I want to say to you, read the book, the Pearl of Great Price, and read the Book of Abraham. The Pearl of Great Price I hold to be one of the most intelligent, one of the most religious books that the world has ever had; but more than that, to me the Pearl of Great Price is true in its name. It contains an ideal of life that is higher and grander and more glorious than I think is found in the pages of any other book unless it be the Holy Bible. It behooves us to read these things, understand them: and I thank God when they are attacked, because it brings to me, after a study and thought, back to the fact that what God has given He has given, and He has nothing to retract." - Levi Edgar Young, Conference Report (April 1913), 74

"...it must be evident to all who seriously consider the matter, that if the Book of Abraham as given to us by Joseph Smith be true, it must have been translated by a greater than human power." - George Reynolds, The Book of Abraham: Its Authenticity Established as a Divine and Ancient Record (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1879), 4

Friday, January 7, 2011

Theodule Deveria - Memoires et Fragments

In 1855, Jules Remy (a Frenchman) and Julius Brenchley (an Englishmen) visited Salt Lake City.  Upon their return home they presented to Theodule Deveria "drawings which we borrowed from the Mormons [the Facsimiles from the Book of Abraham]" with a request that he would translate them from Egyptian into French. Deveria obliged, and his translation made in 1859 was subsequently published in 1860 by Jules Remy in his book Voyage Au Pays Des Mormons.1 

At the time of translation, Deveria was a young Egyptologist working in the Louvre Museum. He first took an interest in Egyptology at the age of seventeen and subsequently obtained an education from the College of France. In 1850 he performed some Egyptian translations for the Sevres Museum (Paris, France), and in 1851 he began working in the print room in the National Library. In 1855, Deveria began work at the Louvre Museum in Paris, and five years later he was appointed as Assistant Curator of the Egyptian Museum (at the Louvre).2 Before turning thirty years old, Deveria, described as a "young savant," provided Remy with his translation of the facsimiles.3

 Theodule Deveria4

The following pages are extracted from the 4th volume of Bibliotheque Egyptologique ("Egyptological Library" for French Egyptologists). The tome was published under the direction of Gaston Maspero, another French Egyptologist. These volumes collected scattered writings of Egyptologists, such as Deveria, and combined them for publication. As such, Deveria's translation of the Facsimiles is republished from Remy's book previously mentioned, in the Bibliotheque Egyptologique collection, under the title Memoires et Fragments (Memories and Fragments). The portion relating to the translation is included below. A translation is not provided here; however, since Remy's publication (which is the same as below) was republished in English in 1861, which is available here.

1 Jules Remy, Voyage au Pays des Mormons (2 Vols.; Paris: E. Dentu, 1860), 2:462; reprinted in English, Jules Remy and Julius Brenchley, A Journey to Great Salt Lake City (2 Vols.; London: W. Jeffs, 1861), 2:539. Various discussions and summaries of Deveria's translation have been dated to 1856 (John Gee*) through 1860 (McOmber**).  I have indicated that the translation was done in 1859 based on Remy's footnote 1 (pg 195), which reads, "Ecrit en 1859...," translated as "written in 1859."
* John Gee, "A Tragedy of Errors" FARMS Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, 4/1 (1992):94
** Calvin D. McOmber, Jr., A Study of Criticisms of the Book of Abraham (M.A. Thesis; Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1960), 18
2 Theodule Deveria, Memoires et Fragments, ed. Gaston Maspero (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1896), vi-viii
3 George Reynolds, The Book of Abraham: Its Authenticity Established as a Divine and Ancient Record (Salt lake City, UT: Deseret News Printing and Publishing, 1879), 44
4 Image of Deveria is taken from Deveria, Memoires et Fragments, frontispiece

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