Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Link to William Hamblin's Definition of the Catalyst Theory

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/enigmaticmirror/2013/08/26/catalyst-theory-of-the-book-of-abraham/

Here is an Archive.org copy of the post (I find it helpful to post these copies on that site if something is ever taken down):

https://web.archive.org/web/20141020152017/http://www.patheos.com/blogs/enigmaticmirror/2013/08/26/catalyst-theory-of-the-book-of-abraham/


I thought this would be good for a reference.  This link was posted on a message board and contains William Hamblin's definition of the "Catalyst Theory" and also has his understanding of David Bokovoy's position, which differs from the classic Catalyst theory.

Monday, February 23, 2015

More on the Connection Between the Game Mehen and the Hypocephalus (Facsimile #2)

Previously I have showed the connection between Facsimile #1 (Abraham on the Altar) and the Egyptian game Senet portrayed in the Book of the Dead.  I have also shown the connection between the ancient Egyptian game Mehen (which is round) and Facsimile #2, the round Hypocephalus.  And I showed, just like how Facsimile #1 and Facsimile #2 are intimately tied together, so are Senet and Mehen.  Furthermore, I have shown the connection between the Phaistos Disk (which some scholars have identified as an ancient game, and the game Mehen.

Now I have found more interesting information, which is also intimately tied with other hieroglyphics in the Sensen Papyrus as well.  So bear with me.

In this post, I will be referring to an article that came to me in an email link from Academia.edu:

https://www.academia.edu/8225657/_On_the_Etymology_of_jtn_and_the_Solar_Iconography_G%C3%B6ttinger_Miszellen_242_2014_71-87

You can retrieve this if you have an academia.edu account.  The name of the article is On the Etymology of jtn and the Solar Iconography, by a scholar named Luca Miatello.  Miatello shows a graphic that shows that the sun disk hieroglyph in Egypt existed with a number of variants:



Form 4 of this hieroglyph for the sun disk most closely resembles Facsimile #2, a hypocephalus, with its outer rim (the following is a hypocephalus very similar to Facsimile #2):



As Miatello says, "The ring in Forms 3 and 4 represents a serpent without head and tail."  As you know, the form of the Mehen game is that of a serpent that coils inward until it comes to the center, which is sometimes represented by an eye as the thing in the center, as I showed in a previous post (http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-sensen-papyrus-and-hypocephalus-as.html).  Here is the picture of the Mehen game:



And also this:


So, the similarities here are beginning to be very evident.  Of the four forms of the sun disk showed by Miatello, he says:

In Form 4, it is usually painted yellow or light brown, which are usually the colors of the uraeus, and spots of the serpent’s skin are frequently depicted on the ring.  As Westendorf indicated, the circles with the ring constituted by one or two serpents in archaic palettes are the antecedents of Forms 3 and 4, and probably all three forms had a common origin.
Miatello mentions that the sun disk was thought of as a breast by the ancient Egyptians, but that it is also probably "inspired by the phenomenon of the sun halo. A halo is a ring of
light, composed of multiple colors like the rainbow, that appears around the sun . . . caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere.  Such a phenomenon could be paralleled to a serpent encircling the sun. Spells 331–332 of the Pyramid Texts support this assumption . . ."  Then Miatello directly makes the connection to Mehen, saying, "Spell 332 can be a metaphor of the sun halo: the king is the sun, emerging in the fiery blast of the sun halo (mehen), which then disappears."  And then he shows a picture of the game Mehen from a tomb.  And then he writes:

After the Old Kingdom, the game seems to fall into oblivion, but the image of a seated god surrounded by nine concentric elliptical rings, painted in alternate colors, black and red, appears in the Middle Kingdom coffin of Sepi . . . The god is described . . . [as] "Ra within his coiled one”.  The coils that protect Ra are called . . . “paths of fire”, and the deceased has to pass through them to join the god. (Emphasis added in bold.)
And here is the picture that he shows of the seated god, encircled by the rings:


