Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lexemes/Graphemes and Monograms: An Introduction to the Concept of Compound Egyptian Characters and their "Dissection" into Components

If you factor a number, or if you factor code in a computer program, you break it down into its components.  This dissection that we are talking about here, is somewhat similar to those concepts.  It is the factoring of Egyptian Hieroglyphs, into either their strokes, or their component pieces if they are composite characters.

In Joseph Smith's Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, the character Ki-Abra-oam Zub Zool Oan (or in the mechanical Egyptian, Wsir-Wr), we read that "this character is shown dissected."  In other words,  Joseph Smith demonstrates how each stroke is made for the character, and how each stroke or section of each character  has its own meaning aside from the meaning of the whole character itself.  Each character is treated as a compound, or composite, or conjunct or ligature—whichever word you please.  Another word that has been used to describe this type of thing (compound characters), that we still use in our culture that we can relate to, is a "monogram", or a "cypher" like a "royal cypher":

A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. Monograms are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos. A series of uncombined initials is properly referred to as a cypher (e.g. a royal cypher) and is not a monogram. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monogram)
In modern heraldry, a royal cypher is a monogram-like device of a country's reigning sovereign, typically consisting of the initials of the monarch's name and title, sometimes interwoven and often surmounted by a crown. In the case where such a cypher is used by an emperor or empress, it is called an imperial cypher. In the system used by various Commonwealth realms, the title is abbreviated as R for rex or regina (Latin for king and queen). Previously, I stood for imperator or imperatrix (Latin words for emperor and empress).[2][3] The cypher is displayed on some government buildings, impressed upon royal and state documents, and is used by government departments. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_cypher)

Here is an example of a monogram for the letters I, H and S, or perhaps for someone with initials of I H S:


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/IHS-monogram-interwined.jpg)

Here is an example of a royal cypher:


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/03/EVIIIR.PNG/120px-EVIIIR.PNG)
The Royal Cypher of King Edward VIII

To dissect monograms or cyphers, one would take it apart and treat each piece individually.  In the IHS monogram, one would separate out I from the IHS compound and use it on its own.  Or one would separate out the crown from the King Edward VIII cypher compound and use it on its own, disconnected from the others.

Of this type of concept in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar where one "dissects" a compound character, Richley Crapo, a credentialed LDS anthropologist, writes:

"In addition to the column of hieroglyphics from the Book of Breathings, it contains studies of the individual strokes that form complete hieroglyphic figures or words. Each stroke has been associated with a collection of semantically related English words or phrases . . . If one then turns to the section in which individual hieroglyphics (each composed of numerous strokes) that are associated with the Book of Abraham verses, the meanings associated with the strokes in each hieroglyphic *are* found in the corresponding verses. That is, there is a consistent set of meaningful relationships between what is said in a particular verse and the strokes that happen to be present in its associated hieroglyphic. This gives us some insight into what Joseph Smith seems to have been doing as he searched for meaning in the hieroglyphics." (https://web.archive.org/web/20110715195409/http://www.ida.net/graphics/shirtail/richley.htm)

Chris Smith and Ed Ashment refer to these strokes of characters that have their own meaning in the Sensen System of Interpretation of the papyrus by the term "lexeme."  The dictionary definition of the word lexeme is a unit of lexical meaning.  Others have used the term "grapheme" (for example, as we saw in the quote above about monograms).  Grapheme means essentially the same thing: the smallest semantically distinguishing unit of a written language.

This concept is definitely not an alien one to mechanical Egyptian.  For example, in the hieroglyph for the god Osiris, there are three separate parts, each that can have its own meaning separately.

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRuDLTUyd_X25Bndfx4UnXdjwjiAMc20cylv0mVABqEOkeHL9bZ)

There is a picture of a god (the figure that is seated), a picture of an eye, and a picture of a throne.  Osiris is a god, a seer (as the eye denotes), and a king (as the throne denotes).  Each one on its own, if separated from this context, would mean something different.  A throne by itself would be a picture of a throne, an eye a picture of an eye, and a picture of a god.  Each one of these has a separate meaning if they are used separately.  But together they are used for a hieroglyph that means something different than the pieces individually.

