Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship



Joseph Smith, Mormon Studies, William Foxwell Albright, Reformed Egyptian, Book of Mormon Studies


In a letter addressed to Grant S. Heward of Midvale, Utah, an outspoken critic of the book of Abraham, William Foxwell Albright, the doyen of American ancient Near Eastern studies, wrote: "There does appear to be evidence that Joseph Smith had studied some Egyptian. For one thing, he undoubtedly spent a great deal of money and effort in trying to master Egyptian, but, as you know, when the Book of Mormon was written, Egyptian had just begun to be deciphered and it is all the more surprising that there are two Egyptian names, Paanchi and Pahor(an) which appear together in the Book of Mormon in close connection with a reference to the original language as being "Reformed Egyptian."