Sunday, May 13, 2007


*Correction: the article in its original format is still online. You can find it here:

I wanted a friend to read the following article that used to be in the public domain, so I reposted it here. The format is a little off because it is converted from a pdf file. For images, see:


ROBERT K. RITNER, The University of Chicago

I. Introduction

A minor, if protracted, chapter in the history of American Egyptology concerns a Mormon scripture known as “The Book of Abraham,” which purports to be an authentic narrative history translated by Joseph Smith, Jr. from an Egyptian papyrus acquired by the Mormon prophet in 1835.1 Now a canonical element of The Pearl of Great Price, Smith’s “translation” had been published in serialized excerpts during 1842, well before Jean-
François Champollion’s correct decipherment was generally known in America. In what is often a pastiche of Genesis, “The Book of Abraham” details Abraham’s miraculous rescue from Chaldean priests in Ur who commit human sacrifice “unto the god of Pharaoh . . . after the manner of the Egyptians”(!) on a hill named after the Egyptian Potiphar (1:6-15 and 20). The anglicized Latin term “Egyptus” is said to be Chaldean for “that which is for-
bidden” in reference to the cursed race of Ham who are denied the “right of Priesthood” (1:23-27), a statement that served as the basis for Mormon racial discrimination until a “revelation” during the modern era of civil rights legislation reversed the policy (but not the “scripture”) in 1978. A famine takes Abraham to Egypt, where he is ultimately shown “sitting upon Pharaoh’s throne, by the politeness of the king,” “reasoning upon the princi-
ples of Astronomy.”2 Such “reasoning” included references to the outlandish “Jah-oh-eh,” said to be Egyptian for earth, “Oliblish,” mock Egyptian for a “star Kolob,” and “Enish-
go-on-doosh,” supposedly the Egyptian name for the sun.3 All of this nonsense is illus-
trated by three facsimile woodcuts, depicting: (1) the “sacrifice” (falsely restored from a scene of Anubis tending Osiris on the funerary bier), (2) an astronomical scene of planets

* An unillustrated, earlier version of this paper en-
titled “The ‘Breathing Permit of Hôr’ Thirty-four Years
Later” was published in the journal Dialogue 33/4
(Winter 2000; appeared 2002): 97-119. A customary
scholarly request to examine the original Joseph Smith
Papyri for this publication was refused by Steven R.
Sorenson, Director of LDS Church Archives. While
such a visit might have led to the identification of
further, minor sections of the “Breathing Permit” mis-
placed among the other papyrus fragments, the currently
available published photographs are quite sufficient for
a complete edition of all identified sections.

[JNES 62 no. 3 (2003)]
 2003 by The University of Chicago.

1 For the early history of the papyri, see John A.
Larson, “Joseph Smith and Egyptology,” in D. Silver-
man, ed., For His Ka: Essays Offered in Memory of
Klaus Baer, SAOC 55 (Chicago, 1994), pp. 159-78.
2 Facsimile No. 3, Explanation.
3 Facsimile No. 2, Explanation. Attempts to salvage
these pseudo-Egyptian transcriptions reach desperate
levels in suggestions by current apologists Michael
Rhodes and John Gee to explain “Jah-oh-eh” as “O the
earth” (¡ •˙.t), although this is impossible by both pho-
netics (with three hs) and sense (•˙.t “arable field” is
not used to indicate the whole earth), contra Gee, “A
Tragedy of Errors,” Review of Books on the Book of
Mormon 4 (1992): 113, n. 58. Similarly, Gee’s inter-
pretation (ibid.) of Sue-e-eh-ni as s n¡m (“who is the
man?”) is untenable phonetically (Sue-e-eh cannot rep-
resent s/ , and the final m of n¡m is preserved in all
dialects) and grammatically (the proper sequence should be n¡m pw s  n¡m p•y p• s).


162 Journal of Near Eastern Studies

(actually a hypocephalus), and (3) enthroned Abraham lecturing the male Pharaoh (actually enthroned Osiris with the female Isis).4
By 1861, T. Devéria had noted a series of anachronisms and absurdities in the supposed
translation and woodcut vignettes, and in 1912 a solicitation for professional opinions on
the matter drew uniformly derisive assessments from A. H. Sayce, W. M. F. Petrie, J. H.
Breasted, A. C. Mace, J. Peters, S. A. B. Mercer, E. Meyer, and F. W. von Bissing.5 Apol-
ogetic response was muted, as the papyri no longer belonged to the church when it mi-
grated west to Utah, and they were thought to have been lost, perhaps in the great Chicago
fire of 1871. Aside from ad hominem attacks on the Egyptologists themselves,6 the matter
generated little further discussion. “Faced by a solid phalanx of PhD’s, the Mormons were
properly overawed.”7
This state of affairs changed dramatically on 27 November 1967, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York made a gift to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of eleven papyrus fragments that had passed from Smith’s mother to an employee’s family before acquisition by the museum. Comparison of the papyrus illustrations with the wood-
cuts in the Pearl of Great Price confirmed that these fragments were those once owned by Joseph Smith and employed as the basis for “The Book of Abraham.” In January and Feb-
ruary of the following year, sepia photographs of the fragments were published in the Mormon magazine The Improvement Era, and on the basis of these photographs, the jour-
nal Dialogue commissioned translations and commentaries on the texts, now designated as “The Joseph Smith Papyri.” In the summer issue of 1968, Egyptologists John A. Wilson and Richard A. Parker identified fragments within this collection as sections of a late mor-
tuary text known as a “Book of Breathings,” copied for a Theban priest named Hor.8 The rediscovery of the primary documents that inspired, but in no way corroborate, a canon-
ical book of Mormon theology has resulted in a thirty-five year, occasionally vituperative,

4 Smith’s hopeless translation also turns the god-
dess Maat into a male prince, the papyrus owner into a
waiter, and the black jackal Anubis into a Negro slave.
5 Rt. Rev. F. S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr., as a
Translator (Salt Lake City, 1912).
6 Cf. N. L. Nelson, The Improvement Era 16 (1913):
606 ff.: “. . . a jury of Gentiles, prejudiced, ill-tempered
and mad with the pride of human learning.”
7 Hugh Nibley, “A New Look at the Pearl of Great
Price,” The Improvement Era 71 (January 1968): 18-
24, quote on p. 23. Within this and continuing install-
ments, Nibley undercuts this “appeal to authority” by a
series of personal attacks: Mercer, “a hustling young
clergyman” (ibid., p. 21), is extensively attacked in
The Improvement Era 71 (May 1968): 55-57, and vol.
71 (June 1968): 18-22, not “primarily to discredit the
authority” of the scholar, but to illustrate “the limi-
tations and pitfalls of Egyptology in general” (June
1968, p. 22). Presumably for the same reason, Nibley
notes that Sayce was a “spoiled dilettante” (vol. 71,
July 1968, p. 50), that Petrie “never went to a theatre”
(ibid.), that Meyer “lacked aesthetic sense” (ibid., p. 51)
but had a rationalistic bent that “ineffectively [sic!] dis-
qualifies himself from the jury” (p. 52), that Breasted
was “pro-German” (p. 54), and that von Bissing had
“an uncompromising loyalty to a feudal society and


feudal religion—hardly the man to look with a kindly
eye on the supernaturalism . . . of a Joseph Smith” (p. 54,
emphasis added). European “feudal religion,” of course,
presupposed the reality of supernatural intervention,
but Nibley ’s logic is peculiar in these tracts circulated
only among the faithful. The Egyptologists are stigma-
tized as being idiosyncratic and aloof, which should
make their unified assessment even more compelling.
In any case, Nibley wants a sympathetic audience, not
Egyptological fact. The August 1968 continuation de-
rides the careers of T. Devéria, J. Peters, A. C. Mace,
A. M. Lythgoe, G. Barton, E. Banks, and E. A. W.
Budge. Nibley’s tactic has been adopted by his follow-
ers. The earlier version of this article produced internet
discussions devoted not to the translation, but to scur-
rilous remarks concerning my own religious and per-
sonal habits. Let the scholar be warned.
8 John A. Wilson, “The Joseph Smith Egyptian
Papyri, Translations and Interpretations: A Summary
Report,” Dialogue 8/2 (1968): 67-85, esp. 68-69
(document D); and Richard A. Parker, “The Joseph
Smith Papyri: A Preliminary Report,” Dialogue 8/2
(1968): 86-88, esp. 86, and “The Book of Breathings
(Fragment 1, the ‘sensen’ Text, with Restorations from
Louvre Papyrus 3284),” Dialogue 8/2 (1968): 98-99
(partial translation).

