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PART 2 In Studies of the 1912 Attack Against the Book of Abraham
The Spalding Argument
BY DR. FREDERICK J. PACK, DESERET PROFESSOR OF GEOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
IMPROVEMENT ERA 1913
[This article appeared in the Deseret News, Dec. 21, 1912, and is reproduced in the ERA by permission of the author.THE EDITORS.]
An article bearing the title "Joseph Smith, Jr., as a Translator," written by Dr. F. S. Spalding, bishop in Utah of the Episcopal church, has recently received a limited circulation among the Latter-day Saints. The manifest fairness of the inquiry and the apparently well founded conclusions came as somewhat of a surprise to the "Mormon" people. The Latter-day Saints are accustomed to criticism of a malicious and rancorous sort. Fairness and breadth have rarely characterized the investigations of the past. And consequently the apparent fairness shown by Dr. Spalding made far into the ranks of the Latter-day Saints a well prepared path along which the conclusions of his article might readily follow. And, so, for a moment, blinded as we were by the nature of his argument, some may have thought that the claims of the Latter-day Saints had been seriously shocked. A little distance, however, lends perspective to the whole matter. But before an examination of the value of the article is made we shall endeavor to give a synopsis of his argument.
In the opening paragraph of the article the writer states that "If the Book of Mormon is true, it is, next to the Bible, the most important book in the world." He then goes on to state that the world's knowledge would be greatly enriched if the claims of the Book of Mormon can be proved. (The present writer, however, does not share the opinion of Dr. Spalding that scientific theories would need serious readjustment because of it.) He gives credit for fairness on the part of the Latter-day Saints and mentions the names of a few individuals whom he regards as especially frank and intelligent. He deprecates the methods employed by the anti-"Mormon" investigator. He quotes extensively from "Mormon" publications, evidently for the purpose of instructing his readers in the nature of certain church records and the esteem in which they are held by the Later-day Saints.
He then turns to what appears to be the objective point of his argument, "Was the translation of the Book of Mormon correct?" He presents the testimony of Professor Anthon of New York as received from Martin Harris and published in the Pearl of Great Price. He gives the testimony of the Three Witnesses and also of the Eight Witnesses. He gives Joseph Smith credit for being logical in presenting the testimony of these witnesses instead of carrying the original records to learned men because of their inability at that time to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphics. He quotes from the Articles of Faith in which it is implied that the Latter-day Saints place the Book of Mormon upon a higher plane, from the standpoint of translation, than the Bible. In this, he says, they are not illogical. He has attempted to make it "clear to the reader that the correctness of the translation of the Book of Mormon is a most important question." He then affirms that "If the Book of Mormon was not a correct translation, and yet Joseph Smith thought that it came to him by inspiration and revelation from God, all thoughtful men cannot be asked to accept other revelations which Joseph Smith, Jr., asserted were also given to him by Deity." (The logic of this conclusion will receive attention later.)
He again asks this question, "Is the translation of the Book of Mormon correct?" He makes the statement that "Joseph Smith's competency as a translator of ancient languages can be ascertained in but one way. The original texts, together with their interpretations, must be submitted to competent scholars." (There is room for difference of opinion here. Let our friend tell us whether he considers that even the most intelligent human beings are always competent to sit in judgment upon God's work. There are individuals who feel that the analysis of Deity's plans cannot always be made by the use of acid, fire and the microscope. My friend Spalding, your logic may lead you into difficulties.)
He speaks of the unavailability of the original Book of Mormon records, and concludes by stating, "Our purpose will be served equally well if the other translations of the Prophet referred to can be examined, and fortunately one of these translations, together with the original manuscript, is available." He presents evidence relating to the nature and origin of the Book of Abraham, and for this purpose quotes extensively from the Church records. He then concludes by stating, "It is now clear that in the translation of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, known as the Book of Abraham, we have just the test we need of Joseph Smith's accuracy as a translator. The original text and the Prophet's translation are available for our investigation."
Dr. Spalding here very astutely expands his argument to include the whole Book of Abraham. His statement that "The original text with the Prophet's translation are now available for our investigation," is a very misleading one. In the first place, we do not have the original text, at most only three small fragments of it, in fact only the facsimiles of these fragments. In the second place these fragments cannot be considered as forming part of the text of the Book of Abraham.
He finally concludes that "If, in the judgment of competent scholars, this translation is correct, then the probabilities are all in favor of the Book of Mormon. If, however, the translation of the Book of Abrahom is incorrect, then no thoughtful man can be asked to accept the Book of Mormon, but, on the other hand, honesty will require him, with whatever personal regret, to repudiate it and the whole body of belief, which has been built upon it and upon the reputation its publication gave to its author."
He next presents from the Book of Abraham the facsimiles and their translation. Appended to the article are the statements of eight eminent Egyptologists. These authorities are almost a unit in declaring that the hieroglyphics reproduced in the Book of Abraham were not correctly translated by Joseph Smith, and that the facsimiles themselves are very poor copies of the original records. They disagree somewhat in their descriptions of details, but in the main their testimonies at first appear to present a rather formidable argument.
The reverend gentleman's argument, in a word, is this: Was the translation of the Book of Mormon correct? This can be answered only by submitting the original records to scientific men. In this case the records are not available. Joseph Smith claimed to have translated the Book of Abraham. Three fac-similes of this record are available. If scientists declare that Joseph Smith incorrectly translated these characters, not only the Book of Abraham, but also the Book of Mormon and the "whole body of belief" must be repudiated. To Dr. Spalding the testimony of the scientists is complete, and in consequence "Mormonism" must fall.
Now, I am quite sure that Dr. Spalding will concede to the Latter-day Saints a time for inquiry equal to that consumed by his investigation. Fairness would demand this. He has evidently written for opinions to a large number of scholars, and as a result has published eight statements, some of which disagree with respect to details. Without intentionally questioning the gentleman's integrity, it might be asked as to whether any disharmonious statements may have been received and not published. The Latter-day Saints have been forced to be skeptical because of the unfair methods employed in most of the so-called investigations of the past. But at any rate the Latter-day Saints themselves would like the privilege of obtaining the opinions of eminent scholars. But before conceding that the characters are not correctly translated they should like to see the Egyptologists much more united than they are at present.
They insist that it be constantly kept in mind that the conditions attending the translation of the Book of Abraham were far different from those attending the translation of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith had these Egyptian records in his possession for many years, and throughout that period he undoubtedly spent much time in STUDYING them. Following efforts to work out an Egyptian alphabet, he announced to his associates that he had been able to decipher some of the characters. It is evident that the translation came to him very largely as the result of persistent study, conditions far different from those attending the translation of the Book of Mormon. It is very important that we ascertain the extent to which Joseph Smith himself claimed divine inspiration in the translation of the Book of Abraham.
In a word, the Latter-day Saints insist that a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the claims of "Mormonism" be conducted, in which every possible obstacle will be removed. It is not the purpose of this paper, however, to undertake this inquiry or to analyze the testimonies of the eminent scholarsthat would require much time and study. The article will be examined from quite another point of view.
In order to clear the field of any possible objections, the reader is asked to imagine that a most comprehensive and exhaustive inpuiry has already been completed. Suppose that not only eight but that scores of scholars were united to a word in discrediting the claims of Joseph Smith as a translator of these Egyptian characters. Suppose that the scholars had become fully acquainted with the Egyptian language and could read the hieroglyphics with ease. Suppose that they had even found the identical manuscript employed by Joseph Smith. Suppose that it had been established to the entire satisfaction of all parties concerned that the characters were incorrectly translated. What then?
The analysis of Dr. Spalding's article was at this point interrupted by other demands upon the present writer's time. Criticism of a large packet of examination papers has just been completed. In order that no injustice be done, each answer has been carefully read and re-read, and as a result, in the judgment of the examiner, proper credit has been allowed. The test, of which these papers are the result, consisted of ten questions, each more or less independent, but all pertaining to the same general subject. At the close of the test period the students left the room affirming that the questions were proper ones, and that the information for which they called had been fully considered in class discussions. Several of the students were emphatic in the statement of their beliefs that in every detail they had correctly answered the questions.
And now the papers have been "corrected," and record has been made of the evidence upon which the standing of the various students is based. The results are interesting. Three out of a class of twenty-four have failed, and of the remainder four are graded "a", ten are graded "b," four are graded "c," and three are graded "d," Not a single student, in the judgment of the examiner, gave complete answers to all of the questions. Even those who were positive in the belief that they had met all of the requirements were found to have failed, in some things. Some students were deficient in one thing and some in anotherno two were alike. Some did well in the early part of the test and weakened later, while others began poorly and braced later, and still others were more or less flighty and erratic throughout.
An examiner, in order to be just, must read each question and give due credit for every detail. His opinion as to the student's grade must not be formed until the ten answers have been examined and the summaries made. If the first answer be found perfect the examiner is not by this justified in so marking the remaining nine, and if the first answer be found wrong the examiner proves himself unworthy of his position, if, at this stage, he pronounces the verdict of failure.
And so if our examiner be fair and unbiased he will read carefully every paragraph, every sentence and every line, and his conclusion will be based upon the evidence submitted. This custom follows the individual from the school room into the field of life. He is rated by those who know him according to what he is and the things he can do. In order to be adjudged great his successes must overshadow his failures. But sorry would be his condition in life if a single failure on his part would cause the repudiation of every one of his successes.
And yet, under what is termed the spirit of fairness, this is what Dr. Spaulding asks of the Latter-day Saints with respect to Joseph Smith.
It will be remembered that, for sake of argument, we have conceded to Dr. Spalding that his inquiry has conclusively shown that the fac-similies reproduced in the Pearl of Great Price were grossly misunderstood and mistranslated by Joseph Smith. In fact we have imagined that the inquiry was so perfect that no question could be raised concerning the conclusion that Joseph Smith had incorrectly translated the Egyptian characters. With this condition very far from being established Dr. Spalding states that "no thoughtful man can be asked to accept the Book of Mormon, but on the other hand, honesty will require him, with whatever personal regret to repudiate it and the whole body of belief, which has been built upon it and upon the reputation its publication gave to its author."
The reasoning employed by Dr. Spalding would require every Christian denomination to repudiate the translators of the Bible, and consequently the Bible itself. It seems now to be pretty well agreed that errors, at times more or less grave, were occasionally made during the work of translation. The translators were scholars and probably relied largely upon their linguistic attainments. But because they here and there made mistakes shall we deny that they possessed any knowledge of ancient languages? Let the reader say as to whether, because of this imperfection, we shall be justified in casting out the Bible and the "whole body of belief which has been built upon it." And shall we brand all those who will not repudiate it as ignorant and dishonest?
The jury in the box, following the method advanced by Dr. Spalding, would convict one accused of murder if it could be shown that he had been guilty of theftbecause once guilty always guilty. The method would call upon the friends of the accused to believe in his guilt and to repudiate whatever good he had done. Those who would not join in this denunciation would be classed among the ignorant and dishonest.
This method would require the Great Judge whom we all expect some day to meet, to brand every human being without an exception, as a failure, and not worthy of the least considerationbecause once wrong always wrong. Nay, it would require him to repudiate the work of his own hands and to cast all into outer darkness. The reader will undoubtedly turn with considerable relief from the consideration of a policy so completely lacking in the first elements of justice
It would be interesting to apply Dr. Spalding's method of reasoning to the results of an inquiry in which it had been shown that Joseph Smith was right. Let us suppose the case of a prophecy. The prediction with all of its essential details had been made many years before the occurrence of any of the events involved. The prophecy had been placed on record and the attention of the world called to it. It was of such a nature that an individual possessing even the keenest foresight could not have made it, unless he was inspired. Its fulfilment of lack of fulfilment would constitute a test of the prophet's claims.
Let it further be supposed that as years pass the events enumerated in the prediction actually occur and in the manner detailed in the prophecy. The events do not appear in a spectacular fashion, but rather as the result of the operation and development of things temporal. The events are well known and of sufficient importance to be recorded in important places in history. Then let it be supposed that the followers of the prophet call the attention of the world to the prediction and its fulfilment. In a word, suppose that they supply ample proof for every claim made.
And now our question, "What shall be the duty of the world with respect to this matter?" The reasoning adopted by Dr. Spalding would demand that "no thoughtful person can be asked to deny any prophecy made by this individual, but, on the other hand, honesty will require him, with whatever personal regret, to accept his prophecies and the whole body of belief which has been built upon them and upon the reputation their publication gave to their author." fn It may be a question in the minds of some whether Dr. Spalding would be willing to permit his rule to operate both ways. Perhaps some day he will inform us.
It might be interesting to make further suppositions with respect to this man Joseph Smith. Let us suppose that as far back as 1833 he claimed to have received through revelation what is termed a Word of Wisdom. Suppose that this Word of Wisdom counselled against the use of alcoholic liquors, tobacco and hot drinks (interpreted to mean caffein-bearing beverages), and against the use of meat, other than in "sparing" quantities, and that only in times of cold or excessive hunger. Suppose that this Word of Wisdom gave promise to all who complied with its teachings, and the other commandments, the blessings of stronger minds and healthier bodies, all of which would be accompanied by a marked reduction in the death rate. Suppose that this Word of Wisdom was given to the Church and published long before any serious scientific work had been done along the lines suggested. And further suppose that now for 80 years the members of the Church have fairly well complied with its teachings.