Another example is the magical dissection of the wedjat-eye ideogram, which is the classic precedent for this very thing.  This demonstrates that these concepts are definitely not alien to Egyptian characters.  Hugh Nibley notes how the ancient Egyptians would practice the magical ritual of the wedjat Eye:

Wedjat means “the unharmed one.”  The moon is “unharmed” or complete when it is full, and any observer can note the degrees by which it achieves fulness.  By degrees means “steps,” and the Egyptians often represent the waxing moon by fourteen steps, and the full moon by the conventional wedjat-eye . . . The strange seminal power symbolized by the wedjat-eye is strikingly brought forth in its significance in Egyptian mathematics.  The basic fractions from  1/2 to 1/64 used in grain and land measurement are represented by various parts of the wedjat as the “eye of the Falcon-god Horus . . . (which) was torn to fragments by the wicked god Seth . . . Later, the ibis-god, Thoth, miraculously 'filled' or 'completed' . . . the eye, joining together the parts . . .”  When these fractions are all added up, the total is 63/64; “the missing 1/64 was supplied magically by Thoth.”  (Hugh Nibley, One Eternal Round, pp. 272-273)


(http://i903.photobucket.com/albums/ac236/Lyte/Wedjat.gif)

Nibley shows a diagram in his book of the parts of the wedjat eye that the scribes use “as symbols of fractions.”  Each piece of the symbol has its own meaning.  Below is a diagram similar to Nibley's showing the fractional values that each section of the wedjat eye represents that can be separated out from the original drawing:


(http://www.ancient-egypt.co.uk/ashmolean/images/ashmolean_sep2006_-152.jpg)

As Joseph Smith would say, here is "this character shown dissected":


(http://ironmaiden-bg.com/en/images/stories/horus00.jpg)

It is unlikely that the original usage of the wedjat eye started out this way.  It is more likely that it started out as just stylized picture of an eye.  The first person that drew an eye this way didn't have the idea in mind to tear the character apart in sections.  Later on, certain Egyptians invented the mythology and the SYSTEM OF INTERPRETATION (rules) of how to dissect the pieces of the eye and what the interpretation was for each section of the eye.  This is precisely what I am suggesting for the Sensen Papyrus class of documents as a whole, that people started using their characters in derived compositions.  If someone creates a collage of pictures that are used differently from the way the pictures were intended in the beginning, and put them together in a new way, in their collage, this is they type of thing that I am referring to.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Two Modern Analogies to Iconotropy or Syncretistic Adaptation of Egyptian Characters

Another way to look at the principle of Syncretistic Adaptation or Iconotropy is in terms of an analogy.  For example, from the modern science we have gained knowledge of the inner workings of biology.  In a biological cell, you have organelles such as mitochondria, chloroplasts, and so forth.  These are components of the machinery that makes the cell work. All of these things represent the template, which consist of the mechanisms for any cell.

Now, in the cell nucleus, you have DNA, which is made up of various chemicals that encode for proteins and so forth, which the machinery use to create those proteins.  None of this machinery structure means anything (or none of it is functional) without the actual "program" that is encoded in the DNA.  That is where the encoding containing the information that actually makes the organism what it is, when those instructions in the DNA are carried out.  Without this, the cell does not function, and has no identity to set it apart from other types of cells.

What happens when a cell is highjacked by something that has other DNA?  A virus co-opts the machinery, and uses it for its own use, injecting other DNA into the cell which appropriates the machinery to use it for its own purposes.  The Syncretistic Adaptation or Iconotropy principle is the same as a biological virus in a lot of ways.  It co-opts the Egyptian characters for use in such a way that they are now not functioning according to their original use.  They now have a different purpose, a different identity in a different context.  And the different interpretation in this other context requires an external dependency, meaning an external key, to know the context.

Similarly, if a computer has a blank hard drive with no operating system, and no software installed in the operating system, the computer is a mere template or empty shell.  The only thing that makes the computer useful is the software.  There is a special piece of software on a computer that gives it an identity, making it what it is.  This is called the "Operating System."  The usual operating system that most people think of is Microsoft WindowsTM.  But there are others out there.  Prior to Windows, there was MSDOS.  And there is Mac OSTM.  Other less common ones are Linux and Unix and so forth.

Most people think that there is something fundamentally different between a MacintoshTM and Windows PC.  The reality is that the machinery is virtually identical.  Or perhaps they think there is something fundamentally different between an AndroidTM phone and an iPhoneTM.  In many cases, the hardware is comparable.  But the identities of the devices are actually determined technically by the software, not the hardware.  Many of those phones have comparable ARM processors.

