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The Two Headed Ram in Facsimile #2 in the Book of Abraham is Correctly Depicted: A Discussion With a Critic on the Book of Abraham Hypocephalus
[This is the CLASSIC attitude and style of critics of Mormonism. They try to shift the idea, to switch the subject, and confuse you with everything except what you are saying. While what this critic says is true in some instances, he MISSED THE ENTIRE POINT. By staying on it come hell or high water however, the point is made powerfully. Pictures below illustrate this idea I am presenting here, and do so very well]
A for instance... it is known that most of the facsimiles produced a FOUR headed ram God in them. This is the classic Janus figure... Joseph Smith's has a TWO headed ram... It was argued by Egyptologists in 1912 that this is incorrect. Joseph Smith obviously knew nothing about Egyptology.
[an Anti-Mormon] Critic says:
I assume you are talking about the central figure?
Correct. The Egyptologists in 1912 who examined this thought it was ridiculous because there were no two headed central figures in the hypocephali that they had at that time, so they contended that Joseph Smith had blown it.
The four headed Amen-Re is typically the central figure of a hypocephali. (IMO) In facsimile no. 2 it is very apparent that Joseph Smith copied the head of the standing figure (marked 2) and placed it on top of the body of the Amen-Re. In all of the hypocephali that I have looked at none of them have the strange headed figure that Joseph Smith had drawn in on the Amen-Re shown in the Book of Abraham.
Yes, that was my point. No other hypocephalus has this central two headed figure on them, until now...read below...
This opinion of mine is supported by the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar EA&G which shows a drawing of the hypocephali in its damaged state.
Yes the hypocephalus was damaged, but still the fact remains that Joseph Smith was criticized for incorrectly putting a two-headed figure in his when it should have been four-headed, therefore Smith was a false prophet. But now we have a two-headed figure in another hypocephalus Read below.
After looking at the drawing of the hypocephali in the EA&G anyone can make the same reasonable conclusion. Moreover, one can see that Joseph Smith added text on the outer circle of the hypocephali from other portions of the Egyptian text, even backwards and upside down. And that he added figure no. 3 from the JS IV papyri. All of these alterations of the original match in places where the EA&G show missing portions.
Correct, there were parts missing and they were filled in. My point is that in the BofA hypocephalus there is a two-headed figure in the center which was said to be incorrect, and now we know that it isn't.
Kerry had said in an earlier statement:
And it WAS for the time being. (They had argued that the two headed figure was incorrect because no hypocephalus showed the figure as two headed) The critics were RIGHT here with this argument, and with the 20 or so hypocephaluses they had AT THAT TIME... BUT... NOW we know that there are OTHER Hypocephaluses which depict a TWO headed ram also, so Joseph Smith, while being in the minority, of course, is stricly NOT WRONG in depicting a TWO headed ram anymore... Time has reversed the argument. While FOUR heads on hypocephali, such as the facsimile #2 in the Book of Abraham, the round picture, are the majority, they are NOT the ONLY correct way to draw the ramheaded deity. Joseph Smith is *vindicated* with his TWO headed ram now. The other one is in the Walter Nash Hypocephalus... Archaeologically, Joseph Smith has been confirmed in this instance...
I would disagree. The head that Joseph Smith places on the body of the torn away Amen-Re which is shown in the copy preserved in EA&G is off centered from the sitting diety. I have seen no such alteration in any of the hypocephali that I have encountered thus far. Although I admit that I have not seen them all, the placing of the head is very precarious along with the additional lines drawn in. The central figure certainly does look out of place when comparing them to other hypocephali. If I am wrong in this statement I am certain you shall point it out and provide the reference backing up your position. (I need more than just a name of the hypocephali to find it).
The point is that the hypocephalus with the TWO headed figure in it is *not* incorrect anymore. I just received an additional dozen hypocephali from various museums around the world. On 8 of them the central figure is FOUR headed. Deveria in 1912 faulted Joseph Smith for having a hypocephalus with only two heads. Now whether this repeats the figure 2, head or not, is irrelevant because Joseph Smith is correct in seeing figure 1 and 2 and different aspects of the same ruling power. The four headed aspect signifies that his is a universal rule, hence he faced in all directions. But as with the altar beds and thrones, the object was shown as double only because quadruple drawing was awkward and messy - the third dimension was willingly taken for granted. But as James R. Harris in his book "The Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham: A Study of the Joseph Smith Papyri", p. 62 shows the Walter Nash hypocephalus and the seated figure has only two heads! It is from the Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch., April 1897. Too late for Smith who died in 1844. But Nibley has also shown in his study "The Three Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham" that DeHorrack said the four headed figure was the spirit of the 4 Cardinal Points. (p. 49). He also notes that Macrobius said Janus is represented as two headed as the janitor of the upper and lower regions. (p. 48). Sometimes he has two faces, sometimes four while St. Augustine in his CD VII, 4 called it both double (twins) Janus and interpreted it as four parts of the mundus. (p. 48).
