Book of Abraham and Egyptian Material

In early July 1835, Joseph Smith and other Latter-day Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, acquired four ancient Egyptian mummies and several papyrus scrolls from Michael Chandler, an antiquities dealer visiting the area. Later that year and in early 1836, Joseph Smith and his scribes spent considerable time engaged in two separate but related endeavors: the translation of the Book of Abraham, a first-person narrative recounting a portion of the life of the biblical patriarch Abraham; and a language-study effort that produced a number of Egyptian alphabet and grammar manuscripts. The Book of Abraham was published in the church’s periodical Times and Seasons in Nauvoo, Illinois, in March and May 1842. This published version was introduced as “A translation Of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands, from the Catecombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.” The Book of Abraham was officially accepted as scripture by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1880 and is included today in the volume of scripture known as the Pearl of Great Price. For further introductory information, see “Introduction to Book of Abraham Manuscripts,” “Introduction to Egyptian Material,” and “Translate,” on this website.

The following documents or other materials related to the Book of Abraham are available on this website:

1. William W. Phelps and Warren Parrish Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Summer–Fall 1835 [Abraham 1:1–2:18]

2. Frederick G. Williams Copy of Abraham Manuscript, circa October 1835 [Abraham 1:4–2:6]

3. Warren Parrish Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Fall 1835 [Abraham 1:4–2:2]

4. Willard Richards Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Early 1842–A [Abraham 1:1–2:18]

5. Explanation of Facsimile of Papyrus Drawing, Early 1842

6. Willard Richards Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Early 1842–B [Abraham 3:18–26]

7. Book of Abraham as Published in Times and Seasons, 1842

8. Printing Plates of Facsimiles of Papyrus Drawings, Early 1842

The following Egyptian materials are available on this website:

1. Egyptian Papyri

2. Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language, circa July–circa December 1835

3. Egyptian Counting, circa July–circa December 1835

4. Egyptian Alphabet, William W. Phelps Scribe, circa July–circa December 1835

5. Egyptian Alphabet, JS and Oliver Cowdery Scribe, circa July–circa December 1835

6. Egyptian Alphabet, Oliver Cowdery Scribe, circa July–circa December 1835

7. “Valuable discovery of hiden reccords,” circa July–circa December 1835

8. Transcribed Characters with English Entries, circa July–circa December 1835

9. Hieratic Egyptian Characters and Illustrations, circa July–circa December 1835

10. Hieratic Egyptian Characters, circa July–circa December 1835

Additionally, the Abraham and Egyptian materials and projects are referenced elsewhere in Joseph Smith’s papers. Some of these references are listed below:

Certificate from Michael Chandler, 6 July 1835

Joseph Smith, Journal, 1 Oct. 1835; 3 Oct. 1835; 7 Oct. 1835; 14 Nov. 1835; 17 Nov. 1835; 19 Nov. 1835; 24 Nov. 1835; 25 Nov. 1835; 26 Nov. 1835; 12 Dec. 1835; 16 Dec. 1835; 17 Feb. 1836; 6 May 1838; 23 Feb. 1842; 2 Mar. 1842; 4 Mar. 1842; 8 Mar. 1842

JS History, 1838–1856, vol. B-1, pp. 595–596, 597