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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

My question is concerning the characters shown to the Professor Charles Anthon by Martin Harris in fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 29 11-14. We learn in the Book of Mormon that the plates of the Book of Mormon were written in reformed Egyptian, a language that no one but the Nephites and the Book of Mormon peoples knew. How then did Charles Anthon know that the characters shown to him by Martin Harris were indeed translated correctly? Charles Anthon in JSH 1:64 says that they (the characters) were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac and Arabic. But I thought that the characters were reformed Egyptian.

Daniel

 

Answer

 

Dear Daniel,

Charles Anthon lied! The Martin Harris/Charles Anthon encounter took place in February of 1829. The characters that were presented to Charles Anthon were just a couple of lines from a single document. Yet Anthon proclaimed them to be characters from four different languages! How could that ever be? Further, there was no one at that time that could read Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Jean Francois Champollion, discovered from the Rosetta Stone the key to the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Although he gave several scientific papers on his work deciphering the Rosetta Stone, beginning with a paper he read before the Academy of Inscriptions in 1822, he never published his grammar of the Egyptian language before his untimely death in 1832.. However, his elder brother, Jacques Joseph Champollion, published his work in 1835. All this, of course, took place in France. The papers of Champollion, written before 1829, were in all probability, unknown at Columbia University at the time of Martin Harris’s visit with Charles Anthon.

 

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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