles of astronomy.

Hypocephalus of Sheshonq from
which Facsimile #2 was based
The head of the "slave belonging to the prince" in Facsimile #3 was modified from the papyrus.  This was published two months later on May 16, 1842. The explanatory text indicates Abraham is explaining principles of astronomy in the king's court. The corresponding papyrus is missing.


Further extracts from the Book of Abraham were promised, but never materialized.




--
Interview: Dr. Robert Ritner 
(Principal author)
--

Of all the Egyptian texts available to write about, why write a book on the Joseph Smith papyri?

(Ritner) Each generation of Chicago Egyptologists has been involved with the Smith papyri, so there is a historical basis for my interest: our founder Breasted in 1912(3) his student Wilson in 1968(4) (when the papyri were returned to Utah), and Wilson's student (and my professor) Baer(5) the same year.  I was contacted several years ago to verify the accuracy of Baer's translation of P. JS I, and in the process of that project I had to examine the other papyri for misplaced patches and review the history of the acquisition and the varying interpretations.  After publishing a new translation of P. JS I in Dialogue(6) and (for Egyptologists) in Journal of Near Eastern Studies,(7) it seemed obvious to me that a full, scholarly edition was needed of all the relevant Egyptian materials from the Smith collection.

Since the Egyptian texts were often misunderstood or misrepresented in publications, it seemed all the more beneficial to place these materials within their proper context as late Egyptian religious documents.  Such late documents are the subject of current interest in Egyptology (one of my own graduate students is researching the topic), and examining what the Smith papyri actually contain is valuable in itself for ongoing scholarship.

The inevitable conflict with LDS received tradition was obvious from the beginning --as it has been to all Egyptologists-- but that was not the primary motivating factor for my study.  I wanted to show clearly what the texts actually said and contained, and equally clearly what they did not.

What parallels are there between the Book of Abraham and the papyri?

(Ritner) The only parallels between the Book of Abraham and the papyri are found in the Facsimiles (Ptolemaic in date [352-30 BCE.]) that are specifically described and referenced within the text of the [Book of Abraham (BoA hereafter)] itself.  There is thus no possibility that the scenes, reworked from the papyri for the BoA, can be considered separate from the source of the BoA itself.  Obviously, the papyrus containing the scenes is equally linked.  The BoA just as clearly misunderstands these Facsimiles/Vignettes, with multiple confusions of standard imagery (for example: male vs.  female vs.  animal, specific deity images) and distorted interpretations of easily legible Egyptian text.

Some LDS scholars have suggested the source for the Book of Abraham may be on papyri that was lost or destroyed.  How plausible is this proposal?

(Ritner) For the reasons given above, this idea is not possible.  The various alternative theories for a "missing BoA text" are discussed in detail in my book, and all are shown to be false.  Parallel texts, standard papyrus document size (not whole rolls manufactured for commerce), measurements of rolling, a supposed (but false) reference to a lost text by the early scholar Seyffarth, and internal BoA remarks on the Facsimiles all indicate that the "Breathing Permit of Hor" (P JS I) is the source of the fictional account of Abraham.  The fictional nature of the tale is blatant not only from the Egyptian evidence, but also from Mesopotamian evidence, incorporated within this study for the first time.

How would you assess the work done on the Joseph Smith papyri by LDS  scholars?

(Ritner) My parallel presentations [I.E. translations by other scholars for comparison] and copious notes indicate the range of problems with the LDS apologetic translations, but I would distinguish the contributions of apologists from those of other LDS scholars, such as Stephen E. Thompson(8) or Edward H.  Ashment,(9) who have made very valuable and accurate studies of the Facsimiles. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the apologetic writings is the degree to which those translations support and often parallel Egyptological ones, demonstrating that the Joseph Smith interpretations are indefensible.  Apologists can argue that the source text of BoA is lost, but they cannot deny the "translations" and "explanations" offered by Smith on the Facsimiles.  Instead, they ignore them while translating the hieroglyphs as properly as possible, acknowledging Smith's published translations to be wrong.  Michael D.  Rhodes' treatment of the P.  JS I Facsimiles [Facsimiles 1-3] is a classic example of this.(10)

You suggest some academics may have used your work inappropriately.  How so?

(Ritner) I note several examples of uncredited "borrowing," particularly in the apologetic editions of P.  JS I, done after my article in Dialogue.  The evidence for this includes hasty and incomplete changes made in Rhodes' published text in which the text (paralleling mine) does not match the same passage in the index (following Nibley, the original model for Rhodes).  A most striking example appears in the vignette (= Facsimile 3) of the court of Osiris, where Rhodes has adopted my description of the signs accompanying the figure of Anubis, but he failed to remove his earlier version so that he has two columns of hieroglyphs where only one exists in the Facsimile.  Since my reading was based on a very obscure title that I found on a fragmentary, generally unknown papyrus, the similarity and the "extra" column with my reading are serious evidence.  I should point out that Rhodes also identifies the figure as the jackal god Anubis, although Smith's printed identification calls the black figure a "slave." Rhodes, then, agrees that Smith could not interpret the Egyptian text of the BoA.

