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About Kerry Muhlestein

Kerry Muhlestein received his Ph.D. from UCLA in Egyptology. He is a professor in the Ancient Scripture Department at Brigham Young University, where he directs the BYU Egypt Excavation Project. He has served in various positions for the American Research Center in Egypt and as Vice President of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities/Société pour l’Étude de l’Égypte Ancienne. He is a Senior Fellow of the William F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, and has been appointed as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford for the 2016–2017 academic year.

Assessing the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Introduction to the Historiography of their Acquisitions, Translations, and Interpretations

Abstract: The Book of Abraham has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention since some of the papyri once owned by Joseph Smith were rediscovered. A focus of this attention has been the source of the Book of Abraham, with some contending that the extant fragments are the source, while others have argued that the source is either other papyri or something else altogether. New investigations suggest that, while the relationship between papyri and text is not clear, it is clear that the fragments are not the source and that the method of translation was not the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. Additionally, further investigations into the source of the Book of Abraham as well as the interpretations of the facsimiles have made it clear that much of the controversy about the Book of Abraham has been based on untested assumptions. Book of Abraham studies have made significant strides forward in the last few decades, while some avenues of research are in need of further pursuit. Continue reading