And then again let it be supposed that now some years after the appearance of the Word of Wisdom, temperance organizations begin to increase throughout the land having for their purpose abstinence from alcoholic beverages. Suppose that civic organizations and betterment leagues seriously discussed the matter. Suppose that the problem becomes so vital that the various states and cities throughout the United States find it necessary to enact more and more stringent laws pertaining to the sale and use of these alcoholic liquors. Suppose that several of the states enact absolutely prohibitory laws. Suppose that medical men almost as a unit decide that hereafter alcohol must not be used in the treatment of disease, except occasionally for external use. Suppose that criminoligists recognize it as one of the chief causes of crime. Suppose that leaders in commercial activity avoid the employment of habitual users. Suppose that life insurance companies report an increased death rate of 25 per cent among non-abstiners.
Suppose further that a few years after the publication of The Word of Wisdom scientists contemporaneously discover a poisonous alkaloid present in these so-called hot drinks. Suppose that it becomes known that an astringent substance is also present. Suppose that scientists declare that these hot drinks give rise to numerous ailments including constipation and kidney trouble. Suppose that the chief chemist in the employ of the United States, in an article written for a trade journal, state that if these beverages are not used in greater moderation the time will soon come when the people of the nation will rise up and legislate against them.
And again let it be supposed that the nicotine present in tobacco is recognized as a deadly poison and powerful depressant. Suppose that the use of tobacco is recognized by scientists as responsible for the presence of a multitude of physiological disorders. Suppose that coaches absolutely prohibit its use among athletes. Suppose that its use by students is invarialy associated with low scholarship. Suppose that among athletes of the most perfect type its use is associated with loss in lung capacity of practically 10 per cent. Suppose that judges in juvenile courts everywhere recognize it as the chief cause of juvenile delinquency.
And finally let it be supposed that many years after the publication of the Word of Wisdom the science of dietetics is recognized. Suppose that interest centers around the food requirements of the body. Suppose that scientists discover that in the large intestine proteids undergo pronounced purification. Suppose that it is recognized that autointoxication may result from intestinal putrifaction. Suppose that scientists insist that the proteids contained in meat give rise to this autointoxication. Suppose that it is quite generally agreed among scientists that the American people are eating altogether too much meat. Suppose that it is shown that the ingestion of large quantities of meat is responsible for numerous ailments. Suppose that it is declared by authorities that meat is more obnoxious in warm weather than in cold. Suppose that is shown in the experience of the United States army that the death rate among soldiers is very greatly increased through eating much meat in warm weather. Suppose that it is announced by the acknowledged greatest bacteriologist in the world that putrification in the intestines is largely responsible for old age and that through the elimination of this intestinal putrification old age may very materially be deferred.
In a word let it be assumed that scientists have completely vindicated the claims of the Word of Wisdom. What then will be the duty of the world with respect to Joseph Smith? The method employed by Dr. Spalding would require that mankind not only accept the Word of Wisdom but everything else which Joseph Smith claimed to have received through revelation. And, furthermore, those who did not join in this general acceptance would, by him, be classed among the thoughtless and dishonest.
With this singular reasoning adopted by our reverend friend the Latter-day Saints are forced to disagree. They have nothing inground into their natures more deeply than the statement of the Apostle Paul, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good," "Mormonism" does not feel that in justice it can ask the world to accept all of its claims because a single point has been demonstrated. Some individuals require more evidence than others. All that "Mormonism" can ask is an unbiased investigation. It does not want to be finally adjudged upon the outcome of only one point. It asks, it demands, a complete investigation.
Anything short of this would result unfairly. To illustrate. Suppose that the first inquiry result in proving that Joseph Smith was, in that instance, wrong. Or suppose that chance designed that in the first instance he was found to be right. These facts prove two things only; in the first instance he was wrong, and in the second instance he was right, nothing more. They prove absolutely nothing with respect to other of his operations. It is true, however, that if he be found wrong in instance after instance, inferential evidence would lead one to believe that he was wrong in the majority of cases. (This rule will work both ways). But in order to prove that he was entirely wrong and that the "whole body of belief" should be repudiated, every case must be examined upon its own merits.
In the opinion of the writer, the Latter-day Saints should not, and for that matter do not, maintain that Joseph Smith was infallible. He was human and possessed human weaknesses and human faults. Being such, he was undoubtedly here and there mistaken. His followers claim, however, that his weaknesses were few and his virtues many. According to Christian belief, the Son of God was the only perfect man to grace the earth by his presence. If then, because of his weaknesses, we dismiss Joseph Smith, the prophets of ancient times must likewise go.
Shall it be argued that because a man receives divine help at one time that he is always inspired? or the converse, that because he may at one time have been led by Satanic influences that he is always evil? If so, the virtues of Christianity are at an end. Does it follow that because a man thinks that he is right at one time, and so proclaims himself, but is later shown to be wrong, that he is invariably wrong? We do not judge temporal things in that manner. No Christian ever lived who was guided in every act of his life by divine effulgence. And occasionally he was wrong when he thought that he was right.
If through future investigation, therefore, it can be shown that Joseph Smith was absolutely wrong in his translation of the characters reproduced in the Pearl of Great Price, shall we say that his other works of translation are wholly wrong? Or shall we be justified in going so far as to state that the remaining part of the Book of Abraham is wrong? In the judgment of the writer, reason scoffs at the intimation of an affirmative reply.
The best men the world has ever known have here and there made mistakes. There have been no exceptions. Scientists, philosophers and religionists alike have all erred. Would it not be suicidal to repudiate the work of mankind because of these occasional mistakes? Yet the method of sweeping denunciation advanced by Dr. Spalding would require that it be done, and that all who would refuse to follow in this senseless slaughter would be branded as ignorant and dishonest.
From the writer's point of view it is not only probable but possible that the world's greatest prophets have now and again made mistakes. Prophets are human beings whose minds are illuminated by divine intelligence, the degree of illumination varying with the responsiveness of the human spirit. Some prophets have approached perfection much closer than others, but absolute perfection for a life time is never realized in the flesh.
And so it should not only be conceded but urged that Joseph Smith may have made mistakes. (Whether mistakes were made in the translation of the Egyptian characters as reproduced in the Pearl of Great Price is not under discussion here.) Any other attitude would argue for his infallibility, a condition which the present writer does not accept, either for Joseph Smith or for the prophets of old. If the works of Joseph Smith were being investigated with fairness equal to that employed by the examiner in the college, or the jury in the court, he would not be adjudged a failure or convicted because a single error might have been found.
And so we ask the question, "What has Dr. Spalding's inquiry shown?" The incompleteness of the inquiry was pointed out early in this paper, but if the argument be accepted as complete and final, what then does it show? It gives an illustration of ONE case in which Joseph Smith was wrong. It shows that he was not infallible, a condition long held by the Latter-day Saints. He was mortal and his followers knew it. They asserted, however, that his strength very greatly predominated over his weaknesses. If this case proves to be one in which Joseph Smith was mistaken the Latter-day Saints want to know it, and furthermore they will assist in investigating it. They have not thought of this particular instance as being a mistake, but if final investigation so proves it, they can accept the conclusion without in any way disturbing their confidence in the multitude of cases in which they know that he was right. They have appealed to the world to investigate the claims of their religion, and stand ready to accept the results. But, mark you, these results must not be based upon the kind of reasoning employed by Dr. Spalding.
The inquiry ends, therefore, with the case in hand. It cannot be considered as applying to the text of the Book of Abraham, to say nothing of the Book of Moses also contained in the Pearl of Great Price. The absurdity of making sweeping conclusions has already been pointed out. The hope of testing the translation of the Book of Mormon by this particular inquiry has led Dr. Spalding far afield.
It would be a very great source of pleasure to the Latter day Saints if the world would appoint a committee consisting of wise and honest men whose duty would be prayerfully and impartially to investigate the claims of "Mormonism." The committee could pass on each claim independently, until the list was exhausted. Then summaries could be made and the verdict rendered. The Latter-day Saints, I am convinced, would be more than willing to submit their religion to such a test. They would not, however, be willing to have it declared wholly wrong because of a very small number of errors. (Exists there a religious body who would?) No just and impartial judge would require it of them. They themselves do not look upon it as being faultless. It has come from God through human hands. They claim that it came as a revelation of God to man, and that here and there within it there are probably the finger prints of mortality. If man, the medium through which it came, had been perfect, the religion would have been perfect. The Latter-day Saints do claim, however, that "Mormonism" is the most nearly perfect religion upon the face of the earth, far from excepting that espoused by the writer of the pamphlet under question.
The reader is now asked to imagine the publication of a pamphlet bearing the title "Napoleon Bonaparte, as a General; an Inquiry." The first pages told of the sincerity of the general and the devotion of his followers. It also spoke of their fairness and integrity. And near the close of the argument the author stated that if it could be shown that Napoleon had made a mistake in one battle all other claims relating to his generalship would thereby be destroyed. To the pamphlet were appended the statements of a number of competent officers to the effect that Napoleon had made a mistake at Waterloo. The author then called upon all men to repudiate Napoleon not only at Waterloo but elsewhere, and finally branded all who would not do so as ignorant and dishonest.
Reader, what would be the nature of the reception of this pamphlet? Would the reasoning of its author convince mankind that Napoleon was not a general in any sense of the term and should be repudiated, or would the author of the pamphlet be regarded with some degree of pity and quickly forgotten?
(Note: The present writer is by no means convinced that Joseph Smith incorrectly translated the Book of Abraham. An article dealing with this phase of the subject will follow later.)
BY JUNIUS F. WELLS
[On December 19 the following appeared in the Deseret News, which the author has permitted the ERA to reprint.THE EDITORS.]
Editor Deseret News:
Dear SirI read with deep interest the editorial review in Tuesday's paper of Bishop Spalding's treatise upon the cuts of the original drawings of the Book of Abraham and was particularly pleased with your wise and clever comments upon the discrepancies and differences of the world's eminent savants in their respective interpretations of the Egyptian hieroglyphics and hypocephali that have been so variously and learnedly deciphered by them.
It reminded me of an inquiry I had the opportunity of instituting while in London in 1903. Through the favor of Hon. James W. Barclay, M. P., a publicist of considerable note and friend of many of England's foremost investigators in the field of archaeological research, and who took a keen interest in the matter, I had the Pearl of Great Price, containing these cuts and Joseph Smith, the Prophet's interpretation of them sent first to Sir Flinders Petrie, who, however, being away from London, could not then be reached, and secondly to Dr. Henry Woodward, F.R.S., who, after examining it himself, passed it on to the very celebrated Dr. E. A. W. Budge, head of the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities of the British Museum for many years; the author of a voluminous History of Egypt; of the Dictionary of the Book of the Dead, and of numerous works upon the language, religion, poetry and mysticism of ancient Egypt and Assyria. I also, having cards of introduction, presented the Pearl of Great Price personally at the museum to Dr. Lloyd, keeper of Assyrian antiquities. He, however, merely glanced at the engravings and, observing that the characters were Egyptian, told me to take it in to Dr. Budge. As the latter was not in his office, I was not able to have the pleasure of a personal interview.
The purpose of this inquiry was to secure the opinion of those learned in ancient Egyptian writings of the genuineness and meaning of these cuts. In response I received letters written by Drs. Woodward and Budge. Mr. Barclay's comment after reading them and handing them to me was that there appeared to be room enough in the difference of their interpretations to admit Joseph Smith's to at least an equal footing with them.
These letters are as follows:
129 Beaufort St.,
Chelsea, S. W.
October 10, 1903.
My dear Mr. Barclay:
Papyri and the literature thereof are all at Bloomsbury, so I have sent your request on to my friend, Dr. Ernest A. T. W. Budge, keeper of Egptian, and Assyrian antiquities, to reply to and I hope he will do so. Savigny wrote the account of the first Napoleon's Egyptian campaign and in it are papyri (drawn) before the year 1870. I think all Smith's drawings are very bad copies of early genuine papyri engravings which he must have seen somewhere. His interpretations are of course all rubbish! Abraham being sacrificed by Elkanah is an embalmer, knife in hand, preparing to disembowel a dead body to embalm it! and the gods are a row of mummypots.
Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities,
London, W. C.
No. 4272 9.10.03
My dear Sir:
No. 1 is an imitation of the scene from the Book of The Dead in which Anubis stands by the side of the deceased on his bier. The interpretation is bosh.
No. 2 is from one of the hypocephali. I should say copied from the late Dr. Birch's papers. The interpretation is likewise bosh.
No. 3 is adoration of Osiris by some deceased person. It is a falsified copy.
The letter press is as idiotic as the pictures, and it is clearly based on the Bible and some of the Old Test. Apocryphal histories.
I return the book and the letters herewith.
Yours very truly,
E. A. W. BUDGE.
Dr. Henry Woodward, F. R. S.
I forwarded all the correspondence to President F. M. Lyman, then at Liverpool, for his perusal and comment, and take pleasure in quoting from his reply:
42 Islington. Liverpool,
October 16. 1903.
I fully endorse your estimate of the findings of Doctors Budge and Woodward, I hope Mr. Barclay observes that the learned Doctors are as adverse to each other as they are to the Prophet. They concede that the characters are copies of genuine originals even if they are poorly executed. They can be read by them. This in favor of the candor of the Prophet. Now we have three readings and two must stand condemned for rendering a corpse with eyes open and limbs raised up.
Of the three readings there can be only one correct. The learned readings must be wrong, and the Prophet's may be right. It has this merit, it is reasonable, which cannot be said of the others. It is most fortunate that you obtained the two readings.
