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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Notes: Egyptian (Auto)Biography

"Portraiture is by far the most important and productive genre of Egyptian art, just as biography is the most ancient and productive genre of Egyptian literature. Both genres are self-thematizations of an individual subject, one in the medium of art, the other in the medium of language. To be sure, the Egyptian portraits are not self-portraits in our sense of the term, nor are the biographical inscriptions autobiographies in our sense. It is not the self of an artist or writer which is revealed by a statue or speaking in an inscription, but the self of the patron, who had the portrait sculptured or the inscription carved. What matters is the “self” that gives the order, not the one that executes it....We can deal rather with the order-giving, self-thematizing self, which wants to convey these qualities in its iconic self-thematization. No one will deny that self-thematization prevails in the artistic and inscriptional evidence of Ancient Egypt to an extraordinary degree and that both genres of self-thematization account for the singular character of Egyptian culture. For underlying almost every Egyptian inscription and every monument there is such an “order-giving self.” Since, as has rightly and repeatedly been stressed, Egyptian art is always functional and never decorative, it is this notion of self which seems to determine its functional contexts to the greatest extent."

Is it possible that the Abrahamic text was ordered by Abraham and inscribed by somebody else? According to Assmann, this would be the norm.

Jan Assmann, "Preservation and Presentation of Self in Ancient Egyptian Portraiture," Studies in Honor of William Kelly Simpson, Vol. 1, Ed. Peter Der Manuelian (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1996), 55-56

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