Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why This Way? Why Didn't the Lord Just Preserve the Book of Abraham in Mechanical (Egyptological) Egyptian For Us?

There are a few principles behind the Lord's working in this thing.  Surely it was within the Lord's power to preserve a mechanical-Egyptian copy of the Book of Abraham for our day if it was in his plan, or perhaps a copy of it in Hebrew.  Now in saying this, it is possible that a copy of it in mechanical Egyptian is hidden up somewhere.  But we do not have it.  Surely the Lord could have preserved an unblemished Bible if he wanted to also.  But instead, his plan was to give us a book that had a "sealed portion" with the Bible that was preserved unscathed through the centuries, called the Book of Mormon.  And even this book, we do not have all of its contents, because of that "sealed portion."  We are still waiting for the promised day that the sealed portion will be given.  And why don't we have the sealed portion, or other things which have been held back yet?

And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.  And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation. (3 Nephi 26:9-10)

Similarly, anything Abrahamic about the Facsimiles and the Sensen Papyrus is "sealed."  These things are not made obvious to the casual translator.  It is difficult to see how those that invented and implemented this system would have desired for this to be interpreted at all the way a casual translator would have hoped.  Because it is entirely dependent on outside sources of information for its interpretation in this manner, because the "decipherment," if it can even be called that, is a one-way street.  In other words, if you have the information required to know its meaning outside of a symbol (an external dependency), then you can see how it fits with a symbol.  But if you do not have that information, the symbol itself is not of much use to you.  This is similar to a "hash" in computer science or cryptology.  It is a one-way thing.  You can know that something fits with something else external to it, but the thing external to it cannot be reconstructed from the hash.  So, you can't "translate" this papyrus.  You must already have the translation or intent, and once you have that, you can see how it fits with it if you reverse-engineer it.

It is as if it is from priestly group to priestly group, or from one priest to another priest.  If so, people outside the groups of those in the know did not necessarily have the intent for the uninitiated or outsiders to have access to their interpretation casually.  And so, the Lord's hand was potentially in this thing to give us a "sealed" version of the Book of Abraham.  To be meaningful, a priest would have to either have been taught this custom way of using the characters in the Sensen Papyrus, and known this mentally (i.e. would have this all memorized).  Or, he would have to have a custom-designed document that is a derivative composition, employing both these symbols from the Sensen Papyrus, lining them up with meaning assignments (like in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers).  This is the external dependency, or external key.  It is a derivative document with the Book of Abraham text and the custom, or enhanced usage of Sensen characters.

A sealed book and a seer stone both become, as it were, the stone of foundation to the faithful, and the stone of stumbling to the faithless.  This is so, with both the Book of Mormon as well as the Book of Abraham.  As Emperor Palpatine said to Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi, "Now, you will pay the price for your lack of vision!"  Indeed.  Those who have no faith in the power of God to do his work in these types of matters in the end may pay the price for their lack of vision and lack of faith.

For example, I fail to see how a Reed Symbol can casually be translated as "Land of the Chaldees."  It cannot be done.  Yet it does indeed mean that, as you will can see in my research, but only because of a value assignment, not because of an inherent meaning.  That is because the reed character is an abstraction, a one way street without an external dependency.  Without the background context, it is an empty pictograph of a reed, on its own, without hope of a translator being able to "extract" its meaning from anything obvious.

So, the fact of the matter is, unless one belongs to some ancient sect of Egyptian priests that were in the know (but one cannot, because they are all dead), someone has to first use a seer stone on the material.  If the Lord chooses to provide a context to the translator in this manner, then only after the fact, can someone come and examine methodically what the seer came up with in order to discern the underlying system for how it is so.  There does not seem to be a way to "decrypt" what is happening until afterward, because of not knowing the context beforehand.

Indeed, from an Egyptological/mechanical standpoint, there is nothing Abrahamic about these characters.  That is because they are empty templates in a generic form.  Anything Abrahamic about them must be imposed or assigned on them by the interpreter.  Or an outside KEY like the KEP/Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar must be provided to make any sense of anything, a derivative document, a hybrid document between the Sensen Papyrus characters and the Abrahamic meanings that are assigned.  This is why, an explanation about how they are Abrahamic must come from a core assumption that their Abrahamic nature does not come from the mechanical Egyptian way of reading them, but from an assumption that SOMEONE interpreted/repurposed them this way for some reason, and by virtue of that, they are what Joseph Smith claimed them to be, for all intents and purposes, and that aspects of them somehow go back to Abraham.  If they were RECONSTRUCTED (i.e. the Modern Reconstruction Hypothesis that I will speak of in other blog posts), then the RECONSTRUCTION somehow mirrors or represents authentically ancient material.

It is not in the Lord's plan to give us everything to satiate our desires for proof or evidence.  Certainly he does give us some evidences.  But nothing that is so earth-shattering, that it will not require faith to accept or appreciate.  So yes, to see meaningful Abrahamic things in the Book of Breathings and in the Facsimiles, and to accept the Book of Abraham, it takes faith.  We already know it isn't the mechanical Egyptian.  Everybody knows that.  So our purpose is to know, how does it relate then?  And that is the question that we continue to research.