Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Summary with Examples

Here is a shorter summary if you don't want to read this:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/p/httpsbooks.html

Some people have found this summary helpful for what I'm talking about in this blog.

There is a thing that the Church has in its possession called the Sensen from Ancient Egypt.  This is the document that Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Abraham, because the characters in it were re-used in an ancient document that was partially derived from the Sensen characters.  This document is missing, and so, Joseph Smith was trying to reconstitute it.

Most people think that this papyrus has both pictures and text on it.  I'm asking you to consider that the Book of Abraham (Sensen) papyrus has no "text" on it at all (at least not the way it was used).  That it only has pictures on it, that each little character is actually a picture instead of being a letter, and that these pictures tell parts of a story.

People were so caught up in thinking that these are text, when Joseph Smith's translation notebook uses them instead as little pictures that tell parts of a story, the same exact way the big pictures in the Book of Abraham are used.  They wanted to ignore Joseph Smith's translation notebook, because they couldn't make sense of it.  So why would somebody say the Book of Abraham Papyrus is missing when we have it before us and it is simply a picture book?  And we have Joseph Smith's notebook to tell us what the pictures were used for.

**ANCIENT CONSTRAINED WRITING EXPERIMENTS WITH FREEDOM AND ARBITRARINESS, AND PERHAPS RANDOMNESS IN COMPOSITION, YET BEING TIED DOWN WITH FORM AND RULES, LED TO THE ASSOCIATION OF THE STORY OF THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM WITH THE SENSEN PAPYRUS, BEING ONE OF THE POPULAR USAGES FOR IT

Its not that the Sensen papyrus is the Book of Abraham in particular.  Its that, the Sensen Papyrus and its characters were involved in derived or hybrid ancient constrained writing experiments in various priestly circles with any number of things, including the production of an ancient document that contained the story and/or text of the Book of Abraham, and used Sensen characters creatively.

 And so, the story of Abraham was one of the things that it came to be associated with these characters in this papyrus over time.  But this puts no limitation on what the Sensen Papyrus could or would have been used for.  In other words, it is the Book of Abraham by virtue of external dependencies and input from the user of the derivative document (because that derivative document was a new invention).  The book that Abraham originally wrote anciently was a separate document, but this document called Sensen came to be associated with it, and the symbols in it were used to represent things in it, like illustrations in a picture book.  And so, in a derivative, hybrid document, the Sensen characters were repurposed to go along with the text of the Book of Abraham.

And like illustrations in a picture book have captions that describe a picture in modern times, these ancient pictures had a key in that derivative document that tell you about what is going on in the picture.  These pictures required the provided external keys or explanations to tell you what is going on in them, or at least, in this case, how these pictures were being employed in this particular case.  And these external key documents were structured like poems or constrained writing in this derivative composition.  Joseph Smith's documents in his notebooks and manuscripts are modern re-creations of these ancient keys in this derivative document that are no longer available.

In some sense, this practice was almost random or arbitrary, like Aleatoricism, and so, this principle shares some common ground with the principle of basis of Iconotropy.  Exception aleatoricism implies randomness.  Iconotropy wasn't always just a random thing, but also a deliberate thing.  These pictures could be used for almost anything, so that external dependency  (derivative document, which had the function of a key) was required to anchor them down.  But there is no arbitrariness in the sense of doing whatever one wants with them.  There are certain ways this had to be done (i.e. there were rules to the "game"), just like all Egyptian art has a certain form to it regardless of what one decides to represent.  One can represent what one wants within the bounds of the rules, so long as one defines this by external dependency or an external key.  Because it is constrained by form and rules like other constrained writing/word puzzles such as Acrostics, Lipograms, etc.  It is only through research that all of the constraints on these things are known, because they are peculiar to this case, yet have parallels to constrained writing systems we are familiar with, which is why we can only say it is like such and such thing in this or that way.  It isn't precisely these, yet it is like these.

See the following for more on that topic in particular:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-sensen-papyrus-and-hypocephalus-as.html

**PICTOGRAPHIC SYMBOLS INSTEAD OF TEXT (REPURPOSING OF LETTER SYMBOLS INTO PICTURES)

Our alphabet that we use comes from an ancient alphabet which was nothing but Egyptian pictures that people repurposed to have sounds (Proto-Sinaitic).  Frequently, they were used as literal pictures to represent literal things, as well as sounds.  Egyptian letters in the Egyptian Alphabet were no different, and were used to represent things.

An Egyptologist, Richard H. Wilkinson, PhD, University of Arizona, wrote that there is a "fluidity of Egyptian theology, which allowed and encouraged free association of ideas . . ."

