Where did the Book of Abraham come from?
In July of 1835, a traveling exhibition of 4 mummies and the Papyri came to Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith was allowed to look at the Papyri and discovered that it was an account of Abraham, written in his own hand. The members pooled their money to purchase the artifacts, allowing Smith to translate them into the Book of Abraham. At the time, Joseph Smith was the only person alive who even claimed he could translate Egyptian. More info
Do Egyptologists confirm Joseph’s translation?
Unfortunately, most of the papyri is missing, but much of what you see in the facsimiles is in tact. Every Egyptologist who has inspected the facsimiles or the actual papyrus claim that it is simply funeral papyri, not scriptural text. They even claim that Smith mislabeled some of the characters as men despite being women. They also claim that it would need to have been 1500 years older to have been written in the hand of Abraham. In response to the controversy, apologists explain that perhaps it was never meant to be a direct translation, but simply the catalyst for Joseph’s revelation.
What do the LDS Egyptologists say?
John Gee is the only LDS Egyptologist who confirms Joseph Smith’s translation. Hugh Nibley is often cited due to his articles regarding the Book of Abraham, though he is not an Egyptologist. Other LDS Egyptologists and archeologist, like Stuart Ferguson and Edward H. Ashment disagree with Gee’s findings. Read more
Does the church still have the papyri?
Though thought to have been lost in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, in 1966 several fragments of the papyri were found in the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and in the LDS Church archives. It was glued to the back of a map of Kirtland and some architectural drawings of the temple. To further prove its authenticity, it was discovered with a bill of sale from Emma Smith.
What’s the Egyptian Book of Alphabet & Grammar?
In addition to translating the papyri, Joseph Smith began translating each individual Egyptian character. Not only did he give the meaning of each symbol, he even gave us the pronunciation. Read more