You are here
The Book of Abraham is unique in the scriptural canon of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, because it is the only book in that canon that has pictures. Since 1842 when it was first published, the Book of Abraham has been accompanied by three facsimiles of Egyptian characters and figures that illustrate the text. Joseph Smith provided explanations for many of the figures in these illustrations.
Since then, many have been naturally curious about how Joseph Smith’s original explanations hold up in light of advances made in the field of Egyptology. In Joseph Smith’s day, Egyptology was a growing discipline, but since then has become an established and rigorous scholarly field. Both Latter-day Saint Egyptologists and those outside the faith have scrutinized the Book of Abraham facsimiles for well over a century, with no sign of the scholarly discussion diminishing soon. As it turns out, many of Joseph Smith’s explanations to the facsimiles do find plausible correlations to ancient Egypt.
This new video by Pearl of Great Price Central brings together just a few samples of evidence that situates Joseph Smith’s explanations of the facsimiles in an ancient context. This video introduces readers to a responsible methodology for approaching the Book of Abraham facsimiles. It then goes through each of the hieroglyphic facsimiles, pointing out instances where Joseph Smith's explanations correspond to ancient Egyptian concepts, as studied by Egyptologists.
While this exciting information on the facsimiles does not “prove” the Book of Abraham is true, it sheds a favorable light on Joseph Smith’s claims to prophetic inspiration. In addition, it bolsters confidence in the authenticity of the Book of Abraham and its facsimiles.
For an extensive bibliography on the Book of Abraham and to read short but informative Insight articles, be sure to check out Pearl of Great Price Central. The Book of Abraham Insights below in particular are those highlighted and discussed in the video. Documentation for the claims made in the video, as well as further reading for each of the topics addressed in the video, can be found in the individual Insight articles.
Readers wanting to learn more about these topics are encouraged to read the Gospel Topics essay “Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham” published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the recent book An Introduction to the Book of Abraham by Latter-day Saint Egyptologist John Gee. Additional reading (articles, book chapters, videos, podcasts, etc.) on these related topics can also be accessed for free on the Pearl of Great Price Central bibliography for the Book of Abraham.
Also watch this previous video produced by BMC Studios on the Historicity of the Book of Abraham.