Fantasy and Reality in the Translation of the Book of Abraham

Title

Fantasy and Reality in the Translation of the Book of Abraham

Publication Type

Journal Article

Year of Publication

2021

Authors

Gee, John (Primary)

Pagination

127-170

Volume

42

Terms of use

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Bibliographic Citation

Gee, John. "Fantasy and Reality in the Translation of the Book of Abraham", Vol. 42. 2021:127-170.

Abstract

The volume editors of The Joseph Smith Papers Revelations and Translations: Volume 4 propose a theory of translation of the Book of Abraham that is at odds with the documents they publish and with other documents and editorial comments published in the other volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Two key elements of their proposal are the idea of simultaneous dictation of Book of Abraham Manuscripts in the handwritings of Frederick G. Williams and Warren Parrish, and Joseph Smith’s use of the so-called Alphabet and Grammar. An examination of these theories in the light of the documents published in the Joseph Smith Papers shows that neither of these theories is historically tenable. The chronology the volume editors propose for the translation of the Book of Abraham creates more problems than it solves. A different chronology is proposed. Unfortunately, the analysis shows that the theory of translation of the Book of Abraham adopted by the Joseph Smith Papers volume editors is highly flawed.

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