Thursday, August 27, 2015

Iota Toues Zip-Zi: The Land of Egypt- Character Dissection and Joseph Smith's Restorations of Missing Characters in the Lacunae

An early observer knowledgeable about the state at the time of the papyrus of the Book of Abraham (the Hor Sensen Papyrus) named William S. West said in 1837:

These records were torn by being taken from the roll of embalming salve which contained them, and some parts entirely lost; but Smith is to translate the whole by divine inspiration, and that which is lost, like Nebuchadnezzar's dream, can be interpreted as well as that which is preserved." (H. Donl Peterson, The Story of the Book of Abraham: Mummies, Manuscripts, and Mormonism, p. 148).
Below, you can see this picture put together by Chris Smith that has characters from the Sensen Papyrus lined up with characters that were copies from the columns of the Book of Abraham manuscripts, in the order that they appear.  As you can see, several of them are inserted in order where the lacuna appears:

This is a famous so-called problem among Anti-Mormons that don't seem to think very deeply about this, but just find fault with Joseph Smith that the characters here don't seem to be Egyptological to them, or at least, the way they are used to.  And so, they make the nonsensical charge that the characters are just made up and have no basis in reality.  One of these sets of characters, as you will see, are ones that Joseph Smith restored below in several Book of Abraham manuscripts.  Here it is once again with these particular characters encircled in red that we will be examining in particular.  While the rest of them are important as well, we will not be directly examining them in this article.

Below, we have scans of sections of three separate manuscripts for the Book of Abraham with characters that Joseph Smith restored in question:




As you can see, in three separate instances here, the characters are the same that line up with the text for "The Land of Egypt...." and so forth.  Now, a portion of these characters is translated by Joseph Smith in the Egyptian Alphabet section like this:


This character is the same one that is the middle part of this ligature, marked in red:

As you can see, fully drawn and separated out, this part of the ligature has several components:

A kind of half circle or loop, a dot, and a line.  And they were placed together this way by Joseph Smith.  So, here are these three separate sections of these characters separated out from each other, or "dissected," as Joseph Smith describes it in other places:


So, he says this means "A woman, married or umarried"


Here, he says this means "a principle that is beneath, disgusting-not fit."  This is a character that looks like a smile or a crescent.


Here, he says this means, "the eye" as a noun, or "to see" as a verb.  Many people find fault with Joseph Smith saying that he didn't restore the Egyptian characters correctly, that is, that he didn't draw them in some perceived correct form like they usually appear in hieratic or hieroglyphic.  But the critics have forgotten that in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, the point is not really the form the characters appear in their hieratic or hieroglyphic forms.  But rather, were characters correctly restored and identified and translated.  In this case, the real concern ought not to be whether Joseph Smith assembled them together entirely correctly in their joined or "ligature" or combined state.  For this type of thing, where a character is a compound, I refer you to the following article:

Rather, the question that should be asked is this:  Are the components of the characters that are identified here from the Alphabet section of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers that are the components real Egyptian characters, and do they really translate?  This is the question they always fail to ask.  We have already answered this question for some of these characters before.  For example, here is the article on the Iota character that looks like a dot:

Here is the articles containing the information on the Zip Zi character that looks like a dot  ("sign of the degrees"):

Now for this other symbol above, which is read Toan or Toues, and it is a crescent that goes downward:


Remember that in Facsimile #2, that which is underneath is what represents the Duat, the underworld.  And so, it is the bottom half of the hypocephalus, the bottom half of the circle:

All of the small pictures here are upside down, showing they are in the duat.  There seems to be a connection there with the notion of going downward.  In other parts of the Egyptain Alphabet parts of the KEP, it is translated:

"Sun: under heaven; downward; pointing downward, going downward; stooping down,  going down in<to> another place . . . going down into the grave— going down  into misery-even Hell; coming down in lineage by royal descent, in a line by Onitas one of the royal families of  the Kings the of Egypt."


"under the earth, anything that is beneath some other thing— under  water or water. also in some instances  Fish."


"exceeding  bad adultery: having descended below  some other principle"

So, as you can see, there is this idea of descending below, or being underwater, descending into hell, or genealogical descent from a certain line, as well as the idea of adultery or iniquity.  Hades in ancient times, or the Hebrew Sheol, was the underworld.

This is Gardiner's N41 and N42, which are variants of each other, and are hieroglyphs for a well with water:

In Egyptological Egyptian, these are pronounced hm, which is acrophonically derived from the word "woman" or "wife" which is hmt.  The word hm is also a word that represents the female reproductive organ, as we read:
The sign [that is a] well full of water (Gardiner's sign list N41) is used as a substitute for the female organ, and the sound value is hm. (The Ancient Egyptian Family: Kinship and Social Structure, By Troy D. Allen, p. 35)
So, as we saw, both descendency in genealogy and the notion of adultery are associations that clearly manifest how the female reproductive organ is associated with these ideas.  These ideas all answer to the Hebrew words tacht and  tachti.  Tacht is sometimes translated as "instead."  However, it also means “the bottom (as depressed)” or a “depression” or a “gap.”  The derived word, tachti, meaning the “lowermost” or “the depths” or figuratively “a pit” or “the womb.” (Strongs Exhaustive Concordance H8478, H8430, H8482).  It is the same idea, just like how Sheol (Hebrew), Hades (Greek) and Duat (Egyptian), being the underworld, are figuratively "the pit."  Perhaps tacht is related to the word duat or tuat, depending on how it is transliterated, since there seems to be some similarity in pronunciation to the Hebrew and Egyptian words.

In Mormonism, the same ideas are manifest in Doctrine and Covenants 128:12-13:
The ordinance of baptism by water, to be immersed therein in order to answer to the likeness of the dead, that one principle might accord with the other; to be immersed in the water and come forth out of the water is in the likeness of the resurrection of the dead in coming forth out of their graves; hence, this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead.  Consequently, the baptismal font was instituted as a similitude of the grave, and was commanded to be in a place underneath where the living are wont to assemble, to show forth the living and the dead, and that all things may have their likeness, and that they may accord one with another—that which is earthly conforming to that which is heavenly, as Paul hath declared . . .
The font is the Duat, the underworld, the pool of Khonsu, where the deceased is towed, as in the Sensen Papyrus, just as the Moon is the traveler across the sky in the night time.  Of course, baptism is to be "born again."
. . . by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified . . . (Moses 6:59-60)
As you can see, in summary, these symbols look like the bottom part of the Hypocephalus, or Facsimile #2, like a crescent or bottom of a circle.  It is interesting that in this symbol for "the Land of Egypt" which is Iota Toes Zip-Zi, we have two hieroglyphs that are both associated with women, which are both tied together in a ligature:  the "flat land" hieroglyph and the "well of water" hieroglyph, both testifying to the fact that there is a theme here that has to do with the symbolism of birth and death and the underworld and the womb, etc.  Baptism and the font share the same symbolism and themes.

And again, as we see, the point here was for Joseph Smith to recognize the component hieroglyphs in question that were being used pictographically here, not to restore them perfectly as ligatures in the exact perfect form they would have been found in.  But rather, he supplied the ones that were appropriate for the section of the Book of Abraham in question.  And once again, they are pictographic usages of real Egyptian characters, and they are abstractions with more literal assignments.  There must be external assignments or dependencies for these things to have any usefulness.  There must be something else to give external context.  That same principle has been shown over and over again in this blog.  Otherwise, they do nothing for us.