This is Laura Harris Hales, and I am pleased to introduce a special series for the Latter-day Saint Perspectives Podcast’s fourth season. We will be highlighting chapters from the much-anticipated volume, Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith’s Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity edited by Michael Hubbard MacKay, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Brian M. Hauglid.
In anticipation for our fourth-year launch on September 16, 2020, this is the second interview with a chapter author we will be highlighting. This week’s feature first aired as Episode 51. In this episode, Dr. Matthew J. Grey discusses his research for his chapter, “Approaching Egyptian Papyri through Biblical Language: Joseph Smith’s Use of Hebrew in His Translation of the Book of Abraham.”
Be sure to listen through the end credits to hear information about our new show feature “Comments and Questions from Readers,” which provides opportunities for listeners to submit content for future episodes as well as receive gift cards and free books.
Upcoming Featured Books: (Deadline for Submission of Questions and Comments):
Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith’s Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity. Michael Hubbard MacKay, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Brian M. Hauglid, eds.
Prophetic Authority: Democratic Hierarchy and Mormon Priesthood by Michael Hubbard MacKay along with “Performing the Translation: Character Transcripts and Joseph Smith’s Earliest Translating Practices” in Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith’s Translation Projects.
Joseph Smith’s Translation: The Words and Worlds of Early Mormonism by Samuel Morris Brown along with “Seeing the Voice of God: The Book of Mormon on Its Own Translation” in Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith’s Translation Projects.
Joseph Smith: History, Methods, and Memory by Ronald O. Barney
Suggestions? Email us those as well.
This podcast is cross-posted with the permission of LDS Perspectives Podcast.
Wouldn’t what Joseph Smith translated in The Book of Abraham be inspired by God, then for Joseph to go back and use what he had learned in his Hebrew class to try and retranslate The Book of Abraham again be going against God?
Joseph Smith was the type of person who would want to make sure that he had translated correctly. This was part of his humility. Also he would want to know if his additional knowledge would give him additional insights.
Prof Grey provides a very helpful summary of Joseph Smith’s encounter with biblical Hebrew during the School of the Prophets.
However, in his tepid response to Joseph’s opinion on the meaning of Hebrew baurau as not only “create,” but “form” or “organize” from preexisting materials, Grey misses the point that most biblical scholars today would agree with Joseph that the Genesis 1 Creation Story is specifically referring to preexisting materials. See for example the 1964 translation-commentary on Genesis for the Anchor Bible by the late Ephraim Speiser. This can be extended to other of Joseph’s controversial explanations and understandings.