Monday, August 5, 2013

A Book of Abraham Bullseye

Middle Bronze Age autobiographies from Syria are, in the words of A. L. Oppenheim, "without parallel in texts of this type from Mesopotamia and Egypt." They are very distinct in form and features. They also differ considerably from the same kinds of texts from the same area from a later date. As it turns out, however, those distinct features appear in the Book of Abraham which depicts Abraham as coming from Middle Bronze Age Syria.

I explore the connections in an article, which just appeared on Friday. The article is:
John Gee, "Abraham and Idrimi," Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 22/1 (2013): 34-39.
I do not know that it has appeared in electronic form, but it has appeared in print. (Interested parties can find the reference for the Oppenheim quote in the article.)

So here is the problem. The Book of Abraham was published by Joseph Smith in 1842. The first Middle Bronze Age Syrian autobiography was published in 1949. If Joseph Smith had made up the Book of Abraham, he would have had to compose an autobiography set in a certain time and place and use the correct literary features and publish it a hundred years before anyone else would publish one from an archaeological dig. The process by which he may or may not have done it is simply irrelevant. None of the proposed processes can account for the literary parallels.