Preserve the documents and let them go home and they will be profitable to us.
At President Lyman's request Elder Joseph J. Cannon, his assistant in the Liverpool office, also wrote me in part as follows:
Oct. 16, 1903.
President Lyman suggested my writing you regarding the letters from Doctors Woodward and Budge.
We were very much struck by their unity in declaring the Prophet's interpretation bosh, rubbish, and the extremely wide difference between their own interpretations.
Dr. Woodward says: "Abraham being sacrificed by Elkanah is an embalmer knife in hand preparing to disembowel a dead body to embalm it!"
Dr. Budge says: "No. 1 is an imitation of the scene from the Book of the Dead in which Anubis stands by the side of the deceased on his bier."
Anubis was the deity, according to Egyptian mythology, that escorted the spirits of the departed to their abiding place. With this divergence of opinion among the learned, we think it not unreasonable to accept the Prophet's views. As you remarked, the reclining figure looks anything but like a corpse.
Dr. W. writes "the gods are a row of mummy-pots!" That may be, but the sacred mummy-pots would themselves be objects of adoration, and the top, at least is formed into characteristic shapes. Their difference of form indicates that they represent something.
Dr. Budge thinks that No. 2 is from the late Dr. Birch's papers. I could find none of Dr. Birch's early writings in the public library here. I found a list of them, however, and they might be examined at the British Museum.
As this inquiry with its responses from Egyptologists of eminence quite equal to those Bishop Spalding quotes, antedates the latter's inquiry by ten or a dozen years, it at least serves to show that we have not been lax, nor afraid to learn from whatever light the wisdom of the world might throw upon the illustrations of the Book of Abraham and their translation by the Prophet Joseph.
Believing the above might prove of interest to your readers and that it should find the permanence of publication, I take pleasure in submitting it for your use and comment.
JUNIUS F. WELLS,
Salt Lake City, 19th December, 1912.
Bishop Spalding's Jumps in the Logical Process
BY JOHN HENRY EVANS, OF THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS' UNIVERSITY
"In almost every act of our perceiving faculties," says John Stuart Mill, "observation and inference are intimately blended. What we are said to observe is usually a compound result of which one-tenth may be observation and the remaining nine-tenths inference."
If we substitute the word "fact" for the word "observation" in this passage, we shall have a most accurate description of the logical process involved in the pamphlet on "Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator," by Bishop F. S. Spalding, of the Utah Episcopal church. Fact and inference are here so "intimately blended" that special attention to this phase of the question is needed before one can appreciate the numerous errors in the reasoning process. And so I shall undertake in this brief article to point out where links are missing in the bishop's chain of reasoning.
Bishop Spalding submits to eight Egyptologists the three fac-similes in the Book of Abraham with explanations by the Prophet Joseph Smith, for the purpose of getting their opinions as to whether they were translated correctly. The scholars answer substantially that they were not correctly translated. That is the fact. What is the inference drawn from the fact? That the Book of Abraham as a whole was not translated correctly! Is this leap in the logical process warranted?
For the benefit of those who are afraid of the scholars, let me say that this leap is not made by the eight learned men. They tell us only that the figures submitted to them were not translated correctly. Before they would be warranted in saying that the entire Book of Abraham was not properly translated, they would have to examine the original papyrus, or a copy of it, from which the Book of Abraham was translated. The inference therefore is wholly the bishop's, so that we are not here bucking the scholarship of the special scholar but rather the logic of the logician; and nobody has a corner on reasoning. Now, as a matter of fact, the hieroglyphics submitted to the scholars constitute less than one-seventh of the Book of Abraham and that only an accompaniment of the text. The question therefore, becomes, "Is any one justified in drawing a conclusion respecting an entire manuscript from a statement which was made with respect only to a very small part of that manuscript?"
The scholars are practically agreed that the hieroglyphics are badly copied. If so, and there is ample room for doubt of that, may not some part of the learned men's observations concerning them point to the conclusion that the translator was a poor copyist rather than a poor translator? This appears to be the more probable from the fact of differences in the interpretation of the scholars. And then, too, may it not be possible that these particular hieroglyphics present peculiar difficulties? For every one knows, who has done any work in translation, that not all parts of a given literary production are of the same ease in the translation. And the uninitiated in the lore of the ancient Egyptians would naturally imagine that the unevenness would be still greater in hieroglyphic writing.
I do not wish to claim too much for my point. I do not say definitely and positively that this is so. But I do insist that the doubt thus thrown on the bishop's inference makes it impossible for him reasonably to build so high a superstructure as he does on so frail a foundation. The inference is clearly unwarranted.
In the next place, the bishop declares that, since the translation of the Book of Abraham was incorrect, and since also the inspiration in the translation of the Book of Mormon, and that of the Book of Abraham were the same, therefore the Book or Mormon, too, was incorrectly translated. This is a longer jump in the logical process than the one I have just pointed out. And here again I ask, "Is the inference warranted?"
The inference here turns on the point, Was there a sufficient difference between the translation of the Book of Mormon and the translation of the Book of Abraham to weaken or destroy the reasonableness of this inference? If it can be shown that there is a single difference in an essential particular, then the inference falls to the ground.
A vital difference in the mode of translating the two books lies in the directness of the inspiration, in the case of the Book of Mormon, as compared with the Book of Abraham. In the translation of the Nephite record the Prophet used the Urim and Thummim; in the case of the Abrahamic manuscript there is no mention of any direct means in the translation. Then again Joseph expressly says that he studied the writings of the ancient Patriarch for the purpose of constructing a grammar of the language. Moreover, he was at work on the papyrus intermittently from February, 1835, to the same month in the year 1842a period of seven years. Do not these facts, which the bishop admits inferentially, point to the greater use of the Prophet's own resources in the translation of the Book of Abraham than was the case in the translation of the Book of Mormon? And is not this difference sufficient to invalidate the reasoning of Bishop Spalding?
In saying this, I am not denying the inspiration in the translation of the Book of Abraham. I am merely emphasizing a distinction, well known to the bishop as a theological student; namely, that between direct revelation and inspiration. But the fact that there was an essential difference between the translation of this record and the Book of Mormon destroys the force of the bishop's reasoning that the Nephite volume was incorrectly translated because the Book of Abraham contains errors in the translation.
A third false inference lies in the transition from the thought, "Joseph Smith was not an inspired translator," to the thought, "Therefore the Latter-day Saints to be consistent are required to 'repudiate' not only the Book of Mormon but also the whole body of belief, which has been built upon it." There are two points here that deserve consideration.
The first is the bishop's queer blunder that the whole body of the "Mormon" belief is built upon the Book of Mormon. For this is the only meaning I can give to the phrase. As a matter of fact, the Book of Mormon bears no more basic a relation to the work known as "Mormonism" than the other visions and revelations given in this dispensation. The body of belief of the Latter-day Saints, in addition to the Book of Mormon, is built upon (1) the vision of the Father and the Son to the prophet, (2) the appearing to him of John the Baptist, (3) the visitation of Peter and James and John, (4) the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants, and (6) the oral and written teachings of the prophet during the years of his personal ministry. If the Nephite record had not been revealed at all, in this dispensation, it is doubtful whether the body of "Mormon" belief would in any essential particular be different from what it is. I do not say this in disparagement of the Book of Mormon nor in a spirit of criticism of the way in which our dispensation was ushered in, for there appear what to me are sufficient reasons for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon at the time of its appearing; but I call attention to the fact as showing how little the whole body of belief of the Latter-day Saints really depends on the revelation of the Nephite record. It would be impossible to point out any writing in the Church literature that is so simple and clear on the principles of the gospel, and the "Mormon" elders find in it a great storehouse of lucid exposition: still it is far from being the structural foundation of our body of belief that the bishop's words require.
The second point is this: Suppose that the whole body of belief of the Latter-day Saints were built upon the Book of Mormon, would it therefore follow that this body of belief ought to be repudiated on the hypothesis that the Nephite record was not translated correctly? Is this inference logically drawn?
Once a man gets an idea, or a system of ideas, it does not matter, so far as philosophical or practical purposes are concerned, where or how he got them. The only questions we may properly ask about them are, are they true? are they consistent with one another? do they produce good results in the lives of those who accept them? Here, for instance, is the idea of honesty. You have applied it in your life, and have felt its uplifting effects. Suppose, now it could be shown that the man who first got the idea was self-deceived. Would you therefore have to repudiate the idea? And yet according to Bishop Spalding's reasoning the results of this principle, in your life, would count for nothing as compared with the questions where did you get honesty? how did you come by it?
The same test should be applied to the whole body of "Mormon" belief before we are asked to repudiate it on the grounds proposed by the bishop. The Church has now been in existence long enough to have borne fruit. Is this fruit good or not? I can only indicate the line of thought to be followed in the casting up of results. There is, for example the material prosperity "Mormonism" has created in the body of its adherents. The substantial qualities of industry thrift, strength, fortitude, courage, have been enforced and reinforced by the Church. The history of civilization proves these to have brought everywhere good fruit, and any one who is acquainted with the "Mormon" people knows that these virtues are both taught and practiced by the Latter-day Saints. A Gentile banker in Salt Lake City declared not long ago that he preferred to hire boys from "Mormon" homes because of the practical teachings they have received there. Then there is the great organization known as the "Mormon" Church, conceded to be one of the most remarkable in the world. Tested by efficiency in doing its work, it does not stand in any pressing need of "readjustment." And finally there is the large and consistent body of doctrine of the Church, with its splendid outlook on life. Will the bishop tell us precisely in what respect and how much of all this it is necessary for us to "repudiate" or "readjust?" Judged by results, it seems to be a very satisfactory body of belief, indeed!
What then is the sum of the whole matter? This: We are asked to "readjust" the body of our belief because Joseph Smith its early founder was not an inspired translator; who was not an inspired translator of the Book of Mormon, because he did not translate correctly the Book of Abraham; and the reason why we know he did not translate the Book of Abraham correctly is that learned men say he did not translate correctly a very small part of that book! Here is a string of inferences for you! The conclusion is out of all proportion to the first fact. What a crushing burden the innocent and diverse testimony of those eight scholars is made to carry! Overlooking all the evidential facts in favor not only of the divinity of the Book of Mormon but also of the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the bishop has gone on complacently piling inference on inference till he has a super-structure of argument that on first glance is really disconcerting. But never was a conclusion more tortuously reached. Never was man asked to give up a belief that satisfied him, on slighter grounds.
No intelligent Latter-day Saint will feel called upon to "repudiate" anything through any such process of reasoning as this of the Bishop's!
"The Book of the Dead."
BY LEVI EDGAR YOUNG, M. A.
"The Book of the Dead," said by some scholars to be the oldest book in the world, is a collection of writings on religion and morals, written and compiled in the earliest ages of Egyptian history. The authors of the collection of books were priests and prophets of the inhabitants of the Nile valley, whose civilization dates back at least four thousand years before Christ. One of the titles which the ancient Egyptians gave this book was "The Per-em-Hru," the translation of which has caused no end of controversy. Possibly the best interpretation of it is: "The Books of the Going Forth From Darkness to Light." These books were composed in something of the spirit as were the books of the Old Testament. They were to direct the children of the gods to their future life. Used for a period of over four thousand years, they were engraved in parts on tombs, obelisks, and monuments; and written on papyrus rolls, that were buried with the dead. They were also often engraved upon the walls of pyramids and the exteriors of sarcophagi. Many parts have been found engraven upon plates, of gold and brass.
In order to understand what influence the "Book of The Dead" had in the history of Egypt, it is necessary to know something about the different periods of Egyptian history.
There were two principal periods of Egyptian history, before the time of Christ. The first is called the Memphite period which lasted from about 4,000 B. C. to 2,500 B. C. The second was the Theban, which flourished at the time of Abraham's sojourn in Egypt. It was during the Memphite period that the pyramids were built, near the old city of Memphis, located near the mouth of the Nile river. At this time, the Egyptians built great irrigating canals and large reservoirs, and developed the science of astronomy and mathematics. They were taught the circumference of the earth, and its relation to the diameter, and computed the distance of the planets from the sun, which they regarded as the center of the universe. With all this knowledge of the Egyptians pertaining to Astronomy, it is interesting to note here that Abraham carried to them a still greater knowledge of the mathematical sciences, for Josephus, the historian of the Jews, says:
"For whereas the Egyptians were formerly addicted to different customs, and despised one another's sacred and accustomed rites, and were very angry one with another on that account, Abram conferred with each of them, and confuting the reasonings they made use of every one for their own practices, demonstrated that such reasonings were in vain and void of truth; whereupon he was admired by them in those conferences as a very wise man, and one of great sagacity, when he discoursed on any subject that he undertook: and this not only in understanding it, but in persuading other men also to assent to him. He communicated to them arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy: for, before Abram came into Egypt, they were unacqainted with those parts of learning: for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt, and from thence to the Greeks also."
