To see corresponding Egyptian Hieratic, Demotic, and Hieroglyphs, click on the Charactors Above!
reformatted to open quickly as html files! (May 5th, 2014)
"Book of Mormon," in Reformed Egyptian
There are 152 references to Egyptian Hieratic
and Egyptian Hieroglyphs. As of today, Monday, May 3rd, 2010, I have about 8+, more that I can add when I find the time.
Here are some rebuttals to common criticisms of the Caractors transcript
Critics say: "There are no corresponding egyptian symbols":
The Rebuttal: Critics ignore the obvious . . .
In the Ariel Crowley article, 94 citations (a large number!) are given to four major sources where recognized Egyptological Experts have not only defined Hieratic and Demotic symbols as having their place in Egyptian orthography but have specifically set forth how so. These same symbols also appear in the Anthon Transcript--and that's just the complicated ones. See Ariel Crowley - "The identification of Charactors as Egyptian".
As a human being and a scholar, should I believe the word of someone who says something doesn't exist? Or should I believe the fact of another person's demonstration of that thing occurring in real life? Of course, I will believe the latter. However, that necessitates that I be willing to look for such a demonstration in the first place, and in the second, to acknowledge that fact occurred. At present, I find no evidence that detractors of the authenticity of the Anthon Transcript have put forth the effort to do either one. In the case of the uninitiated and the theological professional, I would ascribe this to disinterest. Why disinterest? The reason being that, in this case, the witness of such demonstration requires a great deal of time, expense, and effort (in other words research). It is a truism that if you don't believe in something, you are only going to spend a little of your time and effort in disproving it rather than proving it.
Critics say: "Reformed Egyptian could not be shorter than Hebrew":
The Rebuttal: There are at least three ways reformed Egyptian can be shorter than Hebrew . . .
First, ancient Egyptian uses Bi-Literals (a single symbol that expresses two consonants) and Tri-Literals (a single symbol that express three consonants) where Hebrew does not.
Second, there are many cases where a single line or dot in Demotic stands for what would normally be a larger glyph. This saves space.
Third, there are more than a few cases where demotic charactors are ligatured together to create a complex glyph which has fewer parts than those glyphs from which it has incorporated.
Response to exmormon.org on reformed Egyptian
Last Updated Monday, May 5th, 3:48 p.m. 2014
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Directions for Research: A Straight Forward Approach to the translation of
1) A beginning
requires a premise. While the next two statements may seem at odds:
"Ask, and it
shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto
you." Matthew 7:7
And, as Mormon said:
"But the Lord
knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people
knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language,
therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof." Mormon
They are ameliorated by the fact that there are at least two kinds of truth
in the Book of Mormon; Eternal truth and historical truth. "Jesus is the
Christ" is an example of an eternal truth. It was true. It is true, and it
will always be true. In order to translate reformed Egyptian one has to treat
Mormon's statement as an historical truth. That is to say, when Mormon says
"that none other people knoweth our language" he was talking about a
fact that was true at the time but is not necessarily true today. If one does
not accept this second premise, unless one has an urim and thummim, to the
consternation of the faithful and the delight of the disbeliever, reformed
Egyptian will forever remain a mystery. But, the point is, reformed Egyptian IS
2) If reformed Egyptian is not a mystery, it will conform to the mundane laws of
languages. All languages follow rules and traditions. Egyptian and Hebrew are two of the most
stable languages over extremely long periods of time. Their changes are traceable and contiguous. And, for the most part we can readily see
how glyphs changed or didn't change and the script changed.
3) Translation of reformed Egyptian is not impossible... but it is
There are a number of points to consider in attempting to
translate reformed Egyptian into a proof that two kinds of people will
believe. First, since it is called reformed Egyptian, one can assume that a
starting point would be Egyptian. From BOM reference sources (give sources
here) this would place one's study of Egyptian language corollaries at 600
B.C.E. or before, because that's the time that Lehi left
Jerusalem. What one means by "Egyptian
language corollaries" further complicates matters. Is one talking about
Egyptian Hieroglyphs? (of which CCER lists about 6000)
or, is one talking about Egyptian Hieratic? (A script version of Hieroglyphics
mainly used in religious documents at the time) Or perhaps one is talking about
Demotic, an even more shorthand condensed script version of Hieroglyphics which
was used mainly for business documents at the time. Or, (yes there's more) is
one talking about "Abnormal Hieratic?" (which one could think of as perhaps a regional dialect of hieratic.) This is further
complicated by three other considerations. Second, Since Nephi speaks of his
family being Jews at this time, and the BOM says that the language was altered.
