This has been quite long in coming, but I am happy that Tyler Livingston provided me with a copy of his new DVD that he made for FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research), entitled “A Most Remarkable Book: Evidence for the Divine Authenticity of The Book of Abraham,” and I am pleased to share my views on it.
Upon first viewing the DVD, I was quite impressed and definitely learned things about the Book of Abraham and the process of its coming to light that I didn’t previously know. I cannot claim to be any kind of expert on the Book of Abraham, and especially not on the material evidence or Egyptological issues, nor am I any kind of film critic, but I wanted to share my humble opinions on what I, as an interested LDS viewer, was able to get out of the DVD. Although there were some issues with the production that I thought could have been done slightly better, my general feeling, ultimately, was that this is a valuable video — a great tool for educating both LDS and non-LDS regarding the state of the latest theories supporting the LDS belief in the Book of Abraham as divinely-inspired scripture.
Livingston, et al., were successful in bringing together those individuals that you would hope to see on such a project –most everyone who knows much about Egyptology in the Church, as well as experts on other fields that relate to the topics discussed. The contributors include Michael Rhodes (Egyptology), John Gee (Egyptology), Michael Ash (LDS Scholar), Kerry Muhlstein (Egyptology), Kevin Barney (LDS Scholar), Jared Ludlow (Near Eastern Studies), David Bokovoy (Near Eastern Studies). These individuals are all very good at what they do and were well-prepared to provide the latest information on these topics. If there were anyone else I could see on there, it would have been nice to have, maybe, Brian Hauglid, Kerry Shirts, or John Tvedtnes — but the line-up they have is pretty complete.
I’ll take you through a summary of the content of the production, with highlights of some of the more interesting information. The film basically follows a set of questions posed near the beginning. These include:
- Where did the Book of Abraham come from?
- How did Joseph Smith get the Egyptian papyri that he translated?
- What is the relationship between the papyri and the text of the Book of Abraham?
- What happened to Joseph Smith’s papyri after his death?
- Have Egyptologists translated the papyri?
- Do Joseph Smith’s translations match the Eyptologists’ translations?