THE POINT? Smith was *not* incorrect as Deveria had claimed in putting a two headed figure in the panel. Where Joseph Smith got it from is irrelevant, since the Egyptologists faulted Joseph Smith not for where he got it from, but that it was incorrect. Now we know that while it is a minority number of hypocephali that have the two headed figure, it is *not* incorrect. It is verified. That is what I was pointing out. Where Smith got it from is entirely irrelevant. That it is not drawn perfectly straight does nothing to prove it phony either. Joseph Smith was the first to have a two headed central figure in the facsimile, and now since the 1900's others have been found. But he was originally faulted with muffing it. And to the ancient Egyptians, 2 heads or 4 heads either way, was strictly correct for the symbolism they assigned the figure, and for which Joseph Smith correctly identified.
Alan Gardiner in his exquisitely interesting article "The Baptism of Pharaoh," in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 1950, p. 11, has noted the difficulty the ancient Egyptian artists had in conveying the idea of the four directionness of their art. It was a clumsy way to do it for them. He has an illustrations of this idea, see below.
Here he notes that four priests are drawn, but it is rather clumisly done. This is from the tomb of Sennufe. The priests represent the Gods of the four quarters of the earth according to Gardiner, and it is doubtful that they would have been depicted that small, unless the artist insisted on showing them. We find the same phenomenon with the lion-couches. See below.
Lion couches were actually 3-D items. This first is a stone lion couch with the lion carved on the sides, from Leonard Cottrell's, Egypt, Oxford Univ. Press, 1966, p. 56, plate 24. The second also shows a 3-D lion couch from Hugh Nibley, "A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price," in the Improvement Era, Aug. 1969. Below is still another variation showing it is a 3-D four directional altar,bad,couch we are dealing with in ancient Egyptian art.
This is another lion-altar showing it facing in the four directions. This was very hard for the Egyptians to draw anciently, as Gardiner has noted. We think this is another very good reason why the central figure in the hypocephalus was drawn with only two heads! Four heads would have been exceedingly difficult to depict, hence the two-heads, yet it was understood by the Egyptians to represent the four directions. See below the figure of "Khensu" and his four wings, yet his two heads.
These six pictures show just exactly what we mean. The upper left hand corner one is from Lanzone's Dizinario Mitologia Egizia, (Tav CCXXIX). This is clearly depicting a seated figure very much like Fac. 2, Fig. 1 only it's head is a different character, but not in the two headed aspect! The center picture is Chnum, the Creator god with the famous rams horns found on a small limestone ostracon at Saqqara, Egypt. The third one is an excellent one to compare the idea against which claims Joseph Smith was just making the two headed figure up. The bottom left one is Agni, again a two headed deity from India, showing the concept was certainly available to other peoples, not just the ancient Egyptians. The final picture again shows the two headed ram in the boat, in the awesome collection of Egyptian art in Chronique D' Egypte, 1994, p. 83. And finally, sometimes vignettes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead depicted the two headed ram figure, this time in human body form but with definite two heads, this being an illustration for chapter 165 in the Theban Rescencion.
Sir Alan Gardiner in his fascinating article, "A Unique Funeral Liturgy" in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 1955, notes this interesting hieroglyph. In his article he is talking about an idea that was defective in the Egyptian fragment, telling how a crowd moved two ways and wondered about that. He then notes that "Smither's restoration [the 2 headed bull hieroglyph above] in the next column is undoubtedly correct, the determinative suggesting simultaneous movement in opposite directions." (p. 13). In his footnote, Gardiner acknowledged that in the Pyramid Texts, it speaks of a door that could swing both backwards and forwards, using the same Egyptian word for this door as well as the two headed bull. The Egyptian concept of two headedness is not lost on Joseph Smith!
Interestingly the Egyptians also had "Khensu" who appeared as two headed, as well as with four wings, the two heads we are told clearly represented both the sun at sunrise and the new moon (hints at creation!See Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, vol. 2, p. 37, for picture, p. 35), thanks to the moon/sun crown he wore, pictured below.
