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Does Anyone Have a Problem With the Book of Abraham?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by dan, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    Just curious.
     
  2. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    A problem? No. A lot to learn? Yes.

    I'm taking a Pearl of Great Price class right now and it has been very interesting.

    Just curious - who do you want to debate this with and what are you trying to debate?
     
  3. Linus

    Linus Well-Known Member

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    Unless I'm missing something completely, I don't tink I have ever heard of it...

    What is it?
     
  4. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    It's a book of LDS scripture. The story of how we got it is really strange (mummies being found in Africa and sold to Joseph Smith, etc). It isn't in the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants - rather it is in a smaller book called the Pearl of Great Price which was originally published in the mid-1800s as a missionary tract in England.

    Along with the Book of Abraham, the Pearl of Great Price also contains the Book of Moses, Joseph Smith Matthew, Joseph Smith History, and the Articles of Faith. Joseph Smith worked on an inspired version of the Bible. It was never cannonized and ended up in the posession of the Reorganized LDS church (which is now known as the Community of Christ and is headquartered in MO). Moses and Matthew came from this inspired version. JS-History is the Joseph Smith story and the Articles of Faith are a short description of what the church believes in as written by Joseph Smith for a newspaper article.

    I don't think that most people are familiar with these scriptures, so I don't know who would have a problem with them. Dan probably needs to let us know what he is trying to debate.

    Here is a link to the text of the Pearl of Great Price. It's a really short book, but has some very interesting doctrinal insight. Many of the more controversial teachings of the LDS church come from these scriptures:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/mor/pgp/

    Here is some more information on the Book of Abraham.
    http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/basic/doctrines/scripture/abraham/index.htm
     
  5. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    I ran across a bunch of sites claiming to debunk its authenticity. I wanted to see what everybody here thought.
     
  6. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    I've heard people on this site say things like that, but appearantly they won't come right out and debate it.
     
  7. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure they're lurking around here somewhere, but perhaps they smell a trap. That's usually the only thing that can curb their blood-lust.
     
  8. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    :biglaugh: It sure seems that way!
     
  9. Bennettresearch

    Bennettresearch Politically Incorrect

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    Hi Dan,

    Well I no sooner started reading it when this appeared in the first chapter.

    5 My fathers having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;

    :sarcastic Huh? A bit of displaced chronology here? How many years separate Moses and Abraham? It is no wonder to me why this book would be questioned.
     
  10. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    I'm slightly confused. what does the number of years have to do with anything?
     
  11. nutshell

    nutshell Well-Known Member

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    Can you please clarify your concern with the chronology? Abraham came before Moses and the "fathers...worshiping the gods of the heathen" does not refer to Israel and the golden calf. I'm not sure if that's what you're thinking of or something else.
     
  12. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    I guess you think it refers to the golden calf, but it does not. Read on.
     
  13. SoyLeche

    SoyLeche meh...

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    You are forgetting Enoch, Noah, and many other prophets that predate Moses. This isn't referring to the 10 Commandments.
     
  14. Bennettresearch

    Bennettresearch Politically Incorrect

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    Heelllllooooooooo!!!!

    If Abraham is talking about COMMANDMENTS then why was it Moses who brought them down from the mountain? It sounds like Abraham is writing this in the first person. I find it odd that these commandments wouldn't be found before Moses came along. That is the chronolgy.
     
  15. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    That would mean that there were no rules before Moses. God always had commandments, but He never had a nation of followers large enough to collectively give them to. It's not like the tablets had a chiquita banana label across them that said "Ten Commandments" and everyone said, "What's a commandment?"
     
  16. Bennettresearch

    Bennettresearch Politically Incorrect

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    Sorry Dan, no Cigar

    I stated what my question was and you did not manage to explain it. Ok, granted that the Commandments predate everything. I find it odd that there is a first person account of something that happened 400 years or so after Abraham died. Why is there no mention of them in the OT in Genesis?
     