They no doubt had beautiful buildings and carried on an extensive commerce and trade upon the Mediterranean sea, and with peoples further up the Nile. It was during this period that the "Book of The Dead" was compiled, for the Egyptians had a wonderful system of religion, and a high standard of ethics. They had their philosophers and magicians who have left us their writings and moral codes which are intensely interesting in that they show that those very ancient people had a high regard for morals. One of these manuscripts may now be seen in the national library at Paris. It is called the "Prisse Papyrus," and contains eighteen pages of beautiful writing in a latter Egyptian hieroglyphic. It is a copy of the Papyrus of "Ptah-Hotep," who was a royal prince of the Memphite period, and a teacher of high morals. He must have been a wealthy land owner and had many slaves and servants, whom he admonished to learn of the gods of men. Here is an example of what he has written:
"Do what thy master says to thee. Doubly good is the precept of our father, from whose flesh we come forth. What he says to us, let that be in our heart, so as to greatly satisfy him, that we may do more for him than he has said. Truly a good son is one of the gifts of God. ... For his master, he does what is satisfactory, putting himself with all his heart in that way, through that (i. e. by these lessons) shall be caused that thy body will be in health, that the king will be satisfied with thee under all circumstances, and that thou obtain years of life without failure. This has caused me to acquire upon the earth one hundred and ten years of life, with the gift of the favor of the king among the first of those that their works have made noble."
A few sentences taken at random are:
"Love for the work which they do, this brings men to God."
"If thou hast the position of a leader, making plans, go forth at thy will Do perfect things, which posterity will remember; not letting prevail words which multiply flatteries, raise pride, and produce vanity."
The central figure of the ancient Egyptian religion was Osiris. He was the god who presided over the destinies of men, and had control of death, the resurrection, and the souls and bodies of all children of the earth. It is in the 125th chapter of the "BOOK OF THE DEAD" that we obtain a splendid idea of the power of Osiris, and his influence as a god upon the thoughts of men. It contains the prayer which a deceased person made when he came into the hall of Maati, before the throne of Osiris. He said:
"Homage to thee, O great God, thou Lord of Truth. I have come to thee, my Lord, and I have brought myself hither, that I may see thy beauties. I know thee, I know thy name. I know the names of the two and forty gods, who live with thee in this hall of Maati, who keep ward over those who have done evil, who feed upon their blood on the day when the lives of men are reckoned up in the presence of Osiris. In truth I have come to thee. I have brought Truth to thee. I have destroyed wickedness for thee."
These words were followed by a statement of offenses which he had not committed. Some of them are as follows:
1. I have not sinned against men.
2. I have not wronged my kinsfolk.
3. I have not committed evil in the place of truth.
5. I have not committed acts of abomination.
7. I have not caused my name to appear for honors.
8. I have not domineered over slaves.
10. I have not defrauded the poor man of his goods.
13. I have caused no man to suffer.
14. I have allowed no man to go hungry.
15. I have made no man weep.
18. I have not filched the offerings in the temples.
24. I have not cheated in the measuring of grain.
25. I have not filched land, or added thereto.
26. I have not encroached upon the fields of others.
29. I have not taken away the milk from the mouths of babes.
38. I have not repulsed the god in his manifestations. I am pure. I am pure. I am pure. I am pure.
According to the belief of the Egyptians, every person consisted of three parts; a mortal corruptible body called the Cha; a living spirit called the Ba: and a protecting spirit, called Ka. At death Ba left the body in the form of a bird, but the Ka dwelt in the tomb with the body. At any time, it could enter the body and reanimate it. The Ka, however, might leave the tomb at times. The living spirit was to return in time for the clean and pure body. For this reason, the Egyptians embalmed the body as no other people in the history of the world.
"The Book of the Dead" explains all these beliefs, and the 125th chapter quoted above, is the most celebrated in giving one an understanding about the gods, and the ethical principles of the Egyptians. Osisris is the judge of the dead. He has a heaven for his dwelling place. He holds councils with his other gods, and not only rules the Nile valley, but other lands as well. "Certain of the gods sat as a court with Osiris, as the presiding judge, and judged and punished those men, who in the flesh acted contrary to the laws laid down by the good deities as to the proper duties of religion and morality."
"The Book of the Dead" consists of "a long series of spells, and incantations, and rhythmical formulae, which were recited by the priests for the benefit of the dead." But the book, taken as a whole, shows that the Egyptians had conceptions of the great fundamental laws of morality, such as truth, justice, etc. Life everlasting could only be obtained by those who had lived a righteous life upon the earth, and who had been declared to be speakers of the truth in the hall of Osiris.
There are four ancient editions of the "Book of the Dead:"
I. The first edition is in hieroglyphics, about 3,500 B. C., and is designated by scholars the Heliopolitan version. Five copies have been preserved upon the pyramid tombs of the Pharaohs.
II. The Theban version, of about 2,000 B. C., when Thebes was the center of Egyptian civilization. This was written upon papyri in hieroglyphs.
III. Another version similar to the Theban, written upon papyri in hieroglyphs and in the hieratic, or where the characters are joined together.
IV. The Saitic version, made about the year 600. The copies are written sometimes in hieroglyphs, at other times in the hieratic script.
An English translation of the book has recently appeared by Dr. E. A. Wallis Budge, keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian antiquities in the British museum. It has also been translated by German, French and Russian scholars into their respective languages. One can find a very good explanation of the book in any up-to-date history of Egypt, particularly in Dr. Isaac Myer's "Oldest Books in the World." The G. P. Putnams Sons Co. has recently issued a beautiful edition of the "Book of the Dead," edited in English by Charles H. S. Davis. The edition is well illustrated with 99 plates, reproduced in fac-simile from the Turin papyrus and the Louvre papyrus.
"Joseph Smith, Jr., as a Translator"
IMPROVEMENT ERA 1913
[This scholarly criticism by Dr. Webb, appeared in the Deseret News, January 18, and has been corrected by the author for the IMPROVEMENT ERA. The editor of The News introduced the article by the following note: "The author is a non-resident of Utah, and is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The article as received by The News was accompanied by the statement that the author had written it upon his own initiative, without request or suggestion from any member of the Church, and solely because of his interest in the subject, to which his attention had been drawn by the publication of the pamphlet by Episcopal Bishop F. S. Spalding, and comments thereon."THE EDITORS.]
A Critical Examination of the Fac-Similes in the Book of Abraham
BY ROBERT C. WEBB, PH. D.
The title of this review is also the title of a pamphlet recently issued by the Right Rev. F. S. Spalding, Bishop of Utah, "with the kind assistance of capable scholars," which embodies a discussion of the "Mormon" prophet's abilities as a translator of ancient dcoumentsincluding the Book of Mormon ("for the sake of argument")in the light of his apparent failure to rightly interpret certain Egyptian drawings, commonly included with and believed to illustrate, the Book of Abraham. Joseph Smith's failure to interpret these drawings is, presumably, established by the opinions of several prominent Egyptologists, who have been consulted by Bishop Spalding. These authorities, while differing among themselves in some details, all join in stating that Smith's interpretations are entirely wrong, and, in the words of one of their number a "farrago of nonsense." This looks very like a final disproof of the Prophet's claims, in this instance, at least, and has been received as such by a goodly portion of the public.
It is to be regretted that the Bishop's pamphlet is not in itself a more scholarly production, showing evidences of some original research on the matter in hand, in addition to the opinions of the several scholars quoted by him. We should then have been able to take his points, one by one, and analyze them. He has given us, however, only a few extremely general criticisms, the common kernel of which seems to be this, "Joseph Smith could have known nothing of Egyptian drawings; therefore he knew nothing." The scholars quoted evidently do not consider the CAUSE CELEBRE, Spalding VS. Smith, a matter of sufficient importance to warrant the giving of desirable details in their expert testimony, and, in lieu of these essential and interesting facts, which should have been presented, seem inclined to fill valuable space with sundry expressions of contempt at the efforts of a non-professional translator.
All this is a genuine disappointment to the candid reader, who, in view of the promises made before publication, had expected to find Smith's points discussed and attacked, one by one, until all were disposed of. If possible, one might then have presented available counter-proofs and arguments in rebuttal. But, as it is, the prosecution rests its case on the reputations and standing of its witnesses, rather than on what they have established as regards the matter at issue. Consequently, the argument of the defense is entirely constructive.
In view of all the adverse testimony at hand, what may be said on the other side of the present controversy? Has the defense a "leg to stand on?" Is there even a shadow of justification for the traditional explanations of the plates in question, as offered by, or attributed to Joseph Smith? In order to determine these issues, it will be necessary for the defense to do what Bishop Spalding or some one of his coterie of experts should have done at the starttake up each point in order, examine Joseph Smith's explanation, and determine, by research and reliance on the statements of competent scholars, precisely how far from, or how near to, the truth he has come in each and every case. That this is the proper course to follow is obvious when we consider that the trouble seems to be, not that they have given the defense too much to answer, but that they have not given enough. One and all they have said far too little for the good of the Bishop's cause.
In starting this discussion we must bear in mind that, as emphasized by several of Bishop Spalding's "capable scholars," the science of Egyptology began with Champollion's discovery of the key to hieroglyphic writing in 1822. Furthermore, we must not forget that the results of his discovery were not available to the world until the period, 1836-41, when his grammar was in course of publication. It is evident, then, as pointed out by Dr. Breasted, "that if Joseph Smith could read ancient Egyptian writing, his ability to do so had no connection with the decipherment of hieroglyphics by European scholars." Consequently, if Smith be found correct in more than one or two minor particulars, which should be evident to anyone, the inference is that his claim to extraordinary guidance seems in way to confirmation.
If we find him right in any one or several essential particulars, such fact may not be consistently explained by his wide reading on Egyptian subjects, since most of the matters at issue were very imperfectly understood and presented in his day, also, few, if any, of the best books then current were probably available to him, even had he wished to consult them. If, then, he was right in one, or even several particulars, the fact may be explained by coincidence; if he is found to be right in a majority of particulars in any given connection, it is clear that he must have been, at the least, an unusually successful guesser.
Again, we must carefully remember that the point at issue in the present controversy is only the correctness of his interpretation of the three plates usually included with the text of the Book of Abraham. No claim is made that any of the hieroglyphics here found form an essential part of the revelation to the "Father of the Faithful," which the book professes to embody. In the case of the circular figure, which our scholars agree in terming a "hypocephalus," or plate to be placed under the head of a mummy, for certain ceremonial reasons, Joseph Smith explicitly declares that the "writing ... cannot be revealed unto the world;" "ought not to be revealed at the present time;" "will be given in the own due time of the Lord," etc. He does not even state that he understands them himself, or that he believes that he understands them. In the third plate, also, he attempts no direct translation, except to state that the name of "Shulem" is "represented by the characters above his hand."
On the showing in this matter, we may safely assert that, had Smith been the sort of person many of his critics would have us believe, he would probably have "rushed in" where even scholars "fear to tread," and given us some "translation," or other that might have been easily discredited on scientific examination. Particularly evident does this conclusion seem in view of the statement of Prof. Petrie in his "Abydos" (vol. 1) that the inscriptions on hypocephali are commonly so confused, erratic and uncertain that consistent translations may not be attempted. It is curious, indeed, that the very class of inscriptions found difficult by scholars should have been declared by Joseph Smith to contain hidden and mystical matters that should not be declared to the world.
Several significant statements are made regarding these plates. Dr. Peters calls them "very poor imitations of Egyptian originals, apparently not of any one original, but of Egyptian originals in general." Dr. Breasted asserts that "these three facsimiles ... depict the most common objects in the mortuary religion of Egypt."
We may admit, after examination of the usual line of Egyptian drawings, as found in numerous works in our great libraries, that Plates 1 and 3 do not represent the highest reach of Egyptian art, or of art after the Egyptian style. However, that they are taken from originals, either Egyptian, or after the Egyptian style, there seems to be no question among our commentators. There is one point that must be emphasized, however, and this is that, unless these drawings have been altered in several essential particulars, either in the process of transferring them to the printing blocks, or at some other time, they do not represent the common run of illustrations in the Book of the Dead, the best known, and most typical of Egyptian mortuary papyri. If there is no evidence that they were not altered in copying, there is also no evidence that they were so altered. Consequently, it seems logical to consider them precisely as they are. This, indeed, is all that can be done in the present discussion, since any arguments based on presumed alterations would probably be rejected by the Latter-day Saints; while the claim that these pictures may be in their original form seems to be assumed by the Bishop's panel of "capable scholars."
FAC-SIMILE NO. 1.
In the discussion of the first of these plates in Bishop Spalding's pamphlet, there is a slight variation of opinion among the experts. Thus Prof. Petrie calls the scene "Anubis preparing the body of the dead man." Dr. Breasted calls it "Osiris rising from the dead." Dr. Peters declares that it represents "an embalmer preparing a body for burial." The others seem similarly opinioned, Dr. Bissing adding, however, that "the soul is leaving the body in the moment when the priest is opening the body with a knife for mummification." None of these eminent authorities suggests that the drawing has been altered. Dr. Lythgoe of New York, however, as reported in an interview in the NEW YORK TIMES (Dec. 29, 1912,) asserts that the knife in the hand of the standing figure has been added, and, also, that this figure is "shown with a human and strangely un-Egyptian head," in place of the jackal head of Anubis, which he thinks was in the original. This latter defect might be attributed to the unskilfulness of the original engraver, who worked without the help of photography, and has already been roundly blamed for "ignorant copying" of the hieroglyphics.
These slight variations of opinion, while in no way impugning the authority of any of these eminent scholars, may reasonably be accepted as presumptive evidence that the plate, as shown in the Book of Abraham, is not familiar to Egyptologists, and that no duplicate is known. There are numerous representations of Anubis, "protector of the dead," standing beside the corpse or mummy on its bier. It may be safe to assert, however, that, in all such drawings, Anubis is shown in the conventional manner, having a jackal's head with elongated snout, never with a human head. Furthermore, in all such scenes, the dead lies in perfectly composed position, also flat upon the couch, any such elevation of the limbs, or raising of the body, as is shown in the Book of Abraham plate, being entirely unknown. It is evident that the position of the limbs, and of the body led Dr. Breasted to believe the scene to represent the resurrection of Osiris.