This, of course, is very similar to the SEATED GOD, in the center of a Hypocephalus.  The rings are like veils of fire that have to be passed through.  He goes on to say:

In these spells, mhn [i.e. the word Mehen] is consistently written with the sun disk determinative.  This is a strong indication that the surface surrounding the central circle in Form 2 was identified with a serpent surrounding the sun, as the rings in Forms 3 and 4. On the other hand, one should also consider that in this period such a surrounding surface was identified with the sun disk itself . . .
He then makes the connection to a connection with birth, and quotes a text where the god Shu is born from the nostrils of Atum's serpent and that "Neith has been conceived in the nose, Neith has been born from the nostril, Neith has spent the night in your bond. Neith will sit in your coils."  Remember that Kolob, the center of the Book of Abraham Hypocephalus, is the seated god figure (Khnum-Ra in that case), but that it is a WOMAN determinative hieroglyph in the Sensen papyrus to represent Kolob, as I have shown previously:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/02/kolob-character-comparisons-visual.html

I noted in that blog post the connection between Khnum and CHILDBIRTH, and the woman hieroglyph.  As Miatello notes:  "The sun’s nose (Sr.t ra) is the center of the sun disk."  He goes on to say:
These images suggest that the central circle in Form 2, at some point was
identified with the source of the solar regeneration. Similarly to the fiery blast of
the sun halo (mehen), the mysterious solar regeneration would occur in the middle
of the sun, as young manifestation coming into being within the old one.
Now, further on in the article, he points out that it is also reminicent of a picture of concentric rings encircling a central rectangular pattern:


And another example of a similar picture is this:


He says that it has been interpreted as a "sieve, but it is probably a rectangular coiled center."  He notes that an epithet of the goddess Nut is written "with the basket determinative, which indicates that the coiled mat was associated to a coiled basket."  This is interesting in several respects because, as you may recall, I noted that the KH uniliteral hieroglyph in the Sensen Papyrus is identified by Joseph Smith as the "King of the Day", or the sun, and by him was pronounced Flos-is-es.  But it is thought of as a circular basket or sieve/sifter:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-egyptian-kh-god-khepri-and-joseph.html

It also has lines going through it, but horizontal ones.  Here, a basket or sieve is identified with the Sun.  Furthermore, I was of the opinion that the uniliteral character in question was pronounced KH because of the association with the god Khepri and the sun, through acrophony, and the word kepher, the rising of the sun.  Of course Khepri is a sun god, and the scarab is identified with him, as Miatello shows.  He furthermore notes that this rectangular basket is reminiscent for the hieroglyph for canal, which looks kind of like a picket fence:

In general, the central motif is reminiscent of the hieroglyph of the canal . . . Presumably, the disk represents the belly of Nut, as the light pink paint of some examples indicates, with her canal of conception in the middle . . . The paths leading the sun to the rebirth in the middle of the two skies (N. and S.) are depicted around the rectangle . . . As the Sun evolves in the uterus of his mother, the concept of sun disk merges with that of disk of the sky. This explains the label of the disk “united with the great one”: the object is both the belly of Nut, in light pink color, and the sun, in yellow. Such a symbolism is re-proposed in late periods with the hypocephalus, which represents the sun disk, and whose central scene depicts the solar rebirth between the lower and upper sky. (Emphasis added in italics.)
Once again, here is the sky goddess associated with the hypocephalus.  Miatello shows a picture of the nude goddess Nut, where the sun disk hieroglyph is her belly and her two breasts.  And the hieroglyph for sn is shown three times above her head.