“The Breathing Permit of Hôr” 163

confrontation between Egyptological scholars and Mormon traditionalists.9 Whereas ear-
lier apologists had condemned Egyptologists for not translating the defectively copied
hieroglyphs of the woodcuts,10 new translations of the actual documents were even more

II. The Baer Translation

The first extensive translation of this controversial document appeared in the subsequent autumn issue of Dialogue, authored by my teacher and predecessor, Klaus Baer.11 Though Baer was ultimately able to examine the papyri personally, his study was conducted pri-
marily from The Improvement Era photos and was considered by himself to be nothing more than a “preliminary study.”12 Nevertheless, he was able to provide a complete trans-
lation of the surviving sections, including fragments pasted haphazardly as patches within the unrelated Papyrus IV and two vignettes that originally bracketed the main text: Papy-
rus I (originally redrawn as “A Facsimile from13 The Book of Abraham No. 1”) and the now lost fragment redrawn as Facsimile No. 3 from The Book of Abraham. Baer ’s trans-
lation of “The Breathing Permit of Hôr” has served as the basis of all further studies of the text, the most extensive of which was the 1975 publication by Hugh Nibley. No full edi-
tion of this papyrus document has yet appeared. Baer provided only a translation annotated for a popular audience, with phrases restored from parallel texts indicated by italic script.14 Nibley attempted a transliteration and literal interlinear translation only of the unrestored portions of Papyri XI and X (with the “patches” in Papyrus IV).15 The corpus of parallel

9 Chief among the latter is Hugh Nibley, lionized
patriarch of the Foundation for Ancient Research and
Mormon Studies (FARMS), an organization of funda-
mentalist ideology attached to Brigham Young Univer-
sity that has promoted all recent attempts to rehabilitate
The Book of Abraham.
10 Nibley, “A New Look at the Pearl of Great
Price,” The Improvement Era 71 (March 1968): 20.
11 Klaus Baer, “The Breathing Permit of Hôr: A
Translation of the Apparent Source of the Book of Abraham,” Dialogue 8/3 (1968): 109-34 (hereafter
simply Baer).
12 Baer, p. 11.
13 The LDS authorized publication of these draw-
ings as illustrations from The Book of Abraham clearly
answers the polemicist Nibley ’s unjust complaint
against his former tutor that “There would have been
nothing wrong with Dr. Baer’s title if he had been good
enough to explain to his readers why it was apparent
to him that his text is the source of the Book of Abra-
ham” (Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith
Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment [Salt Lake City,
1975], p. 1; hereafter simply Nibley 1975). Baer did
precisely that in his n. 1, pp. 111-12 and on pp. 126-
33. This derivation had been discussed fully by Heward
and Tanner, to which Baer refers throughout his article;
see Grant S. Heward and Jerald Tanner, “The Source of
the Book of Abraham Identified,” Dialogue 8/2 (1968):
92-98. The Book of Abraham is published as being
“translated from the papyrus, by Joseph Smith,” and as
the facsimile is also “from” the Book, then the Book

must have been derived (by whatever questionable
means) from the papyrus. See also the explicit link
between the text and facsimiles in Abraham, 1:6
(note c) and 1:12 and 14. Nibley ’s professed amaze-
ment (1975, p. 1) that anyone could derive an elaborate
account from a few Egyptian signs is disingenuous,
since just such “symbolic” translations had been done
by the discredited Athanasius Kircher, whose work
Nibley had previously described (“Prolegomena to Any
Study of the Book of Abraham,” Brigham Young Uni-
versity Studies 8/2 [1968]: 171-203, esp. 173-76). The
work of Nibley and his acolytes is a professed attempt
to counter the analysis of “people innocent of any bias
in favor of Joseph Smith . . . So now it is time to hear
the other side of the story” (“Phase One,” Dialogue 8/
2 [1968]: 105).
14 Baer, p. 119.
15 The word-for-word, incomplete translations in
Nibley 1975 produce disjointed lines of the very sort
criticized by John Gee (“A Tragedy of Errors,” Review
of Books on the Book of Mormon 4 (1992): 93-119,
esp. 105-6) regarding Charles M. Larson, By His Own
Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith
Papyri (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992 [revised edi-
tion of 1985]) (hereafter C. Larson 1992). Cf. Nibley
1975, pp. 19-20: “inside (of ) the lake great (of )
Chonsu born of Taykhebyt justified likewise after clasped” with C. Larson as cited by Gee: “this pool great Khonsu born of Taykhebyt justified likewise after grasped.” Nibley noted that his literal translation was “nonsense” (1975, p. 47).

164 Journal of Near Eastern Studies

texts, on which any restorations must be based, has not been published as a group, though
lists of such texts have been compiled and collective translations have appeared.16
In the absence of any formal edition of the Joseph Smith Book of Breathing combining
full translation and transliteration, and with the recent publication by Charles M. Larson of
vastly improved color photographs,17 it seems proper to revisit the papyrus. As each gen-
eration of Chicago Egyptologists has dealt with the Mormon papyri (Breasted, Wilson,
Baer), requests have now come to me to provide an impartial reassessment of Baer ’s trans-
lation in light of Egyptological advances of the past thirty-four years. In preparing the fol-
lowing annotated edition, I have had access to Baer ’s original notebook18 and files, which
have proved valuable for determining his restorations and readings. To prepare his trans-
lation, Baer hand-copied parallels from a series of papyri: Hague 42/88 (P. Denon), Louvre
3284, Louvre 3291, British Museum 9995, and Berlin 3135, noting also minor variants in
Louvre 3121, 3126, 3158, and 3166. Of these exemplars, Papyrus Louvre 3284 served as
the representative “standard text,” as it has for all translations since its publication by P.-J.
de Horrack in 1877. The following translation also adopts this basis for restorations, with
annotations indicating other variant readings. It must be stressed, however, that Baer ’s
translation, like my own, presents the text as copied by the ancient scribe of the Joseph
Smith Papyri (hereafter P JS). Other versions are employed only in restorations or anno-
tations. As noted by Baer, the manuscripts show “relatively little variation, so that it is not
too difficult to restore the missing passages.”19
As the reader will see, changes from Baer ’s understanding of the document are few and do not challenge his basic understanding of the text. The most notable changes entail mat-
ters of column numbering, dating, and the interpretation of one title and a name. Column numbers in this edition have been increased by one, with the lines on P JS I now consid-
ered sections within column I. Since the Breathing Document actually began at the end of P JS I, it has been necessary to revise Baer ’s numbering to avoid beginning the text in column “0.”20 In regard to dating, Baer, like Wilson and Parker, followed contemporary assessments based on the paleography of Books of Breathing and so dated the papyrus of Hor to the late Ptolemaic or early Roman Period.21 Recent studies by J. Quaegebeur and
M. Coenen have suggested a date in the first half of the Ptolemaic Period (first half of the second century b.c.).22 This revision, based on the similarity of common family names and

16 A list of Books of Breathings appears in Michel
Vallogia, “Le Papyrus Lausanne No. 3391,” in Jean Ver-
gotte, ed., Hommages à Serge Sauneron, vol. 1, Biblio-
thèque d’Étude 81 (Cairo, 1979), p. 293, with fuller ref-
erences in Marc Coenen, “Books of Breathings: More
Than a Terminological Question?,” Orientalia Lovanien-
sia Periodica 26 (1995): 29-38. Translations appear in
Philippe-Jacques de Horrack, “Le Livre des Respirations
d’après les manuscrits du Musée du Louvre,” Oeuvres
diverses, Bibliothèque égyptologique 17 (Paris, 1907),
pp. 109-37 (reprinted from Paris, 1877); and de Hor-
rack, “The Book of Respirations,” in S. Birch, ed.,
Records of the Past, vol. 4 (London, 1875), pp. 121-
28, reprinted in Oeuvres diverses, pp. 99-107; and in
Jean-Claude Goyon, “Les livres des respirations,” in his
Rituels funéraires de l ’ancienne Égypte, Littératures an-
ciennes du Proche-Orient 4 (Paris, 1972), pp. 183-317.
17 C. Larson 1992, p. 33 (folded color plate). Con-
tra Gee, “A Tragedy of Errors,” pp. 93-94, these pho-

tographs are the first true four-color separation images
of the papyri to be published. The difference in legi-
bility is pronounced and inspires further respect for
Baer ’s abilities with inferior materials.
18 Oriental Institute Archives, Papers of Klaus Baer,
file 2321. I thank John A. Larson, Oriental Institute Mu-
seum Archivist (and no relation to Charles M. Larson),
for authorization and assistance with the Baer materials.
19 Baer, p. 119.
20 Already recognized by Baer in his notebook and
corresponding to the final two signs mentioned in Baer,
p. 129 (line 5).
21 Baer, p. 111.
22 See Marc Coenen, “The Dating of the Papyri
Joseph Smith I, X and XI, and Min Who Massacres His Enemies,” in W. Clarysse et al., eds., Egyptian Religion: The Last Thousand Years, vol. 2 (Leuven, 1998), pp. 1103-15 (hereafter Coenen 1998) and the references there cited.

“The Breathing Permit of Hôr” 165

a rare title, remains controversial, though possible.23 The possibility of family connections be-
tween the owner of this Joseph Smith papyrus and individuals noted in comparable Louvre
papyri was already a matter of discussion between Baer and Wilson in 1968.24 Among the
titles of Hor listed in the first line of the surviving papyrus is an office of the fertility god,
whose name Baer rendered as “Min, Bull-of-his-Mother,” employing the god’s most com-
mon epithet.25 From Baer ’s notes, it is apparent that he was suspicious of this reading, and
improved photography shows clearly that the divine name is rather “Min who slaughters
his enemies.”
More problematic is the question of the interpretation of the name of Hor ’s mother, Taikhibit. Examples of the name had previously been gathered by H. de Meulenaere, whose transliteration T•(y)-hy-b¡•.t and translation “The one who is joyous” (literally, “high of character”) have been universally adopted in reference works and articles.26 Writ-
ings of the name vary within the Breathing Document, from spellings consistent with de
Meulenaere’s examples ( Col. II/2 and Col. IV/13) to the hieroglyphic
spelling in Col. I/3 with the “b” shifted before the human figure for spatial reasons.
While aware of de Meulenaere’s reading, Baer rejected it for the mother of Hor because of
what he considered a logographic writing in Col. III/7 (his column II/7): . This he
transcribed as T•y-hb¡.t, translating the human figure as “dancer” (hb¡.t).27 While
the human figure that terminates this spelling of the name is distinct from that employed to spell “high” (hy),28 it does not really match the figure used for dancer either and seems a scribal peculiarity.29 The figure with upraised arms (hy) is used in Col. IV/13, so the stan-
dard interpretation is probably correct. The spelling in Col. III/7 is perhaps best under-
stood as an abbreviated form of the name, T•y-hy, otherwise common in hieratic and Demotic.30 In general, the hieratic handwriting of the Breathing Document is fairly coarse