That the picture indicates a person dead, about to die, or in the act of rising from the dead, seems demonstrated, and on this point all explanations agree. But before proceeding to a discussion of the explanation given in connection with the Book of Abraham, it is in order to inquire as to precisely what reference is made to this picture in the text. Here Abraham is represented as saying:
"And it came to pass that the priests laid violence upon me, that they might slay me. . . . . upon this altar; ... It was made after the form of a bedstead, such as was had among the Chaldeans, and it stood before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and also a god like unto that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
"That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of the figures is called by the Chaldeans, Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics.
This passage may be interpreted to signify that the representation is ideographic, rather than literal. The several idols are disposed beneath the couch, or altar, rather than in the position indicated in the text, which specifies that this altar "stood before the gods." If, then, we are to understand that this figure constitutes an hieroglyphic ideogram, it is perfectly consistent to see the representation of a human sacrificeor attempted sacrificein the positions shown here for all elements of the picture, the gods being shown in the most available empty space in the drawing.
However, reasonable as this explanation appears, and consistent with the text, as it seems to be, there are several real difficulties in the way of proposing it as an immediate solution of the matter. In other words, sundry objectionswell founded enough in themselves, and not of necessity hostile in charactermust be met and considered on their merits. These objections have been made, as all know, by recognized authorities on Egyptology; men who have devoted careful attention to Egyptian drawings and inscriptions, who are recognized authorities in their field, and who, in addition, have no immediate interest in any controversy between the "Mormons" and other bodies. Furthermore, these objections furnish the basis for just such a careful inquiry into the claims of Joseph Smith as Latter-day Saints are constantly inviting.
Briefly expressed, the findings of the Egyptologists, as given in the Spalding pamphlet, agree in the statement that the "gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah and Korash" are merely the "mummy pots" for containing the viscera of the deceased, as shown in innumerable Egyptian death scenes, and that the presence of the heads on the coversthe hawk, the jackal, the cynocephalus and the manindicates a period far posterior to Abraham's lifetime. In the words of Dr. Lythgoe, as quoted in the NEW YORK TIMES interview, there were three distinct stages in the development of these mummy pots. "In the earliest, when Egyptian art consisted of things made from Nile mud, the jars had ordinary flat lids. Afterward they contained the head of a single human as a stock design for the lid, and afterward the heads of the four sons of the mythological god Horus appeared on the lids." These facts led Dr. Lythgoe to place the date of the Book of Abraham picture in the third period of development, which should fall somewhere after 1400 B. C.
As the history and identity of these four sons of Horus are important to this discussion, the following quotation from Dr. Budge (Book of the Dead) may be given here:
"The four children of Horus are named Hapi, Tuamautef, Amset, Qebsennuf. The deceased is called their father. His two arms are identified with Hapi and Tuamautef, and his two legs, with Amset and Qebsennuf; and when he entered into Sekhet-Aanru [the Field of Aanru flowers, the Islands of the Blessed] they accompanied him as guides, and went in with him, two on each side. They took all hunger and thirst from him, they gave him life in heaven and protected it when given. ... Originally they represented the four pillars which support the sky, or Horus. Each was supposed to be lord of one of the quarters of the world, and finally became the god of the cardinal point. Hapi was the god of the North Tuamautef was the god of the East. Amset was the god of the South. Qebsennuf was the god of the West. In the xviiith Dynasty the Egyptians originated the custom of embalming the intestines of the body separately, and they placed them in four jars, each of which was devoted to the protection of one of the children of Horus, that is to the care of one of the gods of the cardinal points. The god of the North protected the small viscera. The god of the East protected the heart and lungs. The god of the South protected the stomach and small intestine. The god of the West protected the liver and gall bladder."
This quotation suffices to show that these four "canopic deities" possessed attributes quite above and independent of the somewhat ignoble duty of furnishing convenient receptables for containing the entrails of the mummied dead. They were, in fact, as the gods of the four quarters, also typical of the peoples of the four quarters; hence of the world in general, outside as well as inside of Egypt: that the text of "Abraham" mentions the "idolatrous god of Pharaoh," as distinct from these four is interesting. Whatever the author of the Book of Abraham intended to indicate by calling these gods by the names of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, and Korash is not clear, but, on any hypothesis it is possible to hold that they are typical of the "gods of the nations round about," the tutelaries of several definite tribes, one located, perhaps, in the Biblical town of Libnah. The eclectic priesthood that worshipped them, also worshipped the crocodile god of Egypt, thus forming a pantheon by no means unusual in ancient times, when the rule was for one nation to identify the gods of others with members of its own company of deities, or even to adopt the gods of foreigners. Had any such document as the Book of Abraham been found and translated by scholars, some such line of reasoning would probably have been followed, in view, particularly, of the direct statement that the "manner of the figures" is hieroglyphical, signifying, possibly, symbolic.
According to the accepted Biblical chronology, Abraham visited Egypt in the latter part of the nineteenth century B. C., although some modern historians have placed the date several centuries earlier. It has been believed, however, that he was in Egypt in the early centuries of the Hyksos domination, which would probably place the date later than 2100 B. C., and earlier than 1700 B. C. This latter supposition would seem to account for his hospitable reception by the Pharaoh of the time, also, in part, for the numerous Abraham legends found among Semitic peoples and in the Koran. It is possible, also, on the basis of certain historic testimony, to hold that Joseph, who probably came to Egypt about two centuries later than Abraham, took service under one of the later Hyksos kings. The overthrow of the Hyksos, and the incoming of the Eighteenth Dynasty under Aahmes, would seem to correspond to the accession of the "Pharaoh that knew not Joseph."
According to the testimony of antiquity, and of the Oriental World, Abraham was a very important person; not only beloved of God, but also very great among men. The belief, then, that he was held in such high esteem among the Egyptians, that a cult was formed to represent him or his reported teachings may be ranked among tolerable hypotheses. That he should have written a book, embodying his religious and other beliefs, or that such a book should have been produced and attributed to him, are among the possibilities. Provided that these suppositions are in any sense correct, such a book might have come to be so highly esteemed, for its holiness, even for supposed "magical potency," among some portions of the Egyptian population, at least, that it would have been buried with their dead, as was the Book of the Dead, the Sorrows of Isis and Nephthys, and other mortuary volumes.
That the Book of Abraham purports to be such a work is shown by the accepted account of its finding and translation. According to Joseph Smith's own story, the papyrus on which the three plates under consideration appeared was found upon a mummy purchased from a Mr. Chandler, who had had it on exhibition at various places. Chandler had come to the Prophet asking for assistance in translating the "hieroglyphic figures and devices," and later gave him a letter stating that his interpretations agreed with those given by the "most learned" of several cities "in the most minute matters." Subsequent to the purchase of Chandler's mummies and papyri by "some of the saints at Kirtland," Joseph Smith set himself industriously to the task of translation. He records that "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." The Book of Joseph, it would appear was never given to the world.
Some of the Latter-day Saints seem to have believed that the papyri in question represented the actual autographic work of Abraham and Josephthat the hand of Abraham had pressed the very papyrus handled by Joseph Smith. Such a conclusion, however, does not seem to be involved in the text of Smith's account, and need not be considered authoritative. Smith undoubtedly believed that the documents in his hands were books written by Abraham and Joseph, but he does not state that they might not have been copies of the originals. Assuming, then, that he made a correct translation, through superhuman guidance, or otherwise, the criticisms alleging dates later than Abraham's time are effectually answered. The copyist of some later day, finding images of the "Canopic gods," or of any similar animal-headed gods for that matter, shown "after the manner of hieroglyphics," as previously stated, naturally disposed them in the order most familiar in his day. The same remark may be made concerning the third plate, and the many difficulties suggested by scholars are thus explained.
Nor does this theory seem wholly absurd, in view of the fact that such an attempted sacrifice as is described in connection with the first plate, or such a court scene as is alleged to be represented by the third plate, might very readily have been confused with the more familiar "embalming" or "resurrection," on the one hand, and "Osiris Judging the dead," or "Osiris receiving A doration," on the other.
If, in addition to these evident occasions of misunderstanding, the hieroglyphic writing expressed, not Egyptian, but Semitic, wordsthe language of Abraham, in factthe confusion in the mind of the scribe would seem to have been nearly inevitable. Assuming, even if only "for the sake of argument," as Bishop Spalding has done in another matter mentioned in his pamphlet, that Joseph Smith really translated the papyrus in his hand, the hypothesis assuming a Semitic dialect, written in hieroglyphics, seems reasonable from his use of several Semitic wordsKolob, etc., which Dr. Sayce assures us "are unknown to the Egyptian language." It also explains the confident manner in which he ascribes the use of such Semitic words to the Egyptians.
Furthermore, if the second figure, the "hypocephalus," be claimed as original with the author of the Book of Abraham, the subsequent use of precisely similar charts for mortuary purposes would seem to add new weight to the hypothesis that the book in question was familiar in some quarters; hence that the hypocephalus came into its known historical use because of the evident mystical significance of its several figure-elements.
Although this explanation of the matter can be expected to carry no very strong presumption of probability to the minds of Egyptologists, who will probably continue to regard Smith's explanations as quite in line with those of Athanasius Kirscher, the immensely learned Jesuit of the seventeenth century, or of Dr. Adolph Seyffarth, whose scheme for interpreting hieroglyphics had its partisans, even after the accuracy of Champollion's conclusions had been accepted, the fact that Joseph Smith actually gave the true and subsequently-ascertained meaning to a very large proportion of the objects, which he professed to describe, is a fact demanding some comment other than ridicule.
Turning now from consideration of the standing and reclining figures, about which there seems to be a very pronounced difference of opinion, also from the "gods of the four quarters," whose association with mummy pots seems to constitute a very evident loss of caste in the minds of most observers, we may take up the other matters in turn. Thus, we see the crocodile, like the other "gods" beneath the "altar." His presence there might be interpreted to signify the evil genius who ever lay in wait to deprive the dead of his "magical" power of coming safely into the presence of the gods of Amenti (the Netherworld), and of surviving their judgments. Such a representation of the crocodile is undoubtedly a part of his functions as the God Sebek, a form of Ra, as indicating the "destroying power of the sun," and who was worshiped in Egypt as far back as the time of the xiiith Dynasty. "There may have been a time," says Dr. Charles H. C. Davis, "when he was worshiped throughout Egypt, but in the Graeco-Roman period he was a local deity so disliked in most parts of Egypt that the Arsinoite nome, where he was worshipped, does not appear in the geographical lists."
Another notable figure in this plate is the flying bird, marked 1. Joseph Smith calls it "the angel of the Lord," but it is notable that it is not identified with a dove, or other sacred emblem. The authorities quoted in Spalding's pamphlet call this figure "the hawk of Horus"; "a bird, in which form Isis is represented"; "the soul (Kos) flying away in the form of a bird"; "the soul in the shape of the bird," and "Isis." Any one of these explanations is perfectly logical and consistent on the supposition that the scene is one from the Book of the Dead, or some other mortuary work of the Egyptians, although the form and position of the figure differ widely from conventional usage. The "hawk of Horus," usually considered as a representation of Isis, who, according to the fable, gave birth to Horus in the form of a hawk, is often shown in mortuary pictures, but usually appears standing upright, with folded wings, at the head of the bier, while the goddess Nephthys, also in hawk form. stands in similar pose at the foot. The hawk in the air, or in flight, is conventionally represented side on, with wings on the down stroke, extending beneath its body. In this form Isis may occasionally be identified in the death chamber, but very usually in company with Nephthys. Furthermore, the conventional representation of the "soul flying away in the form of a bird" shows a human head on its shoulders, and the wings similarly on the down stroke. So much for the conventional manner of representing the flying bird in such connections.
On the supposition of one of the critics that this plate has been altered, and that a "human and strangely un-Egyptian head" has been drawn on the standing figure, which he calls "Anubis," it is strange that the bird is changed in no particular. The ascribed character of an angel would undoubtedly have seemed to demand the change of the head, or of the whole body, for that matter, to human form. Had a human head appeared in the original, the change to the bird head is not to be considered. Here, it would undoubtedly have appeared, was an angel in the proper traditional form, no change being demanded to fit the description. If the bird was drawn in upon the original scene, which did not show it, the reasons for not inserting some figure like an angel, instead, must seem obscure. In view, however, of its decidedly un-Egyptian appearance, it seems allowable to state that the interpretation making this figure to indicate the "Angel of the Lord" has quite as great presumption of probability as any of the other proposed explanations.
The figure marked 10 in this plate, and evidently a votive table, is, for apparently obscure reasons, said to signify "Abraham in Egypt." But this interpretation will be discussed in connection with Plate 3, where it is repeated.
