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Book of Moses Essays
Moses 1 in Its Ancient Context (Moses 1)

Essay #42: Moses 1 in Its Ancient Context: “The Words of God” (Moses 1:1–7, 35, 40–42)

Moses 1 constitutes a self-contained literary unit and prologue to the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, demarcated by an inclusio. The Latin word inclusio (literally, an “inclosing” or “closing-in”) serves as “a technical term for a passage of scripture in which the opening phrase or idea is repeated, paraphrased, or otherwise returned to at the close.”...

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Essay #40: Moses 1 in Its Ancient Context: Moses’ Vision at the Veil (Moses 1:27–30)

Having traversed the veil, Moses and Abraham experience a comprehensive vision of the earth and its mortal inhabitants through the ages. In both texts, this raises questions for the prophets, but the nature of the questions differs somewhat in Moses 1 than in the Apocalypse of Abraham (ApAb)....

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Essay #38: Moses 1 in Its Ancient Context: Moses Passes Through the Heavenly Veil (Moses 1:25–27)

In light of our cultural and conceptual distance from the milieu of Moses 1, we are fortunate that imperfect documents from antiquity like the Apocalypse of Abraham (ApAb) may nevertheless provide keys for understanding that “mysterious other world,” even when existing manuscripts were written much later and, not infrequently, have come to us in a form that is riddled with the ridiculous....

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Essay #32: Moses 1 in Its Ancient Context: The Two-Part Pattern of Heavenly and Ritual Ascent (Moses 1)

In a previous Insight, we discussed similarities and differences between heavenly ascent, an actual encounter with Deity within the heavenly temple, and ritual ascent, a figurative journey into the presence of God such as the one experienced in earthly temples. In this Insight, we will introduce the general two-part narrative pattern of departure and return used in ancient and modern literature. We then illustrate how narratives of heavenly and ritual ascent often conform to a similar two-part structure of descent and ascent—a down-road followed by an up-road. Recognizing this pattern can help us better identify the intended narrative structure of the Book of Moses. ...

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Essay #39: Moses 1 in Its Ancient Context: The Names of Moses as “Keywords” (Moses 1:25)

In light of our cultural and conceptual distance from the milieu of Moses 1, we are fortunate that imperfect documents from antiquity like the Apocalypse of Abraham (ApAb) may nevertheless provide keys for understanding that “mysterious other world,” even when existing manuscripts were written much later and, not infrequently, have come to us in a form that is riddled with the ridiculous....

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Essay #35: Moses 1 in Its Ancient Context: Moses Falls to the Earth (Moses 1:9-11)

Though most readers will be much more familiar with the well-known masterpiece of Michelangelo showing Adam’s creation being effected by the fleetingly light touch of the index fingers of God and the reclining Adam, the version of the scene executed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, which includes a firm handclasp whereby the Lord can raise Adam up on his feet, is more faithful to ancient Jewish and Christian tradition. ...

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Essay #33: Moses 1 in Its Ancient Context: Moses 1 as a “Missing” Prologue to Genesis (Moses 1)

In this Insight, we will describe how the heavenly ascent of Moses 1 provides a compelling prologue to the covenant-related themes of ritual ascent that can be found in the remaining chapters of the Book of Moses. Intriguingly, Moses 1 also provides a fitting introduction to the Book of Genesis. By calling this prologue “missing,” however, we are not claiming that it was ever an actual part of any early equivalent to Genesis....

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Essay #31: Moses 1 in Its Ancient Context: Heavenly Ascent and Ritual Ascent (Moses 1)

Before delving directly into the text of Moses 1, we need to know more about what kind of a text we are dealing with. To set this chapter—as well as the remaining chapters in the Book of Moses—in their proper ancient and modern context, this Insight and the two that follow will treat these three topics: • Heavenly Ascent and Ritual Ascent • The Two-Part Pattern of Heavenly and Ritual Ascent • Moses 1 as a “Missing” Prologue to Genesis ...

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