And he writes:

Symbols in Egyptian art may also exhibit different meanings in different contexts in the same period of time . . . The Egyptians themselves were certainly conscious of the ambiguity in their own symbolism and even seem to have encouraged it . . . [T]here is often a range of possible meanings for a given symbol.  (Richard H. Wilkinson, PhD, Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art, pp. 11-13, emphasis added)

The same author went on to say:

Symbolism of form may be expressed at "primary" and "secondary" levels of association . . . In primary, or direct, association the form of an object suggests concepts ideas, or identities with which the object is directly related.  So in many works, an object associated with a specific deity thus suggests that god or goddess--or by extension, a concept connected with that deity . . . (ibid., pp. 16-17, emphasis added)

And again:

At the primary level, the symbolism is direct and objects are shown in the forms they are meant to represent.  Thus, the djed pillar, an ancient symbol associated with the god Osiris and sometimes said to represent the backbone of the god, symbolized both the deity and the concept of support and duration . . . (ibid., p. 30, emphasis added)

And this is why, Kolob, sharing the fundamental CONCEPT or THEME EVIDENT in the mythology for the god Khnum-Ra (i.e. creation), Kolob can therefore be represented BY the hieroglyph for Khnum-Ra.  And while some people object to the idea that text hieroglyphics could be used as pictures, Wilkinson assures us:

While Egyptian writing made use of all these different forms of expression in text and inscriptions, exactly the same communication principles were chosen when hieroglyphic forms were used in the construction of large-scale representations. (ibid., p. 157, emphasis added)

This is why, if somebody repurposed Facsimiles, it shouldn't surprise us that they also repurposed the little pictures too to represent things instead of being a text.  This is the mind-block problem or prejudice that scholars have against Joseph Smith's notebook, because people most often think of components of a "text" and focus so much on that idea that they think it doesn't translate.  That is absurd, when to the Egyptians there was no conceptual difference between big and small pictures.  Furthermore:

In fact the hieroglyphic signs form the very basis of Egyptian iconography, which was concerned with the function of making specific symbolic statements through pictorial rather than written means.  The embedded or "encoded" hieroglyphic forms also frequently interact to some degree with the texts or inscriptions with which they are associated . . .  (ibid., p. 152, bold, emphasis added)

And again:

The hieroglyphic signs essentially carried information of two types--sounds which could be used to write words phonetically, and visual images which could be used to portray objects and ideas pictorially.  The hieroglyph which depicted a reed leaf, for example, could signify the sound of the Egyptian word for reed (i), which might be used to write other words which contained the sound, or it could be used pictorially to signify the reed itself. (ibid., p. 154-155, emphasis added)

You will see in this blog why the reed is so critical, because it is used by Joseph Smith as a pictograph of a reed, which is used to represent Land of the Chaldees, yet Egyptologists that are Mormon and non-Mormon alike think that is not correct.  Yet here, we are assured by Wilkinson that it could stand to represent a reed, and that a hieroglyph that represents something could by extension and association represent something else because of the flexibility and free flow of ideas, so long as there is a conceptual tie between them, or some other kind of association.  As you will see, there is a fundamental thing that ties the Land of Chaldees to the picture of a reed, and it isn't crazy.

**ABSTRACTIONS THAT MARK OR ENUMERATE CONCRETE IDEAS OR THINGS.  NON-LITERAL, BUT DEMONSTRABLE ASSOCIATIONS THAT TIE A SYMBOL TO A MEANING ASSIGNMENT

Some people think that this is some sort of "hidden" thing or encoded message.  Not so.  This is the usage of abstract symbols that are pictures with external context-helpers in the derivative external document having the function of a key.  That means that things outside of them tell you what their intended meaning is.  That isn't really an encoding. This is just plain different from that type of thing, and it is not an encoding. An encoding means that something can be unencoded.  This type of thing cannot be unencoded on its own.  It requires something outside of itself to tell you what it means.

And so, try to think of the characters in the Sensen Papyrus this way:  A character shares something with the thing that it represents, but isn't literally that thing, but the reason it can represent it is because of the structure or pattern it shares with it, and a linkage was made to both character and the thing it links to in a document that we do not have now.  Because its structure or pattern makes it fit with it.  This structure or pattern may or may not be something visual.  Or it may be a number of associations on a number of levels, where it not only somewhat resembles something but also has linguistic or thematic association.  It might be a pattern in it that is an aspect of its mythology, etc.  And so, you know that they fit together through the shared pattern.