Once again, here is the sky goddess associated with the hypocephalus and with Kolob.  This is why the hieroglyph for Kolob in the Sensen Papyrus was the determinative for woman, and why it is linked visually with Khnum-Ra.  The woman is the sky goddess Nut, and Khnum-Ra presides over birth.  So now, we see that not only is Mehen just basically a hypocephalus, it is also a game.  And the core iconography of it links it to all the other things that we have shown in our other posts.  It is intimately connected to the Sensen papyrus.  And the sn character is shown three times above Nut, repeated three times:  sn sn sn.  Sen Sen Sen.  As Miatello writes:
The sun disk merges with the belly of Nut in a scene on the internal base of the Ptolemaic coffin of Tanethep (Louvre D39). Nut is depicted naked, with her belly shaped as the sun disk. Both the womb and the breasts of the goddess are likened to the sun disk.  The three sun disks in her body, representing three stages of the solar cycle, are evoked by three Sn signs above her head.
The sn hieroglyph looks like a cartouche as I have noted before:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/03/symbols-for-abraham-in-sensen-papyrus.html

And let us not forget how I have connected the Abraham character (uniliteral W) which is the rope spiral, with Mehen:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-connection-of-mehen-and-phaistos.html

As Miatello says:
Nut is depicted naked, with her belly shaped as the sun disk. Both the womb and the breasts of the goddess are likened to the sun disk.  The three sun disks in her body, representing three stages of the solar cycle, are evoked by three sn signs above her head.
Then Miatello goes on to establish the connections between Mehen and the Uroboros, or snake circle where the snake eats its own tail.  And the image of the snake circle is shown with a sun child in it, sitting upon two lions.  Remember that Khonsu is the two bulls or two lions, the beginning and the end, the "god of the Alphabet," as I call him, of the Alpha and the Omega, the Aleph and the Tav.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Representationalism of Lots of Information in Pictographic Systems

There was a recent thread on the Mormon Dialogue and Discussion Board that had to do with the Anthon Transcript/Manuscript (which purportedly contains characters from the Book of Mormon golden plates).  (http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/64787-logistics-and-examples-of-hebrew-being-written-in-egyptian/)

In the thread in question, various things were discussed, about principles and facts about various writing systems, and the possibilities of what kind of writing system the characters in the Anthon Manuscript belong to.  In my opinion, a certain fact is very telling for the Jaredite writing system.  I find it an interesting observation that there were only 24 gold plates in the Jaredite plates made by Ether and found by the people of Limhi, that gave the full history from the creation of the world down to the end of the Jaredite civilization.  Furthermore we have been told that the book to be translated later, written by the Brother of Jared, will have lots of contents, but is it not true that it was on these same set of 24 gold plates?

And now I, Moroni, proceed to give an account of those ancient inhabitants who were destroyed by the hand of the Lord upon the face of this north country.
And I take mine account from the twenty and four plates which were found by the people of Limhi, which is called the Book of Ether.
And as I suppose that the first part of this record, which speaks concerning the creation of the world, and also of Adam, and an account from that time even to the great tower, and whatsoever things transpired among the children of men until that time, is had among the Jews—
Therefore I do not write those things which transpired from the days of Adam until that time; but they are had upon the plates; and whoso findeth them, the same will have power that he may get the full account. (Ether 1:1-4, emphasis added)
And again:

And the Lord spake unto Ether, and said unto him: Go forth. And he went forth, and beheld that the words of the Lord had all been fulfilled; and he finished his record; (and the hundredth part I have not written) and he hid them in a manner that the people of Limhi did find them. (Ether 15:33)
Only 24 plates (double sided pages?) containing characters?  That is a lot of compressed information, it may seem, or is it?  Perhaps compression is the wrong word.  I don't mean to say that a lot of information is compressed IN the characters, but that a lot of information is represented BY the characters.  Lots of people think that somehow, through encoding schemes, a lot of information can be compressed in just a few characters.  That is not the case usually.  Rather, certain key points or themes can be represented by pictures.  A pictograph is basically a way to represent data or information with pictures that relate to the data.