Obviously this reminds us of the classical Janus figure who also had two heads facing right and left, which represent looking back and looking forward into time, showing he is the most openminded of all, since he was able to take a just view of all questions. See below. (picture in Francis E. Sabin, Classical Myths that Live Today, Silver Burdett Co., 1958, p. 69)
Notice he also holds a key, which was used to open the gates to Rome. This key demonstrates he is "the opener of the way." In the Joseph Smith version of this, the figure 2 at the top of the hypocephalus, also two faced, holds the "Wepwawet" staff, the word meaning open! A key is the opener of the way, and Joseph Smith calls this "the key of power"! Yes indeed.... for so it is in ancient Egyptian parlance. Alan Gardiner in his Egyptian Grammar notes this very clearly.
In the "Vocabulary" section, p. 57 we see that "Wep" means "open." Always remembering that the "e" in "Wep" is a convention of modern Egyptologists, we don't know what the vowels were, again following Gardiner here, pp. 26ff. We also see he has the full description:
This on page 232 in the "vocabulary" section again. Cf. p. 460. Also on p. 125 right down near the bottom of the page we see that "wp r" means "open the mouth" as if you are ready to address a person, again showing "Wep" means "open." Cf. Margaret Bunson, The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, Facts on File, 1991, p. 280; E.A.W. Budge, Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Dover, 1978, vol. 1, p. 161 under "Up uat", as well as p. 162 a, under "Up uatu" where we are specifically told that Wepwawet is "the opener (i.e. guide) of the roads for the dead on their way to the Kingdom of Osiris." The Jackal was usually displayed on a standard exactly as in Fig 2 on the JS Hypo. As such, this standard was the "key of power" of the god precisely as Joseph Smith noted in his explanation. Most interesting "Wepwawet" was associated with the "Dog Star Sirius", no surprise... and with the important northern constellation of Ursa Minor, following Robert Bauval, The Orion Mystery, Crown Publishers, 1994, p. 58). Klaus Baer in his translation of the Joseph Smith "Breathing Permit", noted that paragraph VI says "Amon is with you every day...in the Temple of Re so that you may live again. Wepwawet has opened the good way for you." The footnote says that "His name means 'Opener of the Ways' and his standard was carried, from the earliest times at the head of royal processions." (Baer, in Dialogue, Aut. 1968, p. 122) Budge in his Egyptian Book of the Dead shows the jackal standard of Wepwawet, on p. 353, the very same standard as in the JS Hypo Fig. 2. In Faulkner's Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts, vol. 1, Spell 10, we read, "fair paths are opened up for you by Wepwawet..." the variant reads "a road is opened up for you." Spell 24 reads "Wepwawet has opened up fair paths for you." In Spell 345 we read "Wepwawet will open for you the fair paths of the West." Another manuscript adds here the words "which belong to the vindication on this day against your foes, male or female, in the sky or on earth or in the realm of the dead." Indeed! This is simple the "key of power" no matter how we look at it, exactly as Joseph Smith said it was.
Wepwawet is also shown in Naville's Todenbuch on his standard who opens the way for the supreme ruler, pictured in Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, Deseret Book, 1976, p. 189. We read that Wepwawet was the faithful hunting dog who in prehistoric times ran ahead of his sacred Majesty whenever he took to the field. It was Wepwawet who helped Osiris conquer Egypt in the beginning, charging ahead of him with his deadly arrows. Wepwawet leads the procession of the Ennead in heaven opening the way through the midst of their enemies. The standard of the jackal as shown in the JS Hypo, Fig 2, the long staff, marked the royal succession to power for the kings. (Nibley, Ibid., p. 188f). Joseph Smith again nails it down perfectly with Wepwawet as a "key of power" in Fig. 2, also correctly depicted as 2 headed as the central figure is. Adolf Erman noted the Wepwawet Standard, see below.
Erman, likewise knew this as "Weg-Offner," or Way-opener, one reason being because "geworden, die ihm in der Schlacht vorangeschritten sind" that is, Wepwawet strode ahead of Osiris in the battle, conquering Egypt in the triumph ("sie haben Ägypten im triumphe erobert"). See his Die Religion der Agypter, Walter de Gruyter, 1934, pp. 42f. Erman, incidentally notes that sometimes the standard has the snake, sometimes arrows, clearly showing the warrior aspect of it in certain contexts.
The more we look, the more astonishing Joseph Smith's performance is. The classical Janus figure being two-headed, holding the key, Janus, the janitor, and janitors have the keys to open. The key of power to the ancient Egyptians was Wepwawet, the dog, pictured on a staff precisely as in the JS Hypo, "The key of power" in very deed!