Thursday, February 24, 2011
Book of Abraham
The last lesson I taught the Priests in my ward I went over the history of the Book of Abraham. There are a host of arguments made against Joseph Smith, his translation and the authenticity of the Book of Abraham which rely upon ignorance to persuade.
The Book of Abraham is one of the strongest proofs of Joseph Smith's credibility as a prophet who restored ancient knowledge and did so using the power of God. But only if you have read enough to know the lay of the terrain.
I brought the following books with me to the class:
Abraham in Egypt (Nibley)
The Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment (Nibley)
Astronomy, Papyrus and Covenant (Hauglid)
An Approach to the Book of Abraham (Nibley)
One Eternal Round (Nibley)
The Blessings of Abraham (Clark)
Traditions About the Early Life of Abraham (Tvedtnes, Gee)
The Hor Book of Breathings (Rhodes)
A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri (Gee)
Vol. 2 of The History of the Church (Joseph Smith)
Critics of Joseph have provoked a tremendous effort to account for the Book of Abraham. If you are interested in the topic, the results of that effort are worth reading. I find that all topics related to the restoration are interesting to me.
I've spent a few days with scholars with backgrounds in Egyptology. There is a great deal to learn about the earliest days of Egypt and the Egyptian influence on ancient Israel. Many of our Psalms are taken directly from Egypt. Abraham sojourned there, Joseph served there, the twelve tribes resided there, Moses was raised there in the royal courts, Jeremiah fled there, and Christ lived several years there. Egypt was a repository of arcane knowledge which remains interesting to Latter-day Saints.