We find the number 11 attached to a panel of apparently haphazard lines and rectangles, and indicating the interpretation, "designed to represent the pillars of heaven, as understood by the Egyptians." While the Egyptians did not "understand" so many "pillars of heaven" as are apparently shown here, we find several interesting coincidences of shape, if nothing more, with certain pictures and ideograms having meanings similar to those mentioned in this explanation. For example, near the left end of this panel we find a fairly good diagram of one of the several traditional representations of the construction of the heavens. But for the broken lines in the print, we should see here three squared hoops or rectangles, the second within the first and the third within the second. This is a fairly correct diagram of the Goddess Noot bending over the earth, her body unnaturally elongated to form the sky, and her feet and hands resting upon the ground. Along her belly the sun daily moves from east to west. Beneath her is another shorter and smaller figure in similar pose, which is believed to represent the night sky, along whose body the moon travels nightly in precisely similar fashion. Below this figure again, and within the arch formed by her body, stands yet a third, Shu, the brother of Noot and god of the air, whose task it is to uphold his sister in her rather uncomfortable position. He is represented as standing somewhat impossibly, upon his feet and shoulders, while his head and neck lie along the ground to the front of his body, and his arms to the rear. This fantastic group shows one traditional Egyptian concept of the heavens and of the "pillars of heaven." In another figure the sky is represented as a cow, whose four legs, like the four limbs of the human Noot, form the pillars of heaven. In one familiar hieroglyphic ideogram for the sky or the heavens, Noot is shown bending as above described, over symbols of the air and earth. Also, as shown in Champollion's Dictionary, two squared, or rectangular, hoops, the one within the other, indicate the sky, or the heavens.
The Canopic Gods, as the four pillars of heaven, are sometimes represented ideographically by four perpendicular lines, each an elongated "Y." Some suggestion of such an ideogram occurs at the right end of this panel. Similar perpendicular lines, surmounted by a bow-shaped curve, form the traditional ideogram for "rain," "storm," etc., the bow indicating the sky. Some of these "correspondences" seem interesting.
The section marked 12 is explained as indicating "the firmament over our heads, ... the heavens." Although the symbolism is not clear, the crocodile figure is in the correct surroundings, if we understand it to indicate Sebek, "a form of Ra (the Sun God) and the destroying power of the sun;" for such was the "idolatrous god of Pharaoh" at an early Egyptian period. Perhaps the animal-headed idols also appeared originally, also, in "the heavens." This would account for the "confusion," which ultimately resulted in their transfer to places "beneath the altar." According to the Book, Abraham must have derived some idea that these "gods" were real existences, even if "false" objects of worship; and "the heavens" usually house all "gods."
FAC-SIMILE NO. 2.
The consideration of Joseph Smith's interpretations of the second plate of the series reveals several surprising facts. Indeed, while one must feel obliged to consider respectfully the statements of Egyptologists touching the details of this plate, their common conclusion that Smith's explanations are all wrong seems very illfounded, and may be questioned.
All our authorities agree in calling this figure a "hypocephalus," which is to say, a disk drawn on papyrus, enameled fabric, metal or clay, and placed beneath the mummy's head in a late period of Egyptian history. These hypocephali are frequently referred to as "magical disks," and their assumed effect has been stated to have been "to prevent the loss of the mummy's head," "to keep the deceased warm in the Netherworld," etc.
Regarding the origin of these disks or the interpretation of their inscriptions, scholars are very uncertain. Prof. Petrie says ("Abydos," vol. 1):
"The latter [inscriptions] are hopelessly confused; many of the groups of signs having but a faint resemblance, if any, to known words. Although there are some thirty specimens in the various museums, a comparison of these ... does not help much in their decipherment; and it would therefore be very undesirable to offer even a conditional translation. ... . The hypocephalus appears to have had its origin in connection with chapter clxii of the Book of the Dead. From the rubric of this chapter we learn that the figure of the cow Hathor was to be fashioned in gold, and placed upon the neck of the mummy; and that another was to be drawn upon papyrus, and placed under the head, the idea being to give 'warmth' to the deceased in the Underworld. After the eighteenth dynasty the cow-amulet fell into disuse, and the drawing upon papyrus developed into the hypocephalus, upon which the cow always remained an important figure. Papyrus was almost entirely abandoned in favor of more durable material, such as linen, stucco, and rarely bronze. The fashion, however, was not long-lived, and did not survive the fall of the thirtieth dynasty."
This theory, which may be held to explain, in part at least, the mortuary use of hypocephali, because of the presence of the "cow of Hathor" as an "important figure," probably would not be urged as a full solution for the origin and entire significance of this type of document. The cow figure is obviously no more prominent than several others, which do not seem to be demanded by the directions touching amulets, etc., in the Book of the Dead. It may be admissible, therefore, to hold that such disks had originally some significance independent of mortuary use, and that they came to be used for the purpose specified for certain reasonsincluding probably the presence of the cow figurethat are not wholly apparent, even after exhaustive research.
The general appearance of the drawing would seem to suggest an astronomical or astrological diagram, although the disposition of the several figures, mostly familiar in Egyptian art and religion, might warrant the conclusion that the real ultimate meaning is properly esoteric, intratemple or sacerdotal. As the secret lore of the Egyptians was evidently committed to writing very seldom, if ever, it is not remarkable that Egyptologists must base their explanations largely upon exoteric, extra-temple and popular sources of information. Hence many theories on these matters may be regarded as insufficient and tentative, because they leave so much still to be explained. The theory of an origin and significance for hypocephali, independent of mortuary use, successfully evades the inferences of Dr. Breasted's criticism, that these drawings "did not appear in any Egyptian burials until over a thousand years after the time of Abraham." The date of their origin may be held to be quite as uncertain as their original significance.
The majority of known hypocephali conform in general details with the second plate of the Book of Abraham. The common, hence, apparently, the essential features are those designated here by the figures, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 22, 23. in space 3 several hypocephali have two boats, the one above the other. In space 7 an attenuated ramphant animal figure with a long tail, commonly identified with Nehebka, the serpent god, appears on some examples, instead of the one shown in the Book of Abraham diagram. Other hypocephali show the seated figure, 7, close to the circumference of the inner circle, with no other figure in front of it. Some have several cynocephali in addition to 22 and 23, usually four more, making six in all; these occupying the spaces to the right and left here filled with hieroglyphics. In several, also, additional figures are drawn behind the Canopic Gods, shown at 6. What these variations may signify it is, of course, impossible to determine. Egyptologists agree fairly well, however, as to the identity of most of the figures, although the meaning of the whole may not yet have been decided upon.
The explanations of this chart or diagram in connection with the Book of Abraham, it is desirable to emphasize, deals solely with the pictorial elements. No interpretation of the inscriptions is offered. The comment in reference to 8, "writing that cannot be revealed unto the world; but may be had in the Holy Temple of God," is reasonable, in view of the probably esoteric significance of the drawing, as already suggested. The explanation of the diagrams as astronomical or cosmological agrees very closely with the findings of scholars, even as stated in the Spalding pamphlet. Herein, indeed, is the most notable example of the fact that too little, and not too much, has been said in the controversy.
The central figure, numbered 1, evidently double-faced, seated and holding some form of sceptre or symbolic staff in the outstretched right hand, differs from the figure occupying the same position in other hypocephali. In general, this central figure is shown with four heads or faces, two looking each way, and appears to warrant the explanation of Dr. Petrie that it indicates the four-ram-headed god of Memphis, a form of Ra, the Sun God, whose heads indicate "the spirits of the four elements, RA (fire,) SHU (air,) GEB (earth,) and USAR (water,)" supposed to be united in him. Since, however, the figure under consideration evidently does not show four heads of rams or other beings, and is evidently double-faced only, it is reasonable to conclude that some different explanation must apply here.
The double-faced figure is, also, primarily, a representation of Ra, the Sun God, and is so drawn to combine his two personified aspects, Khephera, the morning, or rising, sun, and Tmu, the evening, or setting, sun, Commenting on a hypocephalus showing a figure at 2 very similar to the one shown here, Prof. Petrie remarks: "At the top is the double god, who personified the rising and setting sun." On this showing it is reasonable to conclude that the double-faced figure at 1 also represents the sun, or a sun, having its rising and setting. This conclusion becomes all the more probable in view of the presence of the two cynocephali, 22 and 23. Dr. Petrie ("Abydos," vol. i), commenting on a hypocephalus also containing only two such figures, says "Two small apes, the final degradation of the eight adoring cynocephali [who are often shown greeting the rising sun] may be noticed. These represent the four primeval pairs of gods of chaos, ... ... called collectively 'KHEMENU.' ... Figures such as these are to be found on nearly all known hypocephali, however erratic the inscriptions."
These cynocephali are pictured in representations of the rising sun shown in numerous papyri of the Book of the Dead. A common device shows the rising sun supported by a pair of arms starting from the tau cross (the crux ansata,) or "symbol of life" (ANKH,) which, in turn, is supported on a ribbed pillar (TAT,) the "symbol of Osiris," the God, or King of the Netherworld. Isis and Nephthys, in either human or symbolic form, kneel at the base of the column, while the company of cynocephali, sometimes six, sometimes seven, occasionally eight, the "transformed openers of the eastern portals of heaven," follow the sun upward, "raising their hands in adoration."
Such examples show that these cynocephali, whatever their original signification, are the proper traditional companions and worshippers of the sun. On hypocephali, however, these apes are shown with globes or disks upon their heads, which is a notable departure from the common line of drawings showing them with the rising sun. The figurative significance of the globe, or disk, upon the head of a figure, or in inscriptions, is that of the sun or moon. In this case the disks evidently rest upon an arcshaped base, strongly suggestive of the horned moon, and presenting a very good reproduction of the hieroglyphic ideogram for moon, which is so written. Unless, therefore, we quite misunderstand the significance of Egyptian symbolism, it seems probable that these ape figures, crowned with disks or globes, indicate moons or satellites of some sun or planet, which they are following "adoringly." It is clear, therefore, that, whatever else may be implied in this figure, we have here some one of the numerous forms of Ra, which is to say the sun, or a sun, with his accompanying KHEMENU, or else planets or moons.
The explanation given in connection with this figure is that it indicates "Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the Celestial." The form of this word would seem to suggest a Semitic etymology, akin, perhaps, to the Hebrew word KALAB, a dog; whence, possibly, Sirius, the Dog-star, so called. According to the further explanation, it gives light to the sun and other bodies, through the medium of 22 and 23, which are called, collectively, Hah-ko-kau-beam. This curious word is also Hebrew, although judging from the spelling, the pronunciation is expressed, rather than the direct transliteration. It is the Hebrew, KOKOB, a star, KOKOBIM, stars; the syllable HAH, representing the definite article, whence, "the stars."
By a similar line of argument, as already noted in the quotation from Prof. Petrie, the figure marked 2 may also be found to indicate the sun, or a sun, also having his rising and setting. Provided that this body be visible from the earth, or any other planet, for that matter, the statement is obviously correct. On the whole, the inclusion of two separate figures, each evidently indicating a sun, may be held to imply that they are too separate bodies, which is what is stated in the explanation given by Joseph Smith.
The figure marked 5 is called in the Book of Abraham caption, "one of the governing planets ... . said by the Egyptians to be the sun." The agreement among Egyptologists is that it represents the "cow of Hathor," which identification is evidently based on the assumption, as above noted, that the hypocephalus originated in obedience to the directions of the Book of the Dead specifying an amulet for the dead shaped like a cow. By itself, this figure might be held to signify any one of several different possible symbols. In juxtaposition with the four Canopic Gods (6) in front, and the curious figure, apparently feminine, to the rear, there is a strong suggestion of a mystic group appearing in several papyri of the Book of the Dead. In this group as shown, for example in the Papyri of Ani and of Henefer, the UZAT eye, the eye of Horus, is mounted on a pedestal immediately in front of the recumbent figure of "the great cow Mehurit, the Eye of Ra." To the rear of Mehurit, again, is a group showing the Canopic Gods standing at the four corners of a tomb, or funeral chest, from which emerges the form of the divine Ra, holding the ANKH, the symbol of life, in each hand. Undoubtedly, the group thus described shows the sun under three different mythological, or esoteric, Similitudes. In the present diagram the UZAT eye serves as the entire face of the female figure standing behind the cow, which, in turn, looks toward the Canopic Gods.
In the curious symbolism of the ancient Egyptians some phase of sun lore seems to emerge from behind nearly every one of their greatest gods. Considering their pantheon as a finished whole, it may be said that they worshipped the sun under manifold forms, and that they worshipped a mysterious hidden supreme God through the visible medium of the sun. Thus, Ra and Horus both indicate the sun. Horus is the youthful or rising sun, also the sky, as previously suggested. He is, mythologically speaking, distinct from Ra, who is generally considered as the Sun God proper. As the sky god, Horus is represented as saying in a certain ritual hymn, "I am Horus, and I come to search for mine eyes." In a similar poem, he is said to regain his eye, the sun, at the dawn of day.
The Goddess Hathor also figures in the sun cycle as the sky at dawn, from which association is derived her character as the Goddess of love and beautyshe is known to the Hebrew Scriptures as Ashtoreth. Her original form seems to have been that of a cow, the memory of which was always retained in the horns shown on her coiffure or head dress. The heifer Mehurit, or Mehurt, is sometimes identified with the cow Hathor, sometimes, with Noot, who, as already explained, is often represented in the form of a cow. In both cases the cow is said to represent the sky at dawn, when the sun is born of his mother Noot; or else "that part of the sky where the sun is;" hence, by no very remote figure, the sun himself. In brief, this figure, "is said by the Egyptians to be the sun."
The group marked 6 evidently pictures the four Canopic Gods, the children of Horus, who, as already stated, represent the four cardinal points. The sole difference between this statement and that given in the Book of Abraham caption, "represents the earth in its four quarters," is precisely the difference between moving around an arc on the circumference of a circle and cutting across a chord.
