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Why would the Book of Abraham resemble the inscription of Idrimi translated long afterwards in 1949?

Since the discovery of the inscription of Idrimi we have been able to compare the Book of Abraham with another autobiography from the same general place and time.

John Gee writes:

Not only are the general themes of the two autobiographies similar, but they also open in a similar manner. The first verse of the Book of Abraham divides neatly into four clauses, parallels to each of which appear at the beginning of the autobiography of Idrimi

John Gee – Abraham and Idrimi

Gee concludes:

According to Edward Greenstein and David Marcus, “The story of Idrimi is unlike Mesopotamian literature both in content and style.” The story, as Oppenheim describes it, is “without parallel in texts of this type from Mesopotamia and Egypt.” This led him to conclude that “all this seems to me to bespeak the existence of a specific literary tradition, totally different in temper and scope from that of the ancient Near East.” Thus Oppenheim considered the autobiography of Idrimi to be unusual even for the ancient Near East. But the Book of Abraham belongs to the same specific literary tradition as Idrimi’s autobiography. More inscriptions like Idrimi’s from Syria dating to the Middle Bronze Age would enable a better comparison, but it is at least worth asking, How did Joseph Smith manage to publish in the Book of Abraham a story that closely matched a MiddleBronze-Age Syrian autobiography that would not be discovered for nearly a hundred years? 

John Gee – Abraham and Idrimi

Echoing John Gee’s question, how did Joseph Smith do it?


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