Book of Abraham Insights


The Four Sons of Horus (Facsimile 2, Figure 6)

Book of Abraham Insight #32 Figure 6 of Facsimile 2 of the Book of Abraham was interpreted straightforwardly by Joseph Smith as “represent[ing] this earth in its four quarters.”1 Based on contemporary nineteenth-century usage of this biblical idiom (Revelation 20:8), Joseph Smith evidently meant the figures represent the four cardinal

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The Hathor Cow (Facsimile 2, Figure 5)

Book of Abraham Insight #31 Figure 5 in Facsimile 2 of the Book of Abraham, a figure of an upside-down cow, is identified by Joseph Smith with this elaborate explanation: Fig. 5. Is called in Egyptian Enish-go-on-dosh; this is one of the governing planets also, and is said by the

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The Purpose and Function of the Egyptian Hypocephalus

Book of Abraham Insight #30 Facsimile 2 of the Book of Abraham is a type of document called a hypocephalus. “The term hypocephalus refers to a piece of Late Period and Ptolemaic [circa 664–30 BC] funerary equipment. It is specifically an amuletic disc made of cartonnage, bronze, textile, or rarely

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The Idolatrous Priest (Facsimile 1, Figure 3)

Book of Abraham Insight #29 The explanation accompanying Figure 3 of Facsimile 1 of the Book of Abraham identifies it as “the idolatrous priest of Elkenah attempting to offer up Abraham as a sacrifice.” In order to gauge the validity of this interpretation from an Egyptological perspective, a number of

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Facsimile 1 as a Sacrifice Scene

Book of Abraham Insight #28 Facsimile 1 of the Book of Abraham visually depicts the narrative contained in Abraham 1:12–19. As interpreted by Joseph Smith, this scene depicts Abraham fastened upon an altar before some idolatrous gods. An idolatrous priest is about to sacrifice Abraham, who is protected by the

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Approaching the Facsimiles

Book of Abraham Insight #27 As “the only illustrations in our scriptures” the facsimiles of the Book of Abraham “attract attention not only because of their rough-hewn quality but by their very existence as a visual medium in the midst of the written word.”1  Latter-day Saint scholars and interested laypersons

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The Fall of Lucifer

Book of Abraham Insight #26 In parallel with other books of Latter-day Saint scripture (e.g. Moses 4:1–4), the Book of Abraham’s depiction of the pre-mortal council includes a brief mention of the fall of Lucifer. As readers encounter at the end of chapter 3 of the Book of Abraham, Lucifer’s

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Detail from Abraham and Isaac

Egyptianisms in the Book of Abraham

Book of Abraham Insight #25 One way of determining whether the Book of Abraham is a translation of an underlying Egyptian document or if it was originally composed in English is to see if the text contains what might be called Egyptianisms, or literary and linguistic features of the Egyptian

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