Now, compare these analogies to the situation with the Sensen papyrus, and the “program” that the Egyptologists are trying to “install” and “run” on it.  Egyptologists (and most Mormon Apologists and Apostate Critics incidentally) insist that the only valid “operating system” is the system of interpretation that the Egyptologists deciphered from the Rosetta Stone, which is mechanical Egyptian (a term that I have coined to refer to it).  It is true that mechanical or Egyptological Egyptian is a valid "operating system."  It is true that it is the original and usual way to use Egyptian characters.  But Mormon Apologists are fine with regular iconotropy, following Kevin Barney's adaptation theory, where they apply it to the facsimiles ONLY.  This is where my theory differs.  I say the same principles apply to all the contents of the papyrus.

Now, with the KEP ("Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" and related documents), we have encountered yet another system of interpretation, or yet another type of “Operating System” for the Sensen Papyrus, which can now be used to interpret it.  In other words, symbols from the Sensen Papyrus were used in an ancient document in a way different from the original way of using them, and Joseph Smith reconstituted them in the modern day in the documents in the KEP.

And incidentally, this is the same system used by the Facsimiles.  It wasn't the way the original author of the papyrus intended.  But it is the way another user intended.  And the rules for the system this other user is using is defined in this other external document which is the key.  This key was a hybrid document between Sensen characters and Abrahamic concepts and content.  It is the way the characters from the papyrus is used in the KEP (or Kirtland Egyptian Papers, being Joseph Smith's notebook, as the external key, a reconstitution of this ancient document).

Apple doesn't necessarily want their computers used this way with Windows operating systems or Linux, but the dirty secret is that Microsoft WindowsTM can be installed on an Apple MacintoshTM.

Similarly, it doesn't matter what the Egyptologists say about the KEP.  It only matters that the ancient Syncretist Egyptians or Jews or whoever they are invented the system of interpretation, and Joseph Smith reconstructed it.

Iconotropy: Syncretistic Adaptation of the Characters and Facsimiles in the Sensen Papyrus

Kevil L. Barney proposed that the Book of Abraham text might have been transmitted down Jewish or Semitic lines as perhaps a text written in Hebrew.  He believes that someone may have used standard Egyptian pictures (in the facsimiles) and adapted them for use with the Book of Abraham text.  The name that he coined to refer to this hypothetical person responsible for this transmission or version of the Book of Abraham and the adaptation of Egyptian pictures to go along with them is the term "J-red" or "Jewish Redactor."  So, this idea of ancient person being responsible (i.e. responsible for ''adapting'' or appropriating Egyptian ideograms to a particular use in a way that is distinct from their original, mechanical or Egyptologically-correct usage) is not new. [i]

What I am proposing is not very different from Barney's proposition on this point.  My modification to Barney's proposal is this.  I propose that the Book of Abraham was passed down in ancient times in either an Egyptian text or a Hebrew text, and that text was lost or hidden up.  Similar to Barney, I also propose that someone used the pictures in the facsimiles differently than they were originally used by the Egyptians.  However, I go further.  I propose that someone used ALL of the symbols in the Sensen papyrus the same way that they used the pictures in the facsimiles.  In other words, they used the symbols in the text of the Sensen papyrus as little pictures that represent other things, and were not using them as text at all, like little facsimiles to go along with a different text.  And they were also used as markers for the sections of this other text that they go along with.  What is called the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar and also the rest of the related papers, comprise Joseph Smith's explanation that gives context to and go along with these little pictures, just like the explanation for the facsimile #2 is the explanation that goes along with those bigger pictures.   And these people that did this anciently, this adaptation or iconotropy or re-purposing (choose your word), were not necessarily a Jew or Jews.  There were Egyptian priests that also appropriated symbols and stories and books from other religions and used them in their own religion.  The religion of these priests at this time period was a hodge-podge of things from other religions.  This type of religion is called a Syncretistic or Syncretic religion, where they practice Syncretism (appropriate things for use in their own religion from other religions).  This was the religion of what have been called the "Greek" magical papyri, late Egyptian manuscripts from the Greco-Roman era that are usually written in Greek or Coptic (the late Egyptian language).  So these Egyptian Priests were syncretists, and they were also practitioners of the Egyptian magical tradition.