So, there is a difference between compression of information in some mechanical way, and the representation of something where key things are represented, that are actually representative of much more information.  So, with that difference, there are gaps left, where information from the outside must be injected in somehow.  In other words, there is EXTERNAL DEPENDENCY ON INFORMATION OUTSIDE THE CHARACTERS, what computer programmers call DEPENDENCY INJECTION.  And if that information is not had the characters aren't of use.  That seems to be the case with Joseph Smith, where the information for pictographic writing may have been supplied through revelatory means, which in the case of the Book of Abraham, was recorded in an EXTERNAL KEY CALLED THE KIRTLAND EGYPTIAN PAPERS/ALPHABET AND GRAMMAR.  This was a reconstitution of an ancient document that is not now extant, an ancient document that had the function of an external key to repurposed Sensen characters, but that also had the text of the Book of Abraham on it  So, there is some indication that the Jaredite system may have been like this as well.  Perhaps Ether left behind something similar, because he knew that someone with interpreters would have to read the language.  But perhaps "reformed" Egyptian was similar, where Mormon simply wrote pictographically with Egyptian characters, because he knew that a mechanical extraction of the information wasn't of much use, because it would have to be done by someone with a seerstone or interpreters.  What if some ancient writing systems are like this by intent, where a record is left behind intentionally ONLY for use with a SEER STONE, or by someone that is educated already in the intent of the document?

Is this what Jacob meant in the Book of Moron where he wrote:

For he said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates, and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation.  And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people. (Jacob 1:3-4)
Does this mean that the "heads of them" are characters representational of themes or chunks of information where rather than recording the whole thing mechanically, they are recorded representationally?

The observation made by someone that identifies himself as "Hillel2," who claims to have a background in linguistics, seems very important here where he says:
Of course, in considering the AM [Anthon Manuscript] as a genuine document of some sorts, could the script actually be entirely "pictorgraphic?" The Aztec speakers of Nahuatl, for example, did not have a developed writing system like that of the Maya. Basically, they drew pictures of events and had a handful of symbols that contextualized them (in the past, sequential, e.g. "it came to pass" sorts of symbols.) If the symbols are basically just pictures (albeit of a highly highly abstract nature) they would just suggest an event known to the readers yet read differently by every reader (as different people would verbalize differently a picture of a man walking down a staircase holding a briefcase). Now there is no need for an underlying language like Hebrew. Though the Nephites may have spoken some kind of Hebrew, the underlying system is essentially just memory. Non-Hebrew speaking Nephites would have understood the pictures in the same way because they knew the back ground of events. Outsiders who did not, would just see a bunch of highly abstract pictures and not know what they were referring to.  A system of understood, highly abstract pictograms could be a very economical way to get a lot of information onto a small surface but we have to know the events ahead of time to get to the meaning. Ordinary mortals can't extract the meaning from the pictures without knowledge of the events (too abstract) unless one posits the use of "seership" which Joseph Smith is believed to have had by those who have faith in what he said. The other thing is that, at this point, we have actually moved backwards in the development of writing (from logo-graphic-phonetic to pictographic) which, though possible under the restraints of Mormon's environment, would be very very unusual. (http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/64787-logistics-and-examples-of-hebrew-being-written-in-egyptian/?p=1209455799, emphasis added.)
What if the Nephites did not invent a pictographic usage system for the Egyptian written language?  What if the system of pictographic usage in what was called "Reformed Egyptian" goes all the way back to the Egyptians themselves prior to the time that Lehi's group left Jerusalem, and they learned it from the Egyptians?  What if some Egyptian documents going all the way back were pictographic?  What if the Egyptians themselves preserved a tradition of pictographic compression from even earlier writing systems like that used by the Jaredites that may have had something in common with Sumerian?

Now, as this person suggests in the quote above ("Hillel2"), to understand abstract pictographic characters, you have to have context.  One way this can happen is that this context can be given by having a "handful of characters that contextualized them" as he says, in the case of the Aztecs in their writing.  These are the equivalent of what are known in Egyptian as "determinative" characters.  This means that characters exist in the set of characters that give context for the rest of the characters.  In regular mechanical Egyptian, or the system everyone is usually familiar with, determinative characters help us understand context.  Many Egyptian words contain a character at the end called a determinative that gives context for the rest of the characters when without it, it would be too abstract.  Now, in the case of the Sensen Papyrus for the way Joseph Smith interpreted it, the "key" for the Sensen Papyrus text characters (known as the Kirtland Egyptian Papers or KEP, or Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar), was given to us by our first Seer of our dispensation, Joseph Smith.  This accomplishes what Hillel2 was speaking of above, where context and intent was not known to abstract characters.  Ancient Egyptians, by tradition, knowing the pictographic intent of the characters, as he says, because they knew the story, could decode the pictographs.  This is where this external dependency was fulfilled by the explanations provided by the Seer.