The figure marked 4 in the plate is explained as the "expanse, or the firmament of the heavens." Commenting on a precisely similar figure on a hypocephalus described and figured in his "Abydos," Prof. Petrie calls it "Horus." In the Spalding pamphlet, however, Prof. von. Bissing identifies it with "the God Sokar in the Sacred Boat" (misprinted "Book"). Both identifications have good authority. If it is Horus, however, the case is clear; if Sokar, we must inquire regarding his history and significations.
Sokar, Sokaris or Seker was a very ancient deity, "of whom very little is known, except when in combination with others." Prof. Adolf Erman ("Handbook of the Egyptian Religion") calls him "the ancient Memphite god of the dead." Broderick and Morton ("Dictionary of Egyptian Archaeology") state that, "he was the sun god at one time, and his emblem (a sparrow hawk) was carried around at festivals in the sacred bark called HENNU. The great festival of Sokaris was held at Memphis in connection with the winter solstice. To him, it seems, especially belonged the fourth and fifth hours of the night, through which Ra, the Sun, nightly passed on his journey from sunset to dawn. He is represented as a mummy with a hawk's head." Easily the most familiar form of Sokar is in the triune deity, Ptah-Seker-Ausar (Osiris), the god of the resurrection, who seems to have combined the attributes of the ancient gods, Ptah and Seker, with those of Osiris. Ptah is an ancient form of the supreme god of the Egyptians. Sokar himself, like Horus, seems to be the god of the sun or of the sky, or firmament, both material and eternal.
Whether, or not, this figure indicates any particular god or sacred symbol of the divine is eveidently uncertain. We may assert, however, that the boat is merely the "sky-boat" of sun and moon deities in general, while, except for the spread wings, the bird figure closely approximates the hieroglyphic ideogram for birds in general. That it indicates sme reference to the sky, or the "expanse of the heavens," is evident.
The explanation of this figure 4 adds further, "also a numerical figure in Egyptian, signiying one thousand." It is a curious fact that one having "no connection with ... . European scholars" should have suspected that any numeral whatever was indicated by this figure. It is well to note, however, that the "HENNU" boat indicates a million, a million years, rather than a thousand.
The explanation of the figure marked 7 is given in the words, "represents God sitting upon his throne, ... . also the sign of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove." The analysis of this group is very nearly the most interesting of any on the entire plate. In virtually all "hypocephali" examined the space corresponding to this group is occupied by a seated winged figure, before which, in general, stands the phallic serpent "Nehebka," as already suggested, holding the UZAT eye in outstretched hands. The figure called "Nehebka," however, is radically different from the one shown in the present plate, the only common point, in addition to the position, is the sacred eye held before the face of the seated figure. In another point this group differs from other "hypocephali" examined, and that is in the presence of the prayer table here shown. This sign, a table surmounted by supplicating or adoring hands and arms, is always the sign of the presence of God, or of a god.
The group shown in the common run of hypocephali is evidently entirely phallic, the seated figure being usually identified with the dual god, Horus-Min, who, in certain local cults, combines the offices and functions of Horus and a deity known as Min. This latter was, according to Egyptologists, originally a local god of the desert, and of strangers, in general. He is also identified with a deity called Amsu. By other, or later, ascriptions, he becomes identified with the creative principle of nature, or the universal generative power typified in phallic symbols. In this matter we may understand his partial, or occasional, identification with Amen-Ra, the supreme god, the Creator, according to the theology resulting from the recognition and assimilation of the Theban deity Amen (Ammon or Amun). Whence, some authorities have called this seated figure Horammon (Horus-Ammon).
There may be allowed to be a difference of opinion, as to whether the group shown here is the original form, or whether it is merely a variation of the usual, as shown on the common hypocephalus. There is, however, no obvious reason for changing from the phallic to the non-phallic character, if we consider this only one of a general run of Egyptian documents. On the other hand, there is a very good and sufficient reason for making the change from such a group as this to the phallic character, if the interpretation offered by Joseph Smith is in any sense correct. Smith called this seated figure "God sitting upon his throne," hence the Creator of the universe. According to the conception evidently held by him, and, presumably also, by the original compiler of this group, the Almighty Creator operates by virtue of a word of power. To the Egyptian artist, the symbol of creative power is the phallic symbol. Hence, knowing, perhaps, that this group represented God, he embellished it according to one of the most popular of Egyptian concepts, relating to the beginnings of things. The familiar variation of this group adds strong presumption in favor of the description given in Smith's caption.
The presence of the UZAT eye in this group is also interesting. It is probably the commonest of all Egyptian symbols, both as a familiar element in sacred pictures and sculptures, also as an amulet for the dead and the living. Originally, of course, it indicates the sun, which is often described as the "eye of Ra," etc., as already suggested. In this sense, by a poetic figure, understood literally, it is also the eye of God, the all-seeing eye. Consequently, as this "divine eye" (the sun) is the most evident proof of God's presence, both physically and spiritually, its image is the most logical reminder of Him. Because of this, perhaps, the image of the divine eye came into almost universal use as an amulet, and was believed to be effective, not only in warding off evils and mishaps of various kinds, but also as indicating good gifts and good wishes in general. For this latter reason, this symbol came to be known as the UZAT eye, which is to say the eye of all that is "healthy" and "nourishing;" for such is the meaning of this word in the Egyptian language. The eye offered, as in the group under consideration, to an image of deity, may indicate either a gift of all good things by ascription through this their type, or merely as an ideogram of divine attributes.
We may see, therefore, that this group certainly represents "God sitting upon his throne," because it represents God as a Creator, which is evidently what the Egyptians understood it to signify, when they varied it, as already shown. The conventional representation of a throne is shown in this group, as also in Fig. 3, where it is mounted on the boat.
This brings us to a consideration of Fig. 3, which is explained as "made to represent God sitting upon his throne, clothed with power and authority; with a crown of eternal light upon his head; representing also the grand keywords of the Holy Priesthood." As to how this figure represents these sacred "keywords" must be, of course, a matter hidden from the uninformed. Regarding the other statements, however, several very happy coincidences are to be found.
According to Dr. A. M. Lythgoe, as reported in the NEW YORK TIMES interview, "The representation is the most common of all in Egyptian papyri. It is the view of the sun god in his boat. The 'Mormon' version is right in that this is one picture of a god, but it is the chief god of a polytheistic people, instead of the God who was worshipped by monotheistic Abraham, and pictures of him were among the widely distributed pictures in Egypt."
The article then proceeds to animadvert on the Prophet's explanations for presenting no translations of the hieroglyphics in this chart, remarking that this shows "that at times the divine power ... left him." It then continues: "The things that puzzled the inspired 'Mormon' translator were no puzzle at all to Dr. Lythgoe. They were simply snatches of a hymn to the Sun god inserted on every flat disk that was put, for its magical effect as a charm, under the head of the ordinary mummy."
It may be that Dr. Lythgoe is able to translate the hieroglyphics on this disk, although he has favored us with none of the "snatches." However, his remarks on "monotheistic Abraham" are scarcely applicable, since, as any reader of the Book of Abraham can readily perceive, it does not inculcate the variety of monotheism which denies the existence of "other gods." A large part of it, in fact, is devoted to a version of the creation story, in which, following the Hebrew usage of a plural noun (ELOHIM) for the word usually translated "God." the creation of the earth and its inhabitants is attributed to "the gods."
The figure seated in the HENNU Boat, crowned with the disk of the sun, is usually identified with Ra, the Supreme God, who was worshiped through the symbol of the sun. In his boat, called the "Bark of Millions of Years," meaning, perhaps, of eternity, he floats daily across the sky, crowned with the glory of the everlasting sun. Of this conception of God, Dr. Budge says:
"Ra was the name given to the sun by the Egyptians in a remote antiquity, but the meaning of the word, or the attribute which they attributed to the sun by it, is unknown. Ra was the visible emblem of God, and was regarded as the god of this earth, to whom offerings and sacrifices were made daily; and when he appeared above the horizon at the creation, time began. In the pyramid texts the soul of the deceased makes its way to where Ra is in heaven, and Ra is entreated to give it a place in the 'bark of millions of years,' wherein he sails over the sky. ... In his daily course he vanquished night, and darkness and mist and cloud disappeared from before his rays. Subsequently the Egyptians invented the moral conception of the sun, representing the victory of right over wrong and of truth over falsehood."
An investigation of the God Ra, his attributes and the hymns addressed to him, seems to furnish a strong confirmation in point for the remark of Prof. Rawlinson ("Religions of the Ancient World") that, "Altogether the theory to which the facts on the whole point is the existence of a primitive religion communicated to man from without, whereof monotheism and expiatory sacrifice were parts, and the gradual clouding over of this primitive religion everywhere."
This conclusion is further reinforced by such a hymn as the following, addressed to the Sun God in the form of Amen-Ra, and quoted by Dr. Budge from the collections of Gebaut and Wiedemann. It is also in point in this connection, since one of our critics has declared the text of this disk to include passages from such a hymn. We may learn here the kind of hymns the Egyptians composed and sang to their God.
"Adoration to thee, O Amen-Ra, the bull of Annu, the Ruler of all the gods, the beautiful and beloved god, who givest life by means of every kind of food and fine cattle.
"Hail to thee, O Amen-Ra, Lord of the world's throne. ... The King of Heaven and Sovereign of the earth, thou Lord of things that exist; thou Stablisher of Creation; thou Supporter of the Universe. Thou art one in thine attributes among the gods, thou Beautiful Bull of the company of the gods; thou Chief of all Gods; Lord of Truth (Maat); Father of the gods; Creator of men; Maker of beasts and cattle; Lord of all that existeth; Maker of the staff of life: Creator of the herbs which give life to beasts and cattle. ... . Thou art the Creator of all things celestial and terrestrial: thou illuminest the universe. ... The gods cast themselves at thy feet when they perceive thee. Hymns of Praise to thee, O Father of the gods, who hast spread out the heavens and laid down the earth, ... thou Master of eternity and everlastingness. ...
Hail to thee, O Ra, Lord of Truth. Thou art hidden in thy shrine, Lord of the gods. Thou art the morning (Khephera) in thy bark, and when thou sendest forth the word the gods come into being. Thou art the Evening (Tmu), the Maker of beings which have reason, and, however many be their forms, thou givest them life, and thou dost distinguish the shape and stature of each from his neighbor. Thou hearest the prayer of the afflicted, and thou art gracious unto him that crieth unto thee; thou deliverest the feeble one from the oppressor, and thou judgest between the strong and the weak. ... Thou only form, the Maker of all that is, One only, the Creator of all that shall be. Mankind hath come forth from thine eyes, the gods have come into being at thy word. Thou makest the herbs for the use of beasts and cattle, and the staff of life for the need of man. Thou givest life to the fish of the stream and to the fowl of the air, and breath to the germ in the egg; thou givest life creep, and things that fly, and everything that belongeth thereunto. Thou providest food for the rats in the holes, and for the birds that sit among the branches, ... Thou One, thou Only One, whose arms are many. All men unto the grasshopper, and thou makest to live the wild fowl, and things that and all creatures adore thee, and praises come unto thee from the height of heaven, from earth's widest space and from the depths of the sea, ... thou One, thou Only One, who hast no second, whose names are manifold and innumerable."
This is the line of ascriptions which the Egyptians made to the God, who, as we are informed, Joseph Smith erroneously identified with the Almighty. There can be no doubt but that he made an unusually happy guess in this matter. A Being described, as in the above hymn, could very probably be held to "represent also the grand keywords of the Holy Priesthood." In deed, if some of the sacred words do not occur in such a hymn as this, there are certainly close analogues of several of them. Could Joseph Smith really read these "snatches of a hymn to the sun god," and was it, for this reason, that he identified their object with the Almighty?
However, upon the popular notion that, despite the lofty sentiments of such hymns, the "chief god of a polytheistic people" must ever be some person quite other than the One God of the Bible, or of "monotheism," the following remarks of Prof. Budge seem quite pertinent:
"Looking at the Egyptian words in their simple meaning, it is pretty certain that when the Egyptians declared that their God was one and that he had no second, they had the same ideas as the Jews and Muhammedans, when they proclaimed their God to be 'one' and alone. (Deut. vi: 5; iv: 35; Isaiah xlv: 5.) It has been urged that the Egyptians never advanced to pure monotheism, because they never succeeded in freeing themselves from the belief in the existence of other gods, but when they say that a god has 'no second,' even though they mention other 'gods,' it is quite evident that, like the Jews, they conceived him to be an entirely different being from the existences, which, for want of a better word, or because these possessed superhuman attributes, they named 'gods.' "
The truth of this line of reasoning may be shown by simple reference to the Old Testament, from which and the Christian Scriptures, nearly all the grand ascriptions of the above hymn may be reproduced. From among such passages we may select at random: Deut. x: 17; II Chron. ii: 5; Psa. lxxxii: 1; lxxxvi: 8; xcvii: 9; cxxxvi: 2.
FACSIMILE NO. 3.