Barney points out that the symbol of the person on the lion-couch in Facsimile #1 of the Book of Abraham is Osiris, but Joseph Smith identified him as Abraham.  That is precisely what it meant to the person that used the symbol this way in the first place:  Osiris.  In other words, these particular facsimiles were not necessarily used by Abraham originally in his book as we have it in its present form, but were later adaptations for use in this manner, likely by some Jewish or early Christian person in Egypt in the Ptolemaic period, according to Barney.  Barney wrote:

. . . [T]he Book of Abraham . . . may have had its origin as a semitic text that experienced the normal transmission process of copying, translation, and redaction . . . [T]he facsimiles . . . may have been Egyptian religious vignettes that were adopted or adapted by an Egyptian-Jewish redactor as illustrations of the book of Abraham . . . Jewish adaptation of Egyptian sources was common during this time period, and would explain the adaptation of the facsimiles to illustrate the Book of Abraham . . . [ii]
In co-opting the papyri to a new purpose, this person reinterpreted them in accordance with Semitic religious sensibilities and the requirements of the Abraham story . . . It is only by viewing the facsimiles through a Semitic lens that we can clearly see how the explanations relate to the figures. [iii]

This fits perfectly with the concept of incarnation or embodiment which were written about by both Professor James Faulconer and Hugh Nibley.  Faulconer coined the term "incarnation" to describe the use of symbols this way.  The idea is that mythological themes of the Egyptian characters actually end up representing historical figures that closely follow the mythical themes of the characters.  For example, as Barney points out, much in the life of Osiris in the myth ends up being a parallel to the life of Abraham, and therefore, the symbol for Osiris incarnates Abraham, and the two become entwined because of the common theme.

The roll that contained Facsimile #1 and Facsimile #3 of the Book of Abraham, as Egyptology has shown, is the Hor papyrus of the Book of Breathings, or the Sensen document.  Facsimile #1 and Facsimile #3 were interpreted Abrahamically by Joseph Smith.  As Barney points out, Egyptologically speaking, Osiris is not literally Abraham, when he lies on the Lion Couch in Facsimile #1.  But Osiris becomes Abraham by incarnation (using Professor Faulconer's terminology), because that is the way the symbol is used.  It is thematically and symbologically tied to Abraham.  And, as I point out in other posts in this blog, in this way, the figure of Osiris becomes an abstraction, or an empty template, for use in other contexts.  Therefore, the meaning of Abraham was ASSIGNED to the figure of Osiris.  Osiris is not Abraham literally, but through a value assignment, much like a variable in computer science or algebra.

In the first missionary discussion pamphlet for our Church published in 1986 (from the era that I was a missionary before the time of Preach My Gospel), it says:  “Most people believe in a Supreme being, even though they may call him by different names.  We know that God lives.  We want to share with you our feelings about him.”  This shows that as a missionary technique, we apply the concepts people already have of a divine being to teach them about God.  Because we build on the common beliefs that we hold with them.  We don't tear down their beliefs, because they already have a lot of truth.  And different names for the same being doesn't effect the fact that he is who he is.  Similarly, in the Letter of Aristeas, an ancient Jewish pseudepigraphical work, the author of it who seems to have been a Jew, wrote the following about the pagans in antiquity who worshiped God the best way they knew:

They [the Jews] worship the same God, the Lord and Creator of the Universe, as all other men, as we ourselves, . . . though we call him by different names, such as Zeus or Dis. This name was very appropriately bestowed upon him by our first ancestors, in order to signify that He through whom all things are endowed with life and come into being, is necessarily the Ruler and Lord of the Universe. [iv]

So, as you can see here, for people in our day, it is strange that this ancient Jewish author would be applying the names of Zeus or Dis to the God of the Jews, who we know as Jehovah.  Thus, the figure of Zeus becomes a place-holder for the true god, even though he is a mythological figure.  This is because some people have always assumed that the Jews had an aversion to things of pagan origin.  But their assumptions were false.  This was an adaptation of these names to Jehovah, not that he originally had these names.  Those names were originally used for false gods by the pagans.  The false pagan gods remain false.  But the concept of a Jew applying these names to his own God, which is the true God, in the mind of that Jew, actually makes Jehovah take on the characteristics and roles of that god, which is reasonable, because in most cases, he does have those roles in reality.  Not that it makes him false.  But it applies the symbology of the name upon the true God.  Thus, the true God becomes the true incarnation of the perfect divine attributes that were falsely attributed to a false god previously, that doesn't even exist.  In this way, the names and figures of these other gods actually became useful as symbols when applied to the true God.  This odd practice was manifest in another archaeological find only recently.  The seal of a family that served priestly functions in the first temple of Jerusalem was recently found in an archaeological dig in the City of David.  But the nature of the symbol has shocked people, because they never would have expected it.  And this actually appears in the Jerusalem Post:

A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David . . . [T]he name "Temech" [is] engraved on it . . . The seal . . . portrays a common and popular cultic scene . . .