23 No document securely establishes the genealogy
proposed in ibid., p. 1110, and as noted by Jan Quae-
gebeur (“Le papyrus Denon à La Haye et une famille de
prophètes de Min-Amon,” in M. Minas and J. Zeidler,
eds., Aspekte spätägyptischer Kultur: Festschrift für
Erich Winter zum 65. Geburtstag [Mainz, 1994], pp.
213-25, esp. p. 216), it is not clear if the relevant
individuals are part of the same family. Coenen is per-
haps overly confident (1998, p. 1110) that the problem
of differing titles for the Hor of P JS and the like-named
man of certain Tübingen papyri “does not, however,
preclude the proposed identification.” See also the re-
marks of Stephen Quirke, “The Last Books of the
Dead?,” Studies in Egyptian Antiquities: A Tribute to
T. G. H. James, British Museum Occasional Paper 123
(London, 1999), pp. 83-98, esp. pp. 84 -85.
24 Oriental Institute Baer file 2374 (letter of John
Wilson, 2 July 1968) and Baer file 2373 (response of 5
July 1968). For another Hor son of Osorwer, see Quae-
gebeur, “Le papyrus Denon à La Haye,” pp. 216-17.
25 Baer, p. 116, n. 21.
26 Hermann de Meulenaere, “Quatre noms propres
de Basse Époque,” Bulletin de l ’Institut Français
d ’Archéologie Orientale du Cairo 55 (1955): 147- 48;
Didier Devauchelle, “À propos du papyrus de Genève
D 229,” Enchoria 8/2 (1978): 73-75; Jan Quaegebeur,
“Demotic Inscriptions on Wood from the Tomb of
ºAnch-Hor,” in Manfred Bietak and Elfriede Reiser-
Hauslauer, Das Grab des ºAnch-Hor, vol. 2 (Vienna,

1984), p. 264; Quaegebeur, “Le papyrus Denon à La
Haye,” p. 222, n. 56 (disagreeing with Baer); Joa-
chim F. Quack, “Zwei demotische Ausdrücke zur
Bezeichnung des Charakters,” Zeitschrift für ägyp-
tische Sprache und Altertumskunde 123 (1996): 65; and
Erich Lüddeckens et al., eds., Demotisches Namenbuch
(Wiesbaden, 1996), vol. 1/14, p. 1081; John Gee, A
Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri (Provo, Utah: The
Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies,
2000), pp. 11 and 52. The name is rendered into Greek
as Chibois; see Coenen 1998, p. 1104, n. 7.
27 Baer, p. 111, n. 10: “The dancer,” based on Wb.
III, 250/15-16, and the assumption that T•y reflected a
phonetic spelling of the definite article, as in Coptic
; Oriental Institute Baer file 2374 (letter of John
Wilson, 2 July 1968) and Baer file 2373 (response of 5
July 1968).
28 Cf. Georg Möller, Hieratische Paläographie,
vol. 3 (Leipzig, 1912), p. 1, no. 4.
29 The sign is inconsistent with ibid., p. 1, no. 6.
Few examples are listed, so the range may be greater.
The sign most closely resembles ibid., p. 3, no. 30, a
seated child.
30 Théodule Devéria, Catalogue des manuscrits
égyptiens . . . au Musée du Louvre (Paris, 1881), p. 70,
no. III.23 (the same individual as T•y-hy-b¡.t in the
Joseph Smith papyri), and Lüddeckens et al., eds.,
Demotisches Namenbuch (Wiesbaden, 1999), vol. 1/16,
p. 1237.

166 Journal of Near Eastern Studies

by Egyptian standards,31 but this does not seriously hamper either the literal reading or the significance of the text.
The last major difference in the proposed translations derives from the ambiguity of Egyptian grammar as reflected in the script. However odd it may seem to modern readers, the Late Egyptian basic conjugation form (sqmf ) has various translational equivalents that can be distinguished only by context (“he did” vs. “may he do” vs. “so that he might do”). Where the context is not definitive, the translator is forced to adopt a personal choice. Previous French translations have attempted to avoid the problem by employing an inaccurate present tense,32 while Baer rather consistently chose the past tense. Baer ’s pref-
erence cannot be termed incorrect, but I have made other choices where context dictated.
The original width of the papyrus was correctly estimated by Baer as being about 15055 cm, allowing for textual restorations and the now lost Facsimile 3.33 The number of vignettes varies in Books of Breathings, but introductory and concluding vignettes are common.34 At most, the papyrus might have been expanded by the inclusion of a further, middle vignette, as found in Papyrus Tübingen 2016,35 but there is no reasonable expectation of any further text, and certainly nothing even vaguely resembling the alien narrative of The Book of Abraham.
III. The “Books of Breathing”
The true content of this papyrus concerns only the afterlife of the deceased Egyptian priest Hor. “Books of Breathings,” such as this Joseph Smith example, are late funerary compositions derived from the traditional “Book of the Dead.” Like the “Book of the Dead,” the sole purpose of the later texts is to ensure the blessed afterlife of the deceased individual, who is elevated to divine status by judgment at the court of Osiris and is thereby guaranteed powers of rejuvenation. These powers, including mobility, sight, speech, hearing, and access to food offerings, are summarized in the term snsn, or “breath-
ing,” which refers to the Egyptian expression t•w n ºnh “breath of life,” the fundamental characteristic that distinguishes the living. The title sº.t n snsn, literally, “Document of (or ‘for ’) Breathing” employs the term for an official document or letter (sº.t), so that these “books” serve as formal “permits”—or perhaps more accurately “passports”—to the world of the gods. To be effective, they had to accompany the corpse, and the directions for using the texts declare explicitly that the document must be placed below the mummy ’s crossed

31 Nibley insists (1975, p. 2) that P JS X and XI
cannot be the source of the book of Abraham because
Joseph Smith wrote that “the Abraham document was
beautifully written,” whereas modern scholars such as
Wilson describe those papyri as relatively coarse. Mod-
ern scholars have examined many hundreds of hieratic
documents and can therefore determine the standards
of contemporary Egyptian handwriting. Joseph Smith
had no such experience. With no frame of reference
beyond his own limited collection, he had no reason or
incentive to consider the writing poor.
32 de Horrack, “Le Livre des Respirations d’après
les manuscrits du Musée du Louvre,” and Goyon, “Les
livres des respirations.”
33 Baer, p. 127, n. 113. There is no justification for
Gee’s unsubstantiated attempt to more than double this
figure to “320 cm (about 10 feet)” in Gee, A Guide to

the Joseph Smith Papyri, pp. 10 and 12-13. Gee pre-
sumably wishes to allow space for a supposedly “lost
hieratic text” of The Book of Abraham; his figure
derives from the average length of a manufactured
(blank) Ptolemaic papyrus roll—not comparable, indi-
vidual documents cut from such a roll.
34 Baer, p. 127, n. 111 (P. Berlin 3135), and Marc
Coenen and Jan Quaegebeur, De papyrus Denon in
het Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum, Den Haag, of
het Boek van het Ademen van Isis, Monografieën van
het Museum van het Boek 5 (Leuven, 1995), pls. 3-6
(P. Denon/Hague 42/88).
35 Emma Brunner-Traut and Hellmut Brunner, Die
ägyptische Sammlung der Universität Tübingen (Mainz,
1981), pp. 296-97 and pls. 12-13, 150 (bottom), and 151

“The Breathing Permit of Hôr” 167

arms and wrapped within the bandages. Most examples place the directions at the end, but the Joseph Smith papyrus has shifted these before the main text. Perhaps for the same reason, the papyrus inverts its versions of the two common illustrations (“vignettes”) that often accompany “Books of Breathings”: a scene of the deceased at the court of Osiris, and a scene of the corpse in the process of reanimation.36 The latter scene may also include a depiction of the risen ba-spirit, the human-headed bird that represents the soul of the deceased individual. Since the fate of the ba-spirit is the focus of the document, this depiction is logical and is found on the Joseph Smith example.37 The modern designation “Books of Breathings” includes a variety of late funerary compositions, but the text found in the Joseph Smith collection represents a specific type termed in antiquity “The Document of Breathings Made by Isis for Her Brother Osiris.”38 These were used by (often interrelated) priestly families in Thebes and its vicinity from the middle Ptolemaic to early Roman eras, and the limited distribution probably accounts for their uniform pattern, displaying only minor modifications. Thus the reanimation scene of P JS I is adapted from contemporary temple depictions but has precisely the same meaning and purpose as other examples with the mummy reinvigorated by the sun disk.39
IV. “The Breathing Permit of Hor”
Here follows the transliteration and translation of Hor ’s papyrus. Broken sections are indicated by [ ]. For the sake of simplicity, optional diacritics have been dropped (Hor, not Hôr). Following proper Egyptological convention, Egyptian names are rendered in Egyptian format, not Greek approximations (marred by alphabetic deficiencies and irrelevant terminations) as adopted by Coenen and now inconsistently by Gee (Taikhibit rather than Chibois).40 With regard to the articles by my former student John Gee, I am constrained to note that unlike the interaction between Baer and Nibley, and the practice of all my other Egyptology students, Gee never chose to share drafts of his publications with me to elicit scholarly criticism, so that I have encountered these only recently. It must be understood that in these apologetic writings, Gee’s opinions do not necessarily reflect my own, nor the standards of Egyptological proof that I required at Yale or Chicago.
The Breathing Document opens with a vignette depicting the resurrection of the Osiris Hor on the customary lion-headed funerary couch, attended by the jackal-headed Anubis and (probably) the winged Isis, while the human-headed ba-spirit of Hor hovers above his