It is now in order to turn to the consideration of the third plate of the series usually included with the text of the Book of Abraham. According to the descriptive caption, it represents "Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh's throne. ... reasoning upon the principles of astronomy in the king's court." Not so, say our critics, who identify the scene with some traditional representation of Osiris and Isis in the World of the Dead. "The Goddess Maat leading the Pharaoh before Osiris," says Dr. Sayee. "The dead person before the judgment seat of Osiris," says Dr. Petrie. "The God Osiris enthroned at the left, ... before him three figures. The middle one, a man, led ... by the Goddess Truth, who grasps his hand," says Dr. Breasted. "The Goddess Maat (Truth) is introducing the dead (5) and his shadow (6) before Osiris," says Dr. von Bissing.
As in the discussion of the other plates of this series, it would be futile to begin with a challenge or contradiction of the opinions of these scholars, which are evidently expressed in all honesty, and are certainly founded on a basis of accurate information on matters Egyptian. We must admit the close resemblance of the seated figure to the traditional representations of Osiris, wearing the double plumed crown, and holding the flail, or scourge, and the hook, or crook, in either hand. The figures before and behind him also closely suggest the goddesses mentioned by our critics. Nevertheless, there are several things to be said in regard to this scene, which should import a strong presumption of uncertainty, at least, as to the finality of the above-quoted opinions.
In the first place, the scene differs in several important details from the common run of representations of Osiris judging the dead. In the Book of the Dead, the scene habitually contains other figures, each of which has some special and particular part in the award of justice, or the administration of consequent blessings or penalties. Prominent among these is the pair of scales in which the heart, or conscience, of the deceased is weighed against the weight of truth or righteousness, often represented by the feather of Maat. Anubis usually superintends this test, the record of which is made by the ibis-headed Thoth, the god of metes and bounds. Another figure proper to this scene is that of Amemit, the Devourer, the "Eater-up of souls," who is represented as an incongruous monster of the female sex, having the head of a crocodile, the fore-quarters of a lion or panther, and the hind-quarters of a hippopotamus. This hideous Frankenstein of the Netherworld typifies the eternal terrors awaiting evil-doers. Furthermore, not alone Isisshe is often accompanied by Nephthysassists Osiris in rendering judgment, but the company of the "forty-two judges of the dead" also appears, drawn usually on a frieze above the main scene. The Canopic Gods also appear frequently, their favorite place being upon the open petals of a lotus flower, placed directly in front of Osiris.
Although the Book of the Dead, the typical mortuary ritual work of the Egyptians, presents few variations from the particulars of the judgment scene, as noted above, there are variations in some other books of the same import, particularly in later ages. Among such latter may be mentioned the papyrus, or Kerasher, or Kershercontaining the so-called "Book of Breathings." This papyrus, published in facsimile by the British Museum, shows the deceased Kerasher, he was evidently a negro, whose woolly hair is prominently shown, led before Osiris by the jackal-headed Anubis, and followed by a figure described as "Maat," which shows the head of a hare, or some animal of similar visage. The space usually given to the weighing scene is in this picture occupied by a large square mass, evidently a bale of votive offerings, flowers, etc., representing, perhaps, the good deeds of the man now before the bar of judgment. This variation of the judgment scene may be typical of some modification of ideas on the matter, and, according to accounts, has several close analogues in other papyri.
Besides the judgment scene, the Book of the Dead frequently shows the deceased, after acquittal, purged of all guilt and blame, brought again before Osiris, king of the dead, to whom he offers adoration and thanksgiving. In such scene, however, he is usually accompanied by but one guide or sponsor, although there are variations in this, as in other matters. That the scene under consideration represents the adoration of Osiris, rather than the judgment, seems to be the opinion of Dr. E. A. W. Budge of the British Museum, who in a letter to Dr. Henry Woodward, dated in 1903, says: "Adoration of Osiris by some deceased person. It is a falsified copy." Undoubtedly, he notes some of the radical variations in this scene from the common practice of Egyptian artists, who were ever most particular to maintain truthfulness in pose and detail, whatever variation of idea their work may have expressed.
On any assumption, however, this picture differs from familiar scenes of the judgment or adoration in one or two notable particulars. It may be asserted with reasonable confidence that in neither case, as shown in familiar papyri, does the "deceased" advance with the confident assurance evidently depicted in the pose of Fig. 5. The deceased is led to judgment in pose much resembling that of any prisoner brought before the bar of a "court of competent jurisdiction." He attempts no salutation of the judge, but stands, arms and hands down, as if awaiting the results of the assize with proper anxiety. Even Kerasher, despite the huge bale of offerings, seems diffidently uncertain that he will be counted worthy to be called the justified in Osiris." In the adoration, also, the deceased makes his salutation humbly and with reverence, often with bent body. If he ever comes into the Presences, stalking confidently, like "Shulem, one of the King's principal waiters" (courtiers?), the papyrus so showing him has not been included in published collections.
The figure shown here is probably making a salutation of some kind, but evidently not of the kind usually due from mortals to the gods who hold the balances of eternal weal or woe. The peculiar headgear is another element of variation. It is very doubtful if any genuine judgment or adoration scene shows the deceased crowned or hatted before the Judge of Amenti. There every pose of body and every detail of dress suggest humility abased and unadorned.
The figure marked 6 is another difficulty in the present plate. This is attested by the testimonies of the authorities quoted in the Spalding pamphlet, who differ widely, even radically, in their judgments. Thus, Prof. Petrie calls it "the God Anubis." Dr. Breasted says, "the head probably should be that of a wolf or jackal, but ... is here badly drawn." Prof von Bissing sees here "the dead (5) and his shadow (6)," but adds, "6 only may be interpreted in different ways, but never as Smith did." Dr. Lythgoe, as quoted in the NEW YORK TIMES, opines that this figure represents a priest, judging from his shaven head, as compared with the wigs commonly shown on gods and deceased; also, that the black color of this figure reproduces the red shade given to male persons in Egyptian paintings, the women being colored in light yellow. This statement is made in spite of the fact that a priest, seldom if ever, evidently appears in either the judgment or adoration scenes before Osiris.
The criticisms of the Egyptologists quoted above must be considered with the respectful attention always due to the opinions of competent scholars; but, like the judgments noted in connection with the first plate, they evidently derive most of their weight from the assumption that these plates come from, and belong in, the Book of the Dead, as Dr. Meyer does not hesitate to state, or in some other mortuary document. As a matter of fact, no such figure as 6 appears in any papyrus of the Book of the Dead that has been published in facsimile, or shown in American museums. The dress suggests that it is a male figure, but by the same token, it constitutes an extremely unusual representation of Anubis, or of any other male deity commonly present in such scenes. The priestly character might be admissible, but not, properly, in the confines of the Osirian court. The pose, also, is most unusual, to say the least. It may be safe to assert, on the basis of the facts just noted, that, if this plate be considered to be in anything like the original form, and if it be insisted that it represent one of the usual run of scenes showing the deceased before Osiris, it departs sufficiently far from the usual reverent and consistent presentation to be classed as the veriest caricature. If it does not represent any such scenes, this judgment must of course be modified accordingly.
Without attempting any further interpretation of the plate, or hazarding any further guess on what it may represent, it would seem safe to say that the resemblances to usual Osirian scenes end with figures 5 and 6. The best available refuge of a critic of Joseph Smith's interpretation lies, therefore, in the statement of Dr. Budge that this is "a falsified copy." There is one difficulty with this assumption, however, and that is that such falsification as may be consistently suspectedquite entirely in the construction of figures 5 and 6, if we leave out of account the sundry other matters already notedis all in minor matters, and not at all in the interest of rendering the group more consistent with the explanations offered in regard to it. The strong suspicion of femininity adhering to fig. 4 could hardly have escaped any observer. Consequently, the presumable changes of 5 and 6 from the usual must appear unspeakably stupid, when this one is left untouched.
The inference is reasonably strong, then, that these plates must have come to the hands of Joseph Smith in the form shown at the present time, with such allowances as may reasonably be made, of course, for inaccuracy of drawing in the process of transference to the printing blocks.
In regard to the caption of this plate another interesting situation occurs. In the first place, the incident presumably depicted is not mentioned in the text of the Book of Abraham, so far, at least, as it has been given to the world. The scene might logically seem to depict "Abraham brought before Pharaoh;" "Abraham preaching, or expounding, before Pharaoh," or, in view of the mention of "Joseph of Egypt" in Joseph Smith's account of the translation of these papyri, "Joseph interpreting Pharaoh's Dream." That none of these explanations is chosen, but rather one referring to the unfamiliar and undescribed scene indicated in the caption must excite surprise, if the assumption be made that both book and captions were "made from the whole cloth."
The explanation inevitably occurring to a believer in the work and mission of Joseph Smith is that both plates and descriptions came to him in the manner set forth in his account, and that such "inconsistencies" and "inaccuracies," as have been noted by our critics, originated in a day far prior to Smith's lifetime. Such a person would explain these slips, provided he were willing to discuss them at all, by a line of reasoning precisely similar to that suggested in connection with plate 1, an easily explainable, and readily imaginable, scribal confusion beween this scene, presumably described in the text of the complete book, with which it is associated, with certain more familiar scenes of the varieties discussed above. Thus, the seated figure, stated to represent Abraham, becomes closely approximated to the general traditional appearance of Osiris, and sundry other changes are made, as it were, "to confound the wise." Thus we may venture an explanation of the "falsified copy."
Whatever may be said of the foregoing suggestions, it seems not too much to say that the "other side," which we have tried to present, will demand some consideration from candid minds. This is particularly probable, in view of the fact, already demonstrated, that Joseph Smith certainly "guessed" the meaning of the majority of the figures shown in these plates, as already discussed, and, that "his ability to do so had no connection with the decipherment of hieroglyphics by European scholars." Furthermore, several notable examples of the same ability to interpret symbolic meanings exist in the third plate also.
In this third plate, speaking of Fig. 1, which he identifies with Abraham, he says, "with a crown upon his head, representing the Priesthood, as emblematical of the grand Presidency in Heaven, with the sceptre of justice and judgment in his hand." How could this crown represent the "Priesthood," or emblem the "Presidency in Heaven?" Probably by indicating the qualities characterizing them. The crown is probably the "PSHENT," or double crown of the two Egypts, or perhaps only the crown of Lower Egypt. In either case the clear significance is AUTHORITY and POWER. The plume at either side typifies TRUTH, JUSTICE, RIGHT, LAW, and, as such, became the symbol traditionally associated with Maat the Goddess of Truth, etc. The plume was chosen for this significance by the Egyptians, because of the tradition that all the feathers of an ostrich are of the same length, hence, justly and equably measured. It is respectfully submitted for determination, whether the qualities of AUTHORITY and TRUTH fully represent the priesthood, or emblem the governance of God.
If this plate, like the first, is after the "manner of ... hieroglyphics," which is to say, symbolic still other symbols are found correctly interpreted. For example, the "scepter of justice and judgment" is mentioned. So far as one can determine, the seated figure, like Osiris, Horus, and others shown in Egyptian pictures is represented holding the flail or scourge in one hand, and the hook, or crook, in the other. These have been called the "emblems of sovereignty and power." However, the king or god so holding them shows thereby that he is the punisher of the wicked, as with the scourge, and the shepherd of the righteous. His office is shown to consist, therefore, in the exercise of JUSTICE, on the one hand, and of JUDGMENT, or righteous authority, protecting the good and law-abiding, on the other. Is this another good guess?
Regarding the figure marked 3 the explanation, "signifies Abraham in Egypt" is somewhat incomprehensible at first glance. It is evidently a simple offering table for holding fruit, flower and food offerings, and is a familiar figure in Egyptian art. Thus, we find it called "the stand of offerings with lotus flowers" (Petrie); "a lotus-crowned standard bearing food" (Breasted); "an offering table" (Von Bissing). Although these statements of our Egyptologists are correct beyond question, we are concerned with the symbolic meaning after the "manner of ... hieroglyphics," and, seeking for this, we find some things not mentioned by our critics.
The offering table has its significance in hieroglyphic writing, as both a "phonogram," or indicator of sound not spelled in letters, and as an "ideogram," or sign indicating an idea, independent of words, or in connection with spelled words. Its phonographic significance, as given by modern Egyptologists, is either HAU-T or HAWT, in which the A indicates a breathing similar to the Hebrew ALEPH, the first sign of the alphabet, which may indicate, not only "a" but also any other vowel or semi-vowel whatever, according to pointing or usage. Champollion's grammar transliterates this sign with EIEBT. As an ideogram this figure signifies the "Orient," the "East."
The flowers shown upon the table closely resemble those shown in the conventional cluster, which constitutes the familiar ideogram for Lower Egypt.
We have, therefore, a figure closely suggesting an association of Egypt with some word or name indicated by a combination of ALEPH and a labial consonant (B or V), or else with the Orient, from which, in relation to Egypt, Abraham had come. The use of "AB," "AV," "IB," or "IV," to indicate Abraham is quite analogous to the use of the familiar tri-grammator IHS (Greek for IES) to indicate the name "Jesus;" in both cases the first syllable denotes the full name. In the latter case the example is only one of a general run of instances in which proper names and other words are abbreviated in Greek manuscripts.
Considered hieroglyphically, therefore, there is no doubt but what the "lotus-crowned standard" may be interpreted to signify "Egypt and the Orient," or "Egypt and Ib (raim), Iv (raim), or Ab (ram)," quite as clearly and certainly as it connotes the actual use to which it was devoted.
In view of the points above noted, it seems safe to say that the assertion made by one of our critics to the effect that "Smith ... has misinterpreted the significance of every one figure" stands now with burden of proof shifted to the shoulders of those who reject him, both as a prophet of God and even as a man of ordinary honesty.