An example or analogy of what I'm talking about:  A very pixelated and blurred picture can be derived from a high-res photograph.  And it can be demonstrated through the same process that it can be reproduced from it multiple times.  Therefore, it can be shown that it belongs with it, or is tied to it, because it still looks like it, even though it is blurred or pixelated.  Nevertheless, the reverse is not true.  If you don't already have the high res photograph, it cannot be reproduced or reversed from the blurred/pixelated photograph, because data has been lost in the process when the blurred/pixelated version was first created.  You simply cannot get a high-res photograph from a blurred/pixelated version of it.  Even though the blurred or pixelated version isn't literally the high res photograph, you can know that it fits with it.

So, this is not encryption.  This is something more along the lines in computer programming called a "hash" that is only a one way thing. The relationship of the literal thing to the symbol can be seen only if the literal thing is known, not the other way around. In other words, this is totally a one way thing, like hashing. If you care to see the technical difference between encoding and hashing, here is this:

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

In other words, for this to make any sense, it has an external dependency, an external, derivative composition or table that gives structure and assignments of meanings or linkages.  There is nothing in the document that gives you what you need to make sense of it.  You must have something outside of the document, a derivative composition, in the first place so that you know the meaning that is intended.

In Software Engineering, if you know the literal meaning, you can check it against the hash and you can see that it fits with the hash. But the hash cannot be reversed. The hash itself can give you no information about the thing that produced it or the thing that it is a place-holder for. You can only see that it fits with the hash by having that information and checking it with the hash.

This is kind of like how a finger leaves a fingerprint.  The fingerprint is not the finger, but you know that by checking a fingerprint on something with the pattern that is on someone's finger, and if they match, that they touched it.  The abstract symbol is just like the fingerprint, and the finger is like the thing that fits with the abstract symbol.  It is a literal, concrete thing that left the print.  So, a more literal, concrete thing or concept would fit with the abstract symbol.  Because when you look at the two of them, you can see that they share a pattern, and that they match.

**SOMETHING AKIN TO "CONSTRAINED WRITING" OR "WORD PUZZLES," NOT TOO FAR OFF FROM AN ACROSTIC, WHERE A DEMONSTRABLE TIE OR ASSOCIATION OR LINKAGE EXISTS BETWEEN A SYMBOL AND THE VALUE THAT IT ENUMERATES OR MARKS OR REPRESENTS

So, somebody was using symbols from this papyrus dynamically in derivative compositions to represent something that its characters have something in common or common attributes with.  There was nothing in the document to be detected, and no clue in the document given, because it wasn't the original usage of the document.  Because the things that can give you clues to its usage in this manner were outside the document.

The "glossary" as some people call it, or the table of value assignments, was revealed to a seer, and that is what made it useful to us, because it was a derivative document in the first place.  This is the information that we have outside of the document.  This "table," so to speak, are the meanings assigned to characters.  These meanings assigned are to be found in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers (Joseph Smith's translation "notebook") and in the explanations for the Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham.  This is what constitutes the glossary.

The characters are not useful without the information external to them, because it is a one-way thing, as I described.  Without the "glossary," you cannot see how the abstract symbols relate to the things they are meant to represent.  Once you have the glossary, then the relationships between the symbols and the things they are made to represent become evident.  I have shown the relationships to the symbols and their assigned meanings, and in every case, there are two facts:

1) The symbol doesn't LITERALLY mean what the assigned meaning says it means. 2) The symbol always only shares attributes with the thing it represents, so they are tied together with the attributes they share in common.

Examples:
(1) Osiris = Abraham. Osiris mythologically shares many attributes that Abraham had literally.