The problem of assuming the regular textual determinatives in the Sensen Document have anything to do with contextualization in a pictographic Book of Abraham context is obvious:  Joseph Smith interpreted some of the regular textual determinatives as pictographic characters just like the other "alphabetic" (uni-literal, bi-litiral and tri-literal) characters that he used as pictographs.  And therefore, the regular determinatives become abstract pictographs as well in this context.  Therefore, if there are contextualization characters of some other sort for this pictographic context, they are something else.  At this point, my assumption is that it had to be something external to the document itself, either tradition, or seership to produce a key like the KEP.  The importance of context-giving information in a key or otherwise is noted here in this quote:

Although a few pictographic or ideographic scripts exist today, there is no single way to read them, because there is no one-to-one correspondence between symbol and language. Hieroglyphs were commonly thought to be ideographic before they were translated, and to this day Chinese is often erroneously said to be ideographic. In some cases of ideographic scripts, only the author of a text can read it with any certainty, and it may be said that they are interpreted rather than read. Such scripts often work best as mnemonic aids for oral texts, or as outlines that will be fleshed out in speech. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_writing_systems)
And this, which discusses the Chinese Dongba language is interesting:

Dongba is both pictographic and ideographic. There are about a thousand glyphs, but this number is fluid as new glyphs are coined. Priests drew detailed pictures to record information, and illustrations were simplified and conventionalized to represent not only materialistic objects but also abstract ideas. Glyphs are often compounded to convey the idea of a particular word. Generally, as a mnemonic, only keywords are written; a single pictograph can be used to recite different phrases or an entire sentence. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongba_symbols)
As I said before in other posts, when I was theorizing previously on the idea of secondary intent in the Sensen Papyrus, I had suggested that it was not so much a mnemonic, as it was an outline and section markers for themes in the story of Abraham, and that it was employed that way in a derivative composition.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mayan Temple Ceremony, Earth Glyph (World Circle) in the Ceremony, and the KEP Earth Character

This post sort of crosses over in two separate domains of my research, both in Book of Mormon Studies and Book of Abraham Studies.

The BMAF (Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum) site is a web site and group of individuals that publishes research on the Book of Mormon.  They have hosted various articles that I have written on Book of Mormon studies, such as my article A Witness of Cumorah which is an article on Book of Mormon Geography.  This is a "reader's digest" version of my book Resurrecting Cumorah that was published in 2011, which promotes a Geography of the Book of Mormon that includes Cumorah in New York and Mesoamerica as the Nephite Land Southward.

Anyhow, the BMAF site is hosting an article authored by LDS archaeologist V. Garth Norman on the Mayan Temple Ceremony:

http://www.bmaf.org/sites/bmaf.org/files/image/Garth%20Normann.pdf

V. Garth Norman has included both pictures as well as a link to a Youtube video of the ceremony, which I also include here:

http://youtu.be/BovXbt14Eso

Now, look at this section of a screen shot from Brother Norman's pdf file hosted on the BMAF site:


Here is a screenshot I made from the video:



These pictures that the Mayan Glyph for the "World Circle" is a circle with a cross through it, which they draw to represent the world and dots in each section representing the four directions.  Why is this significant for the Book of Abraham and the Kirtland Egyptian Papers?  Because, that is the same glyph Joseph Smith presented in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers for "Earth" or Jah-Oh-Eh, which he claimed to be an Egyptian Symbol.  It is an Egyptian Symbol, because it is identical to the Egyptian Symbol Niwit, which is an Egyptian Determinative for "land, earth, locale, town" etc.  The other glyph in Jah-Oh-Eh, in both Facsimile #1 and Facsimile #2 that signify earth are the FOUR SONS OF HORUS, or the Canopic Jars under the Lion Couch in Facsimile #1.  As the explanation for Facsimile #2 figure 6 shows, the Four Sons of Horus signify "the earth in its four quarters," and the explanation for Facsimile #1 Figure 1 calls the earth "Jah-Oh-Eh."  So, here, we have an Egyptian symbol for Earth being used by the Mayans for Earth.

