SW09009: Dual Session Paper 1: A Marginal Moses: A Case Study in Canonicity, Historicity, and Revelation. Paper 2: The Myth of the Missing Book of Abraham Papyrus

Paper 1: “A Marginal Moses: A Case Study in Canonicity, Historicity, and Revelation.” Since its canonization in 1880, most LDS members have viewed the Book of Moses as a restoration of lost truth grounded in historical events. However, converging lines of evidence from Mormon history, the reevaluation of the Joseph smith Translation, and textual criticism of both the Hebrew Bible and restoration scriptures have undermined this assumption, creating an increasingly marginal place for the Book of Moses in the LDS canon. The need to reevaluate the paradigm used to understand the Book of Moses creates difficult questions and promising possibilities for the discussion of historicity, methodology, and canonical status for LDS leaders, scholars, and members. Paper 2: “The Myth of the Missing Book of Abraham Papyrus.” The “missing papyrus theory” has gained ground as the most popular Book of Abraham apologetic. Defenders of this theory have exaggerated the quantity of papyrus that is missing from the present collection—and in so doing, have hindered the progress of serious historical understanding of the origins and meaning of the Book of Abraham. When eyewitness testimony and physical evidence are examined through responsible historical methodologies, we find not only that the corpus of missing papyrus is much smaller than has been claimed, but also that the ostensible source of the Book of Abraham is among the extant fragments.

Ben Clarke