  17. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    Well, it was the habit of the ancient Egyptians to copy and recopy texts down through the centuries. One thing that they make sure to do is preserve the original author as such. Everyone took great care to see that no author was robbed his rightful honor. One way they insured this was keeping everything in the first person. This is seen in the Apocrypha of Abraham, a work uncovered right about the turn of the century that smacks of Egyptian authorship. Although we have texts in several different languages, they all contain phrases and compounds unique to the ancient Egyptians. The really cool part is that the story in it (as well as in the Testament of Abraham) parallels the Mormon Book of Abraham with uncanny accuracy. All three speak of an angel of some sort bringing Abraham into God's presence so that he may be shown the creation of the world and the state of things. All three accounts have Abraham speaking in the first person (an Egyptian habit). The Apocrypha version is assumed to be of Essene origin (from right after the time of Christ). The Testament version is best preserved in a Slavenic text, and is put at right about the same time. Another cool thing is that the stories parallel the Egyptian book of the dead, as does the Book of Abraham. All three stories can be illustrated in the three facsimiles contained in the Mormon Book of Abraham. The story basically came out of Egypt and bounced around for a while before being copied down much later. The church got a lot of flack when Egyptologists discovered that the heiroglyphics Joseph Smith used in his translation were from the book of the dead. It turns out that book is more closely tied to Abraham than anyone could have guessed.

    Cigar?
     
  18. Bennettresearch

    Bennettresearch Politically Incorrect

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    Hi Dan,

    That's better, it explains a lot. If it is egyptian, is it coptic? I must admit, that I can see all kind of questions arising about this which is no doubt why it is controversial. Maybe I'll get back to you later on it.
     
  19. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    It's not coptic, it was written in hieroglyphic. Coptic is from a little later. Another interesting thing is the fact that Egyptian hieroplyphic had only been known for about ten years, and no one anywhere near Joseph Smith was among the privileged. Yet his translation of the papyri couldn't be a more accurate description of the facsimiles and texts.

    Coptic is really an interesting form of writing. Egyptian had three different kinds of writing, Hieroglyphic, Hieratic and Demotic. Hieratic was written with a brush and was to Hieroglyphic what handwriting is to typing. Demotic was to Hieratic as cursive is to print. The general public read Demotic mostly (Heiratic was for legal and business stuff) and over time Hieroglyphic became rather obscure. It was kinda like Aramaic and Hebrew during Christ's time. Coptic is writing Egyptian sounds with letters closely related to Greek. It took over at the beginning of the Christian period.
     
  20. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    One of the things that irks me is that most people recognize how contraversial it is and literally dismiss it without any research whatsoever. One of the first real efforts to discover the veracity of the Book of abraham was begun by a Bishop Spalding in 1912. He enlisted the help of five of the most learned men of all time. Unfortunately, their report consists of no real evidence of any kind. Some of the experts didn't even look at the book. Allow me to quote from the report.

    Their immediate conclusion is that the book is a hoax. This is stated without any presentation of evidence, only the following - "The authority of experts in any line of research is always accepted without questionunless there is grave reason to doubt their conclusion. There was no such reason here."

    The Mormon church offers several reasons hrough the Deseret Evening News, the New York Times criticized the News of "reviling scholars and scholarship" without presenting any more evidence than originally. B.H. Roberts made a petition for some evidence of research along with some evidence of his own to substantiate the Mormon claim. This was the response: "The failure of the Mormon replies is explained by the fact that the unanimous opinion of the scholars is unassailable. In the judgment of the scholarly world, therefore, Joseph Smith stands condemned of self-deception or imposition." Still no evidence is produced.

    A mr. R.C. Webb and a Mr. James Talmage (both Ph,D.s) offer evidence to support the Book of Abraham. Without examening the evidence this reply is sent back - "We feel that be in a better position to judge the value of the opinions of Robert C. Webb, Ph.D. if we were told definitely who he is. If Dr. Talmage would inform us what the author's real name is, where he received his degree, and what acedemic position he holds, we should be better able to estimate the value of his opinions." Someone asked Albert Einstein early in his career what it felt like to be the smartedt man in the world. He said, "I don't know. Ask James Talmage." That would be credentials enough for me, but the point here is that research is not what sways these gentlemen, but status and rank.

    Lastly, when Mr. Mercer was asked about the ease and efficiency with which the conclusion was reached he responded, "The haste was justified in the minds of thescholars by the simplicity of the task. Even less time could have been expended."​
    I hope I've shown that a deeper study is in order.​
     
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