See also my article on Jah-Oh-Eh and the Egyptian Symbol Niwit, as well as the Semitic Teth here:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/03/joseph-smiths-ja-oh-eh-earth.html

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Resources for the Concept of Substitution in Algebra and Computer Science: Essentially similar to Iconotropy, Adaptation, Incarnation, Proxies, etc.

Here are some resources to the concept of substitution in Computer Science and Algebra.  This is essentially a similar concept I have been talking about on various parts of my blog where a symbol is abstract until it is given an assignment of value.  This is also essentially similar to what has been called Iconotropy, Adaptation, Incarnation, etc.  Each one of these terms refers to almost the same thing, except looking at it from different angles.  In Mormonism, in the temple, we call an instance of the usage of this principle a "proxy" where someone stands in for another person, enacting something, performing something in place of someone else, or where a person acts as a symbol and takes upon him a different identity.  The mantle or office of the prophet is a similar idea, where one prophet succeeds another, with the passing of the mantle, where succeeding prophets act in a certain capacity that a former person occupying that office acted.  The idea of name-titles is also similar, such as with an "Elias" when someone acts in the capacity of a preparer of the way, etc.  This is sometimes a name of a person, but more often, the name of something that describes a role someone is playing, as if an actor in a play, or something like that.

http://abstractmath.org/MM/MMVarSub.htm

http://abstractmath.org/MM/MMMathObj.htm#variablemathobject

http://www.tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/varsubn.html

http://www.algebrahelp.com/lessons/simplifying/substitution/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_(computer_science)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liskov_substitution_principle

These ideas are all fundamentally simiar to what is happening with the characters in the Sensen Papyrus, and why the Sensen Papyrus is the Book of Abraham.

The concept of Symbolic "Incarnation" from Professor Faulconer of BYU: Fundamentally Similar to Iconotropy, Adaptation and Substitution

http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/historicity-and-latter-day-saint-scriptures/2-scripture-incarnation

Here is the link from Archive.org for the same article if the one above ever becomes a dead link:

https://web.archive.org/web/20140204030844/https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/historicity-and-latter-day-saint-scriptures/2-scripture-incarnation

Here is a link to Professor James Faulconer's definition of his concept of Symbolic Incarnation.  In this article, he describes the fundamentals of the concept, although he is doing it from the standpoint of how religious objects and scriptures are incarnate symbols.

This is another way of stating the same principle that I call by multiple names in this blog.  I have called it Iconotropy or Adaptation.  I have also described it with the concept that I call "Abstractions and Concretions," based off of principles I know from variables/objects/types in Computer Science (since I'm a programmer).  Each one of these names is stating something very similar, each from a different angle.  It is fundamentally the idea that a symbol or variable is abstract or undefined until a well-defined or concrete value is assigned to it.  These things are different way of describing the idea of incarnation from varying points of view.  From the point of view of mathematics, it is called in that field "substitution."  It is basically the idea that a symbol/variable (such as a letter X used in algebra) is abstract until an assignment of value is made to it in actual usage.  See my other posts on these concepts:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/08/abstractions-and-concretions-in.html

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/07/for-those-confused-with-secondary.html

The value assigned to it is a "concrete" thing.  So, it is closely linked to or identical to incarnation because of the fact that incarnation is similar/identical to substitution in Algebra and Computer science.  Incarnation is just a name applied to the principle by Professor Faulconer in the realm of religious symbolism.  Furthermore, in archaeology and other fields others like Kevin Barney and William Hamblin have called this adaptation or iconotropy, where one culture may appropriate a symbol of another culture and reinterpret it, giving it a new assignment of value.