(Give references here) One needs to ask oneself, What
were the Jews speaking and writing out of
at the time? There is a class of documents (two of which I know--give
references) which combine Egyptian and (Paleo?) Hebrew. and, Third, How much was the writing system altered by
the passage of a thousand years of evolving and conflicting cultures in the
even it were altered at all? and, Fourth, Is reformed
Egyptian some combination of all three of the above?
The next set of factors involve "proof" and the Egyptology
vetting process--which is used to satisfy the first set of believers--the
Egyptologist. A proof consists of a glyph by glyph translation of a document
where each glyph can be matched with a referent whose definition the academic
community has accepted. You submit your translation to a journal and your
expert peers review it and suggest changes if need be. Then it's published for
everyone to see. The second set are those people who
are willing to look up the published material for themselves. This is further
complicated by the "Archae" in Archaeology. While the word means
study of the ancient or old, it also brings to mind the study of the arcane and
the esoteric. Archaeologists/Egyptologists must have
the time, the energy and the inclination to pursue their "brainchildren".
They usually don't have the time to explore anything besides those. How much
more true is this for skeptics who actively disbelieve? If a
translation of reformed Egyptian in the Caractors document is going to happen, it will be by someone who is
willing to put the time and effort into it because they believe. The
last thing depends on you. Are you going to take someone else's word for it? Or
are you going to find out for yourself?
A review of some basic principles of Egyptian writing will
help us to better understand the nature and place of these glyphs in history
Hieroglyphic, Hieratic, Abnormal Hieratic, and Demotic
A second Anthon Transcript
By Martin Harris's account of his meeting with Professor Charles Anthon, we know there was a second transcript. Here is his account.
"I went to the city of New York and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof to Professor Anthony (sic), a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments;-Professor Anthony (sic) stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldeac, Assyriac, and Arabac [Arabic] , and he said that they were true characters. He gave me a certificate certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. "Times and Seasons," III, 773.
What makes a second reformed Egyptian transcript important? If it was not yet translated, it probably came from the Book of Mormon. If it were
translated, it probably came from the 116 pages which were lost. If it came from the Book of Mormon, the translation would be made easier by being able to compare it with the English text.
Another source of reformed Egyptian
Two scholarly papers reference another source of reformed Egyptian.
One is from the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1, from the
article: "New Light: 'Anthon Transcript' Writing Found?" "He also referred to similar characters that are displayed in a book of family reminiscences of the life of Frederick G. Williams, a Presiding Bishop in the early LDS Church.5 A small feature in the book that came from Williams's papers showed a few more signs said to have been copied from the gold plates. ..."
The other is from a paper written by Carl Hugh Jones, "The Anthon Transcript and Two Mesoamerican
Cylinder Seals": Newsletter and Proceedings of the Society for Early Historical Archaeology 122 (Sept. 1970): 1-8.
Here are quotes from that source: "After One Hundred Years". After the dedicatory prayer, singing and administration of the Lords Supper, Don Carlos Smith and President Cowdery arouse and bore their testimonies.
President Williams then arose and testified that while President Rigdon was making his first prayer an angel entered the window and took his seat between
Father Smith and himself and remained there during the prayer.4
Heber C. Kimball related it thus: "During the ceremonies of the dedication an angel appeared and sat near Joseph Smith Sen., and Frederick G. Williams,
so that they had a fair view of his person. He was tall, had black eyes and white hair and stooped shoulders and his garment was whole, extending to near
his ankles, on his feet he had sandals. He was sent as a messenger to accept of the dedication. 5
Frederick had in his pocket a piece of paper which he carried to take notes on. On this he wrote in pencil: "John the Beloved"--then a space followed and
a few lines written in another language. A large space followed and then at the bottom of the page he wrote the following revelation: "The course that Lehi
traveled from the city of Jerusalem to the place where he and his family took ship: They traveled nearly south, southeast direction until they came to the
nineteenth degree of north latitude. Then nearly east to the Sea of Arabia; then south, southeast direction and landed on the continent of South America in
Chili, thirty degrees south latitude."