(2) Reed Symbol, or Egyptian uniliteral Letter I = Land of the Chaldees.  The vocalization in the KEP is Chalsidonhiash, which is Joseph Smith's vocalization for the Kassite place name Karduniash, which is southern Babylonia, (i.e. Land of the Chaldees). The Sumerian name of the place was Land of Reeds, or Kiengi, which is how it appears in their pictographic writings in the cuneiform. So as you can see, Abraham was from the Land of Reeds, and the reed symbol was used to represent it pictographically. On its own, the reed symbol is the letter I, and means nothing. But when a glossary or table of meaning assignments is given, you can see that an abstraction (reed) was a suitible symbol to be used for a concrete value assignment (land of reeds).  And when you know the general meaning of Egyptian hieroglyph, and you can see a meaning assignment that is meaningful that manifests what the abstract symbol has in common with its meaning assignment, you can see through simple reasoning that it is not literally saying land of reeds. It is however a suitable abstract symbol to represent land of reeds when you have that value assigned to it.  An analogy to this type of "constrained writing" or "word puzzle" technique is the ancient acrostics in the Bible, in the Book of Psalms.  A letter is given an assignment, even though the letter doesn't mean the thing that it enumerates.  It shares something or some pattern or theme in common with the thing that it enumerates, making it a suitable symbol to enumerate it.  In the case of an acrostic, the association is that the thing it represents starts with the same letter that is used to enumerate it.  Yet it is still just a letter, and so it isn't so much a "translation" of that letter, so much as it is that there is a demonstrable association.  So this technique between the Sensen Papyrus characters and the Kirtland Egyptian Papers explanations is not precisely the same as an acrostic, but shares some things in common with it.  This isn't precisely the same as a "variable" usage for a symbol as in algebra, but it approximates it in that it has an abstraction that is assigned a meaning, or at the very least, is an enumeration of a value with a demonstrable tie or association between the symbol and the value, like an acrostic is an enumeration with a demonstrable tie.

(3) Khnum-Ra = Kolob. Khnum-Ra is the God of creation and Kolob is the first creation.  They share a thematic attribute making the abstract symbol (Khnum-Ra) a suitible place-holder or representation of Kolob through that theme: creation.

Each character was like a variable that had no real meaning on its own.  It was only the ASSIGNED meaning that made the character useful.  On its own, the Khnum-Ra character (Facsimile 2, figure 1) was useless until somebody gave it a value.  It makes sense that it is assigned the value of Kolob, because the character has a theme of creation, and the meaning assigned to it also has a theme of creation.  Do you see how they fit together, and why the character was a valid thing to assign this meaning to it?

And the list goes on and on and on.  Each symbol shares the same pattern:  a non-literal symbol with attributes in common with the concrete/literal value assignment or linkage, making it a suitable symbol to represent the thing that it is made to represent as long as you have the thing that is the context helper, the thing that gives the value assignment to the abstract symbol.  And like other types of "constrained writing" or "word puzzle" techniques in derivative compositions, it has a form, a pattern and constraints and rules.  By itself, the symbol doesn't have enough to offer anyone to help them understand what concrete or literal meaning should be applied to it without the thing that gives it meaning that is an external table of meaning assignments or glossary.

Here is an outline of my theory as well, if you care to see it:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/11/an-outline.html

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Refutation of John Gee's Claim that there is no Sequence to the Characters taken from the Sensen Papyrus

An earlier 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).  So this is clear that there were lacunae in the papyrus at that time.

Back in 2010, William Schryver presented John Gee's paper at the FAIR Conference wherein Gee asserted that the characters from the Sensen Papyrus in the Book of Abraham Manuscripts contained no specific order, but were taken from other parts of the papyri in some cases.  The following is where the pdf for this presentation is found on the FAIRMormon website.

http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2010-John-Gee.pdf

A poster named Xander also posted information on Gee's claims here:

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/56526-kep-sequence-of-characters/?p=1209074877

To his credit, later, William Schryver said the following in response to Xander's work on this subject:
Because he had to be out of town during the 2010 FAIR Conference, John Gee requested that I deliver, in his behalf, a short paper concerning the relationship between the characters in the left column of the Abraham manuscripts and the characters from the Book of Breathings. As a favor to a friend, I agreed to read the paper.
With the exception of a couple humorous asides, I delivered the paper verbatim.
I did not endorse its findings.
In my admittedly amateur judgment, I do not find the paper persuasive. (http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/56526-kep-sequence-of-characters/?p=1209074938)
Gee's assertions simply do not stand up to scrutiny at all.  Chris Smith refuted Gee's position when he said the following, and provided an image to prove it.  He stated:
The images below show sequential characters from Book of Abraham Manuscript # 1 juxtaposed with sequential characters from the Hor Document of Breathing. As should be evident from these images, the characters come sequentially from the Breathing Document except where there is a lacuna. It is to fill the lacuna that Joseph draws characters from elsewhere on the fragment. This is what Gee failed to tell his audience.
And here are the images below referred to in the quote provided by Chris Smith:

These facts are shown at the URL http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_kirtlandegyptianpapers.html#pub_-895752463 which I give here not because I want people to go to the web site or give it traffic, but because I believe in disclosing where I got information.  While that site that had this quote and these images is critical of the Church, it is just this information that was of interest here to present.  Chris Smith on his own is not really a "critic" of the Church.  He is a non-Mormon scholar interested in the truth.  Some apologists find fault with him because he has wanted to show where the truth lies with the Book of Abraham to the best of his ability as a non-believer.  But he was never a member of the church to begin with, so in that aspect he is different from certain other non-Mormon scholars of Mormonism, some of whom are either apostates or ex-Mormons.  Chris Smith is just an objective, honest scholar of Mormonism with no pro- or anti-Mormon ideology to promote or to defend.  I don't give this information because I want to be critical of John Gee in general.  I am mostly happy with John Gee's research with the exception of his pushing of the Missing Papyrus Theory.  It is important because John Gee's claim about the sequence of the characters came up recently as if it were fact, and I thought it was important to show the refutation of his claim.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Principle of Reverse Engineering and the Sensen Papyrus

When I know the values already of something, I am not trying to find values.  What I'm doing here in this blog is an exercise in FINDING THE PROCESS AND THE PRINCIPLES behind something.

When you step on the gas pedal, you have one known thing, A.  And when you see the car go, you have another known thing, Z.  If you are not a mechanic, and you have no mechanic to teach you, you have to open up the hood and start looking to figure out how you got from A to Z.  In fact you may have to dismantle the whole engine to figure it out.  You observed that cause (gas pedal press) led to effect (car moving).  And you have another known:  that you have to put gas in to get it to go.  It doesn't help that you don't know yet the steps inbetween and the mechanism.  As in Computer Science, that which is under the hood is ENCAPSULATED and out of your view.

It is a black box, until you rip that box open.  When software testers do black box testing, they are agnostic about the inner workings of the thing in the box.  But this is about ripping open the box.  As a software engineer, I know that the existence of a black box is helpful in management of complexity, because it is the Abstraction principle in object oriented programming.  But in the end of the day, I have to have conciousness of what is inside the box if I have a bug that is hard to track down.  When I really need to know, especially when some other engineer designed the thing inside the black box, I have to go from the known to the unknown, tracking down and understanding what that person did that originally programmed that thing inside the black box.  And if there is no good documentation, and the programming style is confusing, then I have to go into debug mode in my programming environment, and trace down what is actually going on, inside that box.  Just trying to understand what another programmer did when there is a bug, is an exercise in reverse engineering.

If it is something where I have a component that is compiled down to some level of something closer to machine code, maybe .NET or Java bytecode/IL code from another company and a bug exists in it, then I am even in further trouble, because I have to decompile the thing from that lower level code and then dive in.  And in those cases, variable names are not there anymore so I have nothing to guide me, and no documentation.  All I have is my ability to trace through the code and watch it do what it does in each step.

Hashing in cryptology is similar to reverse engineering, as I mentioned in the previous blog post.  Hashing only means anything if you know the answer and work backwards.  I presume that you know that as someone knowledgeable in math.

Calculus, by its very nature, is an exercise in reverse-engineering.

Here is another point.  Egyptian was solved from seeing the answer:  The rosetta stone gave the answer, and they had to work backwards.

That's the nature of reverse-engineering.  Knowing the answer and working backwards, because the true answer is the process and the mechanism, not the answer.  The so-called answer is really not the "answer," just one of the the things that are known.  The true answer is really the unknown thing, and is in this case, the process in the middle.  The thing at the start and the thing at the end are known.

Moving from the known to the unknown.  Really, that is the point of algebra too, to discover the unknown from the known.  There is no fundamental difference really.

I am reverse-engineering things.  That's what reverse means.  Backwards.  That's the nature of the thing.  So, now, if someone presumes to lecture an someone knowledgeable in Egyptian history and language and tell him reverse engineering cannot deliver results, then he will give you a lecture on the history of Champollion and the Rosetta Stone, and you will quickly realize that it was a mistake to lecture someone about the fundamental nature of how the knowledge of Egyptian translation was rediscovered.

Since it took the Rosetta Stone to decipher regular Egyptian, it isn't surprising that it takes the KEP and the Facsimiles Explanations to decipher what is going on with the Book of Abraham.  After all, these are Egyptian characters.  It's not the so-called "answers" that needed to be found.  Its about how the answers are arrived at that we had to decipher.  It is moving from the known backwards.