What have you hoped to accomplish by writing this book?

(Ritner) The papyri, as I noted above, are of interest in themselves for the history and range of Egyptian religious compositions.  Presenting a proper edition is a direct benefit to the scholarly field of Egyptology, and I hope to have done that.  Given the disordered state of the papryi, especially P. JS 2 with over 40 misplaced patches pasted randomly across the sheets, this was no simple matter.  Future scholars can discuss and analyze the texts, but they will not need to reconstitute them.

At the same time, the history of the Smith papyri is a significant episode in American religious history and in the history of the rediscovery of Ancient Egypt.  I believe that the book offers researchers -- and the interested reader, whether of LDS faith or not-- an in-depth examination of a tale that reaches from before 1835 into the present and demonstrates how ancient evidence can be utilized or appropriated for quite different purposes.  Those purposes can conflict in ways that are quite relevant to modern issues of history, faith and the intersection between them.


--
More about the Book:
--
Endnotes
  • (1) Todd, Jay M., "Egyptian Papyri Rediscovered," Improvement Era (January 1968); "New Light on Joseph Smith's Egyptian Papyri: Additional Fragment Disclosed," Improvement Era (February 1968)
  • (2) See Marquardt, "Times and Seasons Hypocephalus," Mormon PDF Website, Missing AreasWhere the Missing Parts come fromThe Hypocephalus of Sheshonq 
  • (3) Spaulding, Franklin S., Joseph Smith Jun., as Translator (1912)
  • (4) Wilson, John A., "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri. Translations and Interpretations. A Summary  Report" Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 8:2 (1968)
  • (5) Baer, Klaus, "The Breathing Permit of Hor. A Translation of the Apparent Source of the Book of Abraham," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 8:3 (1968)
  • (6) Ritner, Robert "'The 'Breathing Permit of  Hôr' Thirty-four Years Later," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 33:4 (2000)
  • (7) Ritner, Robert, "'The Breathing Permit of Hôr' Among the Joseph Smith Papyri," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 62.3 (2003)
  • (8) Thompson, Stephen E., "Egyptology and the Book of Abraham," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 28:1 (1995)
  • (9) Ashment, Edward H., "The Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham: A Reappraisal," Sunstone 4 (Dec 1979); "Joseph Smith's Identification of 'Abraham' in Papyrus JS 1, the 'Breathing Permit of Hor'," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 33:4 (2000); "Abraham in the Breathing Permit of Hor (pJS1)," Mormon Scripture Studies: An E-Journal of Critical Thought:  http://mormonscripturestudies.com/boabr/eha/abrhor.asp (2001)
  • (10)  Rhodes, Michael D., The Hôr Book of Breathings: A Translation and Commentary,  Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (2002)

12 comments:

D said...

this is very interesting. thanks so much for posting.

Anonymous said...

This does nothing to attack or disprove Mormonism. My BYU professor in the early 1980s said the exact same thing - that the documents themselves were not direct translations because, translated, they say nothing Joseph said they did. He theorized that Smith was using the manuscripts as a conduit to receive revelation directly from God and when he was "translating," he was receiving revelation. Joseph did not distinguish between the two acts. Obviously, you don't agree, but you have to recognize that mainstream Mormonism has known this for 30+ years.

Arthur Rangel said...

If the "translation" as everyone calls it was merely a revelation from on high to the mind of Joseph Smith and not a direct rendering of the text of the papyrus into English..then why did Joseph Smith go through the painstaking task of writing a "Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language"?

Also, just curious, but why did Joseph Smith write: ". . . with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc. -- a more full account of which will appear in its place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them. Truly we can say, the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth." (History of the Church, 2:235-236)

He said the rolls themselves contained the writings of Abraham... Joseph Smith DID NOT SAY that "the [rolls were] a conduit to receive revelation directly from God." (Anonymous May 8, 2012 6:30:00PM)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that I have had an open mind enough to allow the Lord to direct me to the truth of what is was and is to be... I'm grateful that i had been humbled enough to earnestly seek Him and come to know the truth of these things without having to base my faith upon what any man or the world tells me. I can ask God and have the confidence of knowing that He will answer me just as He has done every time for me in the past upon deciding to repent and follow the commandments with an eye single to His will and His glory. I know the book of mormon is a historical journal of our predecessors... I'm a living witness to the fact that we can each come to know the truth if we are open minded and truly seeking by revelation given by God. May you seek Him and find comfort and joy in finding the truth for yourselves.