Returning home, he transcribed the revelation in ink on another sheet of paper. Rebecca kept these papers with his other notes until her death.
Their son, Ezra, loaned them to the Church Historians Office in Salt Lake City in the 1860's where they have lain these many years, known only to historians,
to be brought to light and published for the first time. 5a "After 100 Years", Nancy C Williams, pp 101-102.
4 History of the Church. Vol. II, p. 427
5 Whitney's Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 103.
5a The original, written in pencil was shown to the author by a Historian, in the early 1930's and was the only one she had seen until February 29, 1949,
when she was shown the film and the letter from which it was taken--and received with others a wonderful manifestation that it was indeed a revelation
given to Frederick G. Williams for his and his family. The original, written in pencil, cannot be found at this meeting.
Dot dot dot dot. . .
Contrary to claims that the "Caractors" document was made up of simple numbers and letters, we are presented with a difficult puzzle to solve precisely because certain characters can represent more than one hieroglyph. This is especially true for the "dot", and the "slash".
There are at least four possible uses for a dot, three occur in Egyptian of the time and one occurs in Hebrew.
The four dots in "Earth" or"land" can stand for grains of sand. ("Caractors" Row 4, Figure 5.) Note the usage of four dots was more common in old Egyptian, and in new Egyptian the land hieroglyph has three dots.
Second, glyphs such as "Circular threshing floor covered with grain" ; or as shown in hieratic, occasionally have a single dot placed in the middle of the figure to represent what might be one complicated part or many small parts of a glyph within that figure. In the case of O50, one dot represents many small grains. If the meaning of such a glyph is in itself not apparent, we usually extrapolate the meaning from its context.
Third, the dot is used quite often in Demotic as shorthand for a number of glyphs. We can see at least 2 examples of this on page 13 lines 15 and 24, where Spiegelberg elucidates the Demotic alphabet in "Demotische Grammatik" there respectively, it could be used for, a papyrus rolled up, tied and sealed or two slash marks.
Fourth, the Hebrews sometimes used a dot to separate words. See Siloem Inscription
Hieratic Egyptian used in Ancient Israel Link
Inscribed potsherds (ostraca) from the eighth
and seventh centuries B.C.E. (Before Common Era, or B.C.), found in both
Israel and Judah, provide evidence for writing in the tenth century B.C.E.
"These ostraca contain Hebrew characters as well as signs and numerals in
hieratics-a cursive form of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
"Curiously, these hieratic signs do not appear in
contemporaneous documents of Israel's neighbors, even though Egypt's relations
with Philistia and Phoenicia in the ninth and tenth centuries B.C.E. were
much closer than those with Israel.
"Moreover, no eighth- or seventh-century Egyptian parallels
have been found for many of the signs on the Hebrew ostraca." (Cow Town or Royal Capitol? Evidence
For Iron Age Jerusalem,
Nadav Na'aman, Biblical Archaeological
, July/August 1997, p. 45).
Caractors in columns
Reformed Greek On A Gold Scroll
Caractors Font for Researchers
Additional Reformed Egyptian Sources
Hieratic Egyptian used in Israel
Jewish and Other Semitic Texts Written in Egyptian Characters
Ariel Crowley -The Anthon Transcript
Book of Mormon anachronisms:Reformed Egyptian
Ancient Egyptian Language Discussion List
Easy 3D Cover Creator
Easy Banner Creator
Wrapped Corn Husk Dolls (My new eBook)
See the cover of the Book of Mormon in Reformed Egyptian
Find some "Caractors" in a "beginners" Hieratic text
Copyright August 2004
by Russell Littlecreek
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