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Where would Joseph Smith have learned about the god Korash?

As well as naming Elkenah Libnah and Mahmackrah, the Book of Abraham also mentions the god Korah. John Gee explains what we know about this god:

Of the various deities, perhaps the one we have the most information on is Korash, known among the Hittites as Kurša, which is conventionally translated as “hunting bag.” It was typically “made of appropriately prepared sheepskins and sometimes even decorated,”  but “leather, wood, and reed” are all attested materials for a Kurša.  The bag “functions as the symbol of a deity and is therefore treated as a god.” It seems to have been “worshiped as an impersonal deity.” The Hittites used “implements associated with a particular god as the actual cult representation of that god.” Some of the tablets mentioning Kurša are in Middle Hittite script, which seems to be a couple hundred years after Abraham, but it is known also from Old Hittite sources. For example, there is an Old Hittite mythic fragment in which “the bee is the goddess’s messenger bringing the lost kurša.” The term also appears in New Kingdom Egypt. 

John Gee – Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

How would Joseph Smith have known about this god?

John Gee goes on to explain the odds of Joseph Smith guessing the names of the four gods in the Book of Abraham:

What are the odds of Joseph Smith guessing right? A number of factors complicate the calculation, so only a simplified calculation will be done. Joseph Smith provided four names, two of two syllables and two of three syllables. Using the twenty-two unique consonants provided by the Seixas transliteration system, a CVC syllabic structure (since one of the Seixas consonants is a null value), and five vowels, there are 2420 possible syllable combinations; but because the vowels were not always written and frequently changed in dialects, we drop them, for a total of 484 syllable combinations. Since there are ten syllables in the names Joseph Smith provided, this is a total of 7.05 x 1026 different possible combinations. The Mesopotamian god list AN: dA-nu-um lists 2130 non-unique deities. Multiplying the number by five to account for deities not included in the Mesopotamian list, and taking the ratio of the two numbers, gives us a very rough estimate of the chance of randomly putting together syllables into four correct ancient deities’ names of one in 6.62 x 1022 By comparison, the odds of winning the Powerball lottery by buying a single ticket are merely one in 292 million(2.92 x 106).The odds of winning the Powerball lottery two weeks in a row are one in 8.52 x 1016. The odds of winning three weeks in a row are one in 2.49 x 1025. Though only a crude calculation of the odds, it gives some idea how difficult it would be for Joseph Smith to simply guess correctly.

John Gee – Four Idolatrous Gods in the Book of Abraham

Aren’t the odds of Joseph Smith guessing these names astronomically high?


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