Some food for thought and real world examples, since this is a real world thing:

http://refineandfocus.com/2012/05/reverse-engineering-refinefocus-approach-to-business/

http://www.muppetlabs.com/~breadbox/txt/acre.html

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/988642/how-would-i-reverse-engineer-a-cryptographic-algorithm

http://www.muppetlabs.com/~breadbox/txt/acre.html

Friday, March 20, 2015

Abstract Place Holders in the Sensen Papyrus and Hashing: Another Computer Science Analogy

In my strugglings to articulate what I am talking about here in this blog, I have gone way out of my way to try to accommodate some people.  I have thought about many types of analogies to try to express what my theory is about.  I have gone out of my way to explain how my theory has in common with other theories in an effort to show that many of the principles that I have shown here have actually been espoused by other researchers and some of this is not all that new or strange.  Some people confuse what I am saying as either some kind of encoding or some kind of encryption in the Sensen Papyrus.  The thing is, encodings can be unencoded, and encryption can be decrypted, and give you meaningful information and restore to you that which was hidden.  This thing here in the Sensen Papyrus as a source for characters for use with the Book of Abraham is vaguely similar but different.  The key here is that it is a one-way thing.  I wish people could get past the idea of using the word encodings for it because that is just the wrong idea.  I will pull another rabbit out of a hat and get technical here since it seems like this is what it will take for some people, but I doubt that they will "get it" without being a programmer, or a technical person of some sort.  This is the usage of abstract symbols with external context-helpers.  That isn't really an encoding.  This is just plain different, and it is not an encoding.  An encoding means that something can be unencoded.  This is something more along the lines in computer programming called a "hash" that is only a one way thing.  The relationship of the literal thing to the symbol can be seen only if the literal thing is known, not the other way around.  In other words, this is totally a one way thing, like hashing.  If you care to see the technical difference between encoding and hashing, here is this:

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

https://danielmiessler.com/study/encoding_encryption_hashing/

If you know the literal or original value of a hash, you can check it against the hash and you can see that it fits with the hash.  But the hash cannot be reversed.  The hash itself can give you no information about the thing that produced it or the thing that it is a place-holder for.  You can only see that it fits with the hash by having that literal or original information or value and checking it with the hash.

So, with the Book of Abraham, this is where someone uses a symbol dynamically to represent something that it has something in common or common attributes with, in a derivative composition.  there was nothing in the document to be detected because the things that could give you clues to it were outside the document and were not passed down.  And so, no, it was not deciphered in that way.  The "glossary" or table of values was revealed to a seer, a reconstitution of this ancient derivative document, and that is what made it useful to us.  It is not useful without things external to it.  Without the "glossary," you cannot see how the abstract symbols relate to the things they are meant to represent.  Once you have the glossary, then the relationships between the symbols and the things they are made to represent become evident.  I have shown the relationships to the symbols and their assigned meanings, and in every case, there are three facts:  1) The symbol doesn't LITERALLY mean what the assigned meaning says it means.  2) The symbol always shares attributes with the thing it represents, so they are tied together with the attributes they share in common.  3) You can see the relationship of the concrete or literal value to the abstract representation which becomes evident when you have both, but like a hash, it only goes one way, and so, if you only have the abstract symbol, you cannot re-create or re-constitute the literal or concrete value it was made to represent.   It is, in effect, sealed without a key or table of value assignments or legend or whatever you wish to call it.

Examples:
(1) Osiris = Abraham.  Osiris mythologically shares many attributes that Abraham had literally.

(2) Reed Symbol, or Egyptian uniliteral Letter I = Land of the Chaldees.  the vocalization in the KEP is Chalsidonhiash, which is Joseph Smith's vocalization for the Kassite place name Karduniash, which is southern Babylonia, (i.e. Land of the Chaldees).  The Sumerian name of the place was Land of Reeds, or Kiengi, which is how it appears in their pictographic writings in the cuneiform.  So as you can see, Abraham was from the Land of Reeds, and the reed symbol was used to represent it pictographically.  On its own, the reed symbol is the letter I, and means nothing.  But when a glossary or table of meaning assignments is given, you can see that an abstraction (reed) was a suitible symbol to be used for a concrete value assignment (land of reeds).  and when you know the general meaning of Egyptian hieroglyph, and you can see a meaning assignment that is meaningful that manifests what the abstract symbol has in common with its meaning assignment, you can see through simple reasoning that it is not literally saying land of reeds.  It is however a suitable abstract symbol to represent land of reeds when you have that value assigned to it.

(3) Khnum-Ra = Kolob.  Khnum-Ra is the God of creation and Kolob is the first creation.  they share a thematic attribute making the abstract symbol (Khnum-Ra) a suitible place-holder or representation of Kolob through that theme:  creation.

And the list goes on and on and on.  They all share the same pattern:  non-literal symbol with attributes in common with the concrete value assignment making it a suitable symbol to represent the thing that it is made to represent as long as you have the thing that is the context helper, the thing that gives the value assignment to the abstract symbol.  By itself, the symbol doesn't have enough to offer anyone to help them understand what concrete or literal meaning should be applied to it without the thing that gives it meaning that is an external table of meaning assignments or glossary.  So, it is basically a one-way hash, not an encryption, and not an encoding.