And in this scene, curiously enough, “A crescent moon, the symbol of the chief Babylonian god Sin, appears on the top of the altar . . .”  And, this fact “seemed not to have disturbed the Jews who used it on their own seal . . .”[v]

The best explanation is adaptation of these symbols for use in the worship of Jehovah.  Similarly, Kerry Shirts, a (former) LDS scholar, pointed out that in Facsimile #3 of the Book of Abraham, the Egyptian symbols used are the symbols for Osiris, Isis, and Anubis, etc.  But these were applied to the characters of Abraham, Pharaoh, and a servant of the prince, Olimlah by the Ancient Interpreter of the Book of Abraham.  There is an entwining of the real figures with the mythical ones where they actually become each other through a common theme.  Similarly, in Facsimile #2 of the Book of Abraham, figure 7 is the symbol for the Egyptian god Min.  But the explanation as Joseph Smith gave it to us, says that it “represents God sitting upon his throne . . .” 

William Hamblin pointed out that a technical term for this principle of adaptation or appropriation of the symbols of other cultures for usage outside their original context is "iconotropy."[vi]  This term was coined by mythologist William Graves.[vii]  Hamblin stated:

We also all agree that J[oseph] S[mith's] interpretations of the facsimiles represents iconotropy--the intentional . . . or unintentional . . . reinterpretation of the iconography of one culture according to the iconographic norms of another culture. This is extraordinarily common phenomena in ancient cultures. The only question is whether J[oseph] S[mith] engaged in iconotropy or whether an ancient author engaged in iconotropy, and J[oseph] S[mith] correctly revealed an ancient Hebrew iconotropic interpretation of the facsimiles.[viii]

(See also http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/iconotropy-and-the-js-abraham-facsimiles/)

Iconotropy is to symbolically and ritually employ symbols by swapping in or plugging in a different meaning outside their original context.  It is proposed that a trend existed among the Egyptians around the time of our papyri who started using a peculiar system of interpretation on many Egyptian documents and "magical papyri."  It appears that the Kirtland Egyptian Papers and the Facsimile explanations, as well as Oliver Cowdery's explanations of the artwork on the Book of the Dead papyri among the Joseph Smith papyri cannot be segregated from each other, and represent the same exact system.



[i] Astronomy, Papyrus and Covenant, Chapter 8, http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=40&chapid=168
[ii] ibid, p. 108
[iii] ibid., p. 115
[iv] Letter of Aristeas, 15-16
[v] The Jerusalem Post, Jan 17, 2008, “First Temple seal found in Jerusalem, by Etgar Lefkovits, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1200475897717&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
[vi] See for example http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/iconotropy
[vii] See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Greek_Myths
[viii] http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/53628-missing-papyrus/page__st__20
[ix] See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncretism

The Question of Scribes: Did They Really Do It?

What are the motivations of Apologists in trying to say that Joseph Smith is not responsible for the Kirtland Egyptian Papers (or KEP, meaning Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar and related documents that have to do with the Book of Abraham translations), and trying to pass all this off on his scribes?

Well, it pretty much boils down to several things:
1) There is a claim out there that the translations in the KEP are incorrect Egyptian translations.  This claim is demonstrably false from the research on this blog.
2) Since it is perceived that those translations are incorrect, if Joseph Smith was responsible for them, then apologists want to make it appear that he was not responsible, to maintain faith.
3) So, the strategy apologists have come up with is to say, "yeah, it looks like the translations are incorrect.  So we will just blame that fact on the scribes, because the translations would be correct if Joseph Smith was responsible.

Nevermind that the same EXACT type of issues that occur in the KEP are also manifested in the translations of the Book of Abraham facsimiles.  And apologists have gone to great lengths to demonstrate the correctness of those translations in the facsimiles.  Hugh Nibley during his lifetime dedicated a great amount of effort to this cause, and actually succeeded in demonstrating their correctness, producing thousands of pages of research, on mostly Facsimile #2 alone.  Why then should the apologists continue to waste time trying to say that the translations in the KEP are incorrect, and that the scribes are responsible?  Why don't they similarly VINDICATE the translations in the KEP, putting as much work into their vindication as they have the facsimiles?  It can be predicted that since the Facsimile #2 translations are something that can be and have been vindicated, that the same fact would be manifest in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, with enough work and faith in that project.  Some will not appreciate what I have to say about that, but I say that it is intellectually lazy to try to do away with the KEP by passing it off on Joseph Smith's scribes.  And so, I say that it is pure laziness and lack of intellectual rigor and desire on the part of apologists.  They have no motivation to want to have to actually do the work to vindicate the KEP.  How sad.  If one guy can do what I have done on this blog over time, think about what a bunch of apologists and Egyptologists at BYU could do, if only they were committed to vindicate the KEP.

