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Sobek: The Idolatrous God of Pharaoh Amenemhet III

TitleSobek: The Idolatrous God of Pharaoh Amenemhet III
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBarney, Quinten
JournalJournal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture
KeywordsAncient Near East; Book of Abraham Facsimiles; Egypt; Egyptian; Joseph Smith Papyri; Pearl of Great Price; Sobek

The Joseph Smith Papyri have been a hot topic among scholars, especially since the resurfacing of fragments of the collection in the late 1960s. The facsimiles in particular have received much attention in scholarly circles, especially in relation to their accompanying explanations given by Joseph Smith. This article contributes evidence of the accuracy of Smith’s explanations, despite his lack of knowledge concerning Egyptology. Specifically, this article discusses the relationship between “the idolatrous god of pharaoh” in Facsimile 1 with the Egyptian crocodile god, Sobek (also known as Sebek, Sobk, and Suchos), and his connection to the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Amenemhet III. Evidence both from historical texts and from archaeology demonstrates the important role Sobek played in the Fayyum region during the reign of Amenemhet III. Sobek was thus a likely candidate for the “idolatrous god of pharaoh” of Facsimile 1 in the Book of Abraham.