I’ve been studying up on the Book of Abraham a bit lately, and as fascinating as all the scholarly, arcane parallels are, it’s even more exciting to see that some of Joseph Smith’s explanations of these symbols are easy to confirm in accessible pop culture.
While critics have often had to come up with convoluted theories as to how Joseph got so many plausible details into the Book of Mormon, his equally startling “guesses” in the Book of Abraham are usually ignored…maybe because they are even more shocking. How could Joseph have known what any of these old Egyptian hieroglyphics meant? He didn’t know ancient Egyptian–hardly anybody in the world did! The Rosetta Stone itself had barely been translated around the time that Joseph first started producing the Book of Abraham.
And yet, what should have been wild shots in the dark hold up remarkably well nearly two centuries later, when the basics of Egyptian are so widely available, that a major hotel here in Las Vegas, the Luxor, makes them into a cute and easily recognizable theme.
In Facsimile 1, there’s a weird creature shown near the bottom.
The text defines it as “the idolatrous god of Pharaoh.” Look closely–it’s a crocodile in the waters of the Nile. So, did the Egyptians of Abraham’s time really identify Pharoah with a crocodile-god?