W. W. Phelps (who was also one of the scribes who worked on the Kirtland Egyptian Papers/Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar) in a letter to William Smith stated:

Eternity, agreeably to the records found in the catacombs of Egypt has been going on in this system (not this world) almost two thousand five-hundred and fifty-five millions of years. (N. B. Lundwall, Temples of the Most High, Sixth Edition, p. 246, quoting from Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, pp. 757-61.)

I assert that Joseph Smith was responsible for the concept in this quote.  Just because W. W. Phelps wrote the statement doesn't mean that the idea is his!  Others say that William W. Phelps was essentially responsible for the project of the KEP  (Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar), not Joseph Smith.  Though this statement is not found in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, credence ought to be given to the idea that it originated with Joseph Smith, or at least the concepts in it.  Then, there is the oft quoted statement from Joseph Smith, which shows content that is not found in any other place except for the Kirtland Egyptian Papers:

"Were I an Egyptian, I would exclaim Jah-oh-eh, Enish-go-on-dosh, Flo-ees-Flos-is-is; [O the earth! the power of attraction, and the moon passing between her and the sun.]" (http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/25580-joseph-smith-and-ancient-egyptian/)

Similarly, it is quite clear that all of the ideas contained in the astronomical and cosmological statements made in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers ultimately came from Joseph Smith.  About these astronomical concepts, Joseph Smith wrote that “in company with Brothers Oliver Cowdery and W. W. Phelps, and during the research, the principles of astronomy as understood by Father Abraham and the ancients unfolded to our understanding, the particulars of which will appear hereafter.” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 286).  Remember, those men were his scribes, and Joseph Smith himself stated, in a journal entry for March 3, 1843:  “On returning to my office after dinner, I spoke the following proverb:  'For a man to be great, he must not dwell on small things, though he may enjoy them;' this shows that a Prophet cannot well be his own scribe, but must have some one to write for him.”  (Leland R. Nelson (ed.), Journal of Joseph: The Personal History of A Modern Prophet, p. 213; History of the Church, 5:298).

Similarly, in a book review in BYU Studies of George D. Smith's book, An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, James B. Allen wrote:

Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and other Church leaders often called on their scribes and secretaries to record their journals for them. No responsible historian presumes to publish such journals as part of the papers of the scribes who wrote them. Such journals are the journals of those for whom they were written. Smith correctly observes that when Stanley B. Kimball published the journals of Heber C. Kimball, he left this one out. That still does not legitimize publishing it here. If such a journal could be called a Clayton journal, then so could the journal Clayton wrote for Kimball while crossing the plains in 1847. That journal has been published twice-as a Heber C. Kimball journal. The temple journal is in exactly the same category. If it is to be published at all, it should be published with a Kimball collection, not a Clayton collection. (https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=7457, emphasis added)

Yet, supposedly responsible individuals insist that it was the scribes that are responsible for the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.  In EVERY OTHER INSTANCE, nobody questions that the Prophet Joseph Smith was responsible for the writings he produced.  Only in this instance, they insist that W. W. Phelps was the mastermind.  Above, a historian was in no uncertain terms telling us that what is written by someone's scribe is actually the property of the person for whom it was written.  The person for whom it was written is the author.  That person is the one responsible alone for the content.  But, since the Scribes Did It Theory is a critical piece of the house of cards to uphold the Missing Papyrus Theory, certain individuals suggest that we should believe something that no responsible historian would believe in any other case!  We are supposed to suspend good judgement just in this one case, according to them.  Sorry, but Joseph Smith was the Prophet, the one with the keys.  W. W. Phelps was not some "mastermind" behind the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar project.  He was just a scribe.  That's like saying that Oliver Cowdery was the mastermind behind the translation of the Book of Mormon when he was just a scribe.  Joseph Smith Jr. was the revelator and translator.

As an example, Joseph Smith announced that he was the editor of the Church’s newspaper Times and Seasons, March 15, 1842.  The Prophet wrote:

This paper commences my editorial career, I alone stand responsible for it, and shall do for all papers having my signature henceforth. I am not responsible for the publication, or arrangement of the former paper; the matter did not come under my supervision, JOSEPH SMITH.

Why should the Kirtland Egyptian Papers be the exception because certain individuals try to strong arm us to believe it, without evidence, when all the evidence points in the opposite direction?