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How do we account for the Egyptianisms in the Book of Abraham?

John Gee notes an interesting Egyptianism in the Book of Abraham:

The manuscripts of the Book of Abraham produce one interesting feature, an Egyptianism, which might indicate some knowledge of Egyptian on Joseph Smith’s part. The earliest manuscript (2) containing Abraham 1:17 reads “and this because their hearts are turned they have turned their hearts away from me.” The phrase “their hearts are turned” was crossed out and “they have turned their hearts” was written immediately afterwards. In Egyptian of the time period of the Joseph Smith Papyri the passive is expressed by the use of a third person plural. So the two phrases would be identical in Egyptian. The translator has to decide which way to render the passage. While this is true of Egyptian of the time period of the papyri, it is not true of Greek, or Latin, or Hebrew, or Aramaic, or even classical Egyptian; English makes a distinction between the two even if late twentieth century and twenty-first century English sometimes uses a third person plural for an indefinite subject.

John Gee – Joseph Smith and Ancient Egypt

Where would Joseph Smith have learned about this?


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