Joseph Smith’s Papyri

Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast interviews Dr. John Gee about the history of Joseph Smith’s papyri.

Dr. Gee has studied the papyri and the Book of Abraham for over thirty years, yet believes there are still many mysteries still to be unraveled.

He shares with listeners fascinating details regarding what we know about Joseph Smith’s purchase of the papyri in Ohio in 1835 to the Church’s acquisition of its remaining fragments from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the late sixties.

Along the way he shares some interesting stories about the Book of Mormon translation, its teachings, and how Mother Smith used the papyri and mummies to provide for herself as a widow.

He also sheds light on issues regarding the provenance (where it came from) of the Book of Abraham and how its teachings on the pre-existence proliferated throughout the Church in the years after Joseph Smith’s death.

Be sure to check the links to articles written by Dr. Gee on both of these topics on the LDS Perspectives website.

Richard Bushman’s Views on the Book of Abraham

Joseph Smith PapyriProbably all of you have already read Richard Bushman’s Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, so this isn’t anything new to you. But I wanted to replicate his discussion and explanation for the Book of Abraham in its entirety here. If I merely summarize, I’ll run the risk of interpreting and I want to avoid that risk. Later on I’ll use this as the basis for future discussion that I can refer back to. So here it is: Richard Bushman’s take on the Joseph Smith Papyri and the Book of Abraham that it inspired.

The Abraham texts gave Joseph another chance to let his followers try translating. While working on the Book of Mormon in 1829, Joseph invited Oliver Cowdery to translate: he tried and failed. Now with the Egyptian papyri before them, Joseph again let the men with the greatest interest in such undertakings – Cowdery, William W. Phelps, Warren Parrish, and Fredrick G. Williams – attempt translations. … Continue reading