"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
August 16, 2013
More Gems from the Maxwell Institute
by Jeff Lindsay

Great news! A new edition of the Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture just became available online at the Maxwell Institute. You can download the entire journal as a PDF file, or any of the individual articles can be downloaded as PDF files. They are also available as text only. Here are the articles with links to the HTML pages, each of which then has a link to PDF version of the article.

I wish to particularly call attention to John Gee's article, "Abraham and Idrimi," which examines interesting parallels between the text of the Book of Abraham from the only other known autobiography from the specific region and time of Abraham. Here is the final paragraph of Gee's article with some important food for thought:

According to Edward Greenstein and David Marcus, "The story of Idrimi is unlike Mesopotamian literature both in content and style."31 The story, as Oppenheim describes it, is "without parallel in texts of this type from Mesopotamia and Egypt."32

This led him to conclude that "all this seems to me to bespeak the existence of a specific literary tradition, totally different in temper and scope from that of the ancient Near East."33 Thus Oppenheim considered the autobiography of Idrimi to be unusual even for the ancient Near East.

But the Book of Abraham belongs to the same specific literary tradition as Idrimi's autobiography. More inscriptions like Idrimi's from Syria dating to the Middle Bronze Age would enable a better comparison, but it is at least worth asking, How did Joseph Smith manage to publish in the Book of Abraham a story that closely matched a Middle-Bronze-Age Syrian autobiography that would not be discovered for nearly a hundred years?

Although some folks continue to make the tragic mistake of losing faith over attacks based on the Book of Abraham, the evidence continues to mount for the authenticity of the Book of Abraham as an ancient text beyond anything Joseph could have fabricated. The evidence from the text of Idrimi is a minor part of that, but a fascinating one.

One of the best treatments of other evidences for the Book of Abraham is the DVD, "A Most Remarkable Book: Evidence for the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Abraham." Also see Evidence for the Book of Abraham from Ancient Texts. Yes, there are still many questions and some things that may seem wrong, but there are so many strange and surprising elements that make sense or even appear to be "bulls’ eyes" that we cannot blindly disregard.

Professor Kerry Muhlenstein’s above-listed article on the Book of Abraham and the ancient use of biblical figures in Egypt provides further information for those seeking to dig deep into the Book of Abraham.

Although we don’t know exactly how Joseph created this “translation” and what role any of the papyrus scrolls, missing or found, played in the translation, we can accept that this is an ancient text provided to us in our day through the power of God. There is much to learn about the remarkable Book of Abraham.

For more from Jeff Lindsay, see Mormanity at http://mormanity.blogspot.com and his Mormon Answers section at http://jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/.


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About Jeff Lindsay

Jeff Lindsay has been defending the Church on the Internet since 1994, when he launched his LDSFAQ website under JeffLindsay.com. He has also long been blogging about LDS matters on the blog Mormanity (mormanity.blogspot.com). Jeff is a longtime resident of Appleton, Wisconsin, who recently moved to Shanghai, China, with his wife, Kendra. He works for an Asian corporation as head of intellectual property. Jeff and Kendra are the parents of 4 boys, 3 married and the the youngest on a mission.

He is a former innovation and IP consultant, a former professor, and former Corporate Patent Strategist and Senior Research Fellow for a multinational corporation.

Jeff Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins and Mukund Karanjikar are authors of the book Conquering Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

Jeff has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and is a registered US patent agent. He has more than 100 granted US patents and is author of numerous publications. Jeff's hobbies include photography, amateur magic, writing, and Mandarin Chinese.

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