Now look at this previous post:
http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2015/02/compression-of-information-in.html

As is noted in this post in the quotation from a poster on a message board knowledgeable about pictographic systems, some writing systems like the Aztec system, context is given by some symbols that are kind of set apart having the function of giving context.  In the case of the regular Egyptological system of reading an Egyptian document (i.e. what it actually "says", which is different from the system I am suggesting here), determinative characters are given that give people clues to help people understand the type of context that is intended.  On the other hand, when someone "recycles" or "repurposes" a document like this, because they have some kind of "attachment" to it, or some kind of veneration making it holy in some religious way, they make up an elaborate system for it like is found in the KEP, to pretty much "magically" come to life with dynamic usage that was not intended by its original author.  Some different Egyptians, perhaps from some sect that was into some sort of syncretism that regarded Abraham and other Hebrew patriarchs as something that was super-hero esque (like Ryan Larsen suggests), or almost god-like, came along after the fact and repurposed it.  These individuals happened to know the story of Abraham or had in their hands an actual copy of the Book of Abraham that actually "reads" the same way ours does according to our English version in some ancient language, perhaps Egyptian, or perhaps some Semitic language, and they decided it would be a neat religious trick to make up a system to apply the symbolism of this document to the story.  Now, since the original author did not intend it to be used this way necessarily, this required some kind of "trick" so to speak.  So someone with enough creativity and time on their hands repurposed these symbols.

It boils down to us not having a "glossary" of all of them, and also, they are in effect pictographic in this usage.  Each character in the text of the Sensen Papyrus is like a little facsimile on its own, with its own context anyway.  They represent the themes from the sections of text of the Book of Abraham (since in the BOA manuscripts they are section markers for the sections of text that they contain a theme for), but they do not represent the text itself, or in other words, they do not have all of the information from the text "packed" in them or encoded in them.  Because there is no context helpers in the characters from the "text" itself.  The context-giving information is all external to the document.  Joseph Smith in giving us the KEP and the Facsimiles Explanations.  It gets even more complex where this system has "dissection" of symbols, like each hieratic or hieroglyphic is dissected in pieces following the tradition of dissecting the Wedjat Eye, where, like the wedjat eye sections are fractions, each section of hieratic or hieroglyphic becomes its own symbol with its own meaning, all imposed on it after the fact.  The orginal author never meant the text to be used this way.  this book, like the book of the dead, was holy and venerated, and magical, and so, a creative, dynamic system was invented to harness its magic in magically and dynamically using its symbols for other contexts.

This is no different than the Hebrews thinking that the characters of their alphabet are holy and powerful, and using them in creative ways like acrostics in the Psalms.  In fact, in some ways, this usage of Sensen Papyrus characters resembles an acrostic.

Again, this is not a submerged cryptogram or anything.  The context helpers for this thing are all external to the document.  Again, the closest thing in computer science or cryptography to this is Hashing.  It is a one-way thing.  Once you have the meaning or value in hand, you can see the relationship to the place-holder or hash.  But the place-holder or hash is a one-way trip.  It presents no information in itself that helps you know what it ought to be.  So you need the key or external context helper or table of meaning assignments, or glossary or legend.  Whatever term you choose to call this thing that is external to the document containing the symbols.  It is critical.  Otherwise you have to be a seer.

Again, its not concealed in the document.  It is repurposing of the characters using "glossaries" or context helpers outside the text.  This was not "transmitted" in this form because again, this document by itself is nothing more than a funerary document.  Yet, it was holy and venerated, and meant enough to somebody culturally or religiously to put this kind of work into this.  This is one of the many contexts it could be repurposed in.  And so, this is useful for the book of Abraham in its context with an external table of meaning assignments or "glossary" as you say.  And we would not have this glossary of the KEP and the Facsimiles Explanations without revelation.  If something like these existed in ancient times, its a possibility, but they may have just had all this information in their heads.  What makes it meaningful is that ancient people were doing it, and Joseph Smith "restored" this by giving us a "glossary" for it, and then translated the actual text of the story and information that it was used to represent.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Seer's Tongue: The Symbolic or Pictographic Usage of Written Language


This thread is an interesting one, where this person commenting in another thread hit upon something that sounded similar to what I am coming to understand about the nature of pictographic systems of writing and the possibility that the Book of Abraham recension we presently have came to us as pictographic usage of the Sensen Papyrus.

