Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Yes, There Is Such A Thing As Reformed Egyptian

Some who have approached the Book of Mormon with the assumption that an ancient Israelite text could only be written in Hebrew have found the notion of reformed Egyptian to be a stumbling block in accepting the Book of Mormon's claims to be scripture.

However, many samples of a form of shorthand script based on Egyptian hieratic script have been found to be used in and around Israel, by Israelites, dating back to the time Lehi left Jerusalem (600 BC).

BookOfMormonCentral.org publishes regular KnoWhy articles to dig deeper into Book of Mormon topics. Today's KnoWhy explains the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni's claim to be writing in "reformed Egyptian". Nephi also mentioned using a form of writing based on Egyptian writing when he said, "Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians."

Here are three of seven points mentioned in the KnoWhy article, just to whet your appetite. I strongly recommend you visit the newly-launched BookOfMormonCentral.org to really dig into the Book of Mormon text and research.

First, Israelite texts at the time of Lehi employed numbers and signs from an ancient Egyptian script called hieratic.1  There are over 200 samples of hieratic found in the regions of Israel and Judah.2 
Second, LDS scholars John A. Tvedtnes and Stephen D. Ricks3 collected examples of texts written in a Hebrew-related language being transcribed in hieratic Egyptian dating to 600 years before Lehi.4 They also shared an example of Psalms 20:2–6 written in Aramaic translation using Egyptian characters. This example dates to about 400 years after Lehi’s time.5 
Third, archaeologists have also found Egyptian hieratic writing on broken pieces of pots from an Israelite city dating to Lehi’s time. As scholars explain, “the text … is written in a combination of Egyptian hieratic and Hebrew characters but can be read entirely as Egyptian.”6
See Did Ancient Israelites Write In Egyptian? for more!