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“We May Not Understand Our Words”: The Book of Abraham and the Concept of Translation in The Pearl of Greatest Price
|“We May Not Understand Our Words”: The Book of Abraham and the Concept of Translation in The Pearl of Greatest Price
|Year of Publication
|Thompson, John S.
|Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
|Book of Abraham; Early Church History; Pearl of Great Price; Smith, Joseph, Jr.; Translation
In recent years there has been an effort among some scholars to make sense of the historical sources surrounding Joseph Smith’s claims to be a translator of ancient records. Terryl Givens, with some assistance from Brian Hauglid, has explored the evidence surrounding the Book of Abraham and suggests that, in this case, Joseph Smith may not have translated an ancient record of Abraham’s writings into English as typically believed in the Latter-day Saint community. Consequently, Givens provides four alternative ways the work of “translating” may have been understood or practiced by the Prophet and his scribes. This essay highlights some evidence that was overlooked, misunderstood, and glossed by Givens, calling into question his fourfold attempt at redefining what it meant for Joseph Smith to translate this ancient record.
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