Ye Olde Wielder O' Projects said...

In my opinion there is an altogether excessive assumption among most of my fellow LDS people that Joseph Smith was nearly omniscient, i.e.- that he understood the nature of his revelations as well as the content thereof. What we do know is that he was a conduit ... a prophet ... a revelator. What we do not know is how well he himself understood the nature of the things that were revealed to him.

I for one am not entirely convinced that what he saw in the Urim and Thumim (or hat in which the stones were placed) what an exact translation of the words written. Rather, I'm willing to entertain the thought that the Book of Mormon is the most true of any book simply because:
1) It came directly from God, and describing it to Joseph as a translation of the plates in order to more easily prepare his mind to be in a state where the messages therein could be given.
2) Is the exact story of the previous inhabitants on a symbolic level. This may seem oxymoronic (exact and symbolic), but I do not see a conflict there myself ... something that is an exact and perfect symbol of an event is nonetheless both exact and symbolic.

Could not this also be the case with the BoA?

I suppose my suggestion here will not sit well with those who'd say that God was then fooling Joseph or lying to him ... but was the book of Genesis a lie, or was the earth until the creation of Adam really a 7 day event or symbolic of 7 creative periods. Why not then couldn't "translation" be equally symbolic of the process that goes on in the mind of a process when he translates God revealed truth into english?

Sometimes I think we'd be better off if we focused more on the message than the plates or the papyrus and perhaps we could if these were some concepts that we embraced. Certainly the evidence seems to support this thesis.

Ye Olde Wielder O' Projects said...

This is also a good read on the subject:
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=48

It doesn't seem that this "complete translation" adds anything new that render's Nibley's arguments invalid.

I still maintain however my original thesis that the whole process of translation is closer to revelation than translation, and whether or not Joseph Smith himself was aware of that fact at the time seems inconsequential to me. God regularly does lots of things under the guise of something else, for our own good, and I believe we often (and perhaps usually) never even find out the truth, because the greater and more important truth is God's purpose for us.

Noozboy.com said...

Desiring to keep an open mind to the possibility that Joseph Smith actually translated the Book of Abraham from the papyrus in question, I read a book years ago entitled, "Written by the Finger of God". The book suggests that Hebrew scholars working in the court of Pharaoh necessarily hid their teachings within Egyptian documents by encapsulating ("hiding") Hebrew characters within the hieroglyphics themselves.

Joseph himself mentioned "hidden languages" when setting apart Warren Parrish as one of his scribes for translating the BoA. He said, "Behold, it shall come to pass in his day, that he shall see great things show forth themselves unto my people. He shall see much of my ancient records, and shall know of hidden things, and shall be endowed with a knowledge of hidden languages."

After sharing the above quote, the book's author asks, "Just what is a hidden language and where does God hide them? He hides languages within other languages."

He then quotes Joseph's comment about the papyri in the History of the Church, "The record of Abraham and Joseph, found with the mummies, is beautifully written on papyrus, with black and small part red, ink or paint, in perfect preservation. The characters are such as you find upon coffins of mummies, hieroglyphics, etc.; with many characters of letters like the present (though probably not quite so square) form of the Hebrew without points."

The author of Written By The Finger of God then goes on to use Joseph's "Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" to explore the possibility that the BoA was hidden within the Book of Breathings.

Were I a professor studying this topic, I might be inclined to explore this possibility before jumping to the conclusion that Joseph's translation was fraudulent.

Noozboy.com said...

Desiring to keep an open mind to the possibility that Joseph Smith actually translated the Book of Abraham from the papyrus in question, I read a book years ago entitled, "Written by the Finger of God". The book suggests that Hebrew scholars working in the court of Pharaoh necessarily hid their teachings within Egyptian documents by encapsulating ("hiding") Hebrew characters within the hieroglyphics themselves.

Joseph himself mentioned "hidden languages" when setting apart Warren Parrish as one of his scribes for translating the BoA. He said, "Behold, it shall come to pass in his day, that he shall see great things show forth themselves unto my people. He shall see much of my ancient records, and shall know of hidden things, and shall be endowed with a knowledge of hidden languages."

After sharing the above quote, the book's author asks, "Just what is a hidden language and where does God hide them? He hides languages within other languages."

He then quotes Joseph's comment about the papyri in the History of the Church, "The record of Abraham and Joseph, found with the mummies, is beautifully written on papyrus, with black and small part red, ink or paint, in perfect preservation. The characters are such as you find upon coffins of mummies, hieroglyphics, etc.; with many characters of letters like the present (though probably not quite so square) form of the Hebrew without points."

