This page is under construction. This page is similar to other pages and pertained to facsimile #2 in an earlier version of the CES Letter
Joseph's "Translation" vs Egyptology
For several reasons it is unrealistic to expect Joseph's translation of the Facsimiles to exactly parallel modern Egyptological views.
Egyptologists to not universally agree on the meaning of the iconography.
As a seer who translated with God's assistance, Joseph Smith's translations would reflect eternally valuable insights, which would probably be different than the modern interpretation of the symbols.
The Book of Abraham reports that the original Egyptian leaders believed in the true God (Abraham 1:25-26) leading to the conclusion that later gods were a perversion of those principles. If the religious Egyptian iconography experienced a similar perversion, then Joseph's translation would not correlate to modern translations.
Each of the three Egyptian representations in the facsimiles that Joseph Smith said were associated with Abraham actually was associated with him by ancient Egyptians. This reality does not prove the Prophet to be a prophet, but it is a curious instance where Joseph was correct.
Critics are quick to point out understandable inconsistencies with Joseph Smith's explanations of the Facsimiles. However, they do not attempt to deal with these significant instances of consistency. No plausible explanations have been posed for explaining away the many striking consistencies in the Book of Abraham with nonbiblical traditions regarding Abraham.
While people from different backgrounds may disagree regarding Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Abraham and the papyri, it would be unfortunate to make assumptions regarding the things we don’t know and then condemn Joseph Smith or the Book of Abraham based upon those assumptions.
The author of The CES Letter fails to inform his readers that since the 1960s the Church has known and freely admitted that the papyri fragments currently in possession of the Church do not contain the text of the Book of Abraham. Hugh Nibley's early work on the fragments demonstrated this. Click here