He stated:

The Adamic language is the basis of what I am trying to help you see.
It isn't some other language. Adamic is able to be translated into all the spoken languages.
Adamic is the method of symbol decipherment that gets you all the way to the fully decoded tangible reality of what holy writ is actually saying.
The whole key and mother-lode to deciphering the Adamic language is to apply Genesis 2:4 to the creation account.
These are the generations (people)...
It's all about people.
I'm not entirely comfortable in calling this the "Adamic Language" yet.  But perhaps a pictographic and symbolic usage of symbols is the basis of whatever the Adamic written language was, and perhaps this is a manifestation of the principles similar to it in the scriptures as well as in the Sensen Papyrus, etc.

And as I stated in previous posts, it would take someone like a Seer to see it, if they are not familiar with the context a pictographic document is being used in.  Similarly, a symbol in the scriptures such as the "beast" of Revelation, or 666 as an example, could be used in this fashion.  It paints a picture in words, and if one shows a picture of a beast with 666 or something, it becomes a pictographic representation of what is described in the Revelation text.  The Revelation text is descriptive in such a way that it is describing something like a Facsimile of the Book of Abraham.  The figures in it that are described to us in the text are as abstract as the Egyptian figures in the Book of Abraham Facsimiles and in the Sensen Text, and only become interpreted correctly by knowing the mind of the author.  I started the thread in question, and called it "Adamic as an Exegesis of Symbolic Communication."  Then, he responded:
The title of this thread is a concise way of putting it.
The way I put it is the Adamic Tongue is the Seer's Tongue.
I'll take some time and study your links and respond accordingly. (Emphasis added.)
I like the term "Seer's Tongue."  It is very descriptive of this "sealed," "spiritual," or "symbolic" way of doing things.  Anyhow, this commenter went on to say, commenting on one of the articles that I pointed to on this blog:
. . . there was much in this article that I really liked and none of it bothered me.
It does seem to be approaching what I conceive of the Adamic language to be, which is a very condensed system of symbols that, when deciphered in the correct and intended context, yield a precise, accurate and reliable communication. The grand key is to know the correct and intended context and the manner in which to apply it . . .
Another way it can be looked at is you can call this particular rendering that is available underneath these symbols to be what all of the books of holy writ refer to as a "sealed portion". Any book of holy writ involving this symbolic dialectic is sealing something so that only the intended audience actually gets the full meaning. What I find particularly interesting is the one book of holy writ that mentions this the most is the Qur'an. When I read the Qur'an it reads to me in an entirely different manner than it does to people of the Islamic faith. This is actually a highly underappreciated piece of literature.
Once this proper background context becomes the setting and the symbols are deciphered properly... BOOM! A whole new narrative emerges. Then, what you have in your possession is the means to calibrate the value and purity of what people are teaching. You would then be able to judge, for example, if someone really was an apostle, prophet, seer and revelator. Those who do not consciously understand the Seer's Tongue gain utterance in the language by the Holy Ghost, so they will speak that language reliably without really knowing it. So, people who aren't seer's in a literal sense can still speak the sealed tongue. But, if they don't at least have the Holy Ghost giving them their utterance, then you can be sure they will quickly run afoul and their utterance will be non-decipherable. In this manner, religious frauds will in due time be exposed when the people in general have this knowledge.
This is because if holy writ is taken in a context other than what it was intended, it becomes quirky, awkward and subject to a lot of false interpretations. Which, of course, perfectly describes what people have been doing with holy writ for as long as it has been available to the masses. And, this has also become common place even among the LDS faith. Joseph Smith was never befuddled by holy writ and it never seemed quirky or easily given to false interpretation to him, because he truly was a seer.
So I like this term, Seer's Tongue.  Someone can become a seer (with a small S) without being a Seer (with a captial S), i.e. someone with the calling of Prophet, Seer and Revelator.  Someone that is a regular member of the Church can get revelation of the Holy Ghost on the usage of symbols in these contexts and the systems that are used to conceal that information within it.

Now, to be clear, so there is no misunderstanding about my personal claims.  I claim no revelation on this blog that leads me to my conclusions.  I claim what I have here to be as a result of research.  If I have actually come to correct conclusions, I claim no revelation on it.  I only claim research, and that the conclusions of that research has shown what it has shown.  Furthermore, I am giving the credit to this "jwharton" person on the LDS Freedom forum for coming up with or coining the term "Seer's Tongue."  I like the term, and perhaps I may continue to use it.  And I wanted to document that I am giving him credit for that term.  He is not sure if he coined the term, but I'll give him credit until I find out that someone else may have coined it.