John Gee wrote:
As for Sampson's dubious assumption that "Joseph Smith with 'Urim and Thummim' looked at the Book of Breatings[sen-sen] and saw the Book of Abraham encoded there" (p. 70), one would have thought that the critics had demonstrated the impossibility of that idea long ago.
I don't like a lot of what Gee writes, but his writings are a mixed bag, like anything else. In this paragraph, John Gee is right. The critics DID demonstrate the impossibility of the idea that the Book of Abraham is encoded in the Sensen papyrus. The Book of Abraham is not encoded in the Sensen papyrus. This is why Kabbalah (what Joe Sampson is trying to do) doesn't work on the Sensen papyrus. I will tell you what Kabbalah IS useful for but it is going to be difficult, and I'm going to do it step by step. But what it is not useful for is decoding the Book of Abraham or the Book of Joseph from the Sensen papyrus or from the Book of the Dead.
Try to understand this. This is why what I'm saying and what I'm doing is fundamentally different from Joe Sampson.
Joseph Smith recovered the ancient information in the minds of ancient people about the story of Abraham. The Sensen Papyrus didn't contain this ancient information. But symbols from the sensen papyrus were used to help keep track of this information. It contained markers like in an outline, or like a numbering or alphabetic marker system that helped them keep track of some of the concepts. What I mean by that is, we have verse and chapter numbers in our scriptures that help keep track of things so that we know how to look them up. The scriptures are not encoded in verse and chapter numbers. The verse and chapter numbers are not helpful to know the content of our scriptures. Joe Sampson is trying to show magically how to extract the scriptures from verse and chapter numbers and letters. That is a problem, because verse numbers and letters used to mark verses do not contain content.
With Egyptian numbering systems using their alphabet as a numbering or marking system for text, they would have a relationship between the markers/numbering letters and the text. But the text is not contained in the markers. Without a document that shows you the content and how they line up with the markers or numberings, you wouldn't know that that's what they were used for. The Kirtland Egyptian Papers is a thing that shows how ancient markers or numberings were used for text, and why those markers were chosen to mark that part of the text. The markers have no real relationship to the text other than they were used as markers.
So, if you say, to someone in the ancient way of quoting from the book of Abraham: Show me the verse from the Book of Abraham, Chapter 1, verse Reed Symbol. That's like saying show me Abraham chapter 1 verse 1. Reed Symbol didn't contain the Book of Abraham. Reed Symbol marked a verse like the number 1 for us marks verse 1. It's nice that Land of the Chaldees (Kiengi) means "Land of Reeds." But that is the association I'm talking about, between marker/numbering and verse. That is not content. That is just a clever association:
This is the problem with Joe Sampson. He is trying to extract meaning from a verse numbering/marking system. I'm trying to show why symbols in the numbering system were chosen, and how there are associations between number/character and verse. All I'm doing is to demonstrate that these associations were clever. I'm not trying to show how the numbering system translates to the text. Do you see the difference between what I'm doing and what Joe Sampson was doing?
So, when I say that it is an ancient cipher, this is what I mean, that there is an ancient relationship between verse numbers/letters and content. I am not saying that the verse numbers/letters contain content. I'm saying that they creatively marked their verses with things in the Egyptian Alphabet that had associations with content in the verses/sections of text.
So, when I say that the Book of the Dead was the Book of Joseph, I mean that symbols from the the Book in the papyrus of Ani, for example, were creatively used for verse/section markers in the Book of Joseph. The order the alphabet/characters were used to mark text were used in the order they are in in the papyrus. The same with the Sensen Papyrus, when it was used to mark verse sections in the Book of Abraham. You can't extract the text from it. You need an external document or key to show you content and context. This is what I mean when I say "external content dependency."
The ancient acrostics in the Book of Psalms marks sections of text with Hebrew letters like verse numberings but that doesn't tell me the content. Yes, there is an association between a letter and the verse that it marks or enumerates, but that doesn't mean it contains the content of the verse/section. And it is clever how the ancient prophets used those acrostics.
Similarly, it is evident from the KEP that Joseph Smith never claimed that the Sensen Papyrus contained text from the Book of Abraham, but that it was used as an ancient marking/numbering system for sections of text, and he was trying to show people that. He wasn't claiming that the text could be extracted from it. He was showing associations between that content and the characters, and why it was clever for someone to use it for a marking/numbering system. And so, my work on this blog is not to show how the Book of Abraham text is extracted from these characters. My work is to show the underlying relationships between section markers/numbers and text, and how clever people chose these verse/section markers/numberings to mark/enumerate the text for various reasons. I'm not saying that the markers/numberings translate to the text. There is a big difference there.