The author of Written By The Finger of God then goes on to use Joseph's "Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" to explore the possibility that the BoA was hidden within the Book of Breathings.

Were I a professor studying this topic, I might be inclined to explore this possibility before jumping to the conclusion that Joseph's translation was fraudulent.

Anonymous said...

How is there any getting around this? The texts do not correspond, AT ALL, with what JS claimed they contain. There is not a single non-LDS Egyptologist who is willing to back the official JS translation--not ONE. They can't, because they know it is wrong! Furthermore, the idea that the texts weren't "translated" but rather "conduits" is NOT consistent with what JS claimed, and is only a recent invention of the LDS, an attempt to explain what cannot be explained. Additionally, ALL of the identifications that JS made regarding the images (facsimiles) are wrong! He had no idea what he was doing--it is clear. He was literally just making it up as he went along.
Look likewise at the timing. A few years after JS starts his polygamy and many gods ideas--and pre-existence, etc---he conveniently discovers a text which "backs" all of his own revolutionary ideas that he'd been integrating into his personal life for years previously.
Lastly, in regards to a greater Mormon philosophical quagmire, and just to totally forget the Egyptology side, the BoA contains a direct dialog from God to Abraham wherein God is instructing Abraham to LIE. TBM's: think about this. This is a really, really big deal: lying is, in all circumstances, fundamentally immoral and incompatible with reason; even when arguments for expediency might be tried, those arguments never (and cannot) claim that there is a positive moral quality to lying, but rather they are human attempts to balance a "lesser evil". When God instructs certain behavior, the moral quality is based on obedience to that demand: when the demand itself is incompatible with morality, God is contradicting Himself. How can that be possible, that God contradicts God? Simple: it isn't possible--which is why you will find NO such demands anywhere in actual holy scripture. Neverminding the Egyptological hurdles that the BoA cannot surpass, this philosophical hurdle should have been (and likely was) evidence for saints, even at the nascence of the BoA publishings, that something wasn't right here! "God said WHAT?!" I don't know how many saints left after the BoA was published, but those who respected truth and defended God surely would have recognized such an invention as a red flag, and likely fled. Why is this itself not reason enough to throw the whole thing to the flames?

Anonymous said...

I am very thankful for this work. Even if it turns out to be a relatively mundane text. In terms of American religious history it is terribly important. Religious people (such as myself) are rarely presented with evidence that directly contradicts a core belief. Usually, especially when it involves faith in an detail of ancient history, we can reason that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (e.g., the Exodus or the Resurrection).

But this is a clear and direct contradiction of claims made by Joseph Smith and the LDS Church. It shows that Joseph Smith's claims of translating these papyri were factually false. I cannot help but make the inference that he was knowingly attempting to deceive.

I suppose true Mormon believers can reason (as some have in the comments above) that the papyri were just conduits for revelation. But it must be extremely difficult to honestly believe that, given that Joseph Smith explicitly said he was "translating" those very hieroglyphs, and even composed a fictitious grammar based on them. It has to create a terrible cognitive dissonance in the faithful Mormon. My concern is that Mormons will read this and it will be the last straw that breaks their faith. I'm not Mormon, so I think that it is a good thing. But it would be a tragedy to throw out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak, and proceed to abandon Jesus and God altogether. I hope they will explore options beyond the LDS. Try going to a Pentecostal church!

Anyways, great work by the Egyptologists!

Retired Research Scholar said...

Thanks "Ye Olde Wielder O' Projects" for the Nibley reference. As a retired professional researcher and scholar, I have long since learned that the approach and methodology of critics says far more about them, the author, than it does about what they are critiquing. After having worked with many Egyptologists in Egypt, etc., it is obvious that you can find just about any type of translation or interpretation that you want to find.

Anonymous said...

Since many or most symbols and words, especially in Hebrew and Egyptian, have multiple meanings and applications, some of which having exact opposite meanings for the same word or symbol, naturally different scholars and Egyptologists can be expected to give variant translations for the same text. This I also found to be the case when I was working with Egyptologists in Egypt. But when one would-be-scholar claims that his is the ONE and only true translation, and therefore any other is false or wrong, that borders on being self-serving, at the one end of the pride spectrum, to uneducated at the other end, or the same end.

In addition, since the Apostle Peter instructed and warned against using private interpretation on scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21), to insist that any private interpretation of the BoA, or facsimile, is the only true interpretation, is to reject Peter's instruction and warning.

Now, I apply this analysis to myself, especially in view of Isaiah 55:8-9.