36 For the court scene first and corpse scene last, see
Coenen and Quaegebeur, De papyrus Denon in het
Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum, pp. 25, 27, and
31-32; and Brunner-Traut and Brunner, Die ägyptische
Sammlung der Universität Tübingen, pls. 12-13 and
37 Wrongly restored with a bird’s head and identi-
fied in Facsimile 1, fig. 1, of The Book of Abraham as
“The Angel of the Lord.” This is true only if Joseph
Smith’s “Lord” was Osiris.
38 Formerly known as the “First Book of Breath-
ings”; for the current terminology, see Coenen, “Books
of Breathings: More Than a Terminological Ques-
tion?,” pp. 29-38.
39 The supposed second (and dappled) “hand” of the
prone corpse may be the remains of a winged sundisk

such as that found above the mummy in P. Tübingen
2016, P. Denon, and P. Louvre 3284, rather than Isis in
bird form. Gee’s quibbling (A Guide to the Joseph Smith
Papyri, pp. 29-30) regarding temple vs. papyrus scenes
is pointless, since the priestly owners of these papyri
will have devised and had access to both, and contem-
porary “cross-over” imagery is known. A “weighing of
the heart” scene usually confined to papyri is carved at
the Ptolemaic temple of Deir el-Medina.
40 Coenen 1998, p. 1104, n. 7; Gee, A Guide to the
Joseph Smith Papyri, pp. 11-12 and 53-59 (Ameno-
phis, Chibois, etc., but Hor rather than the Greek
Horos). In the present article, exceptions are made
only for the names of deities now standard in the
Greek or Latin form (Osiris, Anubis, Horus, etc.).

168 Journal of Near Eastern Studies

head. The image has been grotesquely misrepresented as a human sacrifice in the labels and text of The Book of Abraham (Abraham 1:11-14).41
Introductory Vignette with Five Hieroglyphic Subcolumns (Col. I = P JS I) Address to Hor
(I/1) [Ws¡r ¡t ntr42] ˙m-ntr ªlmn-Rº ny-sw.t ntr.w ˙m43 Mnw sm• hrwy.wf44 ˙[m] Hnsw p• [¡r] shr m W[•s.t] (I/2) [. . .] . . . Ór m•º-hrw s• m¡-nn45 ˙ry-sst• ºb ntr Ws¡rwr m•º-hrw ¡r.n n[b.t-pr ¡˙y.(t) n] (I/3) [ªlmn]-Rº46 T•y-hy-b(y).t m•º.t-hrw
ºnh b•k m-h nww q(r)ys.t(w)k ˙r ¡mnt.t [W•s.t]47

41 The most reasonable explanations of the vignettes
appear in Baer, pp. 117-19; Edward H. Ashment, “The
Book of Abraham Facsimiles: A Reappraisal,” Sun-
stone 4 -6 (1979): 33- 48, and Stephen E. Thompson,
“Egyptology and the Book of Abraham,” Dialogue 28/
1 (1995): 143-60. Human sacrifice in Egypt was rare
and more properly political execution, never depicted
as on the altered Book of Abraham rendition of P JS I.
For such sacrifice in Egypt, see the references gathered
in my The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical
Practice, SAOC 54 (Chicago, 1993), index, p. 308. The
early assessments of this material by Egyptologists
Breasted, Petrie, Mercer et al. solicited by Spalding in
1912 remain valid in 2003, despite ad hominem attacks
by Nibley, cited in Gee, “A Tragedy of Errors,” p. 97.
Gee’s implication, ibid., p. 103, that these 1912 state-
ments are invalid because, quoting Anthony Leahy, “in
1914 Egyptology was essentially an amateur subject”
misrepresents Leahy ’s remarks, which indicated not
youthful ignorance, but restricted information: “few
university or museum posts . . . preserve of the few who
had the private resources . . . therefore easy enough for
the interested scholar to keep abreast of developments”
(Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 76 [1990]: vii).
42 Restored from Hor’s titles in P. Louvre N 3209; see
Marc Coenen, “Horos, Prophet of Min Who Massacres
His Enemies,” Chronique d ’Égypte LXXIV, no. 148
(1999): 258. For this typical title combination of god’s
father and prophet, cf. Devéria, Catalogue des manu-
scrits égyptiens . . . au Musée du Louvre, pp. 71 (III.
24), 104 (III. 73), 106 (III. 75), 110 (III. 80); and among
the owners of Books of Breathing, see pp. 131-37 (IV.
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 9).
43 For the use of ˙m for ˙m-ntr “prophet,” see
Coenen 1998, p. 1106.
44 Ultimately read by Baer as k• mw.tf “Bull of
His Mother” (p. 116 and n. 21) but marked as uncer-
tain in his own working notes. The correct reading was
first published by Jan Quaegebeur, “Books of Thoth
Belonging to Owners of Portraits? On Dating Late
Hieratic Funerary Papyri,” in M. L. Bierbrier, ed.,
Portraits and Masks: Burial Customs in Roman Egypt
(London, 1997), p. 74, and discussed by Coenen 1998,
pp. 1103-15. The published photos used by Baer were
ambiguous, but improved photography published by
Charles M. Larson establishes the writing of sm•
hrwy.wf with knife, oar, plural strokes, enemy deter-


minative, and flesh-sign (for f ). As the basic verb sm•
“to kill” is commonly used regarding human enemies
and sacrificial animals, the negative term “massacre”
(employed by Coenen) is here rejected for the more
commonplace “slaughter.” In addition to the precise
parallels noted by Coenen, the martial nature of Min
is well attested ; see Marquis de Rochmonteix and
É. Chassinat, Le Temple d ’Edfou, vol. 1, Mémoires
publiés par les Membres de la Mission Archéologique
Française au Caire 10 (Paris, 1897), pp. 395 (Min who
makes massacres of her (= Isis’s) enemies ¡r ºq.w n
hfty.ws), 403, l. 17 (who smites his enemies ˙w¡
hfty.wf ), and 404 (who brings an end to his enemies
¡n p˙.wy r hfty.wf ); Hermann Junker, Die Onuris-
legende (Vienna, 1917), p. 36a (who tramples the
execration figures ptpt rsy.w); and Hans Bonnet,
Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte (Ber-
lin, 1952), p. 465a (who overthrows his enemies shr
hfty.wf ).
45 The suggestion that this phrase means only
“priest of the same rank” among the clergy at Karnak
must be discarded, contra J. Quaegebeur, “Le papyrus
Denon à La Haye,” pp. 214 and 219. The expression
was used throughout Egypt to indicate a repetition of
specific titles, occasionally supplemented—as here—
with additions. Examples recur throughout my forth-
coming volume, The Libyan Anarchy: Documents from
Egypt’s Third Intermediate Period. Osorwer will have
held all of Hor ’s offices in addition to “overseer of
secrets” and “purifier of the god.”
46 The lost titles of Taikhibit are restored from P.
Louvre 3207, a Book of the Dead belonging to “the
Osiris Hor, the justified, son of Osorwer, the justified,
and born by the housewife and sistrum-player of
Amon-Re, Taikhibit, the justified.” This surely is the
same Hor as the original owner of the Joseph Smith
Book of Breathing. The extract in Devéria, Catalogue
des manuscrits égyptiens . . . au Musée du Louvre,
p. 70, no. III. 23, misread the parents’ names as Osor-
aàou and Taï-xi or Taï-x . . . , hindering previous
identification. This identification has now been made
independently and published by Coenen, in “Horos,
Prophet of Min Who Massacres His Enemies,” pp.
257-60. Although Coenen is hesitant (p. 258), the title
¡˙y.(t) (n) ªImn-Rº is certain from Devéria’s transcrip-
tion of the Louvre papyrus.
47 Restored from l. 5.

“The Breathing Permit of Hôr” 169

(I/4) [. . .] . . . m•º(?) (I/5) [d¡k nf q(r)y]s.t48 nfr.t mnh.t ˙r ¡mnt.t n W•s[.t]
m¡.[tt]49 qw.w M•[nw(?)]50
(I/1) [“Osiris, the god’s father], prophet of Amon-Re, King of the Gods, prophet of Min who slaughters his enemies, prophet of Khonsu, the [one who exercises] authority in Thebes, (I/2) [. . .] . . . Hor, the justified, son of the similarly titled overseer of secrets and purifier of the god, Osorwer, the justified, born by the [housewife and sistrum-player of ] (I/3) [Amon]-Re, Taikhibit, the justified!
May your ba-spirit live among them, and may you be buried on the west [of Thebes].”
(I/4) [“O Anubis(?),51 . . .] justification(?). (I/5) [May you give to him] a good and
splendid burial on the west of Thebes as on the mountains of Ma[nu](?).”

Directions for Use (Col. I/5-Col. II/9 = P JS XI.1)52
[¡w53](II/1)[w st• Ws¡r r] h nw n p(•)y s wr (n) Hnsw (II/2) [Ws¡r Ór m•º-hrw] ms.n T•y-hy-by.t m•º.(t)-hrw m¡.ty (II/3) m-h[t hf ]ºw54 º.wyf 2 r 55 ˙•.tyf ¡ww56 qr(II/4)¡s t• sºy.t (n) snsn ¡r n57 nty (II/5) m ss.wy h nw bnr n-¡ms m ss ny-sw.t rd¡.tw (h r) ºf (II/6) ¡•by n mtr ˙•.tyf ¡w ¡rw58 p(•) mn n t•yf (II/7) qr¡s.(t) r p(•y)s59 bnr
¡r ¡ nf mq•.t tn hr (II/8) snsnf m¡ b•[.w] ntr.w r n˙˙ ˙nº (II/9) q.t
[(II/1) Osiris shall be towed in]to the great lake of Khonsu, (II/2) and likewise [the Osiris Hor, the justified,] born of Taikhibit, the justified, (II/3) after his two arms have been

48 Text restored from Joseph Smith copies; see Jo-
seph Smith, Joseph Smith’s Egyptian Alphabet and
Grammar [Microform], Utah Lighthouse Ministry (Salt
Lake City, Utah, 1966), pp. F and V, and Baer, pp. 117
and 129. For Joseph Smith’s authorship of this work,
see Edward H. Ashment, “Joseph Smith’s Identification
of ‘Abraham’ in Papyrus JS 1, the ‘Breathing Permit of
Hôr’,” Dialogue 33/4 (2000): 121-26.
49 The words n W•s.t m¡.tt are fully preserved in
“Joseph Smith’s Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar,”
pp. F and V (m¡.tt garbled).
50 For Manu, cf. Devéria, Catalogue des manu-
scrits égyptiens . . . au Musée du Louvre, pp. 68 and
51 A divine name (Anubis?) must be lost here,
since the following address shifts from Hor to a deity
on his behalf. This passage rebuts Gee, “A Tragedy of
Errors,” pp. 100 and 104 -5: “Where, we must ask, in
all of Papyrus Joseph Smith XI-X is there any prayer
to any Egyptian God?” A further example occurs in
the invocation (col. VIII/11) of Facsimile 3. Actually,
since Hor is repeatedly and explicitly stated to be dei-
fied, a member of the company of the gods, and a form
of Osiris, the entire Breathing Document is itself an
extended “prayer to an Egyptian God.”
52 Restored from the parallel text of P. Louvre
3284, col. 6, in de Horrack, “Le Livre des Respirations
d’après les manuscrits du Musée du Louvre,” 1907, pl.
11 and p. 135.
53 Hieratic text restored from Joseph Smith copies
(“Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar,” pp. F, V, and 11 of “smaller book”).

54 Literally, “grasped.”
55 The scribe has reinterpreted the standard text
found in P. Louvre 3284, converting a visually similar
hieratic shape into a later Demotic (and hieratic) form
(˙r  2 r ). The meaning is unaffected. Nibley 1975,
p. 20, misread ˙r and assumed the sign was “heavily
56 Contra Nibley 1975, p. 20, who read m.
57 Emended by Baer, pp. 119-20, and Nibley 1975,
p. 21, the phrase ¡r n means simply “which amounts
to/corresponds to/equals” in contemporary Demotic
Egyptian; see Wolja Erichsen, Demotisches Glossar
(Copenhagen, 1954), p. 36. The scribe has here devi-
ated from the standard text, which has nothing between
snsn and nty. Perhaps, as suggested by Baer, the scribe
conflated this passage with the opening of Paragraph I.
58 The form ¡w ¡rw here must mark a second tense
stressing “over it,” not a circumstantial past. Other
versions have only ¡rw “Let them make.”
59 Contra Nibley 1975, pp. 21-22, who read gs
(“side”); the spelling is an abbreviated alphabetic writ-
ing of the possessive adjective, common in Ptolemaic
and Roman texts. This section of text, unread by de
Horrack and Parker, is confirmed by the following
variants: P. Louvre 3284, ll. 7-8: ¡rw p(•) mn (n) t•
qr¡s.(t) r p•ys bnr; P. Louvre 3121: ¡rw p(•) mn n
t•yf qr¡s.(t) r p(•y)s [bnr]; P. Louvre 3126: ¡rw p•
mn (n) t•[y] f qr¡s.(t) r p(•y)s bnr. For hand-copies,
see de Horrack, “Le Livre des Respirations d’après
les manuscrits du Musée du Louvre,” pl. 11. For the
sign mn, see Möller, Hieratische Paläographie, vol. 3
(Leipzig, 1912), p. 52, no. 540.

170 Journal of Near Eastern Studies

[placed] at his heart, while (II/4) the Breathing Document, being what (II/5) is written on its interior and exterior, shall be wrapped in royal linen and placed (under) his left arm in the midst of his heart. The remainder of his (II/7) wrapping shall be made over it.
As for the one for whom this book is made, (II/8) he thus breathes like the ba-spirit[s] of the gods, forever and (II/9) ever.
The Main Body of the Breathing Document (Col. III/1-V/13 = P JS XI.2 + P JS IVA-D [mismounted fragments] + P JS VI [mismounted fragment] + P JS X)60
Paragraph I
(III/1) ˙•.t-º m [sºy.t n sns]n ¡r.t[.n •s.t n sns Ws¡r r sºnh b•f r sºnh h•.tf r srnp ˙º.wf
nb] (III/2) m w˙m [r hnmf ] •h.t ˙nº ¡tf Rº [r shº b•f m p.t m ¡tn n ¡º˙ r psd h•.tf
m S•˙ m h.t n Nw.t r] (III/3) rd¡.t hpr m[¡.tt n]n n Ws¡r Ór m•º-hrw s[• . . . Ws¡r-wr
m•º-hrw ms.n T•y-hy-by.t m•º.t-hrw] ˙•[p61 sp-2] (III/4) ¡myk r[d¡] ºs s.(t) s nb •h[s n
s m hr.t-ntr ºnhf m w˙m m ssrw] m•º ˙˙ n sp62
(III/1) Beginning of the [Breath]ing [Document] that [Isis] made [for her brother Osiris in order to revivify his ba-spirit, to revivify his corpse, and to rejuvenate all his limbs] (III/2) again, [so that he might unite with] the horizon together with his father Re, [so that his ba-spirit might be made to appear gloriously in heaven in the moon disk, so that his corpse might shine in Orion within the body of the sky-goddess Nut, and so that] (III/3) the same things might be made to happen to the Osiris Hor, the justified, son [of . . . Osorwer, the justified, born of Taikhibit, the justified.] Hide [it! Hide it!] (III/4) Do not let anyone read it!63 [It] is effective [for a man in the necropolis, so that he might live again,] [being proved] truly [effective], millions of times.
Paragraph II
(III/5) hy64 [Ws¡r Ó]r m•º-hrw ms.n T•y[-hy-by.t m•º.t-hrw ¡wk wºb ˙•.tyk wºb ˙•.tk m] ºbw p˙.tyk65 (III/6) m dwr66 ˙r(y)-¡bk m bd [˙smn nn º ¡mk m ¡sf.t wºb] Ws[¡r Ó]r m•º-hrw ms.n67 (III/7) T•y-h(by.t)68 m•º.(t)-hr[w] m sdy.(t) twy nt[y Sh.wt-˙tp ˙r m˙t.t n.(t) sh.wt sn˙m.w] swºb twk W•qy.t69 (III/8) Nhb.t m wnw.t 3.t70 n.t gr˙ (m)

60 Lacunae restored from P. Louvre 3284 and vari-
ants 3121, 3126, and 3291, in de Horrack, “Le Livre
des Respirations d’après les manuscrits du Musée du
Louvre,” pls. 7-13.
61 The final traces ˙•[p] appear on a fragment
pasted upside down in the upper left corner of P JS IV
(= P JS IV A /1).
62 The final words m•º ˙˙ n sp appear inverted on
P JS IV A /2.
63 Commands for secrecy in religious texts were
intended to maintain elite privilege, not magical effi-
cacy; see my The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian
Magical Practice, pp. 202- 4.
64 For this interjection in late (and often Theban)
texts, see Jan Quaegebeur, “La stèle Brooklyn 71.37.2
reconsidérée,” Göttinger Miszellen 119 (1990): 76
and 86.

65 The final words ºbw p˙.tyk appear inverted on
P JS IV A /3.
66 Written for twr. The loss of the d sound in later
Egyptian led to a common conflation of the once dis-
tinct consonants d and t.
67 The final words Ws[¡r Ó]r m•º-˙rw ms.n appear
inverted on P JS IV A /4.
68 Misread Rmny-q•¡ by Nibley 1975, p. 26. Nib-
ley ’s error was further confused in Gee, “A Tragedy of
Errors,” pp. 105 and 108, where it is said to be Hor ’s
father ’s(!) name. Gee’s article and error are signaled in
Coenen 1998, p. 1104. For the abbreviated spelling,
see the introductory discussion before the translation.
69 The final words swºb twk W•qy.t appear in-
verted in P JS IV A /5.
70 Other versions have the eighth (P. Louvre 3284,
Louvre 3291, and British Museum 9995) or the ninth hour of day and night (P. Berlin 3135).

“The Breathing Permit of Hôr” 171

wnw.t 3.t [n.t hrw my rk Ws¡r Ór m•-hrw ms.n T•y-hby].t m•º.(t)-hrw ºqk r wsh.t71 (III/9) M•º.ty ¡wk72 wº r hww [nb bt•w nb ¡nr n M•º.t rnk]
(III/5) “Hail, [Osiris Ho]r, the justified, born of Tai[khibit, the justified! You are pure! Your heart is pure! Your front is in] a state of purity, your rear is in a state of cleanliness, and your interior parts consist of soda and [natron. There is no limb of yours in an evil state.] The Os[iris Ho]r, the justified, born of (III/7) Taikhibit, the justified, [has been purified] in this pool of the Fields of Offerings on the north of the Fields of Locusts. Edjo and Nekhbet have purified you (III/8) in the third hour of night and in the third hour [of day. Come, then, Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibi]t, the justified! May you enter into the Hall of the (III/9) Two Truths, since you are pure from [all] impurity [and every abomination. ‘Rock of Truth’ is your name.]
Paragraph III
[hy] Ws¡r Ór m•º-hrw ºqk73 (III/10) r dw•.t74 [m] ºbw wr swºb twk [M•º.ty] m wsh.t75
[º•.t ¡ nk ºbw m wsh.t Gb swºb ˙º].w[k] m wsh.t76 (III/11) Sw ¡wk77 [˙]r m•• Rº
m ˙tpf ªl[tm m msrw ªlmn (¡)rmk ˙r d¡.t nk t•w Pt˙ ˙r nb]¡ [˙]º.wk78 ºqk r •h.[t]
˙n[º] Rº [sspw b•k r nsm.t ˙nº Ws¡r] (IV/1) [ntr¡w b]•k [m pr Gb ¡wk n m•º-hrw
r n˙˙ q.t]
[Hail,] Osiris Hor, the justified! May you enter (III/10) into the Underworld [in] a state of great purity. [The Two Truths] have purified you in the [Great] Hall. [Purification is made for you in the Hall of Geb. Your limb]s [have been purified] in the Hall of (III/11) Shu. You see Re at his setting, A[tum at twilight.79 Amon is with you, giving you breath. Ptah fashion]s your limbs. May you enter into the horizon with Re. [May your ba-spirit be received into the sacred Neshmet bark with Osiris.] (IV/1) [May] your ba-spirit [be deified in the Estate of Geb, since you are justified forever and ever.]
Paragraph IV
[Ws¡r] Ór m•º-hrw ms.n T•y-[hy-by.t80 m•º.(t)-hrw m]n rnk q[d] h•.tk rwd s•˙k81
[nn snº.twk] (IV/2) [m p.t t• s˙q ˙rk hr Rº] ºnh b•k hr ªlmn rn[p82 h•].tk hr Ws¡r
snsnk r n˙[˙ q].t
[Osiris] Hor, the justified, born of Tai[khibit, the justified! May your name end]ure, may
your corpse abide, and may your mummy thrive. [You shall not be turned away] (IV/2) [in

71 The final words [T•y-hby].t m•º.(t)-hrw ºqk
r wsh.t appear inverted on P JS IV A /6.
72 The lower portion of the words M•º.ty ¡wk ap-
pears on Fragment P JS IV D/1, wrongly pasted below
the ba-bird vignette in column 2 of P JS IV.
73 The final words Ws¡r Ór m•º-hrw ºqk appear
inverted on P JS IV A /7.
74 The words r dw•.t appear on Fragment P JS IV
75 The words m wsh.t are said to appear on a mis-
placed fragment pasted on P JS VI, upper left corner.
See the hand-copy in Nibley 1975, p. 28, top left.
76 The final words [˙º].w[k] m wsh.t appear in-
verted in P JS IV A /8.

77 The words Sw ¡wk appear on Fragment P JS IV
78 The words [nb]¡ [˙]º.wk appear on Fragment P
JS IV D/4.
79 Atum is part of the solar trinity, the form of Re at
80 The words Ór m•º-hrw ms.n T•y-[hy-by.t] ap-
pear on Fragment P JS IV C/1, mounted upside down
in the middle of the plate, between the center vignettes.
81 Written with only the seal logogram; see Möller,
Hieratische Paläographie, vol. 3, p. 40, no. 422. Nib-
ley 1975, p. 30, misread the detached elements as rº nb or h r, though he read the sign correctly in col. V/12
(p. 44).

172 Journal of Near Eastern Studies

heaven or on earth. May your face be illuminated83 in the presence of Re.] May your ba-spirit live in the presence of Amon. May your [cor]pse be rejuvenated in the presence of Osiris. May you breathe forever [and ev]er.
Paragraph V
(IV/3) [¡r nk b•k pr.t-hrw m t ˙nq.(t) k•.w •pd.w m qb˙w snt]r m h r.t hrw84 [n.t rº nb ˙º.wk ˙r] qs.wk m¡ q¡k ˙r-tp t• ¡sw[r]k85 m s[n]bk (IV/4) [wnmk m r•k sspk] snw ˙nº86 [b•.w ntr.w h]w twk ªInpw ¡rf s•wk nn sn[º.t]wk87 m r•.w (IV/5) [n.w dw•.t ¡y nk Q˙wty º•] sp-2 wr nb Hmnw s[s] f 88 nk sº.(t) (n) snsn m qbº.wf qsf [s]nsn (IV/6) [b•k r n˙˙ w˙mk q]¡k ˙r-tp t• m-m89 ºnh.w ¡[w]k ntr¡ ˙nº b•.w ntr.w ¡bk ¡b n Rº ¡wfk90 (IV/7) [¡wf n ntr º•]
(IV/3) [May your ba-spirit make for you an invocation-offering consisting of bread, beer, beef, and fowl, and of cool water and incen]se in the course of [every] day. [Your flesh is on] your bones in accordance with the form that you had on earth. May you drink with your throat. (IV/4) [May you eat with your mouth. May you receive] offering bread together with [the ba-spirits of the gods.] Anubis [gua]rds you. He has made your protection. You shall not be turned [away] from the doors (IV/5) [of the Underworld. Thoth], the Thrice [Great]est, Lord of Hermopolis, [has come to you.] He has writ[ten] for you a Breathing Document with his own fingers, so that (IV/6) [your ba-spirit] may breathe [forever, and that you might regain the fo]rm that you had on earth among the living, since you are divine together with the ba-spirits of the gods. Your heart is the heart of Re; your flesh (IV/7) [is the flesh of the great god.]
Paragraph VI
[hy Ws]¡r Ór m•º-hrw ªlmn (¡)rmk91 rº nb m pr Rº92 w˙mk ºnh wp nk Wp-w•.wt w•.t (IV/8) nfr[.t93 m••k m ¡r.tyk sqmk m] ºnh.wyk mdwk m r•k smk m rdk94 ¡w b•k ntr¡ m dw•.t [r ¡]r (IV/9) hpr.[w nb r mrf ¡rk n• sr]sr.w95 n p(•) (¡)sd sps [. . .]96

82 The words ºnh b•k hr ªImn rn[p] appear on
Fragment P JS IV C/2.
83 Literal illumination by the sun-god is intended,
with the added nuance of “gladden” (s˙q-˙r).
84 The words [snt]r m h r.t hrw appear on Frag-
ment P JS IV C/3.
85 Metathesis for s¡w[r]k.
86 The words snw ˙nº appear in P JS IV C/4.
87 Misread as hsf [twk] by Nibley 1975, p. 32.
88 The words sp-2 wr nb Hmnw s[s] appear on P
JS IV C/5. For the evolution of the epithet of Thoth
the Thrice Greatest (“Trismegistos”) in this and other
texts, see my articles “Hermes Pentamegistos,” Göt-
tinger Miszellen 49 (1981): 73-75, and “Additional
Notes to Hermes Pentamegistos,” Göttinger Miszellen
50 (1981): 67-68. My citation of the available image
of P JS IV should not be construed as an endorsement
of Nibley ’s scholarship, contra the implications of
Gee, “A Tragedy of Errors,” p. 98, n. 6.
89 The top half of the words [q]¡k ˙r-tp t• m-m
appears in P JS IV C/6.
90 The scribe employs the variant found in P. Louvre
3291, l. 16. Nibley 1975, p. 33, wrongly read ˙ºt.k, fol-
lowing P. Louvre 3284, 2/11.

91 For the common late conjunction, misunderstood
by Nibley as a confusion of r-º and m-º, see Wb. I, 115/
92 All other versions have rº nb ˙r w˙mk, omit-
ting the phrase “in the estate of Re.” Baer, p. 122, n. 60,
was unable to read the traces between rº “day” and m
pr Rº “in the estate/temple of Re.” This is simply the
expected modifier nb “every” placed to the right of rº,
not below it as restored by Nibley 1975, p. 34, who ig-
nores the following sign. The damaged suffix k fills
the space where Nibley restored nb.
93 A small misplaced fragment used to patch lines
9-10 of this column contains the words nfr and hpr,
which properly begin lines 8 and 9. See Baer, p. 122,
n. 62, and Nibley 1975, pp. 35-36, who did not place
the fragment and misread nfr.
94 Only one leg is written, contra Nibley 1975, p. 34.
The same writing is found in P. Berlin 3135.
95 Louvre 3284 indicates a vocalization slsl.w, cor-
responding to Coptic “shaking” (W. E. Crum,
A Coptic Dictionary [Oxford, 1939], p. 561b).
96 A gap at this spot was later filled with a frag-
ment torn from the beginnings of ll. 8-9, probably
covering a hole already present when the papyrus was

“The Breathing Permit of Hôr” 173

m ªlwnw nhsk tw97 rº nb m••k n• sty(IV/10)[.wt n P•-Rº ¡y nk ªlmn h r t•].w n ºnh d¡f
¡rk sn[sn m]98 qb•.tk prk r t• rº nb ¡rw99 nk sº(IV/11)[y.t n sns]n [n Q˙wty m] s•wk100
snsnk ¡ms m¡ Rº m•• ¡r.tk sty.(wt) ¡tn qdw m•º.t rk101 (IV/12) [m-b•˙ Ws¡r] ¡rw
m[k.tk(?)]102 Ór B˙d.t hwf103 q.tk ntr¡f104 b•k m¡ ¡r105 ntr.w nb.w b• n Rº ˙r sºnh
[b•]k (IV/13) [b• n Sw ˙r h nm ms]tyk
[Hail, Os]iris Hor, the justified! Amon is with you every day in the Estate of Re, so that
you might live again. Wepwawet has opened for you the good way, (IV/8) [so that you
might see with your eyes, that you might hear with] your ears, that you might speak with
your mouth, and that you might walk with your feet, while your ba-spirit is deified in the
Underworld [in order to] make [any] transformation[s according to its will. May you
cause the rust]lings of the noble persea tree [. . .] in Heliopolis.106 May you awake every
day so that you might see the ray[s (IV/10) of the sun. Amon has come to you bearing the
brea]th of life. He has caused that you brea[the in] your sarcophagus so that you might go
forth to the earth every day. (IV/11) The Breath]ing Docu[ment of Thoth] has been made
for you [as] your protection, so that you might breathe by means of it like Re, so that your
eyes might see the rays of the sun disk, and so that you might be called ‘justified’ (IV/12)
[in the presence of Osiris.] [Your] pro[tection(?)] has been made. Horus the Behdedite107
has guarded your body and has deified your ba-spirit as do all the gods. The ba-spirit of
Re revivifies your [ba-spirit]. (IV/3) [The ba-spirit of the air-god Shu unites with] your
Paragraph VII
h[•]y Ws¡r Ór m•º-hrw ms.n T•y-hy-(by.t)108 m•º.(t)-hrw snsn b•k ¡w (= r) [bw] mrk109 (V/1) [¡]wk m [Ws¡r Ws¡r Hnty-ªlmnty.w rnk Óºpy wr ¡w nk m •bw m˙f ˙tpk m qf •](V/2).w

written; see Baer, p. 122, n. 62. Nothing is expected
between sps and m ªIwnw. Baer considered the trace
of m following the hole to be the conclusion of a sec-
ond writing of sps (dittography), and his remarks were
misinterpreted by Nibley 1975, p. 35, who transcribed
the final determinatives of (¡)sd as another writing of
sps. Had such dittography existed, it would have been
in the hole.
97 Misread by Nibley 1975, p. 35, as nhs twk.
98 The hole in the papyrus is here patched with
hpr from line 9. The lost text of sn[sn m] is too small
for the current gap, supporting Baer ’s suggestion of
ancient damage. Slight traces of m or the determina-
tive of t•w are preserved on tatters to the right of qb•.t.
99 Not attested in other variants and misread by
Nibley 1975, p. 36, as rd¡.tw. Other texts read: “The
Document of Breathing of Thoth is your protection, so
that you might breathe by means of it every day.”
100 Misread by Nibley 1975, p. 36, as (nq)w.k.
101 Misread by Nibley 1975, p. 37, as rnk. Nib-
ley ’s n is the lower stroke of the ovoid r.
102 P JS X has a broken, shorter variant than stan-
dard texts. The word m[k.t] “protection” is restored
following col. V/5, where it also precedes mention of

Horus of Behdet. This restoration was first suggested
by Baer in unpublished notes. Nibley 1975, p. 37, mis-
read the traces as ¡t.f. Other texts have ssw m•º-hrw
˙r q.tk “They have written ‘justified’ on your body.”
103 Misread by Nibley 1975, p. 37, as h nm.n.f.
104 Misread by Nibley 1975, p. 37, as a sqm.ty.fy-
form ntr.ty.fy.
105 Other versions read: “Horus, the protector of
his father, . . . has deified your ba-spirit like all the
106 For the mythological associations, see Baer,
p. 123, n. 63.
107 Horus of Edfu.
108 Nibley 1975, p. 38, mistranscribed the final
signs, substituting a “t” for the human figure after hb.
Contra Nibley, this is not the “only occurrence of the
complete name,” nor is its meaning “unknown.” Nib-
ley himself noted the full writing in col. II/2 (p. 20).
Other unbroken writings of the mother ’s name appear
in cols. I/3 and III/7. Nibley ’s treatment skipped col. I
and misread III/7 (p. 26).
109 Signs ignored by Nibley 1975 and mr wrongly
included in the photograph of the end of l. 12.

174 Journal of Near Eastern Studies

Hail, Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit, the justified! May your ba-spirit breathe wherever it likes, (V/1) since you exist as [Osiris. Osiris Foremost of the Westerners is your name. Hapy the great (the Nile Inundation) has come to you from Elephantine, so that he might fill your altar with (V/2) food offering]s.
Paragraph VIII
Ws¡r Ór m•º-hrw ms.n110 [T•y-hy-by.t m•º.(t)-hrw ¡w nk ntr.w n.w Smºw ssmw twk r ºrq-˙˙111 ºnh b•k sm](V/3)sk Ws¡r snsnk (m)-hnt112 R•-St•w [mk twk Ó•p-nbs ˙nº ntr º• h •.tk ºnh m] (V/4) Qdw T•w-wr b•k ºnh m p.t [rº] nb
Osiris Hor, the justified, born of [Taikhibit, the justified! The gods of Upper Egypt have come to you so that they might guide you to Alkhah. May your ba-spirit live, may you] (V/3) serve Osiris, may you breathe within Rostau. [‘She-who-hides-her-Lord’113 and the great god have protected you. Your corpse lives in] (V/4) Busiris and the Thinite nome. Your ba-spirit lives in heaven every [day].
Paragraph IX
[Ws¡r Ór m•º-hrw ms.n T•y-hy-by.t m•º.(t)-hrw shm Shm.t m w•w.w ¡mk Ór] (V/5) º•
¡b ˙r ¡r mk.t(k) Ór B˙d.t [˙r ¡r ¡bk Ór-Mr.ty ˙r s•w q.tk qdk m] (V/6) ºnh wq• snb
¡wk ˙r ns.tk m t• qsr [m]y [rk Ws¡r Ór m•º-hrw ms.n T•y-hy-by.t m•º.(t)-
hrw ¡wk] (V/7) hº.tw m qdk114 twt m h kr.wk sqrk115 m ºnh [wrsk m snb smk
snsnk r] (V/8) bw nb wbn Rº ˙r tp˙.tk116 m¡ Ws¡r snsnk [ºn]h[k m sty.wf ªlmn-Rº
sºnhf ] (V/9) k•k sw•qf twk117 m s•.t118 snsn smsk Ws¡r [Ór nb ˙nw ¡wk m ntr º•
hnty] (V/10) ntr.w ºnh ˙rk nfr ms.wk rnk rwd rº nb [m]y [º]qk r [s˙]-ntr119 [wr
sp-2] (V/11) m Qdw m••k Hnty-ªlmnty.w m ˙b Wg[•] nqm styk m ˙wn120 [º• rnk m]
(V/12) s•˙ sps
[Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit, the justified! Sakhmet has overpowered those who would conspire against you. Horus] (V/5) the steadfast makes (your) protection. Horus the Behdedite [performs your wishes. Hormerty guards your body, so that you are perma-
nently in] (V/6) life, prosperity, and health, enduring upon your throne in the sacred land. Come, [then, Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit, the justified, (V/7) appearing glo-
riously in your proper form, complete in your ornaments! May you spend the night in life;

110 Lines 1-2 were dismissed at illegible by Nibley
1975, p. 39.
Baer, p. 123, failed to recognize the name of
this cult site of Osiris and adopted the copying error of
P. Louvre 3284 for the following word (˙nº for ºnh).
For ºrq-˙˙, see Erichsen, Demotisches Glossar, p. 68.
Nibley 1975, p. 39, read “m or khnti.”
Alkhah is the specific burial site of Osiris at
Abydos, Rostau is a generic term for burial ground
(originally just for Saqqara), and “She-who-hides-her-
Lord” is the name of the necropolis at Abydos.
114 Nibley 1975, p. 41, misread tyt.k.
115 Nibley ’s insistence, 1975, p. 41, that “the
sign . . . is not sqr but grg” shows ignorance of late
hieratic and Demotic forms. See Möller, Hieratische
Paläographie, vol. 3, p. 37, no. 384B, and Erichsen,
Demotisches Glossar, p. 480 (bottom).
116 Nibley 1975, p. 41, mistranscribed the ˙ as a


stroke to read tp.t. “Cavern” signifies “tomb.” Other
versions have ˙w.t “mansion” with the same nuance.
Nibley 1975, p. 42, garbled this passage, mis-
reading sw•qf twk as “ ºnkh nd (wqa?)-snb or m” Nibley ’s “transliteration” does not follow
standard conventions.
The scribe has written s•.t in error for sº.t.
The words [º]qk r [s˙]-ntr appear on Frag-
ment P JS IV B/1, inserted upside down at the upper
left of the ba-bird vignette. All extant versions have
s˙-ntr, but Nibley 1975, p. 43, restored [h r.t]-ntr.
Baer translated “Great Divine Council,” but the term
refers specifically to the embalming booth of Anubis.
120 The words k m ˙wn appear in Fragment P JS
IV B/2. The final sign is the child determinative, not plural strokes as transcribed by Nibley 1975, p. 43. All other versions have nqm styk m¡ ¡m•h.w “May your scent be sweet like the revered ones.”

“The Breathing Permit of Hôr” 175

[may you spend the day in health. May you travel and may you breathe in] (V/8) any place. May Re shine upon your cavern like that of Osiris, so that you might breathe and [live by means of his rays. Amon-Re has revivified] (V/9) your ka-spirit and has made you flourish by means of the Breathing Document. May you serve Osiris [and Horus, Lord of the sacred Henu bark, since you exist as the Great God, Foremost] (V/10) of the gods. May your face live; may your forms be perfect. Your name thrives every day. [Come,] may you enter into the very great embalming [booth] in Busiris. May you see the Foremost of the Westerners in the Wag-Festival. May your scent be sweet as a youth. [May your name be great as] (V/12) an august noble.121
Paragraph X
h•y Ws¡r Ór m•º-hrw ºnh b•k m sºy.t snsn [h nmk m m¡.tt] (V/13) b•122 ºqk r dw•.t nn wn hfty.wk ¡wk m •h123 ntr¡ [m Qdw ¡bk nk nn ˙r¡f rk ¡r.tyk nk wn rº nb]
Hail, Osiris Hor, the justified! May your ba-spirit live by means of the Breathing Document, [and may you be united by the same manner with] (V/13) the ba-spirit. May you enter into the Underworld. There are no enemies of yours, for you exist as a divine, effective spirit [in Busiris. Your heart belongs to you; it will not be far from you. Your eyes belong to you, being open every day.”]
This marks the end of the preserved text. Paragraphs XI-XIV are lost, approximately two columns [Cols. VI-VII].
The papyrus concludes with a vignette preserved only in a poorly rendered engraving at the end of The Book of Abraham. Baer conservatively chose to translate only the most ob-
vious of these passages,124 but additional readings are possible and have been attempted here, with uncertainties noted. The scene, as already recognized by Baer, is the well-
attested conclusion of the older judgment scene associated with Book of the Dead 125.125 Having attained justification, the deified Hor is brought by Maat and Anubis before the al-
tar of the enthroned Osiris, behind whom stands Isis. Comparable scenes open Papyrus Hague 42/88 (Denon) and Tübingen 2016.126 The origin of these vignettes in the classic

121 The term “noble” also indicates “mummy.” P JS
V is paralleled by P. Louvre 3291, l. 29. Other versions
have “be great among the nobles/mummies.”
122 Texts differ considerably here. P. Louvre 3284
has h nmk m m¡.tt “may you be joined likewise,”
while Louvre 3291 has h nmk m sº.t n snsn “may you
be joined by means of the Breathing Document.”
Goyon, “Les livres des respirations,” p. 222, notes ex-
amples of “you are united with Shu, son of Re.”
123 Other versions have b• ntr¡ “divine ba,” and
Nibley 1975, p. 45, wrongly followed that reading, ig-
noring the remarks of Baer, p. 124, n. 85. For the hier-
atic sign, see Möller, Hieratische Paläographie, vol. 3,
p. 19, no. 204 (with back tick), clearly distinct from no.
208 (b•) and the writing of b• found at the beginning of
this line and throughout the text.
124 Baer, p. 127, and n. 110.
125 Baer, pp. 126-27. Baer ’s statement that it is
“similar to but not identical with scenes showing judg-
ment of the deceased before Osiris” (p. 126) and “is

not a judgment scene” (his quoted letter to Nibley in
Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, p. 100)
means only that the actual process of judgment is not
shown. This image does, however, form part of stan-
dard judgment scenes; see the following notes.
126 Coenen and Quaegebeur, De papyrus Denon in
het Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum, figs. 3-5, and
Brunner-Traut and Brunner, Die ägyptische Sammlung
der Universität Tübingen, pls. 12-13. These and other
examples eliminate the doubt once expressed by Baer
that “parallels may be hard to find” (quoted letter to
Nibley in Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri,
p. 100). Gee fails to quote the remainder of Baer ’s as-
sessment: “But one must not exaggerate in the other
direction. I doubt that one could find many instances of
exactly identical scenes in Egyptian art” (Baer files,
quoted by permission, unlike the unauthorized use by
Gee, ibid., pp. 98, n. 15 and 100, n. 22). The inclusions
of Thoth recording the judgment and the Swallowing
Monster Amyt further stress the derivation of this

176 Journal of Near Eastern Studies

judgment scene is shown conclusively by the final vignette of the comparable Breathing Document Florence 3666 + Vienna 3850, in which Maat and Anubis escort the deceased to the scales, enthroned Osiris and Isis.127 The iconography of Facsimile 3 has been discussed most reasonably by Stephen E. Thompson.128 This scene depicts events in the underworld court of Osiris, not a funeral reenactment with human actors.129

Concluding Vignette, Col. VIII (= Facsimile 3 of The Book of Abraham)

Label for Osiris (Fig. 1 of Facsimile 3)
(VIII/1) qd-mdw ¡(n) Ws¡r Hnty-ªlmnty.w (VIII/2) nb(?) •bqw(?) p• ntr º• (VIII/3) r q.t n˙˙(?)
Recitation by Osiris, Foremost of the Westerners, Lord of Abydos(?), the great god forever and ever(?).
Label for Isis (Fig. 2 of Facsimile 3)
(VIII/4) •s.t wr.(t) mw.t ntr
Isis the great, the god’s mother.130
Label for Maat (Fig. 4 of Facsimile 3)
(VIII/5) M•º.t ˙nw.t ntr.w
Maat, mistress of the gods.

Label for Hor (Fig. 5 of Facsimile 3)
(VIII/6) Ws¡r Ór (VIII/7) m•º-hrw r q.t
The Osiris Hor, justified forever.

scene from Book of the Dead 125 vignettes, as in the
Papyrus of Hunefer illustrated in R. O. Faulkner, The
Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, rev. ed. (New
York, 1985), pp. 34 -35.
127 Marc Coenen, “A Remarkable Judgement Scene
in a Document of Breathing made by Isis: Papyrus
Florence 3665 + 3666 and Papyrus Vienna 3850,”
Orientalia, n.s., 68 (1999): 98-103, esp. pl. 21.
128 Stephen E. Thompson, “Egyptology and the
Book of Abraham,” Dialogue 28/1 (1995): 145- 48.
Gee’s brief rebuttal (A Guide to the Joseph Smith Pa-
pyri, pp. 40 and 67, n. 17) is unacceptable. Reference
to a costumed private individual in the Roman proces-
sion of Isis is not evidence that the figure of Isis here
(no. 2) is “King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the
characters above his head,” as published by Joseph
Smith. Smith misunderstood “Pharaoh” as a personal
name (cf. Abraham 1:25), and the name above fig. 2 is
unquestionably that of the female Isis. Osiris (fig. 1) is

certainly not “Abraham,” nor is it possible that the al-
tar of Osiris (fig. 3) “signifies Abraham.” Maat (fig. 4)
is not a male “prince,” Hor (fig. 5) is not a “waiter,”
nor is Anubis (fig. 6) a “slave” (because of his dark
skin). Such interpretations are uninspired fantasies and
are defended only with the forfeiture of scholarly
judgment and credibility.
129 Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, p. 66,
wrongly conflates this Anubis with masked Anubis-
priests at funerals. Actors did not, however, imperson-
ate Maat, Osiris, and Isis at funerals.
130 The same (common) label appears in P. Tü-
bingen 2016 for the figure of Isis. She is not “Pharaoh”
there either.
131 Or nb dw•.t “Lord of the Underworld.” The epi-
thet ¡r s• appears in a comparable scene in the unpub-
lished Papyrus McClung Museum: 98.11.1 (University of Tennessee, Knoxville).

“The Breathing Permit of Hôr” 177

Label for Anubis (Fig. 6 of Facsimile 3)
(VIII/8) qd-mdw ¡(n) ªlnpw ¡r s•(?)131 (VIII/9) hnty s˙-ntr (VIII/10) . . . 132
Recitation by Anubis, who makes protection(?), foremost of the embalming booth, . . .

(VIII/11) ¡ n(•) ntr.w hr.t-ntr ntr.w qrr.wt ntr.w rsy m˙t ¡mnt.t ¡•b.t swq• Ws¡r Ór
m•º-hrw ¡r.n T•y-hy-by.t133
O gods of the necropolis, gods of the caverns, gods of the south, north, west, and east, grant salvation to the Osiris Hor, the justified, born by Taikhibit.
Here the papyrus ended. As the reader can verify by comparison, the basic understanding of the papyrus remains unchanged from Baer ’s interpretation of thirty-five years ago. The text is a formal document or “permit” created by Isis and copied by Thoth to assure that the deified Hor regains the ability to breathe and function after death, with full mobility, access to offerings, and all other privileges of the immortal gods. The implications, basic symbolism, and intent of the text are certain.134

132 Possibilities include ¡my-wt “who is in the
mummy bandages,” p• ntr º• “the great god,” or s•
Ws¡r “son of Osiris.”
133 Unread by Baer, p. 127, the signs ¡r.n T•y-hy-
by.t can be recognized, including the figure with up-
raised arms (hy), shifted to the end as in Col. I/2. See also P. Louvre 3207 for the use of ¡r.n . . . T•y-h(b¡.t) “born by . . . Taikhi(bit).”

134 Contra Nibley ’s nihilistic quibbling on the im-
possibility of true translation, 1975, pp. 47 ff. Where precisely the great pool of Khonsu was located does not change the meaning, significance, or use of the text, none of which is in doubt.

1 comment:

Bull said...

It's really not even necessary to read the whole article is it? I appreciate the patience it must have taken to address the topic in a serious and scholarly way because from the outset it is obvious that Joseph Smith had zero ability to translate.

I continue to marvel and the mental gymnastics that Mormons will perform to explain away the obvious: the Book of Abraham is NOT what it claims to be. It is NOT a translation of Egyptian